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It’s About Who Decides (One More Time)

Being forced to die against my will would be terrifying. And I, personally, wouldn’t care whether the death panels making that decision were staffed by private bean counters from an insurance company — our current situation — or government bean counters from the Liberal Nazi Socialist Death Squad Agency — as imagined by the more crass or hallucinatory right wingers.

Being forced to live against my will is terrifying. Strapped into a chair so I can sit in front of a TV set. Or with a tube down my throat while my brain screams somewhere. Or . . . anyway, I can’t even stand to think about it. And I, personally, don’t care whether the people condemning me are on a private hospital “ethics” panel or represent the power of the State.

I’m not sure why any of this is hard for anyone to grasp. It’s not about death. It’s about who decides.

My right to control my life and death: essential. Somebody else controlling my life and death: hell on earth.

Unfortunately, I can only say that in bald and boring words. Terry Pratchett recently weighed in on this. Nothing further remains to be said.

Let me make this very clear: I do not believe there is any such thing as a ‘duty to die’; we should treasure great age as the tangible presence of the past, and honour it as such. …

But neither do I believe in a duty to suffer the worst ravages of terminal illness. …

Life is easy and cheap to make. But the things we add to it, such as pride, self-respect and human dignity, are worthy of preservation, too, and these can be lost in a fetish for life at any cost.

I believe that if the burden gets too great, those who wish to should be allowed to be shown the door. …

[earlier]
[M]y father’s problem was pain, and pain can be controlled right until the end.

But I do not know how you control a sense of loss and the slow slipping of the mind away from the living body – the kind that old-timer’s disease causes.

I know my father was the sort of man who didn’t make a fuss, and perhaps I would not, either, if pain were the only issue for me. But it isn’t.

I am enjoying my life to the full, and hope to continue for quite some time. But I also intend, before the endgame looms, to die sitting in a chair in my own garden with a glass of brandy in my hand and Thomas Tallis on the iPod – the latter because Thomas’s music could lift even an atheist a little bit closer to Heaven – and perhaps a second brandy if there is time.

Oh, and since this is England I had better add: ‘If wet, in the library.’

, , ,

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124 Responses

  1. Also, the way the GOP and the media turned the Terry Shiavo case into a public spectacle was very hard for me to watch.

  2. Ironically this is the same argument people have been making about women’s reproductive choices. It’s not really about abortion or being pro-life, it’s about who gets to make the decisions about your body.

    I just find it ironic, some on the Right who are opposed to government run health care are frightened because they don’t want somebody in government making decisions about their bodies for them. Yeah, no kidding, that’s why so many of us have fought so hard and so long for Choice.

  3. I like Pratchett (especially in combination with Neil Gaiman), and agree with him – and with you.

    Why is it we always seem to be handed either the choice of a corrupt untrustworthy governmental overlord, or a corrupt greed-filled corporate overlord? Where are we in this conversation?

    I want neither. I want protection from the intrusions of both, and the bootheels of both off my neck. I want corporations to do their thing without abusing the whole country. I want fairly elected representative govt that does precisely what we ask of them – no less and no more. I want both a Washington and a Wall Street that gets SLAPPED DOWN every time either presumes that their interests are the country’s interests, that they are America. They are not. We are.

    I want that little thing we used to call “of the People, by the People, and for the People.

    • Sheesh, wmcb. You’re just like me. A two year-old on the inside :S

    • I totally agree. I don’t want to be forced to do anything against my will–live or die. I just want it to be my decision.

      Thanks for this, Quixote!

    • And what a peaceful (and unfortunately for most of us unrealistic) image of dying he puts up.

      I never heard of Thomas Tallis before – this is the first entry under his name at YouTube:

      Beautiful! When the time comes for me or one of my loved ones to part with this world, I wouldn’t mind it being accompanied by this either.

      • PIps, thanks for sharing the youtube link. This music is so ethereal; kind of like Enya but much more powerful, I think.

        & I agree with you all, I want to make the choice

  4. Worries over who decides is costing Democrats it seems.

    “For the first time in over two years of polling, voters trust Republicans slightly more than Democrats on the handling of the issue of health care. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that voters favor the GOP on the issue 44% to 41%.”

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/mood_of_america/trust_on_issues

    • It’s when I see polls like this that I seriously question whether I belong in this country anymore. The Dems have been incompetent on the health care issue, it’s true (Bernie Sanders excepted), but we know what the Repubs stand for because we had 8 years of it with Bush.

      • Some of that may be just the sentiment that “The worst the Repubs will do is leave it alone. The worst the Dems will do….. who knows?”

        Polls ask very general questions, and saying they trust the R’s more may not mean they think the R’s are great. It may be just that it’s thought they’ll do less harm on this issue. Please remember that most voters are not political junkies like us. The ONLY thing they know about the Dems and healthcare is what they are seeing on TV with the current crap bill being shoved down their throats, and the insulting of anyone with reservations about it.

        If that was ALL the info I had, I’d likely feel like the R’s were the lesser evil as well. The fact that the Dems have not had a good product to sell, and have been ham-handed in trying to “sell” the crap they have, is no one’s fault but their own.

        • It’s also, I think , about checks and balances.

          And runaway spending.

        • I agree. I think that it means that they trust the Democrats less.

          • There’s the ticket. The Democrats have proven they are not trustworthy on everything from TARP to the health care abomination. However, they are very good at insulting the voters, calling them Nazi’s etc.

    • I wish more people favored neither party on healthcare.

  5. I’m not afraid of dying…I’m afraid of suffering. And I don’t trust anyone other than myself to protect *me* from suffering.

  6. OT, but it looks like Edwards is about to tell the truth:

    Sources: Edwards to admit paternity of ex-mistress’ child

    http://www.wral.com/news/local/politics/story/5791651/

    • What a jerk! I can’t believe I actually donated to his campaign–not that much, but still…

      • I can’t believe Elizabeth stood by him while he ran, that would take a lot more fortitude than I would have.

        • While backhandedly hitting Hillary for staying with Bill. That takes a lot of chutzpah.

          • Elisabeth trash Hill a good deal during the campaign,
            attacking her from the woman’s angel, saying Hillary wasn’t the advocate for women she could be ( huh? )
            and that she, EE , had a more joyful life etc….all the while knowing her husband’s campaign was phony, in that a time bomb ticked within it . And this phony campaign would be stopped at the point believed most helpful to Obama .

          • She thought the country deserved a lying, cheating man as their POTUS, and that he was of a caliber to be the trusted leader of the free world. What she did to Hillary was small compared to that.

          • Um, ayup, it takes a big MEGA EGO…wonder how often he checks himself out in the mirror.

          • Elizabeth learned the hard way. I’m still a fan of both of ’em (Hillary and Elizabeth.)

          • meeee2, on August 13th, 2009 at 9:15 pm Said:
            She thought the country deserved a lying, cheating man as their POTUS, and that he was of a caliber to be the trusted leader of the free world. What she did to Hillary was small compared to that.

            Well naturally if Elizabeth actually thought he had a chance in hell….but my point is imo, EE knew John Edwards would never be POTUS….never even make it to Denver. She knew his campaign was phony and going on only because it helped Obama for it to do so. David Axelrod ran JE’s campaign in ’04. I joke I bet he introduced the young woman in question to John , so he could blackmail him about it later. Axelrod had them over a barrel.

      • Who you tellin’?!! 😦

        • My kid even donated money to his campaign. What a disappointment and the ‘MOVIE VIDEOGRAPHER’ never did the work. Contractors should be checked in campaigns and if they don’t have a resume saying they do what they claim to do, turn it in to the Campaign Ethics Dept. This one made it personal, because he played on the sincerity of people and lied.

        • LOL! You donated too?

    • OT, but it looks like Edwards is about to tell the truth:

      finally

      • But, but he said it couldn’t be and it was only once, once…

        • I think he dragged this out, cause once the story is all out, he’s over

          next

          • He may , even go to prison. The aide who claimed the baby was his, falsely, is testifying to the same Grand Jury his girlfriend is. If he can prove money changed hands from the campaign funds, Edwards is toast.

  7. Today a friend of mine, with a life-threatening condition, was thrown out of hospital because she has no insurance.

    She’s unemployed. She’d been taken to the hospital in question via ambulance yesterday–around 140 miles–because there’s apparently no one local who can do this kind of surgery. She called me, and another friend, literally from the street in front of the hospital.

    My other friend called the media; I called the lawyers. The only reason this story has a happy ending–the patient is back in the hospital, re-scheduled for surgery tomorrow–is that my friend who called the media and I are leftist activists from way back who knew the right people to call to threaten the goddamn hospital and insurance bean counters with a very ugly lawsuit and even uglier and more immediate publicity.

    These are the same bean-counters Obama wants to leave in charge of our health care in the name of “reform.” They may be reconstituted as a government office, but it’s clear from his past performance that the office will be filled with the people who have bought and paid for him–insurance and health industry flacks.

    Single-payer. Single-payer now.

    • thank you for your post and thanks for threatening the bastards

      • We let the lawyers and the reporter do the actual threatening. But I’m sure the hospital administration could imagine the effect it would have had to turn on the evening news and hear, “Here I am in front of XXX Hospital with Ms. YZ, who’s bleeding to death on the pavement because the hospital denied her life-saving surgery and pitched her out for lack of insurance.”

        • It was helpful to your friend that they want a smiley face on things before this bill get rammed home…bad PR not wanted now ! I’m so glad for your friend you had the ear of the reporter. That’s gets action

    • Dear God. What a situation.

      It’s good you could help her. One person, one time, every little bit helps.

      • It was a scary morning.

        And while I’m relieved and joyful about the result, we all know that there will be others who won’t have a good outcome. We need a system that covers everyone at the highest standard, not a health “industry”” responsible to the shareholders and investors.

    • Sending good thoughts to your friend. You know the time people get sick is when they don’t have insurance, a recent study found that those folks reported a higher stress level. Also, people who are sick often loose their insurance because they are out from work and the rules are so one sided, that it all but insures that you are dropped, just when you are fighting your biggest battle.

      HR 676 Single Payer, Everyone In, Nobody Out, It’s All American, just like Gran’s Medicare

      • Thanks for your good wishes; they’re appreciated.

        And you’re right; there’s frequently a closed feedback loop. Loss of job/insurance>stress>aggravated or induced illness>inability to obtain treatment>stress>inability to find employment, and round it goes again.

  8. I heard Elizabeth Edwards in a radio interview re: babydaddy possibility. She said her feelings wouldn’t be any different than what she feels about him having the affair, just that if it’s his, he better take responsibility for it. I just love her, saw her in Dearborn MI before her diagnosis was public. Just love her.

  9. I sure hope I’m not caught up in Spammy for calling the baby “it” I didn’t mean any disrespect, just don’t know if it’s a boy or girl so which pronoun to use.

  10. VIDEO:

    Our Hill stands up for women once again in the Congo. Go, Hillary!

    http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1705667530?bctid=33551495001

  11. We are all going to die, most of us against our will.

    The problem for medicine is what happens when elderly people with terminal diseases are kept alive via heroic measures by relatives who will not let them go. These people have no quality of life (often unconscious or suffering from dementia) but their adult children are not ready to say goodbye. THAT is what results in expensive treatment that has no value to anyone, including the person who receives it. Statistics showing the expenditures in the last 6 months of life are horrifying, from a financial perspective.

    If you imagine that this is about someone making decisions for a person similar to yourselves in your current state, you are not being rational about this health care issue. Everyone dies but in America, where people believe they will live forever, death is not faced with any kind of dignity, palliative treatment, or kindness — if it were, people would not torture their elderly parents during their final months, as occurs regularly in hospitals every day because the young don’t want anyone to die and project their own fears onto their parents.

    • The potential for abuses are enormous. I see nothing in either private or government spheres that would cause me to trust either with such life or death decisions. The upper crust, those behind Obama, do not care about dignity, palliative treatment, or kindness. That’s not why the health industry complex lobbyists wrote this 1,000 page bill. Let’s start with giving those with terminal illnesses the right to ask for euthanasia, ( which we do not have) before we zoom to killing off people we deem unworthy.

    • Yes, the whole advance directive thing is something that is already addressed whenever anyone goes into a hospital, but it is usually the family that overrides the parents decision. The idea of having scheduled conferences every five years starting at 65 kind of creeps me out as I am 57 now, and that just seems awfully young to have these conversations spelling out hospice etc. And, if the family is not on board, the physician will usually defer to their wishes. What else can they really do?

      I had a thought yesterday about this whole rationing of care thing and the likelihood that those being rationed would be the elderly or the disabled, and wondered if the reason that all these public officials are either playing dumb or avoiding their meetings is NOT because the haven’t read the bill, but perhaps because they have…

      Has it occurred to anyone else, that perhaps this government take over of health care wouldn’t sort of morph into the solution to unfunded medicare and social security trust funds? Does that seem too cynical to even consider? I just have this real strong feeling that they are linked together in some minds.

      I haven’t heard or read anything that suggests that this is so, but I can also imagine, if you have an attitude that thinks that the older generation, (and that includes us boomers, the cause of all problems in the world evidently) are sucking the country dry, and that maybe we should be moving on along, that our willingness to let others make the decisions about said “movement” would certainly have a positive effect on some of these other troubling problems that we re responsible for…

      Too cynical? Or is this thinking on my part a progression on the road to hell?

      • Rationing of care happens right now. If you have any elderly relatives or friends you know that there are some surgeries or treatments that are denied to them because it’s just not worth the risk, time, and expense.

      • You can’t be too cynical if you want to keep up! lol!

        Has it occurred to anyone else, that perhaps this government take over of health care wouldn’t sort of morph into the solution to unfunded medicare and social security trust funds? Does that seem too cynical to even consider? I just have this real strong feeling that they are linked together in some minds

        This occurres to me a few times a week at least. They want all social services off the books…however they have to do it. If that means you and I live in a world that resembles Mad Max’s Thunder Dome, so be it .

        • before we zoom to killing off people we deem unworthy

          Honestly, paper doll, THAT IS NOT THE ISSUE. (Sorry, can’t help yelling. This is rather frustrating.)

          The issue is that people are pretending we’re going to be murdering grandad, and then … stopping the simplest way of allowing grandad to tell people what he wants.

          If you imagine that this is about someone making decisions for a person similar to yourselves in your current state

          No. It’s about making decisions for yourself. What these loonies are doing is making that more difficult. That is a crime.

    • I’ve seen end-of-life decisions being made plenty of times. Yes, there are families who let it go longer than I would. And there are those who choose to let go earlier than I would. I myself am a big proponent of things like living wills and DNR orders so that the person can make those decisions themselves, before it gets to that point. But that is THEIR and THEIR family’s decision to make, at such time as THEY choose to make it.

      Period. End of discussion. Nunya business. Or mine. Or my government’s.

      • Thank you, well said

      • And wmcb, sometimes the families don’t get enough info from the docs. This happened in my family. Then you’re left trying to sort through it, when granny might die or could recover, while you are dealing with power of attorney issues as well.

        What I DON’T like is linking end-of-life counseling to a health bill. This issue could be brought up separately, as someone pointed out previously. Otherwise, mixing cost-savings with it is just too eeriely weird for me. Obama’s own previous comments to the NYT about this matter don’t help either, especially in light that there would be an unaccountable Health CZAR making the decisions with consultation of a board of advisors. While not explicitly “death panels” I just don’t like the juxtaposition.

    • On the contrary. The older people become, the more dependent they are on the younger people who become their caretakers. An almost abusive relationship can develop where the caretaker pressures the elderly person to “do the right thing”. This is exactly what happened in my family. My parents were strong-minded individuals until they became weakened and dependent because of senility, health problems, and blindness. When you are totally dependent on someone for companionship, your medication, and your food, you will do anything to please them. My parents literally signed their lives away to their eldest son whom they trusted completely. Things did not work out as they had imagined. I really can’t go into details because it’s really too painful. I lived on the other side of the country and was helpless to intervene, but it’s important to realize that the more dependent you are on a person, the more influence that person has over you, whether it’s a friend, relative, or your trusted family doctor.

    • There is no reason for anything about that to be in a health care bill. If Obama feels so strongly about it, let him send out and email or sponsor a convention where doctors are encouraged to talk to patients about living wills. Frankly what I am my doctor talk about is NOT a matter for government to stick their noses in.

    • I hope we never cross paths when anyone I love is ill and/or old.

  12. The end of life question is very complicated indeed. My mother always said she didn’t want to be “kept alive” artificially and that when it was her time, she just wanted to die. That is until she was presented with a DNR to sign and it was explained to her that she would not be resusitated if her breathing or heart stopped. When she realized exactly what a DNR meant, she declined to sign it. She was later pressured into signing it by my brother and thankfully it was irrelevant because she died at home, alone in her sleep. I know that at the end of her life, every second was precious to her.

    • We had to live the nightmare with my mom. Her ability to swallow shut down and all of her liquids/foods went straight to her lungs. She also had altzheimer’s at the time. After a few months of trying to feed her and medicate her with this circumstance it was difficult on a lot levels. She apologize for wetting herself. She’d pull out everything when she slept from tubes to IVS which of course stopped the antibiotics, fluids,etc from her. Even thickened food would wind up in her lungs and cause pneumonia. The only way out offered to us was to put a feeding tube into her and it was obvious she was pretty out of it any way, so we finally just stopped all the outside stuff and let her go quietly. It was hard, though for me to give up the idea that I was starving her to death, even though in every normal sense of the world, her body was rejecting everything that wasn’t forced into her by artificial means.

      • I’m sorry for the pain you went through. I know what you mean.

      • That description is one of saddest expressions of end stage Altzheimer’s disease that I have heard. End of life can be very horrific. Hospice care lends some dignity and compassion to the process.

  13. As the point person in a similar situation, yes there comes a time where a younger relative starts making the decisions cause someone has to. I would rather than person be family….not a for profit company or the government . Thankfully, my mom became a Quaker years ago and is now in a great non profit nursing home she could never afford without the financial aid. We are very very lucky .

  14. OT
    I just got the book Paranoid Nation by Matt Towery. Has anyone read it yet?

    By the way there was a book at the library call 78 about the Boston Red Socks if any one is interested.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

    • I read up to page 12 and I want Dean and the DNC to get the plague and boils.

      WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

      PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  15. http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/finance-committee-to-drop-end-of-life-provision-2009-08-13.html

    Should I thank the finance committee? I am 70 with COPD that is under control.
    It looks like they may let me live.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

    • They’ll let you live for now. But if it came down to a choice between covering your nebulizer medications or covering Viagra, well…… I wouldn’t bet on it.

      • roflmao … they’ll never cover birth control, but I bet they eventually decide that there’s something to those boob jobs!

      • I think half the drivers in California are on Viagra and they are too stupid to wait until they get home to take it. They way they drive up the person’s in front of them ass they must use it..
        I wanted to get a bumper sticker that read
        If you can read this ,you should have waited until you got home to take the Viagra.

        WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

        PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  16. I have begun to read the paper Ezekiel Emanual co-authored titled: Principles for Allocation of Scarce Medical Interventions.

    In the abstract the authors state:

    “Allocation of very scarce medical interventions such as organs and vaccines is a persistent ethical challenge.”

    Next they tell us their method:

    We evaluate eight simple allocation principles that can be classified into four categories: treating people equally, favoring the worst-off, maximizing total benefits, and promoting and rewarding social usefulness.

    From that they determine:

    “No single principle is sufficient to incorporate all morally relevant considerations and therefore individual principles must be combined into multiprinciple allocation systems.”

    So they go on to evaluate systems:

    “We evaluate three systems: the United Network for Organ Sharing points system, quality-adjusted life-years, and disability-adjusted life-years. ”

    And here is there conclusion:

    “We recommend an alternative system – the complete lives system- which prioritizes younger people who have not yet lived a complete life, and also incorporates prognosis, save the most lives, lottery, and instrumental value principles. ”

    All I HAVE TO SAY IS THIS – If there is to be a GUIDING principle determined for the allocation of scarce medical interventions, I want to be in on the discussion to distill that principle.

    As I believe all Americans should be – not just this man because he has the presidents ear.

    • He’s made his living all his life (as far as I can see) as an Academic bean counter.

      There is no sense in Time Mag spinning it that he’s worked all his life to improve elderly patients’ health care.

    • Damn right. I want to decide about my medical care, or refusal thereof. The scariest thing about the Ezekiel Emanuel types is that they don’t get that.

  17. http://briefingroom.thehill.com/2009/08/13/reid-protesters-are-evil-mongers/

    These fools are getting on my last nerve. Where will they be working in 2011? Not Washington I hope.
    The i s the first time in my life where the government considers American citizens the enemy, and the citizens feel their biggest enemy is their own government.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

    • It got pretty close in the late years of the Vietnam war, but not this bad. In the ’60s young people had understandable contempt for the government, now the government seems to have contempt for all it’s citizens and vice versa. That may end badly.

  18. RalphB
    Did they forget that we can still vote them out or do they think they can manipulate the elections is all states to keep them in office?
    I remember the war protesters during the 60s and agreed we should not be in Viet Nam. but I will never forgive the treatment of the returning military by the war protesters.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  19. Rachel Maddow – The Dick Armey™ and DLA Piper in the propaganda soup

    • JoeThomasWCHV

      • They want to get rid of Medicare! I heard ‘yeller’ Mike Lavine say the same thing this week and it amazes me that seniors aren’t reading in between the lines of these people that are getting them all upset. In essence they are defending the very people that want to eliminate their health care. 😯 WOW, and it is no wonder they keep moving the qualifying age up…soon it will be 70.

  20. NHS drawn into US health debate: President Obama’s health care reforms are not universally popular and now some of his opponents are citing the British model as an example of how not to do it.

    • Daniel Hannan becoming a ‘Darling of the GOP’ in the USA. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaIC6XF3Uf8 Daniel Hannan MEP, British Conservative Party and loyal Glen Beck guest who is busy lobbying against Health Care Reform here in the US and HELPING TO SCARE SENIORS. I will write the British Embassy and ‘ASK’ if I am allowed to go to Britain and work against his interests there since he is busy doing it here. Fair is Fair aye!

      • Daniel Hannan – Conservative MEP, part 1 (US interview)

        • When they have someone who is an embarassment to the Party, and they can’t get rid of-they throw them over to the European Parliament-very rarely the brightest and the best.

          • It figures, they are trying to polish his star over here, by saying he is going to be a future Prime Minister Britain. Imagine that, and he is starting his campaign in the US and influencing legislation here, helping to stifle talks about Health Care.

          • The Brits are far too fond of their Health Service to ever vote for a crank like that as PM-he can’t even manage to get into the British Parliament.

          • Well, if he has to talk about a D@@k to impress Americans, I doubt he will be prime minister.

    • GOP fear mongering is reaching a higher pitch with the ‘Death Panels’ and the out right lies being spread as the BBC video shows. One big lie is about scientis Stephen Hawking which was the focus of an editorial on the Investor’s Business Daily :

      “People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.” http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/talk/blogs/erica/2009/08/stephen-hawking-likes-his-deat.php?ref=recdc

      Professor Hawking issues a response:

      “I wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for the NHS. I have received a large amount of high quality treatment without which I would not have survived.” —Stephen Hawking, August 11, 2009

      From the article:Stephen Hawking likes his “Death Panel” Health Care just fine, thanks
      August 11, 2009, 2:52PM
      http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/talk/blogs/erica/2009/08/stephen-hawking-likes-his-deat.php?ref=recdc

      It would appear that in effort to stifle Health Reform talks they went so far as to spread the lie that Professor Hawking who has ALS is an American when in fact he is British. But, what’s a little detail like that, when you are trying to SCARE PEOPLE about Health Reform, and telling them that Universal Care has ‘Death Panels’.

      The media/press is also helping, because President Obama is blocking HR 676 Single Payer which is based on the Medicare model, which the seniors say they don’t want to lose, but isn’t even part of the discussions.

      HR 676 Single Payer, Everybody In, Nobody Out, It’s ALL American just like gran’s MEDICARE!

      • Professor Stephen Hawking is given The United States’ highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Professor Stephen Hawking is a British citizen. He has been compared with Albert Einstein, and as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge is considered a worthy occupier of the post once held by Sir Isaac Newton. http://tiny.cc/HQdka 2009

  21. Daniel Hannan MEP: The devalued Prime Minister of a devalued Government: Daniel Hannan is a Conservative MEP for the South East of England and author of The Plan: Twelve Months to Renew Britain.

  22. Daniel Hannan on USA Health Care Reform ‘Warns Americans about NHS’

    • Why isn’t he telling Britain he wants to discard the NHS? Why is he here doing the GOP bidding?

      • As a MEP he should not be spouting his opinions on American Health Reform. But of course he would never dare to tell the Brits in person that they should get rid of the NHS. What a wanker.

        • He is the GOP darling, traveling to Denver, to Georgia and doing all the FOX news shows, without offering someone on the opposing side from the other party…he is doing pure propaganda. If he Daniel Hannan wants to end Health Care in Britain he should be saying it there, not here. I wonder if he knows all the non-sense Glen Beck says on a daily basis.

          Daniel Hannan is a wanker indeed.

      • I looked up some Brit opinion on Daniel Hannan:

        Daniel Hannan is a national disgrace (left wing opinion)

        The human right to good health and protection from, and provision for, injury and sickness, are all enshrined in the National Health Service. It is an entity admired the world over, and one that many now could not imagine living without.

        So to see a British politician roaming the USA, frequenting the most biased, unreasonable and willfully ignorant news outlets in existence, spouting misinformed drivel to screeching hate puffed lummoxes like Glenn Beck about the imaginary horrors of ’socialized’ health care is almost obscene.

        http://tinyurl.com/lq8h2p

        Or The Telegraph: (right-wing)

        Daniel Hannan, the Conservative MEP, has been rebuked by his party leadership for endorsing American criticisms of the National Health Service.

        http://tinyurl.com/lv9s4w

        • Oh-and this was the final aside in the Telegraph article:

          Governments traditionally do not to intervene in the domestic politics of other nations. But the Prime Minister and his Cabinet are irritated by the attacks on the NHS and the British Embassy in Washington DC has been instructed to counter “inaccuracies” about the NHS in the US media.

          • By “inaccuracies” they mean “down right lies”.

          • I tell ya, he has me ticked off and especially since the GOP is always claiming foreigners this, foreigners that, but this one is in the between the sheets in the bed with them and they don’t have any problem with that.

            I am going to ask the British Embassy what their laws say about interfering in other countries affairs. Future prime minister my foot…Daniel Hannan started off the speech in Georgia talking about Sir Winston Churchill’s ‘big member’ and I don’t mean one in parliament.

          • Definitely a wanker and a jerk.

  23. Night Laurie, off for a nap.

    • Night WV- Don’t you love to hear pathetic MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) teaching Americans about Jeffersonian Principles. LOL.

  24. It’s nice to see a return to reason on this blog. Strong stories here. Nice to have y’all back.

  25. “I like Pratchett (especially in combination with Neil Gaiman)”

    I thought of that when reading Pratchett’s essay. Gaiman also created a gentle, and physically beautiful, Death character in his “Sandman” series. They are both fantastically gifted writers and thoughtful people.

    • I adore Gaiman. I like Pratchett, though he gets a little too twee and cutesy for me after a while. But they were AMAZING as a team. “Good Omens” was the funniest damn book I’ve ever read. I wish they’d collaborate again.

  26. “What a jerk! I can’t believe I actually donated to his campaign–not that much, but still…”

    ACK me too, Bostonboomer. The fact that I gave him a (for me) hefty contribution meant all the less I could contribute to Hillary and that totally frosted my a** (and it takes a lot of buttercream to frost that thang).

  27. Quixote, for more on Zeke Emanuel:
    http://www.whorunsgov.com/Profiles/Ezekiel_Emanuel

    You can read his paper on “allocation of scarce resources” at The Lancet:
    http://www.lancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(09)60137-9/fulltext

    You have to subscribe to the journal, but it’s a free subscription to get that article (Lancet thinks it’s important to make it available so people can read what Emanuel wrote).

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