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Archive for August 7th, 2009

SEIU Target Of Attacks By Teabaggers

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 7, 2009

This was sent to a friend of mine, and she sent it to me:

Dear [friend],

Things are turning ugly. Town halls, which typically serve as open, safe environments to ask questions of elected officials, have degenerated into violent shouting matches.

Last night in St. Louis, Missouri, a reverend and staff member of SEIU was assaulted at a town hall. The incident, along with a town hall in Tampa, Florida, has been all over the radio and cable news shows. GOP operatives are rushing to paint it as SEIU “thug” violence. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Watch the video with footage from these events:

Cable news channels are broadcasting images of neighbors turning against one another in chaotic, sometimes frightening town hall meetings. Incited by extremist radio and TV hosts, “teabagger” protesters are yelling and chanting talking points that span from radicalism to racism.

Enough is enough. Click here to sign a pledge for civil, honest debates about health care reform:

It is extremely discouraging to see people treating one another like this. And it’s a reminder of how GOP scare-tactics (“the government will kill the elderly,!” “the government will choose your doctors!” or “the government will ration care!”) use fear to overpower the truth.

We are at a turning point. To succeed, we will continue to elevate this conversation, distinguish ourselves from the opposition, and speak to our fellow Americans with respect and dignity. Where we disagree, we’ll invite discussion. And when we agree, we’ll work together toward a solution.

That’s the only way we’re going to solve our nation’s health care crisis. When it comes to quality, affordable health care, the stakes are too high to let shouting run the show.

Thanks for standing up,

L. Toni Lewis, MD
SEIU Healthcare

Posted in Flying Monkey Right, GOP bullying, health care | 1 Comment »

Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 15/Updated

Posted by Charles II on August 7, 2009

Update: Hey, everyone, warn Harlingen, Texas! The Sandinistas…er, Chavistas are gonna drive up and terrorize the good folks at Boomerang Baba’s Diner! From Ginger Thompson, NYT:

As if taking a page from a cold war playbook, Gen. Miguel Ángel Garcia Padget said the military had disrupted Mr. Chávez’s plans to spread socialism across the region. “Central America was not the objective of this communism disguised as democracy,” he said. “This socialism, communism, Chávismo, we could call it, was headed to the heart of the United States.”

Basically, the military junta that is running Honduras went on TV a couple of days ago to tell everyone that there’s no military junta, everything is all nice and legal like. And there aren’t any death squad killings.

In concealing as much as revealing, Ginger Thompson’s article, BTW, is an illustration of what is wrong with NYT coverage. This suspicious use of the subjunctive suggests she doesn’t think there was a coup: “television viewers could have been forgiven for thinking that [a coup] is exactly what had happened” She says the more the Generals denied it, the “clearer it became that they continued to play a leading role in Honduran politics”… implying, I suppose, that military occupation is what constitutes politics in Honduras. She lets General Vasquez say, “If that’s [coupistas is] what we were, we would have called a national emergency and detained all of those who are out there causing trouble.” without mentioning that most people would consider military roadblocks throughout two provinces an emergency of some kind and 2000 people jailed without charges to be rather a lot. And she lets this go by without mentioning that the “‘death squad’ strategies” are accompanied with actual dead bodies with multiple stab wounds and the like: “Gabo Jalil, the vice minister of defense in the de facto government, said in an interview that international human rights groups have made baseless accusations that the military is using ‘death squad’ strategies against Mr. Micheletti’s opponents.”

Harlingen, to arms!
Lanny Davis did an interview on DemocracyNow. Appalled by his lies and aggressive demeanor, I had to turn it off. The low point was achieved near the end, where Lanny Davis said, “Could I comment about your being the moderator of this show, Amy? No, I guess you don’t want me to.” He did petty little crap like calling Greg Grandin “Mr. Professor,” and complaining that Grandin wasn’t pronouncing his name quite right. By my count (which could be off by as much as 5%) Amy Goodman used 1,185 words to set up and moderate the segment, Greg Grandin got 1,544 words, and Lanny Davis got 2,948 words!

I can’t believe this is a Clinton associate. He is a despicable person, a liar, and perfectly suited to represent his clients.

One question that arose in a debate on HondurasCoup2009 had to do with whether students had deliberately thrown rocks at bystanders and destroyed several fast food restaurants near the university in the course of the disturbances there. As I said, I had not heard any such allegations or seen any evidence of it, nor did it make any sense. Students destroying their own hangouts? More likely opportunistic criminals or agents provocateur.

After an hour of searching, and well over 24 hours after the streetfights, I finally found one photo and story on Tiempo, and a mention on El Heraldo, though there are many outlets I could have missed. The lag in publishing the photo is suspicious, suggesting to me that there might be a bit more to the story that we aren’t being told.

Wrecked store at UNAH-8-7-09 Honduras(Image from Tiempo)

The story states that the stores both inside and outside the university were destroyed in the course of fighting between students and Cobras. It says that the remainder of the stores were left undamaged, proving that the students attacked the stores they did because they didn’t like the politics of the owners (the logic is underwhelming, but it might be true). The photo shows damage to the awning, suggesting a group effort. The angle of bend suggests to me that perhaps the awning was down.

Radio Globo has covered some of the retaliation against government employees by the coup (which is presumably installing its followers in these sinecures) and is reading the nastygrams they receive. “Boca de sapo” (toad mouth) is about as creative as it gets.

Posted in Latin America | 7 Comments »

Why We Need a Public Option

Posted by MEC on August 7, 2009

The purpose of health insurance should be to protect our health, not to guarantee an insurance company’s profits.

Blue Cross Blue Shield doesn’t agree.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has reached agreement with Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox to lower its request to raise rates for 163,000 people who buy their own health insurance.

But the company and Cox could not reach agreement about a 31% rate hike that affects 210,000 seniors with supplemental Medicare plans.


If approved, so called non-group or individual policies would increase 22%, not the 56% average increase Blue Cross originally sought.

Group conversion policies purchased by people to replace workplace coverage they once had would be increased on average 22%, not 41% as Blue Cross originally requested.


Cox challenged the rate hikes, saying it should have offset the increases in other ways, including using money from its $2.4-billion surplus.

A 22% increase? Or 31%? Think about what those increases will do to the average family’s budget. Where do they cut back to pay for the increase? The rent? The food budget? Or maybe they drop the health insurance and, as Republicans keep advising us, use the nearest ER as their primary provider.

And this news report calls those increases “savings” because they’re lower than the extortionate increases the insurance company originally asked for.

Posted in health care | 3 Comments »

Unfair and Unbalanced

Posted by MEC on August 7, 2009

So I was just saying that the so-called news media are rewarding violence. Here’s an example. This Detroit Free Press “news” report about Rep. John Dingell’s town hall goes into detail about the hooligans’ antics, but glosses over both the supporters’ questions and Dingell’s responses to the opponents’ questions.

For example, the reporters tell us that

As Dingell opened the forum, Mike Sola of Milan interrupted the congressman as he pushed his son, Scott, in a wheelchair, to the podium. He said proposed changes wouldn’t help Scott and called Dingell a fraud.

But they don’t tell us Dingell’s response to Sola’s absurd charge that under the bill, his son “would not be covered under health insurance reform legislation”.

The article quotes the talking points from opponents of health care reform, but says nothing about what the bill actually includes. It’s long since been established, after all, that reporters aren’t responsible for distinguishing between fact and falsehood, truth and truthiness.

It makes me wonder why those reporters think their jobs are so secure they don’t have to worry about paying half their income for health insurance, or being deprived of health care because of “pre-existing conditions”.

Posted in beat the press, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Unfair and Unbalanced

More and Less

Posted by MEC on August 7, 2009

More like this, please:

The recent attacks by Republican leaders and their ideological fellow-travelers on the effort to reform the health-care system have been so misleading, so disingenuous, that they could only spring from a cynical effort to gain partisan political advantage. By poisoning the political well, they’ve given up any pretense of being the loyal opposition. They’ve become political terrorists, willing to say or do anything to prevent the country from reaching a consensus on one of its most serious domestic problems.

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

Thank you, Steven Pearlstein of the Washington Post (!), for calling it like you see it.

But less like this:

Typically, the more hysterical the person’s message was, the more likely they were to get attention from the press.

That observation is in Eclectablog‘s excellent account of John Dingell’s town hall about health care, which was repeatedly disrupted by incoherent outbursts from opponents of reform. It’s disturbing that the opponents have decided violence is an acceptable tactic to achieve their political goals. It’s more disturbing that the so-called news media are rewarding the violence.

Posted in health care, Republicans as cancer | Comments Off on More and Less

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on August 7, 2009

Our guest cat is Mia, who knows well that Everything Belongs to the Cat.


Posted in Friday Cat Blogging, guest cats | 2 Comments »

Teabaggers Invade Farmfest — And Flop

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 7, 2009

From the StarTribune:

Farmfest is typically a genial event — a stop elected and aspiring officials consider an easy political must-do.

But at this year’s gathering in rural Redwood Falls, as First District U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., put in an appearance, an audience member declared loudly that plans for national health reform were a “step toward communism.”

Walz, a veteran, shot back: “I didn’t spend 24 years in the military to be called a Communist, I can tell you that.”

Bluestem Prairie’s Sally Jo Sorensen, a reporter quite familiar with Farmfest, has a more detailed account, as well as a photo by BSP photographer Eric Adams. Let’s just say that the teabagger’s little stunt was not exactly well received by anyone present.

Posted in astroturf, health care | 9 Comments »

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