Just to make sure you knew how horribly indecent Republicans were, Dana Milbank leads the charge against Sen. Coburn in the Washington Post today:
Going into Monday morning’s crucial Senate vote on health-care legislation, Republican chances for defeating the bill had come down to a last, macabre hope. They needed one Democratic senator to die — or at least become incapacitated.
At 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon — nine hours before the 1 a.m. vote that would effectively clinch the legislation’s passage — Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) went to the Senate floor to propose a prayer. “What the American people ought to pray is that somebody can’t make the vote tonight,” he said. “That’s what they ought to pray.”
It was difficult to escape the conclusion that Coburn was referring to the 92-year-old, wheelchair-bound Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.) who has been in and out of hospitals and lay at home ailing. It would not be easy for Byrd to get out of bed in the wee hours with deep snow on the ground and ice on the roads — but without his vote, Democrats wouldn’t have the 60 they needed.
While Dana and his media brethren certainly have difficulty escaping that conclusion, a more fair-minded and disinterested party might take note that the historic snowfall over the weekend, which caused local and federal government offices to close, is a more likely catalyst to Coburn’s prayer request. But fairness was not on Dana’s mind. Quite to the opposite, he attempted to draw a false equivalence to the tirade unleashed by Sen. Whitehouse at ObamaCare dissenters:
But Democrats weren’t in the best position to take the high road Sunday evening. One of their own members, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) had just delivered an overwrought jeremiad comparing the Republicans to Nazis on Kristallnacht, lynch mobs of the South, and bloodthirsty crowds of the French Revolution.
“Too many colleagues are embarked on a desperate, no-holds-barred mission of propaganda, obstruction and fear,” he said. “History cautions us of the excesses to which these malignant, vindictive passions can ultimately lead. Tumbrils have rolled through taunting crowds. Broken glass has sparkled in darkened streets. Strange fruit has hung from southern trees.” Assuming the role of Old Testament prophet, Whitehouse promised a “day of judgment” and a “day of reckoning” for Republicans.
For some strange reason, while referring to Whitehouse’s comments as “ugly”, Milbank forgot to include the following tasty selections of hate:
“Voting ‘no’ and hiding from the vote are the same result. Those of us on the floor see it. It was clear the three of them who did not cast their yes votes until all 60 Senate votes had been tallied and it was clear that the result was a foregone conclusion. And why? Why all this discord and discourtesy, all this unprecedented destructive action? All to break the momentum of our new young president.
They are desperate to break this president. They have ardent supporters who are nearly hysterical at the very election of President Barack Obama. The birthers, the fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups, it is unbearable to them that President Barack Obama should exist. That is one powerful reason. It is not the only one.”
Seemingly the conclusions of that statement escaped Dana.
Never fear, however, as our intrepid journalist manages to balance the ugliness and comes to this inescapable conclusion:
The day’s ugly words [from Sen. Whitehouse] were a fitting finale for the whole sorry health-care debate of 2009. Democrats have finally — and after jettisoning any trace of government-run health care while swallowing new abortion restrictions — found their way to success; the overnight vote proves they have the numbers to prevail in the remaining votes this week. But it certainly wasn’t pretty.
Senate Democratic leaders made the bill fit their fiscal requirements with a series of budgetary gimmicks, and even then the final cost estimate didn’t instill confidence. The Congressional Budget Office sent lawmakers a letter on Sunday saying it goofed and overstated the cost savings from the bill by half a trillion dollars. Then there were the goodies given out to buy the votes of Democratic holdouts, most notably Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.), who got a “Cornhusker kickback” in the form of an extra $100 million in Medicaid payments for his state. On the Senate floor Saturday, Republicans forced Democrats into the embarrassing position of objecting to similar payouts to the other 49 states.
But all of that put together wasn’t quite as noxious as the two sentences that escaped Coburn’s lips on the Senate floor.
Don’t you feel all informed now? Good thing for us insufficiently nuanced Americans that we have the likes of Dana Milbank to help us keep score as to who is ugliest amongst our Senate representatives. Otherwise, we might have all these wonderful conclusions escaping us as easily as those “noxious” words escaped Sen. Coburn’s lips. Instead, we might be tempted to pay more attention to blatantly ugly slurs that drip like venom from the mouths of our ObamaCare heroes. And we can’t have that now, can we?[ad#Banner]
For the past decade or so, it’s been generally believed that global temperatures have at least leveled off, if not slightly cooled. That doesn’t make it true, but using the old eyes-ears-and-nose test has convinced most people that the 00’s were generally less warm than the 90’s.
Thankfully, we have scientists who keep track of these things for us. Of course, when temperatures don’t do what certain scientists expect them to do, we get expressions of confusion like the following (emphasis added):
From: Kevin Trenberth
To: Michael Mann
Subject: Re: BBC U-turn on climate
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 08:57:37 -0600
Cc: Stephen H Schneider , Myles Allen , peter stott , “Philip D. Jones” , Benjamin Santer , Tom Wigley , Thomas R Karl , Gavin Schmidt , James Hansen , Michael Oppenheimer
Well I have my own article on where the heck is global warming ? We are asking that here in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on record. We had 4 inches of snow. The high the last 2 days was below 30F and the normal is 69F, and it smashed the previous records for these days by 10F. The low was about 18F and also a record low, well below the previous record low.
This is January weather (see the Rockies baseball playoff game was canceled on saturday and then played last night in below freezing weather).
Trenberth, K. E., 2009: An imperative for climate change planning: tracking Earth’s global energy. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 1, 19-27, doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2009.06.001. [PDF] (A PDF of the published version can be obtained from the author.)
The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.***
That, of course, is from the infamous leaked Climate-Gate emails. It’s written by Kevin Trenberth who was commiserating with his fellow CRU scientists just a few weeks ago in October about how gosh darn cool its been, contrary to what their AGW models predicted. Not to be outdone by mere facts, Trenberth hopefully offers “the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.”
Well never fear, dear Kevin, for the UK Met Office and World Meteorological Organization has your back!
The first decade of this century is “by far” the warmest since instrumental records began, say the UK Met Office and World Meteorological Organization.
Their analyses also show that 2009 will almost certainly be the fifth warmest in the 160-year record.
Burgeoning El Nino conditions, adding to man-made greenhouse warming, have pushed 2009 into the “top 10” years.
The US space agency Nasa suggests that a new global temperature record will be set “in the next one or two years”.
World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and Met Office scientists have been giving details of the new analysis at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen.
The WMO said global temperatures were 0.44C (0.79F) above the long-term average.
“We’ve seen above average temperatures in most continents, and only in North America were there conditions that were cooler than average,” said WMO secretary-general Michel Jarraud.
“We are in a warming trend – we have no doubt about it.”
“Only” North America saw cooling? Pfft, who cares about that piddly little place and its historically superior instrumentation and methods of recording temperature? Or anyplace else that doesn’t fit the warmist model? It’s not like “Global Warming” means it’s actually global or anything. So just ignore all that and concentrate on what’s important here: the planet is boiling, people! DON’T YOU SEE THAT!!!!1!ONE!oNe
Before getting too cozy with that MET pronouncement, however, one might want to do a little data integrity check. Y’know, just to be sure we’re going to wreck the world’s economy for a good reason.
The media that couldn’t bring themselves to report on the growing scandal surrounding falsified data is all on board with reporting this latest news. Yet it is clear that the Huffington Post, CBS News, the New York Times and others didn’t even bother to check the data that was released from the the UK MET (UK Government Department of Climate and Weather Change). If they had they would have immediately discovered what I found, that the US csv (comma delimited) data dump from 1851 to 2009 is erroneous in its compilation. The January column for each year shows period information instead of temperature records and the latitude appears transposed as well. It appears that they incorrectly shifted the column headers when compling the dump. (Load the raw file into Excel and compare it with the UK csv data to see the erroneous data columns side by side. Data provided by the Guardian UK.)
Still, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s anything funny going here. It could just be an honest mistake, and maybe the planet (minus certain sections that are inconvenient to this narrative) really is sizzling away. After all, it’s not like they “adjusted” the temperatures to account … er, for something or other … resulting in a temperature chart that shows and unmistakable trend ever-upward.
Intrigued by the curious shape of the average of the homogenized Darwin records, I then went to see how they had homogenized each of the individual station records. What made up that strange average shown in Fig. 7? I started at zero with the earliest record. Here is Station Zero at Darwin, showing the raw and the homogenized versions.
Yikes again, double yikes! What on earth justifies that adjustment? How can they do that? We have five different records covering Darwin from 1941 on. They all agree almost exactly. Why adjust them at all? They’ve just added a huge artificial totally imaginary trend to the last half of the raw data! Now it looks like the IPCC diagram in Figure 1, all right … but a six degree per century trend? And in the shape of a regular stepped pyramid climbing to heaven? What’s up with that?
Those, dear friends, are the clumsy fingerprints of someone messing with the data Egyptian style … they are indisputable evidence that the “homogenized” data has been changed to fit someone’s preconceptions about whether the earth is warming.
One thing is clear from this. People who say that “Climategate was only about scientists behaving badly, but the data is OK” are wrong. At least one part of the data is bad, too. The Smoking Gun for that statement is at Darwin Zero.
Oh … hmmm …. well, then. There you have it. CAN’T YOU SEE THE WARMING!?!?!?
Of course, don’t expect the MSM to alert you to any of these little glitches, or when they eventually get “fixed”. The media will be too busy chasing down Tiger’s mistresses and copying press releases from the Copenhagen
Screw The World Climate Conference. They’ve got priorities you know.
UPDATE: Well thank goodness somebody is doing some actual science to get to the bottom of all this rampant warming around (certain, strategically located parts of) the world:
The Australian has an article out today highlighting two recent peer-reviewed (as if that has any credibility anymore) studies which disprove AGW. Both are studies of planet Earth, not buggy SW models with biased data meant to produce the desired result. They are empirical (measured), not theoretical (SWAG – a.k.a. scientifically based wild ass guess).
The first is from the historic CO2 record, and how it was many times hire than today over a period of hundreds of thousands of years WHILE THE EARTH COOLED DRASTICALLY!
Pearson’s work contains a couple of remarkable results.
First the greenhouse atmosphere pre-cooling contained a CO2 concentration of 900 parts per million by volume, or more than three times that of the Earth in pre-industrial days.
Second, while the cooling of the Earth took place over a time-span of around 200,000 years, the atmospheric CO2 first dropped in association with the cooling, then rose to around 1100ppmv and remained high for 200,000 years while the Earth cooled further and remained in its new ice ages cycle.
CO2 levels 3-4 times present day levels, and the result was global cooling. The UN believes only modest increases will cause out of control warming. But if it did not happen before at much higher levels -why not? Simple – the theory of CO2 as a green house feed back mechanism on a global scale is false (it never has been proven scientifically at the global level). Earth is much more complicated than the alarmists could possibly imagine.
The second study is from 3o years of satellite data … So here is the result of measuring planet Earth from space:
Building on a methodology published 15 years ago in Nature, climatologist and NASA medallist John Christy and colleague David Douglass studied global temperature impacts of volcanic activity and ocean-atmospheric oscillations (the “El Nino” effect) and separated these from global temperature trends over the past 28 years.
The result of their analysis is a CO2-induced amplification factor close to one, which has implications clearly at odds with the earlier IPCC position.
The result was published this year in the peer-reviewed journal Energy and Environment and the paper has not yet been challenged in the scientific literature.
What this means is that the IPCC model for climate sensitivity is not supported by experimental observation on ancient ice ages and recent satellite data.
Again, no runaway feedback from CO2. This is not a SW model – as the article notes. This is not clumsy or exaggerated statistical mysticism. This is measuring reality and learning what is happening.
This is real science, with small error bars.
Well, now that can’t be right. As Trenberth said, the data must be wrong.
So this can all be ignored then since it doesn’t actually have anything to do with fancy modeling that predicts, er, nothing very well really. But those models do prove, in a complicated consensusy way that you peons shouldn’t concern yourself with, that we’re getting warmer! All the time. Up, up, UP!
Now back to the limos. These citizens aren’t going to rule themselves![ad#Banner]
To my mind, the biggest indicator of malfeasance in this whole Climaquiddick affair is the fact that researchers have been forced to use freedom of information laws to get to the underlying data that supposedly supports AGW. The leaked emails show that the CRU gang at least contemplated trashing data to keep it from private eyes, and with respect to original temperature data, in fact did trash it. Why, if the evidence is so overwhelming, would anyone want to keep such data from public view? Well, you know why, and it appears that NASA may have a similar problem:
Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said NASA has refused for two years to provide information under the Freedom of Information Act that would show how the agency has shaped its climate data and would explain why the agency has repeatedly had to correct its data going as far back as the 1930s.
“I assume that what is there is highly damaging,” Mr. Horner said. “These guys are quite clearly bound and determined not to reveal their internal discussions about this.”
The numbers matter. Under pressure in 2007, NASA recalculated its data and found that 1934, not 1998, was the hottest year in its records for the contiguous 48 states. NASA later changed that data again, and now 1998 and 2006 are tied for first, with 1934 slightly cooler.
Mr. Horner, a noted global warming skeptic and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism, wants a look at the data and the discussions that went into those changes. He said he’s given the agency until the end of the year to comply or else he’ll sue to compel the information’s release.
My familiarity with FOIA requests stems from legal cases, and I know that there are some fairly systematic, and time-consuming procedures that a government agency must go through before delivering the requested material. Typically, in the legal realm, the biggest time-consumer is filtering the material for privileged and classified material that need to be redacted before responding to the request. However, in the realm of scientific fact (i.e. requesting raw data), I can’t for the life of me think of one reason why any such data would have to be redacted or withheld. Temperature records, in the very least, should be easily producible well within the the 20 day limit for such requests.
To be sure, Horner is also seeking emails (and presumably other documents) that discuss the GISS reasoning underlying decisions to change the warmest dates on record, which could take some extra time:
NASA’s GISS was forced to update its data in 2007 after questions were raised by Steve McIntyre, who runs ClimateAudit.com.
GISS had initially listed the warmest years as 1998, 1934, 2006, 1921 and 1931. After Mr. McIntyre’s questions GISS rejiggered the list and 1934 was warmest, followed by 1998, 1921, 2006 and then 1931. But since then, the list has been rewritten again so it now runs 1998, 2006, 1934, 1921, 1999.
The institute blamed a “minor data processing error” for the changes but says it doesn’t make much difference since the top three years remain in a “statistical tie” either way.
Mr. Horner said he’s seeking the data itself, but he also wants to see the chain of e-mails from scientists discussing the changes.
The Freedom of Information Act requires agencies to respond to requests within 20 days. Mr. Horner says he’s never received an official acknowledgement of his three separate FOIA requests, but has received e-mails showing the agency is aware of them.
He said he has provided NASA with a notice of intent to sue under FOIA, but said he also hopes members of Congress get involved and demand the information be released.
NASA and CRU data are considered the backbone of much of the science that suggests the earth is warming due to manmade greenhouse gas emissions. NASA argues its data suggests this decade has been the warmest on record.
On the other hand, data from the University of Alabama-Huntsville suggests temperatures have been relatively flat for most of this decade.
Obviously the numbers matter, as does the justification for changing them. If everything was done in good faith, then there shouldn’t be anything to worry about. That such stonewalling has been going on for two years (according to Horner) suggests that there is something to hide.
Ann Althouse is watching the propaganda so you don’t have to. Something in her review of the new Michael Moore agitprop, “Capitalism: A Love Story”, struck me as interesting:
The most striking thing in the movie was the religion. I think Moore is seriously motivated by Christianity. He says he is (and has been since he was a boy). And he presented various priests, Biblical quotations, and movie footage from “Jesus of Nazareth” to make the argument that Christianity requires socialism. With this theme, I found it unsettling that in attacking the banking system, Moore presented quite a parade of Jewish names and faces. He never says the word “Jewish,” but I think the anti-Semitic theme is there. We receive long lectures about how capitalism is inconsistent with Christianity, followed a heavy-handed array of — it’s up to you to see that they are — Jewish villains.
Am I wrong to see Moore as an anti-Semite? I don’t know, but the movie worked as anti-Semitic propaganda. I had to struggle to fight off the idea the movie seemed to want to plant in my head.
I may be alone in this observation, but for quite some time I’ve viewed anti-semitism and anti-capitalism as basically one and the same. Said another way, hatred for Jews appears to me to be closely tied to their historical affiliation with capitalist enterprises.
Certainly the anti-semitism found in the Middle East is somewhat different, in that there are religious and historical factors mixed in to that particular bigotry. And Christian Europe was never terribly friendly to the Jews either, with religious rivalry and illogical scape-goating (i.e. holding Jews responsible for killing Jesus, even though it was the Romans who actually did it, and Jesus was supposed to die according to the scriptures) being played out in large part there as well. Even so, I think there is definitely an anti-capitalist element to anti-semitism.
During the Middle Ages in Europe, Jews were often forbidden from owning land, or entering certain professions, which relegated them to doing the work that the Christians wouldn’t do. Lending money for interest had long been considered to be an awful enterprise, so much so that it was forbidden for Christians to engage in it (much as it is still so for Muslims). Therefore the Jews, who had no strictures* against charging interest, settled into those roles (as well as tax collectors, accountants, rent collectors, and other money-centered jobs), and for quite some time were the only lenders around. During the Roman Empire they were both reviled and tolerated for the practice. Of course, being the only lenders in town meant that when defaults happened, it would be a Jew who would looking for his “pound of flesh” and that did not make them any more desirable. Maybe it was during this time that the capitalist enterprises of making a profit from the use of money became closely associated with Jews, or perhaps it occurred much earlier, but before the term “capitalism” even existed there were Jews performing those functions.
With the rise of socialism in the industrial age, especially during the Progressive Era, all those capitalistic endeavors in which Jewish families had staked their claims started to fall into disfavor (even as they were employed with great abandon). Charging interest for money, always historically suspect, and all other occupations concerned with amassing capital were looked upon with increasing scorn. These were anti-social behaviors engaged in by the “greedy” who placed money above all else, and especially human well-being. It wasn’t uncommon for Jews to be treated as the face of these unsympathetic capitalist sorts.
In the age of industrialization vast sums were risked in building factories and the like, and huge fortunes were made, while regular working stiffs found themselves displaced from their idyllic farms and shacked up in dirty tenements, teeming with poverty (or so the story goes). As in medieval times when the Lord came up short on his payments, and couldn’t provide for those who depended on him, the Jewish lenders made for an easy target when industrialists failed. Wealthy bankers such as the Rothschilds and the Warburgs often came under scrutiny (and still do today) because of their Jewish heritage and massive family fortunes, and many conspiracy theories concerning Jewish attempts to control the world through their financial houses flourished. Indeed, during this ironically anti-capitalist period (ironic because of capitalism’s rapid spread during this time, raising the living standards of millions upon millions of people), political parties and community groups were sometimes formed based quite openly on their antisemitism. As an acceptable social prejudice, anti-semitism was often found to be quite politically useful in Europe and here in the United States. At the same time, prevailing political winds were blowing strongly in the direction of scientific socialism, and decidedly against capitalism and individualism.
Again, I don’t know how or when anti-semitism and anti-capitalism became so intertwined, but for at least the last 150 years I think it’s safe to say they share common space. If you were to replace the words “multinational corporations” with “the Jews” in the popular anti-capitalist screeds of today, I don’t think one would see much of difference in coherence (be that as it may) or objection from purveyors of these conspiracy theories.
Bringing it full circle, I think that close connection between anti-semitism and anti-capitalism is why Althouse gets this feeling from Michael Moore’s film:
He never says the word “Jewish,” but I think the anti-Semitic theme is there. We receive long lectures about how capitalism is inconsistent with Christianity, followed a heavy-handed array of — it’s up to you to see that they are — Jewish villains.
In some ways, the bigotries may be inseparable.
* To be sure, the Bible does prescribe certain regulations for lending, one of which has been interpreted as meaning that Jews were forbidden from charging interest to other Jews, while doing so for loans to gentiles was perfectly acceptable. As I understand it, however, these Biblical restrictions treat “lending” as a sort of charity (that may or may not be paid back), in which Jews were encouraged to be free with their money in the service of their tribe, while having no compunction to be so charitable with “outsiders” (although, there too, be charitable when possible is encouraged). In short, it is a “take care of you family” sort of restriction on lending and not a “screw anyone who’s not Jewish” policy that it is sometimes made out to be.
A couple of weeks ago we learned that the Obama administration was “warning” insurance companies about how they addressed concerns with the plans being pushed in Congress, and in one case the Health and Human Services Department, at the behest of Sen. Max Baucus, started an investigation of Humana, Inc. regarding a mailer it sent out to its customers:
The Obama administration warned insurance companies Monday they face possible legal action for allegedly trying to scare seniors with misleading information about the potential for lost benefits under health care legislation in Congress.
“As we continue our research into this issue, we are instructing you to immediately discontinue all such mailings to beneficiaries and to remove any related materials directed to Medicare enrollees from your Web sites,” said a notice from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.
Teresa DeCaro, an agency official, sent the notice to all companies that sell private Medicare coverage and stand-alone drug plans to seniors. The warning came as President Barack Obama’s health care legislation is moving toward key tests in a Senate committee over the next several days, and with public polls showing widespread skepticism among seniors.
In one case, the Health and Human Services Department, which oversees CMS, launched an investigation of Humana after getting a complaint from Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., a senior lawmaker usually viewed as a reliable ally of the insurance industry.
“It is wholly unacceptable for insurance companies to mislead seniors regarding any subject — particularly on a subject as important to them, and to the nation, as health care reform,” Baucus said Monday, disclosing the HHS investigation.
It seems that at least one state is following in the federal government’s footsteps:
The Connecticut attorney general is seeking information about what the state’s five largest health insurers may have sent policyholders over legislation that would reform the Medicare program for the elderly.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal wants information from Aetna Inc (AET.N), UnitedHealth Group Inc (UNH.N), Health Net (HNT.N), WellPoint Inc’s (WLP.N) Anthem Health Plans unit and ConnectiCare Inc.
Health insurers have argued that cuts to Medicare Advantage would raise costs and reduce benefits for those who want the private plans.
Blumenthal and Healthcare Advocate Kevin Lembo said they made their requests after reports that Humana sent policyholders “deceptive” materials urging them to oppose changes to the Medicare Advantage program.
“Health insurers must stop using seniors as pawns — scaring them with misinformation in mailings — to oppose cost-saving healthcare reforms,” Blumenthal said in a news release.
Stephen Jewett, a spokesman for ConnectiCare, said health insurers are already required by federal law to have Medicare Advantage marketing materials approved by CMS.
“ConnectiCare believes this request is being spurred by ‘health reform politics’ and is not warranted,” Jewett said in a statement.
Humana, and apparently others, had committed the great offense of warning its Medicare Advantage clients that the current legislation proposed would negatively affect their coverage, which according to the CBO is entirely truthful. In fact, this has been known for quite some time, and Obama himself has said that cuts to Medicare would be part of of the way he intends to realize savings in his health care overhaul. Nevertheless, Obama and Baucus sicced the government on Humana anyway for what they allege were false and misleading claims.
The free speech and abuse of power implications were enough to draw fire from Republicans in Congress, one of whom, Rep. Dave Camp, took CMS to task:
I am writing to express my deep suspicion that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) may be selectively and inappropriately using its regulatory powers to intimidate and silence those who under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution are expressing legitimate facts about the Medicare cuts proposed by President Obama and Congressional Democrats.
Given the importance of health care to America’s seniors, I am sure you will agree seniors currently enrolled in MA have a right to know about how pending policy changes could affect them. I am certainly aware that MA marketing regulations are supposed to be used to ensure that communications from plan sponsors or affiliated groups do not include inaccurate information that would inappropriately steer seniors to certain MA plans. I have read the letter from Humana to its members and it does neither.
Moreover, I am concerned that CMS has taken action for political purposes, which threatens the integrity of the agency and of our democracy. To my knowledge, Humana is the only such plan to be targeted for investigation for speaking out against the Administration and Congressional Democrat’s plan. However, today CMS issued a ban on all MA health plans from distributing similar information.
Camp also pointed out that the AARP, “which has the largest MA plan in Medicare at 1.7 million enrollees, has been a vocal advocate in favor of the President Obama and Democrats’ health care proposals.”
They have spent millions of dollars communicating to its members the group’s support of President Obama’s proposed changes to Medicare via bulletins, television ads, newsletters, and its website. According to USA Today, AARP sent 8 million direct letters about health care reform and Medicare policies under consideration in Washington to its members over Labor Day. Additionally AARP has a “Health Action Now!” website that asks seniors to contact Members of Congress using an AARP-drafted letter that seniors can send via e-mail. These communications seem to be largely similar to the communications sent by Humana, other than they are in support of President Obama’s position.
For example, AARP’s website states that it’s a “myth” that “health care reform will hurt Medicare”, saying that it’s a “fact” that “none of the health care reform proposals being considered by Congress would cut Medicare benefits or increase your out-of-pocket costs for Medicare services.” This flies in the face of what the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has found as it relates to the MA cuts.
The reason behind the AARP’s advocacy may be good old-fashioned graft:
Again, how does AARP benefit from this? Why are they pushing this so hard to their members?
It benefits because along with the rest of the overhaul, Obama wants to institute changes to Medicare Advantage, the current public option for seniors.
Medicare Advantage is a catch-all program for low-income seniors which allows them to choose their drug insurance plan from a variety of companies. Basically, a senior pays into the program, picks an insurance company to go with, and the government subsidizes that company for the cost of the senior’s prescriptions. Everybody wins. (Note: This is different from the Medicare program, which is fully single payer, government run)
So if Obama cuts or eliminates Medicare Advantage, what will those seniors do? Well, they will either go directly to Medicare (the government single-payer option) or they will be forced to buy a supplementary package with a company like… AARP!
Currently, this supplementary drug option – called MediGap – accounts for 70% of AARP’s annual income. How much nicer would things be if they were the only game in town, huh?
Just to recap, the proposed ObamaCare plans will make cuts to the Medicare Advantage program, which will decidedly benefit MediGap policy sellers like the AARP. The AARP, in opposition to its members’ wishes, actively campaigns for ObamaCare, and in doing so spreads the myth that Medicare will not be changed by any of the proposed legislation. Meanwhile, insurance companies offering Medicare Advantage plans warn their clients that cuts are planned that will negatively affect their policies, a fact backed up by the CBO. The Obama administration, Max Baucus, the CMS, and no the Attorney General of Connecticut go after the insurance companies for allegedly spreading false and misleading information in an attempt to scare seniors away from supporting ObamaCare.
Recall also that the Obama administration, through the NEA, sought to enlist the artistic community’s support of its health care plans. This was a blatant attempt to create state-funded (or, at least, state-sanctioned) propaganda. Yet, insurance companies speaking the truth on behalf of themselves and their clients are besieged by the government? I repeat what I stated in the NEA post:
Now, you can call me a conspiracy theorist if it makes you feel important and wise, but how else other than “totalitarian” would you describe “free speech for me but not for thee” enforced at the end of a gun? Does that necessarily mean that we’re headed for gulags? No, but don’t let the failure to cross that line fool you. The Obama administration is putting on a full court press to pass its agenda, and apparently has no qualms about using every resource within its power, legal or otherwise, to accomplish that goal.
It should be clear by now that the only goal Obama truly wants to accomplish is universal health care, either straight away or in a time-release capsule. No other domestic policy takes up anywhere near as much of his time and effort, and his foreign policy is mostly an after thought. That’s fine. I believe he is damaging the country in pursuing this agenda, but it’s his presidency and his legacy, he can waste his political time as he sees fit. However, what is not acceptable in the least are the lengths to which he and his supporters are going to pass that agenda. That’s not just hurting the country from a policy perspective, it’s also seriously violating the constitution and further eroding any confidence the polity has in its government.
Again, was this the change people were hoping for?[ad#Banner]