Monday, August 10, 2009

Political Lies 101 and AOTW

As the debate over government-run health care has intensified, I've noticed extra vehemence on both sides of the debate. And while facts and passion are what make the debate itself fascinating, that passion, combined with the more Clintonesque tendencies of politicians to vomit insipid and non-factual bullshit (lies), has resulted in intensification of the war of misinformation. While this is nothing new (see the Washington administration), I figured I'd just go over the basics so that we're on the same page as how our elected manipulators take the facts and make them fit their party-based "truth."

1. Start with the truth - A bold lie, in direct contradiction of facts, is easy to refute. However, when you have a fact to build on, you can reach any conclusion you want. A perfect example of this is President Obama's insistence that the "public option" in the existing government health care bills will not eliminate private insurance, and essentially create government-run health care. The initial fact is that the bill doesn't do this. However, this was the rationale given with every other medical program, that it was limited. The result, however, has been that the government gets a foot in the door, and keeps coming until it's in and it's brought friends.

2. Extrapolate a lie out of probabilities - Real science deals with facts and theories. A fact has been something that's been proven over and over and can be measured and verified by honest skeptics. It's when you take theories and pretend they're facts that they become lies. The GOP has been running with the story of end-of-life counseling. While some have chosen their phrasing carefully so that they're not lying, the idea that the end-of-life counseling is simply a method by which the government will encourage old people to die. Sorry, GOP, the bill doesn't state anything about offing old people. And while it may eventually come to that (after the government takes over everything and runs out of cash), saying that the bill says what it doesn't is at best disingenuous.

3. Find an demon and go all Buffy on it (not sexually) - It's easier to swallow lies when the people you're lying to know that there's someone out there lying to them about EVERYTHING. And with liberals, it's BIG ANYTHING! BIG CORPORATE, BIG WAL-MART (redundant, I know), BIG RETAIL, BIG OIL, BIG PHARMA, BIG FOOD, BIG MEDIA, BIG LOBBYISTS, BIG BALLS (be glad I just decided to crack a testicle joke), and for today's BIG enemy: BIG INSURANCE! *boo, boo, hiss* This requires more lies, because you have to take the misdeeds of some companies and some executives, break out a broad-assed brush, and start painting in broad brown (the color of bullshit) strokes. It's something 10-year-olds are generally good at.

The bullshittery begins with the number of representatives facing constituents who effectively boo them off the stage. In turn, you claim that it's all a ploy to derail "meaningful reform" by BIG EEEEEVIL INSURANCE COMPANIES, guided by Republican hacks and more astroturf than American Idol fandom. But when half the population opposes the plan, then maybe you should consider that the BIG EEEEEVIL INSURANCE COMPANIES, for all the "obscene, filthy, disgusting, slimy, Naziesque (misnomer) profits" they make, simply don't have the payroll to buy that many damned people off. Besides, if all insurance companies were so evil (and I admit there are bastards out there), we'd have ditched them for the government tit a long time ago.

4. Repeat - Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Etc.

The big lies are best served when you repeat the same words over and over. Words like crisis. As in health care crisis. Or health insurance crisis. Now while there are many problems, and they are bad in some cases, the system is sustainable for a good while longer. This means that while prompt action to fix the problems would be fantastic, there is no need to rush a solution if its potential is that it will make things worse. And a thousand-page plan that most of its proponents haven't read, that when condensed reads as a blueprint of another grabtastic clusterfuck of a government boondoggle, and that is being rushed with all of the speed of this year's Bullshit! "stimulus" package and last year's Wall Street Dastardly Bastardly Bailout, you know it's a lie that we need to do this RIGHT NOW, before babies start dying by the bushel.

But on the plus side, all the truthless blather gives me some fun.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is Asshat of the Week!

As the head (evidenced by the kneepads) of the House and the leader of the effort to ram thorough the government health care, she's the biggest target in a collection of miscreants that are getting roundly defeated in town halls by the legions of pissed off Americans, at least until the union thugs arrive to start some shit. And shall I even detail the plan of attack coming from the White House?

Now I know dear Nancy doesn't have this problem when she goes home, being that she represents that bastion of quasi-socialist insanity, San Fransicko (and you haven't pulled the batteries out of her yet?). So the idea that she is in charge of rallying the troops to face their constituents gives me giggles and squirts in orifici I'll be kind enough not to document with pictures anywhere in this blog. Needless to say, the word hapless will most certainly apply here, though not soon enough to suit my sadistic preference.

Now poor pitiful Nancy has had herself down for asshattery for a while now. I just had to find something specific. Although, since he'd probably stick up for the scary lady, I could let fellow blogger Truth101 share the award.

Nah, he'd like that too much. Too bad. Nancy gets it this week all alone.


Toad734 said...

So you aren't talking about the lies the right is spewing? Most of what you are being told is a lie.

Anonymous said...

What gets me is that when the right or average Americans protest, it's because we are hired by insurance companies. It never crosses anyone's mind that WE (every day American citizens) HATE this bill. Is that really too hard of a concept to wrap your head around? I am not saying that there aren't people there that have other motives but we want the representatives to know that WE don't like it and don't want it!!!!

I don't buy into the "they are going to kill old people crap" but there is confusion because the thing was written by lawyers intended for other lawyers. When they don't even understand it and don't read it, it speaks volumes!

Toad734 said...

You don't know that you hate this bill because you don't know what's in this bill. Rush Limbaugh told you to hate this bill because it will make it harder for him to score his Oxy Contin.

How does this bill harm you?

Patrick M said...

Toad: I think I covered that, if you were actually paying attention. I didn't cover every line, exaggeration, or half-truth, but I did say it's happening on both sides.

Jenn: Do you REALLY want to deny Rush his Oxy fix?

Wait, that sounds just as dumb when I say it.

Anonymous said...

You caught me Patrick, I admit it! That was indeed my goal! (rolling eyes)

You ask what is the harm of this bill, here are some stats on the UK............

* Breast cancer kills 25 percent of its American victims. In Great Britain, the Vatican of single-payer medicine, breast cancer extinguishes 46 percent of its targets.

* Prostate cancer is fatal to 19 percent of its American patients. The National Center for Policy Analysis reports that it kills 57 percent of Britons it strikes.

* Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development data show that the U.K.'s 2005 heart-attack fatality rate was 19.5 percent higher than America's. This may correspond to angioplasties, which were only 21.3 percent as common there as here.

* The U.K.'s National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) just announced plans to cut its 60,000 annual steroid injections for severe back-pain sufferers to just 3,000. This should save the government 33 million pounds (about $55 million). "The consequences of the NICE decision will be devastating for thousands of patients," Dr. Jonathan Richardson of Bradford Hospitals Trust told London's Daily Telegraph. "It will mean more people on opiates, which are addictive, and kill 2,000 a year. It will mean more people having spinal surgery, which is incredibly risky, and has a 50 per cent failure rate."

* "Seriously ill patients are being kept in ambulances outside hospitals for hours so NHS trusts do not miss Government targets," Daniel Martin wrote last year in London's Daily Mail. "Thousands of people a year are having to wait outside accident and emergency departments because trusts will not let them in until they can treat them within four hours, in line with a Labour [party] pledge. The hold-ups mean ambulances are not available to answer fresh 911 calls. Doctors warned last night that the practice of ‘patient-stacking' was putting patients' health at risk."

How about Canada...........

Canada has one-third fewer doctors per capita than the OECD average. "The doctor shortage is a direct result of government rationing, since provinces intervened to restrict class sizes in major Canadian medical schools in the 1990s," Dr. David Gratzer, a Canadian physician and Manhattan Institute scholar, told the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee on June 24. Some towns address the doctor dearth with lotteries in which citizens compete for rare medical appointments.

* "In 2008, the average Canadian waited 17.3 weeks from the time his general practitioner referred him to a specialist until he actually received treatment," Pacific Research Institute president Sally Pipes, a Canadian native, wrote in the July 2 Investor's Business Daily. "That's 86 percent longer than the wait in 1993, when the [Fraser] Institute first started quantifying the problem."

* Such sloth includes a median 9.7-week wait for an MRI exam, 31.7 weeks to see a neurosurgeon, and 36.7 weeks - nearly nine months - to visit an orthopedic surgeon.

* Thus, Canadian supreme court justice Marie Deschamps wrote in her 2005 majority opinion in Chaoulli v. Quebec, "This case shows that delays in the public health care system are widespread, and that, in some cases, patients die as a result of waiting lists for public health care."

And we want to adopt the same nationalized health thank you!

Satyavati devi dasi said...

The United States ranks LAST in preventable deaths among industrialized nations. More people die needlessly here per 100K than in ANY OTHER INDUSTRIALIZED NATION ON THE PLANET.

The French system, which is a combined government/private system, covers 99% of the population and gives them the BEST OUTCOMES ON EARTH.

People in this country have no-fucking-clue what the fuck they're talking about when it comes to healthcare.

TAO said...


I just LOVE you! I was at a show most of this week and I took my 10 Canadian customers to dinner one night...

Should have heard what they think about our healthcare system and our banking system...

Oh, and these are conservative small business owners and not radical leftists! :)

Or as they say, "Americans have no-fucking-clue what the fuck they're talking about when it comes to Canada..."

Patrick M said...

Jenn: Thanks for the info.

Saty and Tao: Thanks for the info (or lack thereof).

I am looking at the French system and why it works, compared to the unsustainable British and Canadian systems. And I may eventually get that post written (next week, based on how behind I've gotten this week).