Saturday, August 8, 2009

A woeful opera in too many nasty acts

WE'RE LIVING with the myth that the "debate" over health care reform is all about what's best for ordinary citizens. But there's nothing very ordinary about the nasty narrative that's in our face today. Americans might just as well be taking sides on whether Silvio Berlusconi should be running around his luxurious Sardinian estate with tempting young girlfriends. It really doesn't matter what ordinary Americans think. (Nor does the Italian premier care about what Italians think!)

In this country the luxurious estate is the fortress set up by huge health insurance companies to protect their tidy investment in your health and mine. They are, of course, servilely aided and abetted by their beneficiaries within the ranks of both parties. Besides, we've learned rather quickly that there are few self-described "ordinary" folks at the disrupted Town Hall meetings. They are scripted in how to hack a reasoned discussion of the issue with their Democratic congressmen.

And who is the inspiration for the hackers who have been crafted with behavioral patterns that riotously break up these sessions? One is, of all people, Rick Scott, who has put up millions to fight health care reforms as head of Conservatives for Patients Rights. I love these benign sounding front groups with titles that have little to do with their line of work. They might as well be called Concerned Foxes for Chickens' Rights. This, after all, is the same Rick Scott who once headed Columbia HCA, a for-profit hospital system that chiseled so much money from the Feds that he finally had to pay a $1.7 billion fraud settlement. That's billion. Among other things, he closed unprofitable hospitals and cut back services to the patients who were unlucky enough to land in the profitable hospitals that made the cut. I'm obviously missing something here, folks. Where are the patient's rights that this conservative wants to protect?

Another who has cast a big shadow on the "debate" is former Texas congressman Dick Armey, who is one of the heavy hitters at "Lobbyists, Central" in D.C. His outfit is a warm and fuzzy number called DreamWorks. He's also the Co-Chairman of the Alliance for Retirement Prosperity, another straight-faced cover job? By now, I'm ready to accept the validity of Concerned Foxes for Chickens' Rights.

But some of the paint on these well financed civic enterprises is starting to flake. One woman who went bananas at one of Town Halls later told a network that she was "just a mom" from down the block who had arrived to express her frustration. She lied. When reporters checked her background, it turned out that she was a soldier for the Republican Party in her state. The script for these well organized assaults of public sanity also remind the shouters to spread out across the hall so that a speaker might conclude that everybody is up in arms against health care reform.

And didn't Rep. John Boehner, the House minority leader, referring to the town meetings, declare that it was going to be a long, hot summer for the Democrats? This raucous opera obviously won't be over until - unlike the fat lady - the woeful chorus of Boehner, Scott, Armey and The Mom, stop singing.


Anonymous said...

My favorite as these astroturfing event remains, "The government needs to keep its hands off my Medicare." If only these people knew they were already willing participants in the "socialism" they are ranting and raving against.

PJJinOregon said...

I suspect that the "woeful chorus" won't stop singing until the pit orchestra stops playing the melody. As with most theatrical orchestras, Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, and Savage ply their trade in dark corners, hidden from the view of most ticket holders. Adding to their camouflage, they wear brown shirts manufactured in southeast Germany. Tickets for a Munich Putsch are now available.