Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The MSM-Democratic Propaganda Mill

I do a fair amount of work in a thoroughly corrupt industry known as the California Workers' Compensation system. This system, which began with the noble idea of avoiding litigation and treating injured workers in a fair and efficient manner, has become a hideous bureaucratic monstrosity, especially when it comes to allegations of psychiatric injury. (Although thanks to Governor Schwarzeneggers' recent reforms, it's not nearly as bad as it used to be.)

That is, the system was set up to assist people with obvious injuries--say, a meat cutter who accidentally severed a finger. It was not designed to deal with a paranoid or narcissistic personality who is stressed out at work because he unconsciously provokes others and is universally disliked. Or with an incompetent person who is simply upset because he is being criticized at work. Or someone who is fired, and then retroactively decides that he was stressed out during the entire time he as employed.

Especially when it comes to psychiatric injuries, the legal process often comes down to a battle of competing experts. There is the applicant side--the person alleging that he has been injured--and the defense side--the the workplace or workers comp carrier that will have to cover the injury.

The reason why the system is so corrupt is that patients quickly became ancillary players in the process. Instead, the system became a way for doctors and lawyers to make vast amounts of money on the backs of injured workers. Therefore, there developed a built-in incentive to claim injuries, even if no injury was present. Lawyers began luring patients into the system with advertising, assuring them that they would receive extensive medical care at no cost to them. Medical "mills" were set up in conjunction with the lawyers, so that workers would be sent to any number of useless, wasteful, and expensive medical evaluations.

As such, someone, say, with a back strain, might be sent to an orthopedist, an internist (in case the pain is causing an increase in blood pressure or a stomach ache), a chiropractor, a neurologist (perhaps the pain is causing headaches), and a psychiatrist or psychologist (in case they had become depressed or anxious as a result of the alleged pain). (Would it surprise you to learn that these mills, like a certain political party, defend their dubious practices by suggesting that they are truly "looking out for the little guy?" Or that thousands of jobs will never be created for the "little guy" as a result of the high cost of doing business in California because of spiraling workers' comp costs? )

These psychiatric mills issue thoroughly predictable reports which always--always--maintain in the most florid terms you can imagine, that the injured worker has developed dozens and dozens of psychological symptoms, that they are completely psychologically disabled from them, that they require extensive treatment, and that, even then, they will never, ever be the same. Often, believe it or not, the worker does not even know that a psychiatric injury has been filed on their behalf (especially workers from third world countries who don't even have a frame of reference for what it is a psychologist does). They just do as directed by their attorney, by going for appointments and filling out the paper work. Many times I've asked a patient, "Dr. X says you are hearing the voice of your supervisor. Is that true?" The patient will be surprised, and often offended, to learn that they are being depicted as psychotic.

In fact, I have seen many cases in which the report is already written: all the doctor does is insert the name of the patient into a pre-formatted report, with all of the same boilerplate language and adjectives--lots of adjectives. In an applicant report, adjectives generally substitute for facts and details, as they often do in any bad writing. Other times the doctor's staff will even forget to change the pronoun in the report from "him" to "her," as in, "Mr. Jackson says that she and her husband now have no sexual intimacy, whereas before his boss yelled at him, they enjoyed sexual relations six times a day."

My job, as an ethical evaluator, is not to submit a report that is simply the mirror opposite of the other side's report, but to find out what's actually going on--to determine the truth of the matter. I will spend many hours with a patient, reviewing their current condition, their allegations of injury, their past history, medical records, investigative reports, and sometimes even sub rosa video tape in order to arrive at my conclusions, each of which will be thoroughly supported by facts, logic, and evidence. I try never to speculate--in fact, the system dies not allow idle speculation, only opinions based on medical probability.

I see an almost exact parallel between the corrupt workers comp system and our current political scene. On the one side we have the applicants and their mills--the Democrats and the MSM--on the other side, the defense--the Republicans and the alternative media. The Democrats operate by throwing out as many outrageous statements as they can think of, hoping that something will "stick," and perhaps persuade the trier of fact: the American public. Therefore, when dealing with the MSM and their political action wing, the Democrats, you must constantly wade through the most outrageous, wholesale lies and distortions--America is a racist, sexist and homophobic country, Bush is a liar, Bush wants to impose a theocracy, Bush is a torturer, Bush is spying on us, the economy has never been worse, the environment is being ruined, Bush caused the hurricanes, Bush hates black people, etc., etc., etc. You know the dreary drill.

Just yesterday, I believe someone counted at least seventeen demonstrably outrageous lies in Ted Kennedy's opening remarks at the Alito confirmation hearings. Of course, since the MSM is part of the corrupt system, they will not do their job and determine the factual basis of Kennedy's allegations. Rather, they will simply repeat them.

It is now up to the alternative media to serve the identical purpose in the political system that I do in the workers comp system: to independently evaluate the issue, gather the facts, dispassionately assess the situation, and arrive at a logical and reasoned opinion. Are there ethical Democrats and unethical or careless Republicans? Of course. For example, although I might ultimately agree with much of what a Sean Hannity says, I don't trust him or rely upon him to tell me the truth, for he is the equivalent a Republican "mill." He will come down on the side of the Republicans, no matter what. Joe Lieberman would be an example of an ethical Democrat, for example, willing to independently assess the truth of the Iraq war as he sees it.

But by and large, the reason why it is so difficult to engage leftists in debate is the same reason why it is so difficult to deal with an applicant report. There is almost nothing in an applicant report that I can rely on as being factually true. It might be. It might not be. You just have no way of knowing. You have to assess the situation independently.

Democrats say this is a racist country. Is that true? Not in my analysis. Obviously there are some individual racists, but the country itself is remarkably free of racial animus. Was President Bush lying when he said he believed there were WMD in Iraq? I've seen no evidence for that, only lurid accusations. Is this the worst economy since the Great Depression, a "jobless revovery"? Not based on the facts I have seen. Is Bush spying on his political enemies? I have no basis for believing that. Were blacks disproportionately killed in hurricaine Katrina? As a matter of fact, no. Is Bush running the highest deficit in history? Not if you place it in the proper context as a percentage of GNP. Are terrorists covered by the Geneva Convention? Not based on my understanding. Did Saddam have intimate and extensive ties to the international terror world? No doubt.

So being a neo-con paleoliberal has come quite naturally to me. It just means ignoring the distorted allegations of the MSM-Democratic propaganda mill, independently evaluating the "patient," and arriving at conclusions based on fact, logic and reason.


lalarry said...

guess it depends where you look

It's Jobs, Stupid

By Robert B. Reich (former Clinton Labor Secy)
Web Exclusive: 1.18.04
Print Friendly | Email Article

San Jose Mercury News, January 18, 2004
``Jobless'' recoveries aren't supposed to go on this long.

If the current economic recovery were like most previous ones, businesses would have started hiring again when demand for their products picked up. That hasn't happened, and more than two years after the economy started turning out more goods and services, Americans find themselves wallowing in the most anemic jobs recovery on record.

Productivity is soaring, but that's mainly because fewer workers are doing more. At least 150,000 new jobs have to be created each month just to keep up with the growing population of potential workers. We haven't come close. As we learned earlier this month, the private sector produced a paltry 1,000 new jobs in December.

Not to be ghoulish about it, but this could be good news for Democrats seeking to regain the White House and stem the Republican tide in Congress. There can't be a genuine recovery until jobs come back; jobs aren't likely to roar back within the next nine months; and President Bush could have a hard time convincing voters that he's a good steward of the economy unless Americans feel that the recovery is on solid footing.

But to be credible, Democrats would have to come up with their own plan for how to spur job growth. And that plan has to respond directly to the structural changes in the economy that account for this unprecedented dearth of new jobs -- technology and globalization.

unemployment rate as generally reported 5%. Alternative measure including discourage workers (those who have given up looking) and those working part time that would like to be working full time (like a partial plant shutdown) =8.7%

real (after inflation) increase in average hourly earnings in 2004 (-.1)

that is during a period when productivity boomed. Productivity means less people doing more work. Take 3 workers, fire 1 split the work between the other 2 - you've increased productivity. I'm not saying it's not economically necessary at times, just we better have growth coming from somewhere else.

Largest category of job growth in 2004 - food and hospitality (like mickey d's)

all #s from the govt Bureau of Labor statistics website

depends how you look at things i guess

check for yourself on the BLS website

Anonymous said...

Did Saddam have intimate and extensive ties to the international terror world? No doubt.

documentation please, every govt review of intelligence I have seen has concluded that was NOT the case

your responsible (i.e. not the left equivalent of shawn hannity)

sources for the other assertions of views of "the left"

Chip said...

"January 18, 2004"

Were you born stupid?

If not, file a comp claim.

lalarry said...

from www.mediamatters.org

I would be happy to look at a similarly well documented website you really on.

There are hundreds of similar entries on the site and several new ones posted everyday

Hume failed to challenge Graham on false claim about Alito's abortion position -- same claim Hume made earlier

Summary: Promoting a falsehood he had previously told, Brit Hume failed to challenge Sen. Lindsey Graham when he asserted that Alito's comments in his 1985 memo -- that he didn't believe in a constitutional right to abortion -- were the views of the Reagan administration, not his personal views.

In an interview on the January 8 edition of Fox News Sunday, Fox News Washington managing editor Brit Hume failed to challenge Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-SC) false suggestion that when Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote in a 1985 job application that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion," he was simply representing the views of the Reagan administration. Graham stated: "[A]s an advocate and a lawyer for the Reagan administration, he [Alito] gave them advice consistent with the policies of the Reagan administration." Graham's mischaracterization of Alito's self-expressed views on a constitutional right to abortion recalls a false statement that Hume himself made shortly after Alito's November 1985 application to be an assistant attorney general was made public.

In fact, Alito explicitly stated in the application that this legal position reflected his own "strongly" held "personal[]" view that there is no constitutional right to abortion:

Most recently, it has been an honor and source of personal satisfaction for me to serve in the office of the Solicitor General during President Reagan's administration and to help to advance legal positions in which I personally believe very strongly. I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government has argued in the Supreme Court that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect the right to an abortion.

Notwithstanding Alito's clear statement that there was no difference between the legal arguments he had made and his personal views on those issues, on the November 14, 2005, edition of Fox News' Special Report, Hume stated that "these were not personal views he [Alito] was discussing," but rather "the legal arguments that he made as a lawyer in the Reagan Justice Department,"

an open mind is a dangerous thing

I try to keep mine that way

D. Vision said...

The lefty shoutdown has begun...lalarry takes the lead with a two-year old economic analysis. Thanks, dufus.

lalarry said...

d. vision

go to the bls, check the data
this is the latest release from the govt


and the left distorts
learn some research techniques before you shoot off

talk about a pointless dialogue

facts facts facts pls

lalarry said...

sorry the stats from me. after the btw are from nov 2005
my error in the post

check them at the bls

lalarry said...

Former Bush Adviser
Criticizes Drug Plan

November 30, 2005; Page A4

R. Glenn Hubbard, former chairman of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, says the Bush-backed expansion of Medicare to include prescription drugs was "unwise."

"The Medicare expansion without substantial reform of the system was unwise fiscal policy," Mr. Hubbard, now dean of Columbia University's business school, said in an online exchange sponsored by The Wall Street Journal.

lalarry said...

jwm want more:

Average weekly earnings rose by 3.2 percent, seasonally adjusted, from
November 2004 to November 2005. After deflation by the CPI-W, average weekly
earnings decreased by 0.4 percent. Before adjustment for seasonal change and
inflation, average weekly earnings were $551.00 in November 2005, compared with
$532.22 a year earlier.


oh, this is from dufus using the govt's official data

unless that is msm that can't be trusted also

i guess it is mainsteam

lalarry said...

"Did Saddam have intimate and extensive ties to the international terror world? No doubt"

please post a contrary source to the below you feel is reliable (btw i have many more, including the 9/11 commission)


christian science monitor
posted November 7, 2005 at 11:00 a.m.

Prewar report cast doubt on Iraq-Al Qaeda connection


By Tom Regan | csmonitor.com

A newly declassified document from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) shows that, as early as February 2002, there were doubts about an informer who claimed that there was a strong link between Al Qaeda and Iraq. The Associated Press reports that the [Bush] administration was alerted that an "Al Qaeda member in US custody probably was lying about links between the terrorist organization and Iraq."
The document from February 2002 showed that the agency questioned the reliability of Al Qaeda senior military trainer Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi. He could not name any Iraqis involved in the effort or identify any chemical or biological materials or cite where the training took place, the report said. The agency concluded that al-Libi probably misled the interrogators deliberately, and he recanted the statements in January, according to the document made public by Senator Carl Levin, top Democrat [of Michigan] on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Senator Levin posted excerpts of the report on his website, including a section from the report that read, "Saddam's regime is intensely secular and is wary of Islamic revolutionary movements. Moreover, Baghdad is unlikely to provide assistance to a group it cannot control." Reuters reports, however, that President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and other administration officials all mentioned Mr. Libi's input as "credible" evidence that Iraq was training Al Qaeda members. They did not mention him by name at the time. Libi recanted his testimony in January of 2004.
CNN reports that Levin charged that the new evidence showed that the administration continued to accuse Iraq of giving biological and chemical weapons training to Al Qaeda members long after the source of that information had been discredited

who, me? said...

As a blogger myself, it seems to me Lala is obligated to put this massive supply of carefully-sympathetically sourced and spun assigned reading on his own blog, linking here to his post if he is so inclined. The "I don't know but I've been told..." approach is both unconvincing, and, at such length, rude, as well as evincing a tremendously authoritarian personality. Also, excessive and inordinate comments can trigger the tragedy of the commons, driving other consumers and producers to greener fields and pastures new. It's not momma's unconditionally-welcoming breast, for all the cyberspaciousness we enjoy.

Earn your readership, buddy.

jwm said...

I guess I ought to feel honored. lalarry is taunting me, and I haven't even posted yet.

I said before, larry. You have a thing for economics. I believe it's your area of expertise. If I recall correctly, you said you have something to do with investing money. (If that is the case, maybe you could share some knowledge with us that we can really use.)
So GB posts something on the MSM propaganda machine, and what do you know? lalarry is trying to pick a fight over economic policy.
If you want, I could challenge you on something so could have the pleasure of showing everyone you're better informed than I on matters economic.

Oh and it looks like you got some stuff on the WMD, too. There, I just give up. So tell me. Do you really believe that Bush deliberately mislead everyone on the WMD issue so he could pursue an illegal war against a country that otherwise meant us no harm?

I won't challenge your assertion.
Just like in my conversation yesterday with sam b: I'll assume you've got a whole pile of sources to back you up. I just want to hear you say outright what you believe. But anyway, I don't feel like sparring about politics all day, and I really have other stuff to do. Maybe I'll check back later on tonight. Hope your day goes well.(no sarc intended)


lalarry said...

"Joe Lieberman would be an example of an ethical Democrat, for example, willing to independently assess the truth of the Iraq war as he sees it."

Time Magazine Baghdad bureau chief Michael Ware on CNN

"I and some other journalists had lunch with Senator Joe Lieberman the other day and we listened to him talking about Iraq. Either Senator Lieberman is so divorced from reality that he's completely lost the plot or he knows he's spinning a line. Because one of my colleagues turned to me in the middle of this lunch and said he's not talking about any country I've ever been to and yet he was talking about Iraq, the very country where we were sitting."

i know this stuff is "unconvincing" so how'bout this
one quote from a Dem member of Congress or Governor showing that
"Democrats say this is a racist country"

citations refuting anything else I posted would be of interest too btw

then I'll concede you guys are accurrate and I don't have to worry that I might have to

"constantly wade through the most outrageous, wholesale lies and distortions"

on my visits here

Anonymous said...


look at etfs in gold (gld) and energy (iye) you already missed the move in aapl, don't look at gm or siri

the above is not to be construed in any way as investment advice

btw that's because we have such a big trade deficit and no energy policy

you don't have to thank me

you know who

check the blog