Goebbels, Massachusetts, & Health Care


Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels, is famously noted to have said something to the effect of, “Repeat a lie enough times and it becomes the truth.

That’s part of what happened in Massachusetts.  The Republican candidate, and now Senator elect, Scott Brown played to people’s fear.  In this case fear of the unknown.  The Republican Party, for at least three decades now, has become expert at manipulating people through fear instead of hope.  In this case, they created the source of fear, then used it to defeat the opponent, someone who, by all accounts, ran a poor campaign.  Republicans made sure that health care legislation aiming for universal coverage (something which is already the law in Massachusetts and enjoys an 80% approval rating) became a hideously convoluted proposal.  Then they started using that against Democrats.  The “2000 page bill” has become the right-wing-wackos rallying cry.  It does seem like a lot.  But has anyone bothered to ask, or publicize, how long typical bills are?  Most of those address smaller issues and are not the object of concerted partisan attack on a par with what “healthcare reform” has been subjected to.  So Republicans created a bogeyman, attached it to the Dems, made it stick (= repeated the lie enough times), used their fear-mongering expertise, availed themselves of a weak candidate, and won an unprecedented victory in one of the most Democratic of states.

What next?  Well, a better question is, “What else?”  A deal cut by the Democratic and Republican leaders of U.S. Senate, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, respectively, would have enabled the health care bill to pass without Republicans being able to game it, offering endless amendments to stave off its passage, as they did when Bill Clinton was in office.  You see, Republicans are counting on passage, so they can campaign against Democrats on the grounds of repealing “Obamacare” as they derogatorily refer to it.  Please read Lawrence O’Donnell’s “Will Scott Brown Ruin Republicans’ (Secret) Plan to Pass Obamacare?”, written before the election, for the details on this ploy. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lawrence-odonnell/will-scott-brown-ruin-rep_b_426604.html).  The depth of cynicism is truly galling.

So what now?  Now that the Democrats have lost their so-called filibuster proof majority, the bill can’t pass the Senate.  It’s only hope for passage is if the House votes for the Senate’s version of the bill with no changes.  Then it goes to the president, he signs it, and we move on.  But pulling this off means lots of Democratic Representatives would have to vote for legislation that is even more anathema to them then what they’ve stomached so far.

I say call the Republicans’ out on the carpet.  Expose their shenanigans.  Let them vote healthcare down.  In fact, ditch the current bills (the House and Senate versions) and put a single payer plan out there, specifically, the gradually-age-expanding-Medicare approach (make it available to ever younger people over some length of time).  Let them vote that proposal down.  Some Democratic legislators well foolishly join their Republican colleagues.  Let those guys go down in flames come November 2010, and use those same bonfires to cook the Republicans opposed to providing proper healthcare to everyone in the richest country in the world.

Let’s see who wins an election fought on that battlefield.

From this, we as a community with issues before the federal government should learn.  The arcane rules of the legislative bodies can trip us up, badly, if we don’t learn and know them.  Interestingly, Bill Paparian writes analogously in his recent piece published by Armenian Life.  Adam Schiff used these parliamentary tools to our benefit, almost three years ago.  But more often, they have worked to our detriment.  That’s why we need to master them, not least by having strong representation.  Hopefully, that will be provided someday by a legislator who is truly a child of our community.

Let’s learn and train.  That day can’t be too far off.


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  2. Hye said:

    I like how you use the Huffington Post, one of the most left-leaning and unbalanced sources of political news, to somehow “prove” that Republicans actually want to pass health care so they do well in the 2010 elections. If you had any knowledge of economics you would know that the current bill will do nothing but to nothing but make health care less effective, more expensive,  and drive up the national debt. And that, is why Republicans fight this bill, not because it’s in their “political interests”.
    Speaking of “political interest”, when the process started to pass a bill on universal health care the majority of the American public was in support of it, so it would actually have been in their favor to support such a bill. Once again this shows they’re actually voting for what they believe for.
    And finally I’d like to say that I strongly disagree that the single payer system would be any better then the current bill. It would likely be less complicated yes, but probably result in even worse health care.

  3. Ruben said:

    This guy is so far off to the left, I’m surprised he drives on the right side of the road.  It’s almost comedic and hard to take seriously.  Can we get a balanced or opposing viewpoint on this site?  Also, what does this have to do with Armenian issues?

    • ermeni said:

      i can’t believe this columnist ran for public office and attempted to collect armenian votes.  what an embarrassment to the armenian name.

  4. BorisB said:

    What a hypocritical peice of TRASH this is!  Invoke the name of Goebbels, associate it with Massachusetts and healthcare and accuse OTHERS of  playing on fears?  What could be more REPUGNANT than that?

    So, since you brought it up, sure; let’s discuss lies repeated OVER AND OVER again which, fortunately, in the end, were NOT percieved to be truth but, rather, taken for the OUTRIGHT LIES they actually were:

    The healthcare legislative process will be transparent with CSPAN cameras in the room.  How many times did we hear that DAMNED LIE?

    Remember all the talk about 50 million uninsured Americans?  OOPS… make that 30 million, all of whom could be brought into the system while SAVING MONEY?  ON WHAT PLANET?

    Remember how Barack Obama SKEWERED Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primaries for proposing a mandate that would REQUIRE everyone to buy health insurance?  Did he not then turn around and propose PRECISELY the SAME THING?

    Remember how Obama assailed McCain in the general election campaign for suggesting there should be a tax on Cadillac insurance plans to, again, propose PRECISELY the SAME THING?

    Remember how Obama said GITMO would be closed by now?

    I could go on and on but my typing fingers would BREAK!

    So, please, give us ALL a BREAK!  The only reason Scott Brown won last Tuesday is because America now hears Obama and doesn’t believe a damned word that utters forth from his mouth!  The trust is gone and will likely never come back, no matter what lies YOU or anyone else tells us in an attempt to convince us otherwise.

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  6. ermeni said:

    the only thing people have to “fear” is where the democrats are leading this county.  what a sham!

  7. Nerag said:

    I look forward to reading your articles, I do have to admit that I disagree with you 90% of the time.  And that’s OK!  This one article, was a REALLY weak one.  I understand your frustration about the propoganda (I wouldn’t have lowered our democratic process to use Nazis).  But Garen, seriously, “How does it feel?”  The “propoganda” you speak of is basically the media.  This is the same media that enabled Obama to get elected.  This is the same media that put the democrats into a position of power in 2006.  This is the same media that took George Bush’s approval rating of 70% to less than 20%. 

    Garen, I admire your courage, but grow up, you can’t whine about the media when it doesn’t go your way. 

    As far as the Massachusetts election; most Americans want checks and balances.  Especially when it’s their individual checks that are in the balance.  The scary thing for the country was that the Democrats almost passed the healthcare.  I think most rational people; democrat, republican, or independent; (whether they admit it in public or not) are relieved that the democrats can’t just go off and shove something down our throat!

    OBAMA = One Big Ass Mistake America

  8. Ara said:

    Apparently there are about 45-50 million people without health care. This implies that millions of people when they get sick they wait until their conditions are really serious and then they go and see a doctor. For this reason some of these people, among them children, die. This is not right and this is not faire. We Armenians should care about this issue, for at least two reasons. First some of these 45-50 million people without health insurance are Armenian; therefore some of the people who are dying because they don’t have health insurance are also Armenian. Second, we experienced Genocide and we are expecting that the world will show compassion and care about our tragedy. We should also care about the tragedies of others, including those who don’t have health insurance. Otherwise we will be hypocrites.
    Now it happens that the democrats are providing solutions to this problem, while the republicans and conservative democrats are trying to block or water down the proposals. The supporters of the bill which will provide health care to the uninsured made concessions after concessions to the conservatives and now apparently the Senate’s bill will provide health insurance only to about 30 million uninsured. Of course this is not a perfect health care bill. But it is better than nothing.
    Now, because of the elections in Massachusetts, the Republicans might be able to defeat even this watered down version. Therefore, I understand Garen’s anger and frustration. However I don’t agree with the solution that he is proposing. I think the House should adopt the Senate’s version and pass this watered down version. I think providing health care to 30 million uninsured is better than nothing.
    Finally for those who are criticizing Garen, calling him names and attacking him, please tell us how you are going to provide health care to the 45-50 million people, who don’t have health insurance in one of the richest country in the world.

  9. Nerag said:

    I recently lost my job after 13 years in the same corporation.  I provide for my wife and three small children .  I brought home 75% of my household’s income.  I lost my insurance for my family that day.  You know what?  I sucked it up and paid the $900 a month Cobra premiums.  That was almost 40% of my unemployment (which is only a fraction of a percentage of what withholdings I have put into throughout my career).  I didn’t whine about it, nor did I ask for a handout, I did what I had to do to take care of my family.  I had to tap into my savings for a while until I was able to do some consulting work, and with my perseverance have found another job.
    Let’s look at it in real costs.  There are roughly 135 Million workers in this country.  Subtract 25 million part time employees.  That leaves just 110 Million workers to pay for the healthcare through additional taxes.  The healthcare package is what $850Billion for 6years?  (only covering about 30 million people)  We trust this number because??? Why should any employee be taxed an additional $1,000 a year (probably double that) to pay for someone else’s responsibility?  Compassion?  Why should I take money from my children and pay for someone else’s healthcare?  Are you serious?  We already give money to every Armenian organization, our church, we send money every month to Armenia for the families we have there.  Now I’m going to support more odar families?  Are you kidding me?  Guh paveh! 
    Ara, I know you are compassionate and  sincere.  As I disagree with Garen, I also disagree with you.  I understand that there are a significant amount of un-insured, and under-insured human beings in this great country.  There are also many that don’t own a home and are forced to rent.  (Oh, we experimented with the “homes for everyone” -thank you Fannie/Freddie/Acorn for the housing debacle).   Both parties are to blame for that, the Dems for pushing it, and the Republicans for looking away because it created a fake growing economy…
    Where do you draw the line?  You say healthcare is a basic human right.  What about braces?  How about cosmetic surgery?  Hair transplants?  Well, what about the family that doesn’t have a safe green car to drive? How about the basic necessity of a cell phone?  Hybrid SUV’s and I-phones  for everyone?  I don’t want to trivialize the healthcare issue, but I am concerned about the “slippery slope” we are confronting here.  The “housing for all” brought us to the brink of disaster, this healthcare bill is even a bigger calamity.
     Lastly, the “Armenian” guilt trip is weak.  Armenians are in this country because they want to enjoy the same opportunity for success.  No one forced us to come here!  Why did we come here?  Not because the U.S. was a socialist country, but because it is a CAPITALIST country.  Many chose France or other socialist countries.  This country’s strength is Capitalism, don’t try to change a good thing (The world’s richest country).  Leverage this country’s capitalism and help Armenia (oh, by the way, I want Armenia to be Socialist!  Why?  Because I don’t have ANY problem providing healthcare to ALL ARMENIANS in Armenia.  As far as having compassion because our nation was murdered and lands taken?   Surely you aren’t equating the two issues are you?  Genocide vs. a doctor’s visit?

    Because I don’t support free/subsidized healthcare for Americans, there is no need to figure out how to pay for it.  So, what are YOU willing to pay out of your pocket for your fellow American citizens to have healthcare?  Is it $1,000 a year?  $2,000 a year?  You’d be better off giving that money to the Armenian Relief Society for an orphanage, children of fallen armenian warriors…

    • ermeni said:

      Nerag hit the nail on the head!  Quite logical, wouldn’t you all say?  This guy should run for public office.