Coming soon to a Tea Party near you?
OLBERMANN: Not very many of the founding fathers were evolved enough to believe that black people were actually people.
But this week, Olbermann denied the humanity of people who dare to disagree with him on nationalizing the health care system.
OLBERMANN: … the protests of these sub- humans who get paid by the insurance companies…
Whenever a conservative claims that the Left's policies endanger America, liberal are quick to squeal "How DARE you question my patriotism!" Last week, Keith tried to say the Tea Parties were racist. He has proclaimed them "Astroturf" and paid lackeys of the insurance companies before. Now, apparently, they are a whole other species. Maybe they should protest for expanded veterinary care?
This has to be the first time in my 30 years of engaging in political debate that someone with any kind of national platform has denied the humanity of an ideological opponent. All of this because Keith seems to think that doctors actually have a billing code for end of life counseling.
The uninitiated often ask me about Keith's mental state the first time they encounter a video clip of one of his rants. The following clip would seem to be absolute proof. MSNBC needs to consider compassionate leave for this guy. Keith is losing it. (Click NewsRealBlog link above for video. Warning, this is really hard to watch, not only because of an overdose of Olbermann rage, but because it is uncomfortably mixed up with an excruciating amount of detail about his father's illness.)
To be fair, Keith is under considerable and understandable emotional strain because of his father's painful and possibly terminal illness. He is absent often from his show, admirably taking time off to be in the hospital with him through the ordeal. (Though last week, he threw his dad under the racism bus along with Obama's "typical white person" grandmother.)
But often his grief turns into misdirected rage. Keith seems to spend a lot of his time in the hospital wondering what happens to everyone without a rich son to take personal charge of his health care—and assuming that the government would care for your father, they way he cares for his.
Because of the possibly terminal nature of the elder Olbermann's illness, Keith, his dad, and one or more doctors have had conversations about contingencies and end of life care. This led to this week's outrageous outburst.
OLBERMANN: That conversation, that one, was what these ghouls[DF—i.e. Republican members of Congress] who are walking into Blair House tomorrow morning decided to call death panels. Your right to have that conversation with a doctor, not the government, but a doctor, and your right to have insurance pay for his expertise on what your options are when dad says "kill me"—or what your options are when dad is in a coma and can't tell you a damn thing.
Or what your options are when everybody is healthy and happy and coherent and you're just planning ahead. Your right to have the guidance and the reassurance of a professional who can lay that all out for you—that's a, quote, "death panel," unquote.
That, right now, is the legacy of the protests of these sub-humans who get paid by the insurance companies, who say these things for their own political gain, or like that one fiend, for money. For money!
Betsy McCaughey told people that this conversation about life and death and relief and release, and also about—no, keep treating them no matter what happens, until the nation runs out of medicine. She told people that's a death panel! And she did that for money!
It's a life panel—A LIFE PANEL! It can save the pain of the patient and the family. It is the difference between you guessing what happens next and you being informed about what probably will. And that's the difference between you sleeping at night or second-guessing and third- guessing and 30th guessing yourself.
There is one big thing wrong with this. I talked to a prominent cardiologist in Michigan yesterday, who greeted the premise with scorn.
"This is a very individual thing, but every doctor I know who treats dying patients has this conversation with them one way or another—and no one charges for it. I don't know how you ever would. There's no billing code for that. It's ridiculous to say we should create one."
The 7 million dollar talker (with the 1 million member audience) assumes that everyone gets paid for talking. Doctors get paid for medical procedures. Period. They may bill for a visit and examination surrounding those procedures, but they do not bill extra for particular kinds of advice.
No doctor is going to refuse this conversation because he or she can't bill extra for it.
However, it is highly likely that the inclusion of the original language in the bill WOULD have led to government-paid social workers whose job it was to come and tell you that it's time to pack it in, that you've lived long enough and it's just time.
After all, here's how the moderator of the group at Blair House views such things: (Click NewsRealBlog link above for video)
Keith ends the show with another wholly inappropriate mix of the personal and the political—also based entirely on this fallacy that doctors refuse to talk to patients unless there is a billing code for it.
OLBERMANN: So, considering that if he does not recover, you will not see me here for a while, I have some requests. First of you, please, have this conversation with your loved ones. Don't wait. Do it now.
It's tough. It acknowledges death. And it also narrows the gray area you or they will face from infinity to about a foot wide. It is my greatest comfort right now and I want it to be yours.
And to the politicians who go into Blair House tomorrow for that summit, I have some requests as well. Leave your egos at the door. I want, I demand, that you give everybody in this country a chance at the care my father has gotten. And I demand that you enact this most generous and most kind aspect of the reform proposed, the right to bill the damned insurance company for the conversation about what to do when the time comes, the life panel!
And I want all of you to think of somebody lying in a hospital bed tonight who needed that care and needed that conversation and imagine that is your father or mother or son or daughter or wife or husband or partner -and if you cannot do that, if you cannot put aside the meaninglessness of your political careers for this, my request to you then is that you not come back out of that meeting, for you would not be worthy of being with the real people of this country who suffer, and who suffer again because you have acted on behalf of the corporations and not the people. If you cannot do this, go into that room and stay there, and we will get new ones to replace your worthless roles in the life of our country.
So, we end our end of life counseling rant with the suggestion that the sub-human ghouls who oppose Keith should just commit hari-kari if they can't come around to his way of thinking.