Wednesday, March 21, 2012

An email from the Right Wing Propaganda Machine

Here's an email I received recently:

Trump Explains Dumbo Care
No  one can sum it up better than Trump

Let me get this straight . . . 
We're going to be  "gifted" with a health care
plan we are  forced  to purchase  and
fined  if we don't, 
Which purportedly  covers at least
ten  million more people,
without  adding a  single new doctor,
but  provides for 16,000  new IRS agents, 
written by a  committee whose chairman
says he doesn't  understand it, 
passed  by a Congress that  didn't read  it but
exempted  themselves from it, 
and signed by a Dumbo President  who  smokes,
with funding  administered by a treasury chief who
didn't  pay his taxes, 
for which we'll be  taxed  for four years before any
benefits take  effect, 
by a government  which has
already  bankrupted Social Security and Medicare, 
all to be  overseen by a surgeon general
who is  obese,
and  financed  by a country that's broke!!!!!
'What  the hell could  possibly  go wrong?'

The political hit pieces that people, mostly old folks, pass around by email and get all worked up over are, in nearly all cases, full of lies and/or half-truths. Let's examine the claims in this particular email.

It starts with, "Trump Explains Dumbo Care." Is Trump an expert on anything? Well, perhaps we shouldn't assume he actually wrote this, since it doesn't sound like him. Does a reference to President Obama's Healthcare Reform bill as "Dumbo Care" sound like the beginning of a reasonable discussion?

Trump falsely claims we are being "forced" to purchase a healthcare plan. No one is being "forced" to buy any particular plan. However people are being told that they will be held responsible for their medical bills and that if they want to save some money, they will have to make arrangements in advance. Those who are unable to pay, or who can't pay the full amount will be subsidized. Why would the party who claims they are for personal responsibility be against requiring everyone to have health insurance, so they don't get a free ride from everyone else?

Trump claims at least ten million more people will be covered without adding a single new doctor. How exactly would a healthcare plan add new doctors? The government isn't hiring doctors. The healthcare plan will create a demand for more doctors and the "free market" will respond with more doctors.

Trump claims the healthcare bill "provides" for 16,000 new IRS agents. That is an outrageous lie the far right created out of thin air:

Trump says the healthcare bill was written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn't understand it. Well it's okay if the chairman of the committee doesn't understand the whole bill. That's what he has staff for; to actually study what is being written and tell the congressman whether or not he should vote for the bill.  Our elected officials can't be experts on every subject and they don't have time to read every bill. The Republican Congress under the Bush-Cheney regime passed the 700 page "Patriot" Act within six weeks of  9/11. How did they even have time to write a 700 page bill in less than six weeks, let alone read it and debate it?

The same thing applies to all members of Congress. They simply don't have the time or the expertise to read and understand every word of every bill they vote on. That's why they have staff.

The Pelosi quote is a favorite of the right-wing propaganda machine; "But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it." This was taken out of context and has been repeated endlessly because it works very well on those who have no idea how Congress actually works. Here's the truth about the quote, which isn't quite as sexy as the lies that have been told about it. Like many bills before Congress, the contents of the healthcare bill were being constantly adjusted in order to gather enough votes to pass it, so of course the final version of the bill would only be known after they had commitments from enough representatives to insure it would pass.

Trump says the Congress exempted itself from the healthcare bill. Congress exempted itself from the health care bill because they already have a great health care plan.

Trump claims the healthcare bill was signed by a Dumbo President who smokes. There's that reference to "Dumbo" again. Real mature. And no, the President doesn't smoke any more. And even if he did, so what? How is that an argument against the healthcare bill?

Trump claims the funding will be administered by a Treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes. The Treasury chief doesn't "administer" any funding. Congress holds the purse strings. The Treasury chief is a rich man who, like a lot of rich men has his taxes done by an accountant.

Trump claims the government has already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare. That's just simply not true on any level. Social Security isn't broke and Medicare is funded year to year.

Trump claims the plan will be overseen by a Surgeon General who is obese. Aside from the obvious cheap shot here, what does the Surgeon General's weight have to do with anything? C. Everett Koop was overweight too, but no one ever complained about that.

Trump claims the country is broke. You can thank the Republicans for that. Reagan more than tripled the national debt in his stay in office with his "trickle down" economics. Bush Sr. continued the trend. Clinton at least passed a balanced budget and then Bush Jr. got into office and used 9/11 as an excuse to invade Iraq. Meanwhile the war we should have been fighting in Afghanistan went backwards. We spent years in Iraq trying to salvage that invasion and then we had to refight the war in Afghanistan because we let that slide while we were fighting in Iraq. Now, no matter what the hawks say, Afghanistan is a lost cause. It cannot be salvaged. All of the costs of those wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are on Bush, not Obama. Bush Jr was also responsible for the tax cuts for the rich that added more than a trillion to the debt.

Check out this chart:
It shows Bush Jr's spending represented an 88% increase over Clinton while Obama's spending represents only a 7.2% increase over what Bush spent.

NONE of the stuff in Trump's "explanation" has any relevance whatsoever to whether or not it's a good bill. But it sure does inflame the emotions when you first read it and that's what it's meant to do.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The 2012 Republican Platform

1. Higher taxes for poor and working people

2. Lower taxes for the rich

3. A "race to the bottom" for wages and benefits

4. Destroy public and private unions

5. Pass laws that make it easy for companies to send jobs overseas

6. Replace employer-provided health insurance with a tax deduction for individual "Health Savings Accounts" paid for by employees

7. "Free Market" healthcare with no regulation

8. Replace public education with private schools and home schooling

9. No investment in crumbling public infrastructure such as highways, bridges, and sewer systems

10. Pass laws and weaken regulations that enable companies to further pollute the environment

11. No research or investment in alternative energy sources

12. Increase "welfare for corporations" via defense spending

13. Suppress likely Democrat voters via photo ID laws, voter intimidation, and "scrubbing" voter lists

14. Divide the American people on cultural issues

15. Instill and stoke fear in the American public through manufactured crises. Then attack political opponents by claiming to be more "patriotic" and the protector of "American Values"

16. Incarcerate more people and privatize all prisons

17. Reduce veteran's benefits and services

18. Continue tax breaks for oil companies

19. No regulation of the financial sector

20. Finish the job of turning America into a combination of plutocracy, oligarchy, and theocracy.

21. War with Iran