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Does Anyone, Anywhere Have Real Courage?

Denis Campbell: When someone has to choose between health coverage and paying their home mortgage, what kind of a moral choice is that? How can any nation that pays nearly 18% of its GDP for healthcare not have the best coverage in the world covering everyone?

As US healthcare reform passage draws near, my mailbox fills with incoherent Right Wing hate screed and rage. Meanwhile the Obama Administration and Democratic-controlled US Congress seem unwilling to buck the echo chamber and do the right thing.

Enacting Healthcare Takes Courage

The public located outside the 24 sq. miles of fantasy surrounded by reality known as Washington DC want fairly priced healthcare coverage for their families. The greatest medical technology in the world can only prevent people from dying of preventable and treatable diseases if they can afford insurance.

When someone has to choose between health coverage and paying their home mortgage, what kind of a moral choice is that? How can any nation that pays nearly 18% of its GDP for healthcare not have the best coverage in the world covering everyone?

Where is the moral outrage? Where is the real courage?
President Obama told a great story recently in Ohio . We shed a tear for Natoma Canfield. The problem is his actions and leadership have not matched the rhetoric. He has consistently back-pedalled away from telling Congress what he wants done and supported a bad bill created by and rewarding the corporate thieves who both created and thrive in the current system. How can an Anthem Blue Cross in California morally justify raising premiums by 40% when they rake in $2.5 billion dollars in profit and pay executives hundreds of millions of dollars?

His and Congress’ lack of courage to take on the monied special lobbying interests created 14-months of turmoil and confusion that now rightfully threatens the political future of all Congressional Democrats and Republicans because of inaction, gridlock, greed and a patent inability to set the record straight.

It’s time now to do something.

Equal Time’s Cruel Joke
It’s time for the Mainstream Media (MSM) to stop just accepting bald-faced lies and do some real reporting. I watched in horror Sunday as former national network anchor Tom Brokaw sat in as guest host of NBC’s Meet the Press. While there he allowed former Bush adviser Karl Rove to spend 10 minutes re-writing Bush era history without challenge.

The noble corporate news mien of ‘equal time’ is a cruel joke perpetrated on the viewing public. Equal time never meant “accept whatever bullshit comes out of someone’s mouth” without challenge! It was designed to allow all sides to be aired but the job of reporting requires the “journalist” to challenge them!

Now cable and network news simply adopt talking points. A Georgetown University Law School professor last week “leaked” a test false quote as an example for his media law class to see how far it could travel. He let leak that Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens announced his retirement. It was on The Drudge Report website and then FOX News in less than an hour! There was no independent verification. Without verification and discipline, misinformation reaches Orwellian heights!

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Where is the real debate and discussion?
I was scheduled to debate Republican wordsmith Frank Luntz (he of “it’s not called off-shore drilling, rather deep sea oil exploration” fame) on the BBC network during the upcoming UK Leadership debates. Now because it was not a cozy 1:1 studio chat and he would actually have to defend himself 12x during the three debates, he suddenly cannot be there? Of course not.

Why risk a real news discussion/debate when you can sit in the SKY or FOX studios and chat up a friendly host? FOX only has 1:1 discussions because one need only watch Larry King or a CNN broadcast to see how much of a food fight multiple live feeds become.

I’ll debate anyone on the right in-studio, anywhere face-to-face. That requires courage so I’m not holding my breath.

But when it comes to courage, a report on Media Matters shows how the Right has deliberately misled people about the very same budget reconciliation measures they used to pass the Bush Tax Cuts for the rich and other measures. It is a must-read to see how carefully crafted and craven the distortions really are.

It’s time for truth without SPIN. From “death panels” to “Hands-off my Medicare,” the right wing slow-down tactics are, thankfully, finally running out of steam. It is well past time for real reporting, discussion and a real series of bills to fix the broken system.


Social Security and Medicare both started as bad bills but improved over time. Let’s hope this will also be the case here.

What really worries? Financial institution reform’s got next! Groan.

Denis Campbell

Denis Campbell publishes the e-magazine, where this article first appeared.

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