Friday, August 14, 2009

Calhoun’s Can(n)ons for August 14, 2009

Forget the Two Aspirins, Just Call Your Local Death Panel In The Morning

You know the country’s jumped the shark when Congresspeople hold Town Hall meetings on a complicated issue like health care and instead of an intelligent discussion, they end up having to suggest that maybe the angry, booing, sign-waving disruptive audience members would be better off if they stopped listening to batshit crazy people like TV “personality,” Glen Beck.

Or when a crowd filled with Show Me Missourians all shouting about Socialized Medicine are asked by their representative to raise their hands if they have Medicare, and a sea of hands go up. Then they’re asked to raise their hands if they have Medicare and they want to see that program eliminated and no hands go up.

Or when President Obama has to go on TV to roll his eyes and ‘splain that, No, there are no Death Panels in the health bill, despite what Sarah Palin or Senator Grassley said, sigh.

How did Americans get so stupid? Or so easily fooled and manipulated by corporate/political special interests? When did Missourians not only forget how to connect some easy dots, but apparently now can’t even find the dots in the first place? When did we stop being brave, capable people and turn into frightened, gullible little Big Sillies? What the hell has happened to this country, anyway?

Of course, the folks putting together this Rube Goldbergian Health Bill need a slap upside the head. Instead of reinventing the wheel with some sort of wildly complex state-by-state, medical co-ops or group policies for a pretend Potemkin Village “public option,” just allow the public to sign up for Medicare. There. Simple. Done. Public option’s taken care of without having to reinvent anything. Then Congress can fix and improve Medicare by reducing the fraud, fixing the payment schedules and move it from too often wasteful fee for service to a best practices/outcomes-based Mayo Clinic type system. And if private insurance can offer a better deal, let the competition commence.

Then maybe we can have a discussion about what’s really going on inside of so many of us that can account for all this batshit crazy stuff that’s oozing out from under the floorboards. Like the guy who attended a political town hall meeting (where President Obama was speaking) while wearing a side arm and carrying a sign about watering the tree of Liberty with the blood of tyrants who then went on TV to explain to Chris Mathews that there is no connection between the gun, the sign and the President, that he’s simply a serious Constitutional scholar attending a public meeting and anyway, people in New Hampshire regularly go about their daily business with loaded guns on their hips. Now there’s a guy who’s in serious denial about what’s really moving him into such fearful dark waters.

So, no, very little of this is really about “health care.” So what is it? A tiny handful of Phony Astroturf “citizens groups” being manipulated by K-Street lobbyists representing Big Pharma and the insurance industry – Harry and Louise on steroids – who will do anything to kill off any reform so as to continue to rape and pillage the pocketbooks of the sign-waving people hollering about “socialized medicine?”

Or is the dark nightmare heart of Sarah Palin’s “real America” (Myth: white, prosperous, Norman Rockwell small town; Reality: white, poor, rust-belted, expendable), finally catching on that the racial and population demographic is changing and they will no longer have the luxurious delusion of thinking that they’re king of the heap? Worse, with the economic meltdown, has “real America” finally caught on that they’ve been complicit in being played for suckers for years by the Wall Street Boys and their water-carrying shills in Congress? Or perhaps it has now finally sunk in that Sarah’s beloved “real America” has never been anything other than Corporate American road kill?

Is that what’s really eating so many of us? If so, then America better start talking truthfully. No more phony manipulated side-shows, no hidden agendas, skip the buzzed code words, forget the displacement aggression. Time for a serious national dialogue about race, class, status, power, money, death and fear itself – all the dangerous lizard-brain topics your Mother told you weren’t fit subjects for polite conversation. But those are exactly the things we need to deal with honestly in the public square and around the dining room table. If we don’t, if we stay Stuck on Stupid, we’ll lose a unique opportunity to start making our country work effectively for all of us once again.


Donna said...

you speak truth.

gorgeously, powerfully, intelligently written piece.

Watershed Mark said...

Debating the President’s Portsmouth pitch

Watershed Mark said...

How did Americans get so stupid? Or so easily fooled and manipulated by corporate/political special interests? When did Missourians not only forget how to connect some easy dots, but apparently now can’t even find the dots in the first place?

Watershed Mark said...

When did we stop being brave, capable people and turn into frightened, gullible little Big Sillies? What the hell has happened to this country, anyway?

Watershed Mark said...

Ask Not

annerallen said...

Brilliant post. You've made so many important points:
1) why not just call it "Medicare Junior" so the uneducated can understand that "public" doesn't mean "Socialism: Nazi style"
2) the poor, white, uneducated rustbelters are going to be angry at everything anyway because bigotry is soooo last century.
3)Glen Beck and his "You May Be a Redneck" News companions are creating (bought and paid for) havoc that is embarrassing for everybody.

But Faux News and the Insurance companies need to watch their step. They may be creating a "Sorcerer's Apprentice" they can't control. This is how the Nazi movement got started. And indeed the genocide in Rwanda. They're playing with dynamite.

Watershed Mark said...

Do you have at least 4 MINUTES?

Ron said...

Ann wrote:

"So, no, very little of this is really about “health care.” So what is it?"


Anne wrote:

"2) the poor, white, uneducated rustbelters are going to be angry at everything anyway because bigotry is soooo last century."

You know, the other day, I was house-sitting for a friend, so I finally got a chance to watch some cable television, and that's when all of those health care town-hall meetings went down, where some people thought it'd be a good idea to show up and just scream (by the way, is the Republican party still around? If so, it won't be for long), and it struck me, how many people there are in this country that will do anything to make sure that Obama doesn't succeed, even if it means defeating his proposals that will BENEFIT them.

And then, after watching all of that footage of those people screaming, I stumbled onto the movie "Blazing Saddles," on Country Music Television (of all places).

Absolutely hilarious. And, in the Obama age, a must-see (again).

A black sheriff, Bart, in a position of authority in the wild west, and some of the town-folk just can't process it.

Sound familiar?

Here's a scene:

Jim [brilliantly played by Gene Wilder] is consoling Bart, the black sheriff [brilliantly played by Cleavon Little], on the amount of racism he's encountering as the town's new sheriff -- here's the quote:

"What did you expect? 'Welcome, sonny'? 'Make yourself at home'? 'Marry my daughter'? You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons."

TCG said...

I, strangely enough, believe that it is OK to disagree with certain far-reaching initiatives presented by the Obama, or any other, Administration. As Ann says, the whole thing doesn't have to be blown up to make to make improvements to what we have now. Tort reform and the elimination of state by state insurance company monopolies whould go a long way, but that would meet resistance from strong lobbies that our representatives would be reluctant to disagree with.

I hate the bill currently in the Senate. Here are a few reasons why.

Page (P) 22 of HC Bill: mandates that the Govt will audit books of all employers that self insure.

P 58: Govt will have real-time access to individuals' finances.

P 30, Sec 123: a Govt committee will decide what treatment/benefits you receive.

P 127, lines 1-16: Govt will dictate what Doctors can make in salary.

P 241 Lines 6-8:Doesn't matter what specialty they have been trained in, all Doctors will be paid the same.

P 272 Sec. 1145: Re treatment of cancer patients (rationing).

P354 Sec 1177: Govt will restrict enrollment of special needs people.

P 425 Lines 22-25, P 426 Lines 1-3: Govt provides approved list of end of life resources (assisted suicide).

P 427 Lines 15-24: Govt mandates program for orders for end of life. Has say in how our lives end.

P 429 Lines 10-12: "Advanced Care Consultation" may include an Order (from Govt) for end of life plans.

P 430 Lines 11-15: Govt will decide
what level of treatment you will receive at the end of your life.

These are just a few of many extremely objectionable sections of the current Health Care Bill.

I also have serious concerns about what the real cost will be for decades to come as additional annual budget costs when we know that we have a huge national debt, requiring an ever increasing interest expense obligation, as well as significantly underfunded (actually unfunded) Social Security and Medicare programs.

Thanks for reviewing these comments.

Watershed Mark said...


Ron said...

TCG wrote:

"I, strangely enough, believe that it is OK to disagree with certain far-reaching initiatives presented by the Obama, or any other, Administration."

That makes two of us.

And, my recommendation for the Republican party, is, instead of showing up at a meeting and screaming hysterically, show up at the meeting and present your arguments like TCG.

Also and... I have two traditions on Presidential primary/election day:

1) Take that little "I voted" sticker and put it on top of my dog's head (great laughs, and completely harmless... although Toots, because she's a really smart Aussie, does wonder why I keep looking at her and laughing)


2) Vote for Ralph Nadar

Here's his take on Amy's show today:

- - -
AMY GOODMAN: Ralph Nader, we only have a few seconds, and I just want to ask, if you were President Obama today, what exactly would you do?

RALPH NADER: I would go for full Medicare for everyone, because people understand Medicare. Forty-five million people get it. They have free choice of doctor and hospital. It’s a three percent administrative burden, compared to 20 to 25 percent for the Aetnas and the private health insurance bureaucracies. It’s something that people understand. It’s something we should have had in 1964; instead of just for the elderly, it should have been across the board. That’s what I would go for. It’s supported by a majority of the people, majority of the doctors, majority of the nurses. It’s clear. It’s understandable. It doesn’t deal with unenforceable deals like the so-called drug industry—
- - -

(Sure beats screaming hysterically, huh?)

and, Ann wrote:

"... just allow the public to sign up for Medicare. There. Simple. Done. Public option’s taken care of without having to reinvent anything. Then Congress can fix and improve Medicare..."

Watershed Mark said...

Then Congress can fix and improve Medicare...By Tax, tax, taxing us.

alabamasue said...

TCG needs to read HR3200, instead of crazy blogs stating: 'we're all going to die." The info he presented is pure crap. Read the bill! I don't understand how Ann can let this shit slide. It really distresses me to hear Medicare people so outraged at others getting coverage. My husband and I have excellent coverage - for about $800 a month. We're both retirees, so rhis is a significant chunk of change for us. The time is now. Let's have some competion for our healthcare dollars.

Aaron said...

Here's some information alabamasue will enjoy.

TCG is a bit off.

Page (P) 22 of HC Bill: mandates that the Govt will audit books of all employers that self insure.

It's a mandated study, not an audit. A study is meant to get a better idea of who benefits from the reform.

Page 58 - And the U.S. census doesn't monitor individual and couples finances in real time? Why are you taking an issue with this and not the Census?

Page 30, Section 123 (a)(1) says, "There is established a private-public advisory committee which shall be a panel of medical and other experts to be known as the Health Benefits Advisory Committee to recommend covered benefits and essential, enhanced, and premium plans," so in other words, they're not deciding anything for you. They are recommending options for you.

Page 127, lines 1-16 specifies how much physicians will be paid under the public health insurance option. TCG made it sound like the bill was mandating a cap on physician salaries with and without private insurance.

Page 241, lines 6-8 read as follows, "Service categories established under this paragraph shall apply without regard to the specialty of the physician furnishing the service." It has nothing to do with payment. The paragraph merely classifies the service categories while declaring that the physician's specialty is wholly irrelevant in the categorization process.

I agree with alabamasue: read the bill. Don't copy and paste from some conservative think tank site and expect all the information to be accurate.

Watershed Mark said...

Aaron wrote: "When the bill was presented to the House of Representatives, it laid out specific costs for reform."

Aaron: Will you "lay out" the "cite" from the bill that supports your statement above?

Watershed Mark said...

There are 3 House Bills and 1 Senate Bill which removed the "end of life" language when Sarah Palin "Facebooked": Death Panel.

The power of the internet holding those who would serve the people accountable.
Ya gotta love it!

A FOIA Request filed Friday insures this issue won’t fade away…
Gibbs seems like he is in over his head.

Churadogs said...

TCG sez:"Thanks for reviewing these comments."

a lot of your objections are things private insurance policies already do and medicare already does. That's the irony here, people talking about rationing, someone telling Docs what care to give & etc, which is already going on but I think, until people actually get sick and have to use their private insurance, or get sick and then find out just how their private insurance company is about to screw them, they may be totally unaware of how limiting it actually, already is (who sits down and reads the seventy million pages of fine print on your policy?)

and, thanks Alon, for correcting some of the details. That's another problem here: utter muddlement. Like I asked in my Can(n)on, what's REALLY going on here -- it's isn't solving health insurance, that's doable and it's not rocket science. But something far darker is at work and it's disguised as "health reform," but it's not. And until everyone starts getting honest, we'll continue to be victims of our own fear and folly and it'll not What's The Matter With KAnsas, but What's The Matter With The US!

Mark sez:"Then Congress can fix and improve Medicare...By Tax, tax, taxing us."

No, actually, there's some key things that are now finally getting attention: Mayo-clinic/Boulder City (I think) Colorado type not for profit systems that are outcomes-based, team-based (coordinated treatment), aggressive pro-active "wellness" emphasis (catch disease early when it's cheap to fix rather than let it go untreated until it's catastrophic and very expensive), and so forth (don't forget fraud-focused enforcement) and the result is better care for less cost. (Weirdly, the Colorado system studied was mostly private insurers working with not-for-profit Doctor's (private) groups and from the reports, everybody's happy and it's WAAAAAAYYYY cheaper compared to other communities systems that emphasize fee for service (crank up all those useless tests), uncoordinated service (left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing, patient "doctor shops" and ends up in a mess, etc. etc. There's lots of ways to skin this cat, but screaming that Obama is Hitler isn't one of them.

alabamasue said...

The Senate may have removed "end of life" language from their bill, but the House has not. They are not even in session! Pay attention, and quit reading stupid blogs.

Watershed Mark said...

Self-help Health Reform

Watershed Mark said...

I don't see the nexus betweenth Congress and the Mayo Clinic.
As far as testing goes, plenty of it is done to avoid lawsuits which would be addressed by Tort Reform.

BTW, the company producing theHuman/Swine Flu Virus Vaccine has been given immunity in order to get that vaccine on the market fast.
I have never had a flu shot and will probably never have one.


Did you ever find the CSD video that revealed Mr. Dean sorry, I forgot his last name?
If so please help, sorry, I forgot his last name Lynette and reveal "him."

If I didn't read this blog I wouldn't be able to contribute so that stupidity can be revealed.

BTW, if the Senate doesn't sign off on language it cannot be presented to the President for signing int law.

See what I mean.

Ron said...

I wrote:

"2) Vote for Ralph Nadar"

As per my "Some typos I can live with, some, not so much" policy:

Of course, what I meant was: Ralph Nader

Watershed Mark said...

For Sue-

Thursday's New York Times confirmed Business Week's analysis, reporting that the White House, in conjunction with Sen. Baucus, has made a deal with hospital lobbyists limiting reductions in hospital costs to $155 billion over 10 years and crippling the public option by agreeing "that the final legislation would not include a government-run health plan paying Medicare rates -- generally 80 percent of private sector rates -- or controlled by the secretary of health and human services". According to Chip Kahn, a top industry lobbyist, "We have an agreement with the White House that I'm very confident will be seen all the way through conference".
This is consistent with a White House-brokered deal that Chairman Henry Waxman made between Blue Dog Democrats and the Progressive Caucus to drop a provision which would set rates for the public option at 110% of Medicare rates in exchange for a meaningless floor vote on single payer which is certain to be defeated. Moreover, the New York Times article indicated a high probability that the White House will accept a final bill that jettisons the public option entirely in exchange for co-ops that will be too small and powerless to negotiate lower health care costs or compete with private insurance, and, I would add, would be good for the private insurers because they can be a dumping ground for older and sicker patients whom they don't want to cover anyway. The New York Times article concludes that according to Rep. Waxman,

Be certain to read the entire piece...

Watershed Mark said...

Some News So Big It Needs Its Own Page

Why? If she is just another citizen, “she isn’t even in politics”, why would she need her own page?

Why is she first in line, if she doesn't matter?
BIG NEWS: Sarah Palin | Health Care | Karl Rove | Barack Obama | More...

Perhaps the HP should follow SLOCO's Warren Jensen's lead and just ignore Sarah like he does Lisa and her complaint.

Watershed Mark said...

Sue, I believe Sarah was on vacation when she got the Senate committee to drop "Death Panel".
Pretty solid citizenship if you ask me.

alabamasue said...

I stand by my words. If you get your 'news' reading that idiot Palin's Facebook page, it is no wonder you are so ill-informed. And how can she be 'on vacation'? She quit her damn job ! She;'s on permanent vacation- from reality.

Alon Perlman said...

Looks like Aaron actually read the material before opining.
Ann, I am not Aaron.
I'm the guy who spoke at the last Planning Commission meeting.
Nor am I Spock.
Live long and prosper

Aaron said...

I would love to see a real debate on this issue pertaining to the actual text found in the bill, not fear.

Watershed Mark said...

The trouble with that Aaron is Democrats don't/didn't want that...

I guess you missed this.

Watershed Mark said...

Here ya go Sue.
Don’t cha not look at it now.

You really should expand your horizons.
I am happy to help ya.

Aaron said...

Funny that Rep. Tom Price's comments are brought up. He keeps talking about the "takeover" of the federal government and how his patients would "bristle at the notion of the government being involved in their health care."

The truth is this: people have a choice. If they like their plan, they can keep their plan and their doctor. The government does NOT have to be involved in their health care if they don't want them to be.

Price talks about drastically increasing the power and intrusion of the federal government. Okay, how about Medicare? He doesn't mention the M-word in that YouTube video. The bill is essentially expanding that kind of coverage for those who need it, those who are uninsured, for those who will suffer greatly if change doesn't happen soon.

Price's rhetoric offers nothing new to the debate, but if you want to include Price to this discussion, I'd like to introduce the following factoids:

AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals $1,000
Bristol-Myers Squibb $2,000
Cryolife Inc $3,900
GlaxoSmithKline $8,000
Invacare Corp $2,000
Johnson & Johnson $4,000
McKesson Corp $15,000
Medtronic Inc $3,000
New England Medical Equipment Dealers $100
Novartis Corp $9,000
Pfizer Inc $10,000
Pride Mobility Products $1,000
Schering-Plough Corp $1,000
SCOOTER Store $1,000
Solvay Pharmaceuticals $15,000
VGM Management $2,700
Wyeth $2,000

This is how much Congressman Top Price has received in campaign contributions since 2006. He's received $80,700 in contributions from those who would benefit greatly from keeping the status quo with the biggest contributors being two of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the US: Pfizer Inc and Solvay Pharmaceuticals.

Money talks.

Churadogs said...

Mark sez:"I don't see the nexus betweenth Congress and the Mayo Clinic."

What's now finally getting attention is HOW health care is delivered -- makes a huge difference in cost. You want competition? Have the "public option" set up to follow the Mayo Clinic type system of health care delivery then look at both the outcome and the cost (more bang for the buck). The insurance companies are also now starting to take a look at that "system" as well.Of course, if the Congress sells out the "public option" to the insurance companies, it'll all be moot and -- Suckers! -- we'll see the price of health care bankrupt the country. Which would make Grover Norquist happy, at least.

Alabamasue sez:"Pay attention, and quit reading stupid blogs."

Does that include you and this stupid blog?

Watershed Mark said...

As you know the Congress is controled by Democrats and is the White House so if anything is sold out now it will...

Tort Reform, Competition, Common Sense and Self Help Health Reform.

Sue may be better infomed if she listen to C-SPAN, the open phones on now helps reveal the real stupidity at work today.

Has anyyone looked at the Century of Self and Wake-up Call links I have posted yet?

Whatcha ya'll think?

Watershed Mark said...

The whinning from the Democrats that somehow Republicans (Sarah Palin) are standing in the way of reform is absolutely "LAUGHABLE."

Watershed Mark said...

If the law is passed in its current form "any change" in coverage would take that insured out of his/her plan and put them in a "public/government" program.

That is not funny.

Aaron, you never did say whether you own your own health policy or not. Still waiting to see that "specific" information about the cost of the proposed plan.

Watershed Mark said...

Also, have you done any the contribution research on your heros?

Watershed Mark said...

Have you any/the contribution research on your heros?

Have you received any unsolicited emals from the Whitehouse?

Watershed Mark said...

Have you sent any fishy emails to the Whitehouse?

Watershed Mark said...

Good job Larry!
You really are making the case. Keep up it!