health care

Godwin’s Law- Meet the Idaho State Legislature

dim-bulb Wow! the 2013 Idaho State Legislature is hardly underway and we feel the need to award our second Dim Bulb award of the season. Perhaps we should change the name to the Dim Chandelier award. That way we could include a cluster of Republican Dim Bulbs in just one award.

Most people who are aware of internet memes, have heard of Godwin’s Law. The idea originated with Mike Godwin in 1990. According to the web site, Know Your Meme:

Godwin’s Law is an internet adage that is derived from one of the earliest bits of Usenet wisdoms, which goes “if you mention Adolf Hitler or Nazis within a discussion thread, you’ve automatically ended whatever discussion you were taking part in.”

Which brings us to today’s Dim Bulb.

Nuxoll Senator Sheryl Nuxoll, Republican from Cottonwood. Nuxoll is convinced that Governor Otter’s proposed state health insurance exchange is socialism and sent out a mass e-mail and posted a message on Twitter to warn her constituents of the coming danger.

Never mind that the proposed state health insurance exchange is a boon for private insurers, or that the Idaho health insurance industry supports Otter’s plan, and never mind that the Federal Government will establish a federal based exchange which is certainly closer to dreaded socialism, Nuxoll believes insurance companies are being duped. Just like the Jews (Godwin alert! Godwin alert!) were tricked into boarding the trains taking them to the concentration camps, the insurance companies are being used by Führer Obama to take us down the road to Socialism. According to the Spokesman Review, Nuxoll’s e-mail was headed “Another Reason against the State Health Insurance Exchange” and said in full:

The insurance companies are creating their own tombs. Much like the Jews boarding the trains to concentration camps, private insurers are used by the feds to put the system in place because the federal government has no way to set up the exchange. Several years from now, the federal government will want nothing to do with private insurance companies. The feds will have a national system of health insurance and they will pull the trigger on the insurance companies.

As most Dim Bulbs end up doing, Nuxoll claimed she was misunderstood. She meant no disrespect to the Jews.

Nuxoll said she made the analogy because “I felt badly for the Jews – it wasn’t just Jews, but Jews, and Christians, and Catholics, and priests. My thing was they didn’t know what was going on. The insurance companies are not realizing what’s going to end up in their demise.”

According to Dan Popkey, Nuxoll is just a pawn in anti-Idaho run health care plan. The real leader of the opposition is the Senate Majority Caucus Chair, Senator Russ Fulcher. Fulcher, being a bit more politically savvy than Nuxoll avoids Godwin’s Law. Rather than using Holocaust analogies, Fulcher claims the “evil genius” of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is luring the private insurance industry’s support.

Writes Fulcher: “Part of the evil genius of PPACA is that it depends on the private insurance industry to put the exchange mechanism in place. Ironically the organizations pushing hardest to implement state-based exchanges (the insurance carriers) have the most to lose….”

Fulcher’s bottom line: “If you believe in the principles of socialism and turning over an INCREMENTAL 1/6 of the nation-wide GDP to the federal government (via healthcare), then you will want to support the state-based exchange.

“If you believe in the free market, capitalism, personal responsibility and liberty, you will NOT want to cooperate with a state-based exchange.”

Hmmm- at least two bulbs for our Dim Chandelier.

Mendive- “Maybe it was a poor illustration”

Yesterday I predicted that “Dim Bulb” Idaho Republican Rep. Ron Mendive’s stupid remarks comparing abortion and prostitution would get national attention. Sure enough, the Associated Press picked it up

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and added Mendive’s defense,

Mendive, who was first elected to the Legislature last year, said he posed the question because he was incensed by what he believes is a double standard.
“It was just a question,” he said. “I do believe it’s a double standard.”
Prostitution is a choice “more so than an abortion would be,” he said.
“Because (in an abortion) there’s two beating hearts. And then there’s one,” Mendive said.
Mendive said he didn’t intend to trivialize human trafficking, but he still stressed that he believes prostitution is often a choice that a woman makes about what she does with her own body. Asked if he stood by his words, however, he conceded, “Maybe it was a poor illustration.”

It didn’t take long for responses like this one from Natasha Burton at Cosmopolitan,

Well, here’s your daily WTF?! moment.

At a presentation held by the American Civil Liberties Union, Idaho representative Ron Mendive, R-Coeur d’Alene, asked ACLU reps if their pro-abortion stance also means that they support prostitution. You know, because those things are so much alike.

Apparently, his (flawed) reasoning behind his query was that both abortion and prostitution are choices women make in regards to their bodies. Except that, he says, in the case of abortion, there are “two beating hearts” involved, whereas in prostitution there is only one. Thank you, sir, for that helpful analysis.

This isn’t the first time that an Idaho lawmaker has seriously shoved his foot into his mouth when it comes to women’s reproductive rights. Last year, Senator Chuck Winder told the Senate: “I would hope that when a woman goes into a physician with a rape issue, that that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage, or was it truly caused by a rape.” Seriously, dude? Wow. (Winder later claimed that he was “misunderstood.”)

Honestly, what is it with these guys? And why do they keep getting elected into major positions of power?

Well, I am not sure Mendive holds a “major position of power”, but other than that she is exactly right- what is up with these guys?  They always claim to be shocked at the reaction to their outlandish statements. Part of the reason is that they live in an echo chamber of right wing wackos and religious extremists. Their idiocy is reinforced by their circle of like minded idiots.

The Republican Party’s political advisers are starting to take notice of the serial stupidity of “these guys” when it comes to discussing rape. At the strategy planning get-together of House Republicans in Williamsburg, VA this week, GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway gave some blunt advise to the Congressmen, quit talking about rape.

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — It’s way past time: House Republicans need to stop talking about rape.That’s the message GOP lawmakers got here Wednesday evening from Kellyanne Conway, a top GOP pollster. Conway dispensed the stern advice as part of a polling presentation she made alongside fellow GOP pollsters David Winston — an adviser to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) — and Dave Sackett. The comment was described by several sources in the room. Conway said rape is a “four-letter word,” and Republicans simply need to stop talking about it in their races for office.

That advice ought to apply to all women’s issues: rape, abortion, contraception, etc. Those Republican “guys” need to realize that the only politically savvy thing for them to do is to shut up.

Idaho- The Right to Work for Low Wages

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The lie told to Idaho voters in 1987 is that Right to Work legislation would increase compensation and improve the economy. The facts tell the opposite story. The 23 Right to Work states lag behind the rest of the nation in both wages and benefits. For example, Elise Gould and Heidi Shierholz, researchers at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) looked at the evidence:

[O]ur findings — that “right-to-work” laws are associated with significantly lower wages and reduced chances of receiving employer-sponsored health insurance and pensions — are based on the most rigorous statistical analysis currently possible. These findings should discourage right-to-work policy initiatives. The fact is, while RTW legislation misleadingly sounds like a positive change in this weak economy, in reality the opportunity it gives workers is only that to work for lower wages and fewer benefits. For legislators dedicated to making policy on the basis of economic fact rather than ideological passion, our findings indicate that, contrary to the rhetoric of RTW proponents, the data show that workers in “right-to-work” states have lower compensation — both union and nonunion workers alike.

Economist Gordon Lafer provides the numbers.

RTW laws lower wages for union and non-union workers by an average of $1,500 a year and decrease the likelihood employees will get health insurance or pensions through their jobs. By lowering compensation, they have the indirect effect of undermining consumer spending, which threatens economic growth. For every $1 million in wage cuts to workers, $850,000 less is spent in the economy, which translates into a loss of six jobs.

What about Idaho? Here is what the Idaho Department of Labor reported yesterday.

NAMPA, IDAHO — The Idaho Department of Labor says the state ranks last in overall earnings by full- and part-time job holders.

The median annual wage in Idaho is $23,192. The department estimates a family of four needs $39,000 a year to sustain itself but only about a third of Idaho jobs last year paid that much.

Idaho has one of the highest rates in the nation in which people work more than one job. He also noted that can be difficult for women with kids with no child support.

“That’s another tough situation when you have these low-wage jobs and the economy is evolving away from the higher wages to the lower wages,” he said.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare said it has experienced an increase in requested services. In June 2011, about 20 percent of Idaho’s population received help in Medicaid, food stamps, child care and cash assistance. The highest rate of people receiving help was in Canyon County.

“I think a lot of parents who may have lost a job and in turn lost health coverage for their family turned to Medicaid,” Idaho Health and Welfare spokesman Tom Shanahan said. “It was mostly children who came on.”

Don’t expect these facts to find their way into discussions among Idaho Republican legislators this year.  Because, as Gould and Shierholz pointed out, the facts will likely matter only to those legislators “dedicated to making policy on the basis of economic fact rather than ideological passion”, and that doesn’t describe many Idaho Republican legislators.

“Letter” to Alan Simpson

Alan Simpson

As the year comes to an end, there are lots of “best of the year” lists. One recent phenomenon is to list the most “viral videos” of the year. Psy’s Gangnam Style video appears to be the hands down winner. Generally speaking, seniors don’t spend much time watching YouTube videos, but they do communicate with each other via e-mail. As a certified senior, I think I am in a good position to identify the most forwarded e-mail on the senior circuit this year. It is, hands down, the “letter to Alan Simpson”. There are a number of variations of the letter. Although, the name of the sender varies, the text remains constant. I have received at least five copies of the letter forwarded to me from friends. Below is one example:

Alan Simpson, Senator from Wyoming , calls senior citizens the Greediest Generation, as he compared “Social Security” to a Milk Cow with 310 million teats.

Here’s a response in a letter from PATTY MYERS in Montana … I think she is a little ticked off! She also tells it like it is!
*******************
“Hey Alan, let’s get a few things straight!

1. As a career politician, you have been on the public dole for FIFTY YEARS.

2. I have been paying Social Security taxes for 48 YEARS (since I was 15 years old. I am now 63).

3. My Social Security payments, and those of millions of other Americans, were safely tucked away in an interest bearing account for decades until you political pukes decided to raid the account and give OUR money to a bunch of zero ambition losers in return for votes, thus bankrupting the system and turning Social Security into a Ponzi scheme that would have made Bernie Madoff proud.

4. Recently, just like Lucy & Charlie Brown, you and your ilk pulled the proverbial football away from millions of American seniors nearing retirement and moved the goalposts for full retirement from age 65 to age 67. NOW, you and your shill commission is proposing to move the goalposts YET AGAIN.

5. I, and millions of other Americans, have been paying into Medicare from Day One, and now you morons propose to change the rules of the game. Why?Because you idiots mismanaged other parts of the economy to such an extent that you need to steal money from Medicare to pay the bills.

6. I, and millions of other Americans, have been paying income taxes our entire lives, and now you propose to increase our taxes yet again. Why? Because you incompetent bastards spent our money so profligately that you just kept on spending even after you ran out of money. Now, you come to the American taxpayers and say you need more to pay off YOUR debt.

To add insult to injury, you label us “greedy” for calling “bullshit” on your incompetence. Well, Captain Bullshit, I have a few questions for YOU.

1. How much money have you earned from the American taxpayers during your pathetic 50-year political career?

2. At what age did you retire from your pathetic political career, and how much are you receiving in annual retirement benefits from the American taxpayers?

3. How much do you pay for YOUR government provided health insurance?

4. What cuts in YOUR retirement and healthcare benefits are you proposing in your disgusting deficit reduction proposal, or, as usual, have you exempted yourself and your political cronies?

It is you, Captain Bullshit, and your political co-conspirators called Congress who are the “greedy” ones. It is you and your fellow nutcases who have bankrupted America and stolen the American dream from millions of loyal, patriotic taxpayers. And for what?
Votes!
 That’s right, sir. You and yours have bankrupted America for the sole purpose of advancing your pathetic political careers. You know it, we know it, and you know that we know it.

And you can take that to the bank, you miserable son of a bitch.

The “letter” started making the rounds not long after Simpson wrote an equally profanity-laced letter sent last May to the California Alliance for Retired Americans.

To Whom It May Concern:

Erskine Bowles and I thoroughly enjoyed our time on the West Coast and received an excellent reception from folks — at least those who are using their heads and have given up using emotion, fear, guilt or racism to juice up their troops. Your little flyer entitled “Bowles! Simpson! Stop using the deficit as a phony excuse to gut our Social Security!” is one of the phoniest excuses for a “flyer” I have ever seen. You use the faces of young people, who are the ones who are going to get gutted while you continue to push out your blather and drivel. My suggestion to you — an honest one — read the damn report. The Moment of Truth — 67 pages, and then tell me if we’re not doing the right thing with Social Security. What a wretched group of seniors you must be to use the faces of the very people that we are trying to save, while the “greedy geezers” like you use them as a tool and a front for your nefarious bunch of crap. You must feel some sense of shame for shoveling out this bulls**t. Read the latest news from the Social Security Trustees. The Social Security System will now “hit the skids” in 2033 instead of 2036. If you can’t understand all of this you need a pane of glass in your naval so you can see out during the day! Read the report. Get back to me. My address is below.

If you don’t read the report, — as Ebenezer Scrooge said in the Christmas Carol, “Haunt me no longer!”

Best regards,

Alan Simpson

In an informal poll of friends, all had received the letter, some as recently as last week. www.snopes.com, the web site dedicated to separating fact from rumor on the internet, tries to answer the questions posed in the letter here.

The popularity of the Simpson letter among seniors points out the level of anger generated whenever there is talk of “saving” social security by Republicans. On Meet the Press this morning, Lindsey Graham evoked Simpson Bowles. He appears willing to go over the “fiscal cliff”. The line in the sand will be on raising the debt ceiling. When he says, “…we will have leverage…” he means the filibuster.

I like Simpson Bowles, eliminate deductions, lower rates, put money on the debt… I think we’re going to fall out of the fiscal tree. There will not be a big deal. The big chance for a big deal is at the debt ceiling. That’s when we will have leverage to turn the country around, prevent it from becoming Greece, and save Social Security and Medicare. And to anybody listening to this program, I will raise the debt ceiling only if we save Medicare and Social Security from insolvency and prevent this country from becoming Greece. No more borrowing without addressing why we’re in debt to begin with. That’s where the real chance for change occurs, at the debt ceiling debate.

It appears that the Republican Party is unwilling to face the truth. They lost the election and the majority of Americans do not want changes in Social Security and Medicare. There are lots of “Patty Myers” out there who will call “Bull Shit” to Senator Graham and his Republican colleagues if they, once again, resort to filibuster.

Another Neglected Issue Emerges from the New Town Tragedy

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Lisa Long, a writer and single mother from Boise, wrote an article for the BSU on-line magazine, The Blue Review, that has gone viral on the internet. Anyone who has a relative, friend, or knows anyone related to someone with mental health issues the same or similar to those of Lisa’s son empathizes with her situation and, given the lack of adequate care for children (and adults) coping with mental illness, realizes her sense of helplessness. Parents like Lisa are forced to put their children into the criminal system before they are able to get any help.

When I asked my son’s social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.

Unfortunately, not everyone has empathy for Lisa and other parents like her. Yesterday she was forced to go on national television and defend her article.

According to Kathie Garrett, a former legislator and current chair of the Idaho Suicide Prevention Council, Idaho ranks near the bottom for Mental Health Care funding.

We want to see more awareness so people understand people with mental illness are no more dangerous than the rest of the population, especially when they have availability to good mental health services,” said Garrett.

But that access to mental health services can sometimes be tough to come by. NAMI says fewer than one-third of people with mental illness receive treatment. Garrett says that can be attributed to the stigma associated with mental illness, and also, recent cuts in funding.

Garrett says, since 2009, Idaho cut funding to its state mental health clinics by 22%. “They restrict services to people who are only in crisis, or are there, because they were ordered by courts… We have a crisis in our mental health system.”

Idaho ranks near the bottom in the nation for mental healthcare funding. Garrett tells us she understands budgeting and the tough economic times. But she believes getting that care to people who need it, when they need it, is worth the money.

“We want to give people treatment as soon as possible,” said Garrett. “We want to see that happen. We don’t want to see a tragedy like that happen in Idaho.”

When it comes to the Idaho State Legislature, Lisa’s cries for help fall on deaf ears.

 

A Fitting End of the Year in Idaho Politics

Idaho Governor Clement “Butch” Otter ends 2009 with a demonstration of the type of leadership he has displayed throughout his time in office. In a bit of pathetic, hypocritical grandstanding, Otter threatens to sue the United States if health care passes.

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter on Wednesday threatened to sue the United States should health care reform become law as currently drafted in bills that passed the House and Senate.

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Otter said the bill passed last week by the Senate is unconstitutional, expensive and inequitable to states that didn’t get special breaks. Otter said Congress is moving to sacrifice “fiscal responsibility, sound judgment and constitutionality for political expediency.”

This is the same Butch Otter that wanted to  cut  state retirees from the state Blue Shield plan that they had paid into for many years, and put them into Medicare to save the state money.  However, to the delusional Governor, suing the Federal government seems to be a good use of taxpayer money.

So it goes….   Best wishes to all…. Have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Mike Crapo Grandstanding About Health Care.

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo has spent the last week flooding the media with a call to sign his on-line petition opposing Health Care legislation. In addition to hearing the constant radio ads, I have had to put up with daily “robo calls” filled with lies and misstatements about the Senate bill and ending with a plea that I get on line and sign the petition.

Crapo, who has no real political power or influence, hopes to convince gullible Idaho voters that this petition will turn the tide and defeat the legislation, thus making him a national leader of the health care opposition.

Here is his “news release” on the official web site:

Washington, D.C. – More than 19,000 people, starting with Idahoans but spreading nationwide to all 50 states, have signed an online petition opposing the current health care reform legislation before the U.S. Senate. The online petition was prepared by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, who has been on the Senate floor and national cable television programs leading opposition to the bill because it raises taxes on the middle class, increases premiums for many people now carrying insurance, cuts senior programs and fails to lower health care costs.
“There has not been a piece of legislation this decade that has come with more opposition to it than this health care reform bill,” Crapo said. “I support health reforms, but not a bill like this that puts the government in charge of doctor-patient relationships. Three days ago, I asked Idahoans if they would join me in petitioning the United States Senate to defeat this bill. The response has been remarkable. We now have more than 19,000 signatures, and that number continues to grow by the hour.

Of course, Crapo knows the petition is just grandstanding. In fact, according to The Hill, Crapo is well aware that the legislation is a done deal and the Republicans will not be able to repeal it any time soon.

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) said Republicans are unlikely to be able to repeal the legislation anytime in the near future.

“Technically it could be peeled back if the circumstances were right,” Crapo said during an appearance on a conservative news radio syndicate. “But we would have to have a president who would sign such a bill, and we would have to have 60 votes in the Senate — not just 50.”

“So it would be a very tall order, and frankly, the likelihood’s that that’s not going to develop in the near future,” he added.

Senator Whitehouse calls out the Paranoid Republicans

Richard Hofstadter was one of the most insightful historians of the 20th century. In two essays, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (1963) and The Paranoid Style in American Politics (1965), Hofstadter identified themes that have been deeply ingrained in American political life. It is safe to say that both essays are even more relevant today than when they were originally written.

The Paranoid Style in American Politics was first printed in Harpers Magazine and recently described by its editor as one of the most important and most influential articles published in the 155 year history of the magazine.

Writing in the wake of the 1964 Presidential election, Hofstadler states that:

American politics has often been an arena for angry minds. In recent years we have seen angry minds at work mainly among extreme right-wingers, who have now demonstrated in the Goldwater movement how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority. But behind this I believe there is a style of mind that is far from new and that is not necessarily right-wing. I call it the paranoid style simply because no other word adequately evokes the sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind.

He describes the paranoid politician in the following way:

The paranoid spokesman sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms — he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization… he does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish. Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated — if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention. This demand for total triumph leads to the formulation of hopelessly unrealistic goals, and since these goals are not even remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoid’s sense of frustration. Even partial success leaves him with the same feeling of powerlessness with which he began, and this in turn only strengthens his awareness of the vast and terrifying quality of the enemy he opposes.

Hmm– remind you of anyone?–  or, to be more accurate, any political party?

The comparisons didn’t escape Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.  The following clip is a bit lengthy, but it is worth watching. Whitehouse call out the Republicans and remind them that their “day of judgement” is coming.


Risch Lies, Who Cares?

Outrage fatigue sets in….  Editor and Publisher is going out of business. Investigative reporting is a thing of the past. Media Matters doggedly soldiers on. Fortunately, here in Idaho, we have at least one reporter, Dan Popkey, who is willing to follow up on political hackery and spin with stories like this:

The Idaho Legislature’s budget office said Friday that state Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, has his facts right in a dispute with U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho.

Rusche on Thursday critiqued Risch’s claim made Monday that the Senate Democrats’ health care reform bill would mean “massive” tax hikes or “massive” education spending cuts in the states.

Rusche based his argument on the bill’s provision that the federal government would pay 95 percent of the cost of expanding Medicaid to 160,000 Idahoans beginning in 2017, after picking up the entire cost between 2014 and 2016.

Rusche said the reform would save Idaho at least $13 million a year and not force cuts or tax increases in the state.

Risch countered that the federal match for Idaho would be only 90 percent, saying the bill would cost Idaho another $10 million annually.

Legislative budget analyst Amy Johnson, citing an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures, said Rusche was correct about the 95 percent match for Idaho in the current bill.

Risch spokesman Brad Hoaglun said that Rusche “could well be right” about Idaho. But Hoaglun noted that Risch’s original comments in Senate debate were focused on the burden reform would put on states overall. The average matching rate for all 50 states will be 90 percent.

Hoaglun also said the bill is a moving target and could be substantially amended. “There may be winners and losers and Idaho could be a winner. But that could all change tomorrow.”

Everywhere else there is silence. There will be no outrage from politicians or the media. Risch is just one more Republican party hack who knows he can lie with impunity. After all, his lies and hypocrisy pale when compared to the constant barrage coming from faux news and the leaders of the party of “no”.  Al Frankin may be right, “We are entitled to our own opinions. We’re not entitled to our own facts.” but, without a mainstream media willing to inform the public, participatory democracy is doomed.

It seems obvious to me that Obama, is a pragmatist. A pragmatist is willing to set aside ideology to find solutions to problems. That position, of course, is guaranteed to generate critics from any and all ideological camps.  John Dewey, Pragmatist and, arguably, America’s greatest philosopher claimed that the enemy of effective problem solving is “either-or” thinking; thinking that allows ideology to blind one from working towards creative solutions. Effective problem solving, according to Dewey, necessitates an understanding of the distinction between terminal ends and “ends-in-view”.

As long as we are wedded to the purity of our solutions, we will never accept meaningful change. Global warming and health care are the two latest examples of the dangers in confusing final “ends” with “ends-in-view”. I am very disappointed with the current health care legislation. I prefer a single payer system like those in most of the enlightened democracies in the world. I cringe to watch slimy politicians like Nelson and Lieberman subvert the public will. But, the irrationality of adopting an “either-or” position is obvious. A less-than-perfect health care plan is better than our current situation. It is an “end-in-view,” something achievable now and open to further change as its strengths and weaknesses become more apparent.

There needs to be authentic public dialogue for pragmatic solutions to have a chance of success. This is not happening in the main stream media where real dialogue is confused with demagoguery; where ideologues from both extremes are invited to invent their own facts without check.

In one of his greatest works, The Public and Its Problems, Dewey explored the ways in which “special interests, powerful corporate capital, numbing and distracting entertainment, general selfishness, and the vagaries of public communication” subvert the possibilities for a true public dialogue that might lead to a clarification of the common interest and a willingness to work towards an identifiable “end-in-view”. The subversion has extended far beyond what Dewey anticipated in 1927. It used to be said that Pragmatism was America’s philosophy. I am afraid those days are gone.

What Now Mr. President?

John Tepper Marlin, writing on The Huffington Post, talks about an e-mail he receive from his sister, living in England, discussing a documentary she saw concerning health care in the United States.

My sister Brigid Marlin lives in the UK and a few days ago was watching a BBC program on health care in the United States. Brigid is not a public affairs junkie so I was interested when she sent me an email reporting that the program was a shocking portrayal of the high cost and low coverage of U.S. medical care. This itself is not news but there are two things about the show that are worth an alert: (1) The BBC’s effectiveness in describing the problems with U.S. health care, and (2) The fact that Americans can’t watch it.

As Marlin point out in his article, the Panorama documentary cannot be viewed from the BBC site here. Thanks to the wonders of You Tube, however, it is possible to watch it. I am not sure how long it will remain on You Tube, so please take a few minutes to watch it while you can.

What Now Mr President? Part I

What Now Mr President? Part II

What Now Mr President? Part III