A.J. DiCintio
Filthy mouths, filthier behavior
By A.J. DiCintio
August 6, 2011

After the debt ceiling deal was done, Pennsylvania Congressman Mike Doyle (a Democrat and thus a supposed exemplar of perfectly reasonable thinking and meticulously civil discourse) attacked Tea Party legislators specifically and Republicans generally with the filth that "We [Democrats] have negotiated with terrorists."

Moreover, reports immediately spread that no less a self-anointed intellectual and moral giant than Joe Biden flushed the same sewage from his mouth — a charge the VP has vigorously denied, though he can't deny he reacted to Doyle's filthy mouth with a silence that implies the substitution of "Democrats" in the reeking lie "Oh, well, boys will be boys."

Sadly, the truth is that in reacting to the negotiations and the final deal, congressional Democrats were perfect Democrats; for, like their leader, they had nothing to say about honest ideas for solving the nation's spending and debt crisis but plenty of slime to shout at their opponents, whom they smeared with an arrow from the quiver into which they regularly reach to pull out "racist," "fascist," "bigot," and "grandma killer."

Truth is, however, that for a very long time, filth has been the sole substance of the "thinking" exhibited by America's left. So, I wasn't surprised by this latest example of the kind of language that has always flowed from mouths directed by brains stinking of the pustulants called arrogance and the love of power.

I was surprised, however, that former GW Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson (Washington Post) didn't think this instance of name calling a very big deal, at least with respect to longtime self-inflating buffoon Biden, whom he slapped on the wrist as guilty of "foolishness," not "viciousness," and merely lacking in his speech over the years "the normal filter of appropriateness."

Surprised, too, that he ended his post by finding a way to blame the victim:

"Tossing around a word like 'terrorist' slips a little more poison into our political discourse. But so does the taking of exaggerated offense — the political equivalent of flailing in dramatic reaction to a basketball foul."

Not knowing anything of Gerson, I can only speculate that his typical Inside the Beltway superficiality arises from the kind of mind that with respect to its former boss would knee jerk defenses of policies that doubled the national debt in eight years and redefined Sherman's "war is hell" to "war is nation building, the cost in life, limb, money, and the country's health be damned."

However, Gerson's shallowness isn't lamentable only because of his failure to make the most of a teachable moment regarding the profound danger of the language with which Democrats poison the discussion surrounding virtually every one of the country's profound problems.

In fact, it is arguable his most unforgiveable intellectual sin lies in failing to use the occasion to point out that worse than filthy Democratic mouths is Washington's rotten, filthy behavior, an undeniable threat to the nation's life and one which only the Tea Party has taken on with courageous honesty.

With respect to exemplifying that contemptible behavior, Gerson had an embarrassingly large number of choices from which to choose.

But since he chose to play the sixties game of Everybody's Beautiful instead of performing a public good, I'll shed some additional light on an issue a doctor recently illuminated for me when, at a social event, he briefly explained how easy it is to scam Medicare by opening sham clinics.

To be completely honest, I must reveal that the task of saying something worthwhile about Medicare fraud was made infinitely easier when, the very next day, financial expert John Maudlin's weekly message introduced me to an adaptation of "Entitlement Bandits" by Michael F. Cannon (entire article at National Review).

The following quotes from Cannon's piece explain its enormous utility. But be forewarned, they are also, as Maudlin puts it, "guaranteed to upset you."

. . . "The three most salient characteristics of Medicare and Medicaid fraud are: It's brazen, it's ubiquitous, and it's other people's money, so nobody cares."

. . . "In Brooklyn, a dentist billed taxpayers for nearly 1,000 procedures in a single day."

. . . "A Houston doctor with a criminal record took her Medicare billings from zero to $11.6 million in one year; federal agents shut down her clinic but did not charge her with a crime."

. . . "A high-school dropout, armed with only a laptop computer, submitted more than 140,000 bogus Medicare claims, collecting $105 million."

. . . "The giant hospital chain Columbia/HCA paid $1.7 billion in fines and pled guilty to more than a dozen felonies related to bribing doctors to help it tap Medicare funds and exaggerating the amount of care delivered to Medicare patients."

. . . "In New York, Medicaid spending on the human-growth hormone Serostim leapt from $7 million to $50 million in 2001; but it turned out that drug traffickers were getting the drug prescribed as a treatment for AIDS wasting syndrome, then selling it to bodybuilders."

. . . "A study of ten states uncovered $27 million in Medicare payments to dead patients."

. . . "Fraud experts say the [government's numbers regarding fraud] are too low."

. . . "[According to congressional testimony by Malcolm Sparrow, a mathematician, Harvard professor, and former police inspector] loss rates due to fraud and abuse [in government healthcare payments] could be 10 percent, or 20 percent, or even 30 percent in some segments."

. . . "The overpayment-rate studies the government has relied on . . . have been sadly lacking in rigor, and have therefore produced comfortingly low and quite misleading estimates."

If you have the time, you can read the entire article's long list of astonishing examples of the federal government's failures regarding Medicare fraud, including how politicians use their influence to stop investigations into the despicable thieving.

If not, here is one more example of the government's frightening fecklessness —

"Last year, the feds indicted 44 members of an Armenian crime syndicate for operating a sprawling Medicare-fraud scheme. The syndicate had set up 118 phony clinics and billed Medicare for $35 million. They transferred at least some of their booty overseas. Who knows what LBJ's Great Society is funding?"

Having learned of just this much regarding the filthy behavior going on in Washington, every honest, decent American will acknowledge and condemn the astounding amorality of politicians who demonize the Tea Party for the purpose of protecting the rotten status quo.

My hope is that Tea Party leaders will learn from the immense fraud as well and realize that if they make job Number One a relentless education of the public about Washington's filthy behavior with respect to failing to prevent and even encouraging waste — and not just regarding Medicare — they'll gain the public's confidence even as they shame protectors of politics-as-usual on both sides of the aisle.

There is no guarantee; but perhaps then letters to the Capitol won't be coming in 100-1 against "cutting" Medicare as they have been since the Ryan plan was proposed, allowing fair, sensible reforms to be made and disaster avoided.

As for brave, honest, fair leadership having the glorious effect of shutting Washington's filthy mouths, the bad news is the job lies beyond the powers of mere mortals.

© A.J. DiCintio


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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A.J. DiCintio

A.J. DiCintio posts regularly at RenewAmerica and YourNews.com. He first exercised his polemical skills arguing with friends on the street corners of the working class neighborhood where he grew up. Retired from teaching, he now applies those skills, somewhat honed and polished by experience, to social/political affairs.


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