Teddy Liked to Joke About Chappaquiddick
We can just imagine: “did you hear the one about this chick I downed?”
Labels: Teddy Kennedy
We are here to provide an independent, rather skeptical view of events at Marquette University. Comments are enabled on most posts, but extended comments are welcome and can be e-mailed to email@example.com. E-mailed comments will be treated like Letters to the Editor. This site has no official connection with Marquette University. Indeed, when University officials find out about it, they will doubtless want it shut down.
Labels: Teddy Kennedy
. . . I was invited by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to take part in a conference call that invited a group of rising artist and art community luminaries “to help lay a new foundation for growth, focusing on core areas of the recovery agenda - health care, energy and environment, safety and security, education, community renewal.”The traditional NEA arts pork barrel is bad enough. What public purpose does it serve to subsidize art that can’t hack it in the market, and is consumed by culture vulture elitists?
Now admittedly, I’m a skeptic of BIG government. In my view, power tends to overreach whenever given the opportunity. It’s a law of human nature that has very few exceptions. That said, it felt to me that by providing issues as a cynosure for inspiration to a handpicked arts group - a group that played a key role in the President’s election as mentioned throughout the conference call - the National Endowment for the Arts was steering the art community toward creating art on the very issues that are currently under contentious national debate; those being health care reform and cap-and-trade legislation. Could the National Endowment for the Arts be looking to the art community to create an environment amenable to the administration’s positions?
On Thursday August 6th, I was invited by the National Endowment for the Arts to attend a conference call scheduled for Monday August 10th hosted by the NEA, the White House Office of Public Engagement, and United We Serve. The call would include “a group of artists, producers, promoters, organizers, influencers, marketers, taste-makers, leaders or just plain cool people to join together and work together to promote a more civically engaged America and celebrate how the arts can be used for a positive change!”
I learned after the conference call that there were approximately 75 people participating, including many well respected street-artists, filmmakers, art galleries, music venues, musicians and music producers, writers, poets, actors, independent media outlets, marketers, and various other professionals from the creative community. I suppose I was invited because of my work in creating arts initiatives, but being a former employer of the NEA’s Director of Communications was probably a factor as well.
Backed by the full weight of President Barack Obama’s call to service and the institutional weight of the NEA, the conference call was billed as an opportunity for those in the art community to inspire service in four key categories, and at the top of the list were “health care” and “energy and environment.” The service was to be attached to the President’s United We Serve campaign, a nationwide federal initiative to make service a way of life for all Americans.
It sounded, how should I phrase it…unusual, that the NEA would invite the art community to a meeting to discuss issues currently under vehement national debate. I decided to call in, and what I heard concerned me.
The people running the conference call and rallying the group to get active on these issues were Yosi Sergant, the Director of Communications for the National Endowment for the Arts; Buffy Wicks, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement; Nell Abernathy, Director of Outreach for United We Serve; Thomas Bates, Vice President of Civic Engagement for Rock the Vote; and Michael Skolnik, Political Director for Russell Simmons.
We were encouraged to bring the same sense of enthusiasm to these “focus areas” as we had brought to Obama’s presidential campaign, and we were encouraged to create art and art initiatives that brought awareness to these issues. Throughout the conversation, we were reminded of our ability as artists and art professionals to “shape the lives” of those around us. The now famous Obama “Hope” poster, created by artist Shepard Fairey and promoted by many of those on the phone call, and will.i.am’s “Yes We Can” song and music video were presented as shining examples of our group’s clear role in the election.
Obama has a strong arts agenda, we were told, and has been very supportive of both using and supporting the arts in creative ways to talk about the issues facing the country. We were “selected for a reason,” they told us. We had played a key role in the election and now Obama was putting out the call of service to help create change. We knew “how to make a stink,” and were encouraged to do so.
Discussed throughout the conference call was a hope that this group would be one that would carry on past the United We Serve campaign to support the President’s initiatives and those issues for which the group was passionate. The making of a machine appeared to be in its infancy, initiated by the NEA, to corral artists to address specific issues. This function was not the original intention for creating the National Endowment for the Arts.
A machine that the NEA helped to create could potentially be wielded by the state to push policy. Through providing guidelines to the art community on what topics to discuss and providing them a step-by-step instruction to apply their art form to these issues, the “nation’s largest annual funder of the arts” is attempting to direct imagery, songs, films, and literature that could create the illusion of a national consensus. This is what Noam Chomsky calls “manufacturing consent.”
Is the hair on your arms standing up yet?
You mean like this story, just to grab one from the headlines this week? “A young mother gave birth on a pavement outside a hospital after she was told to make her own way there,” the Daily Mail reported. Carmen Blake went into labor unexpectedly, the paper reports, and called for an ambulance. Walk, she was told, since it was only 100 meters. “Her daughter Mariah was delivered on a pavement outside the hospital by a passer-by, just before ambulance crews arrived.”
Or this story, surely a wholesale fiction, in the Telegraph, about the Alzheimer patient who couldn’t get a home health aide because “because her condition was a ‘social’ rather than ‘health’ problem,” authorities said. The family won reimbursement only after their mother was bedridden and her house lost.
And surely the Telegraph was making it up when it reported that thousands of emergency patients were left waiting for hours in ambulances outside emergency rooms. This wasn’t new: For years, hospitals are fiddling with their performance stats in this way, the Daily Mail surely lied.
Paul Krugman said it’s all false, so I’m sure it was.
He also said that Canadians are happier with their health care than Americans are. Well, no: In fact, they like the price but don’t like the waits. And if you try asking parallel questions in the two countries, you find that Canadians’ satisfactions about the quality of their care and their ability actually to see a doctor is much closer to that of uninsured Americans than to insured ones. Insured Canadians are only slightly happier about health care than uninsured wretches here.
And all that for a system that’s financially “imploding,” as the incoming head of the Canadian Medical Association put it the other day. “(Canadians) have to understand that the system that we have right now -- if it keeps on going without change -- is not sustainable,” said Anne Doig, a family doctor from Saskatchewan. “Our system is crumbling around us,” she told a newspaper the other day -- and she’s a fan of government-run care.
Krugman, of course, is just throwing up blather, utterly refusing to engage with facts. This is one reason Obamacare just isn’t flying with the public: So many of its advocates, first, can’t conceal that they’d really prefer a single-payer, straight-up government-run system. And then those advocates tell you that the news stories you’re reading about Canada having to fly mothers in labor to small-town Montana to find hospital space are just fiction.
It’s not loud dissent that’s sinking the president’s dreams; it’s the overwhelming sound of cognitive dissonance, instead.
John Mackey - the founder, CEO and marketing genius behind Whole Foods - finds himself in an organic, unsustainable mess with his carefully cultivated affluent, liberal customer base after penning an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal titled, “The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare.”And here is the most perceptive part of the piece.
For starters, Mr. Mackey opens with a line from known-liberal-allergen Margaret Thatcher that features the dreaded “S” word: “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” Then he goes on to provide eight sensible free-market solutions gleaned from his company’s well-regarded employee health care program.
Mr. Mackey, a free-market libertarian, is now at the mercy of an unforgiving grass-roots mob intent on destroying his company. More than 25,000 people have signed on to a Whole Foods boycott on Facebook.
“Whole Foods has built its brand with the dollars of deceived progressives,” the online petition reads. “Let them know your money will no longer go to support Whole Foods’ anti-union, anti-health insurance reform, right-wing activities.”
A complementary Web site, WholeBoycott.com, features unintentionally comical video testimonials from aggrieved former customers. The mainstream media have picked up on the story and fanned the flames.
The success of Whole Foods is largely built on Mr. Mackey’s understanding of the liberal mind. It wants the good life - but with instant absolution for the sin of conspicuous consumption. Whole Foods is marketing at its best. Iconography and slogans throughout the store - not unlike those Barack Obama used to win the presidency - tell the shopper they are saving the planet in large and small ways.Of course, we need to be clear on one thing: people do have the right to boycott anybody they want to boycott. Any conservative who thinks the public statements of (say) the Dixie Chicks are obnoxious is free, in a capitalist economy, not to buy their CDs.
The product is so good even conservatives and skeptics are willing to play along.
But Mr. Mackey missed the key ingredient of modern liberalism: intolerance to the ideas of nonliberals. And this miscalculation may prove to be devastating to his multibillion-dollar business.
Everywhere one looks these days, the intolerance of self-avowed liberals is on display. Especially since Mr. Obama came to power.
The purportedly open-minded and empathic among us who now run everything - save for NASCAR and Nashville - openly wage war against those who dare disagree.
Witness Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi’s joint-penned editorial in USA Today in which the House’s two top Democrats describe those publicly questioning Mr. Obama’s proposed health care system overhaul as “un-American.”
One need not go back too far in the political time machine to recall a time when the same people were claiming that the term “un-American” was being tossed at liberals for opposing the Iraq war, and that Republicans were stifling free speech.
Examples were rarely, if ever, given. It just was. And we were told this was a very, very bad thing.
The Dixie Chicks brilliantly used this sob line to become a Rolling Stone magazine cover staple, a blue-state crossover and an international cause celebre. A chorus line of would-be liberal celebrity martyrs took a similar marketing tack proclaiming McCarthyism was again afoot - as conservative Hollywood kept its collective mouth shut knowing that support for President Bush or the war was an instant career-killer.
Yet amid the cries of “dissent is patriotic” - a phrase seen on the bumper stickers of cars in the Whole Foods parking lot - the antiwar movement grew and grew, unfettered by the war’s supporters or by the party in power.
As the Hollywood Left churned out antiwar film screeds, it was creating a narrative of its victimhood as it victimized Mr. Bush and his administration with the false accusation that dissenters were being persecuted. But now that they are in power, Democrats are brazenly wielding punitive weaponry against dissenting Americans and are using the power of the state to shut up citizens.
The Democratic leadership - and its friends in the mainstream media - seem determined to brand opposition to the president’s legislative agenda as illegitimate, even racist in origin. Individuals and grass-roots organizations are helping the statists’ cause by advocating boycotts and other means of stifling dissent.
The strategy is clear: Intimidate people from speaking up or from attending public protests by telegraphing that anyone can be made a demon for standing up and exercising basic, constitutional rights.
BERKELEY, Calif. — Anti-war activists protested Monday at the University of California, Berkeley to call for the firing of a law professor who co-wrote legal memos that critics say were used to justify the torture of suspected terrorists.Note that even if the CIA did things to terrorists that were in fact illegal, Yoo merely expressed a legal opinion about what liberals now call “torture.”
Campus police arrested at least four people who refused to leave the university’s law school building.
The demonstrators said John Yoo should be dismissed, disbarred and prosecuted for war crimes for his work as a Bush administration attorney from 2001 to 2003, when he helped craft legal theories for waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques.
Shouting “war criminal,” the protesters confronted Yoo as he entered a lecture hall on the first day of class at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law, where the tenured professor is teaching a civil law course this semester.
Yoo mostly ignored the demonstrators and waited for police to remove them from the classroom before he began teaching. Several officers then stood outside the lecture hall to prevent protesters and journalists from entering.
Demonstrators also staged a mock arrest of Yoo. Some dressed in black hoods and orange prisoner suits similar to ones seen in infamous photos of Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, which was closed in 2006 following reports of detainee abuse.
“There is little doubt that John Yoo is a war criminal,” said civil rights attorney Dan Siegel, speaking outside Boalt Hall. “John Yoo went to Washington and created the ideological, political and legal basis for the torture of innocent people.”
Yoo, who returned to UC Berkeley after spending the spring semester at Chapman University School of Law in Orange County, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.
Yoo, 42, has defended the controversial interrogation techniques, saying they were needed to protect the country from terrorists after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
“To limit the president’s constitutional power to protect the nation from foreign threats is simply foolhardy,” Yoo wrote in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece last month.
He has come under intense criticism since the interrogation memos became public in 2004. The Berkeley City Council has passed a measure calling for the federal government to prosecute him for war crimes, and convicted terrorist Jose Padilla has filed a lawsuit alleging that Yoo’s legal opinions led to his alleged torture.
Christopher Edley Jr., Berkeley’s law school dean, has rejected calls to dismiss Yoo, saying the university doesn’t have the resources to investigate his Justice Department work, which involved classified intelligence.
Berkeley law students are divided over Yoo, whose classes are among the law school’s most popular.
Liz Jackson, a second-year law student, said the university should determine if he violated UC’s faculty code of conduct. “I personally believe he has blood on his hands,” said Jackson, 30.
But Nathan Salha, 24, who took one of Yoo’s classes last year and is enrolled in his course this semester, said he’s a good teacher. “I don’t think it’s the university’s place to fire him for political opinions,” he said.
Although administration officials are eager to deny it, rationing health care is central to President Barack Obama’s health plan. The Obama strategy is to reduce health costs by rationing the services that we and future generations of patients will receive.Read the rest.
The White House Council of Economic Advisers issued a report in June explaining the Obama administration’s goal of reducing projected health spending by 30% over the next two decades. That reduction would be achieved by eliminating “high cost, low-value treatments,” by “implementing a set of performance measures that all providers would adopt,” and by “directly targeting individual providers . . . (and other) high-end outliers.”
The president has emphasized the importance of limiting services to “health care that works.” To identify such care, he provided more than $1 billion in the fiscal stimulus package to jump-start Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) and to finance a federal CER advisory council to implement that idea. That could morph over time into a cost-control mechanism of the sort proposed by former Sen. Tom Daschle, Mr. Obama’s original choice for White House health czar. Comparative effectiveness could become the vehicle for deciding whether each method of treatment provides enough of an improvement in health care to justify its cost.
In the British national health service, a government agency approves only those expensive treatments that add at least one Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY) per £30,000 (about $49,685) of additional health-care spending. If a treatment costs more per QALY, the health service will not pay for it. The existence of such a program in the United States would not only deny lifesaving care but would also cast a pall over medical researchers who would fear that government experts might reject their discoveries as “too expensive.”
One reason the Obama administration is prepared to use rationing to limit health care is to rein in the government’s exploding health-care budget. Government now pays for nearly half of all health care in the U.S., primarily through the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The White House predicts that the aging of the population and the current trend in health-care spending per beneficiary would cause government outlays for Medicare and Medicaid to rise to 15% of GDP by 2040 from 6% now. Paying those bills without raising taxes would require cutting other existing social spending programs and shelving the administration’s plans for new government transfers and spending programs.
The rising cost of medical treatments would not be such a large burden on future budgets if the government reduced its share in the financing of health services. Raising the existing Medicare and Medicaid deductibles and coinsurance would slow the growth of these programs without resorting to rationing. Physicians and their patients would continue to decide which tests and other services they believe are worth the cost.
There is, of course, no reason why limiting outlays on Medicare and Medicaid requires cutting health services for the rest of the population. The idea that they must be cut in parallel is just an example of misplaced medical egalitarianism.
But budget considerations aside, health-economics experts agree that private health spending is too high because our tax rules lead to the wrong kind of insurance. Under existing law, employer payments for health insurance are deductible by the employer but are not included in the taxable income of the employee. While an extra $100 paid to someone who earns $45,000 a year will provide only about $60 of after-tax spendable cash, the employer could instead use that $100 to pay $100 of health-insurance premiums for that same individual. It is therefore not surprising that employers and employees have opted for very generous health insurance with very low copayment rates.
Since a typical 20% copayment rate means that an extra dollar of health services costs the patient only 20 cents at the time of care, patients and their doctors opt for excessive tests and other inappropriately expensive forms of care. The evidence on health-care demand implies that the current tax rules raise private health-care spending by as much as 35%.
With President Obama and congressional liberals facing loud protests over their big government health care plan, journalists are casting the anti-ObamaCare forces as “ugly,” “unruly,” “nasty” mobs, with reporters presenting the most odious images (like pictures of Obama drawn as Hitler) as somehow representative. But when President George W. Bush faced left-wing protests, the media scrubbed their stories of radical voices and depicted demonstrators as mainstream, and even “prescient.”The answer is: they don’t feel the need to. They live in a little insular world where liberal beliefs are taken for granted, and critical self-reflection is not merely not encouraged, but scoffed at.
In January 2003, all of the broadcast networks touted an anti-war march organized by the radical International ANSWER, an outgrowth of the communist Workers World Party. Signs at the rally read: “USA Is #1 Terrorist,” “Bush Is a Terrorist,” and “The NYPD Are Terrorists Too.” National Review Online quoted several protesters who claimed 9/11 was a Bush plot, “like when Hitler burned down the Reichstag,” and argued Bush would “build a worldwide planetary death machine.”
Reporters bypassed all that hate and showcased the protesters as everyday Americans. On ABC, Bill Blakemore stressed how the protest attracted “Democrats and Republicans, many middle-aged, from all walks of life,” while CBS’s Joie Chen saw “young, old, veterans and veteran activists — all united in the effort to stop the war before it starts.”
In Feburary 2003, CNN donated two hours of programming, “Voices of Dissent,” to another International ANSWER event. Correspondent Maria Hinojosa enthused: “It’s an extraordinarily diverse crowd. I have seen elderly men and women with mink coats carrying their posters.” ABC’s John McKenzie painted the protesters as idealistic: “So many voices, filling the streets, struggling to be heard.”
On March 22, 2003, CNN offered 38 separate reports on a demonstration that day, but managed to never show any of the radical rhetoric from the podium. Over on ABC, Chris Cuomo saluted the leftists converging in New York City: “While protesters like today are a statistical minority, in American history protests like this have been prescient indicators of the national mood. So the government may do well to listen to what’s said today.”
In October 2003, the far left rallied again in Washington, this time with a rapper leading a chant of “F**k George Bush!” and speakers praising Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. The next day’s Washington Post ignored all of that in favor of a soft feature: “In D.C., a Diverse Mix Rouses War Protest.”
In 2006, the left demanded money for New Orleans, with one protester wearing a George W. Bush mask adorned with Satan horns and a Hitler moustache. CNN reporter Susan Roesgen thought it comic, calling it a “look-alike” for the President. But covering the anti-big government tea parties in April 2009, Roesgen was aggrieved to see a picture of Obama with a Hitler moustache: “Why be so hard on the President of the United States though with such an offensive message?”
Today’s protesters are being portrayed as crazy and even dangerous. Ex-CNN reporter Bob Franken called the anti-Obama protesters “a crazed group” engaged in “organized intimidation.” An August 10 graphic on MSNBC wondered: “Conservatives Coming Unhinged?” Chris Matthews saw racism: “I think some of the people are upset because we have a black President.” And ABC’s Bill Weir on Friday warned “the rising anger is now ramping up concerns over the President’s personal safety.”
The double-standard is obvious. How can professional journalists possibly justify it?
Wednesday, September 2—U.S. Senator Herb Kohl—Wisconsin’s senior Senator visits the Law School to discuss health care reform and other important issues facing the nation. Kohl, a Democrat, was first elected to the Senate in 1988. Before entering the world of politics, he helped build his family-owned business, Kohl’s grocery and department stores. Senator Kohl is also the owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, the city’s professional basketball team. Noon to 1 p.m., Eisenberg Memorial HallWe have consistently lauded this speakers series at the Law School. Mike Gousha has a history of getting speakers who are important people, “movers and shakers,” people with something interesting to say, and people representing liberal and conservative (as well as ideosyncratic) points of view.
Tuesday, September 8—Wisconsin’s Drunken Driving Laws—They are among the most lenient in the country, but is that about to change? As the state legislature prepares to go back to work, we’ll talk with two lawmakers pushing to toughen drunken driving laws in the state, Representatives Mark Gundrum (R-New Berlin) and Tony Staskunas (D-West Allis). 12:15 to 1:15, Room 325
Wednesday, September 16—Former U.S. Attorneys Steven Biskupic and Erik Peterson—These two former federal prosecutors will share their unique perspectives on a job that can be simultaneously rewarding, challenging, and politically charged. Biskupic served as U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District from 2002 to 2008. He is now a private litigator. Peterson was U.S. Attorney from 2006 to 2009 and now works for the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Both are Marquette Law School graduates. Noon to 1 p.m., Eisenberg Memorial Hall
Tuesday, October 13—Bradley Foundation President and CEO Michael Grebe—Join us for a wide-ranging discussion when this well-known attorney and civic leader visits the Law School. Grebe ran one of the nation’s largest law firms, Foley and Lardner, before joining the influential Bradley Foundation as its CEO. He has also long been active politically, overseeing national conventions for the Republican Party. In addition, Grebe is Chairman of the Greater Milwaukee Committee. 12:15 to 1:15, Room 325
Saturday, November 7—PBS NewsHour Senior Correspondent Judy Woodruff—Woodruff one of the nation’s most respected journalists, has covered politics and other news for more than three decades. Woodruff worked as a White House correspondent for NBC News and as an anchor and senior correspondent for CNN. Since joining PBS in 2007, Woodruff has played a key role in delivering the day’s news to millions of NewsHour viewers. 3 to 4 p.m., Room 325
Monday, November 23—USA Today Legal Affairs Correspondent Joan Biskupic—Biskupic is the author of the new book, American Original: The Life and Constitution of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The author of an earlier biography about retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Biskupic was given unprecedented access to Justice Scalia. She’ll discuss her new book and her perspective on the nation’s highest court, which she has covered since 1989. Biskupic received a law degree from Georgetown University. She received her undergraduate degree at Marquette. Noon to 1 p.m., Eisenberg Memorial Hall
“When those who dissent are told time and time again — as we will be, if not tonight by the President, then tomorrow by his portable public chorus — that he is preserving our freedom, but that if we use any of that freedom, we are somehow un-American; when we are scolded, that if we merely question, we have ‘forgotten the lessons of 9/11;’ look into this empty space behind me and the bipartisanship upon which this administration also did not build, and tell me this: Who has left this hole in the ground? We have not forgotten, Mr. President. You have. May this country forgive you.”As always, it depends on whose ox is gored.
— MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on September 11, 2006, ending his Countdown with a commentary from the site of the World Trade Center.
CBS anchor Katie Couric: “I think it’s one of the most embarrassing chapters in American journalism. And I think there was a sense of pressure from corporations who own where we work and from the government itself to really squash any kinds of dissent or any kind of questioning of it. I think it was extremely subtle but very, very effective. And I think Scott McClellan has a really good point.”
— CBS’s The Early Show, May 28, 2008.
“This has been a year in which dissent, especially taking an unpopular or minority political opinion, has been attacked by people like Mr. O’Reilly. In the last year, it has not been enough just to disagree with dissenters. Many of us have decided it is necessary to silence them. Which is really kind of ironic since it is political dissent that created this country and sustained it and improved it. But ask the Dixie Chicks about how well this year we Americans kept our pledge to be tolerant of dissent, our delight in disagreeing with your opinion but being willing to fight to the death to protect your right to express it.”
– Keith Olbermann on MSNBC’s Countdown, September 29, 2003.
Actor Tim Robbins: “A chill wind is blowing in this nation.”
Jim Wooten: “In Washington this week, Robbins criticized the political climate in which his right to express his views has come under attack....All this has reminded some of the McCarthy era’s blacklists that barred those even accused of communist sympathies from working in films or on television.”
— ABC’s World News Tonight, April 16, 2003.
“Across the country, citizens have been coming out to voice their opposition, all calling for the same things. They want government accountability, they want environmental justice, and most of all, they’re calling for peace....While protesters like today are a statistical minority, in American history protests like this have been prescient indicators of the national mood. So the government may do well to listen to what’s said today.”
– ABC correspondent Chris Cuomo previewing an afternoon protest rally planned for Times Square, on a special five-hour Saturday edition of Good Morning America, March 22, 2003, three days after the war in Iraq began.
“I decided to put on my flag pin tonight...I put it on to take it back. The flag’s been hijacked and turned into a logo — the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism. On those Sunday morning talk shows, official chests appear adorned with the flag as if it is the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, and during the State of the Union did you notice Bush and Cheney wearing the flag?...More galling than anything are all those moralistic ideologues in Washington sporting the flag in their lapels while writing books and running Web sites and publishing magazines attacking dissenters as un-American.”
— Bill Moyers on PBS’s Now, February 28, 2003.
“It’s an obscene comparison, and I’m not sure I like it, but there was a time, in South Africa, where people would put flaming tires around peoples’ necks if they dissented. And in some ways, the fear is that you’ll be necklaced here, you’ll have the flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck. Now it’s that fear that keeps journalists from asking the toughest of the tough questions and to continue to bore in on the tough questions so often. And again, I’m humbled to say, I do not except myself from this criticism.”
– Dan Rather on the BBC’s Newsnight program, May 16, 2002.
Please add me to your enemies list.I would suggest that an excellent form of protest would be for everybody who doesn’t like this Nixonian tactic to send a similar e-mail.
I’m a blogger who has blogged about how Obama wants government run health care.
You can’t make the video clips that show Obama saying he favors “single payer” go away.
What has been most unsettling is not the congressmen’s surprise but a hard new tone that emerged this week. The leftosphere and the liberal commentariat charged that the town hall meetings weren’t authentic, the crowds were ginned up by insurance companies, lobbyists and the Republican National Committee. But you can’t get people to leave their homes and go to a meeting with a congressman (of all people) unless they are engaged to the point of passion. And what tends to agitate people most is the idea of loss—loss of money hard earned, loss of autonomy, loss of the few things that work in a great sweeping away of those that don’t.
People are not automatons. They show up only if they care.
What the town-hall meetings represent is a feeling of rebellion, an uprising against change they do not believe in. And the Democratic response has been stunningly crude and aggressive. It has been to attack. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the United States House of Representatives, accused the people at the meetings of “carrying swastikas and symbols like that.” (Apparently one protester held a hand-lettered sign with a “no” slash over a swastika.) But they are not Nazis, they’re Americans. Some of them looked like they’d actually spent some time fighting Nazis.
Tens of thousands with chronic back pain will be forced to live in agony after a decision to slash the number of painkilling injections issued on the NHS, doctors have warned.But that’s inherent when decisions like this are made politically. Some groups get represented. Others get under- or over-represented. Consumers don’t get represented. Even if there are “consumer respresentatives,” they are ideological activists, not real consumers.
The Government’s drug rationing watchdog says “therapeutic” injections of steroids, such as cortisone, which are used to reduce inflammation, should no longer be offered to patients suffering from persistent lower back pain when the cause is not known.
Instead the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is ordering doctors to offer patients remedies like acupuncture and osteopathy.
Specialists fear tens of thousands of people, mainly the elderly and frail, will be left to suffer excruciating levels of pain or pay as much as £500 each for private treatment.
The NHS currently issues more than 60,000 treatments of steroid injections every year. NICE said in its guidance it wants to cut this to just 3,000 treatments a year, a move which would save the NHS £33 million.
But the British Pain Society, which represents specialists in the field, has written to NICE calling for the guidelines to be withdrawn after its members warned that they would lead to many patients having to undergo unnecessary and high-risk spinal surgery.
Dr Christopher Wells, a leading specialist in pain relief medicine and the founder of the NHS’ first specialist pain clinic, said it was “entirely unacceptable” that conventional treatments used by thousands of patients would be stopped.
“I don’t mind whether some people want to try acupuncture, or osteopathy. What concerns me is that to pay for these treatments, specialist clinics which offer vital services are going to be forced to close, leaving patients in significant pain, with nowhere to go.”
The NICE guidelines admit that evidence was limited for many back pain treatments, including those it recommended. Where scientific proof was lacking, advice was instead taken from its expert group. But specialists are furious that while the group included practitioners of alternative therapies, there was no one with expertise in conventional pain relief medicine to argue against a decision to significantly restrict its use.
Iris Watkins, 80 from Appleton, in Cheshire said her life had been “transformed” by the use of therapeutic injections every two years. The pensioner began to suffer back pain in her 70s. Four years ago, despite physiotherapy treatment and the use of medication, she had reached a stage where she could barely walk.But the bureaucrats and political activists don’t particularly care about people like Ms. Watkins.
“It was horrendous, I was spending hours lying on the sofa, or in bed, I couldn’t spend a whole evening out. I was referred to a specialist, who decided to give me a set of injections. The difference was tremendous.”
Within days, she was able to return to her old life, gardening, caring for her husband Herbert, and enjoying social occasions.
“I just felt fabulous – almost immediately, there was not a twinge. I only had an injection every two years, but it really has transformed my life; if I couldn’t have them I would be in despair”.