Hey, Folks, it’s the House Healthcare Bill By Request! Section 312 Subsections B and C

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(in radio-guy voice) Welcome to Tommy eh-eh-eh-X’s House Healthcare Morning Zoo! (funny sound effect)  This next request comes from the poster with the most-er, the tweep who will make you weep, Kimberly HANEYYYYY! (cue sexy sax music)

Kimberly writes in “Dear Tommy EH-EH-EH-X!!! (explosion sound effect), please decipher Pg 145 Line 15-17 – in your words, please.”

Happy to do it, Kimmie, so buckle the (BLEEEP) up, baby, ‘cus here..it..COMES! Continue reading

Now We Finally Know What Sarah Palin Reads

Death_PanelSarah Palin has been getting justly picked apart by the sane portion of the media all week for her “Death Panel” crazy talk, which she posted on her Facebook page last Friday.  Curiously, she has not offered much in the way of elaboration or defense of the outrageous and dishonest claim.  That is, until now.

Palin has posted a response to President Obama’s Tuesday remarks on Palin’s lie.  Why the day-and-a-half delay in responding to Obama, and the 5 day response time to the sane people of the world?  I’m guessing it took her that long to cobble together the strained defenses that others have mounted for her, both those she cited (Charles Lane and Eugene Robinson), and those she didn’t (Camille Paglia) but obviously read.  All of them suffer from an inability to distinguish between a description of a medically recommended service, as it would appear in any private insurance company’s Specific Plan Document, and a call for euthanasia.

She twists mightily to spin their overreaching, highly disclaimed agreement with her into affirmation of her lie, but falls short right at the end.  The linchpin to her death panel lie is an article that was co-written by Zeke Emanuel and 2 others.  Here’s how Palin puts it:

My original comments concerned statements made by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a health policy advisor to President Obama and the brother of the President’s chief of staff. Dr. Emanuel has written that some medical services should not be guaranteed to those “who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens….An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.” [10] Dr. Emanuel has also advocated basing medical decisions on a system which “produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated.” [11]

Even granting the idiotic premise that two cherry-picked sentences from the collected writings of Zeke Emanuel have some relevance to the health care reform currently being debated, Palin’s assertions are false.  Both articles are ethical treatises about the allocation of truly scarce resources like donor organs, decisions which are made by “death panels” (the pros call ’em “Transplant Committees”) every day.  Nothing in either article has anything to do with end of life counseling or services, nor the establishment of any kind of panel.

Will the media bother to read either article in full, or the dreaded section 1233?  We’ll see, but my instinct is that the waters have been sufficiently muddied so that Robert Gibbs can look forward to some more “he said/she said” coverage.

Pelosi and Hoyer Undercut Message With ‘Un-American’ Rhetoric

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer wrote an op-ed piece for USA Today that makes a lot of excellent points about the current healthcare debate.  Unfortunately, they lead with the kind of loaded statement that plays into the right’s “stifling dissent” meme.  The title of the piece is ‘Un-American’ attacks can’t derail health care debate.

Forget, for a moment, whether Pelosi and Hoyer actually make an effective case for the Un-Americaninity of the town hall protesters.  For the top two members of the House of Representatives to use the phrase “Un-American” bespeaks a tone-deafness beyond belief, evoking echoes of McCarthyism.  It also represents a hypocritical brandishing of the patriotism cudgel that the Democrats have just spent 8 years decrying.

The shame of it all is that the loaded phrase only appears once in the body of the article, and doesn’t really add much to the proceedings:

These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views — but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades.

The fact is, there are many things you can call the protesters, but “Un-American” isn’t one of them, especially not from a liberal standpoint.  Are they rude?  Misinformed?  In some cases, delusional?  All of these are expressions of freedom that are as American as an apple pie baked by a bald eagle at a baseball game.

While they are correct in denouncing things like effigies of specific members of congress, they are clearly referring to the disruptive protesters as a whole, and the language of McCarthy is inappropriate and unhelpful.

The American response to these protesters is not to call them “Un-American,” but to shine the light of truth on them.  When they chant, invite them up on stage and see what facts they’ve brought with them.  The balance of Pelosi’s and Hoyer’s piece contain some facts that are pretty tough to argue with:

The first fact is that health insurance reform will mean more patient choice. It will allow every American who likes his or her current plan to keep it. And it will free doctors and patients to make the health decisions that make the most sense, not the most profits for insurance companies.

Reform will mean stability and peace of mind for the middle class. Never again will medical bills drive Americans into bankruptcy; never again will Americans be in danger of losing coverage if they lose their jobs or if they become sick; never again will insurance companies be allowed to deny patients coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

Lower costs, better care

Reform will mean affordable coverage for all Americans. Our plan’s cost-lowering measures include a public health insurance option to bring competitive pressure to bear on rapidly consolidating private insurers, research on health outcomes to better inform the decisions of patients and doctors, and electronic medical records to help doctors save money by working together. For seniors, the plan closes the notorious Medicare Part D “doughnut hole” that denies drug coverage to those with between $2,700 and $6,100 per year in prescriptions.

Reform will also mean higher-quality care by promoting preventive care so health problems can be addressed before they become crises. This, too, will save money. We’ll be a much healthier country if all patients can receive regular checkups and tests, such as mammograms and diabetes exams, without paying a dime out-of-pocket.

Scary Obama OFA Edict:”Visit Rep. Adler’s office in Toms River”

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What kind of sorcery is this?  Organizing for America sent me an email (a technology that I’m still not convinced won’t at least “borrow without asking” my soul) urging me to visit my local Democratic congressman.  Eerily so: (via email)

According to our records, you live near Rep. John Adler’s office in Toms River, NJ.

We’re through the looking glass, here, people. They know where I live! Continue reading

Newt Gingrich Next Republican to Play “Death Panel!” Here’s What You’ve Won

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The Republicans are so awesome.  Man, if there were no Blue Dogs, life would be perfect.

Sarah Palin invented a great game show called “Death Panel,” and Newt Gingrich, one of the folks battlin’ it out with Palin for headship of the party, is the latest contestant.  Let’s hear Newt make the case for “Obama Death Panels”:

Oh, sorry, Newt, you hit the “bankrupt” spot on the wheel.  You lose all of your party’s credibility.  Well, at least you didn’t lose much.

Kudos to Stehanopoulos for his repeated use of the phrase, “It’s not in the bill.”  This should be on t-shirts.

Funny that, to the extent Newt thinks we’re being asked to “trust government” (if you’re too lazy to read 1,000 double-spaced, triple-indented pages), he’s willing to put the same trust in corporations who have demonstrated they don’t deserve it.  Or does Newt envision that corporations don’t want to cut costs?

Newt, you are not being asked to trust the government.  You’re just being asked to read the bill.  If you have trouble with it, let me know and I’ll explain it to you.

Washington Post Worry-Mongers About Euthanasia

Washington Post columnist Charles Lane has written a piece that is dressed up as the antidote to Sarah Palin’s hysterical “Death Panel” fantasy, but in searching to empathize with the right’s point of view, he raises some specious objections to section 1233 of the House reform bill.  This type of story can be worse than Palin’s crazy-talk, because it spreads misinformation in reasoned drag.

He starts out by telling the Deathers to take their meds, but then comes the “But still…” Continue reading

Section 1233 of the House Healthcare Bill: The “Euthanasia” Clause

Here’s the text of Section 1233 of the House Healthcare bill.  Keep it handy to refute “Deathers” like Sarah Palin.
Continue reading

Sarah Palin’s Death Panel Talk a Winning Strategy

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I was just about to change my mind about the GOP’s recent “euthanasia” crazy talk.  A friend of mine explained that the objection to end of life care in the public plan isn’t that they think people will be pushed to kill themselves, but that conservatives morally object to paying for voluntary end of life care in the same way they object to paying for abortions.  I still think that viewing palliative care as euthansia is goofy, but at least it’s consistent.  The thought had never occurred to me.

As it turns out, my friend hasn’t met the new face of the GOP, Ravin’ Sarah Palin.  From TPM:

In a new posting on her Facebook account, former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) made a dire statement about health care reform — that it could result in an Obama-created “death panel” killing her infant son with Down Syndrome:

The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

While “Death Panel” sounds like a winning game show idea for Fox, and a terrific decorating idea for emo kids, it doesn’t have any relationship to reality.

TPM even floats the delicious idea of a Palin/Bachman ticket in 2012.

This is why I’ve been saying, all along, that the liberal mediasphere should be building Palin up, not tearing her down.  A strong Palin in 2012 means lots more crazy-talk for Democrats to run on.  The Republicans will lock up the Birther and Deather votes, and the Democrats will get everyone who is taking their meds.

Freeper Madness and Young Republicans: Racism Rears Ugly Rear End

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Update 2: Michael Shaw at HuffPo thinks everyone except the racists should be ashamed of themselves, including us.  He says we escalated the story, and then tweets by Shuster, et al, took it to 11.  I’m not sure how that works, though, since we reported those tweets, and the attendant escalation.  In other words, we reported what Shaw reported, only sooner and more accurately.  Shame on us.

Update:  The plot thickens.  Gawker reports that Chris Parry, the Vancouver Sun reporter who broke this story, was also a blogger for Daily Kos, and has suggested, in the past, posting hate speech and blaming it on conservatives.  This does little to change the facts in this story, as Parry could hardly have pulled, then reinstated, the offensive thread.  It might mean a rough week for Parry, though.  Parry responds here. Two high-profile stories about the intersection of racism and the Republican Party are exploding all over the internet.  The flap over comments at Free Republic and the Young Republicans’ election of a new president make for a sour cocktail this weekend. Most of the heat is being generated by this Vancouver Sun story about the comments on a Free Republic article featuring 11 year-old Malia Obama:

“A typical street whore.” “A bunch of ghetto thugs.” “Ghetto street trash.” “Wonder when she will get her first abortion.” These are a small selection of some of the racially-charged comments posted to the conservative ‘Free Republic’ blog Thursday, aimed at U.S. President Barack Obama’s 11-year-old daughter Malia after she was photographed wearing a t-shirt with a peace sign on the front.

You might think that this is the same as the lame attacks that Bill O’Reilly levels at commenters on DailyKos and/or Hot Air.  There are key differences.  The Sun report says that the offensive comments overwhelmingly outnumbered those critical of the vitriol, but the real problem is this:

After attention from other blogs, the thread was suppressed and placed under review, but before long it was returned to the site intact, and attracted a new series of racial slurs when the original complaint email was posted publicly to the site, with the sender’s email address intact.

So, they knew about the comments, put them back up, and apparently made the complainer a target for harassment. Very ugly.  Eventually, they took it down again. As disgusting as this story is, it didn’t stand to hurt Republicans that much on its own.  Freepers are not exactly considered the bellwether of mainstream conservative thought. Then, even after an impassioned plea by very young Republican Meghan McCain, the Young Republicans elected a new president with serious racism problems

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The Young Republicans faced a stark choice at their convention in Indianapolis yesterday as they chose their next leader: a center-right twentysomething interested in greater outreach, or a self-described “true conservative” who is almost 40 and spent last week dealing with Daily Beast reports about her beliefs, which are, at best, often hateful, and at worst, downright racist. The delegates, in a vote of 470 – 415, chose the latter.

Fair or not, the effect of these two stories is devastating.  Already on Twitter, I’ve seen comparisons of the Freeper story to the Letterman/Palin feud, with liberals asking where the conservative denunciation is.  The Young Republicans story serves to neutralize the “few bad apples” rationale on the freeper story. As a liberal with a lot of conservative friends, I hate to see conservatives get painted, en masse, with this brush.  While this makes them understandably defensive on the subject, that defensiveness can lead to tone-deaf handling of these situations.  While some liberals’ idea of the GOP as the Ivory Soap of racism is way off the mark, many conservatives are also in denial about their party’s race problems.  The truth, as they say, lies somewhere in the middle. On the issue of racism, the truth can be elusive.  I think there’s always more racism, in general, than white people think there is.  On the other hand, I think there’s a lot less of it in the Republican Party than most liberals think.  Part of the perception problem that  the GOP has today is that the Democrats have a black President.  Where else are the racists supposed to go?  Just because most of the racists belong to one party doesn’t mean that that party is mostly racists. Still, when your party stands in opposition to policies that are seen as benefitting minorities, this kind of thing can really be damaging. I’ll tell my liberal friends exactly what I told conservatives who asked me where the liberal outrage was on the Playboy story:  Give it a minute.  This story broke on a Saturday afternoon.  Two of my conservative friends who write for very influential blogs just heard about it this morning, from me. To my conservative friends, I hope their reactions, and those of the Republican leadership, veer away from the kind of persecution complex stuff that Newsbusters’ treatment portends, and closer to this.  This story is already drawing attention from media heavy-hitters like Jake Tapper, Major Garrett, and David Shuster.  The conservative response can be a big win. As for the Young Republicans, I think Meghan McCain’s got their number.