Abramoff’s Favorite Think Tank Schools Tea Partiers on Health Care

Flickr/<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewaliferis/3917886390/">andrewaliferis</a> (<a href="http://www.creativecommons.org">Creative Commons</a>).

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


On Tuesday, tea partiers and other activists who came to Capitol Hill to protest the health care bill were armed with the usual array of signs demanding that Congress “Kill the Bill,” comparing Obamacare to socialism and the usual rhetoric. But many of them were also toting a slick, hefty tome called, “Shattered Lives: 100 Victims of Government Health Care” that was being distributed at the rallies by the National Center for Public Policy Research. The report features an introduction by talk show host Mark Levin, the author of Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto, and is essentially a compilation of media health care horror stories–everywhere but in the U.S., which, of course, could provide tomes worth of material about the failures of the private health care system.

The “Shattered Lives” stories come from Great Britain, Japan, Russia and South Africa, and read together, they do offer up some pretty horrible details about national health care. There’s the British six-year-old whose brain tumor went undiagnosed for years because the National Health Service insisted in giving him painkillers for his headaches but not a brain scan. There’s one about the guy who ended up pulling his own tooth with a rusty pair of plyers because he couldn’t find a dentist.

It’s a gripping read, and the production values suggest that someone put up a big chunk of money to produce and distribute it to tea party activists far and wide. (Rally participants on Tuesday got free bound copies that cost $14.95 on Amazon.) There’s reason to be suspicious. After all, NCPPR isn’t just any public policy group. You might recall that not only has it done stealth research for tobacco companies, but it was also one of the nonprofit groups accused of helping the disgraced uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff pimp his clients in exchange for big donations. The report doesn’t say who paid for the work, but it has all the hallmarks of the usual corporate suspects. 

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest