This article first appeared in Alternet.
The right-wing anti-Obama-care movement is OK with killing off tens of thousands of Americans each year.
That’s what this is all about: The right-wingers and their corporate sponsors are protecting a medieval and violent health care system that kills more Americans each year than all the Americans who have died in the war on terror since 2001, including the 3,000 victims of 9/11, and the 5,000-plus U.S. service members who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Every two months, the American health care industry is party to the slaughter of more Americans than al-Qaida managed to kill. Osama bin Laden must look at the Tea Baggers, FreedomWorks, health-industry billionaires like Rick Scott and the rest, and think, “If only I could kill as many Americans as they do! These guys are pros!”
They need to answer for this — they need to explain why they are trying to protect a system that kills 22,000 Americans per year — a figure based on a landmark report by the prestigious Institute of Medicine.
In fact, 22,000 is a conservative figure — one of the authors of that report thinks the real figure in 2006 alone was 27,000 Americans killed from our health care system, perhaps as high as 40,000. But I’ll stick to the conservative casualty number of 22,000, which is horrific enough.
If you believe in making health care available to every American, there’s no reason to be skittish about talking about it on these terms. The right wing sure as hell isn’t: in fact, its whole argument against health care reform is a hypothetical, future-tense dystopia of Americans murdered by their government, a fiction invented by hired marketing whizzes.
It’s winning the “debate” based on a lie that hasn’t even happened, whereas in this present-tense reality we all inhabit now, one American dies every 24 minutes because of this health care system.
It’s time we protect ourselves and those we love, and that means stopping this slaughterhouse and saving Americans.
That’s why health care reform isn’t the place for wonkish debate and complicated rational arguments — this is a battle to protect ourselves from people who are fine with their fellow citizens dying in horrible pain, not a debate-club tournament.
The right-wing thugs crashing Obama-care town hall meetings don’t seem to mind being party to the mass murder of Americans, because they hate our freedoms.
For example, the freedom to elect a president whom they disagree with, or whose skin color they find repulsive. These goons hate Americans so much that they’re willing to get violent — actually, that’s almost redundant, because it’s like saying, “They’re willing to get violent in order to kill 22,000 of us.”
But that’s how it is: They’re attacking anyone who threatens to pull the plug on a health-care monster that’s responsible for slaughtering some 200,000 Americans this decade.
If you go back to the first successful campaign to destroy first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton’s health care program in 1993, then the total number of Americans killed is well over 300,000 — that’s more than the 292,000 American servicemen who died on the battlefield fighting Fascism in World War II. Let me repeat: Since 1993, more Americans have been killed by our health care system than were killed on the battlefield in World War II.
It’s no coincidence that the same rat who led America into the disastrous war in Iraq — pundit Bill Kristol — is the same one who led the fight against health care reform in 1993 and 2009.
Kristol has more American blood on his hands than a thousand Benedict Arnolds — he was party to the slaughter of more than 4,000 Americans in Iraq and the death of America’s geopolitical power. And with health care, Kristol has been one of the health care junta’s prime ideologues, resulting in deaths of a few hundred thousand Americans here at home. Not that he’s hiding it. Kristol himself wrote recently, “This is no time to pull punches. Go for the kill.”
Let’s take Kristol at his word — he sees Americans trying get the sort of health care he has, and his response is to “Go for the kill.” And that’s exactly what they’re doing: killing us.
So let’s stop pretending that the health care battle is a “debate,” because it’s not.
It’s a fight, a struggle to the death, to avoid death and suffering. The right wing understood this long ago, and that’s why its winning — again. The right-wingers are fighting for a system that kills Americans for their personal profit. And like colonial overlords, they’re now unleashing hired thugs to attack anyone who threatens their riches.
It’s the oldest and most serious battle of all: the battle for life and death, between misery and happiness — all of which are scarce resources. When you look at this stripped of the silly civics-class sheen that too many progressives adhere to, then the right wing’s vicious tactics aren’t at all shocking, but rather, obvious.
[Just today, a man was arrested in Maryland for standing outside a community college and holding up two death-threat signs, including one that read, “Death To Obama, Michelle And His Two Stupid Kids.” This comes after a man was arrested lurking inside a school where Obama was scheduled to speak, carrying a loaded unlicensed handgun. And several Democrat members of Congress have received death threats as well.]
Since the dawn of time, man has murdered, terrorized and plundered in order to live longer and healthier. That’s all that’s going on — but in this fight, one side showed up to the battlefield ready for blood, and the other side — the majority of Americans who voted for Obama, or the 76 percent of Americans who support a public option plan — showed up armed with debate points and sneers.
No wonder we’ve all but lost.
And we’ll remain stuck in this retro-Middle Ages nightmare, in which health care CEOs earn billions and golf in luxury until they’re well over 100 years old, while 52 million Americans have no health care coverage at all.
It’s a transfer not only of this nation’s wealth but of American blood and vital organs — transferred from the bodies of tens of millions of Americans and into the richest 1 percent’s longevity, just like the way Grandpa in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre stayed alive by eating the flesh and blood of gullible Americans.
Grandpa relaxes after eating another American: “And the sweet thing is, Medicare gives me free government health care!”
The stats prove that we are ruled by cannibals: the gap between the lifespan of America’s wealthiest and its poorest has doubled since 1980. Overall the lifespan of the average American has plummeted from its No. 13 world ranking in 1960 to No. 42 today, lower than Costa Rica’s.
Usually, you only find this sort of plummeting longevity ranking in countries occupied and exploited by brutal colonial powers that could give a damn how many natives die under their watch. The Congo under Belgium’s King Leopold saw lifespans plummet while a handful of royal outsiders looted the country as quickly as they could.
America is the new Congo: we’re subject to a handful of King Leopold billionaire colonialists, like the veiny-headed freak Rick Scott, looting the wealth and murdering tens of thousands, employing embittered natives as thug collaborators to keep the local population from demanding better conditions for ourselves.
Scott is literally a Texas Chainsaw Massacre character — the one-time business partner of former President George W. Bush in the Texas Rangers scam, Scott made millions for himself in the 1990s by creating a health care monster called Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., which defrauded American taxpayers out of billions through false Medicare bills.
It paid the largest corporate fraud fines in history — $1.7 billion — and squeezed even more money by downsizing staff to the point where “babies were attended as infrequently as every three hours. Once, the only nurse caring for seven ill infants was so busy she failed to hear an alarm when a baby stopped breathing. A parent dashed to the baby and stimulated breathing, the state report said.” [New York Times, 5/11/97]
Scott should not be allowed to walk free. By any standard I know of, he is a traitor who profits off the deaths of Americans, and he should be tried for his crimes against this country. All of his hundreds of millions of dollars are blood profits extracted from American corpses.
Rick Scott should be tarred and feathered, shipped off to Guantanamo until he gives up all of his blood money, and then strapped into a space capsule and fired off into deep space to ensure that this monster never harms another American again. That’s in a just world.
But in our Congo-America reality, Scott is a respectable oligarch, all over the airwaves and Washington as the leader of the Conservatives for Patient’s Rights group, back in the health care clinic business, fighting to keep his loot and that of his fellow health care billionaires, at the expense of tens of thousands of American lives.
And guess what? He’s winning. He’s winning because he’s willing to see Americans die in order to enrich himself.
Two Congolese “Tea Bagger” patriots shown here defending their liberties: “It’s our choice to serve this Belgian overlord’s wife, and no Native has the right to tell us not to!”
The colonized peoples of Africa, India, China and elsewhere had to fight to overthrow the vampires that ruled them and killed them. It’s time we understood that these people hate us, and America for them is merely a slaughterhouse whose profits fund their pat lives.
Until we understand what’s at stake as much as they do, we’ll never have a chance in hell of saving ourselves.
Late Note: Reuters today has an article on Health Care Wetbacks–American health care refugees who increasingly are slipping into Mexico to get reasonable health care treatment. The article focuses on an ex-cop who has insurance, but still can’t afford treatment. Imagine that: Tea Baggers and FreedomWorks scum literally forcing Americans to flee into Mexico just to stay alive.
Mark Ames is the author of Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion from Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine.
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