Health-Care Reform Lies Travel Faster Then the Facts

These numbers on shifting support for health-care reform, especially among independents is a little strange, GALLUP GAUGES RESPONSES TO ANGRY MOBS. Steve notes the fairly obvious,

There are a few angles to this. You’ll note, for example, that when the breakdown is 34%-21%, it means there’s a large plurality with no opinion or whose attitudes haven’t changed one way or the other. For that matter, there’s no way to know from the poll if those who say they’re more sympathetic to right-wing protestors have actually agreed with the protestors from the outset.

TPM looked at the internals of that Gallup poll and found,

Late Update: Gallup itself has up the internals of the poll. And the details paint a more mixed picture than the USAToday lede. That said, they do not seem to show any of the backlash against the craziness that many reformers are hoping for. And at a minimum they seem to be hardening opposition among Republicans and right-leaning independents.

Democrats should not just take these numbers at face value and proceed accordingly. Obama should act like health-care reform is a rerun of the election and winning reform is the goal. The Republican noise machine from Freedomworks to the American Enterprise Institute to right-wing radio to the New York Post have been running these disinformation campaigns for years. Any Democrat that thought they would stop just because elections have consequences has not learned rule one, the battle for progress never ends. Democrats as is usually the case think that since they have facts and a history of good policy on their side – Social Security, unemployment insurance, winning two world wars, a better record on the economy, people would at least be polite enough to listen and digest the good news accordingly. That surely realized there would be resistance, but did not see the Right pouring out its resentment and impotence at their increasing irrelevance at townhalls. Those public venues have been like the spout on a boiling kettle. Yes, while they’re difficult to find in the videos there are reasonable Republicans that just want to participate in a centuries old tradition. Its not just Democratic constituents that have been shut out of local forums until this last few days, but more thoughtful Republicans and independents too. The right-wing message has been the only one anyone can hear. Then goodness forbid anyone should object to the yelling and shouting so we could have some civil debates – according to the very same tea baggers/birthers/deathers, their freedom of speech is being trampled – all the while the rest of us are just trying to get a word in. The Right’s path iis easy as usual. I’m not sure about the psychology of it, but its a well known historical trend as Mark twain observed “A lie can travel around the world while the truth is just putting on its shoes.” Timothy Noah’s latest column is a little depressing, but offers some encouraging news for all Americans, The Medicare-Isn’t-Government Meme, Part 2

Outside the school, the Journal’s Jonathan Weisman interviewed Diane Campbell of Kingston, N.H. Campbell’s mother has an autoimmune disease that “is treated with expensive transfusions of gamma globulin, paid for by Medicare.” Campbell’s sister, the story notes, “was born with no arms and one leg, and is also covered by Medicare, the government-run, health-insurance program for the elderly and disabled.”

In a more logical world, one might expect Campbell’s worldview to incorporate the reality that her family relies on a government program to provide essential health care.

Protester that does not know Medicare is a government insurance program
Protester that does not know Medicare is a government insurance program

Yet M’s Campbell, utterly dependent on government health-care, is out with her signs calling President Obama both a socialists and a fascist, not because he actually wants to slightly expand Medicare( which Campbell thinks is not a government run program) and make sure Medicare continues to be properly funded, but because she thinks President Obama wants to cut her Medicare benefits – which, to repeat, she thinks is a private entity ( Paul Krugman made the same observation about a gentleman at another townhall). Not coincidentally Limbaugh has accused Obama of being both a Nazi and a socialist. The inane Jonah Goldberg aside its impossible to be a socialist and fascist simultaneously. The we have Rich Lowry, taking a break from shilling to be a Bush White House propagandist complaining – a far Right Republican complaining – that President Obama wants to cut entitlement spending to programs like Medicare – the they’re trying to kill granny angle. Remember the Twain rule. That rule still applies when the lies are inconsistent, are the exact opposite of what wingers usually complain about and are factually vacant. People like Campbell are eating this stuff up. Pushing back the lies is pushing a big rock up a steep hill. Of course Republican have the message advantage – they have the same disinfo infrastructure they’ve been building for fifty years and they’re doing the lying. We know that Democrats and Obama are more then capable enough to wrestle back a good percentage of those independents.

Some Democrats in the Senate are not being helpful, In the Senate, Small States Wield Outsize Power. Is This What the Founders Had in Mind?

Why, for example, have even Democratic senators been resistant on health-care reform? It might be because so many of the key players represent so few of the voters who carried Obama to victory — and so few of the nation’s uninsured. The Senate Finance Committee’s “Gang of Six” that is drafting health-care legislation that may shape the final deal — without a public insurance option — represents six states that are among the least populous in the country: Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Maine, New Mexico and Iowa.

Between them, those six states hold 8.4 million people — less than New Jersey — and represent 3 percent of the U.S. population. North Dakota and Wyoming each have fewer than 80,000 uninsured people, in a country where about 47 million lack insurance. In the House, those six states have 13 seats out of 435, 3 percent of the whole. In the Senate, those six members are crafting what may well be the blueprint for reform.

[   ]…Kent Conrad, Democrat from North Dakota (pop. 641,481, third smallest), chairman of the Budget Committee and one of the Gang of Six, does not see any problem. Asked whether it is appropriate that his vote counts as much as those of senators from states 20 times as large, he was flummoxed. “One would hope that people would support the Constitution of the United States,” said Conrad, who was reelected with 150,000 votes in 2006, when Virginia’s Jim Webb needed 1.2 million votes to win.

Another uphill battle in the Senate where conservative Democratic Senators represent a relatively small number of people. They’re the Senators that will probably come around, but need to feel at least as much heat from reform supporters as they do from the vocal minority tea smokers.

Just in case anyone missed it, Five myths about healthcare reform, and the facts

Right-wing pundits tear into 11-year-old girl for asking Obama a question. This might be an even match. Michelle Malkin and the Washington Times versus an 11 year old. My money is on the 11 year old. Media Matters has more, Surprise! Michelle Malkin’s attacking little kids again

Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people

Early Autumn in Michigan wallpaper

Remember how conservative drama queen Michelle Malkin was so outraged that the Frost family would dare speak up  for the insurance program SCHIP that she started spying and reporting on the interior furnishings of the family’s house. She quickly buried herself in yet another mountain of hypocrisy when she objected to the media spotlight on the then newest prop for the rabid Right, Sam Joe Wurzelbacher, who was exposed as an unlicensed plumber whose family was once on public assistance. Having seen President Obama’s public forum in New Hampshire and Eleven-year-old Julia Hall ask a friendly question, Malkin is outraged again. That might not be true, outrage might be a permanent state for Malkin. One headline reads, Little girl at Obama town hall has not-so-random political connections, By Michelle Malkin •  August 11, 2009 10:17 PM. The forum was indeed generally Democrat friendly. Those that wanted to attend per standard secret service procedure had to fill out an application that included address and social security number. Who’d thought that it would be mostly Democrats that wanted to attend. Malkin, never one to embrace the virtue of moderation goes on to lead another post with more shocking news, The illustrated guide to Obamacare human props, By Michelle Malkin  •  August 12, 2009 12:48 AM. Call it wild speculation, but Malkin seems to be implying that anyone that respects a President is a “prop”. So Malkin was a prop for eight years, when any criticism of Bush 43 was considered Bush Derangement Syndrome. It was just a few days ago when once again Sarah Palin was using her child as a prop to criticize President Obama. The post where Malkin “exposes” Palin seems to be missing from her blog,  but hey, look over here, people that either like President Obama or are at least polite enough not to snarl accusations are asking real questions and the president is answering them in a civil manner. Meghan McCain wonders what Malkin’s problem is in the way of being the guardian of all things truly Conservative ( Strangely enough Hot Air does have a tedious reply, but its not written by Malkin.)

Michigan tea smoker being ever so civil at a public forum
Michigan tea smoker being ever so civil at a public forum

If you read right-wing blogs for even a few days there is an extra ordinary amount of concern trolling ( they’re very worried about Democrats. For their own good of course). Then there is a lot of playing poor little victim of the media. Email: Rich Lowry Offered To Help White House Spin Firings

It looks like Rick Lowry of National Review offered the White House his services in doing some positive P.R. on behalf of Rove protege Tim Griffin, who the administration had sought to sought to muscle into the U.S. attorney job in Arkansas as a replacement for the fired Bud Cummins.

Rich Lowry is not a partisan friendly child in a public forum and the National Review is certainly as much the media as the Washington Post.

Orly Taitz, queen of the birthers, might be getting a raw deal from the media by not listening to everything she believes or maybe some of the media has done her a favor by not giving her time to babble, What Really Happens When You Demand the President Produce His Birth Certificate?

But Taitz wasn’t finished. She marched her troops straight over to the secretary of state’s office and did the exact same presentation all over again. Then she headed to the FBI to do it a third time. And the whole time, she never stopped talking:

Goldman Sachs runs the treasury.

Obama is a puppet.

There’s a cemetery somewhere in Arizona where they just dug 30,000 fresh graves, which wait now for the revolution.

Baxter International — a major Obama contributor — developed a vaccine for bird flu that actually kills people.

Google Congressman Alcee Hastings and House Bill 684 and you’ll see that they’re planning at least six civilian labor camps.

Google an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about train cars with shackles.

The communist dictator Hugo Chavez way back in 2004 purchased the Sequoia software that runs our voting machines and the mainstream media won’t report any of it — not even Fox because Saudi Arabia bought a percentage of Fox in 2007.

This is the stuff that the media never gives Taitz a chance to say because it’s so focused on the news hook of the “birther” issue. (And, believe me, this has been merely a tiny sample of what I saw on my road trip this spring.) But this is the stuff that reveals who she really is, and what this movement really is.  (emphasis mine)

Apparently two great things about being a winger is that the burden of proof is below low and pettiness is a virtue.

Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough. – President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Clutching at their diamond encrusted wallets and purses the Right is trying to draw an equivalence between the protests against Bush and Cheney’s for shocking and awing Iraq on false pretenses. Besides being proved right, that the invasion of Iraq was based on lies and a strategic mistake in fighting terrorism. the Right didn’t think speaking out against the invasion was covered by freedom of speech, Arrested Bush dissenters look to the courts

When school was canceled to accommodate a campaign visit by President Bush, the two 55-year-old teachers reckoned the time was ripe to voice their simmering discontent with the administration’s policies.

Christine Nelson showed up at the Cedar Rapids rally with a Kerry-Edwards button pinned on her T-shirt; Alice McCabe clutched a small, paper sign stating “No More War.” What could be more American, they thought, than mixing a little dissent with the bunting and buzz of a get-out-the-vote rally headlined by the president?

Their reward: a pair of handcuffs and a strip search at the county jail.

Authorities say they were arrested because they refused to obey reasonable security restrictions, but the women disagree: “Because I had a dissenting opinion, they did what they needed to do to get me out of the way,” said Nelson, who teaches history and government at one of this city’s middle schools.

“I tell my students all the time about how people came to this country for freedom of religion, freedom of speech, that those rights and others are sacred. And all along I’ve been thinking to myself, ‘not at least during this administration.'”

If the tea smokers want to wave their signs and ask questions that not only a good thing, we should all encourage them to be more engaged in government policies. Unfortunately, a sizable minority of tea smokers are not engaging in free speech, they’re actively trying to shout down and intimate others.

Jefferson Memorial wallpaper, Malkin Inadvertently Encourages Questioning Health-Care Status Quo

Jefferson Memorial wallpaper

Kind of a shocker, Michelle Malkin in a round about fashion, thinks that all Americans should have the same gold plated highly susidized insurance plan currently enjoyed by Republican members of both Houses that are fighting health-care reform with a public option, Rep Tsongas tries to explain why Congress is exempt from Obamacare. Fails.

CONSTITUENT: My question to you, Congresswoman Tsongas, is that if this is such a great plan, why did you opt out of it when you took the vote [loud applause, standing ovation]?

TSONGAS: People often say why don’t the American people have what those of us in Congress have. [Audience erupts] Let me explain what I have. Let me explain what I have. What I have is a tremendous array — you know, last year when I went to a discussion — what I have is a tremendous array of choices. And I made a choice based on what I was willing to pay for and what made sense in terms of coverage for me and my family. [Audience shouts out: “We want choice! We want choice!] This is essentially what we are creating for the American people. We are creating greater choice.

[Smattering of applause overwhelmed by boos.]

Epic fail. The imperious “Do as I say, not as I do” ways of Washington cannot be packaged as choice-enhancing, no matter how hard Rep. Tsongas tries.

Up is down and being honest is an “epic fail”. Then Malkin goes on to tell a blatant lie:  Health-care reform will do two contradictory things at once. First it will give you “extremely full, expensive, and highly subsidized coverage”. Then the contradiction, “but deliver it through a highly restrictive, HMO-style plan that will determine what care and tests you can and can’t have”. It can be a plan that offers top of the line coverage or it can be a discount plan with discount services, but not both at the same time. Tsongas would only be a hypocrite if all the Republicans in Congress rejected the health insurance options made to them through the  government: a CDHP with a Health Savings Account, an indemnity  fee-for-service plan, a PPO, an HMO( Under Obama’s plan the public would have th same choices they have now, plus a public option. If you have a number of something and add more, that’s more options. Does the Right not do simple arithmetic.) All paid for mostly as a benefit of being a Congressional rep or Senator. Malkin’s also attempts some kabuki theater in which she is trying to petition Republicans to give up their government health plans, transparent in its absurdity. Malkin racks up yet another lame post where she cleverly undermines herself by getting average working Americans to wonder why they cannot get subsidized government health-care. Or why between Congress, Medicare, government employees and the military the government is already hip deep in the health-care business. Drug companies make billions, but while they do some of their own R&D, they get a good portion of their research done via government funding of basic research at universities. If merely subsidizing health-care and the research for the next miracle drug constitutes Nazism or socialism or whatever name the Right is calling it this week, then the government, regardless of which party holds the office of president is equally guilty. If the public option should become law, then everyone that wants and can afford one of those truly awful traditional PPO plans – these are the ones where middle class families find themselves suddenly in bankruptcy having paid their percentage plus anything over the limits of the policy – they will be able to do that.

Remember the conservative that was supposedly “brutally” beaten in St. Louis: H/T to Sadly No! for Protestors gather outside closed union office

The incident has elevated tempers, with people on both sides of the health care debate arguing over who threw the first punches. Members and supporters of the St. Louis “Tea Party” coalition say Gladney was attacked, unprovoked. Union members and their supporters say Gladney initiated the fight.

[  ]…Gladney did not address Saturday’s crowd of about 200 people. His attorney, David Brown, however, read a prepared statement Gladney wrote. “A few nights ago there was an assault on my liberty, and on yours, too.” Brown read. “This should never happen in this country.”

Supporters cheered. Brown finished by telling the crowd that Gladney is accepting donations toward his medical expenses. Gladney told reporters he was recently laid off and has no health insurance.

I hope the same people on the Right that have used Gladney for a convenient prop will have the integrity to help with his hospital expenses. Maybe even help him get a job. If the Right can provide wing-nut welfare for Newt “dump your sick wife” Gingrich they can cough up a few bucks for this guy.

Tea baggers with Obama poster
Tea baggers with Obama poster
Teabagger compares health-care reform to Nazism
Teabagger compares health-care reform to Nazism
One of those civil tea baggers from a Memphis townhall
One of those civil tea baggers from a Memphis townhall

From a story on the Memphis townhall, Town hall tension: Meeting turns ugly over health care

Honesty, said Dr. Autry Parker, must be part of the conversation on health care reform.

“This issue will not be solved by people shouting, it will not be solved by people telling lies over and over again,” Parker said. “Yes, I have read it and I do not agree with everything in it, but there is absolutely nothing in the bill that is going to euthanize grandma.”

One of the signs waved by a plan opponent said “Don’t tell my gigi how to die,” referring to allegations that the bill would allow senior citizens to be euthanized, something the nonpartisan group FactCheck.org said is false. Cohen also denied that the bill would pay for abortions — another claim made by opponents.

Roger Fakes, 70, said he sat quitely during most of the meeting, but Cohen’s insistence that citizens would be able to keep their private health care drove him to his feet.

He argued that changes to private insurance would force citizens into the government plan.

“There are some of us old gray-haired folks that don’t want the government involved in any of our business,” he said.

Why are these people angry. In talking point after talking point they repeat the distortions and falsehoods spread by Americans for Prosperity, Malkin and Limbaugh among others. Take away the falsehoods and they have nothing to be angry about. Those “gray-haired” folks are especially susceptible to these lies because Medicare is essential to their health-care. The only way they could get the impression Medicare would be taken away or its benefits greatly reduced is if the Right was not pushing cruel lies on some of America’s most vulnerable citizens. Lies that are just as much about putting the Republican party before the common good of the country as they are about making Democrats look bad.

“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.” – President Thomas Jefferson

The Right Can’t Win a Civil Debate So They Rachet Up The Attacks and Lies

Goon Power

The right-wingers who drowned out congressman Lloyd Doggett in Texas, who shouted down congressman Tim Bishop on Long Island, who screamed insults at congressman John Dingell in Michigan, who forced congresswoman Kathy Castor to cut short her meeting in Florida, who heckled and harassed congressman Steve Kagen in Wisconsin, who shouted down congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona so severely that she had to cancel the event during its opening minutes…these are people who actually think they are standing up for America, when, in truth, they are subverting the American tradition of free speech.

That synopsis does not include all the disruptions and death threats for the past seven days, but hits the highlights. The columnist Dick Polman takes take a moment to point out that some of the people at these events, if not most, might be partisans of one form or another, but they don’t get much attention because they are behaving themselves. Its the law of crowds. People behaving badly causes big waves. Unfortunately good behavior does not cause the rude thuggish ones to calm down. That said, for those keeping score, Democrats and those in the center are winning the civilized behavior battle. Hopefully no one would argue that people do not have the right to disagree. I haven’t read a single word from a prominent Democratic source arguing that people do not have the right to be concerned, attend and voice civil objections. It is easy to find lots of straw man liberals on right-wing sites that claim Democrats want to stop dissent. The Right is very good at using straw men – the only kind they can win debates with. The problem is tea baggers shouting down speakers or making the meetings so raucous that they cannot proceed.

The Right was losing the public relations war and they probably knew that on some level. The signs accusing Obama of being a Nazi. Shouting their talking points. In a St Louis health-care townhall the Right gets a chance to spin its way of of the predicament they and their corporate lobbyist masters found themselves. They could turn one Kenneth Gladney into an overnight martyr. Inventing tales of a union “beating” with the help of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. According to Gladney’s attorney,

The SEIU member used a racial slur against Kenneth, then punched him in the face. Kenneth fell to the ground. Another SEIU member yelled racial epithets at Kenneth as he kicked him in the head and back. Kenneth was also brutally attacked by one other male SEIU member and an unidentified woman. The three men were clearly SEIU members, as they were wearing T-shirts with the SEIU logo.

This is the video on Youtube as posted by a group of Republicans. Its difficult to make out who is on the ground, what appears to be two men – if two men are down on the asphalt that would seem to imply it was not a one sided fight. Then you’ll see a large woman in a navy shirt with a cane walk toward the commotion ( she is one of the people the Right is calling an “union thug” from SEIU). Very shortly after that you’ll see a black male in a tan shirt walk past her – that is Gladney. Gladney walk towards an on coming police car and waves at them. They keep going and he follows them to the small crowd that had gathered where he and the other man were on the ground. That does not mean that Gladney was not hurt by someone, but he looks in pretty good condition for what his attorney described as brutally beaten. As MM notes the ultra Right Powerline blog described what they saw as “shocking”. Its certainly unfortunate that there was an incident where anyone even layed a finger on someone else, but not shocking in that Gladney was up and walking and talking.

The only real mystery from the incident is why Tea Party member Gladney, who’s seen up-close after the brief encounter walking around and talking to people and who appears to be injury-free, then decided to go to the hospital to treat injuries to his “knee, back, elbow, shoulder and face.” All that from a two-second fall to the pavement?

Also unclear is why he contacted a newspaper reporter, or why his attorney wrote up lavish accounts and sent them to conservative bloggers, or why Gladney and his attorney appeared on Fox News.

FYI, according to his attorney, Gladney plans on filing a civil lawsuit against the union.

UPDATED: The Hill erroneously reported that Gladney had been “hospitalized” after being “attacked.” As you can see from the video, Gladney was not “hospitalized.” (i.e. Rushed away by ambulance.) Instead, as the Post-Dispatch correctly reported, Gladney “said he sought hospital treatment.”

No one should be shoving or hitting anyone at these town halls. It just seems that Gladney and his attorney are yelling whiplash when relatively minor injuries were sustained. Then there is the other guy that was on the ground. The Political Carnival also noticed the same video, VIDEOS: After walking away from town hall brawl, conservative shows up on Fox in wheelchair

Now, a day later, he’s confined to a wheelchair and apparently is unable to speak, although he was perfectly articulate in the video above…(video at link)

To get an even better idea of the kind of bizarre posturing the Right is taking, part of a letter written by Gladney’s attorney,

We hope that Kenneth fully recovers from his injuries; however, he is in great pain at this time. We will be pursuing legal action at our discretion. This was a truly senseless hate crime carried out by racist union thugs. Regretfully, Representative Carnahan’s statements blaming Kenneth for being a disruptive force are wholly untrue and slanderous.

[  ]…Kenneth supports conservative ideals, although he subscribes to no particular political party. We are calling on the SEIU, Representative Carnahan, and President Obama to condemn the racist actions of these union thugs. In the days to come, we will be investigating whether these thugs are working at the behest of Representative Carnahan and how strong their alliances to various organizations–such as ACORN–may be.

A hate crime? All members of unions are automatically thugs and lets throw in ACORN for the Glenn Beck-Malkinites conspiracy crowd. The SEIU has its own take, Violent tactics at last night’s St. Louis town hall meeting

Last night in St. Louis, a Reverend and SEIU member was assaulted at a town hall dedicated to discussing our national healthcare crisis. The incident is being spun by GOP operatives as SEIU thug violence–which couldn’t be further from the truth.

So far it seems there has been some possible wrongs done – what looks like a rough scuffle. Gladney, his attorney have their side. While Powerline, Gateway Pundit, the The Weekly Standard have had a trial, seen what they want to see, found that SEIU, ACORN, all unions, President Obama, Democrats and that little lizard in the insurance commercial are guilty as charged; no sense discussing it farther or waiting for a more thorough investigation. So the Right crosses its fingers and hopes this incident, which ends a week of Right-wingers trying to shout down democracy,  somehow justifies their goonish behavior. In the mean time its probably some very civil, rational tea baggers that have been calling in death threats to SEIU.

The tea baggers desperately hope to convince everyone they really, really are independent minded, ordinary citizens acting on their own, Townhall Mobs — Brought to You by Big Oil and Dirty Coal

One prime example is Americans for Prosperity, which is trying to kill health reform, clean energy, and the Employee Free Choice Act. And who, pray tell, is this Americans for Prosperity you ask?

AFP is just one giant, multi-headed hydra of a front group for Koch Industries — a huge oil and gas conglomerate and one of the largest privately held corporations in the world. And since being funded by one giant oil company is not enough, AFP has also taken cash from ExxonMobil. In fact, just last night Rachel Maddow caught AFP president Tim Phillips in a lie about the Exxon cash. She also ran through a laundry list of AFP-related astroturfing and dirty tricks.

In this video Rachel Maddow And Former Christian Activist, Frank Schaeffer do not call the tea baggers we see in all the videos tools, but to a large degree they are, useful tools for corporate interests. As long as Republicans ran two or three branches of government the tea baggers, birthers and unhinged gunmen were on simmer. Now that they have lost two elections and it was, while not all, but largely the policies of their leaders that pushed America off the economic cliff they’re, as Schaeffer describes them “the loaded gun” on the table. Its the organizations like AFP and the pundits like Beck and Limbaugh that have ratched up the hateful rhetoric. This is not all that new. There are new personalities, but the tactics, the elminationism, the black helicopters and “death panels”, the fear and hate mongering, have been with us since Nixon: Town Halls, Teabaggers, Obama Birthers and Nixonland

Maybe the best post I’ve read on Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel and Sarah Palin’s “death panel” inanity, Have You No Decency?

First, these issues are quite separate from the main issues being debated in health reform. Under a single-payer system, a strong public plan, or under a libertarian’s privatized dream-system, we will still face fundamental dilemmas in caring for our loved ones, and ourselves. This is not merely or primarily a money issue. Like other forms of care, end-of-life care is sometimes wasteful or ineffective, but nobody is looking to skimp on or ration such care to finance health reform. Nor should they.

Second, health reform would address an equally fundamental dilemma of human dignity and human rights: millions of people’s lack of access to basic care. Many of these people are disabled or live with chronic illnesses. Over at Obsidian Wings, Publius yesterday noted the predicament of children with Down Syndrome denied health insurance because they have a preexisting condition.

Besides Palin’s and Michelle Bachman’s obvious reading comprehension problems it is difficult to follow the logic. Hospitals are generally part of large corporations.  Insurance companies in the U.S. have become an oligopoly. Both now make life or death decisions about patients, acting as “death panels” if you like. There is not now or in the future going to be any such government body, but how would that be worse then trusting the corporations whose decisions are driven by profit.

The direct link to Dr. Emanuel’s paper in which he rejects the legalization of euthanasia and doctor assisted suicide.

Republicans Mobs Against Health-Care Reform Face Backlash, Start Playing Poor Victim

Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell. A painting mentioned in Paul Krugman’s latest column, The Town Hall Mob

There’s a famous Norman Rockwell painting titled “Freedom of Speech,” depicting an idealized American town meeting. The painting, part of a series illustrating F.D.R.’s “Four Freedoms,” shows an ordinary citizen expressing an unpopular opinion. His neighbors obviously don’t like what he’s saying, but they’re letting him speak his mind.

That’s a far cry from what has been happening at recent town halls, where angry protesters — some of them, with no apparent sense of irony, shouting “This is America!” — have been drowning out, and in some cases threatening, members of Congress trying to talk about health reform.

There is always some jeering and some rudeness when opposite sides clash. Paul mentions some of the Social Security privatization meetings that the Bushies held. Like everyone I can remember some clashes between partisans at Democratic and Republican conventions. The huge difference here is the determination to derail any genuine debate. As several of my grade school teachers used to say, you can’t talk and listen at the same time. In the case of the tea bagging birthers you surely cannot shout “liar”, Read the Bill”, accuse people of being Nazis or socialists and simultaneously have any genuine concerns over health-care reform addressed. You can’t expect to even give directions to a restaurant if the person asking for them is shouting at you in a threatening manner while you’re trying to talk. This Orwellian attempt by the fringe fanatics to define democratic debate as a yelling match is both laughable and lame. Krugman and many of us – I read conservative blogs and the literature being disseminated on the net by far right groups like Freedom Works – still cannot understand what all the anger is about – except maybe many of the tea baggers are blinded by their hate for Democrats and President Obama,

There was a telling incident at a town hall held by Representative Gene Green, D-Tex. An activist turned to his fellow attendees and asked if they “oppose any form of socialized or government-run health care.” Nearly all did. Then Representative Green asked how many of those present were on Medicare. Almost half raised their hands.

Now, people who don’t know that Medicare is a government program probably aren’t reacting to what President Obama is actually proposing. They may believe some of the disinformation opponents of health care reform are spreading, like the claim that the Obama plan will lead to euthanasia for the elderly. (That particular claim is coming straight from House Republican leaders.) But they’re probably reacting less to what Mr. Obama is doing, or even to what they’ve heard about what he’s doing, than to who he is.

That is, the driving force behind the town hall mobs is probably the same cultural and racial anxiety that’s behind the “birther” movement, which denies Mr. Obama’s citizenship.

Watching enough of the videos you see this again and again. People collecting Social Security and Medicare, that seem to like them, are not aware they are government administered insurance programs. But they’re tea baggers  don’t need no stink’n government run health-care or any other safety net programs. I cannot get over the disparity in outrage between now and the hogwash that BushCo used to send off their spouses, sons and daughters off to die for a lie in Iraq. Where was the outrage at the manipulation of their patriotism for cynical political ends. Where was the shouting and jeering about spending three trillion dollars on that fiasco and not rising the revenue to pay for it. A trillion dollars alone would pay for the health-care reform for ten years.

Republicans Propagating Falsehoods in Attacks on Health-Care Reform

By now, you’ve probably also heard that health reform will cost taxpayers at least a trillion dollars. Another lie.

First of all, that’s not a trillion every year, as most people assume — it’s a trillion over 10 years, which is the silly way that people in Washington talk about federal budgets. On an annual basis, that translates to about $140 billion, when things are up and running.

Even that, however, grossly overstates the net cost to the government of providing universal coverage. Other parts of the reform plan would result in offsetting savings for Medicare: reductions in unnecessary subsidies to private insurers, in annual increases in payments rates for doctors and in payments to hospitals for providing free care to the uninsured. The net increase in government spending for health care would likely be about $100 billion a year, a one-time increase equal to less than 1 percent of a national income that grows at an average rate of 2.5 percent every year.

Politicians and political movements tell lies for many reasons, but the two biggest reasons in regards to health-care reform are 1) The tea baggers know the facts are not on their side. The current corrupt and mismanaged corporate health-care system and its costs are causing people to go without care, have their insurance suddenly canceled for some fine print get out of paying clause and even when they have health insurance its not enough to save them from financial disaster.2) Republicans have no ideas about how to get most Americans insurance and bring down costs that, if trends continue will increase substantially – 2007 was a good year with costs increasing only 6.1%, 2008 was 6.9%  – a rate that is twice that of annual average inflation. No ideas? act like thugs and resort to name calling, Limbaugh: “Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, also ruled by dictate” (VIDEO)

One blogger has resorted to posting pictures of a town meeting that seemed to go well. Thus proof that ALL other Republicans are as pure as the driven snow all reports and video+pictures to the contrary are to be ignored. That Rightie blogger also missed the irony of photographing elderly relatives, all on Medicare of course and one gentleman that appears to be a retired vet – also on government health-care.

They do it so often, apparently stuck in perpetual Chicken-little mode, I almost forgot the just make sh*t up tactic, Five right-wing myths about healthcare reform, and the facts

Myth 1: Democrats want to kill your grandmother. This claim seems too outlandish on its face to get much traction, but Republicans actually made some headway on it recently. Two House GOP leaders put out a statement warning that the healthcare reform bill “may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia.”

[  ]…Myth 3: Obama will ban all private health insurance. Allegedly, the House proposal for healthcare reform bans private insurance. This rumor comes complete with a citation: “Right there on Page 16 is a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal,” the unflaggingly pro-business paper Investors Business Daily wrote in an editorial last month. Other right-wing blogs and news outlets picked up on the idea, as well. It fits in with a broader message Republicans have been using: The reform will lead to a total government takeover of healthcare.

The IBD line is literally true — Section 102 of the House bill says insurance companies can’t independently issue any new individual policies after the legislation takes effect (though existing policies are grandfathered in). But it misses the point. Private plans aren’t banned, but rather shifted into the new health insurance exchange the legislation would set up. You can still get a private policy, but the way in which you buy it changes. If you wanted to buy your own insurance, you have to do it through the government-run insurance exchange. Your policy becomes part of broader risk pools, which makes the premiums cheaper and keeps insurance companies from dumping them once they get sick.

No truth at all to that one, but as we know from so many other Republican misinformation campaigns, if they tell a lie often enough and loud enough, a few people on the edges of the debate start to have doubts. Then while certainly not all conservatives are morons the Republican party seems to attract most of them and they believe whatever the hate mongers like Limbaugh and the corporate lobbyist tell them to believe, Reports: Glenn Beck fans turn health forum into ‘near riot’.

In a stunning display of anger, Florida Republicans and fans of Fox editorialist Glenn Beck turned a Tampa healthcare forum into a “near riot,” one reporter said, as they attempted to enter the meeting hall and drown out a group of community organizers and a member of congress.

There were at least two reports of violence at the forum.

That report is still unfolding. Apparently some independents and pro health-care reform attendees got shoved and punched, and gee, what do you know they shoved and punched back. Which the right-wing blogs are using as proof its Democrats who are behaving badly. This is a very good play by play of what went on down in Tampa, My Night at the Tampa Health Care Town Hall

As Representative Reed introduced Congressperson Castor – boos erupted. The gentleman next to me stood up to applaud her, and many in the room was on their feet clapping for her. Outside the door, a steady chant started.

“BULLSHIT! BULLSHIT! BULLSHIT! BULLSHIT!” Castor hadn’t even started yet, and people were screaming. Yelling. Fights broke out outside. Castor held the taped together microphones to her mouth – but then the mob shifted tactics to “YOU WORK FOR US! YOU WORK FOR US!” Every minute, it was a new rage filled series of shouts to keep her from discussing her points. She asked the crowd how many of them paid for health insurance through their employer – and people started shouting.

“READ THE BILL!” People in the crowd kept screeching at her, including one tall gentleman behind me I’ll call Mr. Shouty. Throughout the entire time Castor tried to address the crowd, tried to explain what the bill was about, he and so many others around the room screamed “READ THE BILL! READ THE BILL! READ THE BILL!” Then, because she tried to explain how the health care bill would try to provide health care for those who were uninsured, the screams changed to “TYRANNY! TYRANNY! TYRANNY!” “WE LEFT ENGLAND FOR THIS!”

One thing we inherited from England was the tradition of hapeas corpus, when Bush killed this fundamental tenet of liberal democracy, the Right thought it was better then cheese wrapped in plastic. Lesson: never ever take lessons about what constitutes tyranny from a conservative. Since we have all the myths about health-care reform, ironically from the party obsessed with having an English only society, maybe its the tea baggers that should read the bill and get a little help with their reading comprehension skills.

Another myth about health-care reform mentioned in the Salon article is that the government bureaucrats will run your health-care. You know the way they run Medicare, Medicaid and military health-care now. The tea baggers completely ignore or for some bizarre reason seem to like and trust the corporate cronies that currently run the shoddy system we have now in the private sector, Sick for Profit: Stephen Hemsley’s(CEO of UnitedHealth) Millions Come From Your Health

Meet Stephen Hemsley.He’s the CEO of UnitedHealth. In 2007, he earned $13.2 million dollars. His unexercised stock options total three-quarters of a billion dollars. That’s right – billion.

Where does he get all that money? He gets it from you. Your health, to be exact. Every time UnitedHealth denies one of their customers a treatment, that’s more money in Hemsley’s pocket. Every time UnitedHealth skimps on care, or delays treatments, more money for Hemsley. Hemsley is rich because he keeps you sick, that’s just the way it works

Until this week the Right was all about fitting ACORN into debates about everything from energy policy to conspiracy theories about the mortgage meltdown. Thankfully we’ll be getting a little more variety with our crazy talk, blame everything on SEIU (Service Employees International Union) – At this juncture is there any actual working Americans that tea bagging birther Republican have not demonized. The always intellectually sleazy Republican blog American Thinker runs this ominous headline, August 07, 2009, Obama looses labor thugs on tea party town hall protesters. The glaring issue with that is started the fight and who finished it. Ol American Thinker has passed judgment and its Obama’s labor thugs fault. It couldn’t be the tea baggers despite the now hundreds of video on the web showing the tea baggers doing their best to provoke violence. Maybe the tea baggers and their corporate lobbyist sponsors could publish and adhere to an agreement such as SEIU has which encourages their members to act with civility:

Trumka notes that the America’s politics are “passionate, heartfelt and often loud.”

But that is not what the corporate-funded mobs are engaging in when they show up to disrupt town halls held by members of Congress….Mob rule is not democracy. People have a democratic right to express themselves and our elected leaders have a right to hear from their constituents—not organized thugs whose sole purpose is to shut down the conversation and attempt to scare our leaders into inaction.

Another item on which advice from conservative is like calling an arsonist once your house catches on fire is civility, Our first black president is a Nazi?

Who’d have imagined that our first black president would turn out to be a Nazi? Just when you think political discourse can’t get any uglier, Rush Limbaugh is comparing President Obama to Hitler and calling all Democrats Nazis, while the frothing right-wingers turning Democrats’ town halls into “town hells” routinely refer to Obama and his supporters as “brownshirts.” Right-wing blogger Steve Gilbert has transformed Obama’s healthcare reform logo into a Nazi symbol( this was done by a Republican blogger called ironically enough Sweetness and Light) by cleverly adding a swastika; meanwhile, some Republicans insist Democrats are lying about “town hell” rowdies carrying signs with swastikas, but they’re the ones with a problem telling the truth ( this is the picture of the tea bagger holding up the Nazi SS sign which so many Republicans say they can’t seem to find).

If you thought right-wingers’ claim that Obama is a racist was projection, here’s another case study for psychology students everywhere. At district meetings Democrats are being shouted down by angry mobs inflamed by corporate interests spewing lies about healthcare reform — Maryland Rep. Frank Kratovil was hung in effigy. Rep. Tim Bishop needed a police escort to his car, Rep. Brad Miller reports death threats, while Republican Todd Akin of Missouri joked — to cheers from his GOP audience — that his Democratic colleagues “almost got lynched” by the “town hell” rowdies. Glenn Beck is joking about poisoning Nancy Pelosi’s wine — but it’s the Democrats who are Nazis, fascists and brownshirts. Got it.

Joan left this one out. U.S. Representatives Jim McGovern and Richard Neal field questions on health reform from an overflow crowd at the UMass Medical School Amphitheater

At one point, Mr. McGovern was likened by an attendee to Josef Mengele, the Nazi officer who performed experiments on concentration camp survivors.

McGovern’s experience wasn’t as bad as others. At least in the sense that the interruptions were not so bad that he could not complete his talk. With the Josef Mengele hyperbole in mind we have conservative Peggy Noonan writing to Democrats, ” You are terrifying us”. Peggy swore for seven years the terrorists were out to get her and silence her brave voice, so no surprise she is terrified that people that actually work for a living and make her wealth possible might get health-care. The outrage, the next thing you know workers will want clean beds to sleep in and shoes to wear while they shovel coal. More here, It’s Okay Because They Care

Trees and Ocean Inlet wallpaper


Republicans Shouting Down Debate, Shutting Down Democracy

Since there have been so many health-care reform stories breaking in the last two days I’d thought I’d do a recap. Much of it has to do with Republicans either trying to shut down debate altogether or to spin news in their favor.

National Republican Congressional Committee Encourages Demagoguery

Recess Roasting: “Shouting Overwhelms Kagen Forum on Health Care”:

“The vast majority of people attending the event appeared to come in protest of the health-care legislation, and they repeatedly disrupted the event by shouting. The crowd’s size and vocal frustration grabbed the attention of Green Bay police, who arrived soon after the event began to keep the peace. Capt. Rick Demro said no one was arrested. Kagen never battled the crowd’s volume, but voiced his concerns several times about its attitude. If the event were a shouting match, the mob won. Kagen tried talking about the health-care bill, but the roaring chants deafened his attempts. Several elderly people covered their ears and grimaced at the level of noise.” (Keegan Kyle, “Shouting Overwhelms Kagen forum on health care,” Greenbay Press Gazette, 8/04/2009)(bold mine)

Any story that retold attempts by tea baggers to shut down disseminating information and taking questions was celebrated as a victory. The NRCC and the tea baggers are calling health-care reform a “take over” of health-care. They”re lying about the most basic of facts. Adding a public option less “taking over” health-care then providing government health-care for veterans or running the Medicare program for when Americans retire. If Republicans cannot or will not get this basic fact correct that means they’re afraid of a honest debate.

DNC video attacks birthers, GOP’s ‘mob’ tactics(video)

The DNC has produced a video of their own, which we bring to you below. It attacks so-called GOP “mobs” that have been cropping up around the country at Democratic lawmakers’ town hall meetings.

It was revealed early Tuesday that these groups are being organized by the same folks that coordinated the Swift Boat attacks against Sen. John Kerry in 2004, effectively sinking his bid to unseat his now departed opponent.

The group claiming credit for the angry scenes is called Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, run by a former hospitals executive.

“After eight years of failed policies that ruined our economy and cost millions of American jobs, desperate Republicans and their well-funded backers are organizing angry mobs, just like they did during the election,” the DNC’s video declares.

“This strategy is straight from the playbooks of high-level political operatives,” the Democrats claim. “They have no plan for moving our country forward, so they’ve called out the mob.”

The ad also features the now-famous clip of an angry woman confronting a congressman at a town hall, asking, “why are you people ignoring” the supposed lack of a birth certificate for the President of the United States.

Birthers or tea baggers its the same unhinged crowd. Birthers are not the least accommodating to facts. Oil and water don’t mix, neither do facts and birther- tea baggers, but for those that enjoy a argument here’s some ammo, Salon’s handy-dandy guide to refuting the Birthers

GOP and civil debate

Everyone has seen this, but there is an update, Right-Wing Harassment Strategy Against Dems Detailed In Memo: ‘Yell,’ ‘Stand Up And Shout Out,’ ‘Rattle Him’

Tea Bagger Memo

Artificially Inflate Your Numbers: “Spread out in the hall and try to be in the front half. The objective is to put the Rep on the defensive with your questions and follow-up. The Rep should be made to feel that a majority, and if not, a significant portion of at least the audience, opposes the socialist agenda of Washington.”

– Be Disruptive Early And Often: “You need to rock-the-boat early in the Rep’s presentation, Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Rep’s statements early.”

– Try To “Rattle Him,” Not Have An Intelligent Debate: “The goal is to rattle him, get him off his prepared script and agenda. If he says something outrageous, stand up and shout out and sit right back down. Look for these opportunities before he even takes questions.”

Americans for Prosperity(Americans for Prosperity is exempt from tax as a social welfare organization. It received $3.4 million in direct public support in 2007) says they did not write this. True a Bob MacGuffie wrote it and Bob just happens to post at “Tea Party Patriots”. Its also true that the substance of the memo as concerns talking or shouting points, is the similar to a letter that Freedom Works put out (Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works are run by corporate lobbyists). Its been said that so what deep pocketed special interests are doing the backing, the people that show up are sincere. That doesn’t matter much if they act like astroturf puppets. They follow the rules laid out in the memo above. When a representative is allowed to answer that the government is not taking over health-care they shout “liar”. Its not activism to show up and try to disrupt meetings so those actually interested in getting the facts, can’t, over the jeering from the crowd. These people might well feel sincere that doesn’t make them any less the puppets of the organized lobbying groups that represent corporate interests. The tea bagging birthers are one of the strangest and deeply hypocritical movements in history. They want to be seen as being anti-coporate/anti=Wall St to cash in on the wave of resentment brought about by the economic crisis, but are how trying to protect corporate interests like CIGNA and Blue Cross Blue Shield ( both have given patients and their families the shaft) and health-care corporations. The Corporate Healthcare Coalition, Medco Health Solutions  and United Health Group are represented by lobbying firm Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock.

Local Fox Reporter Attends Town Hall And Finds ‘Some Attendees Admit They Don’t Live In The District’

Michelle Malkin has called the attempts to shut down town hall meetings a “counter-insurgency” by the “grassroots”. Sure if the roots have a Platinum American Express and a $3 thousand dollar suit.

The right-wing blog Atlas Shrugged celebrates closing down a two hundred year old American tradition with this headline,  Monday, August 03, 2009 – “Town Halls Grow More, Hostility too: Arlen Specter and Kathleen Sebelius Heckled, Jeered at Town Hall”

A conservative blog called American Power also celebrates the triumph of shrill ignorance, Monday, August 3, 2009 – “Town Halls Get Results! ‘Audience Shouts Down Sebelius, Specter at Health Care Town Hall in Philadelphia'”

Both of those blogs got the ultimate stamp of right-wing approval, a link from Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds. Glenn is unhappy because he feels that not every Democrat in the House read every single page – that might be a problem with the reception on his tin-foil antenna. That is an odd complaint from someone who is happy that that small groups of tea baggers are keeping Americans from asking questions about the bill that Glenn thinks no one has read. Glenn and the tea baggers want to be both the nation’s information managers and ever so sincere propagandists. Why we should trust the same people that ruined the economy and spent 3 trillion dollars on Iraq to determine what the rest of us should read and hear; that requires more tin foil then most working Americans can afford right now.

Don Hamm’s (CEO of Assurant) testified before Congress and used some deceptive numbers. I am shocked, Unconscionable Math

To understand why 0.5% of the people Assurant covers is a lot of people – a jarring, terrifying, probably criminal lot – you need to understand a little bit of math.  You need to understand just enough math to understand what Don and his legal team are not telling you.  You need to understand conditional probability.  And the folks at Assurant are counting on the fact that you don’t.

Tea Baggers FAIL to disrupt Health Care meeting, lessons shared.

Some nice satire from Spencer Ackerman, Bill Clinton Personally Reduces North Korea to Smoldering, Rubble-Strewn Wasteland

In an unforeseen turn of events, Bill Clinton strapped himself with nuclear weapons and detonated during a meeting with Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang. The former president’s inability to free imprisoned American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling ended in carnage, the only diplomatic language the North Koreans understand. Clinton, recognizing that diplomacy was useless, bit his lip sorrowfully and expressed regret that so many had to die in the name of American prestige, according to a suicide note obtained by this blog.

The rest at the link.

Antiqued Modern World Map wallpaper, Fox is the New Pravda, Olbermann on Health-Care

Antiqued Modern World Map wallpaper

There seems to be two major issues with finding a hosts for these wallpapers: The host is free and reliable like the one I use now, but they resize the pictures to something smaller ( the one above was uploaded at 1800×1080 and they resized it to 1600×960). Several hosts do not resize the photo/wallpaper, but they delete it if no one downloads it for 30 days. My fellow map lovers and the B&W photos are a niche group and the downloads of those varies quite a bit month to month, so that option is out. I’ll keep an eye out for another reliable option, but for now apologies to all those with nice big wide screen monitors.

I mentioned just yesterday how Fox and Sean Hannity were manipulating video to distort President Obama’s speeches on health-care reform. He’s at it again, Hannity on Obama’s 2007 remarks: “He wants government health care. … They’re purposefully being dishonest”(Video). For zealots like Hannity this is very complicated. Let’s say that Obama, most Democrats and Independents really want the simplicity and cost savings of a government run single-payer insurance plan, keeping hospitals and doctor practices private entities. It is simultaneously possible to think that single payer is not going to work at the political level, so they put their efforts behind a public option compromise. Republican plans for exploding and exploitative health-care costs is….the status quo or the get sick go to the emergency room and then declare bankruptcy plan. I think Hannity is about 48 years old. If he’s lucky enough to live out the current average life expectancy of 75, he will live long enough to see the day when a majority of Americans cannot afford to be slaves to corporatized health-care. The single-payer advocates will not be responsible for that, nor those of us willing to settle for a public option plan. Corporate creed, lack of courage and blind zealotry will be responsible.

The corporate hacks at Fox and MSNBC may have worked out some kind of truce, but Keith Olbermann has not been approached by management and Olbermann claims he would never consent to one anyway. That said Keith gets into health-care reform and the extraordinary efforts by health insurance lobbyists, Republicans and conservative Democrats to sabotage those efforts, Special Comment: Health Care Reform

For weeks, for months, we have faced Regressive scare-mongers who have literally warned of death if health care is reformed. Just around the edges. Just slightly. At all.
Enough.
Tonight I will present what I believe is the longest Special Comment I have ever aired, naming names and citing dollar amounts to call out the politicians — Republicans and Democrats alike — who are paid by the Health Care Monopolies to bring to life one of my favorite quotes, the observation of the Belgian essayist Maurice Maeterlinck:

At every crossroads on the path that leads to the future, tradition has placed 10,000 men to guard the past.

[  ]…PBS pointed out that the health and insurance industries are spending more than a million, 400 thousand dollars a day, just to destroy the “public option” – the truly non-profit, wieldy, round-up and not round-down, government, from helping you pay your medical bills with about a billionth of the recklessness with which it is still paying Halliburton and its spinoffs to kill your kids.
And much of this money is going to, and through, Republicans.
But that’s the real point tonight.
Not all of it is going through Republicans…

[   ]…Congressman Mike Ross of Arkansas.
Leader of the Blue Dogs in the House.
You’re the guy demanding a guarantee that Reform won’t add to the deficit.
I’m guessing you forgot to demand that about, say, Iraq.
You’re a Democrat, you say, Congressman?
You saw what Sandy Barham said?
Sandy Barham is 62 years old, she’s got a bad heart, and she’s hoping her valves will hold together for three more years until Medicaid kicks in, because she can’t afford insurance.
Not just for herself, mind you.
For her employees.
She needs the public option. So do those six people who work at that restaurant of hers, Congressman Ross.
And why should you give a crap?
Because Sandy Barham’s restaurant is the Broadway Railroad Café, and it is at 123 West First Street North in Prescott, Arkansas.
Prescott, Arkansas, Congressman Ross.
Your home town.
You are Sandy Barham’s congressman.
Hers, Sir. Not Blue Cross’s and Blue Shield’s, even if they do insure 75 percent of the state and they own you.

Mr. Baucus gets his, and Mr. Tanner, and Mr. Gordon.
And then they all get a reminder of who they are supposed to be working for.

I warn you all.
You were not elected to create a Democratic majority.
You were elected to restore this country.
You were not elected to serve the corporations and the trusts who the government has enabled for the last eight years.
You were elected to serve the people.
And if you fail to pass or support this legislation, the full wrath of the progressive and the moderate movements in this country will come down on your heads.
Explain yourselves not to me, but to them.
They elected you, and in the blink of an eye, they will replace you.
If you will behave as if you are Republicans – as if you are the prostitutes of our system – you will be judged as such.
And you will lose not merely our respect. You will lose your jobs!
Every poll, every analysis, every vote, every region of this country supports health care reform, and the essential great leveling agent of a government-funded alternative to the unchecked duopoly of profiteering private insurance corporations.

Malkin’s Political Comrades Didn’t Invent Corruption They Reinvented It

Michelle Malkin has written a new book called “Culture of Corruption”. The title is also a tip to how intellectually vigorous Malkin is, she couldn’t think of an original title.Since liberals invented the term to describe Bush and Republicans can we expect to get a percentage of any profits. Media Matters has an example of Malkin’s dishonesty – Malkin distorts Michelle Obama biography to attack her and her father as corrupt

In her new book, Culture of Corruption, conservative columnist Michelle Malkin claims that first lady Michelle Obama “was literally born into the Chicago political corruptocracy,” suggesting that because her father was a volunteer precinct captain and held a city job, she was a party to cronyism and embraced the practice. In fact, the biography of Michelle Obama that Malkin cites to make this case actually argued that the first lady’s experience in the “powerful political machine” of Richard J. Daley made her and her family “extremely cynical about politics and politicians” until they met “Barack [Obama], whose political career was pushed in part by a coalition of people who had grown up in opposition to Daley and whose goal was breaking the Machine.”

According to Malkin’s razor sharp logic if you were ever in the same room with someone that was actually corrupt, you’re just as dirty. As Malkin probably knows the old Chicago political machine was succeeded by Republicans like Chicago mayor George Ryan who was convicted on corruption charges. Those of us that remember the 90s are familiar with Malkin’s tactics. The Right did the same thing with Bill and Hillary Clinton,

This has a familiar ring, doesn’t it? The wingnut right attacked Bill Clinton relentlessly as a corrupt Southerner involved in shady dealings (think Whitewater or Mena), while the Evil Hillary ran the show behind the scenes. And the mainstream right made heavy use of these attacks.

The the clown posse of the Right – Malkin, Beck, Limbaugh, Savage and Coulter and so forth like to create a narrative. One that warps reality. In that reality spending over 4000 lives and 3 trillion dollars to occupy Iraq was a great decision. In that reality Republican did not drive the economy off a cliff. In that reality they’re not corrupt. We all know people like this, the ones that never admit when they are wrong and never apologize. If that wasn’t bad enough they tend to blame others for their failures. After writing classic trash like “Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild” ( published by the right-wing welfare publisher Regnery) one would expect some modest progress in the way of journalistic ethics( yes Malkin thinks of herself as a journalist) and integrity. Orcincus did a multi-part series on Unhinged, Unhinged: Unhonest – Part 1: The Unbearable Lightness of Malkin

The holes in Malkin’s reportage also exist on a fundamental level. Take, for instance, how she handles one of the centerpieces of her argument that this lunacy has taken root at the highest levels of the Democratic Party: Howard Dean’s remarks about theories that the Saudis might have tipped off George W. Bush about 9/11.

As I’ve already noted, Malkin’s discussions of Dean’s record in television interviews indicate a serious skewing of the reality of what he said. And sure enough, Unhinged skews Dean’s remarks on pp. 33-35 with some, shall we say, selective editing.

OK I have to give Malkin some credit here. In the way she carefully edited Dean’s full remarks in which he was referring to some statements made by Bush and questions were taking place in everyday conversations around the country about Bush and the official 9-11 report ( remember that Bush opposed having a 9-11 commission). Hannity has taken to using the same technique in some videos of Obama speeches. Though who knows how affective the technique is. Malkin’s and Hannity’s fans probably swallow the regularly dispensed pablum without looking up the original source material and judging from a troll at Media Matters the truth doesn’t seem to to able to sink in anyway. Unhinged was riddled with similar convenient edits, distortions and lies. In her now infamous ‘In Defense of Internment”, Malkin mangled, strangled and dragged some history behind her car in order to use the internment ( unconstitutional imprisonment) of Japanese Americans to justify ethnic profiling and resuming a new generation of internment camps– especially for anyone that looked like they were of Arab heritage ( for what constitutes looking like an Arab you’ll have to ask Malkin).

Malkin’s flair for history, the Constitution, fact finding and ethics also extends to economics, Michelle Malkin, Cynthia Tucker Spar Over Unemployment Benefits (VIDEO)

Michelle Malkin, for some reason, was invited to be a part of today’s THIS WEEK panel, maybe because she was wandering through the Newseum or something. Anyway, she took on the issue of unemployment benefits by saying that “If you put enough government cheese in front of people, they are just going to keep eating it,” which explains why America has never grown tired of cheap cheese and why it’s totally led to nobody wanting to strive or excel or have a job in the past three decades.

The Queen of Cheese thinks that the unemployed would get a job if we’d simply cut off unemployment insurance. The approximately 9.5 percent of the American work force that are unemployed are just lazy according to Malkin. U.S. auto workers seek to retrain for scarce new jobs

The scale of Michigan’s task is daunting.

The No Worker Left Behind program’s “talent bank” recently had 1 million resumes online with about 18,000 vacant jobs posted, Levin said. That means more than 50 workers for every available job.

“We have to upskill our entire state in order to fill the jobs of the future,” he said.

Ken Stahovec, 46, spent 23 years working as a designer and project engineer for various auto suppliers and automakers, before losing his job in July 2008. He is now working toward an associate degree in renewable energy technology.

“Whenever a green job is posted, a zillion people go after it,” he said. “Competition will be fierce, but I just have to keep plugging away at it.”

Typical of Malkin ( a self described tea bagger) who has been trying for years to cast herself as a populist that cares about the average working class American yet doesn’t have the slightest clue as to what those working class Americans are up against. Then clearly calls everyone on unemployment a lazy bum feeding off government handouts. If Malkin is right about living high off the hog collecting money for nothing then we should see them all flock back to work very soon, The details on exhaustees

Tens of thousands of workers have already used up their benefits, and the numbers are expected to soar in the months to come, reaching half a million by the end of September and 1.5 million by the end of the year, according to new projections by the National Employment Law Project, a private research group.”

Some not so fond memories of the real Culture of Corruption,

Bushies Behaving Badly – A guide to GOP scandals.

Rick Renzi in Congress With the Land Deal
Federal prosecutors are investigating a land deal that may have benefited a former business partner of Arizona Rep. Rick Renzi. When his chief of staff phoned the Arizona prosecutor to discuss the investigation, Renzi got swept up in the U.S. attorneys scandal, too. Most recently, the FBI raided his wife’s insurance business, prompting Renzi to step down from two House committees.

Duke Cunningham in Congress With the Candlestick
California Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham resigned his congressional seat in late 2005 after pleading guilty to accepting $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors. Among the gifts he received were Persian rugs, a secondhand Rolls-Royce, access to a contractor’s boat, and silver candlesticks worth $5,600. He is currently serving an eight-and-a-half-year prison sentence.

Also included in this rogues gallery is Paul Wolfowitz, former Bush 43’s U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense .

CREW releases “Beyond DeLay: The 22 Most Corrupt Members of Congress – only three were Democrats.

Banana Republicans

The Republican rap sheet for the past week alone is staggering. Senate Majority Leader and 2008 GOP presidential hopeful Bill Frist is now in deep trouble for likely insider trading. Only days earlier, the senior Bush administration procurement official at the Office of Management and Budget David Safavian was arrested for lying and obstructing the criminal investigation of Republican mega-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Later in the week, the Bush administration continued revving up its patronage machine even in the post-Michael Brown era, nominating unqualified political hacks and industry stooges for a senior post at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and leading investigations at the FTC.

More on the history of the Republican ‘culture of corruption’. A conservative commentator looking around at all the Republican scandals said, “I don’t think we have had something of this scope, arrogance and sheer venality in our lifetimes,” “It is building to an explosion, one that could create immense collateral damage within Congress and in coming elections.” Malkin knows a lot more about corruption then she lets on. Her political comrades didn’t invent corruption, but they spared no expense to reinvent it.

Right-wing Hate Radio Spreading Health-Care Reform Rumors to Seniors

Republican culture of fear and death

At least one major print outlet has noticed the right-wing fear campaign that targets seniors on Medicare, Talk Radio Campaign Frightening Seniors – Provision for End-of-Life Counseling Is Described by Right as ‘Death Care’

A campaign on conservative talk radio, fueled by President Obama’s calls to control exorbitant medical bills, has sparked fear among senior citizens that the health-care bill moving through Congress will lead to end-of-life “rationing” and even “euthanasia.”

The controversy stems from a proposal to pay physicians who counsel elderly or terminally ill patients about what medical interventions they would prefer near the end of life and how to prepare instructions such as living wills. Under the plan, Medicare would reimburse doctors for one session every five years to confer with a patient about his or her wishes and how to ensure those preferences are followed. The counseling sessions would be voluntary.

But on right-leaning radio programs, religious e-mail lists and Internet blogs, the proposal has been described as “guiding you in how to die,” “an ORDER from the Government to end your life,” promoting “death care” and, in the words of antiabortion leader Randall Terry, an attempt to “kill Granny.”

[    ]…In the past two weeks, AARP has fielded a few thousand calls from people who mistakenly think the legislation would require every Medicare recipient to “choose how they want to die,” said James Dau, a spokesman for the organization.

Though he is “willing to give the benefit of the doubt” to some who may be confused, Dau complained that the effort to “intentionally distort” the proposal “is just plain cruel to anyone who is forced to make one of these difficult decisions at the end of life.”

The American Medical Association, which supports the provision, has received similar inquiries and protests from patients who fear doctors will begin denying care late in life.

“These are important discussions everyone should have when they are healthy and not entering a hospital, so they are fully informed and can make their wishes known,” said association President J. James Rohack. “That’s not controversial; it’s plain, old-fashioned patient-centered care.”

Who knows maybe the broadcast media might decide to actually do its job and address this “cruel” and baseless attack on health-care reform. That the rabid Right is resorting to these type of shrill conspiratorial attacks is a sign that Democrats and the president are making progress. Remember in the 2004 election cycle Dick Cheney was threatening the entire country with certain death if we didn’t vote for Bush. Ironically Bush and Cheney both ignored the facts about al-Queda, dismissing warnings of the imminent possibility of an attack. Now that health-care reform is on the table, the same Republican politicians and pundits are yelling listen to them, they’re the ones to trust.

Do You Think People In Ohio And Missouri Want Health Care Reform? Ask A Repug And A Blue Dog – In which we get a look at the broken down shoddy excuses for Congressional representation Blue Dog Dem Zack Space (OH) and Roy Blunt (R-MO).

Blunt is one of the House members who has benefited most from the legalized bribes given to “cooperative” members of Congress by the Medical-Industrial Complex. He’s taken $1,660,898 from them and another $556,682 from Big Insurance. He expects them to pick up a major part of the tab for his Senate election bid next year….

[  ]…• 210 residents of Missouri are losing health insurance every day, and 14,000 Americans nationwide lose insurance daily.

• The average family premium in Missouri costs $400 more because our system fails to cover everyone– and $1,100 more nationally.

• Our broken health insurance system will cost the Missouri economy as much as $3.7 billion this year in productivity losses due to the uninsured– and up to $248 billion nationally.

And Space is a Democrat in name only,

By the way, as long as we’re talking about health care and Mr. Space, his district is one of the poorest in Ohio. (The medium income in Ohio is $40,956 but in OH-18 it’s only $34,462.) The Center For American Progress took a look at the need for health care reform across Ohio; the need is even greater in Space’s district but here’s what they found for the whole state:

• 390 residents of Ohio are losing health insurance every day, and 14,000 Americans nationwide lose insurance daily.

• The average family premium in Ohio costs $1,000 more because our system fails to cover everyone– and $1,100 more nationally.

• Our broken health insurance system will cost the Ohio economy as much as $7.1 billion this year in productivity losses due to the uninsured– and up to $248 billion nationally.

• A typical Ohio family will pay $21,623 for health coverage in 2019 without health care reform.

It’s generally healthy for a political party not to be so ideologically rigid (Republicans 1968-2009+) so as to not have tough debates on the issues, but Space is not acting in good faith and certainly is not looking out for residents of Ohio.