Nothing in this summer of our discontent has been as miserably amusing as the accounts of teabaggers and "September 12ers" howling down discussion at town hall meetings, packing heat and issuing death threats to congressmen - possibly by tossing the venomous snakes they handle while speaking in tongues at riverside baptisms. When you believe the entire universe was created in 4004 B.C., that Adam and Eve fled the Garden of Eden on a brontosaurus, and that WMDs have, yes, finally been been found in Iraq... then you're well primed to swallow the bilge that health care reform is really a Nazi eugenics program in disguise.
I wouldn't slander all of these worthies as fringe religious wackos, but the tendency to believe in the most bald-faced absurdities and lies spewed by corporate propagandists or clerical charlatans is a common mindset.
The health insurance industry is spending $1.4 million per day lobbying to defeat any effective reform of the "best health care system in the world" (according to flack Glenn Beck), which actually ranks 37th in the world according to the WHO, despite being the most expensive. That gap is explained by 30% overhead (versus Medicare's 5%), which equates to enormous profits for their Wall Street shareholders, gargantuan CEO salaries, and perks like gold-trimmed china in their private jets (see CIGNA whistleblower Wendell Potter's story here) - a bloodsucking system no other First World nation tolerates. Health care has long been rationed in this country, and bureaucrats are already making life and death decisions, but it is CIGNA , Blue Cross and their fellow vampires making them. And It is not only the small businesses that increasingly can't afford health care for their employees, or the army of laid-off workers losing their coverage who suffer- even those with private policies are routinely denied help they need as the private bureaucrats fish for excuses to deny critical treatment (like the tragic case of Nataline Sarkisyan) - anything to protect the bottom line and increase their stock values. There are certainly problems with Obama's bill, but the goal of the private insurers and their frenzied dupes is to defeat any plan that extends coverage and reduces costs in line with our closest allies, Canada, the U.K., Japan, Germany, France, Taiwan, all of whom spend around 8% of GDP on health care, versus our 16%, while getting more for it.
Where will the money to fund a public option come from? the critics demand. You don't have to look far: the gluttonous military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned about, now accounting for 50% of global military spending, as we maintain 737 bases around the world, including those in Japan and Germany, 60 years after WWII. It's no wonder they can afford high-ranking health care as we subsidize their defense for no discernible reason. The "War on Terror," largely a monstrous hoax, has cost $892 billion to date, and Defense Secretary Gates informs us that it will continue ad infinitum, although neither he nor anyone else can plausibly explain why such a protracted effort is worth this enormous sacrifice.
September 10, 2001
The Glenn Beck flock wants to return to September 12th, when we were all united under God, flag and war fever. Let me return to September 10, 2001 - that's the day that Donald Rumsfeld announced that the Pentagon had "lost"$2.3 TRILLION (this is not a misprint) - a sum that could fund a public option for decades. Neither he nor DOD comptroller Dov Zakheim suffered so much as a wrist slap, and there were no mobs demanding an answer to this titanic ripoff. Conveniently, the confession was erased from public consciousness by the bloody events of the following day. As long as their tax dollars are devoured by fraud-ridden private contractors performing services that the Pentagon used to do for a fraction of the cost, or simply squandered, the teabaggers are docile and mum. I won't mention the other massive frauds and bailouts, all ensuing from the disastrous sabotage of longstanding (since the Great Depression) regulations and oversight led by the far Right and their allies in both parties.
Some imagine that we're getting enhanced security with our huge War Department (what it should be called) expenditures. But they ignore that every year there are more American casualties from our cruel and shamefully "unique" health care racket than all the victims of terrorism in our entire history. A reasonable person would say: let's cut back to 40% or 30% of global military spending, still enough to maintain our vaunted dominance, and spend the savings on domestic priorities like our deteriorating infrastructure and a health care system comparable to most other civilized nations.
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Of course, an affordable MRI is not as spine-tinglingly glorious as an F-16 bombing another hapless wedding party in Afghanistan, but most of us would benefit far more from the former. We are spending a fortune on a culture of killing and destruction, and starving a culture of life and health - a monstrous sickness supported, ironically, largely by those claiming to worship the Prince of Peace. They should put down their Bibles long enough to study Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul, Eisenhower, or Marine General Smedley Butler (two Congressional Medals of Honor - see his "War is a Racket" essay), none of whom are given much attention by the corporate shills masquerading as leaders of the conservative movement.
It appears that the Kenneth Lays and Madoffs of our private health industry may succeed in sabotaging the genuine reform that would benefit the vast majority of Americans and would get rid of a system that is universally acknowledged as an albatross weighing down our economy, while offering no plausible alternative of their own, thanks to their shrieking ignoramuses, incited by a vile propaganda campaign worthy of Joseph Goebbels. One thing is certain: we will all - except a handful of CEOs and Wall Street bankers - be the poorer for it.
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