Democrats & Liberals Archives

Theft By Deception

Whatever opinion these people might have, they’re crossing the line, over and over again, between honest discourse and lies, intimidation, and other undemocratic, and frankly unamerican means of winning debates. And before you ask, they aren’t just spitballing, they’ve put this plan into play.

These people should be ashamed of themselves, and we should be distrustful of them on instinct, because what they're practicing is not the legitimate exercise of free speech, but instead a deceptive, overbearing, and ultimately disrespectful brand of politics where if you aren't on their side, they are justified in shutting your ability to say what you want to say, to convince those who can be convinced, and getting verified, and verifiable facts out there down.

These are much the same people who continue, even after its been shown on national TV again and again, to allege that Obama's birth certificate hasn't been given out. The document that legally demonstrates that Obama is an American citizen has already been released, they just don't care to acknowledge it for what it is, because they refuse to acknowledge the duly elected President of the United States for what he is.

These are the same people who protested government spending only after a Democrat was elected. These people were nowhere to be seen when it was a Republican overspending. Perhaps because they're more concerned with the spirit of Republican tax cuts, with the middle finger they raise to the federal system, than they are with the results of actual policy.

Never mind that many of these same people backed the same kind of policies when a Republican offered them, or at least remained silent as many real intrusions on people's lives were undertaken. What they want is what they had under Bush and the Republican Congress: control of those they deem unworthy to wield political power.

They care less about what the consequences are of what they ask than they do about making sure that it is they who chart the course. But these people had their chance to lead, had their chance to make their influence felt, and it when it was their time to do things, they were more interested in their people keeping power than they were in keeping their principles. But they won't admit that, because then, they'd have to acknowledge that others were justified in going to the Democrats as an alternative. Instead, they make up some cockamamie story about how their people fell from grace because they weren't conservative enough.

Well if they did, why didn't people elect Libertarians, or Constitution Party folks? Why wasn't this a wave election where more conservative Republicans replaced moderates, instead of a further rout in the Democrat's favor? It's the same self-serving propaganda and self-serving rhetoric that kept these people bubbled away from actually doing much productive and helpful for the American people when they were in charge. Nothing knocks them for a loop. Everything, to them, justifies the continuation of their same old position.

These are not reasonable people. They don't want a fair fight, an argument won on reason. They don't believe that you're capable of reason. They don't believe you're capable of filtering what's right from what's wrong. When folks talk about the nanny state, is this not an example? Where we're hushed and pushed back to bed, supervised, with the tools of government power kept safely beyond our reach?

These people don't trust you, you independents out there! They don't trust you, moderates! They only trust their own. They only trust results that favor them. They only trust policy that comes from their people. They are little better than a cult of people repeating dogmas and in their zeal going off to make sure you can't gainsay anything they want to say. They won't let you speak, or ask questions. They'll shout you down, they'll degrade you, they'll treat you as if you are enemy of this country. They'll call you a socialist because they either believe you're one if they don't agree with you, or because they know it's a particularly nasty thing to call people in red-scared America.

But they won't trust you to decide things for yourself, to decide for yourself how far government goes into your life, how much help it gives you. They won't let you learn from your mistakes, they'll simply assume you're making a mistake if you're not doing or saying what they want you to.

They won't let you govern what they think of exclusively as their country, if you don't agree with them.

This is the politics of the right: to shout down those they disagree with, and use any tactics they feel necessary to save the people from themselves, and the oh-so-dangerous responsibility of governing themselves as a people. We've got to do better than this. Our politics cannot be one of the reasonable and quiet being shouted down by the arrogant, the obnoxious, and the unreasonable. This hasn't gone well since these people took power, and it will not go well if we let them win.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at August 4, 2009 8:33 AM
Comment #285557



Posted by: dbs at August 4, 2009 10:47 AM
Comment #285560


sorry, but i just couldn’t resist. this constant complaining about the birthers, the tea parties, and now the town hall meatings is getting old. you can deny thier legitimacy all you want, but you can’t deny that with 60 senate seats, and nearly a super majority in the house you still can’t ram your agenda through. time to quit blaming others.

the blue dogs in the end may give in to the leftist leadership of your party, but they will pay for it in 2010, and 2012. i keep telling you that the country IMO isn’t left of center, but right of center, and the facts seem to support that at this point or you would have easily rammed your crappy healthcare reform bill through the house and senate. with the reports comming in today that revenue to the gov’t has dropped @ 22%, passing that pile will be an even bigger mistake. cut the gov’t mandates on insurers, and get the trial lawyers under control, and you’ll have a much better chance of bringing down the cost of health care. but we all know that isn’t really the point is it? it’s about getting a single payer system at all cost.

Posted by: dbs at August 4, 2009 11:02 AM
Comment #285565

So, I guess whenever Democrats get angry, they’re just crying in their elitist lattes. This is the line of argument we should come to expect when the idea is that the folks who win are the ones who shout the loudest and throw the hardest elbows.

The Democrats aren’t going to stand for the BS. I will tell you what they’re going to do. They will use the teabaggers as they used them before: as foils for their moderation. The folks the right is sending to make its argument are going to alienate the people in that audience who wanted to really talk and listen to conversations with those who represent them.

We have documentary evidence of the coordinated nature of this campaign of shouting down reasonable discourse. We know that this isn’t a spontaneous public reaction, but the work of highly motivated, highly partisan, and highly unscrupulous set of astroturfed organizations, with strident activists and extremists at their beck and call.

I just got to ask you: if this nation was truly as conservative, as right wing as you claim, why does the GOP and its fellow travellers on the right feel so desperate as to feel that this kind of horsecrap is necessary?

Why don’t I reiterate my earlier point: people who think they can win the argument on legitimate terms do not resort to these kinds of tactics. They don’t lie to people if they could tell them the truth and get what they want out of them. They don’t use tactics that push buttons more than they inform, if they could get a natural reaction out of them otherwise.

The behavior of the right is the behavior of people who are confident in their ideas, but not confident in their ability to persuade others. If this nation was truly center-right, what need would their to be for this caustic, strident, overwhelming blitzkreig of vitriol?

If the right has to distort people’s perceptions of their fellow American’s attitudes in order to shape the argument, then their hold on the center is not so great as they claim.


This post is laughable. Need we refer to the unsubstantiated attacks on dozens of conservatives.

Bring it on. Show me the “unsubstantiated attacks”, and let’s test your claims. Or put another way: need we refer to the attacks on dozens of conservatives? Of course, if we’re to have a real debate on the merits of the attacks.

Need we discuss the works of ACORN and the dailey talking points of the left.

Only if you’re going to show up with substantial accusations, based on facts and not just what you find most convenient to believe. As for as the daily talking points of the left? I’ll be quite happy to discuss those with you, and compare the right-wings talking points.

Need we look at the attacks on Sarah Palin and her family, even now, after she is out of govenors position?

Oh, poor Sarah Palin. Look, you don’t airdrop yourself into the middle of a contentious political campaign, with barely any history, claiming you’re God’s gift to reform, and not expect to draw attention to yourself and scrutiny to your record.

And no, your family is not going to get left alone, anymore than Republicans left alone Chelsea Clinton, or are leaving alone Sasha or Malia. Why? In some cases, because some people, people on both sides, are bastards.

But there’s something added for Republicans: nothing spells hot news like hypocrisy. Palin is a big Christian who vaunts her family values, who makes a big deal out of the fact that she didn’t abort young Trig. Naturally, then, any news or rumors that brings things into question will get added attention. And of course, people can still be bastards. For my part, I felt that unless there was some hard evidence that Trig Palin was the grandson of Palin and not her son, it wasn’t a story we should be pushing.

Republicans should not expect to expound family values, and not have the press attempt to discern how well they’ve practiced what they preach. That is naive at best, and arrogant presumption at worse.

Palin is also to blame for the legs her story has. She could kill it by saying she had no interest in further political life. But she doesn’t seem to want to give things up. This despite her failure to serve out her term, this despite the deep hatred she reportedly stirred up on a bipartisan basis in the Alaska Legislature. returning after the election. Palin seems to want to dance on air over the deep and serious concerns that people would have regarding her qualification for the next office she seeks, in light of her now intentionally self-limited experience as a governing official. Does she really want to make the Bush parallels deeper by getting all the more touchier about any criticism sent her way?

Pelosies latest talking point is the evil insurance industry and the left immediatly jumped on it.
And why not? What’s good about kicking Cancer Patients out of their coverage? What’s good about a policy that says “deny all claims?” People who take your money but don’t help you in return are easy to make into villains.
Today it is the organized evil republicans who attack both parties at town hall meetings.
Really? Both parties? Go ahead and name the Republicans attacked.

There’s documentary evidence that this is being done, and it is Democrats who are getting hit by it. How do you back your claim?

As for free speech? Can I make something clear to you? Free speech is not an excuse for organized, belligerent disregard for other people’s right to speak. Their purpose is not to express a view point, but to completely sabotage the proceedings for any other peaceful discourse.

You’d be right if you said that both Democrats and Republicans are effected, if you count the citizens who, having shown up, ready to speak their peace reasonably, are shouted down and drowned out by organized political agitators.

Even democrats are seen questioning BHO’s drawback from his original promises, are the hate mongers too? Okay for you and not for anyone else?

Many of us do question it, and in no uncertain terms, often enough. But we do it in a peaceful manner, where others have the chance to respond themselves, offer different opinions. We ALLOW a discussion to take place, discourse to take place. We do not try to monopolize the proceedings. We do not feel that it is okay, within our core culture, to hinder the free flow of ideas. That’s what makes us Liberals. We’re free thinkers and free speakers.

As for this?

I have come to the conclusion, it has nothing to do with healthcare, global warming, or making the economy stronger. IMO, it has everything to do with making all americans dependent upon government and power.

I would compare america to a big turd in the toilet bowel and the democrats have their hand on the flush lever.

I would never compare my country to a huge piece of s***. Never. Nor would I be content to let my country be flushed down the toilet. I wouldn’t have raised my voice so often or so strongly against the Bush Adminstration and its disastrous failures if I had as little regard for my country as that.

If you don’t love this country, feel free to find one you can devote your affections and loyalty to. I do what I do now believing that I’m fighting for a better future for my country. I might be wrong in how and what I’m going for, but for the time being, I support what I support.

I just have to wonder. How much faith does the right have that people can govern themselves, can be allowed to ask for and get programs to help them in their lives? It seems that folks on the right are forever assuming that people can’t be trusted with that responsibility.

I think responsibility is something that has to be learned. I think we have an obligation to stop reacting passive aggressively after the fact to events, and start actually getting this country back into better shape now.

By the Republicans logic, when the car breaks down, you should just let it sit there and rust, because fixing it would just encourage you to continue driving that same car. But in truth, we don’t really have a choice. We can’t have both recovery and this stark moral lesson the right wants us to learn. The American people do not deserve to endure months or even years more worth of suffering just on the possibility that they might learn better for the pain.

We need people solving the problems now, so we can recover with lighter burdens on the average person, fewer disasters simply waiting to happen because of government negligence.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 4, 2009 1:51 PM
Comment #285572

I almost didn’t respond to this post because it’s just another in the long line of those that whine about being the subject of the tactics that they benefitted from for many years. And it is getting very boring.

I was listening to a podcast regarding the constitutional issues related to 9/11, they had a panel with many who were in the administration and they discussed the issue of that day, who said what, when, etc.

And, of course, about half way through some leftist antiwar types jumped up shouting down those on the panel, calling them names and screaming their insults.

How many interruptions of code-pink has the author written articles about, condemning their behavior as that against the discourse being presented?

Since the election, the attack has been on the minority party, the motivation varies. Either increasing power, shouting down resistance, perhaps just years of pent up frustration. Or, deflecting. Either way, it is clear that there will be no questioning of many to what is going on in their party, even in the face of stating that there will be.

For years the left has made outrageous claims against republican administrations and leaders in congress. From accusing them of wanting to throw your grandparents out on their own with SS reform, or medicare reform, etc. Or forcing kids to eat ketchup. Or …

It’s a blind spot. Those were all valid because the republicans are evil! Just as those on the right feel that they are justified because those on the left are commie hippies.

But make no mistake. There is nothing going on now that hasn’t gone on in the past when the roles were switched. No new tactics. The same thoughtless attacking that has been going on for decades by both parties.


Posted by: Rhinehold at August 4, 2009 3:34 PM
Comment #285573
Well if they did, why didn’t people elect Libertarians

Err, because libertarians are not ‘more conservative’ than republicans?

That you suggest that displays a frightening lack of understanding of what a libertarian believes in.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 4, 2009 3:36 PM
Comment #285576

Stephen, so the healthcare industry has their attack dogs mobilize the misinformed and you are surprised? Liberals are so naive.

Conservatives learned long ago that they could defend their positions by repeating lies over and over until they become the truth.

Even though the conservatives are spewing the crap, their signature political strategy, they are not the ones who are stopping true healthcare reform.

The real problem is that the Democratic Party layed down with the conservatives, in the corporate bed, and welcomed conservative politicians into the party. There are more Republicans in the Democratic Party than there are progressives. Now you are stuck with them and a president that lacks true leadership abilities.

It is why I and quite a few other progressives have abandoned the party. We have to have a better reason to support the Democratic Party other than they are not Republicans, an argument that has become extremely debatable in the last two decades.

Posted by: jlw at August 4, 2009 4:05 PM
Comment #285578

Why should I feel so greatly motivated to pursue Code Pink. I’m not big fans of their tactics, but they haven’t done half as much to tick me off in the last several months as the folks on the right have.

Sure I don’t think they do much good by being hecklers and disruptors. If any of them are reading this, I would advise them to stop acting so foolishly. It’s self indulgent political theatre at best. We need serious debaters, who can win people over, not radical performance artists making scenes that use symbolism that largely appeals to the choir their people already preach to.

I don’t know why you think I should feel so motivated to go after them. It’s not so much that I’m sympathetic, but if you haven’t noticed, I get a lot more flak from Republicans, and see a lot more intolerable B.S. come from their direction, than from Code Pinks.

So while in principle I disagree with their tactics, in practice I care a hell of a lot more about what the Republicans and right-wing groups are doing now, because it impacts the kind of things I care about. Why I should adopt your biases in what I attend to defies common sense.

I tend to be rather harsh with conspiracy theorists and pessimists over on Daily Kos. I confront them as harshly as I confront the tea-baggers and the people who peddle global warming contrarianism and this Birther crap here. Why? Because I am a big believer in rationalism, in science and other fields where its not all just people spinning crap in their heads until it suits their personal biases. This crap OFFENDS me on a basic level.

I believe that the framers had the right idea: that people would reason together, that Americans had the brains and the moral character to govern themselves. But I believe that only works when people aren’t off in na-na land.

Nothing about what I say represents any kind of license for Democrats to go out there and be just as stupid as the Republicans have been. I would prefer if my colleagues on the left would be good enough not to embarass our folks with that BS 9/11 Truth stuff.

I know enough science, physics, and technology to know that their case is fundamentally flawed, no matter how crappy or cynical of a president Bush is. My problem with Bush was always that despite the demonstratively wrong nature of his approaches, he proceeded with policy that was terribly harmful to American interests.

That was always my problem with him. I always believed we could and should hit Bush on solid factual and logical grounds. I believe the same thing about the Republicans doing what they’re doing here.

But I’m past the point where I believe that I can defeat these people simply by showing people the facts. We must expose the rot at the heart of the principles that underly the political approach being used. There is an element of cynical manipulation here, with this constant attempt to disquise organized political operations as spontaneous uprisings of discontented citizens, this cynical insistence on dominating the conversation, even at the price of destroying the forum for everybody else.

It’s not that the Republicans themselves are necessarily evil. The real problem is that their methods are fundamentally anti-Democratic, fundamentally deceptive in their intent. They are trying to win the argument by making things seem a way that they aren’t, by using facts that are not true, by denying people the respect for their beliefs that they are due.

I can’t let the Republicans efforts go uncommented on. I have talked to death most of the issues that back the legislation I’d like to see carried out. What can I say about environmentalism, torture, this that and the other that I haven’t said a million times?

What concerns me here is this campaign of irrationality, of intimidation, this campaign by a radical minority to shout down majority concerns for their own dogmatic purposes.

I can’t let them win. I will not. I have not fought several years of this kind of insanity only to have it win at this crucial time in our history.

My point should be clear: if you have no sources, no examples, how can we test your truth? If we can’t test your truth, what makes your opinion any better than anybody else? Ideology does not entitle you to credibility.

Republicans destroyed the stability and growth of the economy. Now they’re up in arms about what the Democrats are doing to repair it. They destroyed the readiness and strength of our armed forces. Now they take issue with what we do to get our soldiers out of harms way. They undermined American’s trust in government. And now they want it back.

Has it occured to you that for all your pessimistic, melodramatic pronouncements about what a terrible bunch of people we are, your folks have done more to harm those interests in the last few years than Democrats have done in ages?

Your folks are doing more than just dissenting. Your folks are doing your best to make sure that yours are the only voices heard, that even if a majority of Americans decide to take another course than yours, you won’t honor their decision.

I write extended comments, by the way, because I like to treat things in detail. I like to nail things down in rational argument. I like to write complete thoughts, and be as unambiguous in their presentation as I can.

So let me nail down your last argument, nice and squarely. You appeal to a right to dissent. Yet your people are deliberately, systematically shouting that dissent down, harrassing legislators, and making it impossible for other concerned citizens to speak their peace in this public forum, without being shouted down by a bunch of organized thugs.

So please, corrode and undermine your credibility further by appealling to the right of dissent as your reason to justify this appalling abuse of the marketplace of ideas.

Unless and until you allow other people to speak their peace, and unless and until somebody actually shouts you down, it is very questionable indeed for you to wrap yourselves in Hillary Clinton’s words, because if you think they defend the actions that the tea-baggers are taking, then you badly misunderstand the intent of her statement of our rights.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 4, 2009 4:57 PM
Comment #285579

BLAME, BLAME, BLAME, all you’ve done in your last bunch of post is blame someone else for your own problems. Stephen why don’t you do as jlw did and abandon the Democratic Party and start a progressive party that way you to can blame both other parties for your misfortunes.

Posted by: KAP at August 4, 2009 5:00 PM
Comment #285580

I believe that some of these people feel comfortable sitting on their fence because there is more pressure from the right for inaction than pressure from the left for action.

I cannot understand how an absence of support translates to support for greater liberalism. Like I told that fellow in the last article I wrote, unless you’re there, operating as part of that fellow’s environment, putting the pressure on him to do better, then all they will do is heed those who do put their pressure on.

One reason that I am quick to strike out against this crap with the tea-baggers is that I see no point in letting them continue this campaign of intimidation. Either we stand up for ourselves, or we let folks like them win. I don’t have the stomach for incrementalism in confronting these people. We need to return some sanity to this country’s politics, and we can’t do it from the sideline.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 4, 2009 5:02 PM
Comment #285581

You mean an astroturf group didn’t arrange all these “spontaneous” hecklings?

I will blame people for things they are responsible for, whether that’s convenient for you or not. I will blame people for my problems when their behavior IS the problem.

I will continue to support the Democratic Party, thank you very much, especially in the face of this crap.

Tell me, where am I wrong? Are the Republicans not voting as a block to prevent cloture on debate? Taking party-line votes against Obama policies? Raising all kind of misleading hell, and shouting down people at town-hall meetings as part of a deliberate strategy?

Am I blaming people for things they’re not doing? I await your answer.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 4, 2009 5:06 PM
Comment #285584

BTW, I find it very interesting that this was written today, as we find that Rahm Emmanuel was attempting to coordinate effort to jam Administration critics on the stimulus plan.

Letter from Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation: On Sunday, Arizona Senator Jon Kyl publicly questioned whether the stimulus is working and stated that he wants to cancel projects that aren’t presently underway. I believe the stimulus has been very effective in creating job opportunities throughout the country. However, if you prefer to forfeit the money we are making available to your state, as Senator Kyl suggests, please let me know.

Letter from Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior: Some key Republican leaders in Congress have publicly questioned whether the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is working and suggested cancelling all projects that are not currently in progress. I believe they are wrong. The stimulus funds provided through the Recovery Act are a very effective way to create job opportunities throughout the Country. However, if you prefer to forfeit the money we are making available to Arizona, please let me know.

So it seems the left wants to shut up valid dissent as well.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 4, 2009 5:29 PM
Comment #285586

Stephen D., this kind of politics, lies, deceptions, and misinformation has currency because of the abject failure of the duopoly party to push for and pass national educational standards that promote questioning authority for credibility and veracity, and training in the empirical methodologies.

Instead, the duopoly party promotes an educational system which produces partisan, unquestioning loyalty toward the leadership and talking heads of the party. Just the way the parties like it.

Just another example of the political parties promoting their own interests instead of the nation’s and the people’s, for decades upon decades. The price for this mismanagement is now coming home to be paid by the duopoly party, and regretfully, all the rest of Americans as well.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 4, 2009 5:56 PM
Comment #285587

Stephen D., Frank’s comment privileges are suspended.

Posted by: WatchBlog Manager at August 4, 2009 5:58 PM
Comment #285588


Exactly as I expected.

Not only do you not see a difference in trying to implement a change in policy and question the effectiveness of a program, and being singled out by secretaries, but you completely skip over the ‘suggestion’ that these four letters, written by four different secretaries, were in fact coordinated by Rahm Emmanuel.

The worst part is that the ‘secretaries’ seem to think that they have the power to do just that. And I mean Rahm Emmanuel when I say ‘secretaries’, just in case you miss that part too.

Issa noted, “The fact that the letters were coordinated by you to maximize the level of intimidation is supported by the timing, structure, and content of each letter. Not only were the four letters all sent the day following Senator Kyl’s remarks, but they were also remarkably similar in tone and sentence structure.”

“At what point do you believe your practice of Chicago-style politics violates a public official’s right to speak out in favor of alternative policies,” Issa asks. “The American people have a right to know what role you played in developing the threatening letters to Governor Brewer and whether you intend to continue to engage in these tactics in the future.”

In order to assist the Committee with its investigation of this issue, please provide the following information by close of business on Tuesday, August 11, 2009:
1.Your response to Politico’s report that “White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel directed that the letters from the Cabinet secretaries be sent to [Governor] Brewer, according to two administration officials.”
2.A full and complete explanation of the development of the four July 13 letters from the cabinet secretaries to Governor Brewer, including but not limited to the role you or any other White House official played in writing the letters or encouraging the writing of the letters.
3.All records and communications between you and Secretary LaHood, Secretary Salazar, Secretary Donovan, and Secretary Vilsack referring or relating to the decision to send the July 13 letters to Governor Brewer.
4.A full and complete explanation of the role of the Democratic National Committee and the White House Office of Political Affairs in authoring, encouraging, facilitating, or directing the four July 13 letters from the cabinet secretaries to Governor Brewer.

I wonder if Rahm will respond by giving the information requested.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 4, 2009 5:59 PM
Comment #285589

Watchblog Manager-
I will abide by the decision.

As you expected? You haven’t answered the question.

Harsh it is. But I don’t think the Administration felt it would lose any supporters from this crowd. But lets not forget one critical fact: at the end of the day, the suggestion from these people was that the rest of the stimulus be cancelled.

Which would effectively cancel ANY money these states would get…

…which is no different than what the Administration, coordinated or not by Rahm, was suggestion they get together with them to discuss, if that was what they wanted.

What, pray tell, is the difference between voluntarily giving up all the state’s stimulus money, and voluntarily giving up their own state’s money? The White House wasn’t going to yank any money without their say so.

The White House, coordinated or not, was simply calling them on their BS. If they really thought the Stimulus wasn’t stimulating, they could toss that money over their shoulder without a second look, and find other ways to stimulate their local economies.

Instead, after being invited to give up their share of the money, to demonstrate their strength of conviction, they chicken out. Seems like they really do think that the money from the stimulus is creating jobs and stimulating the economy. They just won’t say that out loud for political reasons.

Note the wording: However, if you prefer to forfeit the money we are making available to your state, as Senator Kyl suggests, please let me know [emphasis added].

They would only forfeit their share if they wished to forfeit it. They weren’t saying “if you don’t stop complaning, we’ll yank your money”.

Talk about whining.

David R. Remer-
What’s your specific reaction to their practice. Democrat or Republican, don’t we all deserve a forum for free, peaceful expression of our opinions, not drowned out by a planned campaign of intentional disruption?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 4, 2009 6:26 PM
Comment #285590
What, pray tell, is the difference between voluntarily giving up all the state’s stimulus money, and voluntarily giving up their own state’s money?

There is a big difference between voluntarily ensuring that no money is spent in your state and ending the program. Saying no to money coming into their state does not give back to their citizens (or rather, their children) the money that is being taken to pay for it. Nor does it not spend the money somewhere else. If the rest of the program is ended, as they were discussing, then everyone (or rather, their children) will be able to keep their tax money.

Surely even you and you obvious bias in this case can see the difference?

The White House wasn’t going to yank any money without their say so.

And you know this wasn’t what they were ‘hinting’ at how?

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 4, 2009 6:44 PM
Comment #285592

I looked at and watched your two links. All I see in them is people voicing their opinion to their congressman. I will and have voiced my opinion to my congressman. That one congressman from Texas said he would vote for the health care reform even if his constituents opposed it, I can see him standing in the unemployment line after this next election. The Democrats have caused this problem on their own selves. It’s time congress listened to “WE THE PEOPLE” instead of thinking that they know what’s best for us. So yes Stephen time to quit the blame game.

Posted by: KAP at August 4, 2009 6:55 PM
Comment #285594

Stephen D.,
Why we should not support such activities by the Left or Right. The easiest way to handle their concerns is to simple ask them if they would support a Health Care System that had no government funding.

For if we are going to talk about health care reform than I do believe our Elected Offficials need to hear that there are some Americans who still don’t have a clue that part of the problems we are facing in the Medical Industry comes from the fact that the insurance companies have to pay for the ambulance ride to the hospital and the EMTs who give them first-aid.

Yes, America has come a long way from the time you had to wake up the local doctor after a night out on the town to deliver your baby or sew you back together after getting into an accident; nevertheless, if these people want to believe that it would be better turning back the clock to those days than they should know that funding research for the elderly and yong should also be removed from any health care reform.

For who knows how they can build a Better Medical Industry for the future using such ideology. Because when push comes to shove who says you need an ambulance to get you to a doctor who is fresh out of grad school and has no idea how to fix the broken leg since he or she has no x-ray machine.

Yes Houston, we do have a problem. However, instead of whining about it. The simplest way to handle it is force their hand and prove that they have crossed the line and are now standing in the middle of the Creek of Stupidly. For why I agree that saying no to health care reform is not an option; nevertheless, I do have reservations of saying yes to a Health Care Reform Bill that tells “We the People” what Washingtons’ Carlatans and Vagabonds are going to do in oreder to give America a Medical Industry and Health Care System we can live with in the 21st Century.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at August 4, 2009 7:24 PM
Comment #285595


“What’s your specific reaction to their practice. Democrat or Republican, don’t we all deserve a forum for free, peaceful expression of our opinions, not drowned out by a planned campaign of intentional disruption?”

when was the last time you spoke out against a conservative speaker being shouted down. the many times it’s happened at universities comes to mind. what about thier right to express thier points of view with out being drowned out by a “planned campaign of intentional disruption”?

just can’t stand the thought of the lefts ideas not being attractive to average americans eh. BTW where has the right been able to express thier ideas since the democrats took control? where’s the tort reform, or the reduction of gov’t mandates in the bill? the dems are getting thier a$$es handed to them by thier constituants and you just refuse to accept it. maybe losing a few election cycles will help reinforce the concept.

Posted by: dbs at August 4, 2009 7:33 PM
Comment #285597


Numerous surveys over the past decade clearly indicate that the US public wants reform in the financing and delivery of health care services. Specifically, people are most concerned about access, availability and affordablilty. The dramatic rise in the cost of health care and insurance are of great concern.

The Democrats have proposed certain reforms in Congress.

You say, however, that Congress is not listening to “We the People” and that the reforms are contrary to wishes of the American public.

Ok, what then exactly do “We the People” want in terms of health care reform?

Posted by: Rich at August 4, 2009 8:28 PM
Comment #285598

I have to at least partially agree with the conservatives & independents on this one. A townhall meeting is open. Anyone can show up to voice an opinion, either individually or as a group. It doesn’t matter if the group is astroturfted or funded by big corporations.

Having said that, it’s wrong to go to a town hall meeting, not with the intent of voicing an opinion, but with the intent of preventing others from speaking and preventing intelligent discussion.

If a group like Code Pink stands up in Congress and yells, well, more power to them. I even think it is noble. I wish them luck because they will be arrested and face a fine and/or imprisonment, and deservedly so. Sometimes the only way to be heard is to take that risk.

The Insurance Industry and Big Pharma have already spent as much as all of the money spent by the Bush & Kerry campaings on the 2004 election. They will do their best to confuse, muddle the discussion, and stop reform. The GOP will stand with them. They will “just say no.” It’s what they do. So will a few Democrats.

It is up to the rest of us to make the necessary changes, despite a very powerful opposition to any change. The changes will probably have to be incremental. It’s up to us.

Posted by: phx8 at August 4, 2009 8:51 PM
Comment #285599


Saying no to money coming into their state does not give back to their citizens (or rather, their children) the money that is being taken to pay for it.

Well, if they decide to forfeit the funds, they could, if they were so committed to saving those people that money, ask the Administration to pledge their share of stimulus money to paying off the national debt or reducing this years deficit.

That would be the clever, conservative thing to do, right? Unfortunately, the Republicans don’t operate according to conservative principles, they operate according to conservative-style principle, the key missing component being clever statesmenship and political manuevering. The Republicans are about as subtle as a ten pound sledgehammer, because they’re always playing to appearances.

Emmanuel’s “Chicago-Style” political play was inviting the folks on the right to put their money where their mouth is. A little imagination and creative thought could turn this into more than a typical conservative exercise in playing victim whenever Liberals throw a hard elbow.

Let me quote you a relevant set of passages from the memo that led us to anticipate this disruptive activity:

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.”

These are not the practices of people trying to win a debate on the merits. These are the practices of people who are trying to make people think something’s the case that’s not. They want to seem the majority even if they aren’t

So, if you’re okay with that, that’s fine, then I know how to address your position on this matter.

When you’re hanging people in effigy, and telling a congressman sick with cancer that he should take an overdose of medications and commit suicide, you’re likely succeeding in your mission to be disruptive.

This was a coordinated assault on the public discourse, meant to overwhelm, not appeal to, people’s reason.

I don’t support tactics that are based on false pretenses. I much prefer a straight fight. But if this is what Republicans are going to do, then we will point out this behavior for the extremism it is. I saw video of this with old ladies holding their hands over their ears. Do you think they’re voting Republican now?

You folks should be called on the carpet for this kind of conduct. It’s time to stop cheating and taking short cuts, and start talking straight to the American people about why you folks believe the way you do, and why people should agree. Stop wallowing in this offensive deceit, stop condoning an means-justify-the-ends attitude about debates in the public forum.

Let me turn the question back on you: when’s the last time you claimed that was unjust when a liberal was heckled like this?

I would wager you haven’t, at least not in a long while. But unlike you would do with me, I wouldn’t blame you for such an oversight. You don’t share my interests, my set of news and opinion sources. Why should you hear of such heckling? Why should I require you to go out of your way to decry something you likely didn’t hear about until I mentioned it, as if its fair to expect a person to know about what’s likely an obscure event that didn’t make the news?

Now that I’ve heard of it, I reject it. I think such tactics are beneath people in a free country, where they can get their greivances heard and out without having to disrupt the public forums involved. I think folks who indulge in this kind of behavior are working against their own cause in a way, and their attempt to cast a heckler’s veto can backfire, making them seem ever more dangerous and radical.

I know these people are borrowing from Saul Alinsky’s radical tactics, but there’s just one problem: those are tactics that really failed to win the argument in the last three decades. You’re welcome to make yourselves over in the image of the people you defeated time and again over the last four decades, but I just got to warn you from the outset, it won’t be pretty.

Funny thing: in trying to reclaim its prominence, the right is recapitulating every error the Democrats made when LBJ and others lead them to their downfall. Well, have fun if that’s the approach you want to take.

To me, MLK and Ghandi understood something too many on the left and right fail to understand. They understood that, fairly or unfairly, the reputation of the protestors contributes to the reputation of the protest. Violence justifies violence. Hatred justifies hatred.

They need people who can think well and speak eloquently (in that order), not folks who can heckle loudly, and make a spectacle of themselves.

If we are going to do something spectacular, we might as well do a peaceful march, or something like that, show people that these hecklers aren’t the majority they like to think they are.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 4, 2009 9:07 PM
Comment #285600


“We know that this isn’t a spontaneous public reaction, but the work of highly motivated, highly partisan, and highly unscrupulous set of astroturfed organizations”

really? then why not ignore the folks at the town hall meetings, the phone calls, and the e-mails? if these are truely “astroturfed” why worry? i’ll tell you why because for the most part they are not. and ignoring them will cost the dems dearly, and they know it. the truth of the matter is that this isn’t about the seats held by liberals. we know those are safe, and we also know this isn’t about seats held by conservatives, because they also most likely will not change hands. what this about is the seats held by moderates, seats that can go either way, and were taken from republicans. this is why the blue dogs are the problem for the liberal base. if they cave to the liberal base against the wishes of thier constituancy they will be shown the door, and the dems risk the real chance of loosing thier majority. you got your majority, but it really isn’t turning out as you hoped it would, more of a catch 22 so to speak.

Posted by: dbs at August 4, 2009 9:12 PM
Comment #285601


“You don’t share my interests, my set of news and opinion sources.”

you won’t get an argument out of me on this one.

“Why should I require you to go out of your way to decry something you likely didn’t hear about until I mentioned it, as if its fair to expect a person to know about what’s likely an obscure event that didn’t make the news?”

are you kidding? you’ve never heard of conservative speakers being shouted down, or being disrupted by protestors in the audience, while speaking at college campuses? c’mon do you expect me to believe that? your to well read to fool me with that BS. i know better. i will give you credit though for saying it’s wrong, at least your being consistant.

Posted by: dbs at August 4, 2009 9:30 PM
Comment #285602

S.D. & Rich
All “WE THE PEOPLE” want is a bill that is thought thru and not hastily put together like this health care bill was. Something that is not rammed through congress like this bill was about to be done. I heard people in PA. chanting to Spector to “READ THE BILL”. How many in congress have actually read the bill? I want health care reform as much as anyone else. But I don’t want something that was haphazardly put together. Like I said it’s time for congress to listen to “WE THE PEOPLE” and not think they know what is best for us. If this happens without peoples input there will be some Democrats in the unemployment lines.

Posted by: KAP at August 4, 2009 9:46 PM
Comment #285603


You beg the question. What do “We the People” want in health care reform? That is a simple question. You claim that Congress isn’t responsive to the wishes of the US public. You imply that you know what “We the People” want but refuse to inform us.

Once again, what exactly do “We the People” want in health care financing and delivery reform?

Posted by: Rich at August 4, 2009 10:12 PM
Comment #285604

I never implied anything. I said congress should listen to what people want and not imply they know what we want. As far as me I want lower cost and lower prescription prices without government interrference. Not having congress ram a bill through without any thought.

Posted by: KAP at August 4, 2009 10:30 PM
Comment #285608

I’m fine with strong expressions of opinion. When the goal is not to express opinion, but to prevent opinion from being expressed, well, that’s another matter entirely.

Some of these protests approach the line. The reputatation of these protestors will follow their protests.

The problem for these protestors and the big money behind them is that no amount of money can change what most American citizens already know: when it comes to health care, the insurance industry is horrible.

There is a growing awareness that the US system is inferior to that of other wealthy countries. Alone among them, the US has privatized health care. We spend up to 50% more, yet fail to even cover tens of millions, and we see the spectacle of insurer recission bring catastrophe to people at the time of their greatest vulnerability.

Supporters of the current system can and should and will have their say. It is a good thing for them to be recognized. They are the face of the status quo. They are the party of “no.”

There will be a whole month of this. Eventually, the crazies will bring the conservatives & the GOP down with them. It’s a matter of time.

Posted by: phx8 at August 4, 2009 11:35 PM
Comment #285609

KAP, the shape of health care reform has been debated, examined, and researched for decades. Without any THOUGHT, you say? Decades of thought have taken place.

And a number of Congressional Committees are and have been involved in the information gathering, and assembling on this issue of health care reform, for decades. Without any thought?

This topic has been part of think tanks and books, and research for decades. Enormous volumes of thought are available for the public’s and Congress’ reading. It may seem to you these proposals have no basis in thought, research, and information gathering, but, that can only be because of an appearance from your perspective. Because in reality, mountains of thought and reams of documentation and research have been generated over the shape of health care reform.

Just because one person has not thought about something at length, does not alter a reality in which thousands of others have thought about the topic intensely for years and decades.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 5, 2009 12:21 AM
Comment #285610

I’ll pile on with David. Whatever health care bill passes, it will be one of the most closely inspected and carefully crafted bills to go through Congress. A lot of committees have had a lot of time to put this one together and go over and over it with a fine tooth comb. The final version will be a compromise, enough to let everyone can save face while Obama claims a victory.

Posted by: phx8 at August 5, 2009 12:33 AM
Comment #285611

KAP, when did you convert to becoming an advocate for direct democracy. I now see comments coming from you as in the following quotes:

“Once again, what exactly do “We the People” want in health care financing and delivery reform?”

“I said congress should listen to what people want and not imply they know what we want.”

And here, I was under the impression you previously were for representative government of the Republic kind. Has there been a change of coat of arms, here, or just a case of taking any side which argues best for one’s own estimates of self interest, as in your quote: “As far as me I want lower cost and lower prescription prices without government interference.”?

And in response to the last quoted statement, how does a nation achieve lower costs and Rx prices within an Oligopoly system of pharmaceutical companies, without government interference? Even Friedman understood the need for government intervention in preventing monopolistic and oligopolic control of markets and prices.

Government intervention is the ONLY way any American is ever going to see health care and Rx drug prices drop. The health care reform proposals to date introduce competition to the health insurance industry by a non-profit competitor with sufficiently large a customer base as to force economies of consumption scale to lower drug and health care costs in competition for that customer base business.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 5, 2009 12:33 AM
Comment #285612


C’mon dude. Aren’t you exhibiting a bit of thin skin and hypocrisy yourself? I don’t remember this reaction from you about Code Pink and all the Marxist anti-war protesters. In fact, I recall that you seemed to feel they were needful and ‘speaking truth to power’.

I hope you take a step back and put this in perspective. Think of it this way. These people have no one who is speaking for them. Your guys control the government completely. Even the representatives left in congress don’t represent us well.

What other expression is left but to show up and protest?

Posted by: eric at August 5, 2009 1:09 AM
Comment #285613

Where did the ‘theft’ part come in by the way? (I didn’t read the whole post.)

Posted by: eric at August 5, 2009 1:18 AM
Comment #285614

The nature of an “astroturfed” organization, as the name implies is false grassroots, disguising the propaganda of elite parties and political groups, of special interests and corporate as well as grass-roots, bottom-up enterprises.

People are not told of the true connections, but are left to think that these people are legitimate sources of information without the conflicts of interest that come with industry groups. We know that a research company funded by cigarette makers won’t rock the boat by releasing negative findings or putting less than the best spin on things.

So, we discount their offered opinions, since we know they won’t offer us the unvarnished truth.

Astroturfed organizations bypass that sensible reaction, peddling the usual industry line and creating fictional movementsout of whole cloth to protect those who pay their checks, but depriving people of the opportunity to consider the source for what it is.

Why should anybody, much less someone like me just be comfortable and complacent about this? There is rarely, if ever, a good reason to mislead people like this. When somebody’s trying to win this way, rather than by fair means, it typicially indicates that they think their target audience would reject their premises, if they told the truth.

My goal here is to make sure people know what these folks are trying to do, to know what the real facts are. If they decide against us knowing them, fine, then we lost. But if its just about who cheats the worst, then what’s the f’ing point? That’s how you get liars and cheats and all the corrupt and irresponsible. There are elections it does not benefit a party to win.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 5, 2009 1:29 AM
Comment #285616

Here’s an interesting article I came across today. It points out the financial gamesmanship of the insurance industry, as well as the general ignorance of the population with regard to the mathematics involved.

This is the scenario that sets up an industry that preys on the population, and tells you how good they are. Politicians are generally anything but stupid. Here’s what they aren’t telling you. Perhaps that explains the tilt.

Posted by: gergle at August 5, 2009 3:39 AM
Comment #285617

One has to wonder about who chose Blackwater as a major player in Iraq. It is interesting that Eric Prince was/is a highly connected Republican.

What kind of people and value system is connected with these kind of people?

Perhaps only men like Tom Delay, Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed know. There is a difference between being pious and being a charlatan, but I’ve yet to see Republicans differentiate between the two.

Posted by: gergle at August 5, 2009 3:49 AM
Comment #285620

eric, weren’t you critical of the mindless following the fallacious dictates of the ultra-liberal Left during Bush’s administration? Are you now defending the same caliber of protesters on the Right?

This is a tough lesson for America, and I am not sure she will learn it fast enough to save herself.

But, listening to partisan leaders and politicians is about the most UNreliable source of information available today. I have seen far too many party leaders and politicians lie, stretch the truth, cherry pick information and provide information out of context to serve their sophistry, to support protesters who don’t even understand the facts and reality of the issue they are protesting, at the direction of their party leaders or politician representatives. And this occurs on both sides.

The Republicans who led their following to believe Obama was not a citizen, but, then recorded their vote in the Congress that Obama IS a U.S. citizen, UNANIMOUSLY, is a perfect example.

I understand the ignorant and partisan have a right to free speech and assembly, and I defend those rights. But, to defend the ignorance of those who protest against their own self-interest, and that of their nation, out of foolhardy blind loyalty to their partisan leadership, goes way beyond what I can defend.

It’s an imperfect system of government we have here in America, but, it seems to be getting worse with the passage of time and growth of ignorance and inability of so many to achieve that rational state of mind which Adam Smith termed as enlightened self-interest, which included the interests of one’s neighbors, community, State and nation as part of their self-interest, since their very livelihood depends these others.

Health care reform, for example, is in every American’s interest, since failing to reform will bankrupt the people and nation going forward. Would it not be wiser for the people to demand reform and that their voice be heard on the shape it takes, rather than opposing reform outright, which, if such attitude prevails, dooms the national economic prospects going forward?

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 5, 2009 4:18 AM
Comment #285622


“But, to defend the ignorance of those who protest against their own self-interest, and that of their nation, out of foolhardy blind loyalty to their partisan leadership, goes way beyond what I can defend.”

so what you’re saying is there is no way they could possibly have a legitimate reason to oppose this legislation. and you base this opinion on what?

Posted by: dbs at August 5, 2009 8:38 AM
Comment #285623

First of all, I don’t follow their actions closely in the news. Second of all, however you conflate our respective philsophies, I’m not really a Marxist at heart. I don’t have his faith in the ability of a few individuals to know and understand the whole system well enough to control it all from the center.

But you know what else? I’m boring. I think well-chosen words and calm collected acts go a lot further than heckling or violence. I think people who pull these kinds of things have already lost the argument in a way. They get themselves attention, but they have next to no control as to what happens with that attention afterwards, and their support hardly extends beyond the choir they preach to.

You repeat that “powerless and unrepresented” canard.How does that claim hold up?

You have more than one organization behind the scenes setting all this up, and coordinating it across the country.

Strike One against that canard. The Republicans have never lacked for think-tanks and lobbying groups, nor political operations.

You also have, existing within our Congress, a substantial minority of Republicans. You might try to take the fact that you no longer have the power of the majority, and say that you’re powerless now, but last Congress’s record obstruction, with about 112 filibusters, all successfully interefering with the voting on, much less the passage of those bills shows that being in the minority definitely does not make you powerless.

Strike Two against your argument.

Naturally, there’s a strike three. I know the other part of the canard is that somehow, they didn’t respresent you, that they weren’t Republican enough. Well, that didn’t seem to be enough of a problem for you folks to have decided earlier to clean house. Let’s make no mistake here: the voters of the states and House districts are responsible for who represents them.

If the Republicans could not be bothered to register their disapproval by voting against those who failed them earlier, they were represented just as they wished to be, regardless of whether that was their ideal. When you don’t vote, or vote for an incumbent knowing how hateful they are, you have made your wishes, however compromised, known to the government.

What is this theft I’m talking about? These people are trying to take something they haven’t had the decency to pay for with rational discourse, solid facts, and respectful treatment of their fellow citizens: power.

You guys can wreck an economy, screw up a war we initially won handily, screw up recovery from one of the worst natural disasters in American history, run record deficits with no monstrous recession to justify the spending, and then come back not only expecting but feeling entitled to be restored to the glory you once had.

You’re trying to take back the government without paying for your restoration with good policy, good judgment, or anything else that earns one the trust of the voters. Instead, you distract, lie, and manipulate people about your opponents in order to undermine their support.

That’s your theft.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 5, 2009 8:48 AM
Comment #285624


The right is not the only one ‘cheating’. Just in this article’s comments I see exaggerations and misstatements of factual events by the ‘left’.

For example, it wasn’t the republicans who started the ‘birther’ movement, it was a democrat.

It wasn’t ‘the republicans’ who ‘wrecked the economy’, it was politicians on both sides who helped that along. Though again, ‘wrecked’ is in itself an exaggeration and carefully chosen hyperbolic phrase.

I see now you are saying its ok to run ‘record’ (only at the time) deficit if there is a ‘monsterous’ recession, trying to keep us out of one is not good enough. Is twisting those words getting harder and harder to do so you don’t place any ill words against the current administration down on ‘paper’?

There is a suggestion that there were over 100 ‘fillibusters’ when in fact there were 0. There is a difference between a fillibuster and a THREAT of a fillibuster. Had the left called them on those threats once or twice, there might not have been any, and the number superceedes the previous record of the democrats previously, but that was ok, right?

There is scorn about using ‘Blackwater’ in Iraq, yet we have an ever increasing presence of mercenaries there now. But… it’s ok when it’s a Democrat doing it?

What is this theft I’m talking about? These people are trying to take something they haven’t had the decency to pay for with rational discourse, solid facts, and respectful treatment of their fellow citizens: power.

You’re trying to take back the government without paying for your restoration with good policy, good judgment, or anything else that earns one the trust of the voters. Instead, you distract, lie, and manipulate people about your opponents in order to undermine their support.

They learned it from watching the Democrats from 2000-2008. They were really really good teachers.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 5, 2009 9:08 AM
Comment #285626


For example, it wasn’t the republicans who started the ‘birther’ movement, it was a democrat.

Who gives a damn? It could have been started by the rotting zombie of Ella Fitzgerald for all I care. It’s empirically demonstrable that this is mainly a right-wing phenomena.

You seem hellbent on alleging equal responsibility for both political parties for a number of things. I find that very unlikely.

First, the policies in question, which caused the meltdowns, were not equally supported on both sides. Support was far higher on the right than on the left for much of this stuff. That doesn’t excuse the brain donors who supported those policies, but it places it in proper context.

Second, the support on our side was often in accomodation of the Republican Dominance in the executive branch, then Congress. Democrats saw the writing on the wall with Reagan and the Gingrich revolution. People like Clinton were accomodationalists with the Republicans, as are many of the people who still serve in Congress.

As I advised Eric, we are responsible for who is there, regardless of how compromised the decision was, and people in my party, wanting to appease the ascendant right elected people who would cooperate with them. We’re living with the consequences of that now.

That said, there’s no point in denying the converse truth of the matter: this rightward tilt was deference towards the Republicans and their policies, towards the supposed political reality that even here and now you see Republicans eager to appeal to.

It’s no exoneration of us to say that Republicans were responsible for the paradigm of financial regulation that led us to these desperate straits, but it is the truth. This is what they wanted, what they campaigned for, what they got, and what they fought to keep despite several scandals over the years.

The reason to keep this in mind is that all this muddling of responsibility helps do now is paralyze the determined political response against the Republicans that needs to take place to clear the way for reform. Democrats, whether or not their record is perfect or their path is clear have pushed far more reform than the Republicans have, in their time in charge.

Most Democrats are pragmatics, moderates. Once, we were willing to work with Republicans. Now many of us know and realize that they are not willing to work with us. And so long as that is true, we’re going to push things on our own, with our own people.

On the subject of the monstrous recession, I don’t have to twist anything. Its your folks who have forgotten just how bad things got last fall, what extraordinary measures were necessary to keep 2008 from looking like 1929.

You folks act like the Deficit magically appeared in the Obama administration. You act like he suddenly went on a wild spending spree. What he was doing was keeping the banks and car companies from collapsing. Maybe it flatters your free-market principles to let nature take its course, but the rest of us have to eat, and I’m grateful he made the investment in avoiding disaster.

One thing that always angered me (no point in mincing words) about the Bush Administration’s approach to governing is that they were always behind the curve on problems, and always half-hearted or heavy-handed with their solutions.

The Obama Administration’s getting the flak on the budget now because it’s being honest. It’s including things the Bush Adminstration would not: money to deal with natural disasters budgeted rather than just spent ad hoc; the money for the war; the cost of keeping the Alternative Minimum Tax off the backs of middle-class taxpayers, and of course the costs for TARP.

So I think folks like you are taking a rather cynical approach to all this, overlooking how much was already being spent, and had to be spent by the person more closely aligned with you politically, and pinning the blame all on the guy who was handed this level of spending on his desk with a bow.

Call that twisting, if you’re looking to make the facile, content-free argument, and if you want to ignore the context of what Obama got handed.

The Filibuster threats would be filibusters all the same, if allowed to proceed. If you don’t have the votes to gain cloture, what’s the difference? The works are gummed up either way.

As for what record was smashed? Well, it could have been the Democrats, but there’s one problem with your argument: the Record was broken not only by amount, but in terms of the time it took. The broke the record in the first year of that Congress. Everything after that was gravy.

As for the Mercenaries, I think I’ve answered that question before: it’s not as if we can just yank them all out. The logistical die was cast with Bush. We can’t rewrite history to change the fact that Bush’s war required mercenaries and contractors to take care of much of the activities that soldiers once did. We can’t push a magic button and just erase the need for somebody to guard the supply convoys and the diplomats

They learned it from watching the Democrats from 2000-2008. They were really really good teachers.

You know, I just love how you have to mirror image every allegation the Democrats made. Not that you have evidence to back up most of these reflexive inversions of Democrat’s accusations, but I guess you’re more interested in what people feel than what they think.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 5, 2009 11:29 AM
Comment #285627

dbs said: “so what you’re saying is there is no way they could possibly have a legitimate reason to oppose this legislation. and you base this opinion on what?”

No, I said very much more and with context. Try taking all I said together, then my meaning will become clear to you, I hope.

And please clarify which ‘they’ you are referencing. They, as in the birthers or, they as in, those opposed any health care reform?

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 5, 2009 11:32 AM
Comment #285628

Rhinehold said: “It wasn’t ‘the republicans’ who ‘wrecked the economy’

They contributed in enormous ways, the most obvious being with deregulation and anti-regulatory positions by Bush, and more importantly, Alan Greenspan, who now confesses his belief “that the players at the poker table would keep each other honest”, was just plain wrong. Greenspan had numerous opportunities to oversee and regulate the CDS and hedge fund markets, and didn’t. When handed the reports on the leveraging by the mortgage industry, he admits he dismissed the numbers as not credible. Huge mistake. And of course, to succor Bush’s ownership society, he kept interest rates too low for way too long fueling the fire of the out of control mortgage industry.

But, along with Greenspan, Bush, and the Republicans, Clinton and Democrats cannot be overlooked with their complicity in passing the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and failing to follow through with oversight and accountability for the CDS and hedge fund markets which ballooned after the passage of the GLB Act.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 5, 2009 11:43 AM
Comment #285632


“And please clarify which ‘they’ you are referencing. They, as in the birthers or, they as in, those opposed any health care reform?”

i used the word legislation in there, so i assumed you’de know i was refering to the healthcare bill. i also think you are underestimating the average american. people have had time to look at this bill, and pick out what they object to. just because you don’t like the way these issues were brought to light doesn’t make the objections any less relevant.

Posted by: dbs at August 5, 2009 12:12 PM
Comment #285634


First, you continue to push the innacurate portrayal of the economic ‘collapse’. Factcheck has debunked your arguments and did it last year, yet you continue to beat the same drum. And you complain about the pushing of incorrect information by the Reps?

Not only that, you then go on to state, as fact, that without all of this spending of Tarp and the stimulus, we would all be eating dirt! Except for the small problem that most of the money hasn’t been spent yet, that things weren’t nearly as bad as they have been made out to be and most banks who accepting Tarp money gave it back as soon as they could because of the attempted powergrab. Just few nagging details.

I find that very unlikely.

Of course you do.

First, the policies in question, which caused the meltdowns, were not equally supported on both sides.

Let’s see what the actual facts are:

It’s true that Gramm authored the act, but what became law was a widely accepted bipartisan compromise. The measure passed the House 362 - 57, with 155 Democrats voting for the bill. The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 90 - 8. Among the Democrats voting for the bill: Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden. The bill was signed into law by President Clinton, a Democrat. If this bill really had “stripped the safeguards that would have protected us,” then both parties share the blame

Seems pretty ‘bipartisan’ to me, unless you are talking about something else? If so, could you please elaborate?

Second, the support on our side was often in accomodation of the Republican Dominance in the executive branch, then Congress.

Sooo, let me get this straight. The Democrats are not responsible for anything bad that happened between 1994 and 2008 because there was always a Republican in some sort of power, but they are responsible for all of the GOOD that happened during that time. You repeatedly point to the ‘surplus’ (that never existed) of the Clinton administration but aren’t willing to give the Republicans, who controlled the House of Representatives, where the spending bills originate and are responsible for, any credit for that at all.

Seems a bit ‘odd’ to me, to attempt to make that claim that the Dems areen’t responsible for anything bad but for everything good. I wonder what Occam would say about that?

Most Democrats are pragmatics, moderates.

Haha, if that were the case I would still be one.

On the subject of the monstrous recession, I don’t have to twist anything. Its your folks who have forgotten just how bad things got last fall, what extraordinary measures were necessary to keep 2008 from looking like 1929.

It has NOTHING to do with ‘forgetting’ how bad things were and knowing they were never that bad. It wasn’t as bad as it was in 1982, let alone 1929. All hyperbole aside, the fact that Apple is selling record numbers of iPhones, a high priced toy, is a small example of that. We are in a contraction, made worse because we prevented it from occuring when it should have, but by no means was it a ‘collapse’.

Heck, I bought a second home in November of last year, how was that possible when no one was lending? Am I a super citizen or something? I think not.

You folks act like the Deficit magically appeared in the Obama administration.

Ah, the ‘you folks’ again? No, I have never acted like it ‘magically appears’ in 2009, and have written such on these and other forums for years. You are falling into your rehearsed speeches again.

You act like he suddenly went on a wild spending spree.

Oh, that he did, and is doing still. There is no mistaking that.

Maybe it flatters your free-market principles to let nature take its course, but the rest of us have to eat, and I’m grateful he made the investment in avoiding disaster.


Letting ‘nature take its course’ provides with better, stronger companies. The way we have crippled our automotive industry by keeping bad companies alive for decades. And we are continuing to do that. Instead of making the hard decisions today so that we will be stronger in our future, we are passing those hard times on to the future for better times today.

I, for one, am embarrassed in how we have done that. And have been for decades.

The Obama Administration’s getting the flak on the budget now because it’s being honest.

Except it still isn’t. The non-intergovernmental holdings are still not included. Do you really want to know what the debt is? Because the Obama administration is not telling you…

So I think folks like you are taking a rather cynical approach to all this, overlooking how much was already being spent, and had to be spent by the person more closely aligned with you politically, and pinning the blame all on the guy who was handed this level of spending on his desk with a bow.

Cynical? Interesting…

The Filibuster threats would be filibusters all the same, if allowed to proceed.

And? What that means is that someone would have to stand and keep control of the floor for years… Eventually they would have lost control and the bill would have been able to be voted on. The Dems weren’t THAT interested in making that happen or they would have. No, it was them wanting to keep that ‘gentleman’s agreement’ for when they were out of power again. It had nothing at all to do with doing what was right.

BTW, Obama is in my state today spouting a bunch of campaign rhetoric that is mostly based on false premises. Typical, he’s a politician. Oh, and it looks like I am investing in battery technologies, wonderful! I only wish I had been given a choice on which company to invest my money in, I bet as someone with an electrical engineering background I might have a better insight into which technology to back, not just politics… Oh well.

As for the Mercenaries, I think I’ve answered that question before: it’s not as if we can just yank them all out.

We aren’t talking about ‘YANKING THEM OUT’, we are talking increasing their numbers by over 30%!

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 5, 2009 12:17 PM
Comment #285635
But, along with Greenspan, Bush, and the Republicans, Clinton and Democrats cannot be overlooked with their complicity in passing the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and failing to follow through with oversight and accountability for the CDS and hedge fund markets which ballooned after the passage of the GLB Act.

It is starting to get real old that GLB is being offered up as the source of the problems we have now, it just prevents us from really seeing what got us where we currently are.

The truth is, however, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act had little if anything to do with the current crisis. In fact, economists on both sides of the political spectrum have suggested that the act has probably made the crisis less severe than it might otherwise have been.

Last year the liberal writer Robert Kuttner, in a piece in The American Prospect, argued that “this old-fashioned panic is a child of deregulation.” But even he didn’t lay the blame primarily on Gramm-Leach-Bliley. Instead, he described “serial bouts of financial deregulation” going back to the 1970s. And he laid blame on policies of the Federal Reserve Board under Alan Greenspan, saying “the Fed has become the chief enabler of a dangerously speculative economy.”

What Gramm-Leach-Bliley did was to allow commercial banks to get into investment banking. Commercial banks are the type that accept deposits and make loans such as mortgages; investment banks accept money for investment into stocks and commodities. In 1998, regulators had allowed Citicorp, a commercial bank, to acquire Traveler’s Group, an insurance company that was partly involved in investment banking, to form Citigroup. That was seen as a signal that Glass-Steagall was a dead letter as a practical matter, and Gramm-Leach-Bliley made its repeal formal. But it had little to do with mortgages.

Actually, deregulated banks were not the major culprits in the current debacle. Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and J.P. Morgan Chase have weathered the financial crisis in reasonably good shape, while Bear Stearns collapsed and Lehman Brothers has entered bankruptcy, to name but two of the investment banks which had remained independent despite the repeal of Glass-Steagall.

Observers as diverse as former Clinton Treasury official and current Berkeley economist Brad DeLong and George Mason University’s Tyler Cowen, a libertarian, have praised Gramm-Leach-Bliley has having softened the crisis. The deregulation allowed Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase to acquire Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns. And Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have now converted themselves into unified banks to better ride out the storm. That idea is also endorsed by former President Clinton himself, who, in an interview with Maria Bartiromo published in the Sept. 24 issue of Business Week, said he had no regrets about signing the repeal of Glass-Steagall:

Bill Clinton (Sept. 24): Indeed, one of the things that has helped stabilize the current situation as much as it has is the purchase of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America, which was much smoother than it would have been if I hadn’t signed that bill. …You know, Phil Gramm and I disagreed on a lot of things, but he can’t possibly be wrong about everything. On the Glass-Steagall thing, like I said, if you could demonstrate to me that it was a mistake, I’d be glad to look at the evidence. But I can’t blame [the Republicans]. This wasn’t something they forced me into.

I do agree that Greenspan and the FED are the biggest culprits. Specifically for pushing the housing bubble to even higher levels by recommending Adjustable Rate Mortgages to the American people as a ‘good idea’. The fact is that we are all responsible, not just Dems, Reps, politicans in general, etc. Greedy individuals looking to make free money, real estate brokers, etc. Here is a small list of the major offenders.

So who is to blame? There’s plenty of blame to go around, and it doesn’t fasten only on one party or even mainly on what Washington did or didn’t do. As The Economist magazine noted recently, the problem is one of “layered irresponsibility … with hard-working homeowners and billionaire villains each playing a role.” Here’s a partial list of those alleged to be at fault:

•The Federal Reserve, which slashed interest rates after the dot-com bubble burst, making credit cheap.

•Home buyers, who took advantage of easy credit to bid up the prices of homes excessively.

•Congress, which continues to support a mortgage tax deduction that gives consumers a tax incentive to buy more expensive houses.

•Real estate agents, most of whom work for the sellers rather than the buyers and who earned higher commissions from selling more expensive homes.

•The Clinton administration, which pushed for less stringent credit and downpayment requirements for working- and middle-class families.

•Mortgage brokers, who offered less-credit-worthy home buyers subprime, adjustable rate loans with low initial payments, but exploding interest rates.

•Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, who in 2004, near the peak of the housing bubble, encouraged Americans to take out adjustable rate mortgages.

•Wall Street firms, who paid too little attention to the quality of the risky loans that they bundled into Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), and issued bonds using those securities as collateral.

•The Bush administration, which failed to provide needed government oversight of the increasingly dicey mortgage-backed securities market.

•An obscure accounting rule called mark-to-market, which can have the paradoxical result of making assets be worth less on paper than they are in reality during times of panic.

•Collective delusion, or a belief on the part of all parties that home prices would keep rising forever, no matter how high or how fast they had already gone up.

The U.S. economy is enormously complicated. Screwing it up takes a great deal of cooperation. Claiming that a single piece of legislation was responsible for (or could have averted) the crisis is just political grandstanding. We have no advice to offer on how best to solve the financial crisis. But these sorts of partisan caricatures can only make the task more difficult.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 5, 2009 12:26 PM
Comment #285639

When a cause pre-empts the possibility of another cause, I believe that cause takes priority over the other. Clinton might claim that the law enabled the bailout of a firm, but he fails to observe that the bailout would not be necessary if we were just looking at more isolated financial companies, we would not see consumer lending affected half so much.

As a matter of fact, it would have made the game played by the financial companies of selling bad debts in circles next to impossible to pull off, and would have isolated commercial banks from the fall out

The derivatives trading law made it impossible to regulate derivatives, and therefore impossible to keep their values and trading reasonably aligned to other forces of supply, demand, and price pressures.

The critical nexus here is one of the value of home prices, the derivatives based on the mortgages, and the risk on the debts which measured the likelihood of those debts being paid off. Change that interconnection, and everything else realigns.

The housing market was constructed like a superconducting ring. The current was the mortgage securities being sold around in circles, along with the CDOs and CDSs insuring people against losses. It worked in no small part because the system was set up to extend mortgage buying beyond what the market was actually able to bear.

The Mortgage Securities, under normal conditions, would have been limited by people’s willingness to buy them. If there had been market signals there as to just how risky they were, what you would have seen were fewer investors getting unknowingly into the risky stuff, and that would have made it harder to sell off the bad mortgages on the market, reducing the incentive for lenders to indulge consumers with bad credit. The CDS’s and CDO’s I’ve mentioned before were used as hedges, which allowed people to essentially treat ALL the mortgages as if they were safe, and that made it easier to ignore that price signal.

But the unregulated nature of these derivatives also contributed to them. Many kinds of these instruments didn’t even require that the person have a real dog in the fight. It was like a financial version of a bet at the race track. Companies were also not required to keep back the funds that would have been necessary to fulfill the counterparty obligation- in other words, paying up on the derivatives.

If, here as well, folks had been required to acknowledge elements of the market, like their own ability to pay out, their personal exposure on risk, and the risk of the covered assets, price pressures would have again curtailed the runaway greed, by imposing a penalty on excessive risk taking on all sides.

It’s secondary that people were greedy, that credit-unworthy people were taking out loans they couldn’t afford, or that people were being encouraged to buy more homes.

Why? Because the lenders, if they had truly been obligated to take care of their investors interests, would have started saying no. There would have been less of a market for housing and therefore less of a boom and less of a bust. If the financial companies had started rejecting the riskier stuff, it would have put the brakes on the market earlier.

If they hadn’t been able to ensure themselves as much on their risks, there would have been less of the overly complex web of counter-party risks, and companies that took risks beyond their means would not have been allowed to continue that the behavior.

Even failing that, if the major banks had not had financial branches grafted on to their operations (AIG with its investments, and whatnot, Citi and other companies with their trading companies), there would have been better insulation of one sector of the financial industry to another, and less overall consolidation.

The character of this financial disaster is all about how incestuously connected the financial world was, and how much the deregulation allowed companies to structure themselves and their interests so as to avoid market signals what would have short-term put a crimp in their profits, but long term prevented them from making fatal business errors.

The case for a systematic reregulation and reconsideration of our economic policies could not be stronger, and its a case that I believe Republicans have absolutely no interest at this point in pursuing. It’ll be a fight to get long-complacent Democratic Party Leaders around, but I would prefer a fight to a futile effort.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 5, 2009 1:16 PM
Comment #285651

No liberal or conservative should be supprised by the tactics being used at these townhall meetings.
They should be supprised that there isn’t more of this kind of behavior.

For years the American people have been disgusted and untrusting of their government and for many good reasons. For years the government has shoved legislation down their throats that a majority of them have been opposed to, Nafta is an example.

They have watched as the government allowed many of their jobs to be given to illegal immigrants or shipped to slave labor markets like China. They have had products that they use and trust, colgate toothpaste, etc., come back from those markets tainted with poisons. They have had their wages constantly eroded by inflation.

We are at a loss as to what to do because most of this has been done in a bipartisan manner on behalf of corporate interests and both parties have rigged the election process in such a way as to make it virtually impossible to challenge them.

The Democrats are now, in name only, incharge of the government and it is only natural that they should be the recipient of much of the hate that arises from the disgust and distrust that the people have for their government.

I am not saying that we aren’t deserving of the treatment we are recieving from or government because we are. We apparently can’t see that our wounds are self inflicted so we blame the government.

Now our healthcare has a major symptom, escalating cost. and our government wants to treat the symptom with healthcare reform because
it can’t cure the primary cause of high costs, lifestyle.

If I could, I would force the Democrats to offer the people a choice, Three plans to be voted on by the people. The progressives can offer the single payer plan. The conservatives now have a plan to offer and the liberals can offer their hybrid plan.

In the first round, the arguments for and against each plan, without unsubstanciated negative or postive claims and the people can vote to eliminate one of the plans.

In the second round the two remaining plans will be re-argued before the people make their final decision.

I believe it is time for the government to stop participating in the dummying down of it’s citizens and to inject more democracy into our government processes. Healthcare is a major issue that affects all of us and all of us should have the final say rather a bunch of politicians, none of whom were elected by more that thirty percent of the people.

Posted by: jlw at August 5, 2009 3:06 PM
Comment #285656

For those on the Red Column, a few guesses who said this:

And btw, I have long been on the record as thinking the Code Pink-style of protests are idiotic and counter-productive. So if you want to compare the Screamers to the Code Pinkers, by all means, feel free. They’re equally obnoxious.

Follow the link to find out.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 5, 2009 3:31 PM
Comment #285658

having just read the blog, and not the bloggers, dead on man!

far right wing extremists listen to people who whip them into a frenzy, tell them how to protest, what to say, when to say it, but they are afraid of losing liberties? they listen to people who whip them into such hatred, they kill a legal doctor because they condone the practice of abortion.

i have been called a communist by ignorant rush limbaugh heads. i have been called unpatriotic by republicans. when i say 1) communist really? and 2) how, by loving america? it came back to “you don’t agree w/the president bush”. i mean, communist and unpatriotic due just by disagreeing?

you’re right, we are being bullied by a few. i won’t even bring in how everyone is white. history repeating? only a few are heard? free white land owner - their days of yore? perhaps just a coincidence.

Posted by: bluebuss at August 5, 2009 3:53 PM
Comment #285659

Bluebuss, your comments, again, have raised the level of discourse to such a high standard, I’m not sure how we can all continue to meet the unreasonable expectations that they present us with.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 5, 2009 3:57 PM
Comment #285660


Let me try this way…

During the election there was a guy who was a guest on a radio talk show. They were dicussing some aspects of something that was in opposition to the Obama campaign. The Obama campaign sent out, through a mailing list, the time and number to call the show and told those people to disrupt the show, keep the person from being heard.

And they did. The show was effectively shut down. So many called in that it blocked the lines and for nearly half an hour the host had to deal with the way the calls were coming in.

Now, how is that any different than what is going on? AND, more importantly, does that mean that everyone who was on that mailing list was just following the ‘astroturf’ organization of the Obama campaign? That they weren’t thinking for themselves or, even worse, that they were all, whether they called in or not, nutjobs that shouldn’t be listened to?

Were they ‘stealing the airwaves’ and prevent valid discourse?

How does this factor into your article and, more importantly, what are the distinct differences you are going to provide that lets Obama off of the hook but still demonizes Freedomwatch?

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 5, 2009 4:02 PM
Comment #285661

Few people paid much attention when a week or so ago, President Obama announced that we had forged a new economic understanding with the Chinese.

A few people were listening when Geithner and Summers announced the results of that agreement. You, remember those two, the regulator that didn’t regulate and the chief architect of the housing derivatives who made millions off of them before that house of cards collapsed.

These two are now singing the song that deficits do matter and we have to reduce the deficits by raising taxes on the middle class.

This prompted Obama’s read my lips moment in which he said that he promised the middle class he wouldn’t raise their taxes and he won’t. Actually, if I am not mistaken, Obama promised to lower taxes on the middle class.

The Chinese laid down the law. We start reducing our deficit and get to a balanced budget or look somewhere else for a loan.

Posted by: jlw at August 5, 2009 4:23 PM
Comment #285663

Yes, The Obama Campaign did ask people to call up the show. These, however, were their instructions:

Tips for making your call: Be honest, but be civil. Be persistent. It may take a few attempts to get through to the show. Just keep trying. Your call is important. Use the talking points above to help you speak confidently and concisely.

Contrast that with:

– 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.”

You have to get your information from somebody else than Rush Limbaugh or his listeners:

Unlike Limbaugh, I listened to Kurtz on Rosenberg’s show. More than half the show was devoted to Kurtz’s laughable attacks on Obama (in one case, Kurtz started reading from an innocuous book on global justice that he admitted Obama probably never read, but which he linked to Obama because Obama knows the man who runs the foundation that produced the book). There were a couple of people just reading from the Obama campaign email, but plenty of anti-Obama people had the chance to call and were apparently given preferential treatment to get on the air (Rosenberg even called back notorious Obama critic Steve Diamond because his line was bad). So Limbaugh was lying about an “effort made to clog up the phone lines.”

So, Obama callers were not the majority, nor were they instructed to be disruptive of the program or disrespectful. They were called upon to show up and rebut the talking points, which is well within legitimate first amendment expression.

The difference?

The Republican tactics were aimed at rendering the forum dysfunctional, rather than at rebutting offensive talking points.

The Democrats supporting Obama were advised to be civil. These people were advised to deliberately rattle.

One side managed to disrupt the events. The other didn’t, even if it was really trying. The account above indicates that the radio show offered its forum for a clear half-hour with no interference, and thereafter got a few calls from Obama supporters.

Obama’s forever encouraged his supporters to be nice, civil, thoughtful and articulate, rather than the irrational and radical.

And you know something? The quote in that previous post of mine? It came from Markos Moulitsas- Kos of Daily Kos fame. We Democrats have the shame to disregard those of us who fail to act like adults.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 5, 2009 5:25 PM
Comment #285664

Check your information. They left the door open, but they did not say in any certain terms that a tax hike was in the offing.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 5, 2009 5:27 PM
Comment #285668


Then are you about to shame the Obama campaign who used this very tactic you are complaining against?

First, your attempt at an ‘insult’ about my listening to rush and getting my information there is laughable. I listened to that show as well, and the fact is that what you present is plain wrong.

Obama callers were not the majority

They were. They ended up having to talk without taking calls. They did talk on their own, without taking questions for some time. Kurtz did try to interact with some of them but they were belligerent, full of half-baked truths and ‘amped up’ and furious by the Obama campaign mailing.

The Democrats supporting Obama were advised to be civil.

No, they weren’t. The mailing can be read here. At no point does it mention to be civil, unlike the current memo that clearly states not to be too disruptive.

The Republican tactics were aimed at rendering the forum dysfunctional, rather than at rebutting offensive talking points.

Actually, that is not how the ‘leaked’ memo states it (validity unknown).

No where in there does it mention being beligerent or shouting down anyone asking questions. In fact, what it says is:

“Don’t carry on and make a scene - just short, intermittent shout outs. The purpose is to make him feel uneasy early on and set the tone as an clearly informal and freewheeling.”

You make a reprsentation here of the memo that just isn’t accurate, it makes me wonder if it is YOU who is reading the talkings points and not really investigating yourself…

You can read the memo here. Please give me the exact, in context, section that you disagree with as a political tool.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 5, 2009 5:54 PM
Comment #285671
The account above indicates that the radio show offered its forum for a clear half-hour with no interference, and thereafter got a few calls from Obama supporters.

BTW, this account is innacruate. The calls started coming in before the guest showed up. He tried taking calls but it turned out to be futile and they had to forgo calls for a while, it was a call the station and host made.

I never once said, btw, that I agreed with the guest on anything. But I’ve posted the memo and was listening to the show when it occurred, I’ve also included an ‘alternative’ view of the show that refutes what you said.

At no time in the memo does it say ‘be civil’. In fact, the hysteria of the memo is pretty clear that it will stir up the kind of responses that was received by the show.

So, basically, you have it backwards.

Now, people ARE showing up at the townhalls and being over the top. The question is, did the ALL get his memo OR are they genuinely fed up Americans? Or is it a little bit of both?

Trying to tie them all together as you attempted to do with the ‘tea baggers’ (ignoring that the tea parties were going on for years before 2009 and many who were there were there for years before Freedomwatch got involved) will just continue to infuriate those being lumped in.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 5, 2009 7:00 PM
Comment #285672

Oh, and I should point out that if you went to the website mentioned, it did say ‘be honest but be polite’. But in the mailing, it mentions all of the information needed to call the show and says to do so BEFORE you go to the website.

Now, this could have been an ‘oversite’. OR it could have been added to the site after the fact. But the mailing never says any such thing.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 5, 2009 7:09 PM
Comment #285675

My source got it straight from the horse’s mouth.

If you want to claim that Obama went back and retconned this into his website, be my guest, you’ll make my job easier.

These people get hit once with a flood of Obama callers, who were instructed to be on their best behavior by the campaign.

What are they using? They are hitting one townhall after another in an organized campaign, essentially trying to dominate the forum, not by generating consensus, over all, but by shouting down everybody else, and disrupting the events.

And disrupt they have. Hangings in effigy, Shouting, belligerent questioning that doesn’t even allow response. And why? Not because they want to be informed, but because they want to deceptively set up an inaccurate impression of populist rage against things. This is a game of political propaganda, of power plays.

Decades of that have made our country poorer in character and in it pocketbook.

Let me ask you and others on the right a question: is Medicare socialized government healthcare? There are people on the right who are actually drawing this themselves, and turning around and protesting a much tamer bit of legislation!

I think partisan sentiments might be overwhelming best practices on research and fact-finding.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 5, 2009 8:17 PM
Comment #285677

Let me put it to you this way. Liberal Democrats I have no use for or liberal any party for that mater. I am more of a moderate to conservative person. GWB was an a—hole but I thought Kerry and Gore were bigger a—holes. As far as BHO he has a lot to learn. This health care reform bill I wrote and told my congressman if he voted to approve it I would work as hard as I could to see him NOT REELECTED, in it’s present form. Yes phx8 it better be read, carefully crafted, and closely inspected, and by that I mean bipartisan,.

Posted by: KAP at August 5, 2009 8:26 PM
Comment #285681


I don’t know, it just seems like you cherry pick your arguments here. How can it be ok for the left to speak up and not for the right?

When democrats and the left protest it isn’t organized? And is ‘organization’ proof of fallacy?

I continually remember pointing out the marxist affiliations with many of the protesters throughout the Bush years and yet you continually defended them and the legitimacy of their arguments. (I didn’t say you were a marxist per se so we can call that a canard as well.) They were organized. They were ‘whipped up’ as it were. I just wonder that you don’t see any incongruity with your position opposing these protesters as illegitimate and International ANSWER and ACORN as perfectly legitimate.

I’m also sensing some kind of fervor in your rabid opposition to an opposition that lacks real power right now.

Would it be so bad for people to express their opinion?

Posted by: eric at August 5, 2009 10:47 PM
Comment #285682

On the other hand, what if you are just regurgitating the left-wing ‘talking points memo’ designed to create a dishonest backlash against normal upset citizens using their freedom of speech?

Revealed: Left’s dishonesty about Republican “mobs” somehow even worse than thought

I know that you will immediately discount any thought that anyone who holds any deviating view can possibly be motivated by honest beliefs… but it’s worth a try.

Posted by: eric at August 5, 2009 10:53 PM
Comment #285687


I don’t know, it just seems like you cherry pick your arguments here. How can it be ok for the left to speak up and not for the right?

Yep. Folks, do you see this? This is called starting off by accusing somebody of hypocrisy. This is done because you’re essentially trying to nullify the point so you can continue to do what you folks have been doing at these townhalls.

Which is NOT, absolute NOT merely speaking your peace. First, this isn’t spontaneous, but your strategy has been designed to look that way, to feel that way. Even if that guy’s memo is minor, it’s the tip of an industry group-funded iceberg. The Insurance lobbies, a big corporate set of sponsors are paying to bus people, people who are not constituents, all over the place with the intent to ruin any kind of civil discourse.

Second, these people aren’t merely getting up and asking questions to learn things, or to put people on the spot. They’re getting into shouting matches, heckling, and loudly booing, to the point that it’s uncomfortable for the people in the room. Congressmen are getting death threats, and there is even a report that a Congressmen has been struck.

And why is this happening? So that support cannot be organized. But is this something being done by the operations of rational consensus, or are Republcans sending out these mobs in order to “rattle” and disrupt? Looking at the widespread similarities, if this is organized, it is not organized with a mind towards influence civil discourse, it is meant to intimidate and shout down other people’s ability to get their message out.

So you tell me, is it all right for us to speak up? Because your people are going through considerable trouble to prevent that from happening. What are you afraid of? That we’re persuasive? Otherwise, why do you think it’s necessary to wage a campaign of disruption? And if you think you can be persuasive on your own terms, why the hell are you employing what you and Daily Kos Founder Markos Moulitsas agree are reprehensible tactics (I know you’ll reflexively doubt that, the quote is up the thread with a link.)

The problem is, you people don’t think you have to earn other’s agreement. You think you’re entitled to it, just the same as all the radical left-wing groups you love to despise. Funny thing there, becoming what you despise. It’s fairly easy, when you look at those people, and see all liberals in their tactics, their ideology. You die-hard Republicans and Conservatives just love your scapegoats, your effigies to burn, your folks to hate.

In the end, you have to have a political identity separate from the opposition of others. You have to have something to fight for that isn’t rooted in opposing somebody else’s philosophy. I support my president’s agenda overall, but these are not things I supported because I felt that I had to oppose right-wingers, these are things I supported because they are what I believe anyway.

I do believe some people honestly believe that certain things are true. Unfortunately, that’s not always the same as being well-informed, or having a well thought out opinion. I’m sure its not comfortable for folks to be confronted by somebody like myself.

But people, in my opinion, should be confronted with other’s opinions, have to share the forum. Did you know that many of the people who are protesting this government healthcare are on Medicare, but don’t even make the connection that the system that insures them is a government run system?

That’s how convoluted and rhetorically twisted this debate has become. People aren’t looking at the facts, they’re shouting slogans and Industry composed talking points meant to confirm pre-existing expectations.

But I’ve told your people again and again that such an approach to politics isn’t healthy. You’re putting yourselves in a position where nothing gets through if it doesn’t confirm what you already believe, where nobody can talk you down from an erroneous assumption.

And you know what? This is wearing on everybody else’s patience. Things are happening that your people aren’t appreciating the full character of, and you folks are making an insisting on policy that sometimes isn’t merely wrong, but could make things even worse. Now, if you folks had just come off eight years of one right decision after another, maybe people could take a chance on you.

But the last eight years have not been kind to the Republican Party in terms of its reputation as practical policymakers. So when you guys insist on having your way, all you do is remind people what happened when you last had your way.

When is it going to occur to you that if even if you win this round, the next round is going to be worse, because the status quo is going to worse? Do you really want to have to deal with people more angry with you than they are now?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 6, 2009 6:55 AM
Comment #285688

From the Napa Valley Register Editorial, “An unruly night in Napa”:

Monday night’s health care forum in Napa grew unruly and wild, with some critics of the current health care proposals seeking to derail the event, harming their cause and nearly destroying a meaningful forum on a critical topic for Napa and the nation.

The display was unwelcome — and unsuccessful if it was meant to move health care reform supporters toward considering the concerns of the critics. Several callers to the Register on Tuesday reported they were repulsed by the aggressive tactics of some members of the crowd.

To the degree the catcalls, chants and shouts were organized — and it appears from events around the country that they were — we strongly suggest that the organizers find more constructive ways to get their message out.


Unbridled anger is not a substitute for intelligent discussion. Catcalls are not replacements for hard questions and criticism.

For health care reform critics or anyone in political life to get their message across effectively, our message is that they should choose a more substantive and respectful approach.

This is from an editorial from a Conservative Paper. They’ve got something.

Let me step back for a moment, and tell you what the Democrats are doing right now. They already figured out what was coming before it came, and were looking for these events to happen.

Now, they have video of radical demonstrators being scary, offensive, angry, and giving out radical viewpoints that most Americans, regardless of their political inclinations, would find scary. They are commingled with a political movement, the Birthers, who are singlehandedly considerably reducing what’s left of the rational reputation of their supporters.

So let me be blunt: Democrats are prepared, and if you look on our sites, we’re organizing to counter you. If you don’t think this is a Godsend to the Democrats, why do you think even cautious folks like Harry Reid are willing to exploit their behavior?

These people are helping to convince Americans that the folks leading the opposition to Healthcare Reform are a ginned-up, industry-led, talking-point besotted group of dupes, whose politics would lead to scary places.

If even a media typically cowed by accusations of bias into remaining silent about things picks up on how fringe-worthy these tactics are, don’t you think you have a potential public relations disaster in the making? All it will take is one of these townhalls getting violent, one person or even Congressperson getting assualted in public or worse killed, for this entire campaign of anger and disruption to backfire on the Right.

The Right has not cared for a long time whether it seems too angry, too hostile, too mocking and disrespectful. But in a system that is so dependent on human interaction, how long can you go being sociopathically agressive, not caring what people feel or think, before you get the reaction people reserve for the uncaring and hostile: isolation and being seen as a threat?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 6, 2009 7:17 AM
Comment #285694

I think I ought to step back and set the picture for just what I think is wrong about what the people showing up at these Town Halls are doing.

In our common understanding the purpose of these get togethers, I can relate what is offensive. You see, these are meetings meant to allow constituents to ask questions of their representatives and Senators. These are for the locals.

Now, as those memos demonstrate, Politicians do have talking points, and they do have their game. We should expect this, and yes people should try to get past this, force accountability. The politician should not control the meeting’s flow entirely.

The constituents should. If they’re not angry, nobody should be shipped in to be angry for them. This is a manipulation, when employed. I think we can all agree that we don’t want to be manipulated ourselves.

Instead, these people, shipped in, try to manipulate things to their own ends. They’re carpetbaggers. And their intent is not to have the discussion, but to be the discussion.

These people only care about what the people in those townhalls think to the extent that they wish to manipulate them.

Worse yet, there’s a problem from a rhetorical perspective here. These people, now affectionally known on the left as the Screamers, are a walking demonstration of contempt and incivility. People who had good, conservative points are being lumped in with these folks, having their valid questions contaminated by association with these abusive, invasive folks.

And worse still, you have a potential political problem. Say you were an independent or a conservative who wanted to confront your representative with a serious question, or learn what their position was. You’re going in there, aiming to have a serious meeting.

And then these people show up. They’re not of your community, they don’t give a damn what the local issues are. They’ve got their agenda. And they spend the next half hour to couple hours screaming their head off.

Before, these people were something you could rationalize as the media focusing on the cranks and yahoos of your party, or of the right.

But now these people are shouting in your ear, loudly pushing their nutty agendas. You got your racists, your birthers, your separatists and all those lovely people you convinced yourself were just camera-magnet fringies.

Lastly, we know who is paying the bills for this. Add all the manipulative and abrasive tactics together, and it’s bad on its own. But these people trying to strong-arm our Democracy into positions they aren’t rationally arguing us towards are the same people earning money off the misery that is motivating what they oppose.

Why don’t I make this abundantly clear? For years, these economic elites and elitists have done their level best to get working class and middle class people to do their fighting for them, to sell on populist grounds policies that benefit mainly an economic elite.

What does it tell you folks that in a time where unemployment has increased and the economy plunged into recession, their profits still grow, and the costs of care and insurance with them?

The solution these people propose to the problem is really no solution, but oddly enough an acceptance of the status quo. How interesting that groups backed by insurance companies are trying to prevent a rational, emotionally level-headed discussion of healthcare issues, trying to take over the conversation, and insist on their opinions, their talking points to the exclusion of others.

We should see these tactics not merely for the people yelling their heads off in the townhalls, but for the folks back in the industry who are making sure that they are those conversations are interrupted, and turned in a favorable direction.

Notice that you didn’t see such protests when it came to the Medicare Drug Benefit. Notice that you didn’t see the insurance companies shipping out people to protest the Medicare Advantage plans. Neither of these “Healthcare Reforms” were deficit neutral, but you didn’t see healthcare companies or Screamers picketing and disrupting to prevent these programs.

No, this is not about saving money. This is not about preventing the takeover of big government programs. This is about political and economic power, and an ends-justifies-the-means attitude about keeping it. This is about an unholy alliance between two unpopular groups to scare and intimidate their way back into power.

It’s the bullies, the thieves and the extortionists trying desperately to desperately hold onto something people want to take back for themselves.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 6, 2009 10:55 AM
Comment #285695

So, Stephen, it’s NOT ok to be an ‘astroturf’ organization when the Reps do it but it IS ok to be an ‘astroturf’ organization when ThinkProgress does it?


Oh nO they are burning people in effigy. We’ve never seen that on the political scene before, Democrats would NEVER think of doing such things. Death Threats? Surely no Democrat would issue death threats against, say, AIG executives that got bonsus, right?

Let me be clear, I support being vocal and organized. I am ambivilent about burning things in effigy, it’s a silly way to get a point across, but if they want to do it, no problem from me. I do NOT support death threats and physical violence, it’s the one thing that a libertarian has to agree to to join the party.

But your constant railing that this is a Republican only phenomenon is tiring.

Further, we now know that ThinkProgress has stirred up a LOT of people with false information, much like they did during the ‘Tea Parties’. The reporting at the time was disgusting and very left-based, which shocked even me who knows there is a left leaning bias in most national 24 hours news media.

The ‘big Republican Operative’ who distributed the ‘memo’ turns out to be a libertarian, unaffiliated in any way to FreedomWorks, who sent the memo to 10 people. And beyond that, the memo was misquoted and take out of context to make it appear that it said something that it just did not. TPM made the mistake of actually posting the memo, ThinkProgress is probably not too happy with them since they went out of their way to create such a good narrative through their selective editing.

So we have Republicans and Democrats, organized and fighting each other, using libertarians as their stepping mats, once again, just as they did on April 15th. Awesome.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 6, 2009 10:57 AM
Comment #285696

Tell me, Stephen, where is the proof that there is bussing of people to town halls? I certainly cannot trust ThinkProgress to be accurate on this topic, they have already showed their hand. So some other source would be nice.

Also, NOW it is not ok to ‘bus’ people in? When the Democrats made a living doing just that, it was ok, but now it is something that should be spoken out against? I just want to make sure we are clear on that because one day the left will be out of power again and I want to make sure we are all clear on the rules that are acceptable when you are out of power are the same as when you are in power…

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 6, 2009 11:01 AM
Comment #285698

KAP, why is it your comments don’t seem to grasp the political reality of this health care issue. Republicans cannot allow a health care reform bill to pass into law, no matter how perfect it is. In fact, the more perfect it is, the worse its passage will be for Republicans, politically. Reacquiring power dictates that the Democrats must be prevented from passing any health care reform.

Republicans must be able to lay the dire consequences of NOT passing health care reform at the feet of the Democrats in order to pave their way back to power in the W.H. and Congress. Ergo, it is incumbent upon the American people to reject this GOP motive, and support the passage of a health care reform bill that will provide them what they want. Nearly 3/4 of Americans acknowledge the need for health care reform. This is a battle between the American people and the GOP, no matter how you boil it down.

This of course means that Democrats must give up their traditional waste loving ways and tricks, and create the very best health care reform bill possible and demonstrate its merits to the American people. A pretty tall order for Democrats, no matter how you slice it.

I wish there were an alternative to this duopoly party method of saving the nation’s economic and health future, but, the only way for America to deal with the health care threat growing daily, is through the duopoly party political process. And that leaves one party on the side of the people, Democrats promoting a health care reform policy that will address the threat coming, and the Republican Party which must oppose it at any cost (double entendre’ intended).

That is the political reality of this issue.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 6, 2009 11:39 AM
Comment #285706

Think Progress openly admits that it’s an organization based from the Center for American Progress. That’s not astroturfing. Astroturf, the real stuff, is fake grass.

And Astroturfing, in politics, is fake grassroots.

I think FreedomWorks has done quite a bit of astroturfing in its time. In fact, that site that posted that memo is kept up by a guy who volunteers for the organization. It’s not separate at all from the Republican Establishment, as it has Jack Kemp and Dick Armey as founding members.

Americans for Prosperity, one of the other groups behind the Tea Parties, is chaired by billionaire energy executive David H. Koch. It started out as Citizens for a Sound Economy

Want to know who funded that?

Archer Daniels Midland

DaimlerChrysler ($25,000)


General Electric

Koch Industries

F.M. Kirby Foundation

Philip Morris (>$1 million)

U.S. West ($1 million)

ExxonMobil ($75,000)

Exxon ($175,000)

Hertz ($25,000)

Microsoft ($380,000)

U.S. Sugar Corp. ($280,000)

Look on the face of Populist Revolt among the Right Wing. If you want to look for astroturf, look around the places they’re having their Tea Party’s and their Screaming matches with our elected officials.

The insane thing about this is that with all the paranoia about being manipulated by government forces, folks like those listed above are the main support for groups like those supporting the Teabaggers, the Screamers, and the Birthers. Do these people look deep enough to suspect that the fix is in, that they’re just pawns of the people who really have been benefitting from their tax dollars and the tax cuts they so dearly love?

I mean, have we ever seen so many people so blindly devoted to serving the interests of those who have no greater agenda than to serve their own wealth and power?

These folks are pawns in a sick game they can never win: they fight Washington in order to battle Washington’s power over their lives. Yet the same people who lobby Congress also fund them.

At least Democrats are aware that somebody’s pitting their own representatives against their interests, and we’re fighting that. These poor people have built themselves up as heroes in a battle against a dark conspiracy, yet operate as the sock puppets for the same interests that have been deciding policy in Washington for decades.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 6, 2009 2:07 PM
Comment #285710
In fact, that site that posted that memo is kept up by a guy who volunteers for the organization.

In fact, he doesn’t.

The only interaction that the guy who posted the memo has to Freedomworks is that he posted a comment on a website that partners with FreedomWorks once.

This was debunked here already, but you didn’t take the time to read the debunking. Or any other debunking I have provided (like FactCheck on the economy or the mailing that was sent out to the Obama mailing list).

As for being ‘behind the tea parties’, the tea parties were going on BEFORE FreedomWorks or any other republican group got involved. They were protesting the Republicans as well. Just because SOME of the people who showed up to the tea parties were part of FreedomWorks doesn’t mean that they ALL were, but that is the inferrence that the left wants to make. I remember distinctly seeing Libertarians who were at the tea parties (as they had been for years) being referred to as Right wing Fox protestors and being shouted down by REPORTERS live on the air. Such a great example…

You’ve created nice little insulting nicknames for a group of people and then tie everyone that is out there protesting into them.

Don’t worry, those people WILL remember what was done to them. The independants and non-Democrats that you will need to keep your power will remember being called ‘teabaggers’ and ‘screamers’ when they were not part of the group you had a problem with, that you lumped all in together, for your political purposes. And when you lose power and scratch your head as to how that could have happened, perhaps you will remember back on August 2009…

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 6, 2009 2:36 PM
Comment #285713

yes, sadly stephen we have seen blind devotion before. in germany, circa 1930’s. we have seen it on our side of the pond too. that is why i have brought up race. that is why i brought up coincidence. that is why i have brought up organized chaos.

it is wrong. when someone is in opposition, s/he has their right to speak. but, when they are yelling over my right of speech, then they have crossed a line. and that is what they are doing even today.

rhinehold - you don’t have to “sink”, just open your eyes and look around.

Posted by: bluebuss at August 6, 2009 2:39 PM
Comment #285714

rhinehold - i think the “teabag/gers” came up w/that name on their own. democrats just laughed at them. since they were so out of touch they don’t even know old slang. i mean who didn’t laugh just a little when they heard “we are having a teabag party”. out of touch with slang, with policy, with america.

Posted by: bluebuss at August 6, 2009 2:44 PM
Comment #285717

The site he runs is part of a larger organization, which Freedomworks supports. Their involvement in the Tea Parties was proven. They may have had them before, but not on this big, nationwide scale.

Besides, don’t you get it? You have freedom of assembly, freedom of association. But what gives you freedom FROM association with these people, if you don’t see fit to make your distinctions clear?

You are going out of your way to defend this conduct. The trouble isn’t that this is right-wing rhetoric. The trouble is that folks in these groups are getting out of control, breaking the common customs of our society for peaceful, civil discourse. Don’t you even recognize those standards anymore?

Libertarians will never be allowed much power until it becomes clear that the self-control they preach is also practiced. If people can’t moderate their own behavior, folks won’t feel much motivation to lay off on moderating it through regulation and political opposition.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 6, 2009 3:42 PM
Comment #285721
The site he runs is part of a larger organization, which Freedomworks supports

No, it doesn’t.

Bob MacGuffie leads the Right Principles PAC.

The Think Progress link that purports to establish MacGuffie as a FreedomWorks “volunteer” leads to his one blog posting on a Tea Party website (on the free social networking site, Think Progress calls Tea Party Patriots a “FreedomWorks website.”

The problem is it’s not a FreedomWorks site, according to FreedomWorks spokesman Adam Brandon. FreedomWorks is a “coalition partner” of, but does not fund the site in any way.

So, his PAC has nothing to do with FreedoWorks, he once posted on a site run by TeaPartyPatriots who ThinkProgress says is a partner of FreedomWorks, but isn’t.

But because of a single blog post on a website that is not partnered with FreedomWorks, that makes him a FreedomWorks operative?

Your assertion, just as ThinkProgress’, is NOT FACTUAL.

What is the site he runs, Stephen?

You want the freedom to lump people together and then write the whole group off. It has been the modus operandi of the Right and the Left in this country for years. And all you will continue to do when you do that is alienate them. That is what the Right did when they did it and the independants who were the victims voted in the Left. Now the left is doing it, who do you think they are going to vote for next time?

The rhetoric and anger is coming from both sides, Stephen. The Left groups are bussing in people to be beligerent to the beligerents of the right while saying that that type of behavior should be used. So instead of letting them have a tantrum, as you see it, the left is going to participate in the same tactics (which they have used many times in the past but now want to say shouldn’t be used) and lose ANY moral ground they may have had with people who weren’t paying attention.

Which is all well and good, but when they have to use FALSE information to make their case, as they did in April, it is just as wrong when they do it.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 6, 2009 4:08 PM
Comment #285722
i think the “teabag/gers” came up w/that name on their own. democrats just laughed at them

No, it was the media at MSNBC (maddow, schuster and olberman) and CNN (cooper) who used those terms in ‘reporting’ on the events.

Cooper has at least had the good taste to apologize for use the term.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 6, 2009 4:18 PM
Comment #285724

Tell me what a coalition partner is, what that means. Do they just sit in a corner and twiddle their thumbs, or is the relationship more significant? You seem to know everything here, enlighten me.

Then explain something to me. Lets say for the sake of argument that he’s got absolutely nothing to do with these people, that they were all just friendly suggestions.

We still have our friends at FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity proudly propping up, funding, and giving marching orders to the teabaggers, even bussing them to the meetings from outside the districts.

You’re perpetually saying it’s both sides, both sides, both sides, without any evidence that Democrats are organizing to do the same things.

This isn’t organic. People do not suddenly all use the same tactics at the same time with same talking points all over the country. There is a traceable relationship of logistical support and political indoctrination of talking points that clearly points to there being organized behavior behind this.

But you won’t look at that. Instead you constantly invoke a false equivalence. So far, we have not heard of the Left being as belligerent in these townhalls. Nor have we heard of Republicans being harrassed the same way. Nor was it common practice among Democrats to disrupt in this way. I even have Daily Kos Founder Markos Moulitsas coming out against folks like Code Pink, showing just how little regard we have for folks who obnoxiously disrupt things.

But I guess you have to insist that it’s all he same, that nothing’s any different, so on and so forth.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 6, 2009 4:25 PM
Comment #285725
Their involvement in the Tea Parties was proven. They may have had them before, but not on this big, nationwide scale.

Yes, they were, every year. Freedomworks gave the organizations, most of them local, an ability to coordinate together in a bottom up, not top down approach.

Your ‘charges’ have been challenged and are not accepted except by Democrats. In fact, the original article claiming ‘astrturfing’ was pulled because of a libel charge.

Participants vehemently deny the astroturfing charge. According to Atlantic Monthly, the three main groups that provide guidance and organization for the protests FreedomWorks, dontGO, and Americans for Prosperity state that the demonstrations are an organic movement. Professor and lawyer Glenn Reynolds, best known as author of the Instapundit political blog, argued in The New York Post that: “These aren’t the usual semiprofessional protesters who attend antiwar and pro-union marches. These are people with real jobs; most have never attended a protest march before. They represent a kind of energy that our politics hasn’t seen lately, and an influx of new activists.” Tim Phillips, head of Americans for Prosperity, has remarked that the Republican Party is “too disorganized and unsure of itself to pull this off.”

I can tell you, as a member of one of these local organizations that put these together every year, including this year, that the groups did give us more media coverage on the events, when they were going to be, what days, etc. More peopel knew about them than ever before. But the organization of them was done by local people, people who had been organizaing them for years previously.

It’s laughable to watch people who do not know what is going on unless it involves the left sit and pundit about what other people are doing and try to put pieces together with the GOAL of finding something to stick so it can employ the tactics that they have been utilizing. Especially since most of the people who organize these types of things look to the past and the left who were good at this before anyone else as examples. Even the ‘memo’ that you refer to (but I can bet still haven’t read) mentions using the ‘Saul Alinsky’ playbook that the left uses…

Further, how do you think Obama got his start as a community organizer? Could one of those events have been bussing in people to shout down bank managers…?

Nah, couldn’t have been, the left never uses these tactics.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 6, 2009 4:26 PM
Comment #285729

Libel charge: I read that as someone with lots of money and expensive laywers.

Posted by: gergle at August 6, 2009 4:51 PM
Comment #285736

I read somewhere that the Reps had a health care reform bill of their own. Do you think that the Democratic run congress will even look at their bill? I very seriously doubt it. If it were a Republican run congress it would probably be reversed Reps would not even look at theirs. So what we have in this country is a 2 party cry baby system. It’s amazing that we get anything done in this country. I do nhope we get health care reform but concerned about a liberal democratic version.

Posted by: KAP at August 6, 2009 5:29 PM
Comment #285741

Could you give me a straight answer some questions:

1) Do you approve or not approve of the tactics used by these people?

2) Do you approve or not approve shouting people down in a public forum, heckling an elected official so they can’t get a word out edgewise?

I only ask because it seems like you dance around these points, trying to badmouth my points by alleging that I’m somehow inconsistent about my opinion.

Let me be blunt, so that you have no opportunity to mis understand me: I don’t approve ANYONE using such tactics. I feel they are unfair in my opponents hands, and unbecoming in my own folks hands. Forceful, passionate, eloquent delivery of opinions are okay in my book. Challenging elected officials is great, I recommend it.

But we got to live with each other, and the more people use divisive self-indulgent behavior like this to express their views, the more ossified and divided people’s opinions become, and the easier it is for people to ignore valid points.

In my opinion, the best systems let political ideas intermingle from all directions, not just flow one way or another. People learn from each other. Civil discussion to me takes a lot of the emotion out of points, allowing people to better examine them on their merits.

Without the faculties of reason, a person has no freedom. They are just an instinctive animal that can be manipulated through emotional appeals. Only in our capacity and willingness to think for ourselves are we really free.

These people heckling these town halls are trying to bypass reason, bypass folk’s consideration. They’re not taking no for an answer, they’re insisting that its their way or the highway, and are trying to bully the majority their way, manipulate herd instincts.

And this is an abomination to me, especially in light of the incredibly important issues we face, and all the screaming and carrying on many of these same people did to convince us to take the failed policy directions we did last time.

Maybe you are happy to just sit back and ignore all the involvement of the thinktanks and the Republican figure. Maybe you’re happy to spin and equivocate all day long. But I’m not happy to sit around and be told that all these sudden, uncharacteristic, coordinated incidents are just coincidence, and that the happily offered talking points by the groups I describe are just disinterested advice.

I have heard enough and read enough to conclude that it isn’t just all some bizarre confluence of events. This stuff was planned, and coordinated. I am no conspiracy theorist, as most people on this site know. The evidence for this is overwhelming, and just a few clicks away.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 6, 2009 6:13 PM
Comment #285743

Isn’t The Billionaire-Energy-Exec-founded thinktank being extraordinarily helpful to the Hecklers?

We should also thank the brave efforts of Conservative’s for Patient’s Rights founder Rick Scott who left a lucrative career as a CEO who defrauded Medicare and Medicaid to help all us wonderful people. I guess he felt he had to pay back his debt to society (or was it his company, with that 1.7 billion dollar fine?)

Oh, I know Rhinehold, it’s a liberal source, so it doesn’t count. I guess everybody will just have to read for entertainment. Same reason people listen to Rush, or watch Bill O’Reilly, right?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 6, 2009 6:21 PM
Comment #285746


During the 1990s, its faulty pipelines were responsible for more than 300 oil spills in five states, prompting a landmark penalty of $35 million from the Environmental Protection Agency. In Minnesota, it was fined an additional $8 million for discharging oil into streams. During the months leading up to the 2000 presidential elections, the company faced even more liability, in the form of a 97-count federal indictment charging it with concealing illegal releases of 91 metric tons of benzene, a known carcinogen, from its refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas.

[edit]Republican Ties
If convicted, the company faced fines of up to $352 million, plus possible jail time for company executives. After George W. Bush became president, however, the U.S. Justice Department dropped 88 of the charges. Two days before the trial, John Ashcroft settled for a plea bargain, in which Koch pled guilty to falsifying documents. All major charges were dropped, and Koch and Ashcroft settled the lawsuit for a fraction of that amount.

Koch had contributed $800,000 to the Bush election campaign and other Republican candidates.


Posted by: ohrealy at August 6, 2009 6:32 PM
Comment #285759

Have you never seen a conservative try to speak on campus? The local wierdos scream, throw pies and generally act out like the clowns they are.

I don’t like shouting, but the left is where you get most of the childish protesting.

The problem is that most Americans want health care reform, but they don’t want to pay for it or lose any of their coverage. Those who can count, understand that Obama’s promises don’t add up. Sorry about that.

Posted by: Christine at August 6, 2009 8:31 PM
Comment #285768

Most of this response was part of a comment I wrote on Eric Simonson’s latest. I just thought that there was so much good and relevant information that I uncovered researching my comment that duplicating the effort to write a new comment would be silly. So here’s some evidence, first and foremost.

First question: are the Teabaggers a grassroots movement? Not as they are now.

This is a nice case of Astroturfing right here.

[from here it’s mostly my old comment from the red column]

This video has a FreedomWorks employee clearly described as such stating that his group is a grassroots group. It is not.

It is the combination of the group Empower America, which was lead by William Bennet, Jeane Kirkpatrick, and Jack Kemp, with Citizens for a Sound Economy, a group that was founded and led by members of the billionaire Koch family, An R.J Reynolds heir, and Freedomwork’s current boss Dick Armey, and which was funded in turn by people like ADM, Enron, GE, Phillip Morris, Microsoft, ExxonMobil, and US Sugar, for crying out loud.

This is grassroots the same way the field in the Astrodome is a natural meadow. Yet that’s the bull they feed us. And obviously, the people in that video are unreservedly saying that the Teabaggers are gaining great deals of logistical help from these Right-Wing Thinktanks.

And now, those same people are distributing kits, complete with cute little bits of propaganda to mock healthcare reform with.

You’ve got this one Group, Conservatives for Patients Rights being lead by a guy whose company was fined 1.7 billion dollars under his leadership for defrauding Medicare and Medicaid.

As for there being absolutely no connection?


Let the fine journalists at TPM give you the lowdown: (I know, you don’t like them. Prove them wrong if you can.)

On Friday, July 24, a representative of Conservatives for Patients Rights—the anti-health care reform group run by disgraced hospital executive Rick Scott[The Guy who bilked Medicare and Medicaid that I mentioned], in conjunction with the message men behind the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth—sent an email to a list serve (called the Tea Party Patriots Health Care Reform Committee) containing a spreadsheet that lists over one hundred congressional town halls from late July into September.

The email from CPR to tea baggers suggests that, though conservatives portray the tea bagger disruptions as symptoms of a populist rebellion roiling unprompted through key districts around the country, they have to a great extent been orchestrated by anti-health care reform groups financed by industry. (CPR did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

That email predates by about a week a recent flurry of events at which Democratic members of Congress have been accosted and harassed by anti-health care reform tea party protesters. But beyond putting those spectacles, now receiving wide play on cable news, into a fresh light, it also provides a window into the tea party protesters’ organizing infrastructure, which, like so much political organizing today, occurs in private email list serves.

Got that? Now I’ve heard plenty of protests saying that our friend who wrote that memo, Robert MacGuffie, wasn’t really employed or associated with anybody. That turns out to be rather inaccurate. He wasn’t just posting out into the wind.

But his memo nonetheless found its way to hundreds of tea party activists, including the very organizations MacGuffie insists he’s unaffiliated with.

Like many political movements in the country, the so-called Tea Party Patriots organize on a number of email list serves—an eponymous google group, one called Health Care Freedom Tea Party, the aforementioned Tea Party Patriots Health Care Reform Committee—where the broader community of tea baggers, including those working independently, co-ordinate.

MacGuffie’s memo was posted to the Tea Party Patriots’ list serve, which is hundreds of members large, and includes representatives from not just small protest groups, but also major anti-health reform organizations such as Conservatives for Patients Rights, and Patients First, Patients United Now (an affiliate of Americans for Prosperity), and, yes, Freedom Works.

With such broad and powerful memberships, the group is able to co-ordinate protests and counter protests at events hosted by members of Congress and pro-reform groups. And that’s just what they’ve been doing, and plan to do much more over the August congressional recess, during which many believe the fate of health care reform will be decided.

Like I said. It’s to grassroots what the Astrodome’s field is to a verdant meadow.

[end of cut and pasted comment]

So tell me, how is this a spontaneous demonstration of anger? How many happy acccidents and convenient relationships have to pile up before you admit that this isn’t a popular movement of people getting mad at liberals, but something far more cynically constructed?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 6, 2009 10:21 PM
Comment #285772
Could you give me a straight answer some questions:

I do nothing else.

1) Do you approve or not approve of the tactics used by these people?

Which tactics by which people? If you are referring to the memo that was released by a small libertarian group that is INCORRECTLY tied to FreedomWorks? Yes, as it is written in whole. The goal is the people at the town hall is not to disrupt the meeting or to not get answers, but to rattle the representative so you don’t get reheared non-answer answers. And you know what I am talking about when I say that.

If you are talking about shouting out and being disruptive to the point that the meeting cannot continue and no questions can be answered, then no, I oppose that. I also oppose any violence. I do support, in theory, burning people in effigy, which I suspect is about the same reaction you have to the practice…

2) Do you approve or not approve shouting people down in a public forum, heckling an elected official so they can’t get a word out edgewise?

I think I just answered that, but let me be clear. There is a clear difference between not letting them give bullshit answers and not letting them answer at all. I approve of people having a vocal and tense dialog to get the real answer out of people, I do not approve of just being loud and never letting anyone talk.

There are two different things. The ‘memo’ did not suggest the latter, only the former.

I only ask because it seems like you dance around these points, trying to badmouth my points by alleging that I’m somehow inconsistent about my opinion.

I have pretty much stated what I’ve just stated several times, I have never wavered to that and I have done no ‘dancing’ as far as I can tell.

Let me be blunt, so that you have no opportunity to mis understand me: I don’t approve ANYONE using such tactics.

Which tactics are that? We have to be clear here. Are you suggesting no one should raise their voice at a townhall meeting? That we should all sit quietly as the representative is giving a pat ‘non answer’? Or should we be making them feel that such answers are not acceptable?

I feel they are unfair in my opponents hands, and unbecoming in my own folks hands. Forceful, passionate, eloquent delivery of opinions are okay in my book. Challenging elected officials is great, I recommend it.

And that is what the ‘memo’ calls for, Stephen. Read it, not the ThinkProgress bastardization of it.

I have heard enough and read enough to conclude that it isn’t just all some bizarre confluence of events. This stuff was planned, and coordinated. I am no conspiracy theorist, as most people on this site know. The evidence for this is overwhelming, and just a few clicks away.


There is a BIG difference in groups getting funding from a lot of places helping coordinate the people who are upset into a unified force and suggesting that the things that these people feel are ‘fake’ somehow, that they aren’t really upset or questioning what is going on because some people you don’t like are helping coordinate them.

This is no different at all in what Acorn does, what the AFLCIO does, what anti-war protesters do, what Cindy Sheehan did, etc. People are already upset, these coordinators have simply pointed them in a direction to help focus their feelings.

Do I think that some of them are going overboard? Of course, as I pointed out. Does that make the entire group of people who are upset and demanding REAL answers at these town halls are ‘not genuine’? Of COURSE not. Except in MSNBCworld. Or ThinkProgress world.

The real problem, Stephen, is that the left wants to do just that, to dismiss EVERY ONE of these people because they don’t like that they are getting direction from people they disapprove of. Who WOULD you approve of, Stephen?

I don’t care if the AFLCIO or ACORN whip people up and coordinate them to take on those who they oppose, that’s American, even though I opppose much of what they stand for. So why would I care if FreedomWorks does the same thing? ACORN pretends to be a ‘grass roots’ organization, just as the Obama campaign did. Neither one were. But that doesn’t mean that the people who show up at their rallies or protests are not genuine.

The reaction from the left has been HORRENDOUS. Incorrect facts, calling people ‘brownshirts’, thugs, suggesting that people were showing up with swaztikas, intimating that they were beating up elected officials… Perhaps I just expect better from the people who keep telling me that they ARE better. You would think that, but it isn’t the case.

What you don’t get, though, Stephen is that 35-40 percent of the people are going to vote Democrat. 35-40 percent of the people are going to vote Republican. But the other people, the people who are in the middle and are being LUMPED INTO this attack, who are genuinely frustrated and angry, who aren’t part of these organizations and are very much using their only chance to find out what is going on, are going to remember what they were called by the left, how they were portrayed. So you had better make sure that EVERYONE you are labelling here is who you say they are…

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 7, 2009 12:14 AM
Comment #285773
Now I’ve heard plenty of protests saying that our friend who wrote that memo, Robert MacGuffie, wasn’t really employed or associated with anybody.

He wasn’t.

But his memo nonetheless found its way to hundreds of tea party activists, including the very organizations MacGuffie insists he’s unaffiliated with.

Oh nO! How is that possible! I mean, it is so hard for someone to pass on something they get to others in similar groups who pass them on to others on the internet. I can’t see how that could have happened EXCEPT that he MUST have been on the payroll of FreedomWorks! In fact, Rove himself must have written the memo…

Please Stephen, this is getting RIDICULOUS and bordering on the truthers and birthers…

Not into conspiracy theories? You are exuding them.

Like many political movements in the country, the so-called Tea Party Patriots organize on a number of email list serves—an eponymous google group, one called Health Care Freedom Tea Party, the aforementioned Tea Party Patriots Health Care Reform Committee—where the broader community of tea baggers, including those working independently, co-ordinate.

MacGuffie’s memo was posted to the Tea Party Patriots’ list serve, which is hundreds of members large, and includes representatives from not just small protest groups, but also major anti-health reform organizations such as Conservatives for Patients Rights, and Patients First, Patients United Now (an affiliate of Americans for Prosperity), and, yes, Freedom Works.

Right, so just curious, where is the evidence that he posted it there?

Don’t have it?

It’s anonymous and no way to trace that?

Well, you got me there Stephen. I can’t see why I didn’t see it before.

And of course, if he did post it there, it obviously meant he was a paid operative of the secret society running the teabaggers movement…

The funny thing is that no matter how many times everyone involved has tried to debunk the ThinkProgress and TPM fantasies, they refuse to let it go.

Didn’t you lambast those on the right a few years ago for all of the ‘George Soros’ stuff, how Obama was a terrorist because he ‘palled around with them’ and how Obama got his house from his friend…?

There is more evidence to THOSE things than what you are attempting here. It’s a great example of what lengths people are willing to go to make a NON story, because it DOESN’T MATTER to anyone who doesn’t already believe everything ThinkProgress and TPM say out of hand. So why would they worry about debunking it unless it wasn’t true?

You know, I was going to leave this all alone, but…

I hear a lot about the ‘teabaggers’ and ‘birthers’… I mention the ‘truthers’ and am told that they don’t represent the Democrats so we should just let it go, etc…

Then I see a ‘poll’ brought out saying that 28% of the Republicans polled believe that Obama wasn’t born in the US. AHA! We are told, this is a prime example of how f’d up the Republicans are…

Funny thing is, the Republicans, when they had a poll that stated that 35% of the Democrats believed that Bush was behind the 9/11 attacks, it wasn’t used in this manner. Because most people understand that there are crazy people out there and lumping poeple together like that is a wretched way to try to avoid the issues at hand. A terrible FALLACY and flawed debate technique.

But that didn’t stop MSNBC, did it? Or ThinkProgress…

And I’m not even a Republican! I don’t support their view that this bill will ‘kill granny’, I think it is wrong. I was included in their attempts to label anyone who didn’t agree with the administration as being anti-american because I think that gay people should be allowed to marry, that religion should be kept out of governmental instutions, that pot should be legalized and I support the ACLU.

Yet I have to defend them against the disgusting tactics that the left are using and have been using on not just them but anyone who dares speak out agains this adminstration.

And I could care less about the nonsense that the White House has posted, in fact I am making sure to include my future articles to that address and sign them up for all KINDS of spam…

But tell me, what do you think the cry and hue (rightfully) would have been from the left had George Bush suggested such a thing…? Why is the left supporting it now when they never would have a year ago…?

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 7, 2009 12:34 AM
Comment #285774

BTW, I left out of my rant, because of my mocking, that it appears that you didn’t even read the part that I quoted…

” including those working independently”

” includes representatives from not just small protest groups”

He has done nothing except that he was part of a small PAC that he and a few friends put together, posted on a blog once that is shared by a site that is a partner organization to FreedomWorks and passed out a memo to around 10 people that found its way onto a ‘teabagger’ newslist that includes people from FreedomWorks.

And you and your fellow Liberals want to tear this man LIMB FROM LIMB for it.

Politics at its finest. And you wonder why I don’t want this type of ‘politics’ involved in my healthcare any more than it alread it?

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 7, 2009 12:39 AM
Comment #285785

You know damn well that I am not objecting to peaceful, orderly expression of views. I am not objecting to conservatives, who speak their views, and then respectfully sit down, and quietly listen to other people.

I don’t support burning or hanging people in effigy. It’s crass, and it’s a symbolic murder, a symbolic lynching, and will be interpreted as such. Hell, when the DNC made a video out of this, what kind of image do you think got into it?

If you want to send the message “We’re scary and crazy”, assaults on effigies are a good start.

On #2, I made it clear in the comment where I posed the question that I have no objection to people knocking the politicians of balance with a challenging question. Even if the person does spin, how they spin, and that they spin on the matter tells you all kinds of things of what you need to know.

But there is a difference between challenging, and simply interrupting constantly so the politician can’t even get out a whole thought. You could break in at certain points to ask follow up questions, but from what I see, nothing so specific and probing is what’s going on. People are simply beating these politicians up verbally.

You kind of went two ways with your previous answer, which seems to me to mark where you’re trying to rationalize where many of these sessions went.

You could simply say, no, I don’t approve of heckling. And it would be obvious to one and all, that this was your unambiguous answer. Since I already made the distinction between peaceful challenges, passionate discourse and this Heckler’s Veto sort of campaign myself, there’s no need for you to qualify your answer as such.

In your response to my statement of principles, I should remind you that I have been quite clear about what I object to, so you don’t need to ask what I object to. I’ve also said quite clearly that I want people to raise their questions, let their voices be heard, and have left no ambiguity about the value of the practice of free speech in such settings.

You say, oh, should they just sit quietly as the representative gives them a pat non-answer?

No. They should write it down. They should, if they still have the floor, ask follow-ups. They should, in my mind, act like a citizen journalist. When they get home, they should go and google things, and failing there being any real answer there, they should tell other people that this answer wasn’t good enough, either by word of mouth, or by a resource like the one we’re using here.

I blogged at first because I found out tons of things that I wanted people to know, but which I didn’t see get broadcast all that widely.

You operate on this premise that you have to take over the event in order to defeat the politician’s carefully crafted exterior. You don’t. The truth is, these people don’t control things. They don’t control people’s minds. If your question is good enough, and people know it, they’ll begin to wonder the same things, and feel just as frustrated as you when the question is not answered properly.

The politician isn’t necessarily the point. It’s the audience. The politician might try to manipulate, but they are only successful if they sway the people in the room. Your question, even if it’s not answered right, can move people’s opinions. But you, too, have to respect the audience’s right to choose that for themselves. You can’t force agreement.

That memo is not about challenging people half so much as it’s about using crowd psychology to convince them that some sort of counterrevolution is going on in public opinion. Given that it’s likely that people like MacGuffie knew that this was in the offing far in advance, I really doubt that this was just some spit ball.

It’s kind of funny that in the rest of your first comment, you essentially argue that the people who got angry and up in arms at these townhalls were somehow representative of the middle. I dont’ hear, though, those kinds of talking points coming from your average moderate. They don’t go into rants about socialism, or get their questions and their information from tea party sites.

This is what you would like to think is happening. But it’s not realistic to assert that it’s what really is happening.

As somebody who’s been watching politics for a while, I’ve come to believe that being glass-half-empty about the level of your support, in terms of setting your goals for being persuasive, is a better strategy than simply assuming that people are automatically on your side. I don’t lump ordinary people in with the Screamers and Hecklers. These people overlap quite well with the fringe political groups that composed the equally think-tank compromised Tea Baggers movement of earlier in the year. They used the same routes of communication, the same organizations, the same basic political philosophies.

You aren’t the moderates. You’re way out there. If you acknowledged this, you could begin to work out just what you would have to sell, what you would have to compromise, in order to gain support from this middle, these moderates. But that’s not what you’re doing. You, like them, are assuming, your represent the middle, you represent normal, and are therefore content to paint yourselves as maligned parts of the silent majority.

It’s politics by the fallacy of popularity. Even if what you think is true, it validates only the logic that depends on popularity. Anything else is just using the crowd as cover for an argument you otherwise haven’t yet won.

Right, so just curious, where is the evidence that he posted it there?

You’re kidding, right?

Ad hominem responses. You can’t handle the facts, so you’ll claim that by virtue of what you think of them, that their reporting must be wrong.

Is this just a feeling on your part, or do you have actual evidence that no such listserv exists?

Yes, I lambasted those on the right for portraying George Soros as if he were to the left of Lenin. But that’s because the man is an ardent anti-communist and a fairly successful capitalist, who has worked in Eastern Europe and Russia to spread the Open Society concept, to spread free market capitalism.

The Right in this country has a bad habit of scraping every political opponent to the far left in their perceptions. They did it with Joe Wilson and Richard Clarke, both centrists who served Republican and Democrats alike. It’s practically a joke, that the minute somebody sides with the Democrats, or against the Republicans, they all of a sudden become compatriots of Code Pink, and all the other radical lefties.

That’s what I lambasted people about George Soros. He’s not a lefty. He’s a guy who believes in the free flow of information, in the superiority of free market capitalism. He supported efforts to defeat Bush’s bid for re-election because he consider the man too damn secretive, his policies a direct affront to his open society ideals.

And so what happened? The Right makes him into a leading lefty! And why? So they could oppose him, as if he were in diametric opposition to everything they believed!

So they could oppose him, without conscience, without any sense that they would have to restrain themselves.

The truth becomes subordinate to fighting every fight at full force, and winning every fight, or not admitting that one’s defeated at any cost. The ends justify the means, and the fight continues on, no matter how weary everybody else is about the endless divisive behavior and contention.

I objected to the Palling around with terrorists thing because Ayers wasn’t a terrorist any longer, and they weren’t exactly close. Obama attended a fundraiser that was arranged by somebody else for him. And the whole point of the charge is not to connect Obama rationally to Ayers’ activity, but irrationally, to Osama Bin Laden’s activity. It was an appeal, at basis, to people’s fear about his foreign name. The house thing? Well, he admits it was a dumb move, but a subsequent investigation revealed that there was nothing to the story. Same thing with that Kurtz guy’s examination of the evidence of the proceedings of the meetings that both Obama and Ayers were in together. Was their some smoking gun? No.

But the facts weren’t important, just the irrational connection to scary things like terrorism, communism, black radicalism, and other similar things. Same thing with the birthers: Obama is a foreigner. I bet you that if his last name was something like Chamberlain, they wouldn’t be trying that.

And the sad thing is, these kind of accusations and conspiracy theories have become mainstream for the Republicans featured daily and prominently in their punditry, their TV shows, raised again and again by their media.

Most Democrats find the Truthers embarrassing. They don’t want to be associated with irrational stuff like that. Much as they hate Bush, and believe me, most of us despise the man, we feel that the facts of what has happened are more damning to Bush than any harebrained conspiracy theory. We also believe that the character of our facts have an effect on our credibility, so most of us are fairly careful about our accusations.

Maybe it’s that mindset that leads us to be so dismissive, so unsympathetic to the folks we attach the labels to. We can’t figure out why people would continue to buy the Birth Certificate Myth. We can’t figure out why people oppose a president on taxes who just handed them the biggest tax cut their income bracket’s had in a while. We can’t figure out (besides the Thinktank and Astroturf support), why a near decade of fiscal abuse by George Bush didn’t draw these Tea Party folks out in great numbers, but the deficit dropped in Obama’s lap does.

Finally, on your last comment, let me say this: he didn’t post to just a handful of people, he posted to a listserv that included hundreds, and likely did so knowing what he was doing, and being part of that network, knowing what others were doing. I would hardly think that a person like him, familiar with how his people behaved the last time would imagine that his advice would be taken in the calm way that you’re trying to spin here.

Tell me: why is every response you give to me an indictment of Democratic Hypocrisy, rather than an addressing of the issues that I offer? Is it just reflexive that you turn around and allege that Democrats are just the same?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 7, 2009 8:37 AM
Comment #285793
Tell me: why is every response you give to me an indictment of Democratic Hypocrisy, rather than an addressing of the issues that I offer?

First, I do address every single ‘issue’ you offer, but you don’t see it. You write it out clearly in your comments in your defense but it doesn’t even cross your mind that you are displaying a hypocrisy…

You say that Most Democrats find the Truthers embarassing. Yet, I provide you polling numbers that more Republicans disagree with the Birthers than Democrats disagree with the Truthers, but you still push the Birthers onto the Republicans as a valid example of what is wrong with them. And you don’t see the hypocrisy.

You say that there is no ‘smoking gun’ about things that are clear to you, but then try to make the most tenuous of cases that MacGuffie MUST HAVE done this and OF COURSE he did that, but the actual facts don’t back it up. It’s POSSIBLE, but you have to have the mindset that it is factual for it to be proof. Just like the Republicans who want to believe the things about Ayers, etc will see the threads as proof and you point out that there is no proof so leave it alone… And you don’t see it.

We also believe that the character of our facts have an effect on our credibility, so most of us are fairly careful about our accusations.

You say things like this and then jump on to all kinds of sinister plots of the Republicans. If the Republicans were THAT well organized and plottings as you have them doing, they wouldn’t have lost power… It’s beyond the pale and MOST non-partisan or 3rd party people see the twisting of threads to make a case for what it is. And they see the hypocrisy in it.

The right thinks the EXACT same way you do when they do the same things, and they think that the left are plotting all kinds of things and have all of these ties, etc. You guys are looking into mirrors and seeing each other and refuse to accept the reality of it.

Yes, it is hypocrisy Stephen. And it becomes so much the obvious when the roles get reversed. Well, obvious to people who aren’t beholden to the parties.

Right, so just curious, where is the evidence that he posted it there?
You’re kidding, right?
No, I’m not kidding. You are making a statement of fact that he posted it to this listserv, but you don’t provide any. Where is the proof?
Ad hominem responses. You can’t handle the facts, so you’ll claim that by virtue of what you think of them, that their reporting must be wrong.

Well, when their reporting depends upon making shit up, yeah, I claim their reporting is wrong. Just as YOU would if it were Newsmax writing about the link between Obama and Ayers or Obama’s birth certificate. And you would be right to do so. But you don’t question the shoddy reporting of your own side because you are so willing to believe it you don’t have the same questioning mindset. And that is what leads you down the path of hypocrisy.

Is this just a feeling on your part, or do you have actual evidence that no such listserv exists?

First, I never said the listserv didn’t exist. I simply pointed out that anyone who had the memo could have posted it to that listserv. There is no evidence that MacGuffie did, nor that he had ever used that listserv. All you have is that he posted on a shared website once earlier in the year. Which isn’t the same thing as the listserv. You even have it in your quote of the ‘news’ article that independant groups who aren’t affiliated with any of the other groups at all will use that listserv.

So, you have no evidence that MacGuffie even knew about the listserv, you have no evidence that he posted anything to that listserv and if both things were true, you haven’t shown how doing so makes him a paid operative of FreedomWorks.

For your, and ThinkProgress and TPM’s, accusations to be correct, a whole lot of ‘could bes’ and ‘what ifs’ have to come up correct. And as you state in your response, we shouldn’t be going down that road, at least when it comes to the right ‘labelling and then attacking’ their opponents.

That’s even the funniest part. What I have been accusing you of on here for days, and you have been defending, you then go about and accuse the right of doing just that very thing!

The Right in this country has a bad habit of scraping every political opponent to the far left in their perceptions. They did it with Joe Wilson and Richard Clarke, both centrists who served Republican and Democrats alike. It’s practically a joke, that the minute somebody sides with the Democrats, or against the Republicans, they all of a sudden become compatriots of Code Pink, and all the other radical lefties

Take a step back and re-read that statement, only apply names of people on the right into the quote… Can’t you even admit to the hypocrisy here? Can’t you see that your side is doing the VERY SAME THING as you complain the right has done for years when they were in power? Seriously?

As for my ‘ambiguity’, I have been very clear. I don’t mind people not being quietly respectful during town hall meetings. But I don’t think they should be too disruptive. There is a line there that shouldn’t be crossed. YOU say that they should stand up, respectfully ask their question, ask a follow up (if they still have the floor) and then sit back down. And if that is what you want to do, fine. But I don’t see anything wrong with if someone else asks a question and the representative gives an unfactual, incomplete or non-answer, stand up and call him out on it. Because, the last time I checked, they worked for us. Giving representatives the kind of ‘respect’ that we would give a judge (during court) is a little beyond my sensibilities. Decorum, yes, but vocal and accepting of no bull.

That you pretend to not know ‘where my view on the subject is’ after I’ve made it VERY VERY clear, is your issue, not mine.

Oh, and it’s nice to know you don’t support burning people in effigy… I am sure you smacked down your fellow Democrats when they did it over the past 8 years. Or, you sat quietly and said nothing about it. Either way, I’m sure there is no hypocrisy there.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 7, 2009 10:07 AM
Comment #285800

I don’t make the most tenuous of cases. The evidence shows he’s clearly involved with them. Somebody’s made the decision to have such a coalition, to allow there to be such a coalition. If you go to their Google Group, you’ll find a warning telling you that you have to be a member to view content, and that they have to decide to let you in.

Which means its not an accident if organizations such as those I describe show up on their listserv. You have to be invited to show up to this tea party!

Which means these folks must be willing partners.

If you want to claim they’re making crap up, you have to prove that it was made up to begin with. Otherwise, anybody could make that claim, and any fact could be invalidated. You talk about the enquirer having added crediblity because of the story it broke. Doesn’t that argue against the idea that you can just ad hominem discount everything that they say?

No, you’ve got to knock it down on the facts.

When Newsmax keeps pushing the Birther line, despite the fact that the President has a certificate on record, that’s part of what makes me believe that their people are unreliable: the quality of the reporting. It’s the quality of the reporting that made me give up on Fox, after they misreported stories on the search for WMDs in Iraq several times.

Oh, and quit using the absense of evidence line. You know the old saw about that: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Just because I don’t hand you absolute proof of every little fact I quote doesn’t invalidate my entire claim.

You’re too busy trying to accuse me of being a hypocrite, or TPM of having made things up to mount an actual case. You can do nothing but attempt to stir up doubts. But do you recall that video I posted of that Freedomworks guy openly telling us that he and his folks are helping to support the Tea Party groups?

How many ways do I have to demonstrate a connection before you’ll admit I’m right that one exists? I posted a link to a video where the guy’s saying it out loud! But that’s not good enough for you. Do I have to introduce you to the people myself and give you a guided tour to get you to admit there’s a strong connection at work here?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 7, 2009 11:22 AM
Comment #285801


I never, once, said that FreedomWorks isn’t working to organize a whole group of smaller organization. In fact, I state that quite clearly early on that it is happening. I don’t see anything particularly wrong with that, you do, but I don’t say it isn’t happening.

I *DO* however make it very clear that there is NO direct connection between MacGuffie and FreedomWorks. The TPM and ThinkProgress abortions of a reporting job do not add up to anything close to proof, yet you assert it as gospel.

My only point has been that you are willing to lump everyone together in single big ‘right wing’ pot, whether they are or not. This is a perfect example of how a libertarian, not affiliated with FreedomWorks, is now a tool of the Republian machine, much like people like you have intimated that *I* have done because I help organize and attend Tea Party protests.

And when you say that is the big problem you have with Republicans and then go on and do the VERY SAME THING to MacGuffie, and you don’t see the hypocrisy of it, even after I have pointed it out very very clearly, then I say we just end it now because you are just ignoring what I am saying and trying to make yourself out to be infallable.

And there is nothing I can do with that special kind of self-absorption.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 7, 2009 11:31 AM
Comment #285869

If I kill you by pushing a knife around a corner, or say by pushing someone else’s and therefore, into your abdomen, am I off scott free because there was no direct connection? Sad, Weak argument.

Posted by: gergle at August 7, 2009 8:57 PM
Comment #285873

It’s not lumping people together. They are actually organizing together, willingly associating. Only they’re coming out, and claiming that these hyperemotional, hyperabrasive outbursts are an organic outcry of outrage from the grassroots.

That, rather than a prepared and at least partly organized initiative being backed by the same insurance companies that have something to lose if Healthcare Reform passes.

They are doing worse than just disrupting meetings, they are operating, willingly or unwittingly as tools of a special interest, but are concealing, or simply not being told themselves about whose footing the bills. This, in order to give credibility where that kind of credibility is not deserved.

Theft by deception. The people running this program are taking something they have earned using lies and deceptions to further their cause, and stifling anybody who might contradict their point of view.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 7, 2009 10:18 PM
Comment #285890

Rhinehold? Do you believe me now?

It does you no good to argue that these people aren’t trying to put their thumb on the balance of public opinion when they’re admitting it outright.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 8, 2009 12:30 PM
Post a comment