Thursday, November 19, 2009

How Can The Right Be So Wrong?

As readers of my blog may have learned from a previous post I wrote in September about the fierce opposition to a pro-education speech Obama made to students, I don't do stupid. In fact I think we should enact a three strikes law to censure those that willfully and dangerously mislead the public, particularly a segment as vulnerable as the elderly, with such reprehensible fear-mongering and insane distortions of the truth. I know it would never happen, but it sure would be a peaceful respite if it did.

I react to right-wing wackos spewing fear and deception like others react to fingernails across a chalkboard. And one person who is responsible for blanketing the media with fear and lies of late is Sarah Palin. You may remember her as the intellectual powerhouse that responded to a question in an interview by People magazine about whether she felt she was ready to be a heartbeat away from the presidency in this fashion:

"Absolutely. Yup, yup!"

Palin, in a last-ditch effort to capture some political relevance, has become an outspoken puppet for the Republican Party working overtime to spread lies, fear and disinformation about the health care reform plans of the Obama administration in an effort to discredit him and lay waste to his political future. One huge fallacy that she has been strongly promoting, and which has taken a strong hold on the elderly, weak-minded Republican constituency, has been this spurious claim of "death panels." She writes:

"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."

Exploiting the fears of our senior citizens and basically telling them they will be hauled off to confront some faceless panel of government bureaucrats to defend their existence if health care reform passes is just morally irresponsible, and I have to wonder how many are now panic-stricken and unable to sleep nights because of the terror she is perpetuating. Sadly, it's these misinformed citizens that have the most to lose in this battle. By buying into this paranoia the Republicans are selling, they are rejecting a health care plan that could someday save their lives and their life savings. In fact, the health insurance industry is counting on it with every million dollars they put forward to defeat health care reform legislation.

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

- H. L. Mencken

I have become so fed up with Palin panicking senior citizens by telling them that Obama's "death panels" will be deciding their fate or that he will be coming after her Down Syndrome baby so that it can be sacrificed to the state. Not just seniors are swallowing this rubbish either. Now there are whole mobs of dissenters and agitators that the Republicans have indoctrinated and mobilized to spread the lies, fear and hate at these town hall meetings. Pretending to be local citizens, they are told to sit in the front row, interrupt, yell, scream, and just beat back the speaker with a verbal assault of insane ravings and disinformation until the meeting has to be adjourned.

Strike one!

I'm not going to get into the pros and cons of the health care reform bill. That's a subject for another day. But what I am railing against today is the type of sleazy, mean-spirited chicanery perpetrated by the right-wing conservatives in their efforts to obstruct passage of legislation that would benefit all Americans for the sole purpose of political gain.

Republicans have focused on this issue because for Obama to achieve a victory in this arena, where for decades Ted Kennedy and so many others like him have failed, would be a major coup, and Lord knows they can't allow that to happen at any cost. Why? Some might speculate that it was payback at the defeat of the McCain/Palin ticket. I'm sure many in the "good ol' boy network" want him to fail for no other reason than their contempt for the color of Obama's skin.

Personally, I think it's just the same old infantile political power struggles that play out in elementary school playgrounds each day where "if I don't get my way I'm going to take my ball and go home." This is the sort of "business as usual" practice in Washington D.C. that makes one wonder if our system of government shouldn't be the recipient of an enema. The bottom line is that their obstructionist activities are having a big impact on what could have been a very promising bit of legislation.

The unfortunate thing about this issue is that the Republicans are using it as an excuse to fling mud at Obama and the Democrats while truly they have no interest in reforming health care. As Senator Jim Demint of South Carolina told his fellow Republicans recently, "If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him..." Never mind the millions of uninsured people for whom the lifesaving care that this bill would provide. Don't concern yourself, Senator Demint, with trying to reform a self-serving health care insurance industry which cares more about profit margins than people. Those people will just sink helplessly into debt trying to pay their medical bills and forgo necessary treatments and die. End of problem.

Strike two!

The Republicans are making no secret that they are the party of NO, not proposing any alternatives, but instead deriding the whole concept of fixing the system that is strangling both Americans and the economy. Instead they are all quoting the Lewin Group, a government think tank, which is strongly advising that no changes be made to the health care system as it now exists. I guess it doesn't matter to them that the Lewin Group is owned by one of the largest and most profitable health insurance companies, United Healthcare, which has nothing to win and everything to lose if health care reform succeeds.

As an interesting sidebar, this same company earlier this year was forced to pay $400 million dollars to settle a case where they tried to defraud patients on their insurance claims by changing data in their system so that they could be denied. Is it any wonder that Republicans are working so hard to defeat health care reform when, after all, they are in the back pocket of these corrupt insurance companies? Politics does make strange bedfellows, and by accepting dirty money from these heartless corporate lobbyists, these "public servants" in Congress are actually profiting off of the suffering of their constituents.

"The profit motive, when it is the sole basis of an economic system, encourages a cutthroat competition and selfish ambition that inspires men to be more concerned about making a living than making a life."

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Goaded by right wing extremists like radio personalities Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, in addition to Palin, conservatives are not stopping at just trying to sink Obama's health care plan, they are personally attacking him at every opportunity. And as strange as it seems, the more bizarre or irrational a claim is, the more likely the nut job activist followers dumbly swallow it as gospel.

One ridiculous red herring was that Obama was not a U.S. citizen, and as such his election was not valid. And even when his birth certificate was authenticated and it showed that he was born in Hawaii, the "birthers" as they are called, claimed that it was a forgery and that Obama was, in actuality, a Kenyan national. Some Republicans have already expressed their embarrassment by this lunatic fringe element of their party, but most see the value of this as a distraction to keep Americans from focusing on real issues instead of the imaginary ones.

Other popular right-wing assertions are that Obama is a Nazi. Indeed, many critics of Obama compare him to Hitler, including a Georgia congressman, and when they protest there are always plenty of swastikas around to inflame the passions of these delusional morons. There have also been many assertions that he is a muslim and some even say he is plotting with terrorists to attack the U.S. And of course there's the ever-present charge that he is leading the country into socialism with his government reforms. I wonder how they would feel if we suddenly stripped the country of all it's "socialist ways." Let's cancel Medicare and Social Security tomorrow and see how anti-socialist they are then!

Strike three! Now shut the hell up!

It's so sad that elements of our esteemed government have sunk to such lowly depths that they would accuse our leader, the President of the United States, of all these bogus accusations. How can we move forward as a country when corrupt corporate leaders and their government cronies block or delay every attempt to move this country forward in their pursuit of profits and power? How can we purge ourselves of these greedy scoundrels that put the health and safety of our people in peril so they can rake in millions instead? I'm not so sure we can. The Sarah Palin's of the world are either too stupid or too corrupt (or both) to change the direction they are headed and unfortunately they have succeeded in brainwashing enough lemmings to follow them into the abyss. The President made a final plea in his health care reform speech where he said:

"We did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it. I still believe we can act even when it's hard. I still believe we can replace acrimony with civility, and gridlock with progress. I still believe we can do great things, and that here and now we will meet history's test."

If the Republican's reaction to Obama's desire to help all Americans live healthier lives is any indication of how we will meet history's test, then I am afraid that they have already doomed us to failure.


  1. Dude, you really know your Politics. As far as Sarah goes, I can take about 14 seconds of her talking and I have to change the channel. It is scary how she almost got to be our President (McCain is old).

  2. Tom,
    Great Post!
    So much has been written about "Going Rogue", which was "written" by Palin; I wonder how many are aware of the OTHER book about Palin, "Going Rouge: Sarah Palin, An American Nightmare". Should be a hoot---I am planning to get this one.

    There are and always will be, I'm afraid, that segment of Americans who, like the schoolyard bullies who haunt the halls of education, believe that all it takes is brute strength and blind faith to get their way. They take smug satisfaction in their belief that they hold the moral high ground. They cling proudly to their arrogance and ignorance. And there is only lip service paid to education as our way to getting over the hurdles our corrupt system has placed in our path.
    We are now at the precipice in our development as a country, and we have seen the fruits of our skewed priorities, which allows government agencies to commit over 100 billion dollars a year to Defense, and barely 3 billion to Education.
    We can't afford this any more, but it is not in the best interests of those who profit by their own power to correct the willful ignorance of the lazy.
    Keep posting's always good to see you here.

  3. Thank you gentlemen, as always, for your comments.

    Blasé - I can totally relate to you about Sarah Palin! Funny now that after the defeat and her book coming out so many of her strong supporters are distancing themselves from her (like John McCain) or telling all publicly how incompetent she is. We dodged a huge bullet with that one!

    TomS - Hey, I gotta get that book too! Wow a book about Palin that doesn't require crayons? I'm so down with that!

    It's hard to fathom how our government that has stepped so far away from its founding principles and is now just a government for hire to the highest bidder. No wonder we are inching our way up the ladder in terms of most corrupt nations. How long before our political profiteers drag our system of government down to the levels of Mexico, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia?

    I'm trying to remain positive that we can somehow extricate ourselves from this scourge of
    political payoffs and breach of trust that epitomizes our current system of government.

    I don't know, though. Everything I see coming from the Republicans leads me think that it's all a lost cause. I hope I'm wrong on this one.

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