Republicans Shouting Down Debate, Shutting Down Democracy

Since there have been so many health-care reform stories breaking in the last two days I’d thought I’d do a recap. Much of it has to do with Republicans either trying to shut down debate altogether or to spin news in their favor.

National Republican Congressional Committee Encourages Demagoguery

Recess Roasting: “Shouting Overwhelms Kagen Forum on Health Care”:

“The vast majority of people attending the event appeared to come in protest of the health-care legislation, and they repeatedly disrupted the event by shouting. The crowd’s size and vocal frustration grabbed the attention of Green Bay police, who arrived soon after the event began to keep the peace. Capt. Rick Demro said no one was arrested. Kagen never battled the crowd’s volume, but voiced his concerns several times about its attitude. If the event were a shouting match, the mob won. Kagen tried talking about the health-care bill, but the roaring chants deafened his attempts. Several elderly people covered their ears and grimaced at the level of noise.” (Keegan Kyle, “Shouting Overwhelms Kagen forum on health care,” Greenbay Press Gazette, 8/04/2009)(bold mine)

Any story that retold attempts by tea baggers to shut down disseminating information and taking questions was celebrated as a victory. The NRCC and the tea baggers are calling health-care reform a “take over” of health-care. They”re lying about the most basic of facts. Adding a public option less “taking over” health-care then providing government health-care for veterans or running the Medicare program for when Americans retire. If Republicans cannot or will not get this basic fact correct that means they’re afraid of a honest debate.

DNC video attacks birthers, GOP’s ‘mob’ tactics(video)

The DNC has produced a video of their own, which we bring to you below. It attacks so-called GOP “mobs” that have been cropping up around the country at Democratic lawmakers’ town hall meetings.

It was revealed early Tuesday that these groups are being organized by the same folks that coordinated the Swift Boat attacks against Sen. John Kerry in 2004, effectively sinking his bid to unseat his now departed opponent.

The group claiming credit for the angry scenes is called Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, run by a former hospitals executive.

“After eight years of failed policies that ruined our economy and cost millions of American jobs, desperate Republicans and their well-funded backers are organizing angry mobs, just like they did during the election,” the DNC’s video declares.

“This strategy is straight from the playbooks of high-level political operatives,” the Democrats claim. “They have no plan for moving our country forward, so they’ve called out the mob.”

The ad also features the now-famous clip of an angry woman confronting a congressman at a town hall, asking, “why are you people ignoring” the supposed lack of a birth certificate for the President of the United States.

Birthers or tea baggers its the same unhinged crowd. Birthers are not the least accommodating to facts. Oil and water don’t mix, neither do facts and birther- tea baggers, but for those that enjoy a argument here’s some ammo, Salon’s handy-dandy guide to refuting the Birthers

GOP and civil debate

Everyone has seen this, but there is an update, Right-Wing Harassment Strategy Against Dems Detailed In Memo: ‘Yell,’ ‘Stand Up And Shout Out,’ ‘Rattle Him’

Tea Bagger Memo

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.”

Americans for Prosperity(Americans for Prosperity is exempt from tax as a social welfare organization. It received $3.4 million in direct public support in 2007) says they did not write this. True a Bob MacGuffie wrote it and Bob just happens to post at “Tea Party Patriots”. Its also true that the substance of the memo as concerns talking or shouting points, is the similar to a letter that Freedom Works put out (Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works are run by corporate lobbyists). Its been said that so what deep pocketed special interests are doing the backing, the people that show up are sincere. That doesn’t matter much if they act like astroturf puppets. They follow the rules laid out in the memo above. When a representative is allowed to answer that the government is not taking over health-care they shout “liar”. Its not activism to show up and try to disrupt meetings so those actually interested in getting the facts, can’t, over the jeering from the crowd. These people might well feel sincere that doesn’t make them any less the puppets of the organized lobbying groups that represent corporate interests. The tea bagging birthers are one of the strangest and deeply hypocritical movements in history. They want to be seen as being anti-coporate/anti=Wall St to cash in on the wave of resentment brought about by the economic crisis, but are how trying to protect corporate interests like CIGNA and Blue Cross Blue Shield ( both have given patients and their families the shaft) and health-care corporations. The Corporate Healthcare Coalition, Medco Health Solutions  and United Health Group are represented by lobbying firm Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock.

Local Fox Reporter Attends Town Hall And Finds ‘Some Attendees Admit They Don’t Live In The District’

Michelle Malkin has called the attempts to shut down town hall meetings a “counter-insurgency” by the “grassroots”. Sure if the roots have a Platinum American Express and a $3 thousand dollar suit.

The right-wing blog Atlas Shrugged celebrates closing down a two hundred year old American tradition with this headline,  Monday, August 03, 2009 – “Town Halls Grow More, Hostility too: Arlen Specter and Kathleen Sebelius Heckled, Jeered at Town Hall”

A conservative blog called American Power also celebrates the triumph of shrill ignorance, Monday, August 3, 2009 – “Town Halls Get Results! ‘Audience Shouts Down Sebelius, Specter at Health Care Town Hall in Philadelphia'”

Both of those blogs got the ultimate stamp of right-wing approval, a link from Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds. Glenn is unhappy because he feels that not every Democrat in the House read every single page – that might be a problem with the reception on his tin-foil antenna. That is an odd complaint from someone who is happy that that small groups of tea baggers are keeping Americans from asking questions about the bill that Glenn thinks no one has read. Glenn and the tea baggers want to be both the nation’s information managers and ever so sincere propagandists. Why we should trust the same people that ruined the economy and spent 3 trillion dollars on Iraq to determine what the rest of us should read and hear; that requires more tin foil then most working Americans can afford right now.

Don Hamm’s (CEO of Assurant) testified before Congress and used some deceptive numbers. I am shocked, Unconscionable Math

To understand why 0.5% of the people Assurant covers is a lot of people – a jarring, terrifying, probably criminal lot – you need to understand a little bit of math.  You need to understand just enough math to understand what Don and his legal team are not telling you.  You need to understand conditional probability.  And the folks at Assurant are counting on the fact that you don’t.

Tea Baggers FAIL to disrupt Health Care meeting, lessons shared.

Some nice satire from Spencer Ackerman, Bill Clinton Personally Reduces North Korea to Smoldering, Rubble-Strewn Wasteland

In an unforeseen turn of events, Bill Clinton strapped himself with nuclear weapons and detonated during a meeting with Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang. The former president’s inability to free imprisoned American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling ended in carnage, the only diplomatic language the North Koreans understand. Clinton, recognizing that diplomacy was useless, bit his lip sorrowfully and expressed regret that so many had to die in the name of American prestige, according to a suicide note obtained by this blog.

The rest at the link.