Bizarro Tea Party

When the Tea Party started, their enemies had two reactions. They derided it publicly as fake and selfish and probably racist. They privately tried to figure out how in the hell to do it themselves.

The Tea Party seemed to be something of a specter (no pun intended) in its first year. Sure, a couple of Republican governors won in 2009, but the Republicans lost a solid GOP House seat because of the Tea Party. If anything, they were poised to split the vote three-ways, giving Democrats easy wins in 2010.

Then they found their issue. Taxes, debt and government intervention were all rolled into Obamacare. Democrats could see the potential for losing a decisive majority and passed the plan with public support as low as it is now before the elections. This is around the time the Coffee Party started. They tried to use the Obama sales pitch of non-partisan problem solving that wasn’t present in the “I won” administration. That fizzled. Who wants to organize if they’re not unified or angry?

Democrats were shellacked in 2010, of course. So they decided to go local. Since many Americans seemed to like the Tea Party in Congress, they picked on Republican governors in blue states. Demonizing Christie was a non-starter. The unions and the Democrats made their stand in Wisconsin over laws passed by a Republican legislature and governor. Protests and sit-ins were back. This time, the people affected by the legislation were actually fine with the results. Recall elections failed and unions eventually dispersed.

Now they have a failed movement of non-ideology and a failure of organized, impassioned ideology. What should they do next? It might be worth combining them. It sounds stupid, but maybe a group of people excited about getting together and talking could be manufactured. Still, there’s some secret sauce missing from this that the Tea Party has.

Let’s go back to something seemingly innocuous that I mentioned in the first paragraph. Sure, the Democratic Party influenced movements are fake, but they’re not selfish enough. When the Tea Party started, one of the criticisms was that those people were angry about their taxes and the regulations on them. Protests on the left had a healthy amount of empathy for others, real or imagined. The last part of this recipe is something that is politically liberal, unites a large number of people and affects most protesters and regular people.

Start with an economic issue, since the Democrats are now more pro-war than Republicans. Make sure it requires a government solution. Make sure it covers a lot of people, like at least 9 out of 10. Now, frame the meetings and protests in such a way that it doesn’t solve anything, kind of like a Coffee Party. Bring in the unions for support, but don’t let them take over.

This is Anti-Tea Party 3.0. It’s a group of people who have no clear ideology, no demands and no desires. They are perfectly fine with talking about issues with no resolution. They are .02% of the population, but claim 99% of it as their allies. It’s a Frankenmovement, where parts of it don’t know where they’re going and other parts don’t know why.

Let’s see how long this one lasts.

About 1539days

I'm like a word a day calendar for executive disasters.
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16 Responses to Bizarro Tea Party

  1. 1539days says:

    Figuring out the mechanics of this thing is like staring into the abyss.

  2. Lola-at-Large says:

    You’re so right. Envy was such a huge part of TP criticism.

  3. angienc says:

    OT — you want to hear some bizarro shit? This FB “friend” of mine who just 2 weeks ago was soliciting suggestions for her sign to take to an OWS rally is now ranting about high medmal judgments increasing her insurance premiums. Besides the fact that medmal costs are less than 2% of overall health care spending AND the whole tort reform bullshit movement is a total right-wing canard (see link below for facts on that), aren’t insurance companies not only part of the 1% but, you know, corporations? Gah, how am I even cyber-friends with these idiots?

    • 1539days says:

      I’m not inclined to accept figures from a trial lawyers’ association to show that trial lawyers and lawsuits aren’t a problem.

      The 2% of all medical costs is malpractice is a canard. It’s not the lawsuits, it’s the CYA medicine that results and the skyrocketing malpractice insurance costs that make medicine more expensive. If torts are so rare now, why is tort reform such a terrifying concept?

      • myiq2xu says:

        Do you have any better figures?

        What specific tort reforms do you favor?

        • Mimi says:

          Until physicians self police (or let states do it for them which they are not currently willing to do) and kick out the bad practitioners they are going to pay for the idiots with higher malpractice insurance. A high percentage of suits is filed against a small percentage of malpracticers. State medical boards protect them. The medical community knows who the screw ups are and will not get rid of them. Whenever my doctors gripe about their premiums I tell them to get rid of two well known local nitwits and their premiums and defensive medical costs would go down. It would be cheaper if local doctors just paid the boobs directly to stay home.

        • WMCB says:

          My husband estimates that around 30% of the tests and procedures he orders are simply CYA. That 30% also tends to be the most expensive testing he does. If he had no fear of being sued, he would not order them. He’s worked in Europe, too, and has some European colleagues. They don’t order nearly the number of tests over there, because getting sued simply isn’t an issue. You have to be deliberately and grossly negligent to get sued there – as in waaaaaay outside the bounds of medical standards.

          Doctors here do not treat to what is, in the very best medical judgement, the overwhelming likelihood of the diagnosis. They treat to avoid the .001% chance that either they are wrong, or the patient will CLAIM they were wrong if the course of even their correctly diagnosed illness doesn’t go well. They don’t treat with what is, in their best judgement, the most practical and effective way. They treat with an eye to being asked on a witness stand: “Why didn’t you do X? Why didn’t you order Y?

          Doctors live and work with the constant specter of a multi-million dollar lawsuit hanging over their heads. And being a smart, good, conscientious doctor is NO protection from that. None. There is no shortage of good lawyers and paid “consultants” who will say that getting that MRI should have been done, even if there was no real indication for it. Doing every damn test and treatment under the sun is the only thing that offers a degree of protection when you inevitably get sued (and you will). So that’s what they do.

          61% of all physicians WILL get sued at some point in their career. And it only takes one successful one to destroy you. So they treat to the potential lawsuit. Always. 2% may or may not be a correct number for the visible costs of lawsuits, but the hidden cost of defensive medicine is pretty high.

          As for what kind of tort reform? Very simple. If Medicare and guidelines say that a test or treatment isn’t medically necessary, and therefore won’t be paid for, then the doc cannot be sued for failing to provide it.

          Or if you don’t want to use the Medicare guidelines, get a medical panel together and decide the criteria for the 20 most expensive tests and procedures. If you fail to order it when the patient has met criteria, sue away. If they did not meet criteria, then you are protected from later lawsuit for not ordering. Do the same for hospital admission criteria and length-of-stay criteria.

          The problem right now is that docs are caught between a rock and a hard place. The cost-cutters are constantly breathing down their necks and berating them for ordering too much stuff, admitting people who do not need admitting. They get told daily that they are wasting money, that that test, that admission, that procedure was not medically necessary – the doctors and experts writing our guidelines say so! Doctors get their reimbursements cut if they do NOT meet the guidelines for length-of-stay, etc. But the moment one of those patients sues, NONE of those cost-cutters and Medicare guideline-writers etc are going to be sitting in a box in front of a jury defending the doc’s decision as correct. The esteemed Dr. Whosit, medical expert who wrote the recommendations for what is medically appropriate, will not be there to defend a doc when he follows those guidelines. At that point, length-of-stay guidelines mean jack, and it’s the evil Dr alone who decided to send them home to die.

      • angienc says:

        The 2% figure isn’t from the ATLA; it is from the Congressional Budget Office.

        You’ve got to read the footnotes.

        And you should trust what the ATLA says — the trial attorneys are the only thing standing in the way of tyranny in this country.

        Everything you wrote sounds like it came from an insurance company brochure. I’ll give the insurance companies this: the money they spend on lobbiests & PR has certainly been money well spent for them.

        • 1539days says:

          This is the CBO that said Obamacare is deficit neutral?

          I don’t care if the 2% figure is correct. That 2% is not the problem. WMCB just mentioned the impact of CYA medicine because of potential malpractice lawsuits. That’s the real cost.

          Multimillionaire John Edwards was a trial attorney who sued obstetricians for malpractice. I’m sure some of them were guilty, but he made money even if they weren’t. That field has been decimated by lawsuits. You can blame the insurance companies if you want, but here’s the acid test for insurance. If you can self-insure by paying into a fund and NOT be wiped out by a lawsuit, then you don’t need insurance. Otherwise, the greedy insurance companies are doing their job.

          All you’d need to do is cap punitive, not compensatory, damages, and you would see insurance rates lessen across the board. Or we can go to UHC, and the lawyers would be out of luck entirely.

        • yttik says:

          Even more important then tort reform is insurance reform. We have insurance commissions, but some of them have really mucked things up. In my state we made contractors insurance mandatory and then increased the requirements to a million dollars. Then we closed the insurances lines down. Long before the housing crisis, these policies bankrupted many small construction companies. Our own mandatory insurance rose to ten time what it had been the year before. We were trapped, it was illegal to to be in business without it and it was illegal to shop around and try to find a better deal.

          Also in my state we forced huge increases in malpractice insurance on OB GYN’s. As a result, my town lost all of it’s baby doctors. They packed up an left. Our hospital will no longer take any high risk deliveries, in fact, we can’t even provide caesarians here anymore and actually have to airlift patients out and hope for the best. It’s not that we don’t have any qualified doctors, it’s that they are forbidden to perform procedures they don’t carry insurance for.

          Nobody in this country should have to pay a yearly 250 thousand dollar insurance premium unless they are a huge multi million dollar company.

        • WMCB says:

          angie, I am not trusting what either the insurance companies or the trial lawyers say. I worked as a nurse for over 20 years, and am married to a doctor. I saw the amount of defensive medicine practiced, and the amount of suing that goes on that everyone knows is just a roll of the dice hoping someone will settle.

          He has never been successfully sued, nor has a suit ever even gone to trial. He’s had two, both of which were thrown out as completely frivolous before they ever made it that far. But frivolous or not, you still have to prepare.

          His legal cost to prepare for the last one, before it got thrown out? Half a million dollars. Oh, and that was just HIS legal costs. That doesn’t count the legal costs of the 3 other doctors and two hospitals named in the “shotgun” suit. If the other defendants spent similar, that’s 3 million just PREPARING for and utterly bullshit suit that everyone figured would get thrown out – and it did. It also doesn’t count stress and lost time meeting with lawyers, preparing statements, depositions, reading over quite literally 3 foot stacks of papers, etc.

          Half a million bucks and months of work and worry. For a suit that was frivolous on its face. And you know what? It would have been CHEAPER and less stress to just make an offer and settle. Which is exactly what plaintiffs and attorneys like this one count on. They knew it was a bullshit suit without merit. They had no intention of winning anything at trial from the get-go. They were just rolling the dice hoping of all the parties named, one or two would settle and make it worth their while.

          It’s a deliberate strategy, and it is done with the full knowledge that the doctor very likely did not a damn thing wrong. Sue anyone and everyone that ever saw the patient for any reason or laid hands on the chart. Bombard them with stacks and stacks of discovery requests and forms and questions and clarifications and depositions. Overwhelm them and suck up their time and money until some of the parties say, “Fuck it, it’s just easier and cheaper to make them an offer.”

          It is outright extortion as far as I’m concerned.

          • myiq2xu says:

            His legal cost to prepare for the last one, before it got thrown out? Half a million dollars. Oh, and that was just HIS legal costs.

            Your husband paid that out of pocket?

        • angienc says:

          WMCB — everything you’ve written is the fault of the insurance companies — they are the ones extorting doctors here, not the plaintiffs who are injured through no fault of their own. I understand from your perspective it might be difficult to see that, but that’s how I see it. Nothing personal against you, but never the twain shall meet.

          Days — you can bash the CBO all you want, but it still isn’t ATLA’s numbers you were dismissing as a “trial lawyer canard.”

          And let me tell you about multi-millionaire John Edwards — regardless of his personal life problems — he was representing people who no one gave a shit about; people who do not have multimillion dollar lobby firms working on their behalf in DC; people who were injured through no fault of their own, and THANK GOD there are attorneys willing to risk doing that. A medmal suit costs a lot of money up front to pursue and the attorney is only paid if the suit is successful. I don’t know where you are getting that he made money off of some doctors who weren’t “guilty” (sic) — you got any proof on how many people were injured while under a doctor’s care & the doctor did absofuckinglutely nothing wrong other than anecdotal stories from doctors & insurance companies?

          *Guilty is only applicable in criminal cases; in civil the word is liable.

        • WMCB says:

          Not true, angienc. It is not the insurance companies that are driving BS lawsuits.

          they are the ones extorting doctors here, not the plaintiffs who are injured through no fault of their own.

          You are making the huge assumption here that a) plaintiffs were injured, and b) most of the time it’s the doctor’s fault. I just have not seen that to be true in my experience. Roughly 2/3 of the medical lawsuits I have had personal knowledge of were either bogus as could be, or a real stretch to find some sliver of fault.

          EIGHTY PERCENT of medical lawsuits are dismissed with no judgement and no monies dispensed to the plaintiff. Another chunk are settled out of court. So don’t fucking tell me that the majority of people suing are real victims with real damages. The majority are people and their layers playing the numbers and the odds for a potential big payoff.

          If a city DA had a “made it to trial” rate of 20%, you’d call him incompetent. But it’s seen as perfectly acceptable for lawyers to file 100 suits, figuring that the 20 that pay off make it worth it.

          Mimi – I agree that the state medical boards could do more to censure bad doctors – but they truly are a very tiny minority. But how about the bar association doing a little “self policing” as well, so that there’s some sanity. Maybe they ought to reign in THEIR members from filing bogus suits.

          It is not just bad doctors getting sued. 61% of docs get sued at some point. Sorry, but 61% of the doctors in the USA are not bad, negligent docs. So, no getting rid of the bad docs only helps overall if they are the majority of the lawsuits. They are not. I’m not opposed to medical lawsuits at all. They serve a vital function. But they are freaking out of control in this country.

          I’ll discuss all day long with you how to solve this very real problem in ways that don’t stomp all over real victims. I have no desire to leave real victims with no recourse in the courts. But no, I do not buy the trial lawyers’ refrain that it’s all a made up bogus lie, and there is no problem at all, it’s all propaganda by evil greedy insurance companies.

          Myiq – no those were the costs of the attorneys for both company he works for and the malpractice insurer. I don’t have the breakdown on how much was his personal malpractice and how much was company.

  4. Dario says:

    Cain is funny.

    WP: For Herman Cain, no steering clear of race

    WAVERLY, Tenn. — Herman Cain scanned his overwhelmingly white tea party audience, jammed into a hall at a rural fairgrounds, and offered his assessment.
    “I see 3,000 patriots here tonight,” he boomed, the crowd leaping to its feet. “I don’t see any racists!”

  5. 1539days says:

    Okay. I’m closing this for comments since no one is talking about this topic.

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