Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"Obama As Hitler": Anybody But Conservatives, apparently...

TheBlogProf sez the poster was a Democrat/Union Plant (memeorandum). Rightwing media site Newsbusters assigns the posters to Communist and perpetual Presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche (memeorandum). It seems the only people they won't blame is themselves. And the only thing they won't do is take responsibility for the real nuts in their midst.

I mean, sure, the LaRouche people are distributing that poster on their website. From what I've read, they've been doing so for several months now. But the site and the download are open to anyone, to copy or otherwise use and abuse as they see fit. And the person holding this sign was protesting with the folks on the right, against the health care bill. (Which is kind of odd, for a commie to not be in favor of "socialist" health care reforms, where the government is in control of every aspect of the lives of it's citizens, right?)

The "plant" meme is even more ridiculous, and even less believable. One Freeper claims that the guy in the picture was handing out Dingell (D-Mich.) leaflets after the town hall. That's the sum total of the "proof." No photo, no unbiased account. Just one biased Obama/Dem hater making a specious claim (& (the beginnings of) the wingnut echo chamber spreading it like pollen).

I believe that many folks against the health care bill would not stoop this low themselves. I even believe that many are acting in good faith. But there are rude, dishonest, racist nutjobs in their midst. And the good people should do what they can to disassociate themselves from these folks. While I'm certain that most baggers wouldn't carry such a sign, there's no report anywhere of anyone who was there disavowing this guy and/or his sign before it became a news story. Like it or not this guy (as well as the baby mama who gave her kid the swastika sign to hold, and the one with the SS sign, and...) are pissing in your pool, and fouling your tea.

Take some responsibility, and do something about it. Pointing fingers outward and going into ABC mode isn't going to cut it.

Democrat and daughter attend Obama Town Hall

Film at 11.

Michelle Malkin - Little girl at Obama town hall has not-so-random political connections

Malkintent & her posse must be gettin' a little desperate, when the story is that the daughter of a prominent MA Democrat asked Obama a question at his most recent town hall in NH. (I mean, if anyone has anything more than speculation and "we all know..." to support the notion that she wasn't picked as randomly as any other questioner at any other town hall, I'm all ears. But if that's all she has, the post linked above is a pitiful waste of perfectly good electrons.)

Amazingly, it isn't the first time Democrats have attended events held by President Obama, or the first time Malkintent has noticed. Michelle Malkin - The illustrated guide to Obamacare human props. Next she'll post informing her readers that her parents were not WASPS, that she didn't vote for Obama, and that water is wet.

I'm just shocked!!

(It must be a sad little world this woman and her worshipers live in...)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Re: Mr "Insta-" Reynolds: Protest is still patriotic, and rudeness is still rude.

Glenn Harlan Reynolds: Remember when protest was patriotic?

No, Insty... Protest is still patriotic, and hooliganism is still hooliganism. To whatever extent the same people and media organizations who cheered disruptions of congressional hearings and Republic party member events are decrying the same behavior now--or decried that behavior then, but are applauding it now--you have a point about hypocrisy. I agree. Anyone who's using one standard to judge friends and another to judge foes is a hypocrite. Like my statements above about protest & hooliganism, that hypocrisy standard remains the same, left or right.

To the extent you're trying to make some kinda point about this monolith you call the left, though--kind of a "if one does it, they all support it" kinda thing--your piece here falls flat. Judging these "citizens" one way or the other while being a member of one party or another isn't enough to make one a hypocrite.

Good try, but no dice.

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls the "Tea Party" protesters Nazis..."

Not so much, actually... She said some of them were carrying signs with swastikas or other Nazi symbols, which some were (& continue to do). I can post the pictures, if you really need to see 'em again.

As far as the rest, people know bad behavior when they see it. Anyone who feels it's justified to shout down and shut down town hall meetings should keep on doing it, and if at all possible, videotaping it, too. Because while many on the right are slapping each other on the back and gloating over having heckled this or that Democrat into closing the meeting early or saying something foolish, I'm not so sure it's playing as well outside of your little circle. People know rudeness and hooliganism when they see it.

Updates, revisions, and extensions:
8/9/09: memeorandum link to Reynolds' post

Friday, August 7, 2009

Steven Pearlstein: Republicans Propagating Falsehoods in Attacks on Health-Care Reform

Forgive the cutnpaste, but chances are slim that I could improve on this piece by stickin' my two cents in, or alternatively, cutting too much out of what Steven Pearlstein wrote. (I'm not entirely without keyboard, including the "delete" key, but the whole of the substance remains.)

Republicans Propagating Falsehoods in Attacks on Health-Care Reform - Steven Pearlstein - (memeorandum):

There are lots of valid criticisms that can be made against the health reform plans moving through Congress -- I've made a few myself. But there is no credible way to look at what has been proposed by the president or any congressional committee and conclude that these will result in a government takeover of the health-care system. That is a flat-out lie whose only purpose is to scare the public and stop political conversation.

Under any plan likely to emerge from Congress, the vast majority of Americans who are not old or poor will continue to buy health insurance from private companies, continue to get their health care from doctors in private practice and continue to be treated at privately owned hospitals.

The centerpiece of all the plans is a new health insurance exchange set up by the government where individuals, small businesses and eventually larger businesses will be able to purchase insurance from private insurers at lower rates than are now generally available under rules that require insurers to offer coverage to anyone regardless of health condition. Low-income workers buying insurance through the exchange -- along with their employers -- would be eligible for government subsidies. While the government will take a more active role in regulating the insurance market and increase its spending for health care, that hardly amounts to the kind of government-run system that critics conjure up when they trot out that oh-so-clever line about the Department of Motor Vehicles being in charge of your colonoscopy.

There is still a vigorous debate as to whether one of the insurance options offered through those exchanges would be a government-run insurance company of some sort. There are now less-than-even odds that such a public option will survive in the Senate, while even House leaders have agreed that the public plan won't be able to piggy-back on Medicare. So the probability that a public-run insurance plan is about to drive every private insurer out of business -- the Republican nightmare scenario -- is approximately zero.

By now, you've probably also heard that health reform will cost taxpayers at least a trillion dollars. Another lie.

First of all, that's not a trillion every year, as most people assume -- it's a trillion over 10 years, which is the silly way that people in Washington talk about federal budgets. On an annual basis, that translates to about $140 billion, when things are up and running.

Even that, however, grossly overstates the net cost to the government of providing universal coverage. Other parts of the reform plan would result in offsetting savings for Medicare: reductions in unnecessary subsidies to private insurers, in annual increases in payments rates for doctors and in payments to hospitals for providing free care to the uninsured. The net increase in government spending for health care would likely be about $100 billion a year, a one-time increase equal to less than 1 percent of a national income that grows at an average rate of 2.5 percent every year.

The Republican lies about the economics of health reform are also heavily laced with hypocrisy.

While holding themselves out as paragons of fiscal rectitude, Republicans grandstand against just about every idea to reduce the amount of health care people consume or the prices paid to health-care providers -- the only two ways I can think of to credibly bring health spending under control.

When Democrats, for example, propose to fund research to give doctors, patients and health plans better information on what works and what doesn't, Republicans sense a sinister plot to have the government decide what treatments you will get. By the same wacko-logic, a proposal that Medicare pay for counseling on end-of-life care is transformed into a secret plan for mass euthanasia of the elderly.

Government negotiation on drug prices? The end of medical innovation as we know it, according to the GOP's Dr. No. Reduce Medicare payments to overpriced specialists and inefficient hospitals? The first step on the slippery slope toward rationing.

Can there be anyone more two-faced than the Republican leaders who in one breath rail against the evils of government-run health care and in another propose a government-subsidized high-risk pool for people with chronic illness, government-subsidized community health centers for the uninsured, and opening up Medicare to people at age 55?

Health reform is a test of whether this country can function once again as a civil society -- whether we can trust ourselves to embrace the big, important changes that require everyone to give up something in order to make everyone better off. Republican leaders are eager to see us fail that test. We need to show them that no matter how many lies they tell or how many scare tactics they concoct, Americans will come together and get this done.

One thing I did cut from my cutnpaste was Mr Pearlstein's unfortunate use of the phrase "political terrorists" in the column to refer to the wingnuts and hooligans opposing healthcare reform. As Zandar notes, "...the usual suspects are already using those two words to negate the other thousand."

Sadly, that doesn't surprise me, either.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Right-Wing Astroturf Harassment Strategy Against Dems Detailed In Memo: ‘Yell,’ ‘Stand Up And Shout Out,’ ‘Rattle Him’

Think Progress - Right-Wing Harassment Strategy Against Dems Detailed In Memo: ‘Yell,’ ‘Stand Up And Shout Out,’ ‘Rattle Him’

Missing from the reporting of these stories is the fact that much of these protests are coordinated by public relations firms and lobbyists who have a stake in opposing President Obama’s reforms.

The lobbyist-run groups Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, which orchestrated the anti-Obama tea parties earlier this year, are now pursuing an aggressive strategy to create an image of mass public opposition to health care and clean energy reform. A leaked memo from Bob MacGuffie, a volunteer with the FreedomWorks website Tea Party Patriots, details how members should be infiltrating town halls and harassing Democratic members of Congress:

– Artificially Inflate Your Numbers: “Spread out in the hall and try to be in the front half. The objective is to put the Rep on the defensive with your questions and follow-up. The Rep should be made to feel that a majority, and if not, a significant portion of at least the audience, opposes the socialist agenda of Washington.”

– Be Disruptive Early And Often: “You need to rock-the-boat early in the Rep’s presentation, Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Rep’s statements early.”

– Try To “Rattle Him,” Not Have An Intelligent Debate: “The goal is to rattle him, get him off his prepared script and agenda. If he says something outrageous, stand up and shout out and sit right back down. Look for these opportunities before he even takes questions.”

The memo above also resembles the talking points being distributed by FreedomWorks for pushing an anti-health reform assault all summer. Patients United, a front group maintained by Americans for Prosperity, is currently busing people all over the country for more protests against Democratic members. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), chairman of the NRCC, has endorsed the strategy, telling the Politico the days of civil town halls are now “over.”

Read the rest here.

And to be sure, these astroturfers, along with a few legit wingers, are following the playbook. [Teabaggers Try To Shout Down Health Care Reform At Town Halls | TPMDC] Congress folks have been shouted down, had chanting mobs follow them to their cars, and been forced to cancel town hall meetings or call security in locations all across the US. And our fellow citizens on the right are gloating about "shouting down" and "heckling" their representatives, besides, when they should be ashamed of such disrespectful behavior. They're largely a self-interested, corporate controlled mob, and they're getting ugly.

Updates as I find 'em:
More examples and folks proud of the hooliganism:
American Power: Dogging Lloyd Doggett: 'Just Say No"; to Obamacare!
Gateway Pundit: Lib "Blue Dog' Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-OH) Booed, Mocked & Laughed At During Town Hall (Video)
Delegitimizing Obama by any means at hand - docweaselblog

More folks saying astroturfing & acting like an unruly mob is no way for American citizens to treat each other:
Rachel Maddow on GOP Thugishness at Town Halls: This is Called Hooliganism | Video Cafe
The danger in the right's anger - Ben Smith -
Is Obama’s Vaunted Political Operation Getting Outworked By Tea-Baggers? | The Plum Line

Monday, August 3, 2009

World Net Daily Sez, Not Only Isn’t Obama A Citizen….He’s The Antichrist

Somewhere, a woman named Grace is having an "Explosion."

Below The Beltway: World Net Daily Sez, Not Only Isn’t Obama A Citizen….He’s The Antichrist

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Post- Beerestroika Caption Contest

It's from Hot Air, so the whole thing leans pretty far wingnut, but even so, the winning entry is awful funny. (You can look for yourself, but in my opinion, there was no competition for the funny, and entirely too much downright mean--as is much of the commentary regarding this pic in Right Wingnuttia.) Hot Air - Caption Contest: After Beerestroika

And the winning entry is..."Just A Cop, Skip, and A Chump From the White House" - Christien on July 31, 2009 at 7:09 PM