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Tilting at Windmills

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August 7, 2009

RIGHT-WING MOBS FORCE PHYSICAL CONFRONTATIONS.... It's getting worse. Conservative activists, angry and confused, have made the transition from disrupting meetings to threatening lawmakers to physical confrontations.

Bitter divisions over reforming America's health care system exploded Thursday night in Tampa amid cat calls, jeering and shoving at a town hall meeting.

"Tyranny! Tyranny! Tyranny!" dozens of people shouted as U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, struggled to talk about health insurance reforms under consideration in Washington, D.C.

"There is more consensus than there is disagreement when you get right down to it,'' Castor offered, immediately drowned out by groans and boos.

She pressed on, mostly unheard among screams from the audience estimated by Tampa police to be about 1,500.

"Tell the truth! Tell the truth!" "Read the bill!" "Forty-million illegals! Forty million illegals!"

The spectacle at the Children's Board in Ybor City sounded more like a wrestling cage match than a panel discussion on national policy, and it was just the latest example of a health care meeting disrupted by livid protesters.

Right-wing activists said they'd been organized through Glenn Beck's "9/12" operation and the local Republican Party. There are no reports of major injuries, but there were apparently some fist fights, along with shoving, screaming, and pounding on windows in a near-riot atmosphere.

A similar meeting in St. Louis was arguably even more raucous, and six people were arrested, while some sustained injuries that sent them to the hospital. Conservatives, in this case, were apparently organized through the local "Tea Party Coalition."

Watching some of the video clips from local affiliates, the rage in both incidents grew when the room filled to capacity. As Josh Marshall noted the pattern: "Relatively small venues (200 to 300 size spaces) get quickly filled to capacity. The doors get closed because of fire codes. And then locked out teabag activists start banging on doors and windows demanding to be let in and yelling about various forms of political oppression. From what I can tell, the shoving and whatever fisticuffs took place grew from that. In post-event retellings on the right fire code enforcement became a form of political repression of teabaggers."

It's not quite democracy in action, but rather, organized madness on a national scale.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (68)

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Comments

I'll say it again, this is a small handful of people. They're not growing or expanding beyond their demographic. One thing I'm absolutely certain of is that this will lead to some horrible act of violence. When (I can't say "if") that happens, who will be held accountable, the right wing media shills encouraging these people, Republican politicians giving their consent or the corporations and right wing organizations directing it?

Unfortunately, I think it will take a hideous act of violence to shake the public into action. Right now these people are nothing more than a freak show paraded across tv screens as kind of amusement.

Posted by: Saint Zak on August 7, 2009 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

If these people are inspired and organized by the likes of Glenn Beck they must be raving mad and if we have any sane republican voices out there they must denounce this, otherwise the nutjobs will be bringing guns and innocent people may get killed. I am still in shock that criminals like these could kill a doctor at the behest of radio entertainers and that the radio station is still on the air spouting hatred.

Posted by: JS on August 7, 2009 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

I understand why this is action by the right is not being denounced by President Obama: that would cause more problems for the delusional. However, how is the media downplaying this?! How are Republicans in Congress just shrugging and sitting there with their thumbs up their asses?! Where's the outrage?!! Why is FAUX letting Beck and Papa Bear O'Reilly continuing to spew hate. Oh, right, as a corporation, Murdoch is just looking for more Franklins on the bottom line.

Posted by: Katie on August 7, 2009 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with Saint Zak on the logical conclusion of the protests. At some point, someone will decide to bring a gun.

So, why do they not wear brown shirts?

Posted by: Daniel Kim on August 7, 2009 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

I just hope the cops remember to use their batons.

Working over a few of these meatheads before leading them away in cuffs would make for great TV.

Same way many of those anti-abortion protestors suddenly calmed down and backed off in places where the cops came down hard to restore order.

Posted by: cash on August 7, 2009 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

To Daniel Kim: I remember watching a snippet on GBs show where he said he took a gun into church and "...guess what? I didn't shoot anyone!" Well, I'm sure people will shortly follow suit and bring guns everywhere, since their beloved Tin Foiler Anonymous President implies he does. Only, I also fear someone will be devastatingly injured.

Posted by: Katie on August 7, 2009 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

Any chance these thugs and their handlers can be prosecuted under RICO? I can't think of a more appropriate punishment than losing their right to vote.

Posted by: Chopin on August 7, 2009 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

Glad to see Benen and Washington Monthly have taken their cues from the Obama Administration. Calling these protestors "mobs" while ignoring the astroturfing coming straight from the White House.

Benen also writes threatening lawmakers to physical confrontations.

The linked article says nothing of any physical confrontation or threat against a lawmaker. You do, however, see an old lady lightly slap a rather large-looking young man across the cheek. The work of a goon, no doubt. The young man should press charges against that old right-wing zealot.

Posted by: Bernie on August 7, 2009 at 8:20 AM | PERMALINK

I am getting so depressed. It is an uphill battle against the lies and misinformation perpetrated by our beloved mass media. Now they have a "clip" of the violence that instead of denouncing they will put on a 24-7 loop therin encouraging more irrational behaviour (I want to get me some of that action)The president was elected by a majority , but nothing I see on TEEVEE seems to reflect that fact.

* Sigh*

Posted by: John R on August 7, 2009 at 8:22 AM | PERMALINK

I'm going to call my two Republican senators (Snowe and Collins) and ask them to speak out against the mob violence and the lies that are being promulgated.

By the way, neither of them, nor the two House members for the state will be holding town halls in August.

However, I am quite certain that if anything like this happened in Maine, there would be a huge backlash. And I think the senators should speak up against that tactic.

Posted by: Mainer on August 7, 2009 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

It still seems like the legislators sponsoring these events are clueless. Post rules, demand compliance and enforce non-compliance.

If there is a riot, so be it. But there should be enough security to make them think twice about trying to disrupt the meeting.

They can protest outside, but if they go inside and start screaming, then they should be quickly and visibly arrested.

Posted by: bdop4 on August 7, 2009 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

I'd pay good money to see these winger scumbags get the snot beaten out of them, either by the cops or by their fellow citizens. I'm tired of their antics, their noise, their bullying. They won't listen to reason? They won't let other people have a civilized discussion? Maybe they'll listen to a punch in the face.

Posted by: Toast on August 7, 2009 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

"Tyranny! Tyranny! Tyranny!" dozens of people shouted as U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, struggled to talk about health insurance reforms under consideration in Washington, D.C.

This sorry spectacle, and the ridiculously overheated right-wing rhetoric that produced it, reminds me of the quote predicting that when the U.S. gets facism, it'll call it anti-facism.

Posted by: Gregory on August 7, 2009 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

@ bdop4 Good thought - I mean seriously most town and city councils and public meetings operate under Roberts Rule of Order http://www.robertsrules.org/
and summarily eject anyone who does not play by the rules. Time to force those who are not willing to play by the rules and conduct themselves in a dignified manner.

Posted by: John R on August 7, 2009 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

Wait until one or more of the Adkisson wannabees who write those "just remember, we have the guns" style comments at wingnut sites start living out their fantasies. Then the real fun begins.

Posted by: R. Porrofatto on August 7, 2009 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

First, they will protest in the streets, so they will get charged up and go home (hopefully) and have mad sex. They will start to like this lifestyle. Then pot, rock 'n' roll, long hair and dropping out will follow. The righties have played into our hands completely.

Posted by: Bob M on August 7, 2009 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

Two thoughts. First, I have been watching the films and it seems to me that not only are virtually all the protesters white, they are mostly elderly, or at least over 60. Essentially they are representative of the Fox News/Rush Limbaugh demographic. If you listen to Fox or Limbaugh you hear about how they have been victimized. I think they believe that with the election of a young black man they have lost control of "their" country. At least that is what they are told by the nice people on their televisions and radios all day long.

Second, isn't it odd that the generation protesting now is the same generation that protested the Vietnam war.

Posted by: Ron Byers on August 7, 2009 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with those who fear this hooliganism by the Right can only end in genuine violence. That is likely to happen when progressives finally push back and refuse to let the right wing take over these Town Hall forums, as may happen soon now that the AFL-CIO and others have announced they intend to send representatives to these forums to provide a counterweight.

At the Tea Party protests back in April, the right wingers had the field to themselves and their staged theatrics were played out in the company of like-minded people. At these town hall forums the anti-Obama protesters are in a mixed crowd. Once progressives begin organizing to match meet the right wing disruption the chances of mob violence breaking out are pronounced. Look for heavy security at these events in the future.

Cynical conservatives of course say these disruptions are nothing more than "democracy" in action. But democracy doesn't come from the barrel of a gun or a clenched fist.

Posted by: Ted Frier on August 7, 2009 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

I'd like to see lawmakers requiring proof that people actually lived in their districts for admission to these events - might weed out the crazies that commute from elsewhere at least.

Posted by: Arachnae on August 7, 2009 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

How about a little clarification--he's not "Glenn Beck", he's "FoxNews' Glenn Beck". "CNN's Lou Dobbs". The brand works both ways; if the product is destroying the discourse, use the product to destroy the reputation of the source.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on August 7, 2009 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

I defy anyone to tell me honestly that the real root cause of this craziness isn't healthcare reform; but rather wingnuts venting their disbelief and anger that there's an uppity nigger in THEIR White House.

Posted by: bikelib on August 7, 2009 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

There is no violence. There is no behind the scenes organization. That is just a liberal fantasy.

There is no incitement other than Nancy Pelosi criticizing these people.

Every time she calls this "mob action," she makes people who don't appreciate being insulted join the anti-tyranny movement. And most Americans admire them for it.

If Missy Speaker were smart, she'd keep her mouth shut. Guess she's not smart.

Posted by: Myke K on August 7, 2009 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

There needs to be a very public shaming of the Medicare hypocrits at these town halls. Something to the effect of "I've heard all these retirees here yelling about socialized medicine, but they're all getting government-funded healthcare...I should know because I pay taxes out of of every paycheck to pay for it. (then look at them, pause, and say, "You're WELCOME.") And I'm ok with paying those taxes, because I'm a decent person who doesn't want to see someone who's worked hard all their lives lose their home and life savings just because they got old and started having some of the health problems that go along with old age. What I can't understand is why you are unwilling to extend the same protection to me - I'm out here at the mercy of these private insurers, and I could easily lose my home and life savings before I ever reach retirement age...even while I'm paying for YOUR healthcare. Presumably most of you have children and grandchildren in the same situation I'm in, and yet you don't care what happens to them, either. I guess I just find it profoundly un-American to suck up tax dollars from working people for your own needs, and then try to block them from having some protection from the private health insurer predators. You think you deserve to be given healthcare but people like me and your kids and grandkids, who are paying for yours, don't? How selfish is that?"

I think it's time for some old-fashioned shaming.

Posted by: Jennifer on August 7, 2009 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

Why aren't the organizers of these events using the fire codes to restrict protests at these meeting. Pack the hall out with supporters then shut the doors and let the police deal with the demonstrators. It's what the Republicans would do.

Posted by: blowback on August 7, 2009 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

My fondest wish over this situation is that some of these teabaggers get beat down so bad, they have to go to the hospital, where they have to pay out of pocket because they don't have insurance...

ah, who am I kidding? Most of the protestors are old enough that they have insurance. GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH INSURANCE.

Posted by: slappy magoo on August 7, 2009 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

blowback - in at least some places, they have been doing that - urging supporters to show up very early to pack the venue, so that by the time the teabaggers show up, there's no room left inside. Apparently their rights are being trampled on when they choose to arrive late and aren't allowed to violate fire codes.

Posted by: Jennifer on August 7, 2009 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

I'd pay good money to see these winger scumbags get the snot beaten out of them, either by the cops or by their fellow citizens

From the look of those SEIU purple tee shirts being admitted to meetings by the side door, I'd say you will get your wish. I hope you are ready for the response next year.

Posted by: Mike K on August 7, 2009 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

bikelib@9.04a is, unfortunately, so right.

One clip I saw the other night, had a 40ish blonde woman plaintively asking, "where's MY America? It's been taken away". Yes, honey, taken away by the uppity nigger who last year won a very large victory in free elections, voted for by Americans who wanted "change".

I'm reading The Battle for America 2008" by Balz and Johnson and, yet again, I am forcefully reminded that Obama was voted into office by those of us who wanted CHANGE. Where are all of us who voted for Obama? We should be in the streets in support of him and his administration. (I think he's doing a great job.)

The blonde lady bemoaning the loss of "her" America hasn't taken a look around her lately and noticed that "her" America began disappearing years ago. By 2030 (I think that's the year), pure white Americans ("her" Americans) will be a minority. She better get used to that fact.

(By the way, I'm one of "her" Americans, at least in skin color.)

And please count me in as being very afraid of what one of these loonies WILL do one day.

Posted by: phoebes-in-santa fe on August 7, 2009 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

Please, please, my people. I cannot condone this visceral and vulgar wish for violence against the protesters.

Let us find a more gentle way of seeking karma. I personally am hoping that the ones not covered by Medicare are diagnosed with serious illnesses this week and are promptly dropped by their private insurers next week.

Posted by: shortstop on August 7, 2009 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

Look at the hoopla the "rioters" are able to stir up over healthcare. It's a case of the filthy rich tricking the ignorant poor into doing their bidding. Shouting and creating a disturbance and getting on television are wildly popular pastimes in our culture right now, especially with young people. Just as the promise of good old violence was all the brown shirts needed to gin up some rowdy kids, the promise of shouting down reasonable public discourse attracts these dittoheads, makes them feel powerful, and gives them the erroneous sense of being "right."

When was the last time you heard a legitimate debate on Rush, Beck, O'Reilly, etc.? It never happens. And so, to these people, polite point-counterpoint is, well, pointless. The loudest person [or the person who hangs up on a caller and then calls them names] is always the winner.

Comparing them to Nazis is not helpful, though, and here's why. It's just too easy. And it makes them seem stupid, easily identifiable and defeatible. The problem is that there is a lot of brain power behind these actions. And money. The Republican party may be down right now, but they are not out. They are not Nazis. They are what's next — corporatist overlords with yokel foot soldiers literally shouting down badly-needed healthcare reform and demanding to see the president's birth certificate.

If that's not utterly frightening, I can't imagine what is.

Posted by: chrenson on August 7, 2009 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

Jennifer at 9:17 -- but exactly.

Of course, they "deserve" healthcare because they "worked all their lives," unlike those of us supporting reform, who are probably all slackers and free lunch seekers. It really is that simple in their reptilian little minds. No facts about medical bankruptcies, dropped coverage or denial of coverage can penetrate their angry semi-consciousnesses.

Posted by: shortstop on August 7, 2009 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Who is crazier, Myke K or Mike K? Seriously, can anyone tell?

Inquiring minds are amused.

Posted by: shortstop on August 7, 2009 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Myke KKK,

If these people are NOT coming to these meetings to listen, to debate in turn, to allow for rebuttal, to follow the rules, then their mere presence at the meeting is certainly a form of violence. Intimidation is violence.

Then you insinuate a form of extortion - suggesting you'll behave only if nobody criticizes you.

Intimidation and extortion. Do you see it, Myke? You and your kind are no longer fit for the civic sphere.

Posted by: henry lewis on August 7, 2009 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

For pete's sake, these are GLENN BECK LISTENERS.

I've listened to enough Glenn Beck radio to know that he really is certifiable-- his radio is worse than his tv show-- and his most recent tact is to say that health care reform = nazism. Just the other day he said the way that health care reform is being pushed is just like Pol Pot did, just like Stalin, just like Hitler. What do you think happens when you fill people's heads with this kind of crazy extremist nonsense?!? Beck also goes on pro-gun tirades to the same crowd, frequently talks about how the end of the world is coming and that we better all be prepared-- stock up on food, guns, ammo.

Seriously. Anyone who listens to Beck and gets angry because they believe him is someone we should worry about. I'd be surprised if we don't see something really sad and scary by the end of the August recess.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on August 7, 2009 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

"There is no violence. There is no behind the scenes organization. That is just a liberal fantasy." Myke K

Hey Myke K, your lies are all refuted by Madow at
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#32307638 as well as last night by Sanchez on CNN as Bennen reports.

But then you knew that, right? Take your talking points over to Rush and join the Amen corner.

Posted by: robert on August 7, 2009 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

I have to wonder how taxing these events are becoming for local law enforcement.

If police departments and sheriff offices have to provide additional protection at these town hall meetings because of the potential for violence, how does this disrupt their regular patrols and assignments?

Considering that many departments are already at the breaking point in funding their normal duties, I would think that they are having a difficult time providing security at these events.

Posted by: 2Manchu on August 7, 2009 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

Glenn Beck is a much bigger figure in all of this than most people realize-- the whole "9/12" movement and all of the teaparties? That's a lot of Beck followers.

There is a stark difference between Rush and Glenn-- Rush bitches and insults. But Glenn? He throws full-blown tantrums, he goes places with his schtick that Rush doesn't and he does it with about 10x the screaming, crying hysteria.

If there were a contest for biggest "Chicken Little Conservative" Glenn Beck would beat Rush Limbaugh hands down.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on August 7, 2009 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Myke K here is ground zero of the right wing conspiracy we are talking about:

http://www.americansforprosperity.org/national-site

But then you knew that right?

Posted by: robert on August 7, 2009 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

Let's all try not lose sight of the fact that Myke K is a parody.

Posted by: noncarborundum on August 7, 2009 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

"[A]sked earlier today about possible disruption at the event, Kim Diehl of SEIU said, "We're prepared. We have strategies to deal with it if it should come up." She said the event was important because of disinformation being spread about the health care reform plan."
The Tampa Tribune, 8/06/09

Who needs cops when you've got union muscle? Who needs disinformation when, by some (Karen & Garry) Miracle, you've got the A.N.S.W.E.R.org.? Or former "journalist" Linda Douglass.

These "thugs" all apparently look like the guy in the next office, the young woman from IT at the R&D client, my Army-vet Dad's Navy-vet neighbor, the one (very) circumspect conservative econ prof at my old school, the Iraqi local chain convenience-store owner on the block where I work, the guy I bought my Jeep from, my brother-in-law's black AF Reserve buddy, et.al., etc., etc., ad Americanum.

They are dupes of no one. None of them are wearing bandanas on their faces.

You know them or someone like them, and you know them well; they are not someone you'd "...pay good money to see these winger scumbags get the snot beaten out of them..."

Would you god-damn really?

Then, of course, you are precisely the mirror images of the supposed authoritarian, eliminationist, violent, dystopian, misanthropic, cultic (ie.:"Organizing" for America) hive-mind types you seem to hate and slander so much.

BTW: .2% drop in job losses report this A.M., can we perhaps, for 'effin once, agree this is good for US.
Please?

Posted by: tao9 on August 7, 2009 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

Let's all try not lose sight of the fact that Myke K is a parody.

And the real thing, Mike K, comes right along behind him to outdo the outrageousness of the satire.

Actually, the real Mike K blamed Pelosi yesterday for the mob action. Apparently, by calling the mobs mobs, Pelosi was able to travel backward in time to actually create the mobs through her critique. And they would have just dispersed peacefully by now or something if normal Americans would just stop saying mean things about them.

Someone actually gave this man a medical degree. Well, you know what they call the guy who graduates at the very bottom of his med school class.

"Doctor."

Posted by: shortstop on August 7, 2009 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Like small children holding their breath until they turn blue, the "Mike/Mykes" here and elsewhere thrive on being noticed.

Ignore their posts and they will soon move to greener pastures.

Posted by: DAY on August 7, 2009 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

Day, except that most of these folks are in their 60's.

Posted by: soullite on August 7, 2009 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

soullite:

I guess I should have added in "ageist" above also. You got a Mom and Dad? eh-hole/soulzero.

Posted by: tao9 on August 7, 2009 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

The one thing I hope all Democratic lawmakers realize is that if these tactics prove successful and succeed at stopping or weakening health care reform, it will guarantee more of the same in the future. The absolute worst response would be do anything that would allow these people to think they gained anything by their actions.

Posted by: david1234 on August 7, 2009 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

They are dupes of no one.

... which is why they think Obama is going to murder their grandmas and that healthcare reform is "socialism." Right?

Loud, ignorant trash.

Posted by: JM on August 7, 2009 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with the commenters here who reject the idea of perpetrating violence against protesters at these town hall meetings. You'd really like to see them get the "snot" beaten out of them? In no way do I support their positions or their tactics, but to call for violence against them is just wrong.

Posted by: carolatl on August 7, 2009 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

And I also agree with david1234 @10:10am. This is parallel to how you deal with a child. When your kid raises the stakes by throwing a tantrum, you ignore him. Otherwise all he learns is that if he raises a lot of hell he gets exactly what he wants.

Posted by: carolatl on August 7, 2009 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Can you just imagine if these exact same "confrontations" happened in, say, 2002/2003?

Republican politicians having "town hall" meetings concerning the coming Iraq War and it was liberal citizens pounding down the doors, starting fights, screaming at the top of their lungs, "Fascism!"

How differently would these events be viewed/covered in the mainstream press? or the right wing press?

hmmmmmmmm..........

Posted by: victory on August 7, 2009 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Let's not lose sight of what's important. A solution to this stupidity. And John R has it. The meetings should be conducted by the rules of order that are already in place. Instead of sitting back and acting helpless simply eject and or arrest anyone who causes a needless disturbance by not acting in a civilized manner. Let em in and let em speak but no mob disruption tactics should be allowed.

Posted by: Gandalf on August 7, 2009 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Loud, ignorant trash.
Posted by: JM on August 7, 2009 at 10:17 AM
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Lucid, reasoned and measured, addresses and counters the point of my post, shows deep understanding of the issues beyond the (ewe of Maddow) talking points.

Well said. Profound. Resonating.

Posted by: tao9 on August 7, 2009 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

shows deep understanding of the issues beyond the (ewe of Maddow) talking points.

Can you provide us with a single quote from the any protester at any townhall meeting in the past week that demonstrates "deep understanding of the issues"? Just one?

For that matter, nothing you've posted here shows a deep understanding of anything other than how to lob intentionally vague bombs and drop florid descriptions of the realness of these patriotic Americans. In that, you have fine company in the mobs you pretend are just plain folks: lots of sound and fury, pal.

Posted by: shortstop on August 7, 2009 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

JM,

When I say "'ewe' of Maddow" I mean: you!

Don't want to be misunderdisinformationed; don't agree ever -- but Maddow cracks me up.

Perhaps "Sheep of Benen" or "Rahm of Olberman" would have been more apt.

Slainte!

Posted by: tao9 on August 7, 2009 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

The choices for legitimate TV news reporting are virtually non-existent ( there are a few, Fareed Zakaria, Gwen Ifill). Continuously touting "unbiased" reporting does not make it so. The spin makes me dizzy, not to mention that any interest in accuracy is at the bottom of the priority list. Instead, the news seeks to inflame in order to capture ratings. It's like having the grocery store tabloids in your living room without even having to read them.

The MSM is the biggest supporter of the pathetic nonsense that is now playing out in town halls. The right has successfully seized upon the ignorance of especially the poorly educated factions of the Country. These folks are eager to embrace an outdated view of the world as well as their free-flowing anger about race, class and the loss of the status quo power base. The really sad part is that Republicans like John Beohner wouldn't interrupt a tanning session to personally give these people the time of day. The corporate thugs are protecting and expanding their holdings at the expense of all of us, including these protesters. There is a much bigger divide between the older, wealthy well coiffed white men and the angry protesters than between them and President Obama. I am as much disgusted with the MSM for skewing reality as I am with those who use this pathetic group to their own advantage.

The Democrats need to be smarter than a bunch of thugs, some aging public servants and a tabloid press.

Posted by: DTR on August 7, 2009 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

single-a shortstop:

They are all very real. Some florid, none vague.

Anyway I thought it was you guys who said dissent is the highest form of American patriotism. Did you mean Portugal in this case?

You want deep understanding?: This gig as presently marked up can't be paid for if you taxed the top 5% of earners on 100% of their income. You want VAT**-funded Euro health insurance, cap & trade, zippy green DC/GM unclunkers?

Great! Outstanding!

Get ready to pay through the back of your baggy pants for it, because they'll have to go down to the second quintile at least. Even then by 2014 they'll have to be printing money off the goddam Sharp printers at the Rayburn. Your buck'll be worth as much as a thin mint.

** Look it up.

Posted by: tao9 on August 7, 2009 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

I have a suggestion. C-Span should offer its morning Washington Journal to any Representative or Senator whose Town Hall has been disrupted. C-Span has the capacity to screen calls so that one line could be for those in favor of the health care reform; a second line for those against the reform, and the third for those who are undecided. C-Span could also limit the calls to those whose area codes are in the Representative's District or Senator's state. Such a set-up would not be perfect. It would eliminate all those constituents who do not have cable and of course, not everyone could get in. However, it would allow for the some kind of actual discussion and exchange.

Mob rule works. That is why we have to come up with another way.

Posted by: JoanneinDenver on August 7, 2009 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Now whose acting like Brownshirts?

Posted by: veloer on August 7, 2009 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Now whose acting like brownshirts what?

Posted by: Susan Johnson on August 7, 2009 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

I want to second and even third the plea to not encourage violence. The people interrupting the town halls are dupes who have been fed astonishingly incorrect information. Their tactics are abominable.

But PLEASE, don't advocate violence against them. That's getting down to their level. Besides, any message from the occasional poster advocating violence against opponents, is taken into the right wing echo chamber and used to try to discredit us all. Confer veloer's question above, "Now whose (sic) acting like Brownshirts?" The answer is, only a few out of many 1000s but those few poison the well for the rest of us.

We can handle these poor duped souls without violence on our end. If violence occurs, let them be the ones to initiate it, and any physical response needs to be containment to keep a full-scale riot from happening.

We're having a hard enough time getting our message out, even with Obama in the bully pulpit. Let's not contaminate it with any suggestions of violence against those whom we oppose.

Posted by: Wolfdaughter on August 7, 2009 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Can someone please translate for me whatever the heck tao9 thinks s/he is saying? There's so many code words in there that it's not even recognizable as English anymore.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on August 7, 2009 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm ... a health plan that will cost around $100 billion a year can't be paid for by increasing taxes on the rich?

Really?

It will cost too much to ensure a million people don't have to file bankruptcy each year due to medical debt? It will be too much of a burden to ensure the 20+ million with no jobs have some sort of coverage? And the costs of providing those 8 million kids with health coverage are too much?

So ... conservatives can find $200 billion a year --outside of the normal budget process--to invade a nation that wasn't a threat.

They fully support cutting taxes for the rich by more than $1 trillion dollars in 2001 (and that doesn't count the trillions more cut by Bush I and Reagan tax cuts), even though they never say the benefits.

They're okay with the top 100,000 tax filers having more wealth than the bottom 60 million filers combined.

They're okay with CEO pay going from 40 to 1 in 1980 ($40 for the CEO vs. $1 for the average employee) to $1700+ to $1 now.

But they refuse to show even a shred of care for those struggling right here at home.

**shakes head**

I can't imagine how people get to be so morally bankrupt, disgustingly selfish, and just such shitty human beings.

They must teach it at some GOP training camp or something ...

Posted by: Mark D on August 7, 2009 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

To the commenter who pointed out that a lot of these agitators are the Viet Nam protest generation: Yeah, but I'm guessing these are almost all the ones who had the "America Love It Or Leave It" and "(peace sign) The Sign of the Chicken" bumper stickers back in the day.
Every liberal should spend some time listening to Rush and other right wing talk radio (I was just on a road trip!) that, as has been pointed out above, these people probably spend all their time listening to. It's an appalling CONSTANT spew of complete distortions, lies, resentment, and hate. Beyond your wildest expectations, and these uninformed people apparently just eat it up.

Posted by: emjayay on August 7, 2009 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

I just hope the cops remember to use their batons.

They have, but so far it appears to be limited to reporters and supporters of health care reform.

Posted by: Disputo on August 7, 2009 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Instead of reading left wing blogs for your news on this issue. Why don't you try watcing his show for a week?

Posted by: Frank on August 7, 2009 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

There is a divide in this country that I cannot see being bridged anytime soon. The way the Left thinks is as stupid to the Right as the Right is to the Left. America is breaking down just like the Weimar Republic in pre-WWII Germany. What in the world makes you think that this time it will be different?

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