Thursday, July 30, 2009

* Just love them Golden Oldies – There are so many great songs that I fondly remember from the 1960s. There is Devil with A Blue Dress, Johnny B. Goode, Hang on Sloopy, Sugar Pie Honey Bunch, Heatwave, Mustang Sally and so many more. However, my very favorite song is the one sung by a group that is still as active today as 45 years ago – The Conservatives. The song is titled, “Medicare Will Result in the Rationing of Medical Care.” Members of this doo wop group included, Ronald Regan, Bob Dole, George H. W. Bush and Barry Goldwater. Actually, the song was off key then and the current version is equally dissonate.

Time and energy does not permit linking to every absurdity The Conservatives have put forth in opposing healthcare and health insurance reform but examples include: every American already has good health coverage; reform will result in the euthanasia of the elderly; a government bureaucrat will decide what treatment a patient will be allowed; America already has the best healthcare in the world; we must protect the health insurers; reform will result in the rationing of health care. It reminds one of “The Twist” by Chubby Checker.

Medicare is a government-sponsored health care program that provides health coverage to virtually all of the nation’s elderly and a large share of people with disabilities. While the program is not perfect, as Igor Volsky notes at, “it has dramatically improved access to health care, allowed seniors to live longer and healthier lives, contributed to the desegregation of southern hospitals, and has become one of the most popular government programs.” The fears and lies promulgated by the forces that oppose healthcare reform today are a cabal of conservative Republicans and some Democrats who are in the pocket of the insurance industry and are fueled by millions of dollars in spending by the health insurance industry intent on protecting their monopolies and profits. It is a familiar tune but inaccurate history and terrible policy for the majority of Americans. As a participant in Medicare I have never experienced interference in my choice of doctors, medical facilities or treatments. I have seen no evidence that supports such claims. Perhaps some of the old songs are not as good as I would like to recall. At the same time, if intelligent healthcare reform is not enacted soon, many people will be left with that groovy song from the Temptations - “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.”

Although I believe that President Obama waited too long to become forcefully involved in the healthcare and health insurance reform discussion, he said in a speech in North Carolina on Wednesday, “First of all, no one is talking about some government takeover of health care. Under the reform I’ve proposed, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. And if you’re one of the 46 million Americans who don’t have coverage today, you will finally be able to get quality, affordable coverage…. the truth is, we have a system today that works well for the insurance industry, but it doesn’t always work well for you. What we need, and what we will have when we pass these reforms, are health insurance consumer protections to make sure that those who have insurance are treated fairly and insurance companies are held accountable… We will stop insurance companies from denying you coverage because of your medical history… We will require insurance companies to cover routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms, colonoscopies, or eye and foot exams for diabetics, so we can avoid chronic illnesses that cost not only lives, but money… And we will stop insurance companies from placing arbitrary caps on the coverage you can receive in a given year or in a lifetime.” We are now “In the Midnight Hour” (Wilson Picket) with respect to healthcare reform. We should not let the naysayers do “Somethin’ Stupid” (Frank and Nancy Sinatra).

* How does the Republican leadership feel about their Party? – An interesting post by Markos Moulitas at notes that “Republicans flee congress in droves.” Seven of the 41 Republican senators have announced they will not seek re-election and Arlen Specter has switched parties. There is somewhat of a satisfying feeling seeing so many of the legislators who rubber-stamped Bush policy that resulted in so much pain for this country leaving the national scene for lucrative lobbying jobs or to bask in the comfort of their government–provided retirement plans and healthcare coverage. I am reminded of the song by Vanilla Fudge, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.”

* Speaking of sounds – Over the last few weeks my ears have begun hurting from one of the ugliest sounds imaginable - the sound of racism. No, I did not expect meanness, hatred and divisiveness from those who harbor racism to disappear with the inauguration of Barack Obama. I also did not believe that such maliciousness that we currently see could gain its current traction in the 21st Century in the United States of America. Once again my naïveté causes me to blush. Or is that redness on my face anger?

Free speech does not allow the silencing of Glenn Beck and fellow conservative talk shlocks who spew racist rhetoric in order to appeal to a wacko listening core. Free speech does not allow the muting of the bile excreted by a rejuvenated white supremacist coven in this country. At the same time, decency requires that we speak out about such outrages. And while on this subject, I say to CNN’s Lou Dobbs, who is giving voice to and exposure to the idiots who have been termed “birthers” (those who question the validity of Obamas birth certificate), I find your “journalism” to be as appealing as afterbirth.

Richard Cohen, President of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a major force in the fight against racism said, “But Dobbs is playing a dangerous game. By promoting paranoid conspiracy theories that originate in extremist circles, he's fanning the flames of racism among a segment of society that can't accept a black man in the White House. And we've already seen a wave of violence committed by racial extremists since Obama was elected.” The SPLC is sponsoring a petition to CNN titled, “Tell CNN to Stop Peddling Racist Propaganda.”

Criticism should vociferously be directed at CNN for allowing Dobbs to play a ratings game that appeals to the lowest instincts and divides our country. This is not intelligent discourse and certainly does not serve the interests of this country. More than enough of such crap is already available on FOX News. At a time when our country is overburdened with problems and challenges the network that bills itself as the best source for political news has made itself a source of a problem. Although Dobbs knows no shame it is a shame on CNN.

In a “man bites dog moment” you have to love this video clip made available at where Bill O’Reilly (Faux News, of course) and Bernie Goldberg theorize that the Birther controversy is a plot by liberals to make the conservatives look nutty. Memo to Bill: You do not need our help.

* “People are asking me about the race problem.... I know of no race problem. The great problem that confronts the American people to-day is a national problem -- whether this great nation of ours is great enough to live up to its own convictions, carry out its own declaration of independence, and execute the provisions of its own constitution.”

Spoken by Frederick Douglas in the year 1893

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

loved your rock n roll analogies. agree that obama kept us waiting too long but when he decided to speak, with those careful measured tones of his (so unlike his hysteria-filled opponents) he possesses unusual teacherly gifts. - ruth z