Sunday, March 21, 2010

Teabaggers Fighting Health Care, and Sanity

Looking out there this morning it's hard to believe that just a few weeks ago we had snow almost up to our waists. With its ancient inevitability nature brings us back from the desolation of winter. Somebody said it was seventy-five yesterday. How soon before you hear people complaining that it's too hot?

This morning we see headlines like House is expected to pass historic healthcare overhaul. This really is a big deal. Only a month ago the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people, opening the way for big business to out-influence real humans at every step of the way, and now Congress is taking a stand against big corporations, on behalf of real humans. That headline comes from the LA Times, and it starts like this:
The hard-fought measure would be a victory for President Obama - and, he says, for the American people.

Maybe the President is grandstanding in the most cynical way when he says this isn't about politics, but the fact is, he has let the other party run him into the ground over this. A lot of Congressmen in both houses are going to pay dearly for taking a stand on this bill, which the Republicans and Fox News have painted in the darkest colors as socialism and worse, government takeover of our personal choices. But it looks like the votes are there, the Democrats are putting their foot down, they're saying, We were elected to change things and we're going to do it as long as we are here. And maybe the American people would prefer, in the end, to have gigantic corporations making their health decisions for them, maybe the healthy majority doesn't want to share the risk with sick people, and maybe when the smoke clears the Republicans will be elected to run things the usual way again.

March 16th, the teabaggers organized a "Code Red" demonstration at the White House out of desperation at the momentum that the health care package seemed to be picking up. About three hundred people showed up, in other words the event was a failure. I suppose the most publicity they got was THIS VIDEO of teabaggers mocking a man with Parkinsons disease, throwing dollar bills at him and calling him names. They seem very agitated in this video.

There was a documentary filmed that day as well, an interviewer asked people how they felt about specific provisions of the health care bill HERE. As you see, they don't really know what's in the bill except that it's a socialized government takeover and Obama wants to turn America into Ameristan.

This past Friday the Citizens for Responsible Whatever, and I assume lots of other rightwing groups, sent out an urgent email that said:
Obama's Healthcare Take-Over must be stopped. It's not over yet. We need everyone to show up at the rally tomorrow at 12 noon. Come early or stay late to visit your Representative's office.

Yesterday's demonstration was more of a success for fringe groups like the CRW. The New York Times reports:
They might want to think about renaming it the Nastea Party.

Democrats were angered, shocked and disappointed after reports that some Tea Party activists let more than their opinions on health care reform be known today, calling revered civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) n——- and openly gay Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank a f——-.

And racism and gay-bashing apparently wasn’t all. Add anti-Semitism to the list.

A staffer in Rep. Anthony Weiner’s office reported a stream of hostile encounters with tea partiers roaming the halls of Congress. The less harmful stuff was mockery. But they left a couple of notes behind. One asked what Rahm Emanuel did with Weiner in the shower, in a reference to mess around ex-Rep Eric Massa. It was signed with a swastika, the staffer said. The other note called the congressman “Schlomo Weiner,” among other hate-filled words.

Rep. Jose Serrano was so disturbed, he called to relay his own unpleasant encounter with a Tea Party activist who accosted him outside, when Serrano went for a stroll near the rally.

“The Capitol there was pretty ugly,” Serrano sad. “They were shouting, ‘Don’t take away my Medicare, we don’t want socialism, you’re throwing our country away.’”

“There was a person who saw me go by, and called me a bunch of things, and ended calling me an elitist pig with a cutesy haircut,” Serrano, of the Bronx, said.

It wasn’t the words so much that bothered the congressman, but the tone and attitude.

And the words heard by Lewis were especially distasteful to Serrano. Lewis is a widely respected member of Congress who had his skull fractured by police in a 1965 civil rights march in Selma, Ala.

“He’s the conscience of the Congress,” Serrano said.

It all reminded him of the worst reactions to the civil rights movement and the anti-Vietnam war protests. It was the kind of reaction, he said, that you get “whenever you’re trying to do something really important.” Make That the Nas-Tea Party

Some of them were threatening violence. Think Progress showed photos of people holding signs that said, "If Brown can't stop it, a Browning can," with a silhouette of a pistol. Talking Points Memo reports:
Things are getting pretty heated in the Capitol with crowds of anti-Reform/Tea Party activists going through the halls shouting slogans and epithets at Democratic members of Congress.

As our Brian Beutler reports, a few moments ago in the Longworth office building, a group swarmed a very calm looking Henry Waxman, as he got on the elevator, with shouts of "Kill the bill!" "You liar! You crook!"

Not long before, Rep. Barney Frank got an uglier version of the treatment. Just after Frank rounded a corner to leave the building, an older protestor yelled "Barney, you faggot." The surrounding crowd of protestors then erupted in laughter. Menacing

The LA Times disclosed:
A congressman who was spat on by a protestor on Capitol Hill says he is declining to press charges, but turns out the Capitol Police say they made no arrests.

Missouri Democrat Emanuel Cleaver was making his way through a group of angry protestors when the incident occurred. It was one of several ugly incidents in a day of protests against President Barack Obama's health care overhaul measure, which faces a House vote on Sunday.

Cleaver, who is black, was also one of several lawmakers who faced racial epithets as they walked to the Capitol to vote. Sgt. Kimberly Schneider of the U.S. Capitol Police said in an e-mail later: "We did not make any arrests today." Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., won't press charges after being spat on by Capitol Hill protestor

There may have been 20,000 people at yesterday's event, it was more successful by far than the one earlier in the week.

A few years ago, Tea Party types were beginning to have influence in our little suburban county, the school district was begining to take them seriously, and somebody had to stand up and deal with them, and that was us. Lots of communities let those groups taste power, and now they are running around threatening to shoot people, waving Confederate flags, spitting on Congressmen, calling people names, yelling that they want their country back. I think it is pretty clear to the rest of us that they must not have "their country" back. They had it for eight years, and things did not work out.

Today's health care reform vote is an important one. Some Democratic Congressmen are holding out for details they want, and in fact I don't think the bill as it is written is anybody's ideal. I expect some hold-outs to switch and vote for it -- health insurance has become a ghoulish scam, and I don't think a legislator can vote against reform in good conscience, just because the bill doesn't contain his or her pet feature. It's not a done deal, we don't even know if they'll vote today, but it does seem likely. I doubt that Nancy Pelosi will call for a vote if it won't pass, so she might wait. But it's coming.


Anonymous thanks for fixing that, Barry said...

"Only a month ago the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people"

actually, corporations are groups of people

what did you think they were, Jim?

"A few years ago, Tea Party types were beginning to have influence in our little suburban county, the school district was begining to take them seriously, and somebody had to stand up and deal with them, and that was us."

actually, Jim, Monkey County is always behind the times

the Tea Party is the current state of mind across most swaths of the country

it's independent, rather than Dem or Repub, it's slightly right of center, fiscally conservative, socially libertatarian, favoring individual choice over government regulation

the closest thing it has to a spokesman is Sarah Palin

"Lots of communities let those groups taste power, and now they are yelling that they want their country back. I think it is pretty clear to the rest of us that they must not have "their country" back. They had it for eight years, and things did not work out."

Make that 28 years, and they were times of unprecedented prosperity when America became the world's sole superpower.

Obama is a gamble that failed. We're cutting our losses and moving on as a nation.

"Some Democratic Congressmen are holding out for details they want, and in fact I don't think the bill as it is written is anybody's ideal."

It's been flatly rejected by the public. Anyone in Congress who thinks they're smarter than the average bear will be retiring from politics shortly, and not by choice.

"I expect some hold-outs to switch and vote for it -- health insurance has become a ghoulish scam, and I don't think a legislator can vote against reform in good conscience, just because the bill doesn't contain his or her pet feature."

oh yeah, pet features, like feasibility

"It's not a done deal,"

you're right

and that's true even if it passes

March 21, 2010 1:35 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Stupak just changed his vote to a YES vote!

March 21, 2010 2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


America's bankrupt

March 21, 2010 5:55 PM  
Anonymous the mother of all culture wars said...

One of these days, God willing, we won't have health care to kick around any more. But hold the champagne. No matter the out come in Congress, the final vote won't be the end of the raging national conflict.

In fact, get ready for the sequel. And Part III and probably Part IV as well.

That's because the battle over health care is merely a front in a larger war. Thanks to President Obama's statist agenda, America's new civil war is, at heart, the mother of all culture wars.

It's the showdown between Americans who want bigger government and those who want smaller government. And it won't be over anytime soon.

Not only does it encompass and include other wedge issues, such as abortion, taxing and spending, but the war over the size of government goes to the heart of the concept of American exceptionalism.

Either you believe America is different and should play a unique role in expanding individual liberty, or you believe we should trim our freedoms to fit international norms, as embodied by centralized authorities and global organizations like the United Nations.

It's clear where Obama stands.

As he said in response to a question in Europe nearly a year ago, "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I imagine that Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism and the British believe in British exceptionalism."

Though he said he was proud of his country, the answer was unmistakably no, he's not a believer. On that day and so many others -- remember his apologies and bows to foreign potentates -- he demonstrates he doesn't subscribe in the tradition of his predecessors and most of his countrymen.

His health-care obsession, with industry tentacles reaching 17 percent of the economy, reveals his vision. There is little dispute the industry has big flaws, yet Obama passed up a bipartisan chance to fix most of them.

He opted for a sweeping expansion and takeover that would put Washington in charge of every aspect, from levels of care, to cost, to mandates, to jobs and taxes.

Ultimately, no American will be able to escape its centralizing impact, which is why opponents are so ferocious and frightened. While Obama tries to blame Republicans, most of the country, especially independent voters, is running away from his plan even though some components are popular.

It's the sheer size -- the expensive big government grab -- that is stoking anti-takeover passion.

Pass or fail, the issue will move off center stage. But there will be no rest for a weary nation.

March 21, 2010 6:37 PM  
Anonymous not so fast, Nancy said...

The House bill has not yet passed and already we are seeing the reconciliation fight start in the Senate.

Senate Republicans say they can get the whole package of reconciliation fixes – the fix-its that make the Senate plan palatable to House Democrats - thrown out with a trump card procedural motion. And they say Democrats are slow-walking a decision from the parliamentarian until the House passes the Senate bill.

That means the Senate bill, which everyone in the House seems to universally hate, will be the law of the land.

This afternoon Senate Republicans say Democrats won’t meet with them and the parliamentarian.

Bottom line: Don’t expect the health reform debate to end tonight even though the health reform bill will become law as soon as Obama signs the Senate bill.

Should the House pass the Senate bill and the package of reconciliation fix-its tonight, Senators will take over the reconciliation fix-its as soon as Tuesday.

That will set in motion a week or longer parliamentary floor battle with points of order, references to the budget act, the Byrd Rule and more.

For an appetizer, take a look at Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Judd Gregg’s statement tonight.

“Immediately after receiving the final reconciliation bill language, Senate Republican staff was ready and willing to meet with Senate Democratic staff and the Senate Parliamentarian to discuss the fact that the House reconciliation bill may be brought down by the 310(g) point of order in the Senate. Senate Democrats are mysteriously unavailable until after the House votes on the health care bill tonight. The Senate Democrats appear to be pushing off this meeting so that House Democrats will remain in the dark about what is likely to happen to the reconciliation bill on which many have staked their careers in Congress. House Democrats should be alarmed by this latest development, since the survival of the reconciliation bill is clearly at risk in the Senate.”

If Republicans can get the parliamentarian to agree with them even once, the reconciliation fixes will require a super-majority and the original Senate bill is likely to stay the law of the land.

March 21, 2010 8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


March 21, 2010 11:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we did it

we did it

we started the bankruptcy of America

where do I go to get my free doctor visits?

how much extra money will I have when my premiums go down?

March 22, 2010 12:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous the Mouthy"
I am willing to pay for your passage to a country where you will be much happier than you obviously are here in the United States.

You represent the real corosion of what it means to be an American. You are the antithesis of true American values: Fearful, hateful, zenophobic, and - yes - bigoted. (It's time for you to be honest about your racist feelings toward President Obama! Come out of the closet!!)

Perhaps a plane ticket to Uganda where you can take up citizenship would be your "cup of tea"!

March 22, 2010 9:09 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

we started the bankruptcy of America

That's right, you did.

For the eight years of the Bush Administration, including six of those years with control of both the House and Senate, the GOP didn't lift one finger to reform health care except to create the donut hole for seniors with an unfunded expansion of Medicare designed to bankrupt it. Note that Medicare expansion was passed through reconciliation. The GOP spent the past 14 months obstructing every attempt to insure the uninsured, fill the donut hole, and end health insurance abuses like rescissions and denials due to pre-existing conditions.

When Bush left office, we were hemorrhaging more than 700,000 jobs a month and now we're about breaking even, thanks at least in part to stimulus spending. Last week, the first modest jobs creation bill was approved by a bipartisan vote of 62-36 in the Senate, with the promise of more to come. Obama, Pelosi and Reed are the leaders we need to bring our economy back from the brink where Bush and the GOP left it.

Remember "...the United States economy has grown faster, on average, under Democratic presidents than under Republicans.

The stark contrast between the whiz-bang Clinton years and the dreary Bush years is familiar because it is so recent. But while it is extreme, it is not atypical. Data for the whole period from 1948 to 2007, during which Republicans occupied the White House for 34 years and Democrats for 26, show average annual growth of real gross national product of 1.64 percent per capita under Republican presidents versus 2.78 percent under Democrats.

That 1.14-point difference, if maintained for eight years, would yield 9.33 percent more income per person, which is a lot more than almost anyone can expect from a tax cut..."

March 22, 2010 9:28 AM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

This is why I joined the Coffee Party.

March 22, 2010 11:34 AM  

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