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The Great Astroturf War of 2009


The traditional August recess during non-election years is usually like going cold turkey for political junkies (and bloggers are political junkies.)  These dog days of summer drag by at an excruciatingly slooooow pace, with Congress and the President out of Washington and nothing happening to talk about.

Not this year.

This summer may even turn out to be more fun than last year’s, since Palinpalooza didn’t start until September and that was when the real fun started.  This year it looks like we’re gonna see mob vs. mob action at townhall events across the nation.

If you cruise the Kool-aid blogs you’ll see that all the trouble is being caused by tea-bagging birthers who are being led by Rush Limburger and Glenn Beck.  If you visit the winger blogs you’ll learn that Comrade Obama has deployed union goons to prevent good, patriotic Americans from exercising their constitutional rights.

Grab some popcorn and let’s take a closer look at a few showdowns:

From a Russ Carnahan (D-MO) townhall in South St. Louis:

Notice the little rabble rouser front and center

Notice the little rabble rouser front and center

Where did they hide the buses?

Where did they hide the buses?

Apparently the people who were standing outside in line got upset when they discovered that SEIU members were being admitted through a side door.  Depending on who you believe the SEIU people were there to set up or they had reserved seats down front.  As many as 1000 people were stranded outside and they were not happy about it.

From the St Louis Post-Dispatch:

St. Louis County police say six people were arrested. Two of those were arrested on suspicion of assault, one of resisting arrest and three on suspicion of committing peace disturbances. Carnahan was gone when the ruckus started.

Kenneth Gladney, a 38-year-old conservative activist from St. Louis, said he was attacked by some of those arrested as he handed out yellow flags with “Don’t tread on me” printed on them. He spoke to the Post-Dispatch from the emergency room of the St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, where he said he was waiting to be treated for injuries to his knee, back, elbow, shoulder and face that he suffered in the attack. Gladney, who is black, said one of his attackers, also a black man, used a racial slur against him before the attack started.

“It just seems there’s no freedom of speech without being attacked,” he said.


The St. Petersburg Times reports on a townhall for Kathy Castor (D-FL)

A sold-out show

A sold-out show

Bitter divisions over reforming America’s health care system exploded Thursday night in Tampa amid cat calls, jeering and shoving at a town hall meeting.

“Tyranny! Tyranny! Tyranny!” dozens of people shouted as U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, struggled to talk about health insurance reforms under consideration in Washington, D.C.

“There is more consensus than there is disagreement when you get right down to it,” Castor offered, immediately drowned out by groans and boos.

She pressed on, mostly unheard among screams from the audience estimated by Tampa police to be about 1,500.

“Tell the truth! Tell the truth!” “Read the bill!” “Forty-million illegals! Forty million illegals!”

The spectacle at the Children’s Board in Ybor City sounded more like a wrestling cage match than a panel discussion on national policy, and it was just the latest example of a health care meeting disrupted by livid protesters. Similar scenes are likely to be repeated across the country as lawmakers head to their home districts for the summer recess.

Thursday’s forum/near riot was sponsored by state Rep. Betty Reed, D-Tampa, and the Service Employees International Union, who apparently had hoped to hold something of a pep rally for President Barack Obama’s health care reform proposal.

Instead, hundreds of vocal critics turned out, many of them saying they had been spurred on through the Tampa 912 activist group promoted by conservative radio and television personality Glenn Beck. Others had received e-mails from the Hillsborough Republican Party that urged people to speak out against the plan and offered talking points.

An overflow crowd of critics was left waiting outside the building — and in some cases pounding on the meeting room doors — while health care reform activists complained that Democrats and union members were guided into the room for prime seats. Tampa police officers maintained control the entire night.

I have yet to find a clip of anyone yelling “Forty-million illegals!”  Tampa Bay Online gives a different take on the event here.


Here is a slide show from the event.  The woman applying her hand to the man’s face (9 thru16) has been identified as Karen Miracle, a local Democratic official.  There is a photo gallery here.

Here is a clip from an AARP meeting in Dallas:

I didn’t see any swastikas or Brooks Brothers suits.

This clip is just filled with senseless violence (NSFW)

Feel free to add more clips and links in the comments (you will anyway)

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241 Responses

  1. I’m trying to avoid links to blogs on either side that don’t have anything first hand to add and are just recycling information and adding their own spin.

    But if you see something noteworthy let me know.

  2. The Plum Line:

    Dem Senator: Anger At My Town Hall Was Not Astroturf

  3. It’s actually kind of interesting to sit back behind the glass and watch the animals fling poo.

    I want his health care to fail but for entirely different reasons then the GOP folk who believe the government is the evil. I want it to fail because in the bill’s form the government doesn’t do nearly enough.

    I do find it funny that the media seems to insist that it is only unruly GOP folk protesting the health bill. Baucus’ little health care hearing made it pretty clear there are forces on the left just as willing to be unruly and vocalto be heard. Who can blame them either? Representatives get paid a triple digit income to represent people, not ignore them. They closed off dialogue and basically told 72% of the constituency to go fly a kite by insisting single payer or a public option anyone could buy into is “off the table.” While screaming and hollering is rude, so is ignoring someone. Civility needs to be a two way street and I said as much on Krugman’s editorial page when he wrote about the lack of civility.

    • If I supported Obamacare I would be pissed about the way they are mishandling it.

      They haven’t put out a concise, coherent message to the public. Of course that’s because Obamacare is neither concise nor coherent.

      • It’s class warfare. Pitting the upper middle working class against the needs of those on the lowest rung. I sympathize with every person who doesn’t have affordable healthcare. I’m not willing to sell out those making $77,000 a year to the insurance companies though to give them coverage. All in or bust. It’s the only way we ever get the insurance companies to play fair.

      • Exactly. That’s what’s created the climate for this kind of anger and confusion. His generalized, rhetorical “vision” of things is biting him in the a*s. Hubris is always the great undoing, and instead of being clear, methodical and precise (as someone else we know would have been…), he tried to jam through a mess of compromise and double-dealing. Since he doesn’t really have a mastery of the topic, it has not been clearly articulated for the public and now we have this.

      • I’m no fan of Obama’s proposal, but I’m now thinking you’re wrong.

        Look: If the thing goes down in flames after these demonstrations, the consensus won’t be: “Well, what these people really want is single payer.” No, the consensus will be: “Obama and Baucus went too far in the direction of socialism. We have to be more incremental.”

        Yeah, I know: That opinion will be crazy. Just crazy. Nevertheless, that will be the prevailing view.

        Then what? You really think that, in the aftermath, the chances for single payer will be improved?

        Sure, Obama will have pie in the face, and that spectacle will offer a few chortles to folks like you and me. But what about those who can’t get insurance due to pre-existing conditions?

        Think like a chess player. Three, four, five moves ahead.

        • It’s too late. Obama and his minions ridiculed the protestors…..many of whom were actually Democrats……and then called out the SEIU and AFL/CIO thugs, who manned the doors, letting in only their own people.

          It’s Obama who should have thought like a chess player.

          2010 will be a bloodbath because of his poor judgement.

        • I see your point, but I don’t think it will happen that way. This garbage they are peddling is only going to create problems, and then there will be plenty of justification for: SEE! IT DOESN’T WORK!

        • Yeah, think like a chess player, four moves ahead. Ten YEARS down the line when the American people are even more dependent on private insurers to finance health care? Not an option. The health insurers have already won. The drug companies have already won. The people have already lost. This bill isn’t worth the paper it isn’t yet written on.

          • We won’t have lost until they pass it. The progressive liberal groups need to continue to apply pressure via ads and speaking out. The representation needs to recognize that if it passesthis travesty there will be no free pass or default vote for them come November.

        • I still believe the way to achieve this is to allow them to call it a public option but insist that it be open to everyone. Create the copays based on tax brackets so no one has to pay more than a specific percent of their income for said public option. It forces the insurance companies to compete, adapt or die.

        • Why didn’t he take time out to read the bill, send it back and address all the issues? This also went sour after the Gates fiasco, when they saw people react and knew they had an opening.

          I will agree with you on that they will succeed in labeling him a socialist and we might even loose some congressional seats, while people are trying to figure out what he was trying to pass. At any rate, his REFORM won’t take affect until 2019 when he will be well out of office and not available for questions. H.R. 3200 – America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009
          Full Committee Markup
          3:00 PM, July 15, 2009
          2175 Rayburn H.O.B
          Washington, DC
          The America’s Affordable Health Choices Act (H.R. 3200), developed jointly by the Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor Committees, is designed to achieve President Obama’s goals of strengthening employer-provided care, while fixing what is broken. The bill would ensure that 97 percent of Americans will be covered by a health care plan that is both affordable and offers quality, standard benefits by 2019. http://edlabor.house.gov/markups/2009/07/hr-3200-americas-affordable-he.shtml

        • Joe, not sure I agree with you…
          Passing a huge spending bill that is poorly written, and doesn’t define the details on what the Health Care will cover/not cover and is over-the-top expensive…in hopes that some day, someone with a good plan will straighten it out, just doesn’t sound like a plan worth supporting. This isn’t a chess game of any type, multiple wrong moves don’t end with a win.

          Just because Obama will get a pie in the face doesn’t mean that a good Health Care plan will not get passed in the future. A bad policy should be cut down before it is passed.

          The real question is:
          Is a terrible plan better than no plan at all, this go-around?

          I you say, yes…………….then congress, and the WhiteHouse could pass a boat load of bad policies and that would be good enough.

          Just sayin…

      • I would disagree. They have pretty concisely and clearly said F U to the public which broadly appears to support some sort of option that would cover everyone, whether it be public or single payer.

        From Baucus to Pelosi they have basically thumbed their noses at the public who is clamoring for REAL reform. Instead insisting on some milquetoast half measure that still isn’t going to please the GOP they are attempting to assuage.

        • Read the article in Business Week titled “The Health Insurers Have Already Won.”


          • That article made my blood boil and I wept. We are going to be worse off; especially with the dismantling of Medicare. What a travestry.

        • Dou think Obama/Dems are trying to insert TOO MUCH into the health care bill(s)?
          Couldn’t some of these issues evolved later?
          For instance – “the government wants to kill my grandma!” – as I understand it – is simply an OPTION to discuss a Living Will (and/or end of life preferences) with a doctor.
          imo – every adult should have a Living Will, not just “old people.”
          Terry Shiavo didn’t have one…

          The public is wary of health care reform because it seems no one has SHOWN them their costs won’t increase, treatment won’t suffer, and there will be PLENTY of doctors to handle the extra 47 million.

    • Those Revolutionaries were really rude to the English too.

    • Hi cwaltz!

      This government IS evil!

      I’m heading to a townhall event tomorrow with friends and neighbors.

      Everyone has very legitimate questions and concerns.

      We do not have a bus.

      Will report back if the union thugs don’t beat me senseless.

      • Be careful cat.

        I wonder if the union folks are getting quid pro quo. I wonder if these are the “special” groups that have been told that they won’t have their health care taxed and so they are now beholden to show support for a half measure? Things that make me go hmmmmmmm.

        Disclosure: Hubby is a trustee in a union. Although I would be remiss in ever suggesting he’d be a thug.

        • Don’t union members already have good health care insurance?

          (as good as it gets anyway)

          • We have great insurance. I’m probably slitting our throat by agitating for reform. We pay less that $200 a month for coverage for the six of us. We have co pay coverage. I pay $20 to see a doctor, $25 to go to an ER and $30 to see a specialist. We don’t need to have permission to see said specialist. All our labwork costs zip as long as an MD approves it.

            The only caveat is a million dollar lifetime cap. I’d imagine that over the span of thirty years that someone could reach that cap fairly easily if they had major medical problems.

            That being said, I fight for health coverage for my kids. My daughter had a mole removed. What happens to her when she turns 18? Is she allowed to join the ranks of the uninsured simply because the insurance companies are worried about paying for a melanoma. Should my son be required to turn over half of his entry level salary to get care for sinus infections that come with having a deviated septum? I don’t think so. I want health care reform that guarantees my children and my grandchildren have excellent care, regardless of whether they are fortunate enough to enjoy the fruits of collective bargaining.

        • I’m a retired SEIU union board member. They represent nurses, too. I suppose there could be nurse thugs, but it’s tough to visualize.

          • The membership of the SEIU supports single payer. Andy Stern doesn’t. Union leadership doesn’t want to lose one of the last chips they have to offer employees.

          • As we saw during the primaries in Nevada, a lot of rank and file SEIU members who really are good folks are none too happy with the thug tactics of their leadership, which are also applied to THEM at times. A select few bully their own damn members as well.

          • Mass, Andy Stern is a limousine liberal with some libertarian leanings. Many of us grumbled when he dissasociated us with the AFofL-CIO..

          • Hey, according to Republicans the teacher’s union is full of thugs. Why not nurses too?

          • Here’s one:

      • Woo!! Definitely come back with a full report.

  4. Mahablog:

    They’ve become political terrorists. Yeah, pretty much.

    Apparently at a meeting in St. Louis, the wingnut mob was met by equal numbers of pro-reform counter-protesters, and at least one counter-protester (and a Post-Dispatch reporter) were arrested. It’s very possible the St. Louis police held counter-protesters to a different standard.

    Even so, I say again that if anyone is going to go to the town hall meetings to counter the mob, non-violence is essential. Otherwise you’re just taking the bait.

    That said, I found a list of upcoming town hall meetings on an astroturf site that the mob is using to pick its targets. Do what you think you need to do.

    Terrorists? isn’t that a wee bit over the top?

    • terrorists and racists too no doubt…

      • Even Paul Krugman is playing the “racist” meme today.

        It’s really pathetic.

        • I couldn’t believe it when I saw his editorial today?!! What the hell did they give him at the White House that day? I didn’t think I could be disappointed at this stage, but I am REALLY disappointed in this. The Shrill One has jumped the shark:

          The Town Hall Mob
          By PAUL KRUGMAN

          That is, the driving force behind the town hall mobs is probably the same cultural and racial anxiety that’s behind the “birther” movement, which denies Mr. Obama’s citizenship. Senator Dick Durbin has suggested that the birthers and the health care protesters are one and the same; we don’t know how many of the protesters are birthers, but it wouldn’t be surprising if it’s a substantial fraction.

          Does this sound familiar? It should: it’s a strategy that has played a central role in American politics ever since Richard Nixon realized that he could advance Republican fortunes by appealing to the racial fears of working-class whites.

          Many people hoped that last year’s election would mark the end of the “angry white voter” era in America. Indeed, voters who can be swayed by appeals to cultural and racial fear are a declining share of the electorate.


          • YEP. Myiq predicted this, when he noticed the “birther” people were becoming the topic, and later were conflated with “racists.”

            It appears Dr. Krugman got the talking points.

            This is hugely disappointing, that he would do so.

          • I suggest that everyone here send Krugman a comment. The comments I’ve read so far have made really strong arguments against Krugman’s opinion this week. I’ve been disappointed in him the last several months. I guess being the anti-Obama columnist at NYT took a toll on him. maybe it affected his funding or he received threats from his superiors at Princeton or NYT?? To see him call people racist for not supporting the disastrous Obamacare then not support the Left in pressuring Obama for single payer is a new low for Krugman. People are scared and records of them are losing their jobs and homes.

        • Give him an earful Mary. I just did. I will not sit quietly and allow the narrative to b e that only the GOP thinks this reform is unacceptable. Scrap it and head back to the table and tell the plurality what it is looking at to have the option they wish come to fruition(Hint I’d gladly pay a trillion for REAL reform)

          • I was his first commenter this morning.

            Too disgusted to go back. May never go back.

          • This is sick. There is NO evidence that all these people are racists in any way. Zero, zip, nada. The guy who got attacked in St. Louis was a conservative black guy, who had racial epithets hurled at HIM by the Obama supporters!

            This type of demonizing is NO different than seeing a group of black protesters and assuming with no evident whatsoever that they are “probably all criminals and druggies.”

          • wmcb,

            The Black conservative said the SEIU guys called HIM racists names.

            And witnesses who were there said when asked where they were from, the SEIU guys admitted they were from Chicago.

            They weren’t even constituents. They were BUSSED in.

          • Same crap as from the caucuses, Mary. Chicago politics come to town.

    • One group is a mob and the other is full of counter protesters…….isn’t that narrative cute?

      Screw the media and the horrid health care reform they are attempting to package and sell at the cost of the truth.

      Once again the media has an agenda so they aren’t telling the whole story. Just like Iraq.

      I’m saving my antipathy for the media, not the feckless GOP folk who I happen to disagree with on a fundamental level.

      • One man’s “mobster” is another man’s “community organizer.”

        Astroturfing for me, but not for thee!

    • Remember that movie – “V for Vendetta”. How the people were being riled up, and the Government were then cracking the whip harder, until it culminated in the child being shot by the Government, causing the people to riot.

      Does it occur to any of them that this mess, with the economy in the tank, wall street being bailed out, the middle and lower classes being squeezed ever so tightly, and the media tooling for the Government further enraging ordinary citizens – that this could erupt very badly?

      • I hate to see it but I’m just waiting on it to happen. It looks pretty bad now.

  5. How about a nice steaming cup of STFU?:

    White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel warned liberal groups this week to stop running ads against Democratic members of Congress.

    The powerful top aide to President Obama made his feelings known at the weekly closed-door strategy session of an array of progressive organizations, according to two sources who were there.

    • Jaysus. Roaming groups of SEIU thugs, proudly wearing their T-shirts, attacking a conservative Black guy out on the street.

      Obama’s peeps.

      Smooth move, Ex-lax.

      • Well, it’s all coming out now isn’t it? The same tactics that were used at caucus sites around the country, but were ignored by the media, are now playing out in plain view.

        • As dakinikat says, “Ayup.”

          Televised, for all the Independents who didn’t know before, to finally see & understand.

        • Plain view?

          No Fif….It was always in “Plain View.” the media ignored this “thuggery” during the caucuses. I was in Iowa and I was in San Antonio and I saw with my own eyes what happened there. The media was there also. They just chose to keep it on the QT.

          What these Thigs didn’t count on…and was ignored during the caucuses… were people with cell phone cameras. This time there will be a record of the violence and the media can’t do squat t stop it!

    • Did you hear it? “You guys attacked that guy!” SEIU thug replies: “He attacked America!”

      Fuck this. This needs to go viral. This is fucking brownshirt stuff.

      • The SEIU guys admitted they weren’t even constituents.

        They were from CHICAGO.

        Bussed-in thugs.

    • That is messed up. Paul Krugman should see this.

    • Welcome to “Old style Chicago politics!”

      This is nothing new to those of us that live in Chi-Town and I’m sure it is nothing new to many of you. Ii’ve seen this type of “Thuggery” many many times.

      Brace yourselves….It’s going to get alot worse!

      I fear that sooner or later someone is going to get hurt VERY badly. When you deploy “punks and thugs,” on both sides, the outcome is usually……….. Violent!

      So much for “Hope and Change!”

  6. Can’t stand Peggy Noonan, but this piece is actually quite reasonable and clear. The tone deaf Dems are pouring fuel on this fire:

    ‘You Are Terrifying Us’
    Voters send a message to Washington, and get an ugly response.

    All of this is unnecessarily and unhelpfully divisive and provocative. They are mocking and menacing concerned citizens. This only makes a hot situation hotter. Is this what the president wants? It couldn’t be. But then in an odd way he sometimes seems not to have fully absorbed the awesome stature of his office. You really, if you’re president, can’t call an individual American stupid, if for no other reason than that you’re too big. You cannot allow your allies to call people protesting a health-care plan “extremists” and “right wing,” or bought, or Nazi-like, either. They’re citizens. They’re concerned. They deserve respect.

    The Democrats should not be attacking, they should be attempting to persuade, to argue for their case. After all, they have the big mic. Which is what the presidency is, the big mic.

    Absent that, and let’s assume that won’t happen, the health-care protesters have to make sure they don’t get too hot, or get out of hand. They haven’t so far, they’ve been burly and full of debate, with plenty of booing. This is democracy’s great barbaric yawp. But every day the meetings seem just a little angrier, and people who are afraid—who have been made afraid, and left to be afraid—can get swept up. As this column is written, there comes word that John Sweeney of the AFL-CIO has announced he’ll be sending in union members to the meetings to counter health care’s critics.

    Somehow that doesn’t sound like a peace initiative.


    • It’s kind of cute because Noonan had absolutely no problem with Bush calling broad swaths of citizens all sorts of names.

      Isn’t it swell that all of a sudden protesting is patriotic and the President has a responsibility not to be a bully?

      • Oh, but she’s been a big O booster, so this is different for her. I agree with her point: their reaction is only adding power to the backlash.

        • Agree. She actually gives good advice to the Dems demonizing people, and to Obama.

          Not that they’ll listen, of course.

  7. Pelosi’s visit a lightning rod

    Inside the clinic, Pelosi said she welcomed the time during Congress’ August recess for representatives to talk with their constituents about the issue.

    “The plan for August,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said, “is to have a discussion, to listen carefully to what people are saying.”


  8. White House to Democrats: ‘Punch back twice as hard’

    The hourlong session was the last opportunity for Democratic leaders and the White House to prepare senators for what will be a crucial month in shaping public opinion on health care. With no final legislation to promote, senators have expressed concern about dealing with questions and criticisms about the almost $1 trillion overhaul. The spate of confrontational town hall meetings have raised the stakes.

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0809/25891.html#ixzz0NVEbpAVF

  9. We were told that Obama swept into office because of his brilliant political strategists who outsmarted the opposition. Where are they now? Where were they when Obama foolishly singled out one citizen and called his actions “stupid”? Now they are calling citizens who oppose Obamacare everything from political operatives to Nazis. Where is the brilliance in that?

    It once again highlights the fact that it was not brilliant political strategy that won him the presidency, as all PUMAs know, it was stealing votes with the help of the DNC and the RBC. That helped him win, but it can’t help him govern.

    • Of course it can’t. He’s completely control of it, now.

      • Sorry. SHoulda read completely LOST control of it now.

        This doesn’t bode well for us in 2010.

    • He also had the help of a completely biased and distorting media who covered everything for him, attacked his critics, and promoted him 24/7.

  10. Who’s the mob? Granny, Mom, your child?


    Damn, those people are just so scary 🙂

  11. Tea bags vs KoolAid! How refreshing.

    • actually the wingers are calling it teabags vs dirtbags..which i must admit i find rather amusing 🙂

  12. Honestly, I ‘m beginning to think that Democrats could f**k up falling off a log.
    The republicans that went to those town hall meeting to face down hapless Democrat legislators had their talking point memos at hand.
    What did the Dems have?

  13. “I have yet to find a clip of anyone yelling “Forty-million illegals!” Tampa Bay Online gives a different take on the event here.” myiq

    I found this comment interesting from someone who was there:

    “Posted by ( jrock ) on 08/06/2009 at 07:06 pm.

    I showed up to the meeting at about 5:15 and the line was already over 200 deep. Around 6:00 a TPD officer told everyone in line that the room was already at capacity and no one else would be able to get in.(Even though I saw several people with Obama and Organize for America shirts on move to the front of the line and appear to get in.) Also not to call William March a liar, but I didn’t see one person with a sign showing Obama as the joker. Not sure where he came up with that one. “

  14. Clinton derangement syndrome, North Korean strain
    Sufferers of this incurable illness twist Bill Clinton’s moving rescue of two journalists into something ugly
    By Joe Conason


    • Well, well, well. Joe Conason was one of the biggest CDS haters there was, in the primaries.

    • Why am I not surprised that Maureen Dowd had to get her licks in on Hillary.
      Does she hate every accomplished woman with the same fervor?
      Or is it an Irish Catholic media member thing?

    • Who the hell reads Dowd anyway?

  15. Drudgereport (I know, I know!) has several links about Townhalls on the front page.

    • The picture of the “slap” linked in this post made Drudge.

      • Oh, goodness, I know, I know, many of you probably don’t want to view drudge, but personally, I think it’s showing some very damaging material for Mr. Hope and Change. The second link under the picture of the slap reads “White House to Dems: Punch Back Twice As Hard.”

        There is also a picture of a man with tape over his mouth printed with the following: “Flag@whitehouse.gov.”

        Then, they also link to Obama’s “get out of the way” comment.

        Oh, and I don’t think there were any pictures of rainbows, unicorns or free ponies (we’ve been punked).

  16. http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=0f2_1249526690

    …. You have to listen to police officers or you’re resisting …. eeck …. seems like a pretty low bar has been set for resisting

  17. By the way, The Confluence has been linked at freerepublic.

  18. Read this in our regional paper this AM – hopefully a lot more people will read it as well:

    Special to the Los Angeles Times

    Universal health insurance is on the American policy agenda for the fifth time since World War II. In the 1960s, the U.S. chose public coverage for only the elderly and the very poor, while Canada opted for a universal program for hospitals and physicians’ services.

    As a policy analyst, I know there are lessons to be learned from studying the effect of different approaches in similar jurisdictions. But, as a Canadian with lots of American friends and relatives, I am saddened that Americans seem incapable of learning them.

    Our countries are joined at the hip. We peacefully share a continent, a British heritage of representative government and now ownership of GM. And, until 50 years ago, we had similar health systems, health care costs and vital statistics.

    The U.S.’ and Canada’s different health insurance decisions make up the world’s largest health policy experiment. And the results?

    On coverage, all Canadians have insurance for hospital and physician services. There are no deductibles or co-pays. Most provinces also provide coverage for programs for home care, long-term care, pharmaceuticals and durable medical equipment, although there are co-pays.

    On the U.S. side, 46 million people have no insurance, millions are underinsured and health-care bills bankrupt more than 1 million Americans every year.

    Lesson No. 1: A single-payer system would eliminate most U.S. coverage problems.

    On costs, Canada spends 10 percent of its economy on health care; the U.S. spends 16 percent. The extra 6 percent of GDP amounts to more than $800 billion per year. The spending gap between the two nations is almost entirely because of higher overhead. Canadians don’t need thousands of actuaries to set premiums or thousands of lawyers to deny care. Even the U.S. Medicare program has 80 percent to 90 percent lower administrative costs than private Medicare Advantage policies. And providers and suppliers can’t charge as much when they have to deal with a single payer.

    Lessons No. 2 and 3: Single-payer systems reduce duplicative administrative costs and can negotiate lower prices.

    Because most of the difference in spending is for nonpatient care, Canadians actually get more of most services. We see the doctor more often and take more drugs. We even have more lung-transplant surgery. We do get less heart surgery, but not so much less that we are any more likely to die of heart attacks. And we now live nearly three years longer, and our infant mortality is 20 percent lower.

    Lesson No. 4: Single-payer plans can deliver the goods because their funding goes to services, not overhead.

    The Canadian system does have its problems, and these also provide important lessons. Notwithstanding a few well-publicized and misleading cases, Canadians needing urgent care get immediate treatment. But we do wait too long for much elective care, including appointments with family doctors and specialists and selected surgical procedures. We also do a poor job managing chronic disease.

    However, according to the New York-based Commonwealth Fund, both the American and the Canadian systems fare badly in these areas. In fact, an April U.S. Government Accountability Office report noted that U.S. emergency room wait times have increased, and patients who should be seen immediately are now waiting an average of 28 minutes. The GAO has also raised concerns about two- to four-month waiting times for mammograms.

    On closer examination, most of these problems have little to do with public insurance or even overall resources. Despite the delays, the GAO said there is enough mammogram capacity.

    These problems are largely caused by our shared politico-cultural barriers to quality of care. In 19th-century North America, doctors waged a campaign against quacks and snake-oil salesmen and attained a legislative monopoly on medical practice. In return, they promised to set and enforce standards of practice. By and large, it didn’t happen. And perverse incentives like fee-for-service make things even worse.

    Using techniques like those championed by the Boston-based Institute for Healthcare Improvement, providers can eliminate most delays. In Hamilton, Ontario, 17 psychiatrists have linked up with 100 family doctors and 80 social workers to offer some of the world’s best access to mental-health services. And in Toronto, simple process improvements mean you can now get your hip assessed in one week and get a new one, if you need it, within a month.

    Lesson No. 5: Canadian health-care delivery problems have nothing to do with our single-payer system and can be fixed by re-engineering for quality.

    U.S. health policy would be miles ahead if policymakers could learn these lessons. But they seem less interested in Canada’s, or any other nation’s, experience than ever. Why?

    American democracy runs on money. Pharmaceutical and insurance companies have the fuel. Analysts see hundreds of billions of premiums wasted on overhead that could fund care for the uninsured. But industry executives and shareholders see bonuses and dividends.

    Compounding the confusion is traditional American ignorance of what happens north of the border, which makes it easy to mislead people. Boilerplate antigovernment rhetoric does the same. The U.S. media, legislators and even presidents have claimed that our “socialized” system doesn’t let us choose our own doctors. In fact, Canadians have free choice of physicians. It’s Americans these days who are restricted to “in-plan” doctors.

    Unfortunately, many Americans won’t get to hear the straight goods because vested interests are promoting a caricature of the Canadian experience.

    Michael Rachlis is a physician, health policy analyst and author in Toronto.

    • Thank you. That was a refreshing dose of reality.

      • Oh, gawd. Just read some of the comments and they don’t want to hear it. Have their fingers in their ears “La, la, la … not listening.”

  19. From reading these accounts, it sounds like these are large groups (hundreds to thousands) of people in multiple locations, not just a few here and there. Yet these are the Democratic responses.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called the protests “phony” at a press conference he held earlier in the day, holding up a swatch of Astroturf to reporters to illustrate his point.

    This is a staged effort,” Durbin told reporters.

    It seems like this is the surest way to make the crowds bigger and angrier. Perhaps that is the Democrats goal. (To be fair Claire McCaskill and Ben Cardin recognize the anger is real0

  20. Steve Pearlstain:

    The recent attacks by Republican leaders and their ideological fellow-travelers on the effort to reform the health-care system have been so misleading, so disingenuous, that they could only spring from a cynical effort to gain partisan political advantage. By poisoning the political well, they’ve given up any pretense of being the loyal opposition. They’ve become political terrorists, willing to say or do anything to prevent the country from reaching a consensus on one of its most serious domestic problems.

    Did I miss something? Are the GOPers using suicide bombers now?

  21. @threewickets: But yesterday, you wrote Palin was like Hitler. @joanwalsh: So tragic our first black president wound up being a Nazi: http://bit.ly/5FKt3

    • Po widdle Joan. She’s so rattled, she can’t even remember what she and Chris Matthews said yesterday or the day before.

      Joan is clearly an MSNBC zombie.

      GE gave her all the company talking points.

  22. This is not going to end well.

  23. Here’s Greta interviewing Obama’s doctor of 20 years. He’s a single-payer advocate and is very convincing. I enjoyed watching it. But then I took a look at some of the comments. Complete hysteria over gummint-run healthcare.

    It’s so exasperating.

    How do we convince these folks? Do you think they’d like it if they lost their Medicare, which BTW is run by the … government! 😯


    • Arthur Laffer, who should know better, was in the WSJ only a day or so ago saying something like: if you like how the government handled Iraq, you’re gonna love it when they get their hands on Medicare, Medicaid, and other health care.

      Obviously trying to perpetuate the myth that Medicare isn’t run by the government. The sheer ignorance never fails to amaze.

    • Actually, Medicare is NOT run by the government. It is FUNDED by the government, but privately run, with government reimbursements from funds from the payroll/SS taxes.

      Medicare is NOT a government run program.

      • True “government run” means the doctors in the program are employed by the government, as in Britain or France.

        Technically, Medicare is not the same thing.

      • So are every UHC program in western Europe, except for Britain. So long as Medicare’s fee schedule and coverage is set by the government, it’s a government program.

        The private contractors handle administration, like is done for large companies who self-insure. If we need to be pedantic.

  24. A-S-T-R-O-T-U-R-F:

    Senate Democrats are girding themselves for a month of vigorous debate over healthcare reform, armed with a new set of talking points from David Axelrod, the president’s chief political strategist.

  25. Check this out:


    Representative Dan Rostenkowski of Illinois, one of the most powerful members of Congress, was booed and followed down the street by a group of screaming elderly people Thursday as he left a meeting with community leaders opposed to his stance on a program intended to protect the elderly from the high costs of extended illnesses.

    Several dozen people shouted ”Liar!” ”Impeach!” and ”Recall!” when Mr. Rostenkowski, the Democrat who heads the House Ways and Means Committee, left a community center in the North Side district of Chicago that he has represented for 30 years.

    The group briefly blocked his car, hitting it with picket signs and pounding on the windows. Mr. Rostenkowski got out of the car and walked briskly down the street for about a block, with the protesters in pursuit. The driver then drove the car to a gasoline station, the Congressman got back in and the car sped away.

    As he walked down the street, Mr. Rostenkowski said, ”I don’t think they understand what’s going on. That’s too bad.” Meeting With the Elderly

    The incident occurred after Mr. Rostenkowski discussed his support for the Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988 in a private meeting with representatives of six organizations for the elderly.

    • Oh, they understand. Obama’s gonna pay for his new insurance reform by cutting $350 billion from Medicare.

      • look at the date: 1989, Dan R is long gone!!!!

        • I remember seeing that on cspan. It was amazing at the time. They repealed that act the next year so those old folks had the effect they wanted 🙂

          • Not at the time but film shown later as part of theuir coverage of Clinton’s ’93 initiative and what can go wrong.

          • It’s a time honored tradition for the elderly in this country to not want to give any thing they “got” to others …

            When my parents retired down to AZ and I went there to visit with my then toddler, Dr. Jean. They used to scowl at me being near the pool. They only let children in during the peak sun killing hours and then even then, they made nasty comments about diaper wearing. I turned to the lady and basically said she’s totally trained, do you wear depends?

            They were nasty, nasty . Sun City specifically exempted themselves from having any school zones down there so they could avoid having to pay taxes to support any education facilities.

            OF course, they forget they’re on Medicare and social security, probably got all their first houses on FHA/VA loans, and mostly likely a lot went to College on the GI Bill.

            Convenient memories!

          • Dakinikat, I couldn’t reply to your message, but I think you shouldn’t lump all elderly in the same group.

          • not lumping all elderly together … because I’m eligible for the AARP myself, however, when entire retirement communities set up to avoid taxes for schools, there’s something inherently wrong with that imho. I spent some time in the AZ retirement communities to see some outright hostility towards paying for anything that wasn’t directly going to their leisure life.

      • Medicare is another example of why this needs to be an everyone can opt in rather than a program for low and middle income folks. Once you start universal programs that benefit everyone (versus a select demographic)like Social Security or Medicare, you have a harder time dismantling said program without angry people. If they make it low income middle income like SCHIP the first time a GOP member gets into office it will have its funding cut.

  26. It is really ironic and a little disgusting watching the Dems prescreening town meetings to squash opposition.

    We told them that Barack Obama was George W. Bush as played by Denzel Washington. They wouldn’t listen.

  27. Oh, SOD you missed the fun phone calls, this past week, when the DNC was looking for funds and suveying us – both RD and I gave them something alright but it wasn’t what they were looking for

    • Those are always interesting at our house. They make a great opportunity to vent.

  28. This is just as bad as labeling all of us who were against the war as unpatriotic. I am sick of this stuff on both sides. Dissent is patriotic.

    • May I repeat that? LOUDER

      This is just as bad as labeling all of us who were against the war as unpatriotic. I am sick of this stuff on both sides. Dissent is patriotic.

  29. Anyone else find it funny that that world’s most notorious community organizer now has a problem with community organizing?

  30. Ooooh! Look what VastLeft found:

    In fact, there is a certain art to it, a performative metafiction in which one phony, staged event interrupts another phony, staged event, prompting a whole lot of phony, staged outrage on the part of various partisan actors. Town hall meetings, explicitly promoted as attempts by one political party to “sell health care reform” to their constituency are interrupted by the other party’s agitprop operatives. Woe betide Democracy!

    • Hmm, bring in Ann Coulter, Andrew Sullivan, and Michael Moore to these healthcare events, and it will be a political pomo blowout.

      • Speaking of Michael Moore, he’s been pretty silent on Obamacare. I haven’t heard much from him anymore but then again I unsubscribed from his emails last year and no longer visit his website. Guess when it really matters, Moore isn’t that courageous enough to stand up to a the first black Democratic president. He was perfectly find with calling Hillary a racist though. That he angry enough to write about.

        • Moore has done his hit and run on healthcare and moved on to his Wall Street documentary. Do you think he will be exposing anything about Obama in there? Doesn’t look likely. Not by the looks of Moore’s contributions to the latest Rolling Stone:


          • If McCain had done the same things Obama is currently doing in office with health care, Moore would be protesting in the streets and writing daily diatribes on his website. It’s all partisan politics and for those who have made it to the top of the media and entertainment profession we now call “journalism” it is about going along with the Obama worship and making money. Moore will not do anything to rock the boat as long as Obama is in office. He made his money on Sicko and now he will make millions more “exposing” Wall Street. Wanna bet that he won’t make Obama look even a tiny bit guilty in his next documentary? Obama is Bush III and Moore has proven himself to be nothing more than a partisan hack by not pointing out the similarities.

          • Oh, I can’t look. What a complete sell out. How could he visit all those countries, see what real national health care looks like, and then kiss up to Obama? How could he do that to all those people who were in Sicko?

        • Moore is only interested in his own notoriety as a “radical” , garnering groupies, and his pocketbook, period. The fact that he sometimes speaks truth or covers things that no one else will cover is merely a sometimes helpful side-effect.

          As far as I’m concerned, he is the Left’s version of Glenn Beck.

    • one of the comments from that post.

      Montag said…

      in a healthy representative political system, town hall meetings would be spontaneous and consist of angry mobs outside corrupt politicians’ homes making demands.
      11:20 AM

  31. Ani is the main reason why I visit NoQuarter. Here is her latest post on the protesters: http://www.noquarterusa.net/blog/2009/08/07/nancy-pelosi-needs-to-apologize/

  32. The worst part of it all is that none of this was needed.

    • hi !!! Welcome back from the vacation!!!

    • Thanks! What a long trip back it was. I pretty much just woke up. I guess it’ll take a few days to overcome the jet lag.

    • Welcome back, SOD! 🙂

      Dkat that was our parents who had those benefits – both my husband and I (and our parents to some extent) paid for our college educations, and bought out homes with sweat and tears down payments.
      Wish we could have gotten FHA/VA but few in our group qualified.

      • Exactly, joanelle. That generation is mostly gone, now.

        Baby boomers close to Medicare didn’t get any of that. Most of us worked our way through college and put down 20% down payments for the homes we live in. And we proudly pay for school taxes, just like the seniors then paid, when our children went to school.

        Thank you, joanelle.

  33. Quite honestly all of this is rather disturbing. Every dictatorship ever to come to power needs an event, an excuse to clamp down on its citizens. Frankly I don’t think Obama is bothered by the protests, as he continues to say and do things to incite them like here:

    where he basically throws red meat to the crowd and suggests that people who disagree sit down and STFU.

    • Regarding the clip of Obama, has anyone but me noticed that he NEVER misses an opportunity to say “I am the President!” He says it constantly. He inserts it everywhere. It’s like he can’t get over himself.

      I don’t recall Clinton or even Bush saying “I am teh PRESIDENT!” in every other speech.

      • “I won.”

        • Yeah, “I won … get over it!” (as he scratches his nose with his middle finger).

      • No, Bush was the “decider”.

        • Yeah, and that grated. But even Bush didn’t say it 20 times in the space of 6 months.

        • For all of Bush’s flaws (and they were LEGION! I couldn’t stand the man!!) his was not a constant refrain of blaming the previous administration. In fact he rarely laid blame on anyone, which is where his “decider” comment came in. He owned the decision to go to war, as bad a decision as it was, and he didn’t go around blaming Clinton, or the Democrats or shifts in the lunar tide. One always had a sense that he took the office seriously and that he wasn’t hung up on things personally like BO is.

          I never thought I would see the day when I would miss Bush… I still don’t… but that day may be closer than any of us would like.

          • Oh hell, someone needs to do it so I will say it. I do miss Bush. It was different, better somehow, when the opponent was clear and on the opposite side. Now it’s all muddled.

    • Man that kind of junk from him is just not helpful. Unless you do want to spark off worse protests.

  34. Saw this last night but didn’t see anyone else post it. Just adds a little context to another one of the vids posted though I don’t know how needed it is.


      • Here’s an interview (poor quality though) with the guy in the green shirt which was torn and he was scratched up by the guys closing the door at the end:

        • Attacked by union members!

          Just like the caucuses.

          Single payer advocates will be the only ones left standing in November.

  35. My daily “MoveOn.org” fauxrage email of the day is asking for some money to fund their astroturfing.

    • The fainting ladies and water bottle finders from the campaign rallies needed some work anyhow.

    • I despise that gasbag Beck, but he had a point last night. He challenged anyone to find photos of protestors carrying swastika signs, then he qualified it:

      Find photos from BEFORE Nancy’s statement. Because there is no doubt that some conveniently raycist and Nazi signs will show up from here on out.

    • “Right-wing extremists.”

      Good Lord.

      Maybe this time MoveOn.org will lose a lot of their members, again.

  36. Kenneth Gladney, a 38-year-old conservative activist from St. Louis, said he was attacked by some of those arrested as he handed out yellow flags with “Don’t tread on me” printed on them. Gladney, who is black, said one of his attackers, also a black man, used a racial slur against him before the attack started.

    “It just seems there’s no freedom of speech without being attacked,” he said.

    This is the best part. Obots are a danger to themselves.

    • But, but, but… that’s impossible!! All of the conservative protesters are neo-con r@cist, redneck, birther, incestuous, bald headed, confederate sympathizing, duck hunting, retread, retards, clinging to guns and religion…. not Black people!!

    • Pshaw. That was only a Klan member in blackface, plain as day.

      I’m reporting you to FISHY dot gov for spreading lies.

  37. http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/healthcare/august_2009/41_view_town_hall_protesters_favorably_35_don_t

    Latest poll numbers on astro turf



  38. Ruh-Roh!:

    One vocal attendee was a woman named Heather Blish, who identified herself as “just a mom from a few blocks away” and “not affiliated with any political party.” When interviewed by the local NBC affiliate, Blish insisted she was not a member of the Republican Party. “I left the party,” she said. Blish’s statements, however, are distortions. From NBC’s report:

    Her LinkedIn page shows something different. She was the vice chair of the Republican Party of Kewaunee County until last year. She worked on the John Gard campaign, who ran unsuccessfully against Kagen last year. And it says she’s a part of the Republican Party for Kagen’s district, as well as the Republican Party of Wisconsin, and the Republican National Committee.

    She’s a vice-chair of her GOP county committee in that county? So she’s a local resident and registered to vote?

    Man, those GOPers are sneaky, planting operatives like that.

  39. Mr Gladney’s attorney weighs in:

    I am Kenneth Gladney’s attorney. Kenneth was attacked on the evening of August 6, 2009 at Rep. Russ Carnahan’s town hall meeting in South St. Louis County. I was at the town hall meeting as well and witnessed the events leading up to the attack of Kenneth. Kenneth was approached by an SEIU representative as Kenneth was handing out “Don’t Tread on Me” flags to other conservatives. The SEIU representative demanded to know why a black man was handing out these flags. The SEIU member used a racial slur against Kenneth, then punched him in the face. Kenneth fell to the ground. Another SEIU member yelled racial epithets at Kenneth as he kicked him in the head and back. Kenneth was also brutally attacked by one other male SEIU member and an unidentified woman. The three men were clearly SEIU members, as they were wearing T-shirts with the SEIU logo.

    Kenneth was beaten badly. One assailant fled on foot; three others were arrested. Kenneth was admitted to St. John’s Mercy Medical Center emergency room, where he was treated for his numerous injuries. Kenneth was merely expressing his freedom of speech by handing out the flags. In fact, he merely asked people as they exited the town hall meeting whether they would like a flag. He in no way provoked any argument or altercation, as evidenced by the fact that three assailants were arrested.


    P.S. Disclaimer for the informational purists: Yes, hotair is a RW site. I know that. I have a brain. I can think and evaluate. Thanks for your concern.

    • The arrested thugs are the ones from Chicago.

    • Kenneth was approached by an SEIU representative as Kenneth was handing out “Don’t Tread on Me” flags to other conservatives. The SEIU representative demanded to know why a black man was handing out these flags. The SEIU member used a racial slur against Kenneth, then punched him in the face. Kenneth fell to the ground. Another SEIU member yelled racial epithets at Kenneth as he kicked him in the head and back. Kenneth was also brutally attacked by one other male SEIU member and an unidentified woman. The three men were clearly SEIU members, as they were wearing T-shirts with the SEIU logo.

      Yes but I bet this is true. Failbots are hypocrites and racists.

      • Good they have it on tape. Gladney was selling buttons and “Don’t Tread on Me” flags. He was atttacked for no reason other than disagreeing with Obama/being a conservative. This video is the essence of the Obama movement.


      • Typical Failbot behavior:

        “He was handing out flags to anybody who wanted them…The SEIU guy came up to him and said, “Why is an n-word like you handing out these flags?”

        “Kenneth didn’t say anything to the guy. Before Kenneth could even say anything or act in any way shape or form, the SEIU representative punched him in the face.”

        “He went to the ground. Subsequently, two other SEIU representatives or members, however you want to say it, jumped on top of him, yelled racial epithets at him…kicked him, punched him.”

  40. Another perspective of the town hall meeting. This also has some of Castor’s comments that can actually be heard over the crowd.
    <a href=“”>Town Hall Meeting

    • Look at all those empty seats. According to those there, they had ALREADY been locked out of this “public” meeting at this point.

      • At 2:21 in the video, you can see a guy at the door refusing to let those outside in, except Obama supporters.

    • Uh…why do you need placard signs at a town hall meeting? Isn’t that supposed to be a forum for question and answer exchange and not a “rally?”

  41. Jeebus, what a mess.

    At this rate, it looks like health care reform is dead.

    Luckily, my job is going to transfer me to Germany so I don’t need to worry.

  42. On opencongress.org you can find the text to this bill (thanks, WMCG) and you can declare your support or lack of support.

    More than 100,000 have looked at “ObamaCare” HR 3200. 12% support it. This bill has 8 cosponsors.

    The single payer/expansion of medicare for all bill, HR 676, has been viewed by less than 10,000 people, 28% indicate support. This bill, introduced by Conyers (D, MI), has 86 cosponsors. The bills share three sponsors in common.

    I have started to read these bills. So far, I much prefer HR 676, the bill that B0 has claimed is off the table.

    Why is that???

    On the site, you can register your support and contact your representatives. I urge everyone to do so.

    As a doc, I really want to know why single payer (and leave the medicine to us, please) is off the table.

    I think if we push for HR 676 to have a vote, we might get somewhere. It has more cosponsors than it needs votes to pass.

    Seems like a no-brainer unless your goal is to reward your insurance donors, which is where I think B0 is really coming from.

    • Went to the opencongress.org, registered and gave my support for HR 676. Anyone that wants to see a chance for it to happen should do the same, if you haven’t already.

  43. The manufacturing of dissent

  44. Bottom line is that everything we see is manufactured, collaborated, astroturf.

    • I agree neither side seems intent on accomplishing anything. Both sides only concern seems to be to disrupt the town hall meetings and make the other side look bad. I will say though the “big guys” that are shown in earlier vids trying to “close the doors” to the meeting inside, IMO need to be arrested for assault. AFAIK they weren’t security, and they were attacking people, and trying to intimidate the people there that didn’t agree with the health plan. Whether I or anyone agrees with what the folks are protesting or the plan that the Dems are trying to pass, doesn’t give anyone the right to assault someone.

  45. Just saw this at TheHill.com

    Several Democratic senators, however, have been careful not to dismiss the protests as mere public relations stunts.

    Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) pointedly disagreed with her leaders in a message posted on her Twitter page.

    “I disagree that the people showing concern over some healthcare proposals are ‘manufactured’ Real folks, strong opinions,” she wrote.

    When asked during a Fox News interview whether strategists have manufactured the strong feelings expressed at town-hall meetings, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said: “In the town hall meeting I had, that was not the case.

    “People have strong views about healthcare reform,” he said. “The overwhelming majority of Americans want to participate. They want to know how it affects them, and what it will do with their health insurance through what it will do with their healthcare costs. Those are legitimate questions.”


  46. Rasmussen:

    Forty-one percent (41%) of U.S. voters have a favorable opinion of the people opposing health care reform at town hall meetings now being conducted by members of Congress, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

    But 35% view the protesters unfavorably. Twenty-three percent (23%) are not sure what they think of them.

  47. I’m late to this thread, but can someone tell me what the protesters are upset about? Is it that they don’t want any changes in the health care system or what?

    • They don’t want socialized medicine, and they don’t want the government to touch Medicare.

      And the old ones don’t want to be euthanized.

    • Well, according to the media they are all raving uneducated racists who are operating under the command of Glenn Beck.

      It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact they can see themselves being fleeced from a mile away.

    • BB:

      I brought up that question yesterday.

      Some of these people are there just to disrupt the whole thing and bring it to an end. They scream on top of their lungs, don’t let the Congressperson finish a sentence, call them names.

      Judging by the signs, they don’t want “socialized medicine”, “rationed Care”, “government takeover of 1/7th of our economy”,…

      • I’m confused at what they want as well to be honest. I hear a lot of right wing talking points but little insight as to what they’re looking for other than some have said they like our current system and free market. I saw a vid last night, and when Castor brought up Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and so on were the backbone of our society, the crowd was booing and I really didn’t understand if they thought those were something they were against, or if they just booed everything she said in general.

        • They were shouting down the reps because that’s human nature.

          Honestly, have you never shouted at anyone in your life? Never had a personal argument where you yelled? And if you have, at what point did you start yelling?

          Because I have. And I know exactly when I start shouting. I’ve done it plenty of times to my own husband. You know when it happens? When I have told him, politely, quietly, about a billion times what I want, what I think, what I feel, and he ignores it. People yell when they are at the point where they believe they have not been heard all the times they spoke calmly.

          It is the arrogant unresponsiveness of our govt that is triggering this. Remember the bank bailouts? (Polite) constituent calls ran over 10 to 1 against. And were utterly ignored. Same with the stimulus package. Being polite and civil got them exactly…… NOTHING.

          We on the left have been there many times. And no, when I myself was screaming at some Bushie about the war, I did not shout out my detailed alternatives as to how to deal with Iraq. I chanted easy slogans. Remember any of this?

          * NW Progressive Institute, March 2005: “a boisterous crowd which frequently interrupted the discussion with shouts and hard nosed questions. … Democrats in the audience who were interrupting the panel…. the crowd erupted in anger… Democrats in the audience started shouting him down again.

          * Savannah Morning News, March 2005: “By now, Jack Kingston is used to shouted questions, interruptions and boos. Republican congressmen expect such responses these days when they meet with constituents about President Bush’s proposal to overhaul Social Security.”

          * USA Today, March 2005: “Shaken by raucous protests at open “town hall”-style meetings last month … Santorum was among dozens of members of Congress who ran gantlets of demonstrators and shouted over hecklers at Social Security events last month. Many who showed up to protest were alerted by e-mails and bused in by anti-Bush organizations such as MoveOn.org and USAction, a liberal advocacy group. They came with prepared questions and instructions on how to confront lawmakers.”

          I could google and find literally hundreds of examples of the left coming to a meeting held by a Republican “only to disrupt and shut it down”. This is NO different. Whether you agree with their policy positions or not, for Dems to sit back in wondering puzzlement and act as if this is (tut-tut-tut) unusual and boorish behavior is kind of ridiculous. It has always happened in this country and always will. The only thing is, we are not accustomed to seeing large numbers of this particular demographic engage in it, on issues that THEY are passionate about. But they have every right to do so.

          • I agree, and understand people responding like this. I also agree they have things to be upset about. I’m interested because I don’t doubt they have some good ideas (as I think some Dems do), and would like to hear them.

          • You can ocome up with 1000 examples but how does that make it right?

            Moreover, BB asked what this protesters want may be you know it.

          • I do think it’s right. If your representative in your district is not listening, then yes, protesting in loud and disruptive ways is absolutely right. It does tend to rattle them into paying attention.

            And I daresay that “what they want” is as varied as the people there. Some want to slow down, and take a longer national discussion on healthcare problems, but know they will have to stop this bill to get that. Some want to kill this bill (which is horrible) and come up with something better, even if they aren’t yet sure what that is. Some may want to change nothing. Some may want much stiffer insurance regulation, but not a public option. Some may be distrustful of how it’s going to be paid for. Some may want UHC, but do not want the intrusive, interfering provisions and power-grabs that are being discussed as part and parcel of UHC. Some may be adamantly opposed to non-citizens getting lifetime care on their dime. Some may be pissed at the proposed cuts in Medicare. Some may just be generally fed up with the entire Beltway elitist, big-money, secretive, clusterfuck that is our congress.

          • I h’t read all of your comments of this matter but from what I have seen, you seem to dispute the fact that many of these protesters are not doing anything but bullying, disrupting and not letting anything be discussed.

            By the way, just check some of the signs they carry and you’ll see where they are coming from:

            “socialized medicine”, “rationed Care”, “government takeover of 1/7th of our economy”, “government off of medicare” and so on.

  48. I just got a call from Senator Vitter’s office asking me to come to a townhall meeting about health care in Jeff Parish on Monday? Dare I go?

    • Were you supposed to bring diapers?

    • I think you should.

      I would like to know what Rep Senators and Congresspeople are telling their constituencies about the HC bill.

      What I’ve seen coming from that side so far has been just extremely aggravating mendacity: government takeover, socialist healthcare, euthanasia and so on.

    • It would be great if you could go and get some video while you’re at it.

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  51. Obamacare, an ill-defined plan, has something in it to piss off just about everyone.

    • That about sizes it up. It’s not UHC, it’s an insurance company giveaway, so pisses off the left – but with enough intrusive big govt crap in there to piss off the right as well. It’s like a shit sandwich without even the dubious benefit of a bun or mayo.

      Is it POSSIBLE to come up with a more epic fail if you tried?

  52. Goldberg is a moron usually, but I have to agree with Ani over at NQ on this. It’s common sense:

    Comment by Ani | 2009-08-07 12:51:55

    Normally, I would not quote Jonah Goldberg, but this is too funny not to repeat — he really makes a great point here in re Pelosi’s incendiary comments above…

    “…not only is she suggesting that American citizens are Nazis for having the effrontery to get in the way of Obamacare, but she’s also saying that the alleged swastikas are obvious proof that these protests are manufactured by slick P.R. gurus.

    How does that work? What public-relations genius says: “Okay, we need these protests to seem like an authentic backlash of real Americans. Make sure everyone has enough Nazi paraphernalia!””

    Yup, makes lots’ o’ sense, Madame Speaker.

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