The Season of Lies

Obama-HealthcareBy The David

America has been taken through a spin concerning Universal health care and The David tells why.

My friend Carl asks me; “How can you tell when a Republican is lying?” I don’t quite know what to answer, so he tells me; “When his lips are moving.”

It is, of course a joke. We laugh.
We laugh. Then I turn to the news and realize we are truly enmeshed in a tragic web of lies. It is known by anyone who is willing to accept hard evidence that Barak Obama is a United States citizen by birth, that he was born in the State of Hawaii. It is known by anyone who is willing to accept the hard evidence provided . His birth document has been supplied by the authorities in his birth-State. Yet even with this evidence, the lie persist. This lie has taken on such a life of its own that those who are dumb enough to believe it and promulgate it are given their own name: they are called “birthers.” The birthers are fueled by those talking heads that reside in the nether regions of the Far Right. They promote a certain false patriotism in their listeners as they, at the very same time, speak to the spark of a racial prejudice and attempt to carelessly fan it into flame. They seem to believe that it is important to preserve the polarization that exists between the Right and the Left, even if it means sacrificing the progress that could be made under this very moderate president and his administration. Every politician within the Washington DC beltway knows that the place of Mr. Obama’s birth should not be suspect. What should be suspect, and should be so without a doubt, is the agenda of any politician who questions it. If we give the benefit of the doubt to those who, during the campaign, raised questions, we also need to recognize that the questions have been answered, and there is nothing progressive about disregarding that evidence for no other reason than a poisonous distraction from the work that needs to be completed.

I recall the joke, and I smile.
I am a believer in Universal Health Insurance. I am a believer in the Single Payer Option. I am a believer in Medicare. I am offended by the lies being told to defeat any repair of the mangled group of medical services that is called “health care” in these United States. I have worked as a provider , and have seen it all from the inside. This so-called system produces outcomes that are, to put it mildly, poor. We lag behind too many of the industrialized nations of the world in such areas as longevity and infant mortality. We brag that we administer the best medical care in the world, but the statistics tell us other-wise. The population needs to know this, and they need to ask why. We are still the wealthiest of countries. We have many, many health care practitioners who are capable and compassionate. Why then are so many of our people left to twist in the wind without health care, and without access to the doctors and hospitals that we take for granted? When and why have we become so selfish that we don’t care to give those who are poorer a hand up? Why do we allow a “system” to flourish that makes affordable health care an oxymoron even when there is an option on the table that will take a giant step toward leveling the field and providing a means for those who are poor to be insured and thereby gain access to the care that, from a moral perspective, should be available to them.

Why the lies? One lie in particularly is offensive beyond words. This is the lie designed to put fear into the heart of anyone who is elderly, anyone who loves an elderly person, and anyone who realizes that they too will be elderly someday. This is the lie being promoted by Insurance Companies, Pharmaceutical Houses and Social Conservatives: Obama’s Death Panels. This particular lie is patently ridiculous, and yet it has gained credence. Of all the untruths being told about this attempt to make Health Insurance available to all Americans, this is the most unconscionable since it instills and then preys on the fears of those who might be at a vulnerable point in their lives.

What are these so-called death panels, and what have these liars hooked onto? To answer that, you need to know that for the past thirty or so years those involved in health care have been encouraging those who enter the hospital or otherwise are the recipients of health care, to prepare what are called “Advance Directives.” These documents are simple but can be very important to the preparer. They might include such things as the appointment of a relative or friend as your Health Care Agent. This agent would be someone who is aware of your wishes and can speak for you in the event that you become incapable of speaking for yourself. The directives could also include a “Living Will.” The Living Will would address your wishes as to what measures you would like taken in the event that you become incapacitated due to illness or accident, and there is no hope of recovery. It addresses what the writer chooses: should a respirator be an option? Does the writer of the will wish to be kept alive through the use of machines? Does the writer expect heroic measures, or would “Comfort Measures” be the choice. Comfort Measure can include intravenous hydration, medication for pain, antibiotics should an infection be present and all other interventions designed to keep the person comfortable. Once again, the options contained in any Advance Directive are totally and completely in the hands of the person authoring the documents.

What the current proposed health care legislation allows is for anyone who should want to prepare an Advance Directive but is not sure how to go about it, to have access to a counselor who would answer questions and, if necessary, assist in the preparation of the documents. This service is not to be obligatory, but if used would be covered by Medicare. So, your so-called “death panel” is merely a step to make the preparation of Advance Directives easier and affordable for all.

Talk about a Death Panel are lies. Lies! Sara Palin knows this; Orin Hatch knows this; Rush Limbaugh knows this; Newt Gingrich knows this; Ann Coulter knows this; Michelle Malkin knows this; John McCain knows this; and Alan Keyes knows this. All of them are aware that there is no proposal for death panels, nor are there measures to bring benign neglect to elder care. These charges are made only to engender fear. They are lies. Lies are told for a purpose, so it might be a good thing to ask who gains if the President’s Health Care proposal goes down to defeat? The Conservative wing of the Republican Party gains as they attempt to once again gain credibility, even if that credibility must be gained on the backs of the poor and elderly. The Insurance Companies gain and the Insurance lobbyists gain as their pocket-books continue to be stuffed with health care premiums. The Pharmaceutical Houses gain as they continue to gouge the public for the medications they need to continue to live. If this Health Care Bill passes, it might be that the government can then institute a system whereby mass buying power could eliminate the high prices charged to all of us. ( The insured is also hurt when the medication is either not covered, or is one where an insurance functionary decides it must be in a category where the deductable is prohibitive.) All of these groups have a stake in seeing that the Health Care Bill does not become law and all of these groups are behind the lies.

I recall the joke, and I am no longer smiling.
Do I believe any single party has a monopoly on the practice of lying? Not so… but the lies being told regarding Universal Health Care are particularly telling and particularly cruel.

About karlsie

Some great perversity of nature decided to give me a tune completely out of keeping with the general symphony; possibly from the moment of conception. I learned to read and speak almost simultaneously. The blurred and muffled world I heard through my first five years of random nerve loss deafness suddenly came alive with the clarity of how those words sounded on paper. I had been liberated for communications. I decided there was nothing more wonderful than writing. It was easier to write than carefully modulate my speech for correct pronunciation, and it was easier to read than patiently follow the movements of people’s lips to learn what they were saying. It was during that dawning time period, while I slowly made the connection that there weren’t that many other people who heard the way I did, halfway between sound and music, half in deafness, that I began to understand that the tune I was following wasn’t quite the same as that of my classmates. I was just a little different. General education taught me not only was I just a little isolated from my classmates, my home was just a little isolated from the outside world. I was born in Alaska, making me part of one of the smallest, quietest minorities on earth. I decided I could live with this. What I couldn’t live with was discovering a few years later, in the opening up of the pipeline, which coincided with my first year of junior college, that there were entire communities of people; more than I could possibly imagine; living impossibly one on top of another in vast cities. It wasn’t even the magnitude of this vision that inspired me so much as the visitors who came from these populous regions and seemed to possess a knowledge so great and secretive I could never learn it in any book. I became at once, very conscious of how rural I was and how little I knew beyond the scope of my environment. I decided it was time to travel. The rest is history; or at least, the content of my stories. I traveled... often to college campuses, dropping in and out of school until one fine day by chance I’d fashioned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. I’ve worked a couple of newspapers, had a few poems and stories tossed around in various small presses, never receiving a great deal of money, which I’m assured is the norm for a writer. I spent ten years in Mexico, watching the peso crash. There is some obscure reason why I did this, tightening up my belt and facing hunger, but I believe at the time I said it was for love. Here I am, back home, in my beloved Alaska. I’ve learned somewhat of a worldly viewpoint; at least I like to flatter myself that way. I’ve also learned my rural roots aren’t so bad after all. I work in a small, country store. Every day I greet the same group of local customers, but make no mistake. My store isn’t a scene out of Andy Griffith. The people who enter the establishment, which also includes showers, laundry and movie rentals, are miners, oil workers, truck drivers, construction engineers, dog sled racers and carpenters. Sometimes, on the liquor side, the conversations became adult only in vocabulary. It’s a good thing, on the opposite side of the store is a candy aisle filled with the most astonishing collection, it will keep a kid occupied with just wishing for hours. If you tell your kids they can have just one, you have an instant baby sitter; better than television; as they agonize over their choice while you catch up on the gossip with your neighbor. We also receive a lot of tourists, a lot of foreign visitors. They are usually amazed at this first sign of Alaskan rural life style beyond the insulating hub of the Anchorage bowl. Many of them like to hang around and chat. They gawk at our thieves wanted posters. They laugh at our jokes and camaraderie with our customers. I’ve learned another lesson while working there. You don’t have to go out and find the world. If you wait long enough, it comes to you.

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7 Comments on “The Season of Lies”

  1. I am posting my response from your Yahoo Profile page, with some additional points …. (woo-hoo I love cut and paste)

    bravo, and of course, this is written with facts as the basis … something that Carl Rove and Newt long ago abandoned as a basis for seeking “power and influence”. The funny thing is, once they have power the don’t really have a plan to enact … being able to fuck the world seems the end of their thoughts. They are impotent when it comes to any positive actions. If we have universal fire department coverage, and universal education considerations, why in hell would anyone dispute that universal health coverage is not an “inalienable right”. I can’t believe Palin, and her little down syndrome son, being used as a political ploy, damn her to hell forever !!! Obama as a Nazi; white men with semi-automatic guns strapped to their thighs with posters about blood letting to save democracy at an Obama appearence, and it is legal (???)(it is), how fucking offensive is that image, an image that will live forever ….. I saw a stupid white woman, a young woman, who told a congressman that she didn’t want America to become a Marxist state, this idiot has no idea what a Marxist state is, and I wish the congressman had asked her to explain her POV, she couldn’t and her stupid “deer in the headlights look”, in her 15 seconds of infamy were sickening. Distraction and distortion for NO OTHER REASON than because they are mean spirited and soulless people is the conservative motto, a party of people scared shitless that in the next 50 years, the white man will be a minority in this country and they fear that those who govern will seek retribution. The glory of America has long since faded, it once was a set of principles, (that in truth were never really grounded in kindness anyway) and the new dawn is sallow and without much hope. If HealthCare reform is not passed this year, it never will be … and it will just hasten the fall of the empire. When I look at the meanness of the debate, the stupidity of the arguments, the lies; I have to wonder why the dog keeps coming back to the man who beats him ….. if I could I would arrest and try Beck (who called the president a “racist”), O’Reilly, Gingrich, Rove, Cheney, Coulter, Palin, Bush, as traitors to all that is decent in a human being, let alone an American. If not now; when: if not us, who ???

    I blame the Obama administration for not setting the conversation in the proper way, to explain that this is not just a matter of covering the un-insured, but also the millions who are under-insured. That this is a matter, in the end, of fairness and equity in any civilized society. I blame them for not forseeing the Republician’s response and having a concise answer to their often hysterical false claims and objections.

    Most of all I thank you for continuing to present important issues in a well thoughtout way, YOU THE MAN.

  2. Rich, In thinking about the under-insured or those whose claims are rejected, we find that over 700,000 Americans are forced to file bankruptcy each year because of medical expenses. (I found this before writing my latest piece.)
    Thank you Rich, for being there.
    thedavid

  3. Palin and her death panel… Oh Lord! What a hypocrite. I live in the land where Palin’s influence has reached into the policies of health care. Counselors visit the care takers of terminally ill patients, suggesting methods for speeding up the dying process, reducing food and water, decreasing medications that combat disease and increasing pain killers and suppressive drugs. One of the saddest things about this is as long as the body has a healthy appetite, it’s struggling to overcome its illness. However, food and water reduction produces anemia, a condition in which the body loses its ambition to nourish itself. People who are “cared for” under the conditions of suppressed food and water don’t die of their disease; they die of starvation.

    We have no legal presentments on paper that spell out the terms of assisted suicide. These particular advocates work in the dark, in secret, pretending their own death panel is a counseling of mercy when, in fact it’s a part of a greater scheme to weed the poor, the old, the weak and the sick from our midst.

  4. I agree always with asking questions, so if Republicans want to ask questions I heartily support that. People have been pissed for the last 8 years that no questions or diversion have been allowed in policy or you are “un-American” I see now that we are telling those who are freshly ejected from the white house that they need to feel the pain and not ask questions…this is not okay in the least. We will never ever be able to understand or serve each other if we have no dialog and this includeds dissention on all fronts. However I do concede that the Right has gone too far in their poo-flinging at our President. The rationale they are using is stupid to put it mildly and makes them look well dumber than usual. Ma and Pa Kettle came up with better reasoning for their damn arguments, surely the middle Americans freaked out about ‘what may be’ can do a little research and put together some fact filled questions.
    The death panel rhetoric is incinerary and unecessary in the extreme it seems to me to be a last ditch effort to scare crapless baby boomers who are still a huge voting population and seemingly want to live forever.
    I think we cannot wait on some sort of health care standard. There is something wrong with a country where it is illegal not to have your car insured but you can go to hell if you want to provide health care coverage. Maybe ill people should step in front of cars? I mean most of us are required to cover for medical on people we injure with them….hmmmm….
    I also am incredible insulted at the term “Birther” being used. Who came up with that and what does it mean? I thought it was what the gay/lesbian population called us heteros??? Are people insinuating heteros want to make people go without health care? Or are they insinuating that people with families are jackasses? Either way the term along with so many others escapes my reasoning…I prefer that we stick to facts and reason and stop the name calling…but that’s just me.

  5. You hit the nail on the head, that people should do their homework, however, that is not the American political way. That’s the primary difference between Canadian politics and American politics; our politicians rarely get into political scandals because of who they are but because of the policies they have used. American politics however, which makes it far more eye rolling yet like a gruesome carwreck what one cannot look away from, seems to put the person or persons as the focus with the issues merely as window dressing. I believe this is mainly because of the media focus. In Canada our news headlines are often “Canada’s Health Minister says…” while American media splashes things like, “Orrin Hatch says…”. It’s a nuance to be sure but that’s why I cannot fathom why the President did a generalized outline of some ideas when he and his handlers knew that those generalizations would be Yorrick’s skull to the Republicans. It’s this reason that I applaud the Republican party – they have reacted exactly how the American public expects them to while the Democrats didn’t give their members any counter measures. It’s a good show but we all know how its going to end, right? Some of the generalizations will be broken down into smaller segments and will be passed through the system as policies that won’t be as large enough issues in themselves to be headlines or there will be an I dotted or a second T crossed so that while the essence is the same the Republicans will claim their diligence on getting the original wording changed.

    If you want the name calling to quit and the issues to be the focus of the media it has to be the American Public’s will to do so but I cannot see that ever happening. There seems to be a certain affection towards political ‘stars’ and their righteous rants, its their Academy Award acceptance speech in a way. The perception I have of the system in the States is that there is almost a fifty fifty split on the building up of a lowly public figure into a national sensation then to relish in their downfall or lapses. It could be because of the way the States came into being, confrontation, that makes the American heart go pitter pat; Canada was created by a bunch of guys hanging around and going, “so, like, let’s make a country and then go for some beers, eh” so Canadian expectations of political strife are far below the bellows that Americans feel their politicians and their associated media puppets have to make in order to be seen as being effective. My conjecture is probably totally off the mark, which wouldn’t be surprising, but I feel that the whole “town hall tear downs” would not have been half as dramatic if Obama would have come out with fire and brimstone on why his ideas needed to be instated rather than coming out and saying, “say, look, I’ve got a few suggestions I’d like to run by you on this issue of public health care”.

  6. Oh yes I think you’re right, we don’t know what to do with ourselves when a politician says “I’d like to run this by you…” That is his Kryptonite as a community orgainizer. He needs to leave the “democratic process” in that instance behind and be a “decider” it’s what we’re used to.
    (All tongue in cheek..and be sure to check between the lines there)

  7. Arguing about the quality of a program which doesn’t exist is a whole lot like arguing over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin; the Canadian system isn’t perfect – neither is the Japanese system; the British system; the Cuban system; etc.

    However….

    While we argue (again, metaphorically) over just-how the drain the swamp, the alligators eat nearly a million people alive, financially, every year. That’s almost 100,000 people per month, forced to file bankruptcy.

    At current rates, the mortgage crisis plus the healthcare crisis will create a situation where more American households are bankrupt than not in the next three years.

    The mortgage issue is not the subject of this post, and is well beyond its purview. The financial disaster caused by our complete lack of a public healthcare option IS the point – one of several, but a crucial point, nonetheless.

    That problem is fixable.

    As a nation, our failure to address this – perfect or not – is an abysmal statement not just about our government, but about us.

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