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Monday, August 10, 2009

Take Two Aspirins and Don’t Call Me In The Morning

Lay down yer bets, Ladies and Gentlemen. Pick yer odds. Here’s the challenge: Guess exactly what tiny event, phrase, actor, commercial, sound-byte will sink any and all attempts at reforming our unaffordable, hodge-podge and failing health care system.

The insurance companies and Big Pharma are hard at work, pouring piles of money into the coffers of the legislators they own, financing phony Astroturf groups and “think-tanks” to get the word out that if the proposed reforms are passed into law, the Government will come in their black helicopters and will start killing your Grannie. In short, forget “Star Search, the real search is on for another “Louise” of “Harry & Louise” fame.

Ironically, in an August 9, New York Times piece by Judith Warner, the real actress who played “Louise” – Louise Clair Clark – is now very, very sorry she had a hand in killing the Clinton Plan and/or killing any and all attempts thereafter at reforming health care. More irony, she had lived in Australia and was a grateful fan of Australia’s “Socialized Medicine.” (More irony; in the present fear-mongering about Government Takeover Of Medicine, David Lazarus of the L.A. Times notes, “Factor in Medicare, Medicaid, veterans assistance and assorted business subsidies, and the federal government already accounts for about 60% of all healthcare expenditures nationwide.” Yep, it’s the old canard about the Senior Citizen at a Town Hall Meeting hollering, “Keep your hands off my Medicare. I don’t want any Government-run Socialized medicine!” )

But her role and that ad was key in stopping reform utterly. Which is exactly what the Health Insurance Association of America wanted. And now, here we are again, looking for another Louise.

So, place your bets. What do you think it will be this time? A person? A sound-byte? An ad?

And let’s also start stacking up the ironies that will abound with yet another failure. In the 1997 debacle, the key with Harry & Louise was the fear of “losing choice.” The reality was that employers soon began taking away “choice” as they moved their plans into cheaper HMOs or downsized plans or eliminated medical benefits altogether. No choice there. And then, because they could, because short term profits on Wall Street became the driving force behind “health care,” not actual health care, insurance companies started eliminating costly customers. Which brought about even more “No Choice” for millions of Americans.

It if weren’t so tragic, it all would be very funny. And now it’s starting again. So, will Americans be stupid enough to fall for the old Harry & Louise trick again?

Of course, it may not be stupidity at work. It’s entirely possible that Americans actually like paying MORE for worse care and worse outcomes. Less bang for the big bucks. If that’s the case, they’ll surely get exactly that. Unfortunately, if the past is prologue, when they get what they demand, they’ll again start whining when the terrible downside starts happening to THEM.

Well, that’s the Apple Pie American philosophy: I’m All Right, Jack. Until I’m not, but by then it’s too late, Oh, Darn.

Mirror Mirror On The Wall

New York Times news note: “Iran’s prosecutor general acknowledged Saturday that some detainees arrested after postelection protests had been tortured in Iranian prisons, the first such acknowledgment by a senior Iranian official.”

Normally, this information would result in US officials wagging a finger and calling Iran horrible names for violating human rights. Thanks to Bush/Cheney/Yoo, et al, however, the U.S now has to zip it. Pots and kettles, you know. And now Obama’s struggling with Whatever Shall We Do With The Quantanamo Detainees That We Tortured? so here’s an idea. Since the US and Iran both “torture” innocent people, why not set up some Sister Cities and exchange notes and maybe swap prisoners? You torture ours, we’ll torture yours. Total Win-Win.

45 comments:

Ron said...

Ann wrote:

"Guess exactly what tiny event, phrase, actor, commercial, sound-byte will sink any and all attempts at reforming our unaffordable, hodge-podge and failing health care system."

Easy.... three words: Behavior Based Marketing

That's the thing with BBM -- it's SO easy. You don't have to back anything up with, you know, facts. Just say scary stuff.

Check this out:

If the government runs our health care system, we'll all die in the streets like dogs. The country will become a communist country. It'll cost 100 trillion dollars over three years, and it'll bankrupt the government. Government run health care will immediately make the U.S. a third world country, and you'll be fishing your, and your kids' dinner out of a garbage dumpster... if you're lucky.

O.K.... now, all in favor of government run health care, raise your hand.

So easy.

Watershed Mark said...

Ann,

Which "healthcare reform bill" are you referring to, the Senate's or the House's?

Donna said...

i happen to BE a communist. and if people only knew what that meant, we would be having a whole new discussion of everything. but in our culture very few people actually have a clue as to what a communist is. remember "I Led 3 Lives", the tv series about the scary commies in their cells, looking for ways to "get" us?
we have effectively closed down discussion on the subject. too bad.

Churadogs said...

Donna sez:"we have effectively closed down discussion on the subject. too bad."

Yep, sure have. Then we get meantally trapped by our own words, and rarely bother to examine what they actually mean in the first place, and/or forget semantics' famous dictum that [fill in the word] # 1 is not [fill in the word] #2 is not [fill in the word] #3.

And further complicating are all the hidden agendas and basic dishonesty. Hence we have these swell sounding public interest groups that are, in reality, fronts for, say Big Pharma or health insurance consortiums all dressed up like sheep to fool . . . the sheep.

With all that, how in hell can anyone have a sane, let alone a practical discussion of anything? It just turns into one big con, one big Golden Rule Con and he who has the gold wins.

Put yer bets down, Suckers. Put yer bets down!

Watershed Mark said...

"we have effectively closed down discussion on the subject."

“Talk on”, it is your Constitutionally guaranteed right and no one is stopping you.

Ann,
You left out perhaps the most special interest group of all that we must deal with...Congress.
The Presidency was term limited by them long ago. See what I mean…

Watershed Mark said...

Freedom to be whatever you would like to be is discussed here, I wish more sheople and their elected officials would read and actually understand our founding documents.

The Star Spangled Banner Lyrics
By Francis Scott Key 1814


Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Mike Green said...

Star Spangled Banner,
My personal choice for the anthem would be "America the Beautiful" Anyway here are the original lyrics to the tune we know as the "Star Spangled Banner".
Yep, the tune was plagiarized. Ah well, Tradition indeed.

To ANACREON in Heav'n, where he sat in full Glee,
A few Sons of Harmony sent a Petition,
That He their Inspirer and Patron wou'd be;
When this Answer arriv'd from the JOLLY OLD GRECIAN
"Voice, Fiddle, and Flute,
"No longer be mute,
"I'll lend you my Name and inspire you to boot,
"And, besides, I'll instruct you like me, to intwine
"The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS's Vine.

2
The news through OLYMPUS immediately flew;
When OLD THUNDER pretended to give himself Airs_
If these Mortals are suffer'd their Scheme to pursue,
The Devil a Goddess will stay above Stairs.
"Hark! already they cry,
"In Transports of Joy
"Away to the Sons of ANACREON we'll fly,
"And there, with good Fellows, we'll learn to intwine
"The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS'S Vine.

3
"The YELLOW-HAIR'D GOD and his nine fusty Maids
"From HELICON'S Banks will incontinent flee,
"IDALIA will boast but of tenantless Shades,
"And the bi-forked Hill a mere Desart will be
"My Thunder, no fear on't,
"Shall soon do it's Errand,
"And, dam'me! I'll swinge the Ringleaders I warrant,
"I'll trim the young Dogs, for thus daring to twine
"The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS'S Vine.

4
APOLLO rose up; and said, "Pr'ythee ne'er quarrel,
"Good King of the Gods with my Vot'ries below:
"Your Thunder is useless_then, shewing his Laurel,
Cry'd. "Sic evitabile fulmen, you know!
"Then over each Head
"My Laurels I'll spread
"So my Sons from your Crackers no Mischief shall dread,
"Whilst snug in their Club-Room, they Jovially twine
"The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS'S Vine.

5
Next MOMUS got up, with his risible Phiz,
And swore with APOLLO he'd cheerfull join_
"The full Tide of Harmony still shall be his,
"But the Song, and the Catch, & the Laugh shall bemine
"Then, JOVE, be not jealous
Of these honest Fellows,
Cry'd JOVE, "We relent, since the Truth you now tell us;
"And swear, by OLD STYX, that they long shall entwine
"The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS'S Vine.

6
Ye Sons of ANACREON, then, join Hand in Hand;
Preserve Unanimity, Friendship, and Love!
'Tis your's to support what's so happily plann'd;
You've the Sanction of Gods, and the FIAT of JOVE.
While thus we agree
Our Toast let it be.
May our Club flourish happy, united and free!
And long may the Sons of ANACREON intwine
The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS'S Vine.

Ron said...

Donna wrote:

"i happen to BE a communist. and if people only knew what that meant, we would be having a whole new discussion of everything."

Exactly. But, the agenda-driven types, like "the Big Pharma and Insurance Companies (and ALL other agenda-driven types), know that words like "communism" and "socialism" are "bad words" in the U.S., so they just throw them out there because they know they work.

Here's another example:

"If you're for government run health care, then you're with the terrorists.

Now, all for government run health care, raise your hand."

It's just waaay too easy.

And it works, on most (but not all), EVERY time.

Ann wrote:

"With all that, how in hell can anyone have a sane, let alone a practical discussion of anything? It just turns into one big con..."

Well, like I always say, Behavior Based Marketing only works if the people it's aimed at don't know that they're being Behavior Based Marketed. Once they know they're being deliberately conned, BBM ceases to work. So, if you ask me, it's up to the media to recognize BBM.

What sucks, however, is when the media goes to the "fair and balanced" card, and gives BBM -- a deliberate con -- equal time... which is EXACTLY what the Behavior Based Marketers want, but shouldn't get. THAT's what perpetuates behavior based marketing.

My style of journalism? Be objective up to the point where you've figured out, through objective analysis, who's right, and who's wrong, and then, once there, you can't continue to give "wrong" (i.e. agenda driven behavior based marketers) "equal time." That's not healthy for anything.

And journalists like Hunter Thompson, and Ed Murrow agree with me.

TCG said...

It seems that the larger the amount of money that Congress attempts to commit, the less clear and concise information the public, as well as the press, is provided. Hence the spin, from both sides.

Regarding the health care discussion, this is what I know: There is a lot of room for improvement in what we presently have to deal with, but I have yet to clearly understand what the Administration and Congress are trying to accomplish, and how.

In a non-spin, non-lobby world, the proponents of a major national health care initiative of the magnitude that is being kicked around now would start with some sort of bi-partisan commission that openly defines major problems and different options for addressing them. Using that information, the Administration would outline its plan for the public that, in simple bullet point fashion, lists its goals, what the key elements of the plan would be to meet those goals, and what their estimated financial impact would be (citing sources that could be verified).

When the Administration provides such vague concepts and uncertain costs and potential sources of funding, the spin field is fertile. Is the Administration being intentionally vague? When President Obama was running for office, he stated that the bills were too complicated for the public to follow and promised to correct that. He promised that he would sign no bill that had not been published on the internet for at least a week for the public to read. That sounded good to me and was one of the reasons that I voted for him.

The type of clarity that I am looking for is, obviously, not something that comes with Federal politics.

Aaron said...

The Obama administration is in a tough position because they can't be specific on how the goals of the health care reform bill are going to be achieved since Congress has already shown a clear tendency to alter the bill significantly. In other words, Obama can't promise certain specific goals (other than the fundamental goals that his administration set as the backbone of the bill) knowing that Congress could easily compromise those positions.

On whitehouse.gov, Obama does have key elements of the plan in a simple bullet point fashion just as he's done with every other issue on his agenda.

When the bill was presented to the House of Representatives, it laid out specific costs for reform. It wasn't that ambiguous, but conservatives have been concerned with the costs attributed to funding the public health option, which they -- and the insurance company lobbyists lining their pockets -- believe would create a slippery slope to socialized medicine. In reality, the public option is an option.

I agree that Obama should simplify for the American public what the bill contains and the costs as adjusted by the compromises made by members of Congress. There should be a site similar to recovery.gov that outlines everything mentioned in the final revision of the bill. He'll probably go that direction.

I have faith that the administration will sort out the information from the misinformation. Obama is getting exasperated, which is good, because the last time he was ticked was when Jerome Corsi released that fictional book about him during his presidential campaign -- and he released a thorough debunk report.

I want Obama to be more aggressive.

Watershed Mark said...

Can you imagine how much money the fed and each state would save if people had to pass a urine test to get government paid health care or a public assistance check?

I guess we could title that program, 'Urine or You're Out'.

Watershed Mark said...

TCG wrote:

When the Administration provides such vague concepts and uncertain costs and potential sources of funding, the spin field is fertile. Is the Administration being intentionally vague? When President Obama was running for office, he stated that the bills were too complicated for the public to follow and promised to correct that. He promised that he would sign no bill that had not been published on the internet for at least a week for the public to read. That sounded good to me and was one of the reasons that I voted for him.

The type of clarity that I am looking for is, obviously, not something that comes with Federal politics.

Ron wrote: BBM

"Nexus" without clarity.

Watershed Mark said...

Daschle says health-care reform “will not be pain free.” Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt.
Medicare now pays for treatments deemed safe and effective. The stimulus bill would change that and apply a cost- effectiveness standard set by the Federal Council (464).

I guess we should notify the White House, as requsted, that (ex) Senator Daschle has spread misinformation.

Watershed Mark said...

50 ways…

Watershed Mark said...

It is interesting to note that the “Star Spangled Banner” did not become our national anthem officially until 1931, one hundred and fifty years after the tune’s initial use, yes, as a drinking song.

Watershed Mark said...

Aaron wrote:

“When the bill was presented to the House of Representatives, it laid out specific costs for reform. It wasn't that ambiguous, but conservatives have been concerned with the costs attributed to funding the public health option, which they -- and the insurance company lobbyists lining their pockets -- believe would create a slippery slope to socialized medicine. In reality, the public option is an option.”

Aaron, Could you please link us up with the “the Bill you are referring to above?

This is a YouTube video that was made of US Rep. Tom Price M.D.-6th Dist. on Wednesday, 22 July. Tom is a member of the House Healthcare Committee, and the video was shot in the Wed. Committee meeting.

Aaron said...

Here you go. It's H.R.3200 - America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.

Watershed Mark said...

A very concise explanation!

Situation:
It is the month of August, on the shores of the Black Sea.
It is raining, and the little town looks totally deserted.
It is tough times, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit.

Suddenly, a rich tourist comes to town.
He enters the only hotel, lays a 100 Euro note on the reception counter, and goes to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one.

The hotel proprietor takes the 100 Euro note and runs to pay his debt to the butcher.
The Butcher takes the 100 Euro note and runs to pay his debt to the pig grower.
The pig grower takes the 100 Euro note and runs to pay his debt to the supplier of his feed and fuel.
The supplier of feed and fuel takes the 100 Euro note and runs to pay his debt to the town prostitute that in these hard times gave her services on credit.
The hooker runs to the hotel and pays off her debt with the 100 Euro note to the hotel proprietor to pay for the rooms that she rented when she brought her clients there.
The hotel proprietor then lays the 100 Euro note back on the counter so that the rich tourist will not suspect anything.

At that moment, the rich tourist comes down after inspecting the rooms and takes his 100 Euro note after saying that he did not like any of the rooms and leaves town.

No one earned anything, however, the whole town is now without debt and looks to the future with a lot of optimism.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the United States Government is doing business today.




…Meanwhile, back at the trough.


Near Shandon, at the Shandon Safety Roadside Rest Area. Rehabilitate Safety Roadside Rest Area

San Luis Obispo (CA)
California Department of Transportation
FEDERAL ECONOMIC RECOVERY SPENDING. EA: 0F710. Caltrans District: 5. County/City: San Luis Obispo. Route: 46. Project Description: Near Shandon, at the Shandon Safety Roadside Rest Area. Rehabilitate Safety Roadside Rest Area.. Total Construction: $ 8115000.

Watershed Mark said...

Thanks for the popular link Aaron.

I'm sure you can easily lay your hands on the page that supports your statement:

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

I will appreciate your sharing that page number with me.

Watershed Mark said...

Only 16% of those who accessed the bill approve of it.
I have two relatives reading it carefully now so far they are very concerned about the consequenses if this bill in it's currently proposed form is passed.

Watershed Mark said...

Tort reform, open/no borders competition for insurance companies coupled with a manditory plan policy similar to auto insurance would be an easy but politically unpopular and very cheap "fix" for now would reduce costs.

Give those who need it a coupon to pay there premium.

Aaron said...

Mark,

There is no specific page, no section that says "Costs". It's laid out in several sections of the bill.

Watershed Mark said...

OK, can you please provide at least one section that "laid out specific costs for reform?"

Watershed Mark said...

Give those who need it a coupon to pay their premium.
But they must qualify under the "urine or your out" plan.

Aaron said...

Mark,

Check out the bill. You don't have to read the whole thing to find how much things cost.

Watershed Mark said...

For those of you unfamiliar with our current government’s healthcare system here is: The Official U.S. Government Site for People with Medicare

I understand that Medicare Advantage Plans may have already been cut for some beginning January 1st, 2010.

Watershed Mark said...

Aaron,
Your answer suggests you haven't read the bill.

Watershed Mark said...

Don't worry about it neither have most of those who would actually vote on it.
Thank God for thesenior citizens who are reading it now...


For those of you unfamiliar with our government’s current healthcare system here is: The Official U.S. Government Site for People with Medicare

Aaron said...

Mark,

Fear not. I haven't read the entire bill, but I am reading it, which would probably be something you should do given that quite a few conservatives have been responsible for spreading lots of misinformation.

Haven't seen any clauses yet about the "death panels" or putting grandma out of her misery or how adding a public option is a slippery slope to socialism and the downfall of democracy.

Watershed Mark said...

I think I'll let my "people" dig through what isout now.
I understand there are chnges coming.

Let me know when you "hit on" a page that "laid out specific costs for reform."

Aaron said...

Mark,

See my post from 1:02 PM. You can read, right?

Alon Perlman said...

Willie Horton plays the piano in a computer generated Norman rockwell animation. Cut to a field of yellow flowers, a little girl is picking them, close up on a bloom and fade to a nucular explosion.
The Marlboro man (computer generated, died of cancer you know)voice over...
The big lie now includes "Town halls". Participatory democracy? It's a made for TV sham, casting opportunities for the next Joe the plumber. When we have a program that significantly cuts out the insurence middlemen, we will be on our way.

Watershed Mark said...

Aaron,

When you write: Fear not. I haven't read the entire bill, but I am reading it...

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

Check out the bill. You don't have to read the whole thing to find how much things cost.

3:02 PM, August 12, 2009

&

There is no specific page, no section that says "Costs". It's laid out in several sections of the bill.

1:02 PM, August 12, 2009

It makes me wonder where you are getting your information.

Linkage which is not misinformation.
Why so snarky?

Watershed Mark said...

Linkage is not misinformation.

Why not simpley show us (link us) where you found the facts that support your statement:

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

Watershed Mark said...

Alon,

We should cut out the Lawyers, they are middlemen of sorts.
Malpractice insurance premiums are at an all tie high.

Tort Reform!

Watershed Mark said...

Malpractice insurance premiums are at an all time high.

Watershed Mark said...

FedEx and UPS work but the PO doesn't- President Obama in support of a government health care system...

Watershed Mark said...

-- and he released a thorough debunk report.

I want Obama to be more aggressive.

Aaron,
I didn't read Jerome Corsi's book, so I don't know if it brought up the "Birth Certificate" issue.
Was that addressed in the book or report?

I'm curious and you certainly have the right to "not answer": Do you now own or have you ever owned a health insurance policy?

Watershed Mark said...

Regional Ground Water Assessments from Space


"For the first time, we can observe water use on land with no additional ground-based data collection," Famiglietti said. "This is critical because in many developing countries, where hydrological data are both sparse and hard to access, space-based methods provide perhaps the only opportunity to assess changes in fresh water availability across large regions."


I wonder if Paavo “If there is a technology that is significantly less expensive then that technology becomes the new standard and all others fall away” Ogren would be interested in seeing this story, sorry, I forgot his last name Lynette?

Naw, he doesn’t seem to care about the water issues facing Los Osos at all because it doesn’t address his desire for the big leaking pipe. I can hardly wait until the story about how satellite technology is used for sewer leakage detection…

Will Warren ever address Lisa’s complaint?
I LOVE LO!

Watershed Mark said...

I can hardly wait until the story about how satellite technology is used for sewer leakage detection…BREAKS.

Does anyone wonder why Warren is silent about Lisa's complaint?
He must agree with her, otherwise he would pick it apart instead of "trying" to bury it.

Would his inaction be considered a cover up and continuation o Lisa's complaints?

Mike Green said...

for WM without appologies

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTOffYj5TxU

Watershed Mark said...

I like their website MG.
Without Heaven there would be no hell.

I LOVE LO!

Watershed Mark said...

Brand New Key, pair of roller skates
I prefer the original…

Watershed Mark said...

Here ya go Green, with no apologies.
The truth sometimes hurts, but it can set you free. I’ll take UPS and Fed Ex over the PO every day of the week.

Watershed Mark said...

The President could have correctly said, “Preventive care saves lives. It increases spending, but I think it’s worth it.” He was incorrect when he said “It also saves money – and we need to save money in this health care system.”