Michele Bachmann revives BP, death panel bunk
Up for re-election in November, congresswoman Michele Bachmann must figure it's time to haul out the scare tactics again. Two weeks ago the White House was fomenting socialism and One World Government. Now, we're back to Obama creating death panels with health care reform and opening a political slush fund with BP's money.
File the fears in "fiction."
In an interview with WCCO's Esme Murphy, Bachmann tried to brush aside her bizarre warning to BP that it was getting "fleeced" after turning the Gulf of Mexico into a toxic waste dump. Instead, she tried once again to insist that the Obama administration created a political slush fund out of an independent $20 billion escrow fund that BP willingly set up at Obama's behest.
"This is the first time we have ever taken oil spill money and given it to the president so that he can personally give it out to whichever victim he wants."
Nonsense. As noted by The Hill:
The fund will be administered by attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who oversaw the 9/11 victims compensation fund and has served as the administration's "pay czar" on executive compensation at firms receiving federal rescue money. Any Gulf claims rejected by BP will be adjudicated by a three-person panel.
Escrow funds such as the one set up by BP have plenty of precedent, MarketWatch reports. And, as The Atlantic reports, victims of the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster filed their claims with the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Liability Fund.
Which brings us to death panels, courtesy of right-wing radio talker Chris Baker. He and Bachmann were criticizing President Barack Obama's use of a recess appointment to get Donald Berwick installed to lead the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services when they just couldn't help revisiting something that's been debunked over and over again.
BACHMANN: He's the one now who will be in charge of implementing full-scale Obamacare and he'll be in charge of Medicare and Medicaid.
BAKER: Oh boy. That's why I'm now referring to him as the chairman of the Obamacare death panel.
BACHMANN: That's right.
BAKER: That's my title.
BACHMANN: That's right because this is his quote, and I have it right in front of me. He said, "the decision is not, whether or not we will ration health care. The decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open." Well, it's with his eyes open. Because he's going to be the one who is denying people care."
South Carolina Rep. Bob Inglis, a Republican handed his hat in that state's recent primary election, and who thus has nothing to lose by exercising some candor, recently slammed the blather about death panels as nothing less than pandering to voters' fears through the megaphone of talk radio and cable yak fests.
"There were no death panels in the bill ... and to encourage that kind of fear is just the lowest form of political leadership. It's not leadership. It's demagoguery," Inglis told the AP. ""I think we have a lot of leaders that are following those (television and talk radio) personalities and not leading," he said. "What it takes to lead is to say, 'You know, that's just not right.'"