Photo of Bill Moyers Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers Journal
Watch & Listen The Blog Archive Transcripts Buy DVDs

« Another Chapter, Another Adventure | Main | Towards a Healthier Debate on Health Reform »

Michael Winship: The Gorilla Dust of Health Care

(Photo by Robin Holland)

Below is an article by JOURNAL senior writer Michael Winship. We welcome your comments below.

''The Gorilla Dust of Health Care''
By Michael Winship

When I was 15, my father was in a near-fatal car collision with a semi-trailer truck. At Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY, he lay in a coma for two months.

As the medical bills mounted and the insurance was running out, my mother had to make an agonizing decision. My father would have to be airlifted to the VA Medical Center in Kansas City, where his veteran’s benefits would defray the costs. She would go there with him; arrangements would have to be made for someone to take care of her home and kids while she was away. For how long, no one was certain.

Miraculously – almost as if he realized what was going on – Dad suddenly emerged from his coma and was released from Strong a short time later. He never fully recovered from the accident, but for that moment, at least, further domestic upheaval and financial chaos were averted.

Flash forward nearly 30 years and it was my mother who was now in the hospital, diminished physically and spiritually by dementia. Her children made the choice together but it was my sister, who had become her chief caregiver, who bore much of the brunt of the decision not to resuscitate.

In the months and years prior to my mother’s death, the kind of end-of-life counseling that health care reformers are talking about – not the bizarre, phony “death panels” falsely conjured by Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Betsy McCaughey and others, now including Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley – would have been welcome.

Everyone has personal stories like these, or certainly friends and colleagues who have had similar difficult experiences with our current health care system. We know it has to change, which makes it even more infuriating and frustrating that the national, you should excuse the expression, “dialogue” on the issue has deteriorated into so much gorilla dust, a hurling of invective, menace and disinformation meant to intimidate and force a retreat.

Those vein-popping, pistol toting, don’t confuse me with the facts town hall meetings are more like hockey brawls than an open exchange of ideas. But this uncivil disobedience and bullying are just the tip of the spear, the front line of an all out offensive on the streets, in the media and on Capitol Hill aimed at turning the debate over health care reform on its head and possibly keeping any kind of change from happening at all.

On Friday, Bloomberg News reported that 3,300 Washington lobbyists are working on health care: “That’s six lobbyists for each of the 535 members of the House and Senate, according to Senate records, and three times the number of people registered to lobby on defense. More than 1,500 organizations have health-care lobbyists, and about three more are signing up each day. Every one of the 10 biggest lobbying firms by revenue is involved in an effort that could affect 17 percent of the U.S. economy.”

According to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, in the first half of the year, this adds up to $263.4 million worth of high-level kibitzing around the House and Senate office buildings and various other DC locales where ears and elbows are bent in advance of twisting arms. Bloomberg notes, “Drugmakers alone spent $134.5 million, 64 percent more than the next biggest spenders, oil and gas companies.”

The attacks on Bill and Hillary Clinton’s plan for health care reform back in the ‘90s were a tiptoe through the tulips compared to the current assault. That’s because it’s about a lot more than attempting to ease the financial pain of illness – or a socialist government takeover of medicine, depending on your point of view. Organizers (such as former Republican Majority Leader Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks), special interests and people who are just plain mad as hell have turned it into a shrill national referendum, reigniting age-old prejudices and fears that bubbled at the surface during last year’s presidential campaign.

What’s interesting is that there appears to be an emerging backlash from some of the more reasoned thinkers of the conservative movement. It seems to have begun late last week with a blog entry by former Bush speechwriter David Frum on his Web site, He asked, what if the right wins the health care fight? What happens then?

“The problem,” he wrote, “is that if we do that… we’ll still have the present healthcare system… We’ll have entrenched and perpetuated some of the most irrational features of a hugely costly and underperforming system, at the expense of entrepreneurs and risk-takers, exactly the people the Republican Party exists to champion.”

Frum elaborated while in conversation with my colleague Bill Moyers on the current edition of public television’s BILL MOYERS JOURNAL. “They're going to pass something,” he said of the health care reform fight. “So the question for Republicans is what do you want that to be? You have an interest here, too. You would like to see the rise in healthcare costs slow. And you would like to see more room in the federal budget for tax cuts in the future… But if the Republicans win, this is not going to be a great victory for individual liberty. It’s going to be a victory for the status quo.”

Frum’s sentiments have been echoed and amplified by conservative economist Bruce Bartlett. He’s worth citing at length. Writing on the Daily Beast website on August 12, Bartlett noted that, “Because reforming Medicare is an important part of getting health costs under control generally, Bush could have used the opportunity to develop a comprehensive health-reform plan. By not doing so, he left his party with nothing to offer as an alternative to the Obama plan. Instead, Republicans have opposed Obama's initiative while proposing nothing themselves.

“In my opinion, conservative activists, who seem to believe that the louder they shout the more correct their beliefs must be, are less angry about Obama’s policies than they are about having lost the White House in 2008. They are primarily Republican Party hacks trying to overturn the election results, not representatives of a true grassroots revolt against liberal policies…

“Until conservatives once again hold Republicans to the same standard they hold Democrats, they will have no credibility and deserve no respect.”

One way to reestablish some shred of that credibility would be any kind of viable health care reform alternative from the GOP. Another would be to engage in a more reasoned debate. Neither has happened so far, and in the heat of the current ugly fray, neither seems likely.

Too much of the gorilla dust they’re throwing has blown back into their own eyes.

Please note that the views and opinions expressed by Michael Winship are not necessarily the views and opinions held by Bill Moyers or BILL MOYERS JOURNAL.


TrackBack URL for this entry:


"Those vein-popping, pistol toting, don’t confuse me with the facts town hall meetings are more like hockey brawls than an open exchange of ideas. But this uncivil disobedience and bullying are just the tip of the spear, the front line of an all out offensive on the streets, in the media and on Capitol Hill aimed at turning the debate over health care reform on its head and possibly keeping any kind of change from happening at all."

Health Care reform first needs to come in the form of dealing with Illegal Immigrants that place huge drains on our systems. If that issue is not resolved it will forever be a huge problem with our health care.
~Glass Voice

freecitizen: So you think the Democrat players threw the game? "Liberal" is a word originating in the free trade concept. (One liberal party wants to regulate our bodies and beliefs and the other demands our mandatory consumption.) Bad debt has been bundled in AIG like cable, internet and phone (for a locked-in $200 a muth*).

"This thing" (corporate capitalism) cannot be fixed because it works better each day for those in power (the oligarchy). If you fancy yourself a "freecitizen" you are living a fantasy. People have to collectively reinvent civilization to be liberated again, and now are required by technological circumstance to do so in a manner of peaceful disobedience. Some anarchists think that resistance rises naturally, and fools like me think it must be demonstrated and taught. Learned anything new lately, freebie?

*a muth is a 17 day period of billing proposed by P.R.theorists at Goldman Sachs in 2008. Phonetic kinship with the word "month" is no accident, much like the Great Recession we are suffering.
(What an empire, even our lowest points are Great.)

Zippity Do Da! The Dow Jones index closed above 10,000.

That is of course made possible by the fact that GM isn't part of the index anymore. If you were an investor in GM, Fannie Mae or AIG too bad for you, your portfolio still has a big hole in it.

On the other hand if you are one of AIG's executives you are still getting part of that record breaking pool of bonuses now being paid to the executives of the 23 surviving investment banks who gobbled up 780 billion dollars in hard TARP cash and through the unelected offices of the Federal Reserve left the tax payers holding the bag for between 18 and 28 TRILLION additional dollars in bad debt.

AIG of course is now 80% owned by the U.S. government but they still managed to funnel much of its 180 billion tax dollars through their credit default swap payments to make Goldman Sachs, Citi Corp and a host of Wall Street and foreign Investment banks happy and whole.

These boys bet AGAINST the American people making good on their sub prime mortgages and a case can be made that these institutions played no small part in making sure their cynical bets were a sure thing. Through AIG these powerful investment houses got paid 100 cents on the dollar when the market rate for credit default paper was under 30 cents.

In testimony before the House oversight committee today, TARP Special Inspector Gen. Neil Barofsky, the person officially in charge of trying to audit the distribution of TARP funds, stated that his official efforts have been generally stymied by Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geitner who has consistently refused to divulge the details of exactly how these funds are being used.

One thing Barofsky was able to clearly state, was that in spite of the fact that we tax payers now own 80% of AIG, we have no voting members on its board of directors and that executive bonus packages were protected in any event, by a little known part of the TARP authorization bill inserted sometime after midnight by none other than Wall Street's long time water boy Sen. Christopher Dodd.

Senator Dodd is the ONLY so-called "liberal" on the ad hoc Senate committee assembled by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to fashion in secret, the final draft of the Senate health care bill. What are the odds of the public option surviving this kabuki puppet dance?

The Congressional Budget Office has scored a limited public option as saving a hundred or so billions of dollars over the next ten years. The latest polls say 78% of the American people are not afraid of including the public option in the mix. Meanwhile, the health insurance industry has given notice that they intend to really stick it to us no matter what and still these white haired dummies sit there around their Senate conference table, paralyzed, recognizing perhaps, that their only real task is to fabricate some incredulous justification for the blatantly absurd.

To quote Republican fear master Frank Luntz, "words matter". The simple fact is Barrack Obama could have quickly and overwhelmingly marshaled the American people to the cause of universal health care coverage by simply labeling our current health care mess, for exactly what it is, "the Wall Street health care system." He chose not to, perhaps because the boys in the front office at Goldman Sachs constituted his own single largest source of campaign contributions.

So it is that the echoes of "Yes We Can" quickly fades, hope evaporates as we realize in no uncertain terms who really owns America. There will be no change we can believe in, because the Democratic Party fumbled the kick off. The Republicans have the luxury of being honest crooks. The Democrats are saddled with the need to fake their concerns for the rest of us while serving the same corporate masters. Sadly, save Obama himself, the Democrats are not particularly gifted actors.

Grady wrote, in part, "Maybe Anna's relative in NJ, at the power plant, is also giving too much charity to the wealthy owning majority stock in and controlling corporations."

You know how it goes, Grady, we don't get to choose our relatives :-)) Some families look and act so alike that it's like the family was cloned...not my family. It's more like every one of us comes out looking like someone we did not know anyone in the family tree had access to mate with in the distant past in Eurasia!

So much for "genes" determining more than free will does about who any one of us can become...

The only thing we have in common in the family tree (looks aren't it) are "gifts" - we test who is in the "family" tree through a unique sense of humour...some artistic talents, also, music, ceramics and other crafts, and the ART of "science" service was always teaching and the medical arts....

Heal well, breathe deep, listen to Pink Floyd...

They would have replaced my relative in NJ a long time ago if they could have found cheaper labor who would not blow the place up...something to be said for how he practiced "protectionism"...he got all the licenses.

Not you too Bill. You called President Obama, Obama. Did you call President Bush, Bush or do you refer to him a former President Bush. Is there a problem?

OK, here's the deal: I will resign my job on Wall Street in February after I have recuperated from the surgery that would enable me to again do acting and voice-over work. At present I'm so short of breath and tire so quickly, but am not eligible for disability because I have a PhD.

After I quit I will throw myself to the mercies of the job market and the health care system. My wife and I agreed in pre-nupt that we each must be self-supporting, as much as able, so I expect to work. I was unemployed for 4 years before I got a Wall Street job.

I have come to the conclusion that working for the enemy in order to fund resistance is not worth it. I'm doing more harm than good. Charity doesn't work.

Maybe Anna's relative in NJ, at the power plant, is also giving too much charity to the wealthy owning majority stock in and controlling corporations. Thorsten Veblen said the technocrats would someday seize control from the oligarchs. I don't know.

The only real sign of mental health, Grady, is the capacity to hate people. Especially is that true when you invent reasons to hate people for the simple reason of stealing from them to make YOUR life better.

Anna saw Obama on the beach during his recent vacation, and talk about brownshirts, what scared her was he was brown even without a shirt. Let's have a pick-up game; brownshirts versus brownskins. Naw! They already done that in South Africa. (There was nothing unusual about the Obama campaign, except new technology and plenty of new voters. All else, and much worse, had been done before. His toughest opponent is now Secretary of State, and no complaints there. Talk about enemies lists and dirty tricks, there was one guy in 1972, broke in the opposition's headquarters using ex-CIA, ex-FBI and Cubans, then bribed people and lied on TV. They say he and his buddy Henry broke in a psychiatrist's office to get Daniel Ellsberg's file, because he leaked the Pentagon Papers. Did anyone ever out you after burglarizing your psychiatrist, Anna D. ?)

What is unusual about President-Obedient is the way he breaks campaign promises. (Disappointment has no specific color.) Do you use the tanning salon?

Kareen S wrote, in part, "Instead of being able to have intelligent discussions and have our questions answered by our congresspeople, these people scream, holler, and hold up signs with pictures of Obama as Hitler! I am worried about all of this supposed "grass roots" protesting."

Think back, Kareen, to the "stunts" pulled to get Obama the electoral college votes...that was also "brown shirting" stuff. And a CNN commentator bragged that USA politics is a bare-knuckle GAME.

Whoever/whatever social engineered the election of a "black" President at such a time with so many SURVIVAL issues obviously did not give enough thought to whether the Gen X Slacker PCism that got Obama elected was POWERFUL enough to prevent "unintended consequences".

Maybe Obama should tell school kids in his speech that mentally torturing people

(we have the massive poverty threat now, right, which includes dying a slow painful death from un-managed diabetes infections?)

until they say what you want them to say is what civics class will teach as "history" so don't drop out of school! Learn how to become an "elite"...

I despair! I am a 65 yr old married lady on Medicare with a supplemental ins. I cannot believe the nasty, horrible comments by the "right-wing" Republicans who are protesting so vehemently at the health care meetings. Instead of being able to have intelligent discussions and have our questions answered by our congresspeople, these people scream, holler, and hold up signs with pictures of Obama as Hitler! I am worried about all of this supposed "grass roots" protesting. This is how the "Brown Shirts" got started! They are violent and scarey! I have a sister-in-law who is so brain-washed by the "talking heads" media, that they do not even listen if you give them facts that refute what they have been told. Again, I despair..and REALLY hope that President Obama fights for the change that we elected him for..PUBLIC OPTIO/SINGLE PAYER!!

Laws for the lawless. Like one of Bill's guests said, it is indeed the role of gov't to manage things for the group. T.R. Reid made a great point. Other countries that have broader coverage, lower cost, and better outcomes have a variety of delivery and payer systems. They regulate health industries to protect citizens from exploitation. They have to to avoid what we have. I can't get useful information from townhall screamers, but I love the great interviews on the journal.

Grady, "What would your placard read were you in Pittsburgh, Anna?

Anna D, "I don't do placards in Pittsburgh. But I have a recent picture (Aug '09) of a placard in Warsaw, Poland that translates into English as "Is Poland to become the next Palestine?"

Grady, "I think we agree the direction of our kidding has become unproductive."

Anna D, "Gave up on using me, Grady? Whew - that took a while."

Well, according to Jack and his little camera, there were about 40 Nazis and 20 police at the La Quinta Inn in Greensboro sataurday, and as many as 400 people coming and going and milling about at the counter demonstration downtown on Hamburger Square. Many hung about after 6pm and 3 vehicles came by carrying supposed Nazis saluting and screaming. Car windows were broken by the over-exuberant when the little caravan was caught at a stoplight. (A lone patrol among the Apaches.) A Nazi decorated big rig was also vandalized at the La Quinta. (Maybe by Nazis, since they had no Bundestag.) The White Power Concert advertised must have amounted to quiet jazz in an interior room since no one heard a peep. Attendees probably headed home early, wishing they'd gone drinking at the lake or watched a ballgame instead. Opposers of President Obedient and health care reform were not about to make their true wishes known by allying with the Nazis, and curious Klan buddies.

It's funny that the Jewish community in Pittsburgh claims to be so worried about the G20 hullaballoo on Sept. 25th (a Friday). By then the High Holidays with their forgiveness and atonement will be concluded, but wouldn't it have been instructive to the high muckity-mucks that the Jews (maligned as money mongers) are really filled with Jubilee, and are ready to redact old debts. If any Jews in Pittsburgh are afraid it will not be because of worried protesters drowning in debt, but because of the racist hate released by corporate obstinance in the face of needed health care reform and the call for heavier financial regulation. Nazis are another little tool in the recesses of elite portfolios, to attack nether regions where police and army can not go.

What would your placard read were you in Pittsburgh, Anna? I think we agree the direction of our kidding has become unproductive. Happy bicycling!

Grady wrote, in part, "If I have PC manners maybe it comes from an empathy you lack."

1. To the point of DATA, not who gets hired to do the data management, separate issue about meth and induced OCD, the health insurance companies do not have the DATA about the HUMAN CONDITION as it really exists. Especially does it not have the DATA about the mistakes that happen - like you say happened to you - and then what the mistakes "cost". Or the fact that mistakes happened in the first place because "care" was contorted based on what would be paid for in th efirst place. I think it's germane to the "health care" discussion - the FACT that no one really knows what the costs are for basic health care for the "normals" IS - do they? And why? Back to they don't WANT to know because the philosophy in the USA has always been immoral and fetishistic in regards to health care.

2. Your comment about the 15 year old says a lot more about you than it does about me. When I looked at that 15 year old trying to shake me down for some cash with an abused Swiss Army knife in the insanely filthy Port Authority bathroom, it was like looking in the mirror at what could have happened to me if I didn't have my non-empathetic WWII survivor parents. She was running away from a stepfather who was sexually molesting her - like that never happens, right? I did a quiet "yeeha, up yours" in my head every now and then over the 2 years the young lady took, under our care, to get a life...ONE pimp's cash cow was taken away by my ACT.

3. And where the hell were you and your "PC manners" the past eight years? The past 20 years? Blogging about Martha Stewart instead of arguing about pre-emptive wars? The silence is deafening when it comes to the dreaded WORD - "hillary"...Hardball censored the mention of her name...MSNBC and Fox ar both employed by "Ares", the god of war of Hercules fame....hmmm, come to think of it, "Hercules" TV series has ALSO been censored for "repeat"...political scientists ARE cutting and pasting on the blogs from the scripts of that that the PC definition of "competance"...? Being "shrewd" enough to pull "Ares" stunts from a TV show...?

4. Yesterday, in Poland, there were speeches and "peaceful" gatherings to note 70 years since Danzig/Gdansk was bombed. WWI, obviously, did not settle certain issues in Europe. Grady, you haven't got a clue. And what clues you were given are simply meant to rewrite history. This country has been turned into an idealogical "poland" - clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right....history books now are saying the "poles" were pro-Nazi during WWII and were stabbed in the back by Stalin. Really?! If Stalin stabbed the back, he had a USA army knife, didn't he? Seriously, you people don't know when to stop lying, do you? But then, without a war, what happens to the Military/Medical Industrial Complex's evangelical mission of millionnaire-making "privatized" armies...? "God wants you to be rich..."

Thanks, Grady, for the conversation 8 years later and your cheap shots at my character. Stupid stupid normals, too poor to get the prozac the brain needs to fall in "love" with the entertaining perfidy that "media" provides, can make up their own minds about PC manufactured "empathy".

No one has a CLUE what the costs are. No doubt the 3 trillion surplus in 2000 could have paid for soome of the "costs"...?

"Devils" NEED to weaken everyone, don't they...?

Finally, the whistleblowers in the Pfizer case are getting rewarded...'bout time...people have reasons for crashing the elevator, Grady. Before you go there, sticking Jesus up on a stick as a warning never did work for some. Go check the WHC files in the CIA Mkultra program...

Well, Angel D. Why would a young and pretty one like you crash the elevator? Folk xenophobia and science don't mix. (Do you take young teens home or just kidnap them at the bus stop?)

After my fall from acting I was not welcome overseas, except for a month at a time to do character parts. I was not born with dwarfism. If you follow my bio you discover that the "accident" occurred at the Howard Hughes medical center while I was under RKO contract. (No sane surgeon uses lasers for tosillectomies.)If I have PC manners maybe it comes from an empathy you lack.

Data management will never solve the medical crisis. If you had a definition of consciousness you would see the solution to everything. Our culture is mis-educating younger people and mezmerizing older ones. We have created piles of human wreckage trying to extract profit that was never there.

If you notice it is the well-armed Nazis here and in Peru and Argentina and Honduras and China who systematically exterminate people of my bent. There can no longer be any violent solutions. All violence elevates monsters. (entrepreneurs of violence) That's why my next thing is peaceful complaining in Pittsburgh. Our failed medical system is a global problem. The world labor force is enslaved to the financiers until we assert that money is a fiction, and that only our environment and labor are real. (Neuter and spay is the kindest way: Bob Barker: an Adonis. Angel, are you fixed?)

Just don't make fun of my organ crowding condition because if I lived in England or France I would not have to have taken this job working for the Devil just to stay alive. The sad part is my life was stalled until I nearly died. Are you mad because your life is stalled?

Posted by: Grady Lee Howard

So who stopped you from going to live in Engalnd or France? We all know of people who went to live somewhere else...France would have been perfect for you back when there were 3.5 billion people on this planet. France provided housing and a living stipend for artistic types to just breathe the air.

I'm a lot younger than you. When in my early twenties, my cousin sent a driver to pick me up at the train station telling him that I'd be the best looking woman getting off the train. He walked right up to me.

Many times when I "lived" in NYC, the street people hanging out at bus and train stations (I hate to drive) seemed to always conclude that I was an "angel"....but they would ask for different kinds of "miracles" from me when they spoke to me - stuff like, "Hey angel! Just remember you saw Joe Starr today" which he kept yelling at me until he got to the place in the Port Authority that was too close to the buses and he knew he would get shooed back. I finally turned around and told him I would not forget. Obviously, I never did :-) The women always asked me some version of, "What's happening in heaven? Do they know we are here?" Couldn't help it ONE time - had to use the bathroom and while splashing some water on the hands, was "held up" by a beautiful 15 year old with a sadly abused Swiss Army knife (wonder if the engineers ever studied what happens to the knives exposed to trickle down "capitalism", ala 1984...?) I took her home with me...housemates joked that most normal people bring home a stray dog or cat :-)

I am still a blessed woman.

Life is hardly "stalled" when it has become an 8 year battle against the "dark" side. Not to mention all the fun and games from being an idiot and admitting to having read the most secret and forbidden book on the planet! Boy, talk about all the ghouls coming out to f-ck you over for that crime - reading a book.

Heck, we could both go on ad nauseum with stories...can't we? But YOU asked me a simple question and here's my simple answer:

A "health care" system that insists on gathering the TRUTH about the human condition - REAL DATA.

What good to MEDICAL ADVANCEMENT is all that data that insurance companies have about how they rolled someone over...?

So BILLIONS of $$$ and no REAL knowledge. Now THAT'S stupidity that will kill us all.

I come from a real tough "genetic" background. If I had been born in your condition, my parents would have, no doubt, left me out in the tundra to pass away. Part of their decision is actually compassionate, believe it or not. They KNEW how "devils" use the weak.

You're so right about me. When riding my bike in Boise I break all the rules until a car hits me, then cry when the cop cites me. My skint knee hurt so much I had to eat a plate of neatly cut pastry provided by a lobbyist just to get over it.

Seriously, Anna D. What sort of health care delivery system do you recommend? I like the one where Obedient (our feckless leader) plays golf with the UBS exec. (Herr Wolf) while the whistleblower counterpart receives a prison sentence. How about crimes of government torture and murder where it happened too long ago for anyone to care? Did your stuff happen about that long ago?

Are you in a wheelchair or on oxygen? I bet not. Just don't make fun of my organ crowding condition because if I lived in England or France I would not have to have taken this job working for the Devil just to stay alive. The sad part is my life was stalled until I nearly died. Are you mad because your life is stalled?

Grady wrote, in part, "Idealists like Ron Paul would anhialate the medical system to save it."

Sorry, Grady, but you've filtered a SCIENCE issue through your political eyeball....

The DATA being manufactured by the current "medical system" is CRAP - cherry picked and designed to provide a false conclusion.

So, yes, that's why the DATA needs to be "annihilated" and a better class of people put to work in medical's getting downright silly with the "new generation" crowd in there now - even a division of NASA has been hijacked by "booger specialists" who are now pursuing "mentoring" a primal life form bacteria into a "worker" for space colonization. You can't make this stuff up - check out this weekend's "Astronomy Pic of the Day"....

As for the "public" part of the debate...? Encouraging hypochondriacs, minutia-madness OCD micro chip worshippers, sadists and masochists, and off the chart "special" people like yourself to clamour for "health care" rights above and beyond what stupid normal people evolved for themselves over centuries is exactly how divide and conquer works, as you noted.

I'm working on how to get MY money back...because it's clear that an ARMY of jealous petty narcissistic sociopaths seduced into cut and paste "perfection" as a corporate worker bee have already come up with a million and ones ways to make sure that ain't gonna happen. Some even quote from the bible like that dude in Jacksonville FL did when he cut off my COBRA for a 21 cent math error.

I actually LOVE these odds...very stimulative of PROGRESSIVE thinking...

I've got a deluxe insurance policy from Morgan Stanley right now. My portion is pretty inexpensive. My wife can't get anything as good through her theatrical trade unions. And yet I'd rather see universal single payer coverage for all Americans. The truth is that health is like freedom and that no one has effective access until all do.

Billy Bob is right about President Obedient who has let the insurance giants win ( wants money for 2012 re-election). Critics are also right about lies by Republicans like Virginia Foxx (NC5th District) about death panels and worse. Did you ever stop to think there are more than "two sides" to this question? Have you ever thought of how the two big parties are working together to guarantee the average working person is screwed over, in such a way that each can blame the other.

After watching the Maggie Mahar stuff about the medical-industrial complex I've come to realize that these interests derive the resources to keep their mouthpieces in office by overcharging and defrauding the public. We have no representation on this issue aside from a few unusual office holders typified by Dennis Kucinich and old union types like John Conyers. Idealists like Ron Paul would anhialate the medical system to save it. And that would be a real mass death event. It's not like the "good doctors" could save people through charitable acts in such a complex and overwhelmingly large morass. (Katrina-land.)

The Kucinich type advocates want to see what would essentially be Medicare for all. Money now paid to insurance companies would be levied in a payroll premium (tax) like we already pay (SS, FDIC -These things worked pretty well in the past and people would hate to lose them.). Under pristine conditions the savings from the elimination of duplicate administration costs and insurance corporation profits would allow virtually full coverage of citizens while maintaining the level of benefits the retired, disabled and covered children have now.The problem comes in creating those pristine conditions. (Many lies are circulating about other medical systems in developed nations, but my impression is that people are pretty happy with what they have in Japan, Germany, France, even England and Canada, even lesser nations.) Then there are the innate tendencies of monopoly capitalism and the tragedy predatory provider institutions and practitioners. At the root the American people seem to lack the means to become informed or the will to react to danger in a forceful manner. They have become accustomed to governance that operates above their heads like high tension electrical lines (not accessible to consumers). They go to work (more hours with less benefits than any other modern nation) and accept what is offered, although it is often virtually worthless.

The Ted Kennedys and the Barack Obedients commit crimes against humanity by placating vested interests. They think the GDP is all that matters and forget that some of the total comes from destructive activities (environmental rape, fraud, chichanery, harmful products, legalized theft). Prosperity would involve life quality considerations over gross quantity measurements. Elected officials operate without vision so that Kucinich is by necessity as reactionary as Virginia Foxx (who clearly loves over-fertilized Christmas trees more than her constituents).

It used to be there was a frontier where communities of people could experiment in the USA, but that is no more. Regulation has saturated innovation like the hole in an infant's skull healing up. We are a unitary state like France and Brazil and there is no going back without a mass die-off. States rights are merely a fiction used to avoid responsibility and legal accountability under corporate governance. This was proven by the unjustified bailout of the financial sector. Only the 1% who owns 80+% of everything really benefited. Both liberalism and conservatism (brands) are funded by the same corporate crumbs, by elites who conspire to see that we never glimpse the truth.

I snicker and sneer when I hear the polite fiction of election finance reform as a solution to a sadistic and fascistic condition. The upper middle class who says such things is more worried about their few stocks and funds than about fairness. They don't want their brothers healed from thinking like chickens because they need the eggs.

I have watched people like JimBob and the Davids, and even my Figgers friends take a "talking to yourself cure" because of this Moyers blog. Even Labeit, who was probably paid, seemed to evolve and grow in understanding. One-notes like Chris picked up new phrases and concepts, and I saw Winship and Moyers gradually informed by our verbal struggle. I have become less rude and silly over time. So that shows people can still learn and mature.

Moyers will not offer any solutions because he has none that he can voice and remain on the air. People are not fascinated by the type I offer (designation of taxes, corporate devolution) because, like Moyers, they are caught in the advantages of this dying system.

I laughed the other day when contrarians Sue Myrick, Ginny Foxx and Ron Paul floated HR1919 to suspend payroll deductions of income tax and Social Security. It shows imagination, and sabotage. What do they think would happen if the money pipe to government went dry? Don't they realize corporate welfare would end for their client-contributors at a time of insolvency. They must really like the idea of a taliban nightmare. Even here in NJ there are armed persons who would take as they saw fit without the fear of government. (Even under police state conditions with one cop per 20 households, and one security guard per 12 households, the police are assigned to protect elite property first.) Things get curiouser and curiouser, each institution less effective by the day, and people without faith or confidence. Somewhere we made the mistake of surrendering our responsibilities to alienated and selfish professionals (public, but mostly private).

I'm going to a surgeon Tuesday morning to see about an operation that could help me breathe more deeply and not starve my heart for oxygen when I'm active. It's probably unfair that an older victim of dwarfism like myself can consider elective surgery costing more than $100K. But then I'd like to be able to scream and run if a deather or a birther attacks.

Note: Virginia Foxx: Visit some sick and hurt neighbors in the hospital. Ask money questions and prick up your old Bronx-born ears. You'll get old and helpless yourself (67 and counting), and you don't want to be thrown in the furnace of profit-driven medicine.

Dave, when a health care orginazation bills $6,000 & Ins. Cos. including Medicare pay only $2,000, then something is WRONG. Those without coverage are expected to pay $6,000 & the Private Option "Red-Herring" will not cover 100% of USA citizens, so they will flood ERs & taxpayers will have to pay up once again. Just adjusting a 'wrong' plan leaves a 'wrong' plan.

Until Congress "Mans-up" & rubs the noses of Ins. Cos., lawyers, & medical types until they develop a fair, workable plan, then Smoke & Mirrors promises will just get by us till after the next election.

I agree with your need for a vastly improved health care system, I just see no evidence that the Fed. Govt will stand against the intense lobbying & deliver a fair, balanced, system.

What exactly is Single Payer? Who is the payer & where does the money come from & how is it decided how much goes out?

Billy Bob, Florida

Billy Bob -
I cant tell if you advocate single payer or not.

I think it would be great.

No more 'wolves' at all.

Posted by: Billy Bob | August 29, 2009 1:52 PM :

Having Ins. Cos. decide who receives, & how much health
care is provided is a-kin to having the Wolves of Wall Street guarding the US Treasury.


Billy Bob - isnt that exactly what we have now?

The public insurance option is an attempt to take power away
from 'the wolves'.

What you should be most concerned about is if the Republicans and
blue dogs get their way and manage to mandate insurance for
everyone while discarding a strong public option.

I have no doubt that you have fought against the public option but
it is the one piece of the puzzle that seeks to take the power away from
the monied interests.
You should be fighting for it.

Brother Dave, ObamaChange, as you would call it, represents Hope wasted & Faith in Federal Govt. to give back as much as it takes from Mainstreet is misplaced.

Having Ins. Cos. decide who receives, & how much health
care is provided is a-kin to having the Wolves of Wall Street guarding the US Treasury.

CHANGE--not Adjusted or Revised failed systems is needed, & those promoting the 'Red-Herring' of Big Brother will look after us "Option" is diluding their grey cells.

Billy Bob, Florida

Well then, Billy Bob, its a good thing that under 'Obamacare' as you would call it, ALL of the care will still be done by private doctors and hospitals. The only 'government' part about it will be the payment method. just like Medicare is now. and even then it will only be an option...thats why they call it an option...
You and nearly everyone else are still free to pay insurance companies whatever premiums they ask and you wont be able get anything that they dont cover. Lets call them 'death panels'...private insurance death panels.

Lets just make sure we actually include a strong public insurance option. because right now most insurance companies have monopoloies on their coverage areas and the only way to break their stranglehold is to give people a choice. an option if you will.

recently our mother died at 96 & blessed us with her Living Will. No Death Panels were required. She insisted on discussing such matters, & reluctantly we sort of listened, but at the end we were eased into life without her without gut wrenching, guilt laden decisions. Death Panels are not needed, just SMART people, and the unforseen accidents require family responsibility-not government panels.

Trust govt. with: Financial Safety? Honest debates before war? Value citizens over Corp. election Money Contributors? Govt. will not do any better with Health Care.
BUT, Corporations will value Profits above Citizens

Until an OUT of the BOX thinker Business man (or woman) realizes a FAIR return is available for a FAIR Health Care Insurance, there is not likey to be any real CHANGE no matter what is promised.

Billy Bob, Florida

Supply determines demand in a fish barrel. (Herdin' doagies the size of snauzers, but they're cattle. Hint: They're talking about you, window food addicts.)

Tarantino's scalpin' movie with retard brad pitt plays right into the hands of nazi sadists. Notice that the Apaches are Jews. Another subtext burger for the hungry collective subconscious. Even Samuel Jackson's Bible quote in Pulp Fiction is the gambit bluff of a campaigning sadist. (Not in Ezekiel) And that is the kind of Gameboy bullcrap kids are being sold. So you see why they believe recruiters about Afghanistan. Honor, adventure, a license to kill with impunity. Manufactured sadists can't resist. Hitler believed his own hype. Forensic dentists sorted it out.

"A lethal dose did not kill him."
The ... "dose use by Hitler" did not kill him, just put him to slip!
"But the question remains, what kind of "capitalism" do we have now that is no longer connected to supply and demand..."?
R. Nader and Grady has the answer: "Corporate welfare ...!"
The staff that has been coming out of Washington is more than a "lethal dose! It will take more than a pitch fork to clean it!

I'm just good for bringing home fish, veggies, grain and fruit :-) Someone else has to go hunt the wildebeast...but everytime I sent them off, I still ended up having to go save them from the beast hunting them :-))

I learned after a 5 year hiatus from any fast food ended with a stomach event when I had to eat it again, that Razputin had the right idea. Arsenic was the favorite poison of the political set of his day, so Raz ingested a little bit of arsenic everyday. It worked. A lethal dose did not kill him. I eat at a fast food restaurant once a month to stay conditioned - french fries and some kid size meat sandwich...

Can not believe how FOX is "reporting" on what is happening at the town hall meetings! I guess when the EMFs in the air waves over USA were sold by "government" into capitalistic private ownership, there is no duty by the owners to actually report NEWS - what is HAPPENING in reality, is there?

But the question remains, what kind of "capitalism" do we have now that is no longer connected to supply and demand production for the life maintenance of a human being - body and all?

The persons I reference are not as critical in the network as you suggest. They have time to caravan to greensboro with guns in the trunk; others anticipate the new "Intimidator" rollycoaster at Carowinds; some expect a carney in a storefront to turn their 6 year old daughter into a world class vamp at a cost of $40 a week plus costumes. Cautious Moyers correspondents caution that "there will be blood" while these deluded anticipate trophies and medals. Honor, born in atrocity, is a faint trumpet in the clear cut woods, maybe echoing from a plastic drain tile. But this ersatz honor is as real as a Burger King mini-burger served by dwarfs, and you can reach out the car window and touch it. Do you like "window food", Anna D.? I have been to the slaughterhouse and smelled the innards. But they're still eating it!

Used to be if you wanted meat you fetched the ax and picked a candidate, but no more.

Jack Martin wrote, in part, "I think people who do the necessary work, or are laid off from it, are some of the best souls we have in this country. Maybe they are cowed and prideful, but I always hoped they'd come around."

Maybe they can't let the water stop running and the electricity get shut off and the food supply rot in the sun and the emergency room people fend for themselves in order to prove to you that they aren't "cowed and prideful" - they're just too busy.

A family member in Princeton NJ is ALONE for 12 hours a day maning the flow of electricity from the power station....sure he can walk off and let the place possibly explode...but have no fear, Google is selling software to Wall Street investors that will allow him to monitor the power station via his cell phone so he can go use some "stalin" against "hitler" in your neck of the what you wish for in the way of "change"...

There are "Oath Keepers" (radicalized veterans, gun advocates) who are not ashamed to convoy to Greensboro (NC) to be part of the Nazi Party organizing convention this week. Non-governmental sources of funding for the militia minded have diminished since manufacturing employment has disappeared. Like well-endowed Senators who rule out government sponsored health insurance to get industry money, the Klan served as minutemen opposing union organization on behalf of employers. They were left high and dry along with the workers when factories migrated to slave waged countries. In 1979, as Furher Ronnie was raging to power, they massacred union organizers in beautiful tree lined Greensboro. Trials could extract no justice for an act in which law officers were complicitous.

Four African American brothers were opening a new Burger King franchise about that time in the G-spot. Not being carpenters they hired me to do the interior. One evening I began using a powder actuated nail gun to secure some fixtures to concrete and found the entire clientele running to their cars or face down on the tiled floor (There were minor injuries.). It was that night in the Gate City when I understood the pervasive power of right wing terror. I'm wondering how intimidated the minority and progressive communities feel today knowing that Greensboro officials are hosting the Nazis. How many good Lincoln and Stanley and Belmont and Mount Holly and Gastonia boys will be joining the macoutes. You'd think time would heal, but corporate need and wars of empire re-innoculate the hate germ. Our boys become so like the taliban they fight, then reproduce the taliban with atrocity. Religion makes terrorism and murder OK in stunted minds.

Eric Howe, I ask again, what can you see from your house? A real man like Eric Howe should be in Greensboro with his camera, seeing who from his community is returning home infected with the plague.

That is why "THE CONSTITUTION" should not be sacred any more than a King James edited Bible. Content is not important for Keepers, for the glory documents say what the LEADER asserts them to mean at the point of a gun.
And heresy necessitates death. There is a frenzied element intent on hurrying this world's end. A church here this week posted on the marquee,"Hurry Back, Lord!" (I guess in response to the health care debate) Pick-ups sport soaped,"Don't mess with my health care," over pro-gun decals in the back window. Have they studied the issue, or read proposed bills, or just responded to astro-turfers or self-hating Reverends, not satisfied with the collection plate.

I didn't want to write this. I think people who do the necessary work, or are laid off from it, are some of the best souls we have in this country. Maybe they are cowed and prideful, but I always hoped they'd come around.

How do they react to a friend with cancer and no insurance? A fundraiser! How do they react to a flat tire on the beltway? Stop and help! How do they react to a request to donate to crippled childrens' recovery in the check-out line? They give one more scarce dollar! Can't they see how the Big Man cut them out of a living? It seems like they'd want to break even by taking profit out of medicine. Why is it they only respond to violence advocates? Can't they trust anything? If we want change we gotta earn their trust somehow.

A car horn rang on for more than 5 minutes in front of my house today. (Rude and disturbing!)Grady wanted me to take him to Douglas Airport. He also wanted $500 back because I've not been working on the documentary lately. "Can I trust you?" he guffawed. "Keep our damn expensive broadcast quality equipment out of Greensboro!" We crossed the Catawba after a long silence. "Those good old boys oughta be down there fishing with the others," he observed.
"Those fish are full of mercury and dye chemicals," I retorted.
"Still," said Grady, "It's better to be a fisherman than a fish."
(Are we gonna let the Nazis be fishers of men? I thought.)
Thanks for the heads-up, Grady.

It is the conservatives who are opposed to the public option becasue it may impose new taxes.

What they dont seem to get is that the democrats will pass something. It will either be a bill that includes a public option which may cost more in the short term but lower healthcare costs in the long term OR it will simply be a government mandate that everyone acquire private health insurance which is exactly what the private insurance companies want.

Conservatives, in their attempt to prevent any new taxes by fighting a public option so hard, are going to make certain that much more money is funneled into private insurance compnaies.

why dont republicans see this?

Casting my first vote for Goldwater and all the Republicans up to, but not including, the first President Bush, I left the Republicans because all they offered was FEAR and DIVISION! It is disheartening to see what the party has become. It is disheartening to not be able to have a legitimate debate!Mr Frum has it right. Offer something!

Baucus and Grassley (I won't dignnify them by calling them Senators) are criminals of the highest order.

True Americans would never stand in the way of public good for private fgain and power.

They and their ilk must be defeated in the next election. Our futures depend on it.

I apologize for elderly Jack Martin. It was Eric Howe, not Michael.

David F. understands Obama. Are you his analyst, David F., betraying doctor-patient privilege? Over the weekend he looked into Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon. His head is so big he wasn't impressed. There is a vault of magma under Yellowstone so large that on exploding it would rock his world, and some of the best people emerged from the underworld with timeless ecological wisdom at the Grand Canyon. Obama can't hear those people anymore, but maybe public need under pressure will give him a big surprise. Nature is patient but sure and sudden, and the Newt Gingriches get caught in the pyroplastic flow.

See you at the G20 in Pittsburgh. My placard:"Corporate welfare is hazardous to our health."

I said this a couple months ago and today it still holds true, Obama has yet to pass any meaningful legislation. This tells me the neocon oligarchy owns him and his admin. I also said, we're screwed.

So much for having a Liberal in office.

Is the Option for Government Health Insurance Over?
Obama May Eliminate Certain Parts of Reform Effort to Get Health Bill Passed

Michael Howe stated that there are violent tendencies in the health care conflict that convince him "there will be blood." While I agree that many false issues have been raised to cloud productive debate, and that the hijacking of this issue is another example of corporate dominance of the media and of public discourse, I doubt any relish for real violence on the part of the tiny screaming minority. Let me reassure Eric that it is media amplification causing his anxiety and that if you confront even a screamer individually they retrench at a more rational compromise. If Eric Howe disagrees I wish he would describe for us evidence of impending political violence in his own community. If there are armed "Keepers" meeting at the Steak and Egg, in the barbershop or the council chambers you should let it be known Eric. At least report the activity to the Southern Poverty Law Center or Klan Watch, because if it is happening, people of peace need to know. I post this with real seriousness and concern.

I feel that Kathleen Jamieson's attempt to explain those screaming opponents to healthcare reform as upset and confused leaves too much unanswered. She forgets that these "upset" and "confused" people have chosen to believe Rush Limbaugh et al. in preference to the President. It is upsetting that even media experts like Ms. Jamieson choose to deny the destructive intent of this opposition movement.

My health care plan is a vegetarian diet, with exercise, and alcohol and tobacco free. I live a simply walking and riding a bike without a car for the equitable health of the environment is the health of me.
Now what is this trillions of dollars and insurance and lobbyist, congress, Obama and Palin (I thought she quit) garbage all about; it aint the health care for me.
"Ask not what your country will do for you" because if you do, they'll make a mess of it. Health care is self care.


The current landscape of distortion and paranoia about health care reform – gorilla dust - is all too familiar.

Read Thomas Frank’s What’s The Matter with Kansas? Kansas voters chose self-destructive policies over their own fundamental economic interests. How could so many people get it so wrong?

Who is to blame? Frank says the lesson for liberals in the Kansas story is “an utter and final repudiation of their historical decision to remake themselves as the other pro-business party.” “Democrats no longer speak to the people on the losing end of a free-market system that is becoming more brutal and arrogant by the day.” “…along the way the things that liberalism once stood for – equality and economic security – have been abandoned ... at the historical moment when we need them most.”

Frank asks, “Why shouldn’t our culture just get worse and worse, if making it worse will only cause the people who worsen it to grow wealthier and wealthier?”

btw, what gets me is those who yell the loudest, often are possibly offenders themselves.
i think i have one for

The Republicans only care about one thing: making sure that the Democrats (and Obama in particular) fail. This has nothing to do with socialism, taxes, health care, economics, respect, or morality; this is simple fascism. The sooner that America wakes up and realizes this, the better off you'll be. There will be blood if Americans don't wake up soon.

Post a comment

THE MOYERS BLOG is our forum for viewers' comments intended for discussing and debating ideas and issues raised on BILL MOYERS JOURNAL. THE MOYERS BLOG invites you to share your thoughts. We are committed to keeping an open discussion; in order to preserve a civil, respectful dialogue, our editors reserve the right to remove or alter any comments that we find unacceptable, for any reason. For more information, please click here.

A Companion Blog to Bill Moyers Journal

Your Comments


THE JOURNAL offers a free podcast and vodcast of all weekly episodes. (help)

Click to subscribe in iTunes

Subscribe with another reader

Get the vodcast (help)

For Educators    About the Series    Bill Moyers on PBS   

© Public Affairs Television 2008    Privacy Policy    DVD/VHS    Terms of Use    FAQ