Friday, August 21, 2009

To Obama: Health Care Battle About Winning Hearts And Minds & Fox News Propaganda Tool

UPDATE: Friday, August 21, 2009 12:23 PM

Finally some push back by Pro-Health Reform groups- now this is more like what Obama & his supporters should be doing. Obama needs to gin up ads that speak to the real tragedy of the current health Care in America and to characterize the Health Insurance industry as going against the needs and desires of average Americans. They don't care about people they only care about profits.

New ad: Insurance companies have the death panels by Alex Koppelman at,Aug. 21, 2009

Death panels aren't coming in healthcare reform -- they're already here.

That's the message of a new ad produced by Americans United for Change, a liberal group that's pushing for Democratic healthcare reform proposals. The ad was released Thursday night to Salon, and will begin running on cable nationally and in Washington, D.C. next week.

The spot features Linda Peeno, a doctor who's a former medical director at Humana Insurance and Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and has since turned whistleblower

Let's begin with a couple of interesting videos dealing with health care reform.In the first one we discover which is no real surprise that those who believe nonsense about Obama are the viewers of Fox News. Fox News is not a news network it is a propaganda tool for the Republican Party, the Religious Right and other extremist.
Bill Maher also blames Obama and his supporters for the failure to sell real substantive Health Care Reform to the American public.Too bad Obama doesn't have the courage of an FDR or John F.Kennedy or Lyndon Johnson to insists on the importance of Health Care Reform to create a better America.

Rachel Maddow & Bill Maher Talk About Delusional Republicans
August, 18, 2009

In the next one Rep. Barney Frank refreshingly puts one of these misinformed angry over the top anti-Obama nutters in their place when she refers erroneously to Obama's plan as part of Obama's Nazification of America

Action alert Take a brief moment to thank Rep. Frank the address below

Thank Rep. Barney Frank for standing up to the extremism. Letter at People For The American Way ,August 19, 2009

When U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) was asked by a woman at a town hall meeting holding a sign with President Obama altered to look like Hitler why he supports President Obama's "Nazi policy" on health care reform, he responded, "On what planet do you spend most of your time?"

Good for him! More politicians need to call it like it is and reject the extremist fear-mongering.

At a Barney Frank town hall meeting in Dartmouth, MA, a constituent asks, "Why are you supporting this Nazi policy?"

Frank responds: "On what planet do you spend most of your time?" He then calls her approach "vile, contemptible nonsense." He closes by saying: "Trying to have a conversation with you would be like arguing with a dining room table."

Jewish man explains that even Israel has Universal Health Care. Interesting and ironic that so many Americans support Israel unconditionally and yet according to the Republicans, the Religious Right, and Fox News etc. by their definition Israel is a "socialist" or Communist " state which must therefore be anti-American and anti-capitalism and anti-Christian and anti-God. But American conservatives are adept at cherry-picking or just ignoring their own contradictions. If Israel is an ideal country and one Chosen by God according to Evangelicals & so called Christian Zionists then God in this case is in favor of a government funded health care program for all Israelis and not just the wealthy.

Woman Yells Heil Hitler To Jewish Man at Las Vegas Town Hall
and she Boo Hoos him when he says he had to pay an outrageous 8,000 medical Bill for an Emergency Room visit.

These good old American Christian conservatives have never been able to understand the notion of sympathy or empathy or that a community and a nation should & must take care of its people and of each other. No instead their idea of freedom is to let people starve to death or die from exposure while living on the streets and under bridges or in city parks and for those who can not afford proper Health Care that is in Scrooge's words " Better They die and decrease the Surplus Population "(Scrooge-Charles Dickens)This is typical of Neoconservatives who see life as an ongoing struggle of the strong versus the weak and that the spoils go to the strong while weak through natural selection are weeded out. A similar view is held by many American Evangelical Christians and those who have bought into the Prosperity Gospel which says that the True Believing Christians are successful materially while those who are not successful are being punished for not being "True Believing Christians".
The basis of this Gospel seems to me as about a far from the teachings of Jesus as one can get. It is an idolization of material things and that one's own happiness and pleasure is all that matters. This is just the old self-centered narcissistic view of life which is more characteristic of those who hold to a philosophy of Extreme Relativism rather than those who hold to Christian ideals.

Heil Hitler Woman

Anyway George Lakoff in the article below argues that the Obama administration and its supporters of Health Care reform are losing the battle to the Insurance Industry and the to the Republicans and the the Right because they failed to argue in favor of health care reform in a more passionate and emotional terms . They should have appealed to the American people on a more personal and on a gut-level as it were not merely as a form of spin but to lay out the need for health care as an American ideal and so call it "The American Plan" while arguing that supportin this plan is the patriotic and American thing to do.. And Lakoff argues that it may not be too late for Obama and his administration to turn this whole fiasco around.

He argues and I think rightly so that the Obama administration and those who support Health Care reform need to reframe their arguments and the discussion to not just argue about facts and figures as it were but to argue for Health Care Reform by appealing to the public's desire to create a better America. To argue that Health Care Reform is an urgent issue which will provide decent health care for all Americans and not just a few. The government it should be argued has a duty to protect the health of its citizens and insure that they are getting the best health care. Over the decades the Health Insurance industry has failed the American public in providing decent affordable health care . For instance facts which are easily grasped should be presented which appeal to Americans better nature such as that 18,000 Americans die each year due to inadequate health care. it should be noted that America has one of the worst health care systems among the industrialized nations. Getting into the nitty gritty details of health care and speaking in the laguage of accountants and bureaucrats and ideologues is not the way to persuade Americans that health care reform is needed. It should be presented in a passionate emotional manner which appeals to the average Americans sense of justice, of fairness and their concern and empathy for their fellow citizens.

Part the problem here is that the Right-wingers claim empathy is an emotion only suited for the weak minded . So Obama I think should be out there day after day along with his supporters hammering away that the notion of health care reform is the decent thing to do and is based in basic principles and ideals of the American Enterprise and experiment itself and is grounded in the ideals of the Founding Fathers. Otherwise the right will continue to claim that health care reform is an idea which is foreign to America's basic ideals and principles which it is not. If one followed their reasoning Slavery as an institution would still exist and women would not have equal rights and African-Americans would still be denied equal rights and basic education would only be available to the privileged.

"The PolicySpeak Disaster for Health Care" by George Lakoff at CommonDreams August 20, 2009

Barack Obama ran the best-organized and best-framed presidential campaign in history. How is it possible that the same people who did so well in the campaign have done so badly on health care?

It’s not too late to turn things around, but we must first understand why the administration is getting beat at the moment.

...Howard Dean was right when he said that you can’t get health care reform without a public alternative to the insurance companies. Institutions matter. The list of what needs reform makes sense under one conceptual umbrella. It is a public alternative that unifies the long list of needed reforms: coverage for the uninsured, cost control, no preconditions, no denial of care, keeping care when you change jobs or get sick, equal treatment for women, exorbitant deductibles, no lifetime caps, and on and on. It’s a long list. But one idea, properly articulated, takes care of the list: An American Plan guarantees affordable care for all Americans. Simple.

...The PolicySpeak Disaster

PolicySpeak is the principle that: If you just tell people the policy facts, they will reason to the right conclusion and support the policy wholeheartedly.

...The narrative is simple:

Insurance company plans have failed to care for our people. They profit from denying care. Americans care about one another. An American plan is both the moral and practical alternative to provide care for our people.

The insurance companies are doing their worst, spreading lies in an attempt to maintain their profits and keep Americans from getting the care they so desperately need. You, our citizens, must be the heroes. Stand up, and speak up, for an American plan.


As for language, the term “public option” is boring. Yes, it is public, and yes, it is an option, but it does not get to the moral and inspiring idea. Call it the American Plan, because that’s what it really is.

The American Plan. Health care is a patriotic issue. It is what your countrymen are engaged in because Americans care about each other. The right wing understands this well. It’s got conservative veterans at Town Hall meeting shouting things like, “I fought for this country in Vietnam, and I’m fight for it here.” Progressives should be stressing the patriotic nature of having our nation guaranteeing care for our people.

A Health Care Emergency. Americans are suffering and dying because of the failure of insurance company health care. 50 million have no insurance at all, and millions of those who do are denied necessary care or lose their insurance. We can’t wait any longer. It’s an emergency. We have to act now to end the suffering and death.

Doctor-Patient care. This is what the public plan is really about. Call it that. You have said it, buried in PolicySpeak. Use the slogan. Repeat it. Have every spokesperson repeat it.

Coverage is not care. You think you’re insured. You very well may not be, because insurance companies make money by denying you care.

Deny you care… Use the words. That’s what all the paperwork and administrative costs of insurance companies are about – denying you care if they can.

Insurance company profit-based plans. The bottom line is the bottom line for insurance companies. Say it.

Private Taxation. Insurance companies have the power to tax and they tax the public mightily. When 20% - 30% of payments do not go to health care, but to denying care and profiting from it, that constitutes a tax on the 96% of voters that have health care. But the tax does not go to benefit those who are taxed; it benefits managers and investors. And the people taxed have no representation. Insurance company health care is a huge example of taxation without representation. And you can’t vote out the people who have taxed you. The American Plan offers an alternative to private taxation.

Is it time for progressive tea parties at insurance company offices?

Doctors care; insurance companies don’t. A public plan aims to put care back into the hands of doctors.

Insurance company bureaucrats. Obama mentions them, but there is no consistent uproar about them. The term needs to come into common parlance.

Insurance companies ration care. Say it and ask the right questions: Have you ever had to wait more than a week for an authorization? Have you ever had an authorization turned down? Have you had to wait months to see a specialist? Does you primary care physician have to rush you through? Have your out-of-pocket costs gone up? Ask these questions. You know the answers. It’s because insurance companies have been rationing care. Say it.

Insurance companies are inefficient and wasteful. A large chunk of your health care dollar is not going for health care when you buy from insurance companies.

Insurance companies govern your lives. They have more power over you than even governments have. They make life and death decisions. And they are accountable only to profit, not to citizens.

The health care failure is an insurance company failure. Why keep a failing system? Augment it. Give an alternative.

The Needed Communication System

A progressive communication system should be started. It should go into every Congressional district. It should concentrate on general progressive ideas. President Obama has articulated what these are.

# The basic values are empathy (we care about people), responsibility for ourselves and others, and the ethic of excellence (making ourselves better and the world better).

# These values form the basis of democracy: It’s because we care about our fellow citizens that we have values like freedom and fairness, for everyone, not just the powerful.

# From that, it follows that government has two moral missions: protection (of consumers, workers, the environment, the old, the sick, the powerless; and empowerment through public works; communication, energy, and water systems; education; banks that work; a court system: and so on. Without them, no one makes it in America. Taxes are what you pay for protection and empowerment by the government, and the more you make the greater your responsibility to maintain the system.

Appropriate language can be found to express these values. They lie at the heart of all progressive policies. If they are out there every day, it becomes easier to discuss any issue. This is what it means to prepare the ground for specific framings.

and so it goes,

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