Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I was right, but I would rather I wasn't...

Or perhaps I'm just a prophet... Either way, I have the kind of damming evidence of hypocrisy and fear mongering that would give even the great Rush Limbaugh an instant orgasm!! And the best part is, I don't even have to really add any commentary, since I think it speaks for itself.

First, lets put all of this in context...

The Health Care reform bill provides for a person, or family of a person to meet with a doctor concerning end of life care. So if you have an aging parent, you can meet with your doctor and discuss things like hospice, living wills and that kind of thing. Previously this type of visit would not have been covered by Medicare. I personally think it's a good thing. I've never been through the impending loss of a loved one and so when I am faced with that, it would be nice to be able to speak with a professional about it, and find out what options we have available. It is not by any stretch of the imagination a provision to allow euthanasia, or encourage euthanasia or anything even close to that.

On Friday, the great Sarah Pallin made the following statement on her FaceBook page...

"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."

Like I said - no real commentary is needed.

I made mention a few weeks ago that acquaintances of mine firmly believed this same thing, that the Obama Health Care plan would allow for abortion up to 2 years old and uthenasia of anyone over 60. And since the only news these people listen too is the Glenn Beck show and Rush Limbaugh, I made the assumption that they had gotten this from listening to his show. I was called out on it, since I had no evidence, and there may well not have been any evidence at the time. I was merely making an assumption, which may well have been based on assumptions made by these people while listening to Beck and Limbaugh...


Again, no commentary is really needed.

I was asked yesterday about my sources... I typically don't listen to any radio shows or TV's shows dealing with politics, since my personal feeling is that all of them (both left and right) generally use fear to connect with the audience and establish an intellectual addiction. In following up on the death panel story tough, I did check a couple of other sources which I found very informative and though provoking in one case, and absolutely hilarious on the other.

Lets do the thought provoking one first...

I don't watch Keith Olberman. I have seen his show on only 3 occasions. Once last year with his comment on Prop 8. Once last week on his comments about how the Senate and Congress (both Republicans and Democrats) have been bought and paid for by the health care industry and are simply doing their bidding. And then yesterday with his comments on the statements made above and their impact on our society.

A few things really stood out to me while watching this:

1 - Sarah Palin has become popular because many Republicans feel she was treated unfairly by the Liberal Left Wing Media Machine. I believe there were a few incidents of this from left wing extremist, which was regrettable and inexcusable, but I believe the biggest effect on this story was the conservative media hosts pretending that it was far more wide spread than it was and blowing it way out of proportion. Personally I think it would be great to have a woman president. And if the Republicans can find an articulate and intelligent woman to run, she might even get my vote, but Sarah Palin is not that women. Anyway moving on... Keith's comments about her use of her child in her statement I found particularly poignant.

2 - The responsibility which lies with Palin, Beck and others for the words they say. I've said this before on this blog. When you have a public forum and you shout your opinion in the homes of millions of American's, you bear a certain amount of responsibility for how your words get interpreted.

3 - Finally his analogy about your neighbor and driving. I think it's a message that could well be taken to heart by all involved in politics.

But without further ado...

Now, I'll admit that was a little heavy, so here is perhaps the political commentator I watch the most of... I've found his to be the most objective news show out there, which is kind of sad, since it's a COMEDY NEWS SHOW!!

Monday nights episode dealt with this issue as well. It's funny, and it gets even funnier in segment 2. But at the same time, I think it helps to paint a disturbing picture about the lengths people will go to, to avoid the other team accomplishing something - albeit a picture with bright, neon colors!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Healther Skelter
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorSpinal Tap Performance

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Healther Skelter - Obama Death Panel Debate
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorSpinal Tap Performance


  1. What is it about Beck's statement that you found so fearmongerish? He may believe Palin's claim, but he didn't force that on his audience. He simply suggested people keep an open mind and be willing to ask questions. Nothing outrageous there. Not everybody thinks like your idiot acquaintances. Just because you used to be like this, and just because you know a few people you think take talk radio as gospel doesn't mean the general talk radio audience thinks the same way.

    Maybe you need to ask the question Beck poses: What would make Palin say that there would be a 'death panel'? Can you honestly ask that question? Look at the bill and whatever explanation exists on the fact check White Hose website and see if they square up. Your hate for Palin, Beck, and conservatism aside, can you get to the bottom of this? Can you come up with a better answer than "Obama said there won't be any death panels, so that settles it"?

    I like Beck's approach- let's look at both sides and let viewers/listeners make their own decisions.

    I don't think there will be any 'death panel,' per se, but given the language in the bill and recent quotes from Obama, I think people with special needs will be shorted under the proposed system.

  2. Interestingly enough, after that media matters supplied clip cuts off, Beck spent the rest of that hour was spent rebutting the perception of him as a fearmonger. I've got the mp3 of the entire hour, which I'll gladly email you. Listen to the whole thing and see if it influences your take.

  3. Oh, and Jon Stewart? OBJECTIVE MY ASS.

  4. "What Sarah Palin said about there being a Death Squad err... Panel for her son, Trig... That's quite a statement... I believe it to be true."

    How on earth did MediaMatters splice that to make Glenn say he believed that Obama would have death squads/panels who would judge her down syndrome son's access to Health Care, based on his possible productivity to society?

    Of course if they did, then someone seriously needs to take down MediaMatters for twisting and perverting a simple expression like "Let's look at both sides and let viewers / listeners make their own decisions" and turning it into that...

    Wow!! I have been so duped. My humblest apologies. I've let my hatred for every thing that is good and true get in the way of my personal judgment.

    Thank you so much for pointing out the error in my ways... Please send my apologies to Glenn. I would do it here, but in light of the fact that I'm obviously an blind sheep following in the evil pathway laid out by extremist John Stewart, probably means I shouldn't be blogging anymore either.

    Fortunately for Glenn, Glenn says he isn't a fear monger, or else people might get swayed by my baseless accusations of him being a fear monger!

    (Oh - and I got the mp3 clip - I'll let you know what I think)

  5. Whoa!!! Wait a second...

    I just read your first comment again...

    Are you asking me to prove that there aren't going to be any death panels?

    Do you actually believe there are?

    Careful... I think your credibility may hinge on how you answer that...

  6. I never claimed that media matters spliced the clip. I just took a more innocuous interpretation of his words.

    I don't think listening to the entire hour will change your mind. It will give you a little bit of context, though, and perhaps some insight into Beck that you won't get through your acquaintances or media matters.

  7. "Are you asking me to prove that there aren't going to be any death panels?

    Do you actually believe there are?

    Careful... I think your credibility may hinge on how you answer that..."

    I'm asking you to consider what might make somebody ask that question. What is it people are reading/hearing that are motivating them to question it? Is the provision they're reading poorly written so as to give off the wrong impression? Is it just unclear enough to be interpreted in that way?

    I already answered your question. I don't believe there will be 'death panels', but from the limited research I've been able to conduct, it does seem like there will be general discrimination based on a matrix of age and illness type.

    I don't know where in the bill they're getting this death panel thing. I've obviously not read to that point myself.

    But I think if people are seriously concerned that this system will put something in place that might amount to a 'death panel', its supporters are obligated to get to the bottom of it and educate them as to why this concern is unfounded. Is that such an outrageous request?

    All it would take is for Obama to get up there and say "Look, a few crazy people are claiming my plan will enact death panels. Here's the provision in the bill they're deriving this from. And here's why they're wrong."

    Instead, Obama and the Dems are just pissing off conservatives more by totally discounting their opposition. A little respectful communication can go a long, long way.

  8. OK...

    So Beck says he believes in Death Squads, and you take a more innocuous interpretation of his words. asks for people to send in the rumors they've heard about the Health Care plan so they can help clear them up and you take it as Obama making a list of names so he can take out his opposition.

    Do I even need to explain my problem with that?

    Oh, and... You are the only talk radio follower I know who doesn't claim Glenn Beck and Rush as the supreme rulers of their intellectual souls.

    You've referred to my acquaintances as idiots, but the problem is, it's you vs a whole bunch of them.

    Them being several people who hold executive position in prominent Utah corporations, them who hold significantly important positions within both the ecclesiastical branch and the corporate branch of the LDS Church. Them who have graduate degrees and have seen combat in many parts of the world as part of the armed forces. Them who in my opinion really should know better, but follow Glenn Beck like he is a prophet. Them who seem to share an awful lot in common with many similar people around the US who think it's OK to yell and cause a ruckus at town hall meeting to try and discuss the matter openly and give people a clearer understanding of what the bill means, so they can "Decide for themselves."

    Them all who claim to be avid listeners to Glenn Beck.

    I'm 10 minutes into the Beck clip... So far he presented the image of a fence. Talked about how we have to decide (Us vs Them, not lets discuss this and decide for ourselves.). And described the one side of the fence as Socialist, no incentives, everyone gets everything for free and the other as hard work and good values.

    It's like me saying to my kid... Do you want to go and hang out with horrible awful clown at McDonalds whose trying to poison you with his empty calorie food, or do you want to go and have fun at burger king where you're get a free crown and I'll buy you a milkshake too?

    My kid has his option to make a choice right?

  9. "Do I even need to explain my problem with that?"

    Why not explain it? Seriously, if Bush would have said in '03 "Hey, there are a lot of rumors out there about our plans to invade Iraq. Please forward us those emails," would you not have wondered what was up with that?

    I don't seriously think Obama is compiling an enemies list, but I think the move was stupid one. You, as an increasingly enthusiastic Obama supporter, may not see it, but the request certainly has a "turn in your friends and family" ring to it.

    Think about it this way- when they flew Air Force One over the statue of liberty for a photo op, there was obviously no ill intent at all. But given recent history, they were idiots not to consider that flying a plane so low in NYC with no prior notice might raise some hair on the necks of your average New Yorker.

    Somehow the whole "send us opposition emails" (whereby we also get names and IP addresses, which are received on White House servers, transmissions to and from which by law can never be erased), doesn't sit well with your average American. Why is that so hard to understand?

    I find it amazing that the heavily staffed and funded white house media relations machine can't do its own opposition research anyway.

  10. I'm sorry... Sarah Palin accuses the President of wanting to kill old people and defenseless handicapped children, and you think this warrants a serious response?

    As you yourself said, there is nothing in this bill which suggests Death Panels. It's a bunch of right wing hacks who will do ANYTHING, even to the point of accusing the president of trying to kill people, to stop him from doing something. I would suggest also that excessive campaign contributions by health care corporations have had a marked effect on attempts to defeat this bill as well.

    Unfortunately both Palin and Beck agree with these hacks.

    It's like me accusing the Pope of being in league with Satan to destroy the world, and expecting him to prove that he isn't. And once he denies it, then expecting rational people to ask the question - why would the Urban Koda say such a thing....? Hmmm... We must give this serious consideration...

    By all means, lets debate this bill, lets find something that meets the needs of the majority of the American people, but accusing the President of wanting Death Squads, that's just - Actually I'm not sure I can even think of a word to describe how low that goes.

    I would say treasonous, but that probably better describes those who protest an immoral war ;-)

    Oh - nice lead in to your last comment...

    Bush asking for the public to share concerns about the war... I think that would have been a really good move on his part. I'd favor openness over secrecy any day of the week.

    And yes, flying the plane over New York was an idiot move. I said so at the time (Don't know if I blogged it...). John Stewart said so at the time, and the guy who dreamed it up was asked to resign. Obama stood up and took accountability for it as well, and apologized. He screwed up, admitted it and tried to make it right as best he could.

    As an increasingly enthusiastic Obama supporter?!? HUH?!?

    I've been behind the guy since early last year. I don't think it's increasing, in fact I've been a little upset by his backing down on Guantanamo, and the "Don't ask don't tell" policy in the military.

  11. "And yes, flying the plane over New York was an idiot move. I said so at the time (Don't know if I blogged it...). John Stewart said so at the time, and the guy who dreamed it up was asked to resign. Obama stood up and took accountability for it as well, and apologized. He screwed up, admitted it and tried to make it right as best he could."

    Wow, you totally missed my point there.

    Look, if Obama wants to quell the growing opposition to socialized medicine, it would behoove him to look at what is stemming it and address it directly, instead as writing everybody off as crazy.

    Palin chose her words poorly. 'Death panel' is over the top and polarizing. Beck, though I still don't see him as the whackjob fearmonger you do, might have worded his monologue differently as well.

    You're taking those polarizing words and using them to rationalize dismissing people as simply crazy.

    Treasonous? Wow, man. What about the people who call Bush a murderer? Who compare him to Hitler (something I believe you've done)? Are they treasonous?

    And yes, I described you as an increasingly enthusiastic Obama supporter. You've gone from support with reservations to pretty much defending every move the man makes. Judging on your blog posts, your hatred (and I'm beginning to really think it is hatred) of conservatism and talk radio seems to be growing proportionately to your espousing of all things Obama. Again, just observation.

    It also seems I've somehow really pissed you off. This is not my intention at all (it is my intention with other bloggers-- boy do I love pissing that Liberal Mormon guy off). But it's not my intention here. Perhaps I need to take a step back and reassess the tone I'm conveying.

  12. Now obviously prior to the plane screw-up over New York, we had 9/11.

    What specifically with Obama has led you to believe that he might want to collect email adresses to take out his opposition?

    I mean he ran on a socialist platform, promised to work on a stimulus package and healthcare reform... Won the election based on that, and has worked on a stimulus package and healthcare reform. Where has the idea come from that he wants to destroy the opposition, that he's not open to civil dialogue and that we should all be afraid of him?

  13. The basic thing is...

    Palin accused the President of wanting to form a death panel which would decide the fate of her handicapped child and her parents. Exploiting her kid in the process too!

    Poor words, absolutely! And I think we're in agreement on that. So poor in fact that even she started backpedaling on Sunday.

    Glenn Beck agreed with her.

    You are defending someone who says he believes that the President wants to set up death panels. Not there are words in the bill that are confusing and need to be clarified, but in effect Sarah Palin says there will be Death Panels and I believe it.

    You don't believe there is any language in the bill like that and I agree.

    You think people are idiots for believing that and I agree.

    Why then are you defending Glenn on this matter?

    I'm not pissed, just curious as to why you're defending someone for saying something you don't believe to be true.

    Believe me... If Obama were trying to setup death panels to exclude kids with Down Syndrome from health care, me, John Stewart and Keith Olberman would be at the White House gates calling for his removal from office. Would you join us, or stay away on principle because it would mean agreeing with me, Keith and John?

  14. "What specifically with Obama has led you to believe that he might want to collect email adresses to take out his opposition?"

    Again, let me clarify that I don't think he's planning to use the information he's getting to take out his opposition.

    But historically, socialism and "turn in your friends and neighbors" have been very intertwined. Authoritarian regimes in general have a long and rich history of asking people to snitch and then taking them out.

    I know you think socialism ain't all that bad, and any comparison between Obama's America and say, Stalin's USSR is a stretch. But think of where we were 6 months ago and where Obama wants us to be, and it's amazing. We may not be full-on socialist yet, but once it starts, it never stops. Never has. We may have taken baby steps toward socialism in the past, but given Obama controls the banks, the auto industry, and likely health care, the amount of control the Federal government has is immense. By definition, we will be a socialist nation. That is not Glenn Beck conspiracy, it is absolute fact.

    So for people who see us on the fast track to socialism, asking the public to forward to them opposition communications might not seem so harmless.

  15. "Why then are you defending Glenn on this matter?"

    I'm not defending or endorsing Glenn's belief in 'death panels'. I'm defending his right to ask questions.

    "Believe me... If Obama were trying to setup death panels to exclude kids with Down Syndrome from health care, me, John Stewart and Keith Olberman would be at the White House gates calling for his removal from office. Would you join us, or stay away on principle because it would mean agreeing with me, Keith and John?"

    I would gladly join you and whomever to call for Obama's removal from office on principle:)

    Seriously though, you should know by now that I my loyalty to principle is stronger than my loyalty to any particular movement, pundit, or politician.

    I have an affinity for Glenn Beck for various reasons (one of them being a shared faith), but I'm the first to call him to the carpet on his online forums when he says something dumb.

  16. Oh, I was going to suggest an article to you by Obama supporter Camille Paglia. I disagree with her on most political issues, but I'm a faithful reader, and this article sums up my own thoughts pretty well. Check it out if you get a chance:

  17. I'll check it out! Thanks.

    Back on the previous comment though...

    I'm not attacking Glenn for asking questions, in fact I support that as well. Questioning things is how we get to the truth. It's what has led to much of what I believe or don't believe today.

    He didn't ask a question though... He stated a belief in the completely false notion that Obama is going to institute a death squad who will go after your parents and your children. Spin it however you want. He said what he said.

    My problem is with the creation of and/or dissemination of false information in order to achieve political ends.

    Why would Glenn say he believes this?

    Why would Sarah Palin say this?

    If you want to ask a question, then ask a question, but don't make up lies and pass them off as truth.

    You mentioned how you and Glenn share the same faith. You're then also familiar with the idea that a testimony comes from the bearing of it. If you want to believe something is true, bear your testimony of it, and you'll get a witness of it's truthfulness.

    "I believe it to be true that Obama is going to have Sarah Palin's handicapped child stand in from of a death panel."

    Do you think he has a sure knowledge of that truth yet?

    My best guess is that his and Sarah's intentions were to introduce fear into the population - and sadly I believe it may have been completely unintentional on their parts.

    Our greatest fear is the loss of a loved on. Walt Disney figured that out years ago, and made billions with the idea - With a few exceptions, all his movies start with the loss of a loved one. It gets the kids hooked emotionally to the show.

    We've discussed emotions on here before, and you and I both know the power they hold.

    From what I have seen, much of what spurs Glenn's rating is that he likes to play on peoples fears - Not all the time, but some of the time - hence the big specials on terrorism and the economic collapse of America. People are drawn to it. We want to know what bogeymen are out there and how we can escape them. This is just another example, and in this case, it's completely baseless, but it still attracts the masses.

    Glad you would be joining me, Keith and John at the White House gates. I think the rest of America would as well - because we're terrified of losing a loved on. And therein lies my whole point!

    And as you've pointed out before, Obama has used similar tactics to promote the Health Care Reform bill.

    While neither is right, I believe there is a degree of difference between urgency in passing the bill (and there are millions of uninsured people out there who share the need for urgency) and accusing the President of forming death panels.

  18. Wow! That article was really good - gave me some good stuff to think about.

    Dang it!! I stand by my previous comments about Glenn and Palin, but admit there is far more too it than those, and that I'm obviously misinformed on much of it.

    Is she the only person taking this approach right now, because it seems to be completely different from anything else I've seen, from either side.

  19. Not really the only one, but at the moment I can't think of anybody else off the top of my head. You may want to check out liberal talk radio host Lynn Samuels.