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Loud Fury

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In my experience, when there is a debate going on and one of the sides begins screaming just to try to shut the other side up, it means that the discussion is over. The screaming side has lost, and their reaction is clearly a desperate way to try and turn things around. And this is exactly what the extreme right in the United States (I will not say Republicans, because there are many moderate members of the GOP who abhor this kind of behavior) is doing – they are trying to drown out any form of intelligent discussion on the issue of health care reform.

For those outside the US who are reading this, let me quickly summarize what is going on: President Obama has proposed a major overhaul on health insurance in this country to allow 40 million uninsured Americans to receive affordable coverage. Unlike many other nations, if you need to see a doctor here and you have no insurance, it will cost you a lot. There are no “public” hospitals where you can be taken care inexpensively, because private health providers have the system in a choke hold. The President's proposal will dramatically change that situation, but right-wing conservatives are battling them by spreading lies and false rumors meant to scare the less informed. And surprisingly, those tactics have been working quite well, and as a result Town Hall meetings across America have become shouting matches where right-wing nuts scream at their Congressmen and women with idiotic threats, unrelated statements and things like that.

In the meantime, those who support the initiative have done very little to turn the tide to avoid going down to the wingnuts' level. A recent effort was a page on the President's website that countered the false rumors. http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/settingtherecord.

I think that having a bipartisan effort in this matter is nothing but a pipe dream. Members of the GOP in Congress are fearful of going against the party line (they have pretty much opposed all of the President's proposals so far) because they know that this might cost their seat, even if it is for the good of the country. They should look at the example set by Pres. Lyndon Johnson, who signed the Voting Rights Act even though he knew that would cost any support he might have in the racist South. He just did the right thing, and he is remembered fondly for that single act.

You see, unlike what Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) said in Wall Street, greed is not good. Greed keeps us from reasoning, and also blinds us. What I think the President should do is to turn a deaf ear to the GOP in Congress and go at it alone with the support he has today. At this time, a coalition will not work. Bipartisanship will not make a health reform come true.

Comments

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 4 months ago

You are right about this. It is way to easy to get smug when you are "comfortable" and believe that you have material wealth, which includes health care, because God loves you. If others don't have it they must have offended God. Not.

Ronda Miller 5 years, 4 months ago

I agree, Ernest that there is too much screaming and not enough informed decision making going on.

What are we to do? It is an important issue and issues that affect our health and the well being of our families is likely to trigger a lot of heated emotion.

What is your take on President Regan's views about 'socialized' health care?

meggers 5 years, 4 months ago

Good blog, Earnest, and I wholeheartedly agree. It's clear that the senate republicans are going to vote 'no' to any health care legislation, so it makes no sense to water it down for the sake of 'bipartisanship', only to have the republicans pull a Lucy with the football when it's time to vote on it.

Reconciliation is the only logical way to pass any meaningful reform at this point.

beatrice 5 years, 4 months ago

I agree.

However, Ernest, exactly who are these Republicans you write of who abhor the antics of the extremists on the right? For instance, who among the right outed Palin for being a factless liar when she wrote about "death panels"? The GOP is complicit with the extremists among their ranks if they are not speaking out against them. If we cannot get honest debate then the majority needs to move ahead with its plans.

Ernest Barteldes 5 years, 4 months ago

Reagan's views (I heard the Youtube recording http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRdLpe...) toe the party line of the time, when the word "socialism" was seen as dangerous. The country's situation has changed radically since the 60s. And frankly, he was wrong

grammaddy 5 years, 4 months ago

Great blog Ernest!! Why do we need the GOP? I think Obama should move forward with whatever he can. We have the majority,now. We should use it before we lose it!

MeAndFannieLou 5 years, 4 months ago

Beatrice,

Google "Republicans criticize Palin's Death Panel Claims" - there have been some - that is true.

Ernest Barteldes 5 years, 4 months ago

It's true. Palin is desperate to stay in the national scene, while most of us would like to see her go away. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h3A4LO8eI9ioHm4L9zs2Dh_PoN5wD9A097C00

scott3460 5 years, 4 months ago

"Great blog Ernest!! Why do we need the GOP? I think Obama should move forward with whatever he can. We have the majority,now. We should use it before we lose it!"

Indeed. They've had their opportunity to be heard and to see what concessions they can negotiate from their minority position. Now, let's get on with the business of enacting the consequences of the last election.

The other day I heard a story about LBJ and his thoughts that if he achieved legislative victory by more than a slim margin he'd screwed up and not sought enough on behalf of the American people. Time for Obama to take that lesson to heart. Get as much as you can get with one vote margins, then let the public decide what they think of the republican tactics in this health care "debate."

Ronda Miller 5 years, 4 months ago

Ernest, interestingly enough, that was exactly the video I was thinking of. You state he was wrong - there are a number of us who believe he was right on......

beatrice 5 years, 4 months ago

Ernest, I checked your link and it completely supports what I was saying. Instead of speaking out against the liar Palin is for her "death panels" comments, they sidestepped the issue. They refused to call her out. MeandFannie, I also googled what you claimed, and I came up with a single Republican who refuted Palin, while others, like Newt Gingrich, backed her lies. Most, as Ernest's links shows, just sidestepped the issue. They would rather be in line with their party than do what is right for America's health care. That is pathetic! Time for Democrats to just step the hell over the dwindling pile of Republicans and their cries of partisan "No."

Ernest Barteldes 5 years, 4 months ago

Just to begin - Well, lets agree to disagree on that one. The video I saw was the one with the image of a young Reagan doing a speech on the radio (I think). I disagree with him there....

bearded_gnome 5 years, 4 months ago

again some one demonizes those who speak in opposition.

a few years ago, these same were praising "disruptors" because they represented the left's values.

one reason for the intensity at the town hall meetings is backlash against the demonization as Bartels is doing here.
demonizing these people who are your fellow american citizens.

Mr. Obama's own words, he plans to cut reimbursements for medicare and medicaid to pay for this health care scandal. there are already specialists who won't take these patients; more docs will have to refuse these patients because of reimbursement cuts.

also, the numbers sure bounce around a lot. who are the 47/46/45-million 'uninsured?' illegal aliens (let's stop giving them free health care now and improve our medical system now); a heck of a lot of young people who choose not to be insured (Obama's plans would confiscate their payments and force them to belong to government approved insurance plans); and people who already qualify for assistance but haven't applied. now, after those groups, you don't have very many left, mostly people who can't get insurance because of preexisting conditions and a reform is needed for them, but one that doesn't wreck the whole system.

Mr. Obama says you can keep your insurance, and keep your doctor if his plan comes to pass. the CBO says that's openly false because of the impact of his plans, and because on page 16 of hr3200 it says that a lot of people get forced into government operated plan if there are any minor changes in the existing insurance.

as to death panels, try considering this simple algebra: Mr. Obama says he will cut costs, expand coverage, and increase the population served. the only way to achieve that is to ration care. a huge amount of medicine $s is spent at the end of life; so, to fit the balloon into the box Mr. Obama has to let some air out of it, especially where there's the most being spent.

scott3460 5 years, 4 months ago

"the only way to achieve that is to ration care. "

No, that's not so. One could eliminate the skimming of 30 cents or so on the dollar that insurance companies take for their services and there'd be quite a bit more $ to spend on providing actual services. As opposed to gatekeeping and denying services (which seems to be the only purpose of the insurance companies.)

Stuart Evans 5 years, 4 months ago

so it's ok for liberals to scream & yell when the agenda doesn't fit their needs, but not ok for conservatives to do the same when the tables are turned? i just wanted to get this straight.

Stuart Evans 5 years, 4 months ago

scott3460: One could eliminate the skimming of 30 cents or so on the dollar that insurance companies take for their services and there'd be quite a bit more $ to spend on providing actual services. As opposed to gatekeeping and denying services (which seems to be the only purpose of the insurance companies.


what do you suspect will happen when the government is trying to keep paperwork on all of this? you'll think 30% for insurance companies was a great deal.

tbaker 5 years, 4 months ago

Dear Ernest - You fail to acknowledge the fact that a good deal of the public anger over the heath care proposal is a direct result of there NOT being "any form of intelligent" answers to all the various concerns raised by the health care reform proposals.

This isn't caused by the "extreme right" trying to drown-out anyone in a meeting. This is caused by the President and others directly contradicting themselves, or saying things that simply are not in the only piece of legislation we can actually look at. (HR 3200)

Don't you find it frustrating when you have the issue in question actually in your hands, you've read it, you don't like what you've read, and when you question our elected leaders about some aspect of it they call you names and denigrate you, or tell you that you're wrong for thinking something - something they wrote or said? Doesn't that form of duplicity bother you?

Unlike the statist who places all his trust and adoration in the power of the federal government, I place mine in the people. They may be lazy too much of the time, but most of them aren't stupid. The main reason Obama Care is in trouble these days isn't because "any form of intelligent discussion on the issue of health care reform" has been drowned-out like you lament in your piece - it's because a lot of intelligence discussion HAS in fact taken place. The problem supporters of Obama Care have isn't the tone of the town hall meetings, it's the substance - more to the point - the lack of substance the people have been getting (when they're not being insulted).

Hey - I'm not defending the cranks (from any ideology) who have no sense of public decorum and misbehave in town hall meetings, but for ordinary Americans to be ridiculed for asking honest, probing questions is disgusting. It illustrates just how disparate supporters of the health care proposal have become - and for good reason.The answers the people are being given are contradictory or simply don't square with the facts. The people don't like this and the polls show it.

BTW, the President doesn't have the votes to go it alone anyway. Obama Care is fast becoming a mute issue.

beatrice 5 years, 4 months ago

tbaker, when you say "lazy," do you mean like calling this "Obama Care"?

Please provide examples of people asking an honest, probing question and the response is to be ridiculed for asking.

scott3460 5 years, 4 months ago

"what do you suspect will happen when the government is trying to keep paperwork on all of this? you'll think 30% for insurance companies was a great deal."

Let's see, I guess the examples of Medicare and Medicaid and the Veteran's Administration and the federal employees health insurance programs and the fact that their administrative costs are so much lower than insurance company costs plus profits lead me to conclude that the public option would be a better deal for me.

jaywalker 5 years, 4 months ago

"For instance, who among the right outed Palin for being a factless liar when she wrote about “death panels”?"

This is sad but true. There have been Republicans who've 'cleared up' the 'death panel' talk, which is to say they diplomatically skirt the issue of throwing their own under the bus while admitting there's no such thing. That's not good enough. Strong talk and denouncement should not be reserved for shots across the partyline, particularly when the issue is this transparent and ridiculous to allow to perpetuate. None of my conservative friends can believe the stupidity of the whole thing and once again their question is, 'where is the party leadership?'

scott3460 5 years, 4 months ago

Jaywalker: Good on you for acknowledging reality. This country needs more like you who can discuss and consider issues in a reasonable manner. You and I have often not agreed, but I admire your honesty here. You know, there are likely plenty of legitimate criticisms of any policy position or proposal. We'd all be better citizens if we avoided the silliness and focused more on the real issues at hand.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 4 months ago

"... right-wing conservatives are... spreading lies and false rumors meant to scare the less informed...."

This particular faction always has been a half-trick pony.

Ernest Barteldes 5 years, 4 months ago

Marion,

Why do you keep pushing the prostitution thing all the time? This specific blog is a completely inappropriate place to bring this up. Let's talk about the issue, please

tbaker 5 years, 4 months ago

Dear Beatrice - by "lazy" I refer to the American electorate. As a rule, most Americans have a high threshold for government shenanigans and are not easily moved to participate in public displays of anger. When they finally are, as they've been with the health care debate, I put a lot more faith in the collective wisdom of the American people than I do our federal government.

Here are some examples of people asking honest, probing questions and not getting straight answers. This is the very core of the problem. People simply don't understand what the president wants. Instead they're forced to interpret or assume what he wants. The truth is hard to find. People get suspicious when the truth is illusive. They start to feel like someone is concealing the truth from them and worry they are about to have a "fast one" pulled on them. Thats whats fueling the opposition to health care.

Some examples:

Over the years the President has said numerous times he is for a single-payer system, i.e. government-ran health care. Now he says he's not. Why the difference?

The president says the health care plan will be "revenue neutral" i.e. won't cost any money because of all the savings it will generate (coupled with tax increases for the "rich"). The CBO says it will cost over $1 trillion dollars. Why the difference?

The president often responds to public fears that a government insurance option would drive out the private insurance companies and create a single-payer health care system. He stated that this is not true, comparing health-care to the post-office and UPS/Fedex. He said Fedex or UPS never has any problems and does very well, but the post office always faces problems and complaints.

In the process of explaining that private companies have nothing to worry about, he stated that the deficiencies lie within the government-run (post-office) operation.

Why the contradiction? Isn't he trying to convince us government-run operations are better than private one's?

Ernest Barteldes 5 years, 4 months ago

When the left protested against the Bush administration, they rallied against the war in Iraq and also against his general positions against stem-cell research, immigration and other issues.

However, the left did not disrupt Town Hall meetings like the left wing-nuts do, screaming just to drown out the debate. They screamed, yes, but it was all about the issues at hand - not a distraction like that woman and the whole birth certificate nonsense...

That is where the difference lies. And for the record, I dislike and distrust the extreme left too. All extremists, regardless of their political beliefts, are dangerous individuals, at least from my point of view.

beatrice 5 years, 4 months ago

tbaker, there is a huge difference between asking a question and being ridiculed, and asking a question and not getting a straight answer. In not one of the examples you provide is anyone ridiculed for having asked a legitimate question. I suspected you wouldn't be able to support your earlier, outrageous claim.

I agree that it is reasonable to ask questions and expect answers, but when there is planned in advance yelling going on by organized elements sponsored and supported by drug and insurance companies meant to disrupt town-hall type question and answer sessions, how do you expect anyone to provide the answers?

Hey Ernest, I guess nobody can say that America is a great place, either, since child prostitution still happens here. Supposedly, a place must be perfect before you can claim it is good. Ask Marion about his personal relationship with the infamous Holocaust denier David Irving. That usually shuts him up. Or, just tell him to go write his own blog on the subject if that is what he wants to talk about. That was his exact response to me when I asked him questions about his views on specific examples of racism more than one of his race-baiting blogs. I guess he can dish it, but can't take it himself. Doesn't surprise me one bit.

georgiahawk 5 years, 4 months ago

Marion, are you kidding? Surely you have more to offer then this? Probably not!

jonas_opines 5 years, 4 months ago

Marion, are you kidding?

no

Surely you have more to offer then this?

no

Probably not!

yes

Ernest Barteldes 5 years, 4 months ago

Marion

  1. I do not sing the praises of Brazil left and right as you say. I have written travel articles about Fortaleza and a very critical piece on Sao Paulo.
  2. I left the country a decade ago, and I would need to be there to address issues such as these
  3. I did not kill my father's book. He pretty much shot himself in the foot with that one....

tbaker 5 years, 4 months ago

Well Beatrice, I guess we get our news from different places. If facts appear outrageous to you, then by all means, avoid the stress and believe whatever you wish.

It's hypocritical to complain about folks who have been organized by this or that conservative special interest group when the liberals do the same thing. Many folks from both sides of the political spectrum have been the victim of the lack of public decorum. Its nothing new. How would you describe someone who only condemns this behavior in people they disagree with?

Like I said to begin with, the answers the people are being given are often contradictory or simply don't square with the facts and/or non-partisan analysis. The people don't like this and the polls show it. To be told one thing, when a completely different explanation is plain to see tends to make people suspicious.

When it comes to our federal government, a healthy dose of suspicion is more than warranted - especially when the people we are talking about are planning to take over 20% of our fragile economy, in direct violation of the constitution, and to make matters worse, they have a bad habit of not even reading the laws they vote on.

This will all be a moot point soon anyway. We can't afford it. Cooler heads will prevail when reality sinks in. This will bankrupt the country. We already have a $9 trillion deficit this year alone, and between Social Security, MEDICADE and MEDICARE, the total unfunded government liability will exceed the gross domestic product of the entire world. Stick a fork in it Beatrice - ObamaCare is done.

beatrice 5 years, 4 months ago

"Like I said to begin with, the answers the people are being given are often contradictory or simply don't square with the facts and/or non-partisan analysis."

Um, no, that is not what you said to begin with. You wrote: "Hey - I'm not defending the cranks (from any ideology) who have no sense of public decorum and misbehave in town hall meetings, but for ordinary Americans to be ridiculed for asking honest, probing questions is disgusting."

I asked for evidence of ordinary Americans being ridiculed for asking honest questions, and suddenly you start claiming that they aren't getting straight answers. There is a huge difference between being ridiculed (only jerks ridicule others for asking a question thus you are implying that all Democrats supporting the current move for health care are jerks) and not getting straight answers (which is certainly frustrating and is what politicians of all parties do all the time). Your making "ridiculed" and "not straight answers" one and the same, and they most certainly are not.

Okay, stick a fork in ObamaCare. It is done. Good. Now we can continue to move forward with National Health Care Reform, which is going to happen in order to make sure that ALL Americans have access to health care. (When you said "ObamaCare" is done, you were just talking about the right's use of a cutesy name for National Health Care Reform, correct?)

beatrice 5 years, 4 months ago

That should be "You're making "ridiculed" and ..." not "Your".

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