Big White Lies

One thing we’ve all noticed by now about the right is their incomparable message discipline; as soon as one of the smarter ones comes up with a deliberately misleading three-second, fact-bereft emotional appeal, it is immediately disseminated to the minions and they all say it, verbatim, until they’re told to say something else.  When I started this blog, I initially planned a section called “Down is Up on Uranus” that would spot and preemptively debunk whatever Luntzian nonsense the right would inevitably be parroting that day, having heard ad nauseam the righty callers on talk radio, reading angrily but mindlessly off the ticker tape.  Unfortunately, it quickly proved to be too much work to do both that and a daily posting; one Hag can only do so much, you know, between highballs, heels, and More 120′s, and  CHNN’s growing Media Bureau, now consisting of RMP, Dirigo, Sysprog, and me is still understaffed, to my considerable chagrin.  Finding individual lies in the media is like bailing out the ocean with a shot glass. (Berlusconi’s antics of late have also sapped the news gathering budget horribly, as well…)

Despite these obstacles, however, and because the situation seems to have gotten immeasurably worse over time, it’s both tempting and easy to dive in, since the more cuckoo the right gets and the more often they’re defending the indefensible, the more rote and demented their declarations become.  Indeed, the lack of media diversity they so maniacally defend has, paradoxically, made this strategy so much more transparent and even less convincing, such that it deserves some examination; their arguments, using that word with undue generosity, collapse under the lightest scrutiny, leaving one to conclude that they’re only designed to “convince” utter nincompoops like themselves.  Guys, could you please get about three more people to help think up your material?  This is getting kind of boring.

The health care debate is a vivid example: unable to defend the current system, the “thinkers” on the right have come up with some sound bites so pathetic and easily refutable that I kind of feel sorry for the addlepated automatons who think they’ve latched upon such world-beating winners that they repeatedly call in to even liberal talk shows to mouth them, for what they evidently think is the first time, to an audience they assume just needs to be set straight, once and for all.  Too often, the hosts waste their time treating such redundant piffle with respect it simply doesn’t deserve, and bother to try to refute it while the caller keeps plugging his (nearly always male) ears and loudly singing “Frere Jacques.”

“Medicare’s  bankrupt, Social Security’s bankrupt, and so’s the Post Office; why would you want the Government running health care?”

First of all, so is everybody, thanks to the ruinous economic policies of the Bush Administration, whose very existence has suddenly been neatly excised from history.  No matter.  Secondly, the bankrupting of Medicare and Social Security were by design, the looting of the treasury and the ruinous giveaway of Medicare Part D were, back in the day, some of Bush’s most famously trumpeted “successes.”  The “reforms” once proposed for the Post Office by Bush: raising executive salaries and lowering them for everyone else, were never enacted, but having the top people flying around in private jets to their multiple vacation homes while letter carriers collected food stamps seems unlikely to have alleviated the huge drops in revenue precipitated by the Bush Recession.  Dumber still, this self-contradictory statement overlooks the fact that overhead is 3% with Medicare, and upwards of 25% for the private health “industry.”  It’s really rather astonishing that people who would proudly recite such an absurd argument on national radio are nonetheless smart enough to tune in a radio and dial a telephone, and in that order, to boot.

“Canadians come here for their health care.”

Aside from being utterly false, this one is particularly audacious.  As anyone with a passing acquaintance with our health care system knows, much of the time, employees, and even square footage of any hospital in the US is devoted to bilking the ill out of their money; unless these invented Canadians are wanting to improve their penmanship and dispose of their estates before their greedy heirs get their paws on them, none of them would be dumb enough to try such a thing.  Worse, no one is proposing such a rational, cheap, and humane system as Canada has here, so even if the argument weren’t pure hogwash, it’s still irrelevant.

Why should I pay for some (worthless, brown, fat) person’s health care, if they won’t pay for it themselves?

This one, admittedly, isn’t really meant to be an argument, but merely a plea to the racists to take one for the plutocrats, yet again.  Although it plainly seduced South Carolina wingnut Joe Wilson and goes over big in the tooth-deficient parts of Dixie, it really is too nonsensical and offensive to utter in those precincts where very few homes have license plates and/or appliances in the yard, but utter they do.  You see, righties just glory in the cleansing suffering of others, which they see as richly deserved, and thus rather impolitic and hateful notions such as this must therefore be included, to keep the base both happy and tuned in.  (This strategy is anything but ineffective, by the way.)

In short, the right is currently so bereft of ideas at the moment that they make Arthur Laffer look like John Maynard Keynes; Richard Nixon like Franklin Roosevelt, and what’s rolling out of the Wurlitzer at the moment makes the Barney song sound like Rhapsody in Blue.  Maybe it’s just the bleeding heart liberal in me, but I hope we get health care reform soon, because otherwise a significant number of Americans will die without direly needed brain transplants.


  1. bystander says:

    “Canadians come here for their health care.”

    I’ve often heard this repeated but, typically, in regards to the wait times associated with elective procedures. I decided to dig a little and found a report:

    Waiting Lists in Canada: Reality or Hype? [pdf]
    American Medical Student Association
    Prepared by Kao-Ping Chua,
    AMSA Jack Rutledge Fellow 2005-2006

    The Summary:

    What is clear from this analysis is that Canadian waiting lists are undoubtedly a problem for many Canadians on certain elective procedures. What is not clear, however, is the magnitude of the problem, and it is certainly not necessarily true that there is a Canadian “waiting list crisis.”
    • The lack of quality data on waiting lists from the Canadian government, coupled with the limitations of surveys (e.g. differing methodologies), makes it very difficult to conclude with any certainty the size of the true waiting list problem.
    • The Canadian experience with waiting times will necessarily be uneven, as waiting times vary by specialty, procedure, province, and region. That is, any given individual Canadian will have different experiences with waiting times. This may partly explain the
    existence of anecdotal reports of intolerable waits from certain individual Canadians (such stories often are dramatized in the media), juxtaposed with the denial of the problem from other Canadians.
    • The U.S. does not experience problems with waiting lists as much as Canada does, although the problem does exist for some Americans.
    • There is a small minority of Canadians who receive care in the U.S., and even a smaller minority who specifically come to the U.S. to receive care. The idea that hordes of Canadians cross the border to avoid waiting lists is a myth.

    Perhaps something newer is available. The problems with data collection and categorization are discussed within.

    • cocktailhag says:

      There was a particularly flagrant “fact” spouted about this last week, “The Canadian Prime Minister’s wife went to the US when she got breast cancer.” The truth? The wife of some other Canadian politician, after having her breast cancer treated, went to the US for nipple reconstruction.
      But it sounds so true…. Why not use it?

  2. bystander says:

    One more thought, if I may? Scott Horton offers a small piece from Maimonides’ Letter to the Community of Marseille:

    It is not proper for a man to accept as trustworthy anything other than one of these three things. The first is a thing for which there is a clear proof deriving from man’s reasoning [...] The second is a thing that a man perceives through one of the five senses [...] The third is a thing that a man receives from the prophets or from the righteous. Every reasonable man ought to distinguish in his mind and thought all the things that he accepts as trustworthy, and say: “This I accept as trustworthy because of tradition, and this because of sense-perception, and this on grounds of reason.” Anyone who accepts as trustworthy anything that is not of these three species, of him it is said: “The simple believes everything.”

    Maimonides, apparently, offers no guide as to how one might prioritize these levels of knowing. Or, how to reconcile the conflicts of knowing that might occur among them. I hazard that when one places tradition, the received wisdom of the prophets or the righteous, above his own reason and/or senses that individual must struggle with empirical realities. Perhaps, enough so, as to jettison the empirical world altogether.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Exactly. I think the only valid test is all three, perhaps best two out of. “Tradition” seems like a pretty dumb reason to believe something, but so many do.

      • bystander says:

        Except, depending on how you think about tradition and received wisdom … could that not be the law?

        Perhaps I need sysprog to come along and untangle this knot for me?

        The law can evolve. Plessy v. Ferguson was overturned by Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. Reason and research provided a basis for challenging tradition, in this case. And, perhaps, that is the key. When tradition can be challenged by reason, tradition needs to give way?

        I don’t know that I would argue that the right is bereft of ideas, as much as I would argue the right is bereft of reason. They have plenty of ideas. I just don’t like very many of them.

        What caught me about Horton’s quote was wondering where the right got the ideas they had, and why they think these ideas true?

        • cocktailhag says:

          Currently, the right is using “tradition” to restrict reproductive (and even contraceptive!) rights, marriage equality, and even call for a stingy and punitive government that coddles the rich and mows down the poor, as some sort of holy writ. It seems that here the other two standards need to kick in. “Tradition,” which is endlessly being rewritten by kooks and Dominionists anyway, is just that kind flexible morality that leads to IOKIYAR.

          • Karen M says:

            Yes, but their “tradition” seems to borrow very heavily from the Old Testament, which makes me loathe to consider them to be really the Christians that they claim to be.

  3. sysprog says:

    Michelle Malkin:

    Celebrating the 9/12 rallies; Turnout estimated at 2 million; Update: How many?; FreedomWorks in error
    By Michelle Malkin • September 12, 2009
    [...] 12:34pm Eastern: Police estimate 1.2 million in attendance. ABC News reporting crowd at 2 million [...]
    - – Michelle Malkin

    Chris Muir:
    Fox News:

    Tea Party Express Takes Washington By Storm
    [...] The tens of thousands of protesters marched to the U.S. Capitol chanting various slogans and waving posters that voiced a rather broad array of grievances against big government
    [...] The line of protesters clogged several blocks
    - – Fox News

    ABC News:

    ABC News’ Yunji de Nies Reports:

    The 912 Marchers certainly made a splash in Washington. With costumes, signs and a bevy of American flags, they gathered at Freedom Plaza Saturday morning, before descending down Pennsylvania Avenue. Washington, D.C., officials estimate between 60,000 and 75,000 people attended the day-long event, which ended with a rally at the Capitol steps.

    have checked all of our coverage – ABC never reported 2 million. if you find it, send it to me. this is a total myth.
    - – Yunji de Nies, ABC News

    Michelle Malkin:

    Thanks to ABC News for clearing this up.
    The Left, of course, has seized on the error to discredit the undeniably massive turnout today.
    - – Michelle Malkin


  4. Glaivester says:

    In short, the right is currently so bereft of ideas at the moment that they make Arthur Laffer look like John Maynard Keynes;

    So they make him look like a nutcase with completely ridiculous economic theories whose ideas are only accepted because they benefit those in power?

    Keynes’ philosophy can be summed up in one sentence: “What broken window fallacy?”

  5. heru-ur says:

    From the site “Salon”, which some of you might know, I see an excelent article on health care.

    How I got well in India for $50 by Aruna Viswanatha.

    If you are serious about wanting to understand what went wrong with American Health Care — read this article.

  6. The Heel says:

    this one is meant to cheer you sickos up:

    I love Bill Maher.

  7. rmp says:

    Some wise thoughts on Rethuglican tactics:
    A Method to Their Madness

  8. rmp says:

    Why the GOPers attack so strongly, they want their followers to forget their responsibility and history.
    Don’t forget: THE GOP HEALTH CARE FAILURE,0,3370256.column

  9. timothy3 says:

    Here’s a facebook link (provided by a commenter at Salon who attended a neighboring event titled The Black Family Reunion–is that a delicious irony, or what?) showing pics of the crowd at that rally.
    It certainly doesn’t look anywhere near 60,00+. More like, say, 10,000 (if that). I really don’t know how many were actually there–we probably never will–but I found it interesting that participants were either aged or working stiffs. That’s my anecdotal take, at any rate.

    • cocktailhag says:

      They were also dumb as posts. Have you read the interviews? Every one of them sounded like Archie Bunker.

      • timothy3 says:

        Yeah, a few of them. Here was a quote I found pretty amusing:

        And I don’t like the elitists telling us what we should do or eat.

        Yeah, God forbid I should be denied–by elitists also known as health practitioners, research scientists, economists and all those other fruity college types–my Cheetos or Fritos or any other O’s. And if I wanna work for $8 an hour with no benefits, by God, that’s my right, you fascists–um, socialists–er, communists; well, you traitorous non-Americans from Kenya who can’t produce a birth certificate.
        (Dick Armey, did I cover all the essential points? You’ll confer with Gingrich, Kristol, DeMint, Inhofe and all the other inmates? ’cause I need to get back to my cell now–it’s medication time; those little pills produced by the labor of elitists. Wait, now I’m confused. Thank the Lord for my medication!)

        • cocktailhag says:

          Few appear to shop at Whole Foods…. I needed some medication after reading the articles. So much dumbness, so proudly expressed. (and respectfully reported, natch.)

  10. Karen M says:

    I haven’t read the other comments yet, but I just have to say this… in reference to Canadians coming here to receive health care.

    I and a few dozen other folks had (until recently) been paying for the pleasure of having our wonderful acupuncturist fly in from Canada every few months to perform his magic upon our weary bodies and souls.

    Recently, being the key word. I doubt we will see much of him in future. He’s built up a practice in the north now, and it’s a hardship on his family when he’s gone for weeks at a time 3 or 4 times per year.

    I’d love to be able to import any more Canadian-brand health care, but I’m not sure now how to go about it.

    Now, to the rest of the comments!

  11. Meremark says:

    A photo of the Mall during the event, side-by-side with a comparison:

    And, the link at Media Matters with details of the LIARS talking, squeak-sqwauk and run away. Including a traffic cam photo of the streets at the time WHERE the ‘marchers’ were/were not. Look! THERE’s Waldo. Easy to spot since: He’s alone. Who’d a’thunk there is traffic cams looking at the LIARS. Oh, this is hilarious.

    Crowd size estimates are converging on some number between a low of 30,000 and a high of 30,100.

  12. Meremark says:

    LIARS Larson is at it full blast now trying to blow 30,000 into seeming like 3 million.

    What needs to happen is organizing a pool of callers to flood the lines for hours at a time, each saying the same disputation — that his word is LIARS.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Color me surprised. Trouble is, even if someone checked their facts, Larson’s audience wouldn’t believe it. The new meme seems to be, “we’re the real majority,” and they’re sticking to it.

  13. nailheadtom says:

    One country, at least, blessed with abundant natural resources and an intelligent, well-educated population, offered “free” health care for decades. If any country had an opportunity to successfully implement a state-engineered health care system, it was the USSR. Yet, it was a dismal failure and that failure haunts the physical well-being of the former Soviet populations even today. With every opportunity for success, they failed. Why?

    • cocktailhag says:

      Well, for the answer to that I would refer you to my current post. It’s pretty much accepted that the Soviet Union finally collapsed under the weight of its imperial ventures, wherein its military spending deprived its “citizen” of basic needs to fund a bloated, adventurous military. Sound familiar?
      As for health care, I think you ought to look at the 37 other countries that spend less and get better outcomes than we do for your answer.

      • nailheadtom says:

        Military spending? Didn’t they print their own rubles? Didn’t they make most all of their own military equipment and pay zilch for it? Weren’t their military personnel (and everyone else) basically working for peanuts? Aren’t they one of the world’s largest oil producers? And how about diamonds, gold, silver and all the other subterranean treasures that would likely be found somewhere in one of the world’s largest countries?

        • cocktailhag says:

          Well, I guess the difference is that China prints our rubles, and our military leaches are much more expensive, so we’re not even doing as good, or at least fiscally responsible, a job as the commies did. I find that to be a bummer. (Oh yeah, and here when we find precious things, we let the corporations despoil the land, take the booty, and walk away for free, which also must make the commies shaker their fur-hatted heads in disbelief.) Thanks for saving me the time of refuting you.