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The Old Redneck provides the answer to health insurance reform


-- In 1960 we spent 5 percent of our GDP on health care. Today we spend 17 percent. All projections are that in 30 years -- 2039 -- we will spend 30 percent or more of our national wealth on health care.

-- Republicans and Democrats agree that we cannot continue down this road. Health care costs are killing our economy. The major factor in the GM bankruptcy was NOT the quality of their cars -- it was the legacy health care costs contained in their employment contracts. And GM is not alone -- every business is staggering under health insurance costs for their employees.

-- Democrats say we MUST have a "public option" -- Medicare for all.

-- Republicans say no public option because we can't put private insurers in competition with the guvmint.

-- Republicans and Democrats agree that we must stop insurance company abuse -- cancel insurance if you get sick, not issuing policies for mythical "pre-existing conditions," and the like.

-- Republicans claim that health care costs are rising because of greedy malpractice lawyers.

-- Democrats reply that patients need protection from incompetent physicians.


1. Congress mandates medical insurance just as the states mandate car insurance. Everyone MUST have health insurance. You can get it through your employer or you can get your own, but you must get it.

2. Congress writes three insurance policies and sets the premiums for these policies.
-- Bronze policy: Basic coverage, low cost.
-- Silver policy: More coverage than bronze, more expensive.
-- Gold policy: Even more coverage, even more cost.
-- Congress reviews these policies and premiums every 2 years and makes adjustments as necessary.

3. Congress mandates that EVERY insurance company MUST sell these three policies at Congressionally-mandated premiums. If the insurance companies want to sell other products, they are free to do so but they MUST sell these three basic policies at premiums set by Congress.
-- Guvmint is not in competition with private companies, Republicans happy.
-- Everyone has affordable insurance, Democrats happy.
-- Insurance companies gain a zillion new customers, they are happy.
-- If, for example, you have limited income and purchase a Bronze policy, when your income improves, you probably will buy more coverage from the same company. Insurance companies happy.
-- Employers could offer their employees, say, Silver coverage. If the employee wants more, let the employee pay for it. Employers are now happy.

4. Congress takes over the malpractice business.
-- Just as banks pay into the FDIC, medical providers will pay into the FMIC -- Federal Malpractice Insurance Corporation. Premiums would be less than under private malpractice insurance but awards to patients would be limited.
-- The FMIC decides what constitutes malpractice, what the awards will be, and how physicians will be punished.
-- Now, under FMIC, when you go to the doc, if he screws up, you know you'll get half a million $$$ for the loss of an eye -- not $100 million -- and the doc knows that he'll have his license suspended for 12 months. Everybody goes away a little bit happy and a little bit unhappy -- which means it's a good plan.
-- Tort reform problem solved, Republicans happy.
-- Malpractice is punished, Democrats happy.
-- Trial lawyers pissed off. Screw 'em.
-- No more mesothelioma ads on TV, soap opera fans happy.
-- If a doc does not want to participate in the FMIC, then he is at the mercy of the private insurers and the trial lawyers. Good luck, doc.

5. Congress establishes catastrophic illness caps -- if you are hit with crushing medical bills, the guvmint takes care of you.
-- Everybody happy.

6. Congress reworks Medicare and Medicaid to provide insurance to the truly indigent, the elderly who want it, and to people in transition between jobs, and similar situations.

The Old Redneck has now provided the answer.

What's the next problem you want me to solve?

Virginia Governor's Race: The REAL Bob McDonnell Exposed -- and It's UGLY

EXCELLENT WashPost article on the REAL Bob McDonnell, 2009 Republican candidate for governor of Virginia. This article exposes the REAL McDonnell, not the reformed, moderat McDonnell-Lite the VA Republicans are trying to push.


---- QUOTE ----

'89 Thesis A Different Side of McDonnellVa. GOP Candidate Wrote on Women, Marriage and Gays

By Amy GardnerWashington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, August 30, 2009

At age 34, two years before his first election and two decades before he would run for governor of Virginia, Robert F. McDonnell submitted a master's thesis to the evangelical school he was attending in Virginia Beach in which he described working women and feminists as "detrimental" to the family. He said government policy should favor married couples over "cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators." He described as "illogical" a 1972 Supreme Court decision legalizing the use of contraception by unmarried couples.

The 93-page document, which is publicly available at the Regent University library, culminates with a 15-point action plan that McDonnell said the Republican Party should follow to protect American families -- a vision that he started to put into action soon after he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates.

During his 14 years in the General Assembly, McDonnell pursued at least 10 of the policy goals he laid out in that research paper, including abortion restrictions, covenant marriage, school vouchers and tax policies to favor his view of the traditional family. In 2001, he voted against a resolution in support of ending wage discrimination between men and women.

In his run for governor, McDonnell, 55, makes little mention of his conservative beliefs and has said throughout his campaign that he should be judged by what he has done in office, including efforts to lower taxes, stiffen criminal penalties and reform mental health laws. He reiterated that position Saturday in a statement responding to questions about his thesis.

"Virginians will judge me on my 18-year record as a legislator and Attorney General and the specific plans I have laid out for our future -- not on a decades-old academic paper I wrote as a student during the Reagan era and haven't thought about in years."
McDonnell added: "Like everybody, my views on many issues have changed as I have gotten older." He said that his views on family policy were best represented by his 1995 welfare reform legislation and that he "worked to include child day care in the bill so women would have greater freedom to work." What he wrote in the thesis on women in the workplace, he said, "was simply an academic exercise and clearly does not reflect my views."

McDonnell also said that government should not discriminate based on sexual orientation or ban contraceptives and that "I am not advocating vouchers as there are legal questions regarding their constitutionality in Virginia."

The Washington Post learned of the thesis in a recent interview with McDonnell, who mentioned it in answering a question about his political roots. McDonnell brought up the paper in reference to a pair of Republican congressmen whom he interviewed as part of his research. McDonnell then offered: "I wrote my thesis on welfare policy."

McDonnell's opponent, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (Bath), and other Democrats have sought to highlight McDonnell's conservative record, saying he is obscuring a large part of his background to get elected. Deeds recently spoke to women's groups about McDonnell's record on abortion, saying that voters needed to know about his stances.

"There is a just a massive effort underway to rebrand Bob McDonnell, and his whole legislative career speaks otherwise," said former delegate Barnie K. Day (D-Patrick), who supports Deeds. "The voters have a right to know who these candidates really are."

When asked about Regent, McDonnell generally responds that it is one of many schools he has attended. He received a bachelor's in business administration at the University of Notre Dame in 1976, and he received a master's in business administration from Boston University in 1980 while serving overseas in the Army.

After four years in the Army and the start of a management career with a Fortune 500 health supply company, McDonnell moved with his wife, Maureen, and two young daughters from a suburb of Kansas City, Mo., to Virginia Beach, where he enrolled in a public policy master's program at what was then called CBN University. The school was founded by Pat Robertson and named for his Christian Broadcasting Network.

McDonnell said that he was seeking a faith-based institution that explored the Christian origins of Western law and that he and his wife wanted to return to Virginia, where they grew up. The school expected students to take their faith seriously; they were admitted only after signing a statement affirming that Jesus Christ was their savior. The school also produced a number of politically active conservatives. Its Web site used to say that 150 of its graduates worked in President George W. Bush's administration. Regent's motto: Christian leadership to change the world.

The combination of faith and public service was on McDonnell's mind, too. His 1989 thesis -- "The Republican Party's Vision for the Family: The Compelling Issue of The Decade" -- was on the subject he wanted to explore at Regent: the link between Christianity and U.S. law. The document was written to fulfill the requirements of the two degrees he was seeking at Regent, a master of arts in public policy and a juris doctor in law.

The thesis wasn't so much a case against government as a blueprint to change what he saw as a liberal model into one that actively promoted conservative, faith-based principles through tax policy, the public schools, welfare reform and other avenues.

"Leaders must correct the conventional folklore about the separation of church and state," he wrote. "Historically, the religious liberty guarantees of the First Amendment were intended to prevent government encroachment upon the free church, not eliminate the impact of religion on society."

He argued for covenant marriage, a legally distinct type of marriage intended to make it more difficult to obtain a divorce. He advocated character education programs in public schools to teach "traditional Judeo-Christian values" and other principles that he thought many youths were not learning in their homes. He called for less government encroachment on parental authority, for example, redefining child abuse to "exclude parental spanking." He lamented the "purging of religious influence" from public schools. And he criticized federal tax credits for child care expenditures because they encouraged women to enter the workforce.

"Further expenditures would be used to subsidize a dynamic new trend of working women and feminists that is ultimately detrimental to the family by entrenching status-quo of nonparental primary nurture of children," he wrote.

He went on to say feminism is among the "real enemies of the traditional family."

McDonnell said in his statement that he is "fully supportive of the tremendous contributions women make in the workplace. My wife and daughters work. My campaign manager in 2005 was a working mother. I appointed 5 women to my senior staff as Attorney General."

Maureen McDonnell held a variety of positions with the federal government before the couple started a family, according to the campaign, and she has since run a series of small businesses out of the home. McDonnell's daughter Jeanine served in the Army in Iraq and is now a civilian contract employee; his daughter Cailin is coordinating youth outreach for the Republican Party of Virginia's election efforts this year. Neither daughter is married or has children.

McDonnell's thesis also spends a good deal of time on the importance of tax policy to the health of families. He called for the repeal of the estate tax and for the adoption of a modified flat tax to replace the graduated income tax. Awarding deductions and distributions based on need "is socialist," McDonnell wrote.

His advocacy of abortion restrictions is well known; he sponsored or co-sponsored numerous pieces of legislation on the topic, including a ban on late-term abortions, a requirement that minors receive parental consent before having an abortion and a mandated 24-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion. He and like-minded colleagues succeeded in repealing Virginia's estate tax and reforming welfare law, as well as restricting access to abortion.

He also sponsored bills on four occasions to establish covenant marriage in Virginia. All four were unsuccessful. Under McDonnell's proposals, couples choosing to enter covenant marriage would have been required to obtain premarital counseling and sign a declaration of intent acknowledging that marriage is a lifelong commitment. In addition, the time of separation necessary for couples with children to obtain a no-fault divorce would have been extended from one to two years.

One controversy that drew wide attention was an effort in the General Assembly in 2003 to end the judicial career of Verbena M. Askew, a Circuit Court judge from Newport News who had been accused of sexual harassment by a woman who worked for her. As chairman of the Courts of Justice Committee, McDonnell led the effort in the House. He said he was opposed to Askew's reappointment because she didn't disclose, as required, that she was a party to a legal proceeding.

McDonnell was widely quoted at the time as saying that homosexual activity raised questions about a person's qualifications to be a judge. Spokesman Tucker Martin said McDonnell was misquoted and does not consider homosexuality a disqualifying factor for judgeships or other jobs.

Askew, who was not reappointed, denied any wrongdoing and was never found by a court to have harassed the employee.
Republican friends who support McDonnell's campaign for governor acknowledge parting ways with some of his more conservative views. Former governor and U.S. senator George Allen said he doesn't share McDonnell's opposition to abortion in cases of rape or incest. "There should always be an exception," he said. And state Sen. Kenneth W. Stolle (Virginia Beach), a close friend first elected to the legislature the same year as McDonnell, described covenant marriage as "the state overstepping its bounds."
Allen, Stolle and other Republicans say that such positions represent a small piece of McDonnell's record.

McDonnell is quick to point out his promotion of criminal justice legislation, an interest that stemmed from his two years as an assistant prosecutor in Virginia Beach after his graduation from Regent. He points to a record of bipartisan cooperation as attorney general that included toughening Virginia's laws on sex offenders, cracking down on identity theft and promoting stricter laws against animal fighting. He says that he worked closely with Democratic Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, particularly in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings, and that he was praised by Democrats on the day he left office for his handling of the Virginia Tech crisis and other accomplishments.

Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), who has shared most of McDonnell's conservative positions over the years, said there is no question that the candidate is playing down his conservatism today. Marshall said McDonnell risks alienating two groups of voters: moderates who might view him as hiding his true beliefs and conservatives who might think that he is no longer conservative enough.

"If you duck something, that tells your opponents that you think your position is a liability," said Marshall, who is backing McDonnell. "Why else wouldn't you acknowledge it? But I'll tell you, I've got precinct captains who are annoyed that he's not answering these questions. He doesn't have to bash people in the head with it. But he doesn't have to put it in the closet, either. There's a balance you can take."

---- END QUOTE ----

Here's a link to the thesis -- it's a 5.11 MB PDF file:

Coal industry lobbyists caught in a BIG lie

A few weeks ago, a "new" organization popped up calling itself FACES -- Federation for American Coal, Energy, and Security.

They are running TV and print ads telling us that we all should burn more coal -- the more coal we burn, the better.

The ads feature lovely families, good-looking young women -- all the usual stuff. BUT WAIT A MINUTE -- who are these fresh-faced, clean-scrubbed people who ask you to burn more coal??

Turns out the photos are all STOCK PHOTOS FROM A STOCK PHOTO SERVICE -- iPhoto

They can't find any real people to photograph.

Laying waste to the Republikkkon lies about health insurance reform legislation

Here's an excellent article that lays bare the Republikkkon and rightwing lies about health insurance reform legislation.

Cut the crap: What's REALLY in health insurance reform legislation

Here's a website I found today. They are publishing a series of articles explaining what is REALLY in the health insurance reform legislation:

Five myths about health care around the world

5 Myths About Health Care Around the World

By T.R. Reid
Sunday, August 23, 2009

As Americans search for the cure to what ails our health-care system, we've overlooked an invaluable source of ideas and solutions: the rest of the world. All the other industrialized democracies have faced problems like ours, yet they've found ways to cover everybody -- and still spend far less than we do.

I've traveled the world from Oslo to Osaka to see how other developed democracies provide health care. Instead of dismissing these models as "socialist," we could adapt their solutions to fix our problems. To do that, we first have to dispel a few myths about health care abroad:

1. It's all socialized medicine out there.

Not so. Some countries, such as Britain, New Zealand and Cuba, do provide health care in government hospitals, with the government paying the bills. Others -- for instance, Canada and Taiwan -- rely on private-sector providers, paid for by government-run insurance. But many wealthy countries -- including Germany, the Netherlands, Japan and Switzerland -- provide universal coverage using private doctors, private hospitals and private insurance plans.

In some ways, health care is less "socialized" overseas than in the United States. Almost all Americans sign up for government insurance (Medicare) at age 65. In Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, seniors stick with private insurance plans for life. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is one of the planet's purest examples of government-run health care.

2. Overseas, care is rationed through limited choices or long lines.

Generally, no. Germans can sign up for any of the nation's 200 private health insurance plans -- a broader choice than any American has. If a German doesn't like her insurance company, she can switch to another, with no increase in premium. The Swiss, too, can choose any insurance plan in the country.

In France and Japan, you don't get a choice of insurance provider; you have to use the one designated for your company or your industry. But patients can go to any doctor, any hospital, any traditional healer. There are no U.S.-style limits such as "in-network" lists of doctors or "pre-authorization" for surgery. You pick any doctor, you get treatment -- and insurance has to pay.

Canadians have their choice of providers. In Austria and Germany, if a doctor diagnoses a person as "stressed," medical insurance pays for weekends at a health spa.

As for those notorious waiting lists, some countries are indeed plagued by them. Canada makes patients wait weeks or months for nonemergency care, as a way to keep costs down. But studies by the Commonwealth Fund and others report that many nations -- Germany, Britain, Austria -- outperform the United States on measures such as waiting times for appointments and for elective surgeries.

In Japan, waiting times are so short that most patients don't bother to make an appointment. One Thursday morning in Tokyo, I called the prestigious orthopedic clinic at Keio University Hospital to schedule a consultation about my aching shoulder. "Why don't you just drop by?" the receptionist said. That same afternoon, I was in the surgeon's office. Dr. Nakamichi recommended an operation. "When could we do it?" I asked. The doctor checked his computer and said, "Tomorrow would be pretty difficult. Perhaps some day next week?"

3. Foreign health-care systems are inefficient, bloated bureaucracies.

Much less so than here. It may seem to Americans that U.S.-style free enterprise -- private-sector, for-profit health insurance -- is naturally the most cost-effective way to pay for health care. But in fact, all the other payment systems are more efficient than ours.

U.S. health insurance companies have the highest administrative costs in the world; they spend roughly 20 cents of every dollar for nonmedical costs, such as paperwork, reviewing claims and marketing. France's health insurance industry, in contrast, covers everybody and spends about 4 percent on administration. Canada's universal insurance system, run by government bureaucrats, spends 6 percent on administration. In Taiwan, a leaner version of the Canadian model has administrative costs of 1.5 percent; one year, this figure ballooned to 2 percent, and the opposition parties savaged the government for wasting money.

The world champion at controlling medical costs is Japan, even though its aging population is a profligate consumer of medical care. On average, the Japanese go to the doctor 15 times a year, three times the U.S. rate. They have twice as many MRI scans and X-rays. Quality is high; life expectancy and recovery rates for major diseases are better than in the United States. And yet Japan spends about $3,400 per person annually on health care; the United States spends more than $7,000.

4. Cost controls stifle innovation.

False. The United States is home to groundbreaking medical research, but so are other countries with much lower cost structures. Any American who's had a hip or knee replacement is standing on French innovation. Deep-brain stimulation to treat depression is a Canadian breakthrough. Many of the wonder drugs promoted endlessly on American television, including Viagra, come from British, Swiss or Japanese labs.

Overseas, strict cost controls actually drive innovation. In the United States, an MRI scan of the neck region costs about $1,500. In Japan, the identical scan costs $98. Under the pressure of cost controls, Japanese researchers found ways to perform the same diagnostic technique for one-fifteenth the American price. (And Japanese labs still make a profit.)

5. Health insurance has to be cruel.

Not really. American health insurance companies routinely reject applicants with a "preexisting condition" -- precisely the people most likely to need the insurers' service. They employ armies of adjusters to deny claims. If a customer is hit by a truck and faces big medical bills, the insurer's "rescission department" digs through the records looking for grounds to cancel the policy, often while the victim is still in the hospital. The companies say they have to do this stuff to survive in a tough business.

Foreign health insurance companies, in contrast, must accept all applicants, and they can't cancel as long as you pay your premiums. The plans are required to pay any claim submitted by a doctor or hospital (or health spa), usually within tight time limits. The big Swiss insurer Groupe Mutuel promises to pay all claims within five days. "Our customers love it," the group's chief executive told me. The corollary is that everyone is mandated to buy insurance, to give the plans an adequate pool of rate-payers.

The key difference is that foreign health insurance plans exist only to pay people's medical bills, not to make a profit. The United States is the only developed country that lets insurance companies profit from basic health coverage.

In many ways, foreign health-care models are not really "foreign" to America, because our crazy-quilt health-care system uses elements of all of them. For Native Americans or veterans, we're Britain: The government provides health care, funding it through general taxes, and patients get no bills. For people who get insurance through their jobs, we're Germany: Premiums are split between workers and employers, and private insurance plans pay private doctors and hospitals. For people over 65, we're Canada: Everyone pays premiums for an insurance plan run by the government, and the public plan pays private doctors and hospitals according to a set fee schedule. And for the tens of millions without insurance coverage, we're Burundi or Burma: In the world's poor nations, sick people pay out of pocket for medical care; those who can't pay stay sick or die.

This fragmentation is another reason that we spend more than anybody else and still leave millions without coverage. All the other developed countries have settled on one model for health-care delivery and finance; we've blended them all into a costly, confusing bureaucratic mess.

Which, in turn, punctures the most persistent myth of all: that America has "the finest health care" in the world. We don't. In terms of results, almost all advanced countries have better national health statistics than the United States does. In terms of finance, we force 700,000 Americans into bankruptcy each year because of medical bills. In France, the number of medical bankruptcies is zero. Britain: zero. Japan: zero. Germany: zero.

Given our remarkable medical assets -- the best-educated doctors and nurses, the most advanced hospitals, world-class research -- the United States could be, and should be, the best in the world. To get there, though, we have to be willing to learn some lessons about health-care administration from the other industrialized democracies.

There REALLY was a "death panel" -- it was a private institution and the federal government put it out of business

Live or Die? That Was for the Panel to Decide.

By John Buntin
Sunday, August 23, 2009

Death panels: Republicans warn they'recoming; Democrats say such a thing is unimaginable.

Something about the health-care debate gets people arguing about improbable scenarios, such as the United States turning into Canada or the government killing grandmas. But in the case of death panels, the overheated rhetoric has some historical truth. For a decade, there actually were death panels in this country. And it was big government that ended them.

Before World War II, there was no cure for chronic kidney disease. If your kidneys stopped cleansing your blood of toxins, you died. But in the late 1930s and early '40s, a Dutch physician, Willem Kolff, hit upon an ingenious solution: pumping the blood of patients suffering from end-stage renal failure through a machine that eliminated waste. Using 50 feet of sausage casing wrapped around a wooden drum that rotated in a tank of water and salts, Kolff invented the first dialysis machine.

Kolff's device wasn't perfect (in part, perhaps, because at the time he was also busy organizing Europe's first blood bank, participating in the Dutch resistance to the Nazis and hiding a Jewish boy in his home). The first 16 people he hooked up to his machine died anyway. But in 1945, Kolff finally got his "artificial kidney" working correctly. After the war, he moved to the United States, where he and other scientists quickly made significant improvements to the machine. By the early 1960s, researchers in Seattle had perfected a Teflon shunt that allowed patients with chronic kidney disease to be on dialysis indefinitely, dramatically extending their lives.

But there was a problem: money. At the time, dialysis for one patient cost more than $10,000 a year. The University of Washington Hospital, which had put up the money to support the first dialysis patients, saw an impending crisis as more and more people lined up for treatment, and administrators decided not to admit anyone else until additional funding was secured.

In 1962, with help from a $100,000 foundation grant, Seattle's King County Medical Society opened an artificial kidney clinic at Swedish Hospital and established two committees that, together, would decide who received treatment. The first was a panel of kidney specialists that examined potential patients. Anyone older than 45 was excluded; so were teenagers and children; people with hypertension, vascular complications or diabetes; and those who were judged to be emotionally unprepared for the demanding regimen. Patients who passed this first vetting moved on to another panel, which decided their fate. It soon gained a nickname -- the "God committee."

Born of an effort to be fair, the anonymous committee included a pastor, a lawyer, a union leader, a homemaker, two doctors and a businessman and based its selection on applicants' "social worth." Of the first 17 patients it saw, 10 were selected for dialysis. The remaining seven died.

In the fall of 1962, Life magazine published a story about the "life and death committee." In Washington, D.C., the deputy surgeon general fired off a memo to the secretary of health, education and welfare, warning that "strong pressure for some federal action" from the public might ensue.

It didn't. Instead, as the technology spread, medical centers in other cities struggled to serve large numbers of patients with limited numbers of dialysis machines. The rise of home dialysis reduced the number of people excluded from treatment, but panels across the country still met to decide who would receive access to the life-saving treatment. Supply was one limitation. Money was another, and the ability to pay often meant the difference between life and death.

Finally, in 1972, Congress decided to step in and provide federal funding for dialysis through the recently created Medicare program. The availability of treatment exploded. Today nearly half a million Americans suffer from end-stage renal disease, and dialysis is helping keep 340,000 alive.

So what does this tell us about what universal heath insurance might mean? It tells us that, if history is any guide, the government will expand access to health care, not curtail it. Federal involvement has never led to death panels. It has only ended them.

Mark Sanford: Representative of true conservative values

As we all know, before SC Governor Mark "The Argentine Tango Star" Sanford was caught with his pants down, he was about to publish a book that was supposed to propel him to national political stardom. Here is a blurb from the publisher's planned promotional material:

-- quote
Though conservative values seem to lie dormant in American politics today, they are in fact even more relevant in the Obama era. Governor Mark Sanford makes the case that the American public needs to turn back to the conservative values that made this country great, and that our country is in serious peril if we do not wake to the implications of forsaking such principles.
-- end quote

And there you have it, folks -- Mark "The Argentine Tango Star" Sanford -- a shining representative of true conservative values!!!!!!

One thing is VERY clear

Well -- the "health care debate" has made one thing very, very clear: The vast majority of people DO NOT HAVE A SINGLE CLUE as to the provisions of their health care insurance policy.

That's right -- listening to the "debate" and to the questions that people are asking, it's clear that very few people even know what's in their own policies.

Oh, yes, and one more thing the "debate" has made clear: Most people don't have a clue about "end of life" issues. Not a clue.

And yet the Republicans want us to make decisions based on the ignorance of the crowd.

Sarah "Death Panels" Palin urged Alaskans to prepare end-of-life documents !!!

Today's pop quiz: Guess which former Alasakan governor signed a proclamation declaring "Healthcare Decisions Day" and encouraging Alaskans to do end-of-life planning???

Answer below the fold:


I know -- tough question -- but the answer is -- DRUM ROLL -- MOOSE CALLS -- ANOTHER DRUM ROLL -- Sarah Palin. That's right -- Governor Death Panels herself.

From the Anchorage Daily News:

So, who signed a proclamation declaring April 16, 2008 "Healthcare Decisions Day," that included the following:

"WHEREAS, the Foundation for End of Life Care in Juneau, Alaska, and other organizations throughout the United States have endorsed this event and are committed to educating the public about the importance of discussing healthcare choices and executing advance directives."

Yes, d'Ears, the death panel lady herself.

By the way, this is the same Anchorage Daily News column that reported the rumor that Sarah is taking her $7 million and moving to Rhode Island.

FINALLY: Barney Frank tells it like it is

FINALLY -- a Democrat stands up to the nonsense that is dominating the "health care debate."

If you have not seen this video, check it out:

A woman stands up at one of Franks' town hall meetings, waves a photo of President Obama dressed as Hitler, and asks a stupid question about health care reform and Nazis and some other crap.

Franks' reply: "On what planet do you spend most of your time?" "Talking to you would be like holding a conversation with a dining room table."

More Democrats need to adopt the Franks approach -- these people are loons and are not worth wasting time on -- cut 'em off at the knees.

Guys packing guns at Obama rallies are connected -- it's all planned

The following is NOT original with the Old Redneck. I copied this entire entry from a diary on the DailyKOS by an individual using the pseudonym "henry porter" titled

Connecting the Guys Packing Heat in AZ and NH.

"henry porter's" findings are frightening:

-- He connects the two guys who carried guns to the Obama town halls in New Hampshire and Arizona to a group calling itself "RP4409" -- "RP" for "Ron Paul."

-- He then points out that members of this group have engaged in very confrontational activities on several occasions. In fact, their fvorite tactic seems to be to push and push until there is a reaction, which they then videotape and use as promotional material.

All of which raises the concern that they will keep pushing until one of their number takes a shot at President Obama.

Here is "henry porter's" diary in it's entirety.

---- quote ----

Time to add a new label to the lexicon of distractions.

In addition to Birthers, Deathers, and Teabaggers, let's add Packers. (h/t to Troubadour)

These are all different names for the same thing.

The growing number of armed protesters appearing at public events featuring the president raises real concern. I understand why the official response seeks to defuse these situations rather than inflame them. These incidents are meant to be provocative. However, the recent appearance of a man with an AR-15 generated an odd comment by the Secret Service spokesman

U.S. Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan acknowledged the incidents in New Hampshire and Arizona, but said he was not aware of any other recent events where protesters attended with open weapons. He said there was no indication that anyone had organized the incidents.

Contrary to what the Secret Service spokesman said, there is plenty of evidence these incidents are organized. It didn't take me very long to find it. I'm putting the information out here because we need to be clear about who and what we are confronting. These are not isolated incidents. I believe we will see more. Forewarned is forearmed.

First, the CNN image of the AR-15 Packer. This is the fellow who said "I come from another state where 'open carry' is legal, but no one does it, so the police don't really know about it and they harass people, arrest people falsely."

That is very interesting. He's from out of state, following the president with an AR-15, the same weapon the Beltway Sniper used. And he claims that he lives in a state where open carry is legal, but the police are ignorant of that fact? Really? So why cross state lines and go to a health care rally?

...the man, who wasn't identified, said in an interview aired by CNN affiliate KNVX. "I think that people need to get out and do it more so that they get kind of conditioned to it."

They interviewed the guy but weren't able to identify him? I guess they really didn't try very hard, because I found it out pretty easily. He is a Ron Paul supporter who works with a group based in Arizona called Ron Paul 4409

Turns out his name is Chris:

This is not Chris' first foray into political theater. He was the guy who broke up the town hall meeting with Phoenix congressman Shedagg:

He also shows up in a video with Pastor Steve Anderson.

The name Steve Anderson may be familiar... he was the Phoenix Pastor who has made a hobby out of provoking Border Patrol officers. He finally succeeded in getting beaten and tazed after refusing to comply with a lawful order from a local Arizona police officer. I wrote about him back in April. Even then, I noted:

I think the encounter was no accident. I think it was a set up. I think we may be seeing the beginning of a wave of people provoking incidents to justify the ravings of people like Beck. If this gets a lot of play on FOX, I will consider that evidence in support of my suspicions.

Well, now we have Steven Anderson and Packer Chris in the same place at the same time, provoking the same people. This is not a coincidence.

The group that seems to be one of the coordinating hubs here is the RP4409 group. In addition to being active locally, they have a significant YouTube presence and link in to a community of like-minded web sites. According to their info on the YouTube clip of this incident:

We went down to the Obama staged Healthcare rally and our buddy Chris rolled down there with his AR-15 and his 9mm.

At this point it is worth noting the claim:

4409 works strictly off Donations to inform the people. Look through the videos and you will see this is a full time job.

They are right about that. Looks like several people are employed at this. Here's a case of DVD's they produced for this event:

Here's the "joker" posters they produced for the event. As the guy on the video says,"Thank you Alex Jones":

And the "joker" posters they are reproducing to spread around have a few links to other libertarian sites and a local libertarian candidate. I doubt the candidate is involved in this, but I make the point to emphasize these guys are not acting in isolation from one another.

As their video shows, the whole operation was planned in advance:

While researching this, I found confirmation of my suspicion that the New Hampshire Gun-Toter and the Arizona Packers were connected. CNN interviewed Ernest Hancock, the guy who interviews Chris outside the Obama event as seen in the 4409 video. As Hancock told CNN's Rick Sanchez:

Oh, it's more planned than you think," Hancock responded. He then let loose with a string of details, including how Hancock contacted the Phoenix police department days before the event and how he was partially motivated to do so because of the controversy surrounding William Kostric, the man armed with a gun outside of Obama's town hall in New Hampshire last week.

Lavendar Newswire did a thorough report on Packer Kostric, much more so than anything you heard on TV. As he said on Hardball, he is a Ron Paul supporter and Ayn Rand fan. He's a Libertarian cut from the same cloth as the 4409 crowd. In fact:

MySpace page says he works in "Gaming - Marketing - Marketing," which is right in line with the the sole entry for a "William Kostric" in LinkedIn: "William Kostric - Independent Gambling & Casinos Professional - Phoenix, Arizona Area ... Industry - Gambling & Casinos".

According to Lavendar Newswire, Kostric is from Arizona:

and moved to New Hampshire only about a year ago — "because it’s a ‘live free or die’ state — and he thought Arizona was becoming too restrictive with its gun laws."

Kostric, you may recall did more than merely carry a gun. He had a poster referring to Jefferson's quote about "watering the Tree of Liberty". He made no overt mention to "blood" in his poster, but the implication was clear enough to get Chris Matthews to ask him why he brought a "God-damned gun" to the rally. That phrase also shows up in the 4409 video interview with Packer Chris:

Camera man: What's that strap? What's that across your back? Turn around my man. What is that?

Chris: It aids me in my resistance.

Camera Man: You taking that down to Obama. You going to water the Tree of Liberty?

Chris: I hope not.

I take it back, these Packers are not cut from the same cloth. They are joined at the hip. The only question now is who is really financing all this?

Taliban take over Texas public schools

Yep, while American soldiers are fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, our own homegrown Taliban have taken over Texas public schools -- all Texas public schools now are REQUIRED to provide bible studies -- christian madrasses, that's what we have.

WHITEHOUSE, TX (KLTV) - The school year is almost here, and if literature of the Bible is not already offered in your child's school, it will be this fall.

Books are a common sight in classrooms around the nation, but the Bible is one book that is not. Come this fall, a Texas law says all public schools must offer information relating to the Bible in their curriculum.

"By the end of the year, what they begin to realize is that it is pervasive. You can't get away from it. The kids came back and were like 'It's everywhere,'" said John Keeling, the social studies chair at Whitehouse High School. Whitehouse already offers a Bible elective. "The purpose of a course like this isn't even really to get kids to believe it per say. It is just to appreciate the profound impact that it has had on our history and on our government," said Keeling.

The law actually passed in 2007, but this will be the first school year it is enforced because the bill says, "The provisions of this act pertaining to a school district do not take effect until the 2009-2010 school year."

This has gained mixed reactions from East Texans. "I think it is a good thing because a lot of kids don't have that experience, and they already want to take prayer out of school as it is-- and you see where our kids are ending up!" said Tyler resident Laura Tucker.

Tyler resident Havis Tatum disagress with Tucker. He said, "I don't want anybody teaching their religious beliefs to my child unless they want to send their child to my house and let me teach them my religious views. There is no difference."

School officials tell us schools haven't enforced this law because of confusion over the bill's wording and lack of state funding.

For now, each school district must find a way to fill the requirement before the seats are filled with students.

Rightwingers, Republicans, conservatives, biblethumpers, freepers, birthers -- you have no right to speak out

Rightwinger, Republicans, Conservatives, Biblethumpers, Freepers, Birthers, and similar Morons of all stripe, YOU DID NOT GET MAD, YOU DID NOT SPEAK OUT, YOU DID NOT PROTEST . . . WHEN . . .

You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

You didn't get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.

You didn't get mad when a covert CIA operative was outed.

You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.

You didn't get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.

You didn't get mad when we spent over 600 billion (and counting) on said illegal war.

You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.

You didn't get mad when you saw the Abu Grahib photos.

You didn't get mad when you found out we were torturing people.

You didn't get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

You didn't get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden.

You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.

You didn't get mad when we let a major US city drown.

You didn't get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark.

You finally got mad when . . when . . . wait for it . . . when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick.

Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all ok with you but helping other Americans . . . well, fuck that.

That about right? You know it is.

You people have all lost your fucking minds. You are selfish, greedy, obnoxious, narcissistic, and , above all, stupid.

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey has no business giving advice on health insurance after he has trashed his own company

By now we all have heard of the opinion piece written by Whole Foods CEO John Mackey -- his lies and mis-analysis of health care policy in the Wall Street Journal have brought a flood of protests at the Whole Foods headquarters and have led to boycotts of the chain.

Meanwhile, an overlooked fact is that Mackey has driven the once-profitable chain into the ground. For example, the value of Whole Foods stock has plummeted from a high of over $75.oo per share in January 2006 to around $25.00 today.

And this guy wants to advise us on the best health care insurance. Of course, he's still getting his bonusses.

Here's the Morningstar report on Whole Foods:

-- quote
The deceleration in comparable-store sales, costly acceleration in store growth, and messy acquisition of Wild Oats have plagued Whole Foods' results in the past couple of years, but the straw that broke the camel's back was the macroeconomic woes that have spread to the company's more affluent customer base. Whole Foods will always be known as one of the great supermarket innovators and its brand remains a differentiator, but the road ahead will be difficult for the firm, even when the domestic economy recovers.
-- end quote

Look at the graph of the stock value then click on the 5Y to see how Mackey has trashed the company.

End-of-life reimbursement is already a part of Medicare law

As everyone knows, health insurance reform legislation now being considered by Congress contains a provision that will reimburse patients for the cost of end-of-life counseling in which a physician informs the patient of such things as living wills, medical power of attorney, forced feeding, keeping alive by artificial means, and the like.

And, as everyone knows, the Republicans have been raving about this provision, claiming that the legislation requires physicians to suggest euthansia. This very useful provision has been described as "death panels" and "euthanasia panels" by such loons as Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich.

Meanwhile, it turns out that such a provision ALREADY IS PART OF THE MEDICARE LAW.

It was added last year as part of PL 110-275, which passed with an override of a presidential veto: 383-41 in the House (Roll Call Vote 491) and 70-26 in the Senate (Roll Call Vote 177).

PL 110-275 originated as HR 6331. Section 101(b)(iii) of this bill adds 'end-of-life planning' to the 'Initial Preventative Physical Examination'.

It further defines 'end-of-life planning':
(3) For purposes of paragraph (1), the term `end-of-life planning' means verbal or written information regarding--
(A) an individual's ability to prepare an advance directive in the case that an injury or illness causes the individual to be unable to make health care decisions; and
(B) whether or not the physician is willing to follow the individual's wishes as expressed in an advance directive.

Here it is in its final form in CURRENT LAW (SSA Title XVIII Section 1861):

Initial Preventive Physical Examination

(ww)(1) The term "initial preventive physical examination" means physicians’services consisting of a physical examination (including measurement of height, weight, body mass index,[474] and blood pressure[475]) with the goal of health promotion and disease detection and includes education, counseling, and referral with respect to screening and other preventive services described in paragraph (2) and end-of-life planning (as defined in paragraph (3)) upon the agreement with the individual[476], but does not include clinical laboratory tests.

(2) The screening and other preventive services described in this paragraph include the following:

(A) Pneumococcal, influenza, and hepatitis B vaccine and administration under subsection (s)(10).

(B) Screening mammography as defined in subsection (jj).

(C) Screening pap smear and screening pelvic exam as defined in subsection (nn).

(D) Prostate cancer screening tests as defined in subsection (oo).

(E) Colorectal cancer screening tests as defined in subsection (pp).

(F) Diabetes outpatient self-management training services as defined in subsection (qq)(1).

(G) Bone mass measurement as defined in subsection (rr).

(H) Screening for glaucoma as defined in subsection (uu).

(I) Medical nutrition therapy services as defined in subsection (vv).

(J) Cardiovascular screening blood tests as defined in subsection (xx)(1).

(K) Diabetes screening tests as defined in subsection (yy).

(L)[477] Ultrasound screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm as defined in section 1861(bbb).

(M)[478] An electrocardiogram.

(N)[479] Additional preventive services (as defined in subsection (ddd)(1)).

(3)[480] For purposes of paragraph (1), the term "end-of-life planning" means verbal or written information regarding—

(A) an individual’s ability to prepare an advance directive in the case that an injury or illness causes the individual to be unable to make health care decisions; and

(B) whether or not the physician is willing to follow the individual’s wishes as expressed in an advance directive.

My, my.

You don't want "guvmint" medical insurance??

As the debate over medical insurance reform continues, a refrain that we hear -- constantly and stridently -- is "keep the guvmint out of my medical insurance."


Here are some facts -- use Google to find the citations:

-- 45 million Americans are enrolled in Medicare, A GOVERNMENT-RUN, SINGLE-PAYER MEDICAL INSURANCE PROGRAM.


So -- here's a message for those of you ranting about "no government medical insurance:" Check your wallet. If you have a Medicare card or a TriCare card, take it out, call the toll-free number on the back, and tell them to TAKE YOU OFF MEDICARE (or TriCare). After all, we can't have you using the same government-run medical insurance that you disapprove of, can we?

And if you ARE NOT willing to disenroll from Medicare or TriCare, then you need to shitthefuckdownandshutthefuckup.

How the US financial system took over our political system and now we are screwed

Excellent article in "The Atlantic" by former IMF chief economist points out similarities between the crash here in the US and similar crashes in other countries.

Here's the crux of the article:

. . . the finance industry has effectively captured our government . . . recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.

It's a long article, here are some excerpts.

  • :: ::

The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government — a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.

The article can be found here:

The author, Simon Johnson, a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, was the chief economist at the International Monetary Fund during 2007 and 2008.

The article begins by describing how, although crashes in Ukraine, Russia, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea, and elsewhere had different causes, the root problem in each case was

Typically, these countries are in a desperate economic situation for one simple reason—the powerful elites within them overreached in good times and took too many risks.

Johnson then goes on to describe how the US economy AND POLITICS have been slowly taken over by

. . . elite business interests—financiers, in the case of the U.S.—played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.

You need to read the full article. If I thought it would do any good, I'd recommend that Congresscritters read it, too.

Bush White House documents prove it: Karl Rove engineered the firing of several US attorneys

As we all know, there has been mounting concern -- that dates back into the last years of the Bush junta -- that several US attorneys were fired because they refused to prosecute Democrats in the areas where they (the US attorneys) had jurisdiction. Those of us with suspicious minds felt that Bush's advisor Karl Rove engineered these firings as a way of using the judicial system to politically kill off Democrats who could threaten his dream of a "permanent Republican majority."

Of course, Rove's supporters denied that ol' Karl would ever do such a thing.

Or would he?

Let's check out the Judiciary Committee press release that synthesizes the whole mess, revealing the "key facts."

-- quote

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) today released over 700 pages of on-the-record interview transcripts of Karl Rove and Harriet Miers on the U.S. attorney firings and the Bush administration’s politicization of the Department of Justice. Conyers also released over 5,400 pages of Bush White House and Republican National Committee e-mails on these subjects.

The released materials reveal that White House officials were deeply involved in the U.S. attorney firings and the administration made a concerted effort to hide that fact from the American people. "After all the delay and despite all the obfuscation, lies, and spin," Conyers said, "this basic truth can no longer be denied: Karl Rove and his cohorts at the Bush White House were the driving force behind several of these firings, which were done for improper reasons. Under the Bush regime, honest and well-performing U.S. attorneys were fired for petty patronage, political horsetrading and, in the most egregious case of political abuse of the U.S. attorney corps – that of U.S. Attorney Iglesias – because he refused to use his office to help Republicans win elections. When Mr. Iglesias said his firing was a ‘political fragging,’ he was right."

Key new facts revealed in the materials released today include:

2005 White House "Decision" to fire David Iglesias – It has previously been known that New Mexico Republicans pressed for Iglesias to be removed because they did not like his decisions on vote fraud cases. New White House documents show that Rove and his office were involved in this effort no later than May 2005 (months earlier than previously known) - for example, in May and June 2005, Rove aide Scott Jennings sent e-mails to Tim Griffin (also in Rove’s office) asking "what else I can do to move this process forward" and stressing that "I would really like to move forward with getting rid of NM US ATTY." In June 2005, Harriet Miers e-mailed that a "decision" had been made to replace Iglesias. At this time, DOJ gave Iglesias top rankings, so this decision was clearly not just the result of the White House following the Department’s lead as Rove and Miers have maintained.

Iglesias criticized by Rove aide for not "doing his job on" Democratic Congressional Candidate Patricia Madrid – An October 2006 e-mail chain begun by Representative Heather Wilson criticized David Iglesias for not bringing politically useful public corruption prosecutions in the run up to the 2006 elections. Scott Jennings forwarded Wilson’s email to Karl Rove and complained that Iglesias had been "shy about doing his job on Madrid," Wilson’s opponent in the 2006 Congressional race. Just weeks after this e-mail, Iglesias’ name was placed on the final firing list.

An "agitated" Rove pressed Harriet Miers to do something about Iglesias just weeks before Iglesias was placed on the removal list – Karl Rove phoned Harriet Miers during a visit to New Mexico in September 2006 – according to Miers’ testimony, Rove was "agitated" and told her that Iglesias was "a serious problem and he wanted something done about it."

Senator Domenici personally asked Bush’s Chief of Staff Josh Bolten to have Iglesias replaced – In October 2006, Senator Domenici stepped up his campaign to have Iglesias replaced. According to White House phone logs and emails, as well as Rove’s own testimony, Domenici spoke with President Bush’s Chief of Staff Josh Bolten about Iglesias on October 5, 2006, and during October 2006, Domenici or his staff spoke with Karl Rove at least four times.

Todd Graves removed in Rove–approved deal with Republican Senator – Kansas City U.S. Attorney Todd Graves was removed as part of a White House–brokered deal with U.S. Senator Kit Bond. In exchange for the administration firing Graves, Senator Bond agreed to lift his hold on an Arkansas judge nominated to the Eighth Circuit federal appeals court. A White House e-mail stated that "Karl is fine" with the proposal.

Miers obtained favorable statement on Rick Renzi in violation of DOJ policy – When rumors of the FBI investigation of Rep. Rick Renzi surfaced in October, 2006, one of Rove’s subordinates contacted Harriet Miers, who called Deputy Attorney General McNulty seeking a possible statement that would have "vindicated" Renzi. Even though this was contrary to standard DOJ policy, such a statement was issued several days later.

-- end quote

Well, there you have it, folks -- just as we suspected -- Rove was pulling the strings the whole way.

Where has Stephen Hawking lived all his life? And why does "Investor's Business Daily" continue to lie?

You know where Stephen Hawking has lived for 67 years?


Again: England.


And this is why an editorial from the “Investors Business Daily” about
Obama trying to kill Trig Palin for having Down Syndrome, one that was
cited favorably in a Human Events press release today, has become the
stuff from which humor-jokes are made on the Internet: “People such as
scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where
the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man,
because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.”

For those not familiar with Hawking, he is a brilliant theoretical
physicist and professor who has Lou Gherig's Disease.

"Investor's Business Daily" -- a rightwing rag -- has picked up on the
rightwing lie that Obama's healthcare proposals will establish
"euthanasia panels" that will sentence to death old folks and people
like Trig Palin, Sarah Palni's Down Syndrome child.

IBD claimed that, if Hawking lived in the UK -- that is, ENGLAND --
he'd be dead by now because of such health care rationing.

But Hawking was born, educated, works, and lives in the UK -- today --
for his entire life.

Here's the lie-filled IBD editorial:

And here's one response:

Insurance Companies are operating "death panels" -- quietly, in the shadows

By now we've all heard Sarah Palin's dire "warnings" about the future
of health care under Democratic health insurance reform proposals.
What the former governor doesn't say is that the future is already

Palin's outrageous lie, of course, is her claim that Americans

-- quote
...will have to stand in front of Obama's "death panel" so his
bureaucrats can decide... whether they are worthy of health care.
-- end quote

If the former governor were to open her eyes, she would see that we
already have "death panels." Here are the names of some of the

Robin Beaton
Otto Raddatz
Jennifer Wittney Horton

If you don't recognize these names:

-- Beaton is the Texas nurse whose insurance was canceled three days
before her scheduled mastectomy because her dermatologist mistakenly
charted her acne as pre-cancerous.

-- Raddatz lost his coverage over conditions having nothing to do with
the lymphoma for which he was to receive a stem-cell transplant.

-- Horton's coverage was canceled because she was taking a drug for
irregular menstruation.

These horrendous stories came to light at the House Energy and
Commerce Committee's oversight and investigations subcommittee
hearings in June.

At least under Palin's imaginings, you would get to "stand in front"
of a government "death panel" to make your case.

The real death panels operate in the shadows.

They're the private insurance company underwriters and bureaucrats who
decide whether you will have health coverage or keep it if you become
gravely ill. They are not accountable to their customers--only to
their investors and their executives who plunder the dollars paid by
their policyholders so that they can line their own pockets. They are
rewarded with bonuses and promotions for finding flimsy excuses to
deny sick people the care they so desperately need.

These practices will continue until we finally come to our
senses and scrap our system of for-profit medicine and health
insurance. I'll leave the last word to Palin: " Such a system is
downright evil. "

Republican Senator from Georgia Put the "Death Panel" provision in the health care bill

As we all know by now, one of the lies being told about the Obama administration's health care bill is that a provision in the proposed legislation would establish "death panels" to advise old folks about euthanasia.

Bull. Shit.

There is nothing even faintly resembling the alleged "death panel" in the health care reform plan. There IS a section promoting advance care planning that appears on page 425 of the House Democrats' bill.
(pdf here:

Advance care planning includes living wills and durable powers of attorney that allow individuals to make clear their wishes for end-of-life care, whatever they may be.

And as it turns out, the cause of advance planning has been championed especially strongly by a pro-life Republican -- U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, Republican of Georgia.

Isakson is a member of Senate Health committee that played a key role in shaping the health care reform legislation. He successfully offered an amendment in committee that allows funds for a government-funded program that provides in-home services to people with disabilities to be used for advance care planning, according to the national Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

Isakson has been promoting advance care planning for years. In 2007, for example, he co-sponsored two bills to encourage such planning -- the Medicare End-of-Life Care Planning Actand the Advance Planning and Compassionate Care Act.

In 2005, Isakson joined with state lawmakers to publicly sign a personal "Directive for Final Health Care" to encourage Georgians to discuss their personal wishes for end-of-life care. He cited the controversial case of Terry Schiavo -- a Florida woman who lived for several years in a persistent vegetative state before her husband had her disconnected from a feeding tube -- to illustrate the importance of advance planning.

"I believe it is every person's right and responsibility to make sure their loved ones are prepared to make decisions on their behalf by discussing and documenting their wishes," Isakson said at the time. "It is my sincere hope that all Georgians will join me in following the lead of the Georgia General Assembly's Resolution and make their final wishes known."

Isakson is a pro-life politician who opposes abortion as well as stem cell research entailing the destruction of human embryos.

So far Isakson has remained silent publicly on the "death panel" brouhaha. Facing South called his press office for comment today but no one was available.

Sarah Palin's "Death Panel"

By now, most of us have heard Sarah Palin's "death panel" comment on
her Facebook page.

But what we may not know is that, during her tenure as governor, an
important program for in-home elder care became an actual "death
panel" for over 250 vulnerable Alaskans.

On August 7, 2009, on her Facebook page, Palin wrote,

-- quote
The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby
with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s "death
panel" so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment
of their "level of productivity in society," whether they are worthy
of health care. Such a system is downright evil.
-- end quote

But as the Anchorage Daily News reported this last July, the situation
in the state's Medicare- and Medicaid-funded in-home elder care
program became so bad that the federal government had to step in and
force Alaska to make necessary improvements.

-- quote
In one 2 1/2 year stretch, 227 adults already getting services died
while waiting for a nurse to reassess their needs. Another 27 died
waiting for their initial assessment, to see if they qualified for
-- end quote

The feds had been tipped off to the systemic problems by doctors and
other health care providers, who found the state unresponsive when
confronted with their incompetence. No other state faced comparable

Looks as though the rumors about Sarah Palin's divorce were correct -- except she was not divorcing Todd -- Sarah was divorcing herself from reality!!!

What caused our current recession/depression

Basically this is what caused our current depression:

-- The Fed under Greenspan reduced interest rates lower and lower and lower.

-- With historically low interest rates, two things happened:
(1) People who had no business owning homes, or who had no business buying fixer-uppers to "flip," or who had no business buying second homes, or who had no business taking out home equity loans for new cars, orthodontists, and European vacations -- did it anyway.
(2) Bankers and "financial managers" freely gave money to the people in (1) because they were "protected" by financial arrangements that no one understood.

-- Whenever anyone tried to blow the whistle, the Fed under Greenspan said "No, let the free market work. After all, these ultra-rich guys are all fine gentlemen who wouldn't do anything harmful because they are basically solid citizens."

-- Meanwhile, the ultra-rich guys who were behind this shit were looking out for #1 (and you are not #1).

-- Then it all came apart.

-- And you lost your job, your house, and your health insurance while the ultra-rich guys who made it happen got bonuses equal to more money than you'll see in your entire life.


The Rightwing Lie

The Old Redneck speaks on The Rightwing Lie

If a person who had never visited the United States were to spend a month or so here, traveling around the country, reading newspapers and magazines, watching television, listening to radio programs, and generally getting the sense of this place, the visitor would no doubt reach conclusions something like these:

There are in the U.S. two groups of people: conservatives and liberals.

Conservatives :

Are dedicated to the common man;
Have an intense work ethic, prizing manual labor over all;
Are devoted to their families and to solid, till-death-do-us-part marriage;
Physically brave, always the first to enlist for wars;
Fiscally conservative, mindful of the public purse, watchdogs of the public treasury;
Are dedicated to individual freedom;
Are a minority, constantly fighting for their lives against the liberal majority.


Are a snobbish, elite group who despise the masses of people;
Look down on anyone who works with his/her hands;
Are immoral and wicked in every respect, have the morals of an alley cat;
Are cowards through and through -- physically, morally, and spiritually;
Wildly tax and spend on their favorite loony causes;
Subvert individual freedom to political correctness;
Are the majority, they control the press, TV, and radio, and hunt down conservatives at every turn.

The Truth

This conclusion would be wrong -- totally, absolutely wrong. The facts are dramatically different from the perception.

The basic liberal values are political equality and economic opportunity.

Liberals hold that the governed are capable of governing themselves and that the freedoms in the Bill of Rights are essential to our form of government.

Liberals support and promote capitalism while, at the same time, believing in a government strong enough to prevent the abuses of unrestrained concentration of economic power in too few hands.

Liberal policies have made the U.S. the most free, most progressive, wealthiest, and most successful nation in history.

Whenever conservatism has seized power, it has threatened all previous progress and has been defeated only by the basic honesty, humanity, and decency of the American people.

Liberals are brave and patriotic. Neither liberals or conservatives has a lock on patriotism and heroism.

Liberals work for a living. It is liberals that have fought for the rights of working people to have a safe workplace, decent working hours, decent pay, compensation for injuries on the job.

Conservatives have steadfastly opposed these fundamental rights and protections.

Liberal Democrats have been the most competent and careful stewards of the public purse and the national economy.

Why Does the Lie Dominate?

If liberals are decent people -- with a few cranks and dingbats in their midst -- why, then, are the lies about them so prominent?

Because Lying -- the Big Lie -- has been a central element of political strategy for the rightwing of the Republican Party since the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt. During and after World War II, the popularity of Roosevelt and Truman kept the Republican lies at bay. However, in the late 1960's, as many of the "old truths" were called into question, the radical reactionary wing of the Republican Party discovered the power of the Big Lie. In the last three decades of the 20th Century, they perfected the Big Lie as a political strategy.

Today, the radical reactionaries who control the Republican Party enjoy a virtual monopoly over political discourse in this country -- they define the terms of the discussion. Why do they enjoy this monopoly?

For several reasons: They have paid a lot of money for it and they intend to keep it.

For example:

The deep pockets of Richard Mellon Sciafe financed the "Arkansas Project," a relentless pursuit of President Bill Clinton that produced more liars, trash, and scam artists than have ever been in one place at the same time.

"Reverend" Sun Young Moon uses his multi-millions to finance the Washington Times newspaper with its reputation for paying little attention to fact.

Well-financed foundations support radical reactionary crackpots who spin out books, magazine articles, think pieces, and who appear as talking heads on every available cable channel
Regnery Publishing, an old-line conservative publishing house now owned by a radical reactionary crackpot, cranks out "book" after "book" by such discredited "authors" as Gary Aldrich, Anne Coulter, and Laura Ingraham.

The radical reactionaries do not even pay lip service to being fair and balanced. While proclaiming that they want to hear all sides, in fact they do everything the can to shout down, belittle, and stifle any opposing view.

The radical reactionaries of the right intimidate anyone who disagrees with them by launching personal and professional attacks on anyone who attempts to take a balanced approach.
The radical reactionaries of the right make use of the dark side of humanity.

They play upon racism, religious zealotry, xenophobia, and other divisive, destructive forces in this nation.

George Bush's claim to be a "uniter, not a divider" is one of their biggest lies -- the radical reactionaries of the right play upon fear and division.

The Old Redneck intends to expose the RightWing Lies and the liars who tell them. It's a huge task because there are so many RightWing Lies and so many RightWing Liars.

Who am I and why am I doing this?

First, I am not a front for the Democrats, for Islamic terrorists, or for any other person or organization.

I am a retired US Army colonel living in my beloved South and working at a manual labor job for a national company. This blog is mine. I either write the entries on this blog, or, copy and paste articles from elsewhere -- anything I borrow from another source will be cited.

I am doing this because this nation is in danger:

Radical reactionary rightwingers have shouted down, browbeaten, and ridiculed reasonable people into submission, thereby stifling real political discussion.

These same radical reactionary rightwingers are bent on destroying all progress made in this nation since the Great Depression. They want to re-establish social, political, economic, living, working, and environmental conditions of the late 19th century.

Someone must speak out.