Last Saturday, New York Times columnist Charles Blow wrote quite an incendiary op-ed about people who oppose Barack Obama’s health care proposals and about Republicans in general. I have pasted an excerpt of the last half of his column below--oh, and I must warn you that it really blows (pun intended).
“Not only are anti-reformists showing up, they’re terrorizing legislators with their tomfoolery when they do. Blinded by fear and passion, armed with misinformation and misplaced anger, they descend on these meetings and hoot and holler in an attempt to shut down the debate rather than add to it.
I must say that this says more about them than it does about any forthcoming legislation. Belligerence is the currency of the intellectually bankrupt.
Trapped in their vacuum of ideas, too many Republicans continue to display an astounding ability to believe utter nonsense, even when faced with facts that contradict it.
A Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll released last Friday found that 28 percent of Republicans don’t believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States and another 30 percent are still “not sure.” That’s nearly 6 out of 10 Republicans refusing to accept a basic truth. Then again, this shouldn’t surprise me. According to a Gallup poll released last summer, 6 in 10 Republicans also said they thought that humans were created, in their present form, 10,000 years ago.
Let’s face it: This is no party of Einsteins. Really, it isn’t. A Pew poll last month found that only 6 percent of scientists said that they were Republicans.
Democrats should be leading this discussion. Instead, they’re losing control of it. That’s unfortunate because the debate is too important to be hijacked by hooligans.”
OK--first of all, I have absolutely no idea what the “birthers” (quoted from a Daily Kos poll no less), or people’s belief in regard to when the earth was created, has to do with the health care debate--those are total red herrings meant to change the subject or to say "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain". (Oh, and just so Mr. Blow knows, a Rasumussen poll taken in 2007 reported that 35% of Democrats--or one in three Democrats--believed that George Bush helped plan the 9/11 attacks, or were 9/11 “truthers“, but I digress). Second of all, if you notice, Mr. Blow offers absolutely no evidence or arguments in favor of Obamacare--all he does is waste bandwidth by insulting the people who are against it (which, by the way, makes me believe that he can‘t defend it). And finally, someone needs to inform Mr. Blow that name-calling, not belligerence, is “the currency of the intellectually bankrupt”. Let’s see--Mr. Blow refers people who oppose Obamacare as “hooligans”, has implied that they are terrorists with his whole “terrorizing legislators” bit, and has also implied that they are stupid with his “This is no party of Einsteins” quote (and liberals wonder why people tag them as east-coast elitists). Seriously Mr. Blow, using name-calling as a debate tactic is simply pathetic and it absolutely reeks of desperation. Dude, how old are you--eight?! Why don’t you just call these people “stupid doody-heads” and get it over with?
Now, sad to say, Charles Blow’s name-calling and insults are not the exception to how the Democrats have been attempting to sell Obamacare to the American people--they seem to be the rule. If you’re not on board with Obamacare, then Democrats will not hesitate to ridicule you and shout you down, instead of first trying, say--I don’t know-- reason or logic in an attempt to persuade people to their point of view. For instance, you have Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling people “astroturfers” who attend town halls, and implying that they are Nazis by claiming that “they wear Swastikas” (the video is below). Actually, someone needs to inform Mrs. Pelosi that David Axelrod got his start in politics by astroturfing and that the Democrats are currently engaging in astroturfing, but I digress. Furthermore, Mrs. Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer both wrote a column two days ago where they claim that anyone who opposes Obamacare is “un-American“. Classy, huh?
[By the way, Jonah Goldberg recently wrote a hilarious column where he points out the ridiculousness of Nancy Pelosi's statement by saying the following--
"Now this is a pas de trois of dishonesty, slander, and idiocy. Not only is Pelosi lying when she says protesters are bringing swastikas to these town halls, not only is she suggesting that American citizens are Nazis for having the effrontery to get in the way of Obamacare, but she's also saying that the alleged swastikas are obvious proof that these protests are manufactured by slick P.R. gurus.
How does that work? What public-relations genius says: "Okay, we need these protests to seem like an authentic backlash of real Americans. Make sure everyone has enough Nazi paraphernalia!"]
Oh, and who could forget Barbara “Ma’am” Boxer calling protestors at the town halls “astroturfers“, because they are “too well dressed“? Our own LoriZ wrote an excellent diary detailing this (and it contains the embed of the video of Barbara Boxer), but I feel the need to paste one of the more hilarious quotes below--
“Unlike Cindy Sheehan and her Code Pink cohorts, normal citizens actually attempt to look nice when, you know, going out in public. Even worse, we Right-Wing nutty nut women gasp shave our legs .. while showering no less.. AND wear bras. Sometimes we even comb our hair and put on make-up to look purty. It’s our Stockholm Syndrome, of course. We can’t help objectifying ourselves, obviously.”
And finally, there’s that infamous video, courtesy of the DNC, calling town hall protestors “The Angry Mob” and implying that they are all radicals and “birthers” (like the one crazy woman in the video waving around a birth certificate).
Hey, where‘s the love? I thought that being a community organizer was cool. Oh, but silly me. I guess it‘s only cool to organize the community and protest if you are an ACORN member threatening banks. I guess if you are protesting against The One, you are no longer a “community organizer“--you are a “hooligan“ or a member of an “angry mob" and you must be stopped.
But hey, this pattern of name-calling seems to be what liberals perpetually resort to whenever they feel that The One is playing defense. Remember when Democrats were trying to sell the American people on that monstrosity they had the nerve to call a stimulus bill? Well, when some American’s weren’t buying it and held tea parties in protest, the MSM had the unmitigated gall to refer to them as “tea baggers” ( a disgusting oral sex reference). I have embedded below a video of MSNBC’s David Shuster going off on a disgusting rant where he refers to his fellow Americans, exercising their First Amendment rights, as “tea baggers”--then he goes off on a repulsive tirade where he makes a string of vulgar, not-so-clever oral sex references. I’m seriously surprised that Shuster didn’t get fired for this behavior (oh, who am I kidding, it‘s MSNBC--I‘m not really surprised at all), but I digress.
OK--so, now that we are on the subject of “radicals”, “hooligans” and members of an “angry mob” (“Oh my!”), why don’t we take a look at some videos of some liberals protesting or dissenting, and you can tell me who the real “hooligans” are.
Remember back during the Republican National Convention when John McCain’s acceptance speech was interrupted by a bunch of “hooligans” who were “hooting and hollering” (see embed below--H/T George Claghorn--read his excellent diary)? Do any of you remember any Republicans interrupting Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention by “hooting and hollering”? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? That’s what I thought.
Oh, and while we’re on the subject of “radicals”, what about the video below of members of The New Black Panther Party engaging in clear-cut voter intimidation? By the way, Obama’s Department of Justice dropped the charges against these hooligans after the DoJ had already won. Ed Morrisey of Hot Air has the story (even the US Commission on Civil Rights was furious).
Just a thought, but do any of you really think that Obama’s DoJ would have dropped the charges against two Bubbas in Mississippi dressed in overalls and carrying baseball bats outside of a voting precinct (instead of wearing jackboots and carrying nightsticks)? I highly doubt it (and rightfully so I might add).
Furthermore, while we’re on the subject of an “angry mob”, do any of you remember when Code Pink members, dressed up like transvestites at Mardi Gras (not that there’s anything wrong with that if you are a transvestite at Mardi Gras--there’s a time and a place for everything), interrupted General David Petraeus’ confirmation hearing by screaming like banshees? These people could definitely teach the people attending health care town halls a thing or two.
And finally, there’s this recent video of SEIU union thugs attacking an African-American conservative for exercising his freedom of speech by passing out flags that said “Don’t tread on me”. The video also shows these “hooligans” “hooting and hollering” and then slapping the woman holding the camera in the face (H/T Caleb Howe).
OK--so now, who are the “hooligans” and “radicals” (as so many Democrats like to call town hall protesters) really? Last time I checked, none of the town hall protestors were intimidating voters, interrupting national political conventions or congressional hearings, physically attacking liberal protestors, or were threatening the father of a handicapped child (H/T Erick Brockway who wrote a post about Obama supporters threatening a man whose adult child has cerebral palsy). In other words, unlike most liberal protestors, these town hall protestors aren’t engaging in disruptive behavior--they are simply engaging in democracy. Furthermore, if their congressmen are feeling “terrorized” by listening to their constituents complaints, then they should either grow a pair or find another line of work.
Now, I would like you to kindly permit me to go off on a tangent here and tell everyone reading this the story about my own healthcare crisis. To be honest with you all, I am quite loathe to discuss my illness with strangers over the internet, but I feel like doing so could possibly shed so much light on this debate, that I’m willing to bite the bullet and do it anyway--so here goes.
Around two years ago, a month into my first rotation as a medical student, I stared experiencing severe back pain. I went to an orthopedist and was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease (even though my MRI only showed a minor herniation and a few bulging discs). However, over the last two years, the pain in my back began to get progressively worse and I developed a slight tremor in my hands that would come and go. Over the last six months, I started to develop frequent muscle spasms in my back and had to have multiple spinal epidurals just so that I could make it through my rotations, drag myself over the finish line and graduate (I’ve had a total of nine epidurals in the last two years). Then, this summer, I started to develop a plethora of neurological symptoms (as well as unusually severe back pain) such as and tingling in my hands, feet, and face, weakness in my arms and legs, problems with dropping things, pain in my legs and arms with activity, severe pain when flexing my neck, muscle atrophy in my hands, shortness of breath, and increased heart rate just to name a few (my hands are tingling as I type this). I thought that I either had multiple scerosis or possibly Guillain Barre’--which is an autoimmune disease where your body produces antibodies to the myelin (which helps nerve impulses travel faster) in your peripheral nerves. It can be caused by GI or respiratory infections or vaccines (and I had multiple vaccines before I started my rotations and two bad infections at the end of my rotations before graduation). Guillain Barre’ causes similar symptoms to MS and both are demyelinating diseases, except that Guillian Barre’ affects the peripheral nervous system whereas MS affects the central nervous system (which consists of the brain and spinal cord).
Anyway, I made an appointment with a neurologist that I had done a rotation with and told him that I thought that I might have developed Guillian Barre’ from the infections that I had before graduation, and that my degenerative disc disease had worsened causing severe pain in my back. Well, he then told me that he thought that I had been misdiagnosed with degenerative disc disease, and that for the past two years, I had actually been suffering from a chronic form of Guillain Barre’ called chronic demyelinating polyneuropathy that had been causing my back pain and tremors--and that it probably became more acute and started causing neurological symptoms when I picked up those two infections at the end of my fourth year (walking pneumonia and Campylobacter food poisoning to be specific). And, in order to make sure that I was properly diagnosed, my neurologist ran a plethora of tests in order to be sure that I had Guillain Barre’, and to rule out other illness that had similar presentations. Now, don’t cry for me Argentina--I have finally been put on the right medications (medications for neuropathic pain due to damaged nerves instead of just opioids to control pain) and I am already in way less pain and have more energy than I used to. Furthermore, I am starting IV immunoglobulin therapy next week that will help to get rid of the antibodies to the myelin on my nerves, and my condition should drastically improve. I had planned to take my medical boards this summer, but I had to cancel them; however, it looks like I will now be able to take them this fall.
OK, enough of the neurology class--now back to the fun stuff.
Now, I will begin this section by explaining why I’m so apprehensive about Obamacare. Yes, John Stossel’s report about the horrors of Canadian and British healthcare, as well as Daniel Hannan’s interview on Glenn Beck’s show (H/T Steve Foley) backing up Stossel’s findings, gave me pause (see both embeds below).
Stossel‘s report, particularly, sent chills up my spine, because I didn‘t have to wait a total of six days to see my neurologist and get an MRI--much less six months, which is how long John Stossel reported the Brits have to wait to see a neurologist or get an MRI. If I had to wait six months to see a neurologist, and then six more months to get an MRI, I would have wound up severely debilitated--where as now, I will probably recover almost fully and be able to participate in the 2010 match and start my residency next year.
Furthermore, Steven Crowder’s anecdotal piece on Canadian healthcare should make anyone shudder (embed is below). It’s beyond scary that people in Canada have to first get a family doctor in order to get a simple blood test--and that you had to wait 2-3 years to get a family doctor (or pay $900). When my neurologist ordered a blood test for me (in order to rule out lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes-a common cause of peripheral neuropathy), I didn’t have to wait two days--much less two years!
[Oh, and speaking of Canadian health care, if any of you want to see Paul Krugman get pwned--then watch the video in this link from The Political Class. In the video, Krugman asks the Canadians at a conference that he’s speaking at to raise their hands if they are dissatisfied with their national health care system, and just about all of them in the room raise their hands. Hilarious!]
However, what bothers me the most about the Obama health care plan is not due to any secret messages that I have received from Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh via my toaster (because you know all conservatives receive secret messages from Beck and Limbaugh from our toasters)--it’s things that I’ve heard from Obama supporters, and from Obama himself. For instance, here is Barney Frank admitting that he wants to use the public option to eventually get a single payer system which is what they have in Canada and Great Britain. And, here is Eugene Robinson, a self-proclaimed “true believer” saying the following--
“The unvarnished truth is that services are ultimately going to have to be curtailed regardless of what happens with reform. We perform more expensive tests, questionable surgeries and high-tech diagnostic scans than we can afford. We spend unsustainable amounts of money on patients during the final year of life.
Yes, it's true that doctors order some questionable procedures defensively, to keep from getting sued. But it's a cop-out to blame the doctors or the tort lawyers. We're the ones who demand these tests, scans and surgeries. And why not? If a technology exist that can prolong life or improve its quality, even for a few weeks or months, why shouldn't we want it?”
[Oh, and here is Tom Daschle, Obama’s original choice for Secretary of Health and Human Services before his tax evasion scandal came to light, also claiming that we run too many unnecessary tests.]
And then, there is Slate’s Mickey Kaus (a self-admitted supporter of Obama’s health care legislation) who in his recent column titled, “Obama as Health Care Salesman: He Sucks!”, wrote the following about Obama‘s health care presentation.--
“Later on he tells people that they are foolish to prefer brand name drugs to generic drugs, and to want multiple medical tests. "If you only need one test, why do you want five tests?" Stop clinging to your tests! You're worse than those people in Pennsylvania.”
And finally, you have Barack Obama, himself, saying the following in a town meeting to a woman named Jane Sturm who, told Obama about her elderly mother who had surgery to put in a pace-maker in order to correct an arrythmia (H/T Ed Morrisey of Hot Air).--
“Loading up on additional tests and additional drugs isn’t going to help. Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller”. (See embed below).
OK--first of all, I feel the need to inform Mr. Obama and his supporters that the reason my disease was finally diagnosed was because of all of those pesky tests. Doctors are not gods you know and they don’t use “the force”--they rule out differential diagnoses, and center in on one diagnoses, using concrete evidence. For instance, first, my neurologist ordered an MRI of my spine to rule out any MS lesions, or a herniated disc that could be causing a pinched nerve and thus compression neuropathy. Then, he ordered a blood test to rule out any other diseases that present with symptoms similar to the ones that I was presenting with (RA, lupus, etc.). Next, he ordered an MRI of my brain to rule out MS once and for all (it is possible with MS to have brain lesions but not spinal cord lesions). And finally, my neurologist ordered an EMG nerve conduction study, which demonstrated bilateral ulnar tunnel syndrome (decreased firing of both of my ulnar nerves) , and that finding (along with the bilateral loss of my biceps reflexes on physical exam) helped him to finally center on Guillain Barre’ as my diagnoses (Guillain Barre’ usually presents with bilateral nerve demyelination and weakness, whereas MS is more sporadic). Oh, and you know what? I’m glad that my doctor ran a bunch of tests on me so that he could be 100% sure that he correctly was diagnosing me, so that I wouldn’t have to spend another two years being treated for the wrong disease--and most importantly, so that I could finally get the right treatment for the disease that I actually had instead of winding up debilitated and disabled (and maybe even dying an early death in my fifties).
Second of all, as far as “preferring brand name drugs to generic drugs” goes, most of the drugs that I take for chronic Guillain Barre’ (otherwise known as chronic demyelinating polyneuropathy) don’t come in generic form (Lyrica, Skelaxin, and Celebrex--I take this drug because NSAIDS, like ibuprophen, give me peptic ulcer disease). Should I take a less effective drug that’s not indicated as a treatment for my illness simply because it comes in generic form? Oh, and not to mention, my IV immunoglobulin treatment is going to cost a total of $30.000 over six months. If any of you think that the federal government would be willing to shell out that kind of money in order to keep me a productive member of the work force (instead of just telling me to get on disability and take a pain pill), then I have a blind bird dog and some underwater real-estate to sell you, but I digress.
And finally, I don’t want anyone who thinks that pain pills are a treatment for arrythmias, and that asthma is treated with a "breathalyzer", anywhere near my health care (you don’t have to go to medical school to know that sounds ridiculous). Oh, and I don’t want the same people who wrote the porkulus (i.e., congress) anywhere near my health care either.
Oh, and on a side note, for the last two years I have, literally, taken pain pills every night when I got home from my rotations and I’m here to tell you that IT SUCKS!!! (Yes I’m shouting--write it down, take a picture, sue me, I don’t care.) For the last two years, I have felt like I have been going through life in a fog--and now, thanks to my neurologist running all of those bothersome, expensive tests, the fog has finally been lifted. Therefore, I feel more strongly than ever that no one should have to live their life medicated on pain pills, just to get through the day, so that the federal government can save a few bucks by not running necessary, diagnostic tests.
Now, I realize that there are millions of uninsured people out there, but as the video linked below demonstrates, the majority of them could either qualify for Medicare, Medicaid, (both of which, according to the WSJ, will be drastically cut to help pay for Obamacare), or SCHIPS--and either choose not to apply or are unaware that it’s an option--or willfully refuse to buy insurance, because they’d rather spend their money on other things.
Raise your hands if any of you want to have your tax dollars go to pay for health insurance for the guy (in the above video) who refuses to buy any so that he can continue to spend $300.00 a month on protein bars and vitamins? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? That’s what I thought.
Now, out of the forty seven million who are uninsured, there is a small percentage of people with pre-existing conditions who are too old to get a cheap health insurance plan, can’t afford an expensive plan but aren’t poor enough for Medicaid, and are too young to qualify for Medicare--so they are left uninsured and could go bankrupt if they are in an accident or develop any sort of major illness. These people have worked hard and played by the rules, and they don’t deserve to lose everything that they have worked for their entire life because of one illness--and as conservatives, we would be wise not to ignore their plight. However, when I happened to catch Greta Van Susteren’s interview with Rush Limbaugh, Rush seemed to offer a quite logical solution to this problem (and everyone here knows that I am no ditto head). Rush stated that if congress had earmarked $29 billion dollars in the trillion dollar stimulus bill for health insurance, it would have been enough money to provide insurance to cover all of these people who honestly want to buy health insurance, but can’t afford it do to old age or a pre-existing condition and don’t qualify for any social programs (they are around 12-15 million out of the 47 million people uninsured). So I ask you--why in the world didn’t we just do that instead of earmarking the money to study the marsh mouse or pig odor? Just a thought.
So, in conclusion, after the experiences that I have had as a patient with a neurological disorder (as well as a medical student/ future doctor), Obama and his supporters are going to have to forgive me if I seem like a bitter person clinging to my tests. They make think that I’m a well-dressed, un-American, tea bagging, Nazi hooligan who is part of an angry mob--and that’s OK. But hey, at least I’m not a sucker. In other words, I’ll be dammed if I’m going to let some snake oil salesman (who can’t even sell his own plan without insulting cops and family docs) and his cronies talk me into radically changing one sixth of our economy--when even he can’t tell us what‘s in the bill at his own press conference. Furthermore, I’ll be damned if I’m going to let some government bureaucrat tell me or my doctor how many tests he or she can run, what surgeries I can have, or what drugs I can take. You see, I think that my health--nay my quality of life--is worth fighting for. I don’t just want to exist or survive--I want to suck the marrow out life and live life to the fullest. I want to soar. Therefore, you can expect to see me “hooting and hollering” at every town hall that I get the chance to attend. In fact, I say that we all take a page out of Bill Pullman’s speech in “Independence Day” (yeah, I know that it’s over the top, but hey, it rocks) --particularly the part when he says “We will be united in our common interests. We will not go quietly into the night. We will not vanish without a fight.” Remember, they want us to “go quietly into the night”. I say--HELL NO!! Let’s be “hooligans” and put up a good fight. Let’s not vanish without a fight. Let’s rock people--our very lives depend on it.