deer in the headlights

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Pants on Fire

For reasons that are unclear to me it seems that it is easier to believe a lie than the truth. I was just reading through the list of whoppers for last year. We’ve heard them all. We’ve read the mom blogs. We’ve heard them over the water cooler at work. We’ve heard our friends and neighbors talk about these lies as if they were facts. We’ve all seen the “deer in the headlights” look when we point out that health-care reform was never going to be “a government takeover.”

From PolitiFact:

In the spring of 2009, a Republican strategist settled on a brilliant and powerful attack line for President Barack Obama’s ambitious plan to overhaul America’s health insurance system. Frank Luntz, a consultant famous for his phraseology, urged GOP leaders to call it a “government takeover.”

The phrase is simply not true.

Said Jonathan Oberlander, a professor of health policy at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill:  “The label ‘government takeover” has no basis in reality, but instead reflects a political dynamic where conservatives label any increase in government authority in health care as a ‘takeover.’ ”

An inaccurate claim

“Government takeover” conjures a European approach where the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are public employees. But the law Congress passed, parts of which have already gone into effect, relies largely on the free market:

Employers will continue to provide health insurance to the majority of Americans through private insurance companies.

• Contrary to the claim, more people will get private health coverage. The law sets up “exchanges” where private insurers will compete to provide coverage to people who don’t have it.

• The government will not seize control of hospitals or nationalize doctors.

• The law does not include the public option, a government-run insurance plan that would have competed with private insurers. (more …)

Other honorable mentions for lie of the year:

“The president United States will be taking a trip over to India that is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day” – Michele Bachmann.

“The stimulus is not created one private sector job.” – Governor elect Rick Scott.

The ethics report “exonerates me.” – Representative Charlie Rangel.

“Phoenix is the number two kidnapping capital of the world.” Senator John McCain.

By |2010-12-20T22:12:28-04:00December 20th, 2010|Healthcare, Party Politics|Comments Off on Pants on Fire

So was Chertoff to blame?

If you haven’t seen Spike Lee’s new documentary on New Orleans, you haven’t seen a Spike Lee documentary on New Orleans. Yes, I know that his first documentary was great, powerful, in-your-face, raw, truthful, emotional and more. This is all that and more. The HBO special, If God is willing and da creek don’t rise, is Lee’s latest look at New Orleans and the Gulf five years after Katrina. This is must-see TV.

So, we placed the blame for the slow government response on Michael Brown, the hapless head of FEMA at the time. New documents appear to show that Michael Chertoff, head of Homeland Security, may have been the man with the deer in the headlights look in his eyes.

The federal official with the power to mobilize a massive federal response to Hurricane Katrina was Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, not the former FEMA chief who was relieved of his duties and resigned earlier this week, federal documents reviewed by Knight Ridder show.

Even before the storm struck the Gulf Coast, Chertoff could have ordered federal agencies into action without any request from state or local officials. Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown had only limited authority to do so until about 36 hours after the storm hit, when Chertoff designated him as the “principal federal official” in charge of the storm.

As thousands of hurricane victims went without food, water and shelter in the days after Katrina’s early morning Aug. 29 landfall, critics assailed Brown for being responsible for delays that might have cost hundreds of lives.

But Chertoff — not Brown — was in charge of managing the national response to a catastrophic disaster, according to the National Response Plan, the federal government’s blueprint for how agencies will handle major natural disasters or terrorist incidents. An order issued by President Bush in 2003 also assigned that responsibility to the homeland security director.

But according to a memo obtained by Knight Ridder, Chertoff didn’t shift that power to Brown until late afternoon or evening on Aug. 30, about 36 hours after Katrina hit Louisiana and Mississippi. That same memo suggests that Chertoff may have been confused about his lead role in disaster response and that of his department. (more…)

By |2012-09-05T05:30:55-04:00August 26th, 2010|Katrina|Comments Off on So was Chertoff to blame?
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