Why Tea Party Tactics Aren’t Healthy for Health Reform

4 08 2009

Betty’s thoughtful, gentle, Christian voice of non-partisan or post-partisan reason can’t even be heard on the health care crisis, if these well-funded warmongers get away with it yet again.

How Come CBS Journalists Can’t Recognize Paid Lobbyists When They See Them?”:

Freedomworks isn’t some “organic grassroots” outfit. It’s run by former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey — corporate lobbyist, global warming denier and ladies’ man. The President and CEO of Freedomworks is Matt Kibbee, who was trained by Lee Atwater. . . .
Steve Forbes is on the FreedomWorks board. As Paul Krugman noted, their money comes from the Koch, Scaife, Bradley, Olin nexus, as well as other reliable funders of right wing infrastructure including Exxon Mobil.

Freedomworks has a long history of skunk works. In 2004, a woman who identified herself as a “single mother” in Iowa, Sandra Jacques, appeared at a George Bush town hall and gushed about his plan to privatize Social Security. She left out the part about being an employee of Freedomworks, who were lobbying on the issue at the time.

David Koch is also Chairman of the other major outfit heavily involved in these “organic” uprisings, Americans for Prosperity, whose members lynched Democrat Frank Kratovil in effigy. Koch is the 19th richest man in the world. They recently renamed the New York State Theater in Lincoln Center the David H. Koch Theater.

These aren’t just some organizations that these guys gave money to. They run them.

This extreme violent behavior is being organized and funded by those at the highest levels of the conservative infrastructure. It’s not some sideline, some quirky hobby. It is the function and purpose of these organizations to threaten and intimidate elected officials in order to subvert the will of the electorate to a corporate agenda.

Don’t believe her? Need more FACTS before you make up your open mind? No problem, see Digby: “This is not about policy. It’s about incitement to violence.”

Or never mind where it comes from, and just ask yourself if it makes SENSE. Do their scripted war-whoops hang together as anything that looks to your thinking parent eye as progress for America and Americans, or would they already be locked up at Gitmo as clearly fundamentalist radical bomber types bent on our destruction, if they weren’t so sanctimoniously wrapping their overthrow-up in countrified red, white and blue?

Favorite Daughter on the Tea Partiers, who turn out to be the same people as the Birther and Deather Brain Trust Against the President of the United States Making Things Better or Indeed, Living in the White House (or living at all?):

These people, as Jon Stewart so eloquently put it, seem “to have confused ‘tyranny’ with ‘losing.’”

While watching the Fox coverage of the protests (which was a mistake) I heard several gentlemen (I use the term loosely) posit that they did not, in fact, have any elected representatives, because the person they’d voted for had lost.

What?
Really, what?

I had no idea there were people out there who were this ignorant, although I suppose it explains the continued popularity of Hannity, Limbaugh, et al. These people genuinely don’t get how democracy works. Yes, the guy you voted for lost, but you’re missing the point here: you voted. You went into a little booth and you cast a ballot and you made your stupid, twangy voice heard, and it echoed over the purple mountains and skimmed along the fruited plain. It counted for something, which is all the Founding Fathers wanted for you, yes you, you dumb hillbillies who never learned to spell the word “already” (I’m looking at you, guy obviously in his mid-twenties and holding a sign that says “Im only 15 and I alredy owe $36,000 in TAXES”) . . .

People just don’t think anymore. If they thought ever. Check out this woman, who I’ve written about before. She’s the kind of American who made me want to tell foreigners I was Canadian during the Bush administration, and she’s the kind of homeschooling mom who (still) makes me want to tell people I was public-schooled. . . .

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30 responses

5 08 2009
Jenn

This is one you have to think over very well. There are pros to universal health care but it also has a lot of cons. Waiting times. Can’t stress that one enough. If you have a longterm condition that is not deadly it is a great system. If you have something that needs pronto treatment, think well. If you can’t get health care somewhere else, it may be too late by the time you get treatment. There are MANY Canadians who pay to go to the states for quick diagnosis and treatment. DO NOT look at criticism as just mud slinging. Not sure what the criticism was but its not all as rosy as it may seem having universal health care. Waiting 3 months to see a specialist is the norm or quick. One of my neighbours waited 9 months for hip surgery. These are normal waiting times not extreme circumstances. A friend of mine had to have an operation in South-Africa, took her 2 days to be in the hospital and operated on. Here she was lucky enough to work at a univ. and get some input from the medical doctors she works with but it took more than 2 months to get treatment for cancer in her eye. Getting a quick appointment with a gp can be challenging. You DO NOT get to see a specialist at the drop of a dime, you WAIT and wait. I think the British 2 tier system is a much better deal, just like private schools can help to keep public schools on a higher standard.
Sicko by Michael Moore is a very glamourised version and not at all an impartial look at health care systems. He says all the good things about the other systems but chooses to overlook their drawbacks. It is also not as free as it may seem.
Think well not just what you will gain, but also what you will loose.

5 08 2009
COD

Let’s see, I have very expensive insurance and I had a six week wait to see a specialist this year and a 6 week wait just for an appointment with a new GP. Oh, and my wife was driving 90 minutes each way to find an endocrinologist that was on our insurance plan. This was not some fly by night insurance, it was one of the major insurance companies.

The fact is the majority of Canadians are satisfied with their health care, and it costs them far less. Whether or not the US Govt is capable of implementing a plan that actually works is a fair question.

5 08 2009
JJ

Jenn, it doesn’t matter anymore. The Game now isn’t about comparing system features and considering what features we prefer. Right now we can’t compare plans by system features because we have to fight against our corporate overlords over constitutional self-governance and for the right to define Reality itself. The choice now is stark: increasingly disastrous corporate control of the health care system and insurance industry and policy debate, playing with our health and our economy and our future like a rigged poker game — or else Change.

But since you bring it up, in 2004 when the Bush administration and the GOP-majority Congress could have made their own reforms if that were their real intent, even FOX News was reporting studies that show Canada, Britain, Australia and oh, heck, everyplace comparable to here, has more satisfaction and better value in their national health care systems than what our corporate overlords have rigged here with the dirty and desperate exploitation of “we the people” that our “free market” fantasies apparently have allowed.

Four in 10 U.S. adults told researchers that they had gone without needed care because of the cost, including skipping prescriptions, avoiding going to the doctor, or skipping a recommended test or treatment.

Meanwhile, 26 percent of Americans surveyed said that they had faced more than $1,000 in out-of-pocket health care costs in the last year, compared with 14 percent of Australians, and 4 percent of Britons.

“The U.S. stands out as the patients the most exposed to medical bills,” Schoen says. . .

The waiting time in Canada is mentioned btw as slightly more of an issue there than here, but much better everywhere else, e.g. Britain and Australia.

5 08 2009
COD

Finishing that thought….

The problem with the health care debate in the US is not that health care is socialism. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Whatever Congress come up with will designed first and foremost to ensure the relection of all those involved, and secondly to further enrich the parties that are represented by the lobbyists that win the “debate” and get their stuff through Congress. Actually fixing the health care problems in this country isn’t really that important to Congress.

5 08 2009
JJ

Yep. It’s the System, Stupid . . .

5 08 2009
JJ

May 2007 — US Ranks Last in Study of Six Nations’ Health Systems:

“The United States stands out as the only nation in these studies that does not ensure access to health care through universal coverage and promotion of a ‘medical home’ for patients,” said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis, one of the authors of the report.

The authors concluded that the United States could learn from innovations in other countries . . .

5 08 2009
JJ

I’ve always had health insurance, been with the Blues my whole long life to date, under various administrators with various government or public service (education) jobs I’ve had, then for the past several years home with the kids, on an individual (not group) policy. Both in groups and as an individual, I’ve never tried an HMO, but rather stayed with traditional indemnity plans thinking that would guarantee me more self-determination in access and personal choice, despite costing more.

But over those decades it’s gotten inexorably more expensive for less coverage. Forget thousands out-of-pocket in years when someone needs tonsils removed or a knee repaired, the premiums alone are almost twice what my local/state property taxes are for schools, roads, recreation, libraries, etc etc. In fact it’s about the same as my whole family’s total federal income tax!

Sometimes my rates go up more than once within a single calendar year, with only a couple of months’ notice and of course there’s no real choice to go elsewhere and the Blues know it. And I can be cancelled at any time, as an individual, which worries me mightily as I get older and my odds of needing more care go up. Ironically the reason I’m on this individual policy instead of a family plan through DH at work, is that we worry about what would happen to my coverage eligibility if he leaves that job (or dies!) before we’re Medicare age. There is nothing to be satisfied about — even the best-covered of us are kidding ourselves if we are “happy” with our health insurance situation.

5 08 2009
JJ

Wall Street Journal:

Meanwhile, insurers continue to wage an aggressive campaign against Democrats’ proposals to create a public health-insurance plan. America’s Health Insurance Plans [AHIP] has stationed employees in 30 states who are tracking where local lawmakers hold town-hall meetings.

Great, not just the money we pay them being funneled to politicians to block the reforms we need but now they are paying their employees with our money, to work against our health care interests rather than for us!

5 08 2009
Kristina

I think the problem with those ‘paid’ protesters is that they take away from those of us who show up that are ‘unaffiliated’. It is my guess that there are a lot of people who do show up that are unaffiliated. My family certainly shows up. Here’s the rub, though. There’s an organization that I’m a ‘part’ of that started as a grass roots organization. It gets the word out about when protests are happening, and where. It also asks what we want to do about certain things, like when the cap ‘n trade bill was passed in the House. I have appreciated those things. But, recently, I received an email asking for donations to help lobby Congress. I don’t want to be part of a lobbying organization. I know that lobbyists seem to be listened to more than ‘the people’, but that’s not what I’m after. So, I told them to stuff it.

The fact is that what may have started as a grass roots organization is quickly turning into an organized Republic rallying organization. And, I’m not supporting Republicans right now.

So, what do I do? I show up at rallies. I call and write my Congressman and Senators. I blog. I read and talk. I do what I can, but I do it alone. Because the larger organizations are co-opting the little people. And, it ticks me off.

It ticks me off because it takes away from those of us who are genuinely upset about this or that and puts us firmly in a group of sheep, instead of individuals in agreement.

5 08 2009
Jenn

I’m not saying don’t fight for reform. Just don’t make it a party political issue. Is that not what the corporate big cats want? If they can keep the issues political, the people will be divided. The democrats had the chance to make the changes for the 8 years before the republicans 8 years. It’s not about what the politicians will fix, cause in the end, no matter which party they are from the lobbyist and people who “give” them things are the voices they care to listen too. (I think politicians starting out usually have honourable intentions, but they start compromising. On BBC even Mr. Obama’s former adviser seemed a bit defeated by the system) Already the original plans seemed to be very watered down and handed to a committee. Politicians need money, their campaigning money comes mainly from the corporate backers, right? The corporations don’t mind bending and taking the heat as long term they can get a voice with the politicians.

What I’m trying to say. Figure out what you want in specific terms, join with people of all backgrounds to fight for what you want. If you don’t the corporations will get to the politicians before the people. There is nothing better for the corporate big cats than division of the people on the ground. What scares politicians most, the vote of the people or loosing the money for the adds that helps them get the votes?

5 08 2009
JJ Ross

The corporations ARE in control; they have been in control for decades.

How is it you think the people have the best shot of overcoming that problem, seriously? I (as a non-partisan most of my adult life) see more hope in President Obama and his First Lady than I’ve seen in, well, most of my adult life . . .

5 08 2009
JJ

“Filibuster Nation” in WaPo:
. . .filibusters didn’t really come into use until Southern senators began using the maneuver to attempt to block civil rights legislation of the 1950s and ’60s. They only became routine in the past few years, as the minority party in the Senate — the Democrats until 2006, and the Republicans since — sought to block legislation that had majority support but not the backing of a supermajority. In the 2007-08 session of Congress, Republicans forced 112 cloture votes, nearly doubling the Democrats’ record when they were in the minority.

Simply put, that number means that the Senate now runs by minority rule. A more corrosive attack on the first principle of democracy, that of majority rule, is hard to conceive. The increasingly routine use of the filibuster stymies the efficacy of government (in itself a conservative objective) and negates the consequences of elections. . .

5 08 2009
JJ

See RecessRally dot com as reported tonight for what’s behind what Kristina is seeing — the corporate fake grass roots alliance (oil billionaire David Koch and various GOP operatives) that’s duping white working class Christians and conservatives into shouting down the debate, using wild conspiracy theories to scare and infuriate them into scaring and infuriating the rest of us. So those corporations and operatives can keep “free market” wealth flowing freely out of our pockets and into their own, til death do us part.

(The site apparently is being overwhelmed tonight, and/or it’s been disabled when they knew the report was coming. When I have a link to the video itself, I’ll add it here.)

I did see this at a discussion forum, from someone who was able to see the site briefly beforehand:

Here are the corporate sponsors ordering their minions out to thwart We the People:

Red State
American Liberty Alliance
Michelle Malkin
Smart Girl Politics
Freedom Works
American Majority
Net Right Nation
The Sam Adams Alliance
American Liberty Tour
Patients First
Americans for Prosperity
Nationwide Tea Party Coalition
Tea Party Patriots
Let Freedom Ring
Americans for Limited Government

6 08 2009
JJ

Found it (for now at least) on youtube:

6 08 2009
Nance Confer

My question —

OK, so the Congressmen have their town halls. And various people from different sides show up and are more or less civil.

So what?

Aren’t we past that stage? Didn’t we do this during the election cycle? We rallied and chanted and listened and shouted and all that. And then we voted. And Obama and some Ds won.

And now they are in DC and aren’t they supposed to know what we voted them into office for? Nobody has changed their mind — “Oh, I voted for you to fix the healthcare system but now I don’t want you to” — have they?

What is the point of a town hall anything? The specifics of the bill, it seems to me, are being ironed out in the smoke-filled back rooms of Congress and that’s how it’s going to be done. There’s no point in thinking otherwise. Is there? If I stand up at a town hall and say, “You know, I really think you guys should include dental in these plans” do you think they’re going to smack themselves on the forehead and thank me and say “Oh, thank goodness she remembered, we are just idiots who would never have thought of that.” Etc. for any of the details of this plan.

OK, I have to leave. DH is going to the hand doctor today. Let’s see how much this will cost. . .

Nance

6 08 2009
Kristina

But, Nance, even among those people who voted for the Ds there are those who don’t want this, or want it done in a different way.

No, I don’t think it will change anything. But, I DO think it is my responsibility as an American citizen to not sit back and let the legislature do whatever they want to after they are in office. I DO think it is my responsibility to keep them in check. And, after all, they DO need to know what their constituents want. Their constituents are the ones that SHOULD matter, not the party line, right? And, too many of our Congressmen and Senators toe the party line instead of listening to their constituents.

I also think that there ARE people who have changed their minds. I’ve talked to a few, although most people that I speak to were already for or against, and have NOT changed their minds. But, if we’re not allowed open debate in the town hall, where is that vaunted free speach?

6 08 2009
JJ

Kristina, I think that’s what we ALL are asking (except the puppetmasters themselves.)

“But, if we’re not allowed open debate in the town hall, where is that vaunted free speech?”

6 08 2009
Nance Confer

I’m not saying anyone isn’t allowed to exercise their right to free speech — which is not the same thing as disrupting a town hall — but it just seems futile to me at this point. We all know what the issues are if we have been paying attention, legislators know, lobbyists know, etc.

And it doesn’t matter if I change my mind or not at this point.

Or do town hall attendees think they are going to change the mind of a legislator?

Nance

7 08 2009
JJ

No minds changing like this. No minds doing much work at all!

Tampa tonight in my state (and Nance’s) —
What was intended to be a town hall discussion on President Barack Obama’s health care reform proposal dissolved into a shouting match with shoving and scuffles in Ybor City tonight. . .

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a strong supporter. . . tried to speak for nearly 15 minutes but the crowd drowned her out, chanting, “You work for us,” “Tyranny, tyranny,” and “Read the bill.” She ultimately left the meeting early, further angering some attendees.

The problems began when a crowd of around 500, many of them recruited to attend by interest groups both for and against the proposal, sought to enter the meeting room. The room, in the offices of the Hillsborough County Children’s Board on East Palm Avenue, has a capacity of only about 250.

Several hundred people, mostly opponents, wound up outside or packing a hallway leading into the meeting room. Some scuffled with members of the sponsoring groups who manned the doorway.

One man who said he was injured and intended to file a police complaint . . .

7 08 2009
JJ

Jeffrey Feldman about what happened in Tampa tonight:

They were invaded and attacked by one specific kind of group: mobs of organized, right-wing agitators wielding a strategy of disruptive escalation: shouting, then fist waving, then pounding on glass.

Meanwhile, these mobs are not only encouraged, but are egged on by industry, elected officials, and broadcast media personalities.

This is not two-sided violence. This is a one-sided attack on Americans trying to engage in the most basic act of our democracy: civic conversation with an eye towards problem solving.

When American citizens cannot come together to discuss a problem for fear of being attacked by a violent mob, the foundation on which our civic tradition rests has been cracked. And if that crack is not repaired, the foundation will break.

Members of Congress and Senators who wrap themselves in this mob in the name of scoring political points for an upcoming election risk trampling not only on millions of Americans suffering in the current health insurance system, but also on the American system of government itself.

In America, violent intimidation is not the brand of politics we embrace. It is the politics we brand immoral.

Tampa is a warning. If the use of violent street mob tactics persists — if more and more right-wing mobs pound on windows and create a threatening environment to shut down town hall discussions, a line will have been crossed that may have dire consequences for this country.

7 08 2009
Nance Confer

Well, maybe some of the Congresspeople will learn something. (How’s that for an about-face? 🙂 )

But based on this last article, maybe, just maybe, Congresspeople are not complete idiots and will learn who is showing up and shouting and who is not there — at least in such numbers and at such volume — people who are scraping by and are at work. People, btw, who do not have health insurance.

And maybe these Congresspeople will finish their visits and return to DC and do what they were elected to do!

Nance

7 08 2009
JJ

Dunno, it would be nice but I don’t see the solutions yet – Paul Krugman says “we’ve become a society in which the big bucks go to bad actors.” Seems to me THAT is the political problem we elected this administration to change.

7 08 2009
COD

There was never any hope that this administration was going to change the money problems. This administration is there in part because of its ability to master the art of raising obscene amounts of money.

7 08 2009
JJ

Hey, it’s not the money that’s obscene, I’m for money, send some my way! — it’s the money going to the bad actors that’s obscene and undermines all that is Truth, Justice and the American Way. The whole idea of free enterprise is that the free part and the enterprise part are supposed to match up, so we get productive enterprise for the money, right? But these bad actors have mastered division, not just between us into warring tribes by race and ideology but between the “free” and the “enterprise” too. Hence they have the freedom to keep taking all the money made by our enterprise!

8 08 2009
Nance Confer

But, Chris, wasn’t a big chunk of that money raised from regular people, not only the usual suspects?

Wasn’t that supposed to tell us something about the priorities of this admin?

Nance

8 08 2009
JJ

Funny you mention that. I read something pretty wonderful this afternoon from a Bill Moyers interview around inauguration time.

A couple of highly accomplished black female professionals explained that one of the best indications for them to the priorities of this administration, was (not small donors or anti-Iraq war but) looking at the woman our new president had chosen for his wife — a fabulous woman as tall as he, as smart as he, and also unmistakably “black” even at a distance, so that there could be no doubt how he viewed the full partnership of that community, not just in America but as part of his own identity and his young daughters’ too.

Video here

Transcript here

They go on with some interesting thoughts about how one of the big changes is that now, Barack Obama isn’t Martin Luther King, but LBJ! So he needs others to be his Kings . . .

10 08 2009
More Crazy Talk in the Public Square « Cocking A Snook!

[…] also Palin-esque Obama Hate, Why Tea PArty Tactics Aren’t Healthy for Health Reform and How Language Tricks Our Thoughts, Shrouds Our Feelings: If you are around people who constantly […]

10 08 2009
JJ

Here’s a creative suggestion!

If this is all THEATRE designed for viral video, Bill Mann just writes in a new scene for staged town beatings:

Men in White: Have two guys dress in white, loony-bin attendant coats. Then, provide them with a large butterfly net (easily built by a local theatre’s prop department.)

Then, each time an Astroturfer starts ranting, have these two guys throw the butterfly net over the ranter and gently guide them out the door.

Now that’s the kind of funny footage even Fox News might use, albeit grudgingly.

21 09 2009
Science Fiction — and Anti-science Fiction? « Cocking A Snook!

[…] minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. And early in the twentieth century came the great […]

18 02 2010
Tea Partying is to Homeschooling? « Cocking A Snook!

[…] “This is not about policy. It’s about incitement to violence.” […]

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