Lately CNN has damaged its reputation by keeping Lou Dobbs and his inane birther talk and anti-immigration rhetoric on air; refusing to air Media Matters ads critising Dobbs, as well as CNN and even refusing to air ads critical of the insurance industry. Rick Sanchez's smackdown today of an arrogant insurance industry shill shows what America is up against in trying to reform health care: hubris and greed.
Business Week reports the health insurers have already won.
Meanwhile President Obama's attempts to involve the Party of No in any sort of compromise suggests the "Gang of Six" are seriously watering down the proposed health care reform bill. As usual, middle class and poor Americans are the pawns - and the losers - in these cynical chess games between government and big business.
Smokescreens and attacks
Update: Steven Pearlstein at the Washington Post: "...The recent attacks by Republican leaders and their ideological fellow-travelers on the effort to reform the health-care system have been so misleading, so disingenuous, that they could only spring from a cynical effort to gain partisan political advantage. By poisoning the political well, they've given up any pretense of being the loyal opposition. They've become political terrorists, willing to say or do anything to prevent the country from reaching a consensus on one of its most serious domestic problems." Hear, hear!
Meanwhile, Rush Limbaugh has stooped to a new low in his hate-filled rhetoric, comparing Democrats to Nazis.
And the group calling itself "Freedom Works" has released an "August Recess Action Kit," which features more erroneous information about health care reform - apparently no fact-checkers there - and urges people to continue disrupting public forums and town halls. Mob violence already is in evidence in Florida and other venues.
Voices of reason
At Salon, Joan Walsh questions Republican and insurance company tactics, while Glenn Greenwald wonders about Limbaugh's Nazi references and GOP and media reaction today, compared to 2004, when MoveOn.org was pilloried after a statement about George Bush.
Media takes Clinton story and twists it every which way
An excerpt of Joe Conason's excellent Salon article about reaction to Bill Clinton's trip to North Korea:
"On display in the wake of his successful effort to secure the release of journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee is the purest and most virulent form of a disorder all too familiar to anyone who lived through the Clinton presidency.
"Here was an effort that exemplified the best of America -- a society that values the lives of its citizens enough to send a former head of state, with all the power of government behind him, to the aid of two women in distress. Here was a happy reunion, bringing wives home to their husbands and a mother back to her little girl, that surely uplifted the spirit of anyone who actually believes in family values. Here was a moment of pride and joy.
"But not for Gordon Liddy, the demented felon and radio bigot who cackled about "Ling Ling and Wee Wee being locked up for nine hours in an airplane with Bill Clinton." Not for Rush Limbaugh, the obsessive guttersnipe who wondered aloud whether Clinton "hit on those two female journalists on the long flight home." Not for Andrea Peyser, the curdled tabloid columnist who insisted that "the whole shebang was nakedly scripted and staged as a device to help rehabilitate the image of former President Bill Clinton" (and who neglected to mention that Clinton did not speak to the eagerly waiting press corps and has given not a single interview on the North Korea mission). Not for Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who predictably seized on Clinton's mission as an opportunity for gratuitous and ugly insults to his wife, weirdly imagining that the prisoner release was "some clever North Korean revenge plot, giving the limelight to Daddy to punish Mommy." And not for the editors of the Huffington Post, who posted a very strange headline -- "Bill Upstages Hillary ... Once Again" -- on an Associated Press story that didn’t mention her at all."
"...Finally there are the "serious" commentators, most notably former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, the former diplomat best known for disdaining diplomacy and rattling the atomic saber until he was mercifully relieved of public responsibilities. In him the syndrome’s most noticeable effect is a severe case of amnesia. On the pages of the Washington Post, he complained that despite "decades of bipartisan U.S. rhetoric about not negotiating with terrorists for the release of hostages, it seems that the Obama administration not only chose to negotiate, but to send a former president to do so." Leaving aside the question of whether this situation in any way fits that description, Bolton has clearly forgotten the Iran-Contra affair, when his colleagues in the Reagan administration, all the way up to and including the president, negotiated with Iran’s leaders to release hostages in exchange for deadly missiles -- violating statute and policy. He also seems to have forgotten how he tried to help cover up that outrage as an assistant attorney general."
Sarah Palin: Still lying; more dangerous. And now she's embraced Michelle Bachman! Talk about a dastardly duo!
Really, such political, media and business shenanigans are enough to make one want to move to a deserted island...