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I was all prepared to talk about Rightwing lunacy in general this week following a parade of morons hitting the headlines day after day, but (as is so often the case), I got distracted. This week, we saw the Stock Market close above 9,300… it’s highest point since before Bush left office (Election Day to be exact) when the DOW was in a nosedive on its way to “6,469.95” last March. The NASDAQ did the DOW one better by breaking the 2,000 barrier for the first time since October. “Cash for Clunkers” was such a huge success that the $1Billion dollars the government thought would cover one month of sales, ran out in just a week. Dealerships are full, the car companies are making cars again (Ford saw its first profit since 2007), car buyers are happy… everyone is happy… everyone, that is, except Republicans, trying desperately to downplay and even criticize the success of the program (actually arguing that the government was “incompetent” for not counting on just what a huge success their program would be). The same people that supported George Bush mailing every American a $300 “stimulus check” last year which ended up doing almost nothing to actually “stimulate” the economy, are now questioning the wisdom of offering rebates to stimulate car sales. Unemployment retreated by 0.1% down to 9.4% rather than shed another 750,000 jobs like it did in the first quarter of this year as Bush left office and we shook off the last of his economic policies. And Judge Sonia Sotomayor was sworn in to the Supreme Court as the first Hispanic and only the third woman Justice in U.S. history.

Yes, it was a good week to be a Democrat… until you turned on the TV and saw Democratic “Town Halls” filled with angry, brain-dead Republicans screaming “Socialism”, “euthanasia”, and “keep your government hands off my Medicare!”, all working off scripts provided them by Rightwing lobbyists and members of Congress that’ll say anything to keep government competition out of healthcare.

Of course, there’s nothing “recent” about the manufactured “outrage” streaming from the Right (eg: “Tea Parties”). Others have already pointed out that we have Sarah Palin to thank for all of this vitriol. (I tried and failed to find video of a McCain rally pre-Palin on YouTube to compare the tenor of audiences both before and after she came on the scene, but found nothing beyond a couple of snippets that tell us next to nothing about the crowds’ demeanor. But one thing’s for sure, once Ms. Palin started spewing her “pals around with terrorists” rhetoric, purposely including Obama’s middle name of “Hussein” to stir up “he’s a Muslim” paranoia, and looking the other way as their supporters shouted things like “kill him!” and “he’s a terrorist!” during their rallies, the ball was already rolling. A tidal wave of stupid was unleashed by George Bush in high heals.
 

Then there’s the healthcare debate itself.
 

I was perusing through some Town Hall videos when I came across the following clip from Rep. Keith Ellison’s Town Hall in Minnesota last week. After speaking to a standing-room only crowd for over an hour, Ellison allowed the crowd to pass the mic around so attendees could voice their support and/or concerns. One mans’ comment (at the 2:37 mark) caught my attention (ignore for a moment the idiot at the 2:10 mark claiming that “everything the government touches, it ruins… like MediCare”. Because, as we all know, Medicare was working just fine until the government came along and took it over???) Anyway, please fast forward to 2:37 for the comment in question:
 


 

This particular man comments that he “has relatives in Canada under the universal healthcare system there… and they have to wait months, or even years, to get simple operations.”

Amazing how, suddenly, every healthcare opponent has “relatives in Canada”. Okay, forget for a moment that full-blown government run Nationalized healthcare is NOT coming to the U.S. and has NOTHING to do with “the public option”, this guy is full of crap, and here is how to prove it should you find yourself at a Town Hall meeting with someone making similar claims about family unable to get healthcare in Canada… Simply ask them:

   “Why didn’t they just cross the border and check into an American hospital?

I mean, we have NO restrictions on who we’ll treat. Unwilling to wait to see a doctor in Canada? Check into an American hospital! We’ll take anyone with the money to pay. Why suffer “for months or even years” when “the best healthcare system in the world” (according to them) is just a car-ride away? Who knows, you might even get this idiot to admit the high cost of American healthcare is a factor in why they’d rather wait “years” in Canada rather than check into an American hospital and be seen “immediately”. And if they do cite cost, ask why his/her “Canadian family/friend” doesn’t just purchase American insurance like the rest of us?

After Mr. “Family in Canada”, we have a woman who tells everyone how the “lifesaving” cancer treatment her father is on is “banned in Norway”. Good thing we don’t live in Norway then, huh? Of course, the argument she thinks she’s making is that Norway… which has a National Healthcare System… doesn’t allow some treatments, and if we nationalize healthcare (and again, we are NOT nationalizing healthcare), she’s concerned we may ban certain treatments too. But why cite “Norway“? Norway has pretty much the same system as Canada and the U.K.. Is the treatment her father’s receiving banned in those countries as well? If not, what’s her point? Come to think of it, since the medicine is obviously legal here in the U.S., I still don’t get her point. She never mentions it, but I wonder if her father’s insurance is paying for a treatment considered either “too expensive” or “experimental” by Norway’s standards? Doesn’t seem likely.
 

I’m on the lookout for the first “Town Hall” in my area, and you should plan on attending yours as well. Bring friends to make sure the bussed-in anti-healthcare Brownshirts aren’t the majority at these events. Keep an eye out and an ear open for people conflating health INSURANCE reform with Socialized Medicine (the “Post Office” and DMV comparisons are the most popular), or those making false claims of family/friends in Canada. Remind those who apparently like Madicare that it’s a government run operation (and always has been). Ask Republican Senators that slam “government run insurance” if they plan to repeal Medicaid. Ask critics of “socialized medicine” if they want to “abolish the VA” seeing as they are so opposed to “government run” healthcare. Ask Republican Representatives why they didn’t support Rep. Anthony Weiner’s bill to abolish Medicare (see last weeks column). NOT ONE SINGLE REPUBLICAN voted for the bill to abolish Medicare, while EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM continues to argue the inevitable disaster of government involvement in healthcare.

Stand up to “teh stoopid” and don’t back down.

(ADDENDUM: The White House has posted a “Healthcare FAQ” responding to the six biggest misconceptions about health insurance reform.)

 


 

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