Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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RIP Ben Bradlee

RIP Ben Bradlee
One of our nation's best.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

ASTROTURFING AT TOWN HALL MEETINGS: Lanny Davis speaks up.

"The 'shout downs' organized by the Republican right meet one of the classic definitions of 'fascist' tactics--defined as using shouting and disruption to deprive the civil and respectful debate of ideas.

There is literally no defense to these tactics. I don't criticize those who feel genuine anger or fear and show up to meetings to express those emotions. But I do call out the tactic of screaming and disrupting a meeting and the fact that this is a systematic tactic by thugs who want to prevent civil discourse, not promote it.

Let's have the media name names, publish photographs, and do interviews of those responsible for approving, even organizing these techniques. And let's find an investigative journalist - are there any left - to prove these so-called grassroots shouters are, or are not, being paid.

It took a year or more to prove that the so-called grassroots protesters shouting and pounding on the windows of the vote counters in Dade County -- successfully stopping the vote -- were really paid Republican congressional staffers, many then on the public payroll, and from the Republican National Committee and the Bush 2000 presidential campaign staff.


Will that story of paid people to disrupt and block discussion organized by the Republican Party or tacitly encouraged while Republican rightwing organizations organize them at least be investigated?" --Lanny Davis

25 comments:

James' Muse said...

This is so ridiculous. The right was furious over one instance of black panthers intimidating voters on Nov 4th...where is the indignation over this?

William Jefferson Clinton, said...

Welcome to Generation Obama.

Generation Obama/GO is a locally-based but nationally coordinated grassroots movement led by young activists with a simple goal: electing Barack Obama the next President of the United States of America through field work, political organizing and fund raising.

With a few committed activists and the savvy to reach thousands of people in your community, your GO chapter can play a powerful role for the Obama campaign. As a member of your local GO chapter, you and other members can utilize the many talents of our country’s next great generation in support of the campaign in a variety of meaningful ways.

BTW, Is Lanny Davis the best ya got?
He is so irrelevant

dmarks said...

James: And conversely, the left is rather defensive about disruptive protesters that are on their side.

libhom said...

I wish liberals were organized enough to have vocal supporters of single payer at the town halls.

dmarks said...

Thankfully, single payer is off the rader.

Shaw Kenawe said...

To the commenter who used President Clinton's name:

You didn't refute one thing in Lanny Davis' remarks.

Organizing people to go out and get other people to vote for you is not the same as screaming, bullying, and shutting down town hall meetings meant to discuss health care issues.

Nice irrelevant try. Come back when you have a real argument.

FAIL.

TAO said...

Lets see, Freedom Works is a pet project of Steve Forbes, the owner of a real estate development firm in CHICAGO (oh, and lets hear it about Chicago and its politics) and a hedge fund owner...

They financed the Tea Parties and now in conjunction with a K Street lobbying firm they are spearheading the Healthcare astroturf folks...

...and their playbook is no different than the one used by ACORN (oh, and we know what the talking points for republicans say about ACORN).

One cannot help but ask all of our rightwing brethern: WHY DO YOU HATE DEMOCRACY SO MUCH?

Why do you hate the little guy so much that you would become a shill for the vested interests of the wealthy and the powerful?

What do they pay you to sell your own best interests to them?

TRUTH 101 said...

My abscence from Shaw's health care post was mostly because I support single payer as Libhom does. The plan going through now might lead eventually to single payer if the government alternative is better and cheaper than what employers can offer. But don't be surprised if the government plan ends up having the sickest among us while the insurance companies cherry pick for the healthiest and least likely to file claims.

I'd just as soon cut through all the BS and start single payer now.

TAO said...

Ah, Truth, the BS on healthcare reform costs the healthcare and insurance industry $165,000,000 in just three months for lobbying and getting grass roots action...

THATS alot of money and a lot of BS to wade through....and to think that will get written off as a legitimate business expense on their taxes...

Since when has destroying democracy been a tax deduction?

dmarks said...

Truth said: "The plan going through now might lead eventually to single payer"

Right-wingers get called scare-mongers for mentioning this possibility. The scary possibility of going to a complete government-controlled health care monopoly.

TRUTH 101 said...

The thought of a health care system that takes profit out of health care decisions is very comforting actually Dmarks. It's knowing that right now, decisions on treatment and medication for my family are based on what a clerk in my HMO's business office deems appropriate and covered,that is scary.

dmarks said...

Tao said: "Since when has destroying democracy been a tax deduction?"

Might as well accuse them of kicking puppies too. I don't agree with disrupting meetings. But this has nothing to do with "destroying democracy".

dmarks said...

Truth: In single-payer, the profits are earend by the ever-expanding nomenclatura of the faceless and isolated government officials who end up making all of the decisions.

Clerks from whom there is no escape. Unlike the situation with the thousands of insurance companies and HMOs we have now. We need reform to make them compete better with each other. Not go the other way and get rid of all accountability and incentive to serve by replacing accountable competitors with a monopoly.

TAO said...

Dmarks,

Healthcare is a big issue in this country and since 76% of Americans agree that our system of healthcare must be reformed and most importantly, since the insurance and healthcare industry enjoying the benefits of a free market system cannot seem to develop and or devise a system that would resolve the dissatisfaction that exists with a majority of Americans then we have the opportunity to use Town Hall Meetings to discuss and explore the dissatisfaction...

But when hired goons are employed to disrupt these meetings or post obvious lies on the internet then democracy is being destroyed...

Its definitely not the ideal decision making and our information gathering venue...

dmarks said...

"Its definitely not the ideal decision making and our information gathering venue..."

Each of those goons has exactly one vote, whether or not they act as goons, or work in a 7-11. Democracy is not changed.

"....or post obvious lies on the internet...."

Thankfully, the First Amendment still holds sway here, and opinions and views on the issues of the day that others might want to see censored still get out.

Using the term "goon" for someone on the Internet who is merely expressing an opinion is really stretching it, you know. The goon (or related thug) term implies violence. As long as they are speaking their mind, and are not threatening anyone (or even doing internet violence such as hacking sites), the worst they can be is trolls.

Gordon said...

Don't you just love the Democrats in action? Citizens show up at town hall meetings to protest, and Lanny Davis suggests that they be investigated. The White House sets up a special email address for folks to report dissenters.

Michael Moore thinks Cuban health care is wonderful. I wonder what he thinks of the Cuban-style politics we're seeing from the Democrats?

Arthurstone said...

This is interesting:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/06/unions-to-take-on-conserv_n_252720.html

I read somewhere that 'Unions' were 'exempt' from health care reform (because of their 'gold-plated' plans) and wanted no part of any new legislation.

Presumably the AFL-CIO didn't get that memo.

Go figure. It's almost like opponents of health care reform make stuff up.

Gordon said...

Don't know where you might have read that, Arthurstone. The unions have always wanted a government takeover of healthcare. All of those formerly private jobs would become AFSCME jobs. Lotta dues to be reaped there, eh?

What they want is for their health plans to be exempt from the public option requirements to which non-union plans would be subject. In other words, good for thee, but not for me.

dmarks said...

Gordon: I wonder if the unions would support the "government takeover of healthcare" (single payer, etc) if protections were put in place so workers were not forced against their will to join AFSCME/etc.

Gordon said: "Michael Moore thinks Cuban health care is wonderful. I wonder what he thinks of the Cuban-style politics we're seeing from the Democrats?"

There are many things I admire Michael Moore for, and thank him for. But he was off his rocker on claiming the superiority of Cuban health care.

Cuba's vaunted "doctors" have something like a 7th grade education. Not only that, the Cuban health care system is one where you can be executed for complaining about the care you get. Under the law there.

Arthurstone said...

Gordon typed:

Don't know where you might have read that, Arthurstone.

The day before at "HEALTH CARE REFORM AND ASTROTURFING" Gordon typed:

If it's such a wonderful plan, why does the legislation exempt labor unions? Don't they deserve this bundle of gold?


Hmmmm.

Shaw Kenawe said...

There are many things I admire Michael Moore for, and thank him for. But he was off his rocker on claiming the superiority of Cuban health care.

Then why does Cuba beat us in life expectancy rates:

In 2007, the life expectancies at birth were as follows (World Bank data):
Cuba, 78.26 years;
World, 68.76 years;
Latin America and Caribbean, 73.13 years;
high income OECD countries, 79.66 years;
United States, 77.99 years.

infant mortality:

The 2007 infant mortality rates published by the World Health Organisation in 2009 were:
Cuba, 5;
World, 46;
High income countries, 6;
United States, 6

and children under five:

The mortality rates for children under five in 2007 were as follows (World Bank):
Cuba, 6.5;
World, 68.01;
Latin America and Caribbean, 26.37;
high-income OECD, 5.71;
United States, 7.60.

In 2005, Cuba had 627 physicians and 94 dentists per 100,000 population.

That year the United States had 225physicians and 54 dentists per 100,000 population;

there was no data for Latin America as a region, but the Central American isthmus had 123 physicians and 30 dentists per 100,000.

Not bad for a country we've punished through embargoes and other means of keeping it under developed, eh?

It beats us in life expectancy and infant mortality.

Yeah American health care!

dmarks said...

Cuba is a tightly controlled totalitarian state. They report whatever stats the regime requires them to report. Just like Fidel Castro is very popular there (because it is the law).

I'd love to see the reports coming from independent media in Cuba. Oh wait. There is none there. Imagine if Aetna in the US owned all the TV stations and killed/jailed anyone who tried to present alternative views. Aetna would be free to cook any information it wanted to. This is the situation now in Cuba.

Their "doctors" often have a 7th grade education, as well. Not even qualified to be nurses in more civilized countries.

"Not bad for a country we've punished through embargoes and other means of keeping it under developed, eh?"

Cuba is horribly developed due to its hardline Stalinist regime. The embargo did not do that.

Arthurstone said...

If the US had pursued normal relations with Cuba fifty years ago Castro would have been retired back in the 1970's.

dmarks said...

There's no reason to believe that. He's never wavered from his commitment to hardline Stalinism.

Also, we have "normalized" relations with mainland China for decades. Did the dictators retire?

Perhaps you mean that Fidel would have retired and left his dictatorship to Raoul in the 1970s.

But I do not oppose "normalizing" relations with Cuba, such as lifting the embargo, if there is something in it for the Cubans. Like a requirement for democracy. Some lifting of the jackboot of that has been on Cuba's neck for decades.

Arthurstone said...

Relations with China were liberalized to a degree. Certainly not 'normalized'. And that's how both sides preferred it.

As for Cuba. Fidels body count is lower than that of right-wing dictators in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras, etc.

In fact the Revolution saved countless lives in a nation where, prior to Castro back during the Batista/Mafia/Bacardi regime Cubans starved by the tens of thousands, remained illiterate and had no access to health care.