GOP, Conservative Media Trying To Scare Granny to Death

The GOP and conservative media are falling all over each other trying to save the for-profit health insurance industry from having to compete with a modestly-run government health insurance program similar to Medicare.  Their efforts will no doubt become even more frantic in response to a just-released New York Times/CBS News poll:

Americans overwhelmingly support substantial changes to the health care system and are strongly behind one of the most contentious proposals Congress is considering, a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The poll found that most Americans would be willing to pay higher taxes so everyone could have health insuranceand that they said the government could do a better job of holding down health-care costs than the private sector.

Yet the survey also revealed considerable unease about the impact of heightened government involvement, on both the economy and the quality of the respondents’ own medical care. While 85 percent of respondents said the health care system needed to be fundamentally changed or completely rebuilt, 77 percent said they were very or somewhat satisfied with the quality of their own care.

That paradox was skillfully exploited by opponents of the last failed attempt at overhauling the health system, during former President Bill Clinton’s first term. Sixteen years later, it underscores the tricky task facing lawmakers andPresident Obama as they try to address the health system’s substantial problems without igniting fears that people could lose what they like.

Across a number of questions, the poll detected substantial support for a greater government role in health care, a position generally identified with the Democratic Party. When asked which party was more likely to improve health care, only 18 percent of respondents said the Republicans, compared with 57 percent who picked the Democrats. Even one of four Republicans said the Democrats would do better.

The ruling ultra-conservative wing of the GOP is doing everything possible to scare seniors to death over the proposals.

From MSNBC:

A campaign on conservative talk radio, fueled by President Obama’s calls to control exorbitant medical bills, has sparked fear among senior citizens that the health-care bill moving through Congress will lead to end-of-life “rationing” and even “euthanasia.”

The controversy stems from a proposal to pay physicians who counsel elderly or terminally ill patients about what medical interventions they would prefer near the end of life and how to prepare instructions such as living wills. Under the plan, Medicare would reimburse doctors for one session every five years to confer with a patient about his or her wishes and how to ensure those preferences are followed. The counseling sessions would be voluntary (emphasis added).

But on right-leaning radio programs, religious e-mail lists and Internet blogs, the proposal has been described as “guiding you in how to die,” “an ORDER from the Government to end your life,” promoting “death care” and, in the words of antiabortion leader Randall Terry, an attempt to “kill Granny.”

Note again, “The counseling sessions would be voluntary.”

I’m lucky, my doctor also teaches other doctors.  He loves to talk and teach.  Many physicians charge for advice.  These sessions offer simple counseling about end-of-life options that no one likes to think about in advance, but we all know it’s wise to do so.  A Living Will is a good thing.  Right now Medicare does not cover this counseling.

Why would Republicans and the conservative media want to deny Granny and Grandpa the ability to receive counseling from the professionals uniquely qualified to offer such advice? Rachel Maddow calls this malicious crowd the “deathers.”

Granny and Grandpa can relax. And change the channel: turn off FOX Noise, shut off Rush. Watch Rachel and Keith.

They might also want to call their congressman and tell them to back health care reform.  This plan is a huge step forward for all Americans.

Sarah Palin Denies She and Todd to Divorce

Multiple sources in Alaska are reporting that Todd and Sarah Palin are planning to divorce.

First, from AlaskaReport:

AlaskaReport has learned this morning that Todd Palin and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin are to divorce. Multiple sources in Wasilla and Anchorage have confirmed the news.

A National Enquirer story exposing previous affairs on both sides led to a deterioration of their marriage and the stress from that led to Palin’s resignation as governor of Alaska.

The Palins were noticeably not speaking to each other at last Sunday’s resignation speech in Fairbanks. Sarah ditched Todd (MSNBC) right after the speech and left without him. Sarah removed her wedding ring a couple of weeks ago.

The Immoral Minority has more:

According to my source Sarah is finished with Todd and has decided to end their marriage.

She has purchased land in Montana (I wonder whose donations paid for that?), and may be considering moving herself and the children as far away from Alaska as she can get.

Do you remember all of that talk about her missing wedding ring during the three part going away picnics? Well it turns out that ring now sleeps with the fishes. Apparently in a fit of anger Sarah stripped the ring from her finger and tossed it into a lake. (No I did not think to ask WHICH lake so I cannot confirm if it is Lake Lucille, on which her house is located, or some other lake. I apologize for not getting clarification, but I was a little tired last night and so was my source.)

So it appears that the reason Palin has been so quiet, and has given her tweeting fingers a rest, is NOT because of any master plan, or carefully orchestrated new direction, but simply the result of the emotional stress that prevents her from communicating with her fan base or making any public appearances.

Palin’s representatives deny that these reports are true:

Sarah Palin’s spokeswoman is denying media reports that the former Alaska governor is divorcing her husband, Todd Palin. Meg Stapleton wrote Saturday on Palin’s Facebook page, “The Palins remain married, committed to each other and their family…” Two Palin attorneys are also insisting that the claims are false.

Several online publications were reporting Saturday that the former Republican vice presidential candidate and her husband were divorcing. Web siteAlaskaReport.com cited “multiple sources in Wasilla and Anchorage” in their report.

Round and round we go.

I’ll post as more information becomes available.

Former Philippine President Corazon Aquino Is Dead

225px-Cory_Aquino_during_a_ceremony_honoring_US_Air_ForceThis one is really striking a chord with me.

Corazon “Cory” Aquino, 11th President of the Philippines, died today, August 1, 2009.

Talk about the end of an era.

From the New York Times:

Corazon C. Aquino of the Philippines, who was swept into office on a wave of “people power” in 1986 and then faced down half a dozen coup attempts in six years as president, died Saturday in Manila, her son said. She was 76.

The NYTimes article is excellent, touching on many of the dramatic high points of Aquino’s life and service as president of the Philippines.  Who will ever forget the more than 2,500 pair of shoes left behind by Imelda Marcos, wife of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who lost election to Aquino in 1986?

What a thunderous moment in history.

More from the NYTimes:

An observant Roman Catholic who sometimes retreated to convents for contemplation, she attributed much of her success to a divine will. She also said she sought guidance from the spirit of her late husband, Benigno S. Aquino Jr., who had been a chief challenger to Mr. Marcos. His assassination in 1983 fueled the opposition against Mr. Marcos and made his widow a popular figure.

“What on earth do I know about being president?” Mrs. Aquino said in an interview in December 1985, after a rally opening her election campaign.

But that was beside the point. For many Filipinos, she embodied a hope of becoming a better nation and a prouder people.

“The only thing I can really offer the Filipino people is my sincerity,” she said in the interview.

It was what they hungered for, and what she delivered as president. Although often criticized as an indecisive and ineffectual leader, Mrs. Aquino combined passivity and stubbornness and an unexpected shrewdness to hold firm against powerful opponents from both the right and the left.

I recall an account of Aquino going to communion on her knees after her election.  Literally, according to accounts at the time, she processed down the aisle to the priest on her knees.  At the time, I thought that odd.  But Aquino attributed much of her success to divine will, and she strove to remain humble before her God.  Today, I consider that a striking image, contrary to leaders who have claimed to lead with a divine mandate, Aquino attempted to remain humble:

She had come to power through what amounted to popular acclaim — she called it “people power” — expressed by huge crowds that gathered in support of her after the disputed election in February 1986.

One year later, in February 1987, an 80 percent popular vote for a new Constitution was seen as a vote of confidence in her presidency, and coming after her nonelectoral ascent to power, it confirmed her legitimacy and helped keep her challengers at bay.

Hers is an amazing story.

She performed one incredible about-face in policy, however, that rattles the Philippines to this day:

Under pressure from her restive military, she was forced to abandon one of the most strongly held ideas she brought to her presidency, an amnesty and reconciliation with a Communist insurgency. In one of the most striking retreats of her presidency, addressing the graduating class at the Philippine Military Academy a year after taking power, she said, “The answer to the terrorism of the left and the right is not social and economic reform, but police and military action.”

She turned her military loose, and the war against the Communist New People’s Army resumed. The four-decade conflict continues today, along with widespread extrajudicial killings by the military that are reminiscent of Mr. Marcos’s time.

Her son says there will be no state funeral, according to ABS-CBN news in the Philippines:

The Aquinos have decided on a private funeral for the late President Corazon Aquino, who died early morning Saturday after battling colorectal cancer for more than a year.

Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III said they have decided to have a private funeral, instead of a state funeral.

“It won’t be a state funeral,” the senator said.

“That was the intention from the start,” he said, adding that nobody from the presidential office had contacted him “nor am I waiting to talk to anybody there.”

Aquino also said that they have not yet been contacted by Malacañang regarding any plans for a state funeral.

“For all intentions and purposes, she had been a private citizen after stepping down, and siguro, to a degree we would like to spend as much time as possible as a family with her,” he said, explaining their decision.

All I can say is that I’m incredibly touched by her passing.

I’ll end by letting the former president speak for herself through this prayer she wrote in 2004:

cory_yellowribbon

<p><strong>Prayer for a Happy Death (2004)</strong> <br />
by Corazon C. Aquino </p>
<p><em>Almighty God, most merciful Father<br />
You alone know the time<br />
You alone know the hour<br />
You alone know the moment<br />
When I shall breathe my last.</em></p>
<p><em>So remind me each day, most loving Father<br />
To be the best that I can be<br />
To be humble, to be kind,<br />
To be patient, to be true,<br />
To embrace what is good<br />
To reject what is evil<br />
To adore only You.</em></p>
<p><em>When that final moment does come<br />
Let not my loved ones grieve for long<br />
Let them comfort each other<br />
And let them know how much happiness<br />
They brought into my life.<br />
Let them pray for me<br />
As I will continue to pray for them,<br />
Hoping that they will always pray for each other.<br />
Let them know that they made possible<br />
Whatever good I offered to our world<br />
And let them realize that our separation<br />
Is just for a short while<br />
As we prepare for our reunion in eternity.</em></p>
<p><em>Our Father in heaven<br />
You alone are my hope<br />
You alone are my salvation<br />
Thank You for Your unconditional love. Amen.</em>
</p>

Prayer for a Happy Death (2004)
by Corazon C. Aquino

Almighty God, most merciful Father
You alone know the time
You alone know the hour
You alone know the moment
When I shall breathe my last.

So remind me each day, most loving Father
To be the best that I can be
To be humble, to be kind,
To be patient, to be true,
To embrace what is good
To reject what is evil
To adore only You.

When that final moment does come
Let not my loved ones grieve for long
Let them comfort each other
And let them know how much happiness
They brought into my life.
Let them pray for me
As I will continue to pray for them,
Hoping that they will always pray for each other.
Let them know that they made possible
Whatever good I offered to our world
And let them realize that our separation
Is just for a short while
As we prepare for our reunion in eternity.

Our Father in heaven
You alone are my hope
You alone are my salvation
Thank You for Your unconditional love. Amen.

Amen, indeed.