Friday, August 7, 2009

Last Call

TV pitchman Billy Mays' autopsy report showed traces of cocaine in his body, with the report citing the drug as a contributing factor to his fatal heart attack in June.
"Mays died from a lethal arrhythmia of the heart caused by hypertensive and arteriosclerotic heart disease," the county said in a statement attributed to Dr. Leszek Chrostowski, the associate medical examiner who conducted the autopsy.

"He further concluded that cocaine use caused or contributed to the development of his heart disease, and therefore contributed to his death," it added.

The fact that toxicology tests detected only breakdown products of cocaine, not the drug itself, led Chrostowski to conclude that Mays had used cocaine "in the few days prior to death but not immediately prior to death."

Cocaine is a stimulant that can raise blood pressure and thicken the wall of the left ventricle of the heart, one of the organ's four main pumping chambers.

And with that, I bid you good evening and retire to my chambers.

Crossing An Unthinkable Line

Via TPMDC's Eric Kleefield, Sarah Palin wades into the Obama Derangement Syndrome swamp with this horrible accusation:
The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.
The system she describes is indeed downright diabolical.

It of course has nothing to do with actual reality or any proposed legislation by the Democrats, Republicans, or anyone in the current health care debate. But Sarah Palin apparently believes that such a plan will result in people deciding who lives and who dies based on their contribution to society.

My response to this is a personal message for Sarah Palin. She will probably never read it. I will say it anyway because it needs to be said.

My father spent more than twenty-five years as a developmental psychologist working for a state facility that provides direct services to families with children who have developmental disabilities, children like Trig Palin. For almost three decades, my father dedicated his professional career to helping those children make great contributions to society, to be respected, to be loved, and to be treated fairly and with dignity, to get the services and help they needed and to help create and anchor a support network for families across the area. He was on the front lines of "government health care" making sure that no one "subjectively judged" these wonderful children and their families. He still helps people today as a county mental health counselor.

I myself spent several summer volunteering at that facility. I learned there what people with severe developmental disabilities could contribute to society if given an environment in which they could do so, from the arts and sports to being an example to others of what basic human dignity means. I learned to be grateful for what I had and grateful to other for what they could show me about the world.

But to see you denigrate those so less fortunate by using your own child as a political talking point to suggest such a brutally barbaric and horrific lie is about the most repugnant, sickening, infuriating thing I have ever seen, madam.

Know then, that there are people out there who have proven government-provided health care services work. They provide such care every day. You demean them and their service to the people through such a hideous act. You demean they people they work hard to help, some of who have Down's Syndrome, like your son. You demean yourself as well.

You owe my father and everyone he has helped in his over 35 years as a developmental psychologist a heartfelt and sincere apology, madam. And you should look inside your own heart and ask yourself what kind of world you would like Trig Palin to grow up in...hopefully one without such rancorous falsehoods.

He deserves more, and so does this country.


War of Words

Seems that Legal Insurrection's William Jacobsen has taken offense to my characterization of the Town Hall Blitz movement as a "war".
So screams left-wing blogger Zandar feeding off of the frenzied writings of Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein, who declared health care protesters "political terrorists." To make sure we didn't miss the point, Zandar put the words in bold type. The blog is Zandar Versus the Stupid. If ever there were an ironic blog name, that is it.
My reponse:
Greetings. Zandar here.

You took my words out of context, sir. When I wrote this morning "So, they've gone into Town Hall Blitz mode. The country is already a poorer place for it. They've tapped into Obama Derangement Syndrome for a toxic boost of raw energy. They're willing to take any and every risk to win. They have to. I dont think the Democrats quite understand it yet (some do), but more and more people are coming around to this fact. It's war."

The "they" I was talking about was the astroturfing tea party movement disruptors, and the Republican Party. That is the side that has declared a "war". As I have said, I believe the conservative side considers defeating this measure an existential battle. Remember the comments of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who called health care reform "Obama's Waterloo" and said the goal was to "break him."

That, and other statements like it, was the declaration of war I was referring to.

Even you have to admit that if the Democrats are able to pass a robust health care reform bill with 99% of the Republican Party opposing it, the millions of people the bill does help will not be inclined towards voting Republican, yes?

This is about power for the conservative side, not about health care.
May I also suggest Jacobsen's very valid request about ratcheting down the rhetoric also be applied to, say, people pretending to poison the Speaker of the House, people comparing the Democrats' health plan to the German persecution of Anne Frank, people threatening to have pro health care reform protesters "come up against the Second Amendment", people making death threats against members of Congress, and people referring to pro health care protesters as "Obama's brownshirts".

I heartily agree with him that such rhetoric has no place in a civilized discussion of federal health care policy.

Have a nice day.

Town Hall Blitz, Part 3

Something's gotta give sooner or later. From Greg Sargent:
An official with SEIU, which has been sending members to town halls to counterbalance the Tea Party brigade, sends over this audio of a phone call the union says it received on its central voicemail system, threatening to teach union officials a thing or two about “the Second Amendment”…

The call seems to refer to reports today to scuffles in St. Louis between SEIU members and town hall rowdies.

“I suggest you tell your people to calm down, act like American citizens, and stop trying to repress people’s First Amendment rights,” the caller says. “That, or you all are gonna come up against the Second Amendment.”

Health care.

People threatening violence and harm over health care. Such a rich vein of irony to be mined.

This country is insane. The rest of the universe is having a hell of a laugh at our expense when we have people implying violence over an American's right to health care. I mean really, what are these people going to do, shoot somebody who doesn't have health insurance so they have to eventually file bankruptcy because they can't cover the medical bills to fix the gunshot wound?

It's insanity. I'm going to go hit the bar or something.

Time To Recalibrate The Irony Dampeners

FOX News:
The White House strategy of turning supporters into snitches when they see "fishy" information about the health care debate may run afoul of the law, legal experts say.

"The White House is in bit of a conundrum because of this privacy statute that prohibits the White House from collecting data and storing it on people who disagree with it," Judge Andrew Napolitano, a FOX News analyst, said Friday.

"There's also a statute that requires the White House to retain all communications that it receives. It can't try to rewrite history by pretending it didn't receive anything," he said.

"If the White House deletes anything, it violates one statute. If the White House collects data on the free speech, it violates another statute."

Four words:


Ahem. Do Obama's critics at FOX really want to bring up the issue of "We think the White House is overstepping its legal boundaries" after cheerleading the plethora of Bush era constitutional violations? Have Republicans forgotten about the years 2001-2008? We're talking about the White House wanting to know about people who are disrupting town hall meetings, and we're really going to play the fascism card on Obama after the last administration shredded the Constitution, the entire notion of checks and balances and nearly instituted a real dictatorship?

I will be the first person to say that Obama must roll back these Bush era violations of law. But for anyone on the Right to go after Obama on this after years of applauding Bush's oversight-free illegalities is the absolute worst of hypocrisy.

Where were these same "critics" after 9/11? Telling anyone who dared oppose Bush that we were traitors to our coutry for wanting oversight. Now, these slimy bastards are the first to scream bloody murder when a Democrat is in power in the White House. These were the first people to say that revealing the existence of the warrantless wiretapping program was in fact treason.


[UPDATE 6:51 PM] Wonk Room's Ian Millhiser completely busts this one from a legal standpoint.
By Thursday afternoon, Fox News even invented a made-up case saying that the President’s actions are unconstitutional:

It’s absolutely unconstitutional, I mean, the Supreme Court has ruled directly on point. When Richard Nixon was worried about anti-war protestors during the Vietnam era, he sent FBI agents undercover—CIA agents undercover—which was against the law for them to be operating in the US. And military in civilian garb to take photographs and to use tape recorders to record the voice, and they sued; it’s a very famous case. And the Supreme Court said . . . . the government is prohibited from intimidating people from exercising free speech, and recording their names or their voices, or asking people to spy on them would be exactly the intimidation the Supreme Court condemned.

Watch it:

We are unable to find a single Supreme Court case fitting this description, and several legal scholars whom the Wonk Room contacted were unable to identify such a case. Although there is one Nixon-era precedent dealing with soldiers spying on left-leaning organizations, that case did not say what Fox says that it said.

In Laird v. Tatum, the plaintiff challenged the Army’s practice of sending undercover intelligence agents to attend meetings that were open to the public, and gather information such as the names of the speakers and the number of attendees. The justices, however, never even reached the merits of the case because the plaintiff never showed that “he has sustained or is immediately in danger of sustaining a direct injury as the result of” the Army’s program.

Surprise! FOX "expert" lies about something, Wingnuts pick it up as fact and attack. Gets debunked, move on to the next lie.

Par for the course.

Fighting Back

As Sam Stein reports from HuffPo, the White House is not amused with El Rushbo playing the Godwin Card as Whit House spokesman Robert Gibbs delivered a warning.
Pressed on the analogies between Obama and Hitler that conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh made during Thursday's program, Gibbs' voice turned stern.

"I know the president feels strongly that we can discuss these issues without personally maligning... that we are doing so in a way that respects the dignity of each individual," he said. "I think anytime you make references to what happened in Germany in the 30's and 40's, I think you are talking about an event that has no equivalent. And I think anytime anyone ventures to compare anything to that, they are on thin ice, and it is best not employed."

"But I think what the most important thing is, is that we can have a discussion in our democracy about where we want to go," he added. "The president strongly believes we can do so without yelling at each other, pushing at each other or degrading each other. We have seen some stuff, I mentioned it a week ago, we have all seen imagery that just shocks and surprises us and I think the best thing to do is just take that temperature down a bit."

Not that I think the White House press secretary should be in the habit of issuing warnings to the media, but El Rushbo did go over the line.

Of course, this will only be another example of Obama's Nazi tendencies and his fascist control of the media to the Oxycontinfather.

Chuckles Has A Plan

Charles Krauthammer comes up with how to fix health care in 2 easy steps:
Abolish the entire medical-malpractice system. Create a new social pool from which people injured in medical errors or accidents can draw. The adjudication would be done by medical experts, not lay juries giving away lottery prizes at the behest of the liquid-tongued John Edwardses who pocket a third of the proceeds.
And for his next trick...
Tax employer-provided health-care benefits and return the money to the employee with a government check to buy his own medical insurance, just as he buys his own car or home insurance.
No really, that's his entire plan, let doctors determine what malpractice is rather than juries (no conflict of interest there) and raise taxes on a couple hundred million Americans.

The practical upshot of the plan is doctors on the malpractice boards would of course nearly always determine that their fellow health care professionals acted rightly, and every business in America would immediately drop their health care coverage, forcing everybody to self-insure. The results would be a nation of underinsured Americans with no or little insurance (as the more insurance you have, the more taxes you pay as they would count as income) and the more you use the insurance, the further behind you come out in the deal. Yes, you would get a tax rebate on your insurance benefits to use to pay the premium, but it would do nothing to help with your out of pocket costs.

In other words, the scheme would force millions of Americans into either no insurance (they don't have the income to pay the additional taxes an insurance plan's benefits would cause) or catastrophic insurance only, which would have maximum out of pocket costs to the insured. The insurance companies would get premiums and have to pay out as little as possible, which would basically be the best way to maximize insurance company profits. It also would save businesses lots of money as they would simply drop health insurance benefits, they won't have to pay taxes on the benefits, and they get to put the onus of all the paperwork on the employee, and then you just get rid of your benefits people in HR.

That's Chuck's solution there to fix health care: forcing Americans to self-insure at the worst possible rates to get underinsured, and then pray they never actually get sick because they won't be able to afford it. Great plan, huh?

Glenn Beck Must Go

So, the guy that begged and pleaded with his Wingnut nation of 9/12'ers not to resort to violence is now cleverly "pretending" to poison House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

At what point does somebody decide that Glennsanity's sick snuff fantasies need to become reality?

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

There's crazy, there's wingnut crazy, and then there's the guys that Sadly, No! dredge up that make Glennsanity and Malkinvania look like Lawful Good 25th level Aasimar Paladins.

Like this guy, who compares the Town Hall Blitzers to Anne Frank, being ruthlessly hunted by the Obama Administration.

Perspective is necessary. It can also put your f'ckin eyes out. Health care reform is so exactly like the Holocaust.

[UPDATE 1:10 PM] Josh Marshall, he absolutely gets it.
We should also keep in mind that the birther-mania, as comical as it is on one level, is all part of the same fabric with the Hitler and Holocaust comparisons, an aggressive process of denigration and dehumanization, dressed up around claims about paperwork and places of birth, but all escalating and churning the belief of a minority of Americans that President Obama is not a legitimate president but rather a usurper.

It's always important for us to remember what the last eight years have again taught us, which is that America has a very strong civic fabric, one that can withstand, absorb and conquer all manner of ugly behavior. It can take in stride a lot of angry rhetoric, townhall fisticuffs and more.

But as this escalates we should continually be stepping back and thinking retrospectively from the vantage point of the future about where this all seems to be heading.

Millions of people have been made to believe by the Republicans and other groups that back them that Barack Obama is not the legitimate President of the United States of America, and as such his entire agenda is illegitimate.

Stop and ask yourself, "What is the logical endpoint of that belief?" If you honestly believe that he is not legally the President, what is the end game there?

I've talked about the 5 D's before:

  • Declare the criteria you don't like about Group X that makes them different.
  • Divide the people into Us Versus Them.
  • Demonize the other group as the Enemy.
  • Dehumanize them by classifying their actions as something horrific.
  • Destroy them with the people cheering you on.
We're deep into stage four here with the Birthers. The answer to my above question of course is Stage 5: Destroy.

Win Ben Stein's Derangement, Part 2

Felix Salmon has the goods on Ben Stein, who has gotten the boot from the Gray Lady.
You’ll forgive me if I take some small measure of credit for this one: after something in the region of 35,000 words of the Ben Stein Watch, the world’s worst financial columnist has finally been fired from the New York Times. And I couldn’t be happier. The reason was his appearance in commercials for (and on the homepage of), a sleazy company which exists only to extract large sums of money from those who can least afford it.

NYT spokeswoman Catherine Mathis confirmed this, telling Gawker that “Ben Stein’s fine work for us as a columnist for Sunday Business had to end, we told him, after we learned that he had become a commercial spokesman for FreeScore, a financial services company.”

Sadly, Ben Stein still has his gig over at American Spectator, where he writes fun columns like this about how Obama and the Democrats are coming for his precious bodily fluids, or something.

The Freescore issue really was a conflict of interest for a business columnist. Not so for a political one, however. Go figure.

Sen. Mel Martinez Resigning Today

Florida Republican Senator Mel Martinez has already announced he was not running for reelection in 2010, but CNN is reporting today that he is announcing his resignation.
Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Florida, will announce that he is resigning his seat, three GOP sources tell CNN.

The sources said that Martinez will officially announce his intention to step down on Friday. The Florida Republican, first elected in 2004, announced in December of lat year that he would retire in 2010.

Florida law states that Gov. Charlie Crist may temporarily appoint someone to the vacant seat until the next general election. As of Friday morning, it was unclear what Crist would do. Crist announced in May he would not seek another term as governor, and instead would run for Martinez's seat.

Today just got a hell of a lot more interesting. I hope he's alright, Martinez may be a Republican but for the most part he's not a bad guy. It's not like stepping down will avoid a nasty GOP primary fight in Florida for his seat between Gov. Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio.

So why is he pulling a Palin here? What's the deal?

[UPDATE 11:40 AM] The Miami Herald is all over the story.

Though he has persistently denied the ``rumor'' that he'll step down, Florida Sen. Mel Martinez might announce as early as Friday that he'll leave office early, according to a number of sources in the state and nation's capitals.

``It's a deeply personal decision that he will expand on later today. He decided it's time to move to another stage of his life,'' said a source familiar with the situation.

Gov. Charlie Crist, who is running to replace Martinez, will appoint a fill-in. Crist could even appoint himself.

When asked about the rumor July 28, Crist downplayed it.

``Anything's possible. I don't think that's something he [Martinez] really is considering,'' said Crist, a friend and early supporter of Martinez.

The Martinez resignation rumor has been persistent, apparently. We'll see what his press conference reveals about that "deeply personal decision".

[UPDATE 11:48 AM] Sully has a point here:
But to have a leading Latino figure - arguably the most prominent Hispanic-American in the GOP - to resign the day after Sotomayor ascends to the Supreme Court: well, the combo can't be a good news cycle for Republicans among Hispanics, can it?
Got to admit that one.

[UPDATE 12:05 PM] CNN now has Martinez's official statement:
My priorities have always been my faith, my family and my country and at this stage in my life, and after nearly twelve years of public service in Florida and Washington, it's time I return to Florida and my family.

So today I am announcing my decision to step down from public office, effective on a successor taking office to fill out the remainder of my term.

Basically, it's the "spending time with my family" reason, no illness, no scandal, no mistresses, nothing out of the ordinary. He's just "moving on."

So yeah, he's pulling a Palin after all. Me, I think Sully's on to something there. I honestly think that Martinez just got fed up being the "Shamnesty" punching bag as the only Hispanic GOP Senator. The Sotomayor vote may have been the last straw, but it was pretty clear that Martinez waited until the recess to avoid too much of a disruption to Florida's citizens. This was in the pipe for a while.

[UPDATE 1:45 PM] Melissa McEwan is right: since Gov. Crist is running for Martinez's seat, doesn't he have to recuse himself from picking his successor?

In Which Zandar Answers Your Burning Questions

John Cole asks:
So I turned on CNN for two minutes, and apparently they are now grading the second hundred days of the Obama Presidency. Are they going to grade him every hundred days for the next four years?
It wouldn't surprise me in the least. Grade the President on his most recent 100 days, how many promises has he broken? How many horrible things has he done? Why hasn't he fixed Bush's mess yet? Why isn't the world full of unicorn and rainbows and puppies?

As long as Obama Derangement Syndrome exists, the Village will be there "documenting" it.

Epic Better Pancakes Through Technology Win

You know you want an automatic mass pancake maker. (via Engadget.)

Yes, it's a $3,500 commercial pancake making machine. Who cares, it makes a billion pancakes.

EPIC WIN. (Also, if there's a waffle version of this...)

Max Baucus Returns, Part 4

Looks like Max Baucus has finally gotten the message from the White House..."You're a Democrat. Act like it."
In their meeting with President Obama, members of the Senate Finance Committee discussed the possibility of going it alone with a Democrats-only bill if the current bipartisan process doesn't work, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said.

"If Republicans aren't there, it could get to the point where sometime after the recess ... Democrats may have to go in a different direction," Baucus said. "I hope not, but we have to face facts."
Le miracle! He can be taught! The scales have fallen from thine eyes!
But, he added, "I don't think it will become a reality."

OK, so it's a start. Still, after Baucus has gotten played for a fool multiple times by Chuck Grassley and Mike Enzi, even he has to have some pride left. Apparently, he's now willing to at least begin to entertain the fact that the GOP has no intention of negotiating with him in good faith.

Now if he had just figured this out, say, six weeks ago, we might have had a health care bill by now.

The Republican Rabbit Hole

"You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. " --Morpheus, The Matrix

Via Balloon Juice, the WaPo's business columnist Steven Pearlstein rips into Republican lies on Obamacare.

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.

Under any plan likely to emerge from Congress, the vast majority of Americans who are not old or poor will continue to buy health insurance from private companies, continue to get their health care from doctors in private practice and continue to be treated at privately owned hospitals.

Steven's taken the red pill and seen just how far the Republican rabbit hole goes. It's a deep, dark, nasty place, but the truth about the lies will set you free, as they say.
The Republican lies about the economics of health reform are also heavily laced with hypocrisy.

While holding themselves out as paragons of fiscal rectitude, Republicans grandstand against just about every idea to reduce the amount of health care people consume or the prices paid to health-care providers -- the only two ways I can think of to credibly bring health spending under control.

When Democrats, for example, propose to fund research to give doctors, patients and health plans better information on what works and what doesn't, Republicans sense a sinister plot to have the government decide what treatments you will get. By the same wacko-logic, a proposal that Medicare pay for counseling on end-of-life care is transformed into a secret plan for mass euthanasia of the elderly.

Government negotiation on drug prices? The end of medical innovation as we know it, according to the GOP's Dr. No. Reduce Medicare payments to overpriced specialists and inefficient hospitals? The first step on the slippery slope toward rationing.

Can there be anyone more two-faced than the Republican leaders who in one breath rail against the evils of government-run health care and in another propose a government-subsidized high-risk pool for people with chronic illness, government-subsidized community health centers for the uninsured, and opening up Medicare to people at age 55?

Why, you'd think had concluded that the GOP was fighting this with every last scrap of WOLVEREEEEEEENS! strength they had in order to preserve the very viability of their own political party.

They are, of course. Obamacare, as I have said time and again, is an existential battle for the survival of the party. The GOP has invested everything they have in killing real reform. If a real reform bill passes, they are gone for a generation. They are the Wilderness Party. They are the "Ten years in the future, 50 million pissed Americans who now have health insurance under Obamacare wouldn't have it if the Republicans had won and they will remember" Party.

They know this and are painfully aware of it. All this sturm und drang to kill Obamacare is to try to salvage the GOP for the next 30 years. I know it. The GOP sure as hell knows it, they are fighting like cornered animals. The Democrats are aware of it, and some of them don't like it (it means they'll have to be responsible.) The American people are finally beginning to get it, and it looks like folks in the Village like Steven Pearlstein are finally getting it as well. The GOP can't afford to stop for anything or anybody. If they lose here, it's over for them. They've gone all out now. No turning back. No retreat, no surrender. No logic, either.

So, they've gone into Town Hall Blitz mode. The country is already a poorer place for it. They've tapped into Obama Derangement Syndrome for a toxic boost of raw energy. They're willing to take any and every risk to win. They have to. I dont think the Democrats quite understand it yet (some do), but more and more people are coming around to this fact. It's war.

As to DougJ's question,

How long til he ends up like Dan Froomkin?
I'm thinking probably not long. We're probably going to have to add "Getting Froomkined" to the lexicon to denote a Villager snapping out of his/her zombie trance and getting bumrushed out of the building for taking the Red Pill and speaking truth to power like that.

We'll see.

[UPDATE 11:22 AM] And if there's a reason Pearlstein does get Froomkined for this, it will be for whay Yggy terms his "unfortunate metaphor" of referring to the GOP as "political terrorists" in the column. That very may well be a bridge too far, and the usual suspects are already using those two words to negate the other thousand.

Town Hall Blitz, Part 2

If this is true, a conservative anti-health care protester was assaulted in St. Louis, then everything just went out the window on this. I'm upset that anyone was this stupid and anyone got hurt, but this one is going to be a backbreaker.
St. Louis County police say six people were arrested. Two of those were arrested on suspicion of assault, one of resisting arrest and three on suspicion of committing peace disturbances. Carnahan was gone when the ruckus started.

Kenneth Gladney, a 38-year-old conservative activist from St. Louis, said he was attacked by some of those arrested as he handed out yellow flags with “Don't tread on me” printed on them. He spoke to the Post-Dispatch from the emergency room of the St. John's Mercy Medical Center, where he said he was waiting to be treated for injuries to his knee, back, elbow, shoulder and face that he suffered in the attack. Gladney, who is black, said one of his attackers, also a black man, used a racial slur against him before the attack started.

“It just seems there's no freedom of speech without being attacked,” he said.

Not good for anyone. St. Louis police are investigating. More of these events are bound to happen, too.

[UPDATE 9:49 AM] More on the scene in St. Louis last night, via Memeorandum:
In a prepared statement released Friday morning, Carnahan said: "Sadly we've seen stories about disrupters around the country, and we have a handful of them here in Missouri. Instead of participating in a civil debate, they have mobilized with special interests in Washington who have lined their pockets by overcharging Americans for a broken health care system."

"I will continue to engage with constituents that I am honored to represent in Congress and fight to achieve long-overdue health insurance reform in our country," Carnahan said.

One of those arrested was Brian Matthews, 34, of St. Louis city, who works as a rehabber and previously worked on a campaign for a Texas statehouse candidate.

"I feel like it was a bull rush," Matthews said. "It all came from behind."

Matthews said he had been inside the forum because he is in favor of a public option for health care. He had attended with a friend, a 51-year-old woman. After it was over, they were walking outside and had a run-in with a man who was trying to videotape them. Matthews said that man from from the GOP. They reported the man to a police officer, who seemed uninterested, Matthews said.

As the pair walked to their car, they saw a man on the street who looks like he had been assaulted. Police surrounded him.

"My friend took pictures," Matthews said, "and an officer told her not to. She contested that."

Matthews said he and his friend walked away, arm in arm. The officer followed them, and Matthews friend exchanged words with the officer, Matthews said.

"I can't tell you how many police officers charged us from behind," Matthews said. "I was pushed to the ground by one. I was pushed into the back of somebody who was walking away."
Yeah, this is going to get worse.


Monthly unemployment numbers are actually...down.
The Labor Department reported a net loss of 247,000 jobs in July, the fewest job losses since August 2008. Economists surveyed by had forecast a loss of 325,000.

The unemployment rate fell to 9.4% from 9.5% in June, the first decline in that closely watched reading since April of 2008. Economists had expected unemployment to rise to 9.6%.
I wouldn't put too much stock in this. We'll see if things continue next month. I'm still expecting that 10% plus number before the end of the year. We're still losing jobs, the rate falling is just a fluctuation of the birth/death model.

It's Okay Because They Care

Peggy Noonan once again misses the point of the Town Hall Blitz movement and completely buys into the GOP rhetoric that these are completely spontaneous and massive uprisings against the tyranny of providing affordable health insurance.
What has been most unsettling is not the congressmen’s surprise but a hard new tone that emerged this week. The leftosphere and the liberal commentariat charged that the town hall meetings weren’t authentic, the crowds were ginned up by insurance companies, lobbyists and the Republican National Committee. But you can’t get people to leave their homes and go to a meeting with a congressman (of all people) unless they are engaged to the point of passion. And what tends to agitate people most is the idea of loss—loss of money hard earned, loss of autonomy, loss of the few things that work in a great sweeping away of those that don’t.

People are not automatons. They show up only if they care.

What the town-hall meetings represent is a feeling of rebellion, an uprising against change they do not believe in. And the Democratic response has been stunningly crude and aggressive. It has been to attack. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the United States House of Representatives, accused the people at the meetings of “carrying swastikas and symbols like that.” (Apparently one protester held a hand-lettered sign with a “no” slash over a swastika.) But they are not Nazis, they’re Americans. Some of them looked like they’d actually spent some time fighting Nazis.

Then came the Democratic Party charge that the people at the meetings were suspiciously well-dressed, in jackets and ties from Brooks Brothers. They must be Republican rent-a-mobs. Sen. Barbara Boxer said on MSNBC’s “Hardball” that people are “storming these town hall meetings,” that they were “well dressed”, that “this is all organized,” “all planned,” to “hurt our president.” Here she was projecting. For normal people, it’s not all about Barack Obama.

Really, Peggy? I'll tell you why these people are out here protesting government from being in their Medicare, hanging Congressmen in effigy, and making death threats against their elected officials over this. It's not health care supporters doing this to Republicans, folks. They do care, alright. She's actually correct that people are being motivated to show up. But the reasons are not universal. I'm sure there are people who are at these meetings to get questions answered. But for the most part, they've been lied to about this health care program by the Republican Party and the Village, and they're having those fears exploited by the people who refuse to accept the truth about Obama legitimately being their President. It's a potent and nasty combination.

Let's talk about the multiple instances of Republicans lying to their constituents and saying senior citizens will be "forced into euthanasia"under the plan. Let's talk about the lie where tens of millions of Americans "will lose their health insurance" under the plan. Let's talk about the lie where a "government takeover" will lead to "rationed care". Despite the fact that Republicans in Congress are the least trusted group in America on improving health insurance for the country, they've managed to mobilize these small groups of intense protesters very well through these lies.

Now we combine these lies as motivating factor with the most pernicious lie of them all about Obama's birth certificate, and the results are toxic. These GOP mobs like to be called mobs, after all. They are using the health care town halls as an excuse to bully and shout down Democrats, fueled by El Rushbo referring to Democrats as Nazis, Glenn Beck referring to the President as a racist, and Lou Dobbs and the other birthers questioning the legitimacy of Obama's citizenship. The Republicans have planned these uprisings using these people as a base.

Remember, the plan to kill health care reform is really the plan to "break Obama." For the normal people, it may not be about Obama. For the birther whackjobs making up the vast majority of these protests? You're damn well right it's all about "breaking" the first African-American president we've had.

It's not working, Peggy. America can see right through the hate here. The Village Idiots like Nooners here giving them a smokescreen is only going to make this worse, too. You can't play the indignation card when you're too busy playing the racist hatemonger one.


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