Friday, January 7, 2011

‘Death panels’ hoax and the real ‘Governor Death’

Slam-dunk electable Republicans these days not only spew strange slogans and unworkable promises, but must show a mean-spirited callousness.

They must be gung-ho, forget-the-cost supporters of war, but be wild-eyed opponents of health-care reform providing new coverage for millions of Americans.

They must embrace tax breaks for the mega-wealthy, but turn a deaf ear to workers in the unemployment lines who need subsistence money.

Even when hopelessly trapped in their own flagrant hypocrisy, some Republicans ignore reality but bolster political hoaxes.

Among the cruelest of Republican ethical vices is the orgy of lies about "death panels" in President Obama's health care legislation.

Explained simply, the legislation provided funds for patients to discuss "advance care planning"—how they wish to be treated in their final days—with health care providers. Not much difference in that and the "living wills" that patients already have on file in hospitals and the free counsel provided by professionals.

But leave it to Sarah Palin, the most popular Republican, to transform that into "death panels" when health care included modest funds for paying counselors.

Republican hysteria about nonexistent Obama "death panels," however, is nowhere to be found when real "death panel" decisions have led to real deaths in Arizona. There, ultra-conservative Republican "Governor Death," Jan Brewer, has refused to restore comparatively modest funding for organ transplants until the Legislature finds a way to close a $1 billion budget deficit.

While Brewer dithers, and Arizona legislators await the opening gavel of the 2011 session that will trigger bills to pay for transplants, people have died. Of the original list of 100 people awaiting organ transplants, two have died since the funding was shut down on Oct. 1.

A few Republican lawmakers have joined Democrats in proposing funding.

Gov. Brewer and GOP officeholders are unmoved, though, likely because they consider the criticism of the governor and Arizona comes from chicken-hearted liberals, whereas in Arizona the real issues are getting proper attention from red-blooded Republicans.

What is that, you ask? Arizona lawmakers are obsessed with writing new legislation to deny citizenship to children born of illegal aliens as a companion to their SB 1070 law allowing arrest of the state's mostly Mexican illegals.

Arizona's reigning Republican political establishment has lost all feeling. Gov. Brewer didn't blink when she signed legislation approving the sale of state office buildings at the Capitol, nor did she waver when denying patients dying of failing organs a chance to live with transplants.

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