Category Archives: Swift Boat Veterans For Truth

Don’t Google Rick Scott

Aw heck, go ahead and give it a try.

In the battle over healthcare, Rick Scott is doing the rounds in his position as chairman of Conservatives for Patients Rights. He’s spreading scary “Obama will socialize healthcare” lies, pushed by the same flacks who gave us the Swift Boat Veterans Against John Kerry.

This statement is especially ironic. I’ll tell you why in a sec:

“After the embarrassment of the AIG bonus scandal, these same people are now talking about ramming a $634 billion health care plan through Congress, and we still don’t have any details,” Scott said in a statement.

I dunno, seems to me associating yourself with a firm tainted by the Swift Boat smearmongers is like showing up at a company picnic with a basketful of turd sandwiches. There’s that whiff of illegitimacy that attaches to your message, which I’d think conservatives would have figured out by now. Guess not.

Anyway, the PR firm Scott hired is the least of his worries. Scott himself comes with a strong stench of merde attached to his name, by virtue of his tenure at the tainted Columbia/HCA. And yes, the news media has noticed:

Once lauded for building Columbia/HCA into the largest health care company in the world, Mr. Scott was ousted by his own board of directors in 1997 amid the nation’s biggest health care fraud scandal. The company’s guilty plea and payment of $1.7 billion to settle charges including the overbilling of state and federal health programs was taken as a repudiation of Mr. Scott’s relentless bottom-line approach.

For those who don’t remember, Columbia/HCA defrauded Medicare and other government programs in a huge scandal that forced the hospital chain to rename itself TriStar, a la AIG and Enron. After an investigation that lasted over 7 years, Columbia/HCA entered a guilty plea and paid the largest fraud settlement in U.S. history:

The company admitted to systematically overcharging the government by claiming marketing costs as reimbursable, by striking illegal deals with home care agencies, and by filing false data about how hospital space was being used.

The company increased Medicare billings by exaggerating the seriousness of the illnesses they were treating. It also granted doctors partnerships in company hospitals as a kickback for the doctors referring patients to HCA. In addition, it gave doctors “loans” that were never expected to be paid back, free rent, free office furniture, and free drugs from hospital pharmacies.

The investigation and the plea is an obvious blow to a company that became a Wall Street darling by promising to bring first-class business practices to the hospital sector, still dominated by not-for-profits. Under former Chief Executive Richard Scott, it bought hospitals by the bucketful and promised to squeeze blood from each one.

Healthcare for profit! Double-bill the government! Kickbacks! Excuse me, Mr. Scott, if your pearl-clutching over “the AIG bonus scandal” rings a little hollow. Especially when you left Columbia/HCA with your own golden parachute:

Scott received a lump sum payment of $5.1 million when he resigned July 25 under pressure from Columbia’s board as a federal fraud investigation began engulfing the nation’s largest hospital company, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Over the next five years he’ll collect another $4.8 million through annual consulting fees of $950,000. Scott, who co-founded the $20 billion company a decade ago with two Texas hospitals, was making a base salary of $900,000 a year.

Oh, sweet!

You’ve really gotta wonder how strong the message is when Rick Scott is the best messenger the anti-healthcare overhaul folks could find. Indeed, corporate crooks like Scott notwithstanding, it appears other healthcare stakeholders are ready to back reform.

Looks like this is yet another issue in which conservatives are on the wrong side. And finding a corporate weasel like Rick Scott to be your messenger doesn’t sound like a winning strategy.

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Filed under Conservatives For Patients Rights, healthcare, Swift Boat Veterans For Truth

Swift Boat Smearmonger Won’t Pay Up

Of course he won’t! That election is over! The lies served their purpose, and now it’s time to move on, folks! I mean my God, we all knew it wasn’t true! That’s the point of these smear campaigns–they don’t have to be true!

Via ABC News.com:

A Vegas gambling expert counts himself among those questioning Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens’ refusal to pay $1 million to Swift boat veterans who claim they won Pickens’ challenge to disprove political claims he made in 2004.

[…]

Pickens’ wager originated when he offered $1 million to anyone who could find falsities in the claims made by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group he had financially supported during the 2004 presidential election. He issued the challenge during a November 2007 dinner for the American Spectator magazine.

But whether Pickens had offered the monetary reward for falsities found in the campaign as a whole or just in the televised ads came into question when Kerry himself answered the call, offering to meet Pickens and provide him with information that Kerry said would debunk the allegations.

Pickens refused to meet with the Massachusetts senator because, as his spokesperson Jay Rosser told ABCNews.com, “none of the material Kerry or the crewmen provided was germane to the ads.”

Wow, is this like how the White House refused to open the EPA’s e-mail so it could claim no knowledge that greenhouse gases are pollutants? Is “la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you” the best the conservative movement can offer? How … how … sad. But back to our story:

But when Pickens was sent a letter and photocopies of evidence supporting Kerry’s military record by veterans last week, it was yet again not enough to seal the deal.

“[Pickens] sent us a brief letter back saying the same thing [that he said to Kerry],” Del Sanudsky, a Swift boat veteran who served alongside Kerry in Vietnam, told ABCNews.com. 

In the June 25 letter sent from Pickens to Sanudsky, Pickens thanks the veterans for their research but still denies any obligation to pay them the $1 million.

[…]

“We have 11 different falsehoods that the [Swift Boat Veterans for Truth] came out with in 2004. We have documents, videos, editorials and depositions not just by my boat crew but other eyewitnesses who were involved in the operations.”

Sanudsky added that while his group has come up with “everything Pickens asked Kerry for in November,” it has all been for nothing.

Quit yer complainin’! That was last election, I tell you! There’s a new Swift Boat smear coming out targeting Barack Obama, this one has something to do with bizarre kerning on a Hawaiian birth certificate or some such. Which is strange, since John McCain is the guy who wasn’t born in the United States.

Of course there’s no more substance to this bizarre smear than there was to the Kerry attacks. But that won’t stop partisan moneybags like Nashville’s own Lee Beaman from ponying up for this sleazeball campaign, too. Just like they did the Swift Boat smearmongers. Hey, ends justify the means! It doesn’t matter which gutter they have to swim in, as long as we can keep Republicans in power.

As good a reason to boycott Beaman Automotive as any, in my book. I know I bought my Toyota hybrid elsewhere. Suck on it, Lee Beaman.

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Filed under Lee Beaman, Swift Boat Veterans For Truth, T. Boone Pickens

>Swift Boating the CA Vote

>Via Digby, it seems the California ballot initiative that would change how that state awards its 55 electoral votes has ties to Texas Swift Boat smear moneybags Bob Perry.

Imagine that. The departure of Karl Rove et. al. has not seen the demise of the “Texas mafia,” after all. Instead, as many folks warned, they’ve moved their operations underground.

For those who don’t know, California currently awards its electoral votes in presidential elections the same way virtually every other state in the country does: to the statewide winner. Under a new proposal that would help Republican presidential candidates, the statewide winner would get two votes and the rest would be distributed based on congressional district.

Supporters claim this will usher in a “new era of fairness.” Huzzah. Except, with Perry’s financial backing, it now seems to carry the stench of GOP partisanship:

LOS ANGELES – Lawyers behind a California ballot proposal that could benefit the 2008 Republican presidential nominee have ties to a Texas homebuilder who financed attacks on Democrat John Kerry’s Vietnam War record in the 2004 presidential campaign.

Charles H. Bell and Thomas Hiltachk’s law firm banked nearly $65,000 in fees from a California-based political committee funded almost solely by Bob J. Perry that targeted Democrats in 2006. Perry, a major Republican donor, contributed nearly $4.5 million to the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that made unsubstantiated but damaging attacks on Kerry three years ago.

The Perry-financed committee in California, the Economic Freedom Fund, continued to spend money this year, mostly on legal expenses tied to an ongoing legal dispute in Indiana over phone calls made to voters in 2006. It lists the Sacramento law office’s address as its home and its Web site directs contributions to the firm, Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk. In addition, Bell serves as the committee’s treasurer.

Isn’t that cute. Another phony “grassroots” organization with the name “freedom” in it. The Republicans are good at creating these fake organizations; another one I like is Move America Forward, the GOP front group founded by Howard Kaloogian and Melanie Morgan to attack Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11.” They still con the gullible media into covering their pro-war “truth tours.”

Anyway, it will be interesting to watch this California electoral debate, particularly because of the money issue.

Then again, with the housing bubble bursting, maybe Bob Perry should be focusing more on his own business, and leave politics alone for a while.

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Filed under Bob Perry, CA GOP, electoral college, Swift Boat Veterans For Truth