Beware the Book of the Dead

Book of the Dead
Actual cover of “Your Life, Your Choices” offered by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs

Did you hear the latest ridiculous lie the right-wing is promoting against health insurance reform?

You see, there is a book, an evil book, and if you read it, you get a phone call, and it tells you that in exactly seven days you are going to die. And then exactly seven days later…

Nothing happens. Because they are lying to you, again.

The latest smear is, I kid you not, the “death book” which is supposedly a plan by the Obama administration to kill our veterans.

Only it was a document promoted by the Bush administration, and of course it in no way advocates ending the lives of veterans, or anyone.

These insane talking points represent just the latest instance of conservatives attacking common sense end-of-life planning–planning promoted by Republicans–in a disingenuous attack against the current administration and health insurance reform.

Only in the right-wing fringe could a harmless book that was designed to inform and empower patients to make their own decisions about their end-of-life care, so that when the time inevitably comes their wishes will be followed rather than the wishes of someone else, be translated into some macabre “death book” advocating that veterans “hurry up and die.”

And isn’t it curious that the same group of people who are constantly saying we should keep the government out of medical decisions, and that these decisions should be made by us and our doctors, are the same people who are attacking something as benign as living wills, which seek to do nothing other than make sure our decisions about our own bodies are followed?

So let me get this straight–We should have total control over our own bodies (unless of course we are pregnant, then we should be heavily regulated by the government, as an appendage of the Church), and these decisions should be between us and our doctors, yet reimbursing patients for the cost of meeting with their doctors to discuss these issues is equivalent to “death panels”, and encouraging (not forcing) people to actually put their wishes on paper so they aren’t ignored if the worst were to happen equals trying to put people to death. Riiiggghhhttt…

Oh, but it makes sense in a way. You see, if you have a living will, then these same conservatives won’t be able to step in and interfere with your life at the very end like they did in the case of Terri Schiavo. Because in that case it was perfectly appropriate for the Death Congress and the President of the United States, sitting in his Oval Death Office, to use the government to tell people whether or not they could die with dignity if they so choose. If we promoted living wills, conservatives couldn’t do that anymore!

Do you see a pattern here?

Pro-living will provision inserted into health care legislation by a Republican, conservatives attack liberals with accusations that they are trying to march grandma in front of a death panel to kill her.

Pro-end-of-life planning materials promoted by the Bush administration, conservatives attack Obama for trying to kill veterans with his evil “death book”.

Conservatives try to use the government to intervene in the personal medical decisions of citizens, whether it be abortions or end-of-life care, and then those same conservatives attack liberals for wanting to keep these decisions in the hands of the individual.

These people are fighting themselves! All of these things they are attacking were their ideas in the first place! These people wrote the book on government interference in your personal life and your medical decisions. And now they are using this fearmongering about a “government takeover” and “death panels” and “death books” to attack legislation that would actually empower patients to have more choices and greater ability to make their own decisions about their own lives!

This isn’t health insurance reform, this is the Medical Choices Act of 2009! That is what this entire bill is about! Choices! Personal empowerment!

In the status quo (that means NOW people) you have the private insurance industry with a harmful monopoly on coverage that has resulted in fewer choices and skyrocketing premiums (and the conservative “plan” is to do nothing about this). Through health insurance reform you would get MORE choices, not less! You would also have increased opportunity to meet with your doctor to discuss important things like having the security of a living will! How is this bad??

You know, I keep waiting for anti-reform conservatives to jump the shark. You would have thought after sitting on their hands for eight years while health insurance premiums skyrocketed they would have lost any legitimacy on the issue of health care. You would have thought that after denouncing health care reform, no matter how modest, as “socialism”, every single time it has come up over the last century (including when we passed Medicare) they would have lost any legitimacy on the issue. You would have thought they would have officially jumped the shark with the “death panels” nonsense, which has been repeatedly and unambiguously debunked by even the mainstream media, which is notorious for letting these smears go unchallenged. Yet people still take them seriously! You would have thought that this corporate-sponsored, ignorance-driven vitriol and lunacy at town hall meetings would have forced the country to roll their eyes and hand off governing to the adults. You would have thought that blatant lies like this “death book” nonsense would finally push them over the shark. But no, despite all of that, the media still takes them seriously, far too many Americans keep taking them seriously, and hell, even President Obama keeps taking them seriously and believing he can reach some kind of compromise with them, no matter how many times they themselves say that they will agree to no reform, no matter the compromises.

What the hell do these people have to do to jump the damn shark???

Next week it will be that health insurance reform actually has a provision which will force people to donate DNA to create man-beast hybrids (it is on page 734, check for yourself, have you read the bill??!?!?!11!). And sadly, people will probably believe that garbage, and still keep taking the conservatives who promote these lies seriously.

Is there anything these people can say that won’t be eaten up hook, line and sinker by at least a good 30-40% of Americans?

If you want to know more about the actual substance of the “death book” smear, watch the following video, and visit the invaluable Media Matters myth-busting page on the smear.




Also see this debunking by Jed Lewison yesterday over at Daily Kos.

**UPDATE**

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele gives his endorsement of the “death book” lies saying:

I mean, this is crazy coming from the government, and this is exactly what concerns people and puts them in fear of what the government control of health care will look like.

Mmhmm. And in case you were wondering when it was going to happen, don’t worry, conservatives are already trying to use “Your Life, Your Choices” to connect Obama to, you guessed it, Nazi eugenics. Imagine that.

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