News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to MinneKota@gmail.com

Monday, August 10, 2009

Someone needs to talk to someone's mama outside

The Washington Post in an editorial titled "An Unhealthy Debate," makes an astute case about what the discussion of health-care has devolved into:


No one, liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, should be happy with the current system [of health-care], which spends too much to cover too few. Insurance is increasingly unaffordable. Even those with coverage are at risk of losing it, being denied needed care or being locked into jobs because of preexisting conditions. Rising health-care costs threaten the economy, while entitlement spending consumes a growing proportion of the federal budget.

The moment is ripe for a responsible fix, which is what makes the current eruption of smackdown politics all the more depressing.

The piece decries the fact that deliberate falsification of facts regarding the proposals have been projected into the public discussion. Thr falsehoods are what the alleged protesters keep shouting as they keep proponents of health-care reform from stating their side of the case. However, the Post editorial takes a very cavalier attitude toward the contrived and outright misrepresentations and the hate-libels contained in them. In its recent editorial decision to appease its regressive critics, the Post has shown a shift of late in the way it handles news. It couches its citation of Republican tactics in euphemistic terms:

Republican lawmakers and conservative activists have fanned the flames of uninformed opposition with familiar warnings about government-run health care and socialized medicine and irresponsible new twists, such as the suggestion that the proposals under discussion would strong-arm seniors into euthanasia.
The slogans chanted by opponents of health-care reform may be stupidly false, but there is nothing to profit by continuing the discussion. When people use falsehoods as pretexts for attack and resort to defamation, they are not interested in facts or solutions to problems. They are manufacturing justifications for their attitudes, not responding to factual issues. . The nature of the confrontations and the often unfounded accusations with which people try to justify their disruptive offenses make further discussion of health-care reform pointless. You simply can't reason with people who have chosen to believe in--or at least recite--lies.

Something not openly commented about is that the heated controversy has fanned the talk of investigating George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for war crimes. I have received Internet petitions for members of Congress to launch an investigation and make charges. President Obama has discouraged such an investigation in order to concentrate on his agenda, but many supporters of Obama think that the question of fraud, deception, and violations of the Constitution has to be settled before the nation is ready to deal with its current problems. One petition noted that the deaths of U.S. military in Iraq have reached 4,330 and are increasing daily. It made the case that it is absurd to indulge in fantasies about Obama death squads under a health care plan while our troops are being killed daily in a fraudulent war. The health-care debate may well force hearings on the Bush-Cheney legacy before any other work can be done.

Some of the more militant progressives think it is time to end any attempts at using the legislative process to gain reform. They have raised the issue of boycotts, emphasizing the fact that during a time of recession, well-organized boycotts can have immediate, direct effects that talk cannot produce. The progressives need to tap organization resources the way that health-care opponents have. Whether the advocates of reform can martial coordinated effort is dubious. However, boycott promoters point to how successful they were in the civil rights battles. When doing business becomes a partisan issue, people at least have the satisfaction of knowing that their money and support is not going to people who wish them ill.

People who want health-care reform will have to take direct action if they are to realize any significant improvements in services and cost controls.
But in the meantime, the debate moves toward violent confrontations, and the Washington Post editorial at least specifies some of the falsehoods fueling the anger. . Cory Heidelberger at Madville Times does the fact-checking on five of the absurdities taken up as rallying cries

  • Myth 1: Democrats want to kill your grandmother.
  • Myth 2: The government -- i.e., you -- will have to pay for abortions.
  • Myth 3: Obama will ban all private health insurance.
  • Myth 4: The government can't possibly run a healthcare program.
  • Myth 5: Unlike private insurance, government bureaucrats will ration care.
For those who actually want to address the reform issues, Factcheck.org has also supplied an analysis of the falsehoods. It provides detailed factual analysis of claims promoted

  • CPR administers bad facts again
  • Surgery for seniors vs. abortions
  • :False euthanasia claims
  • Canadian straw man
And Factcheck offers this factoid: In 2008, U.S. health care spending is estimated to have been $2.4 trillion. It is projected to nearly double to $4.4 trillion in 2018.

For those who wish to address the real situation regarding health-care reform, the facts are readily accessible. For those who wish to feed their anger and malice, there is an abundance of falsehoods to stoke the fires of hate.

1 comment:

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