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By Brad Friedman on 9/13/2009 3:32pm PT  


--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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TONIGHT: Special LIVE coverage of Obama's health care address!
LIVE! 6-9p PT (9p-Mid. ET), Call-in#: 877-520-1150
By Brad Friedman on 9/9/2009 4:00pm PT  

[Now updated with audio archives at bottom of article.]

We'll be bringing you special live coverage of Obama's speech all night tonight, as I continue guest hosting this week's Mike Malloy Show LIVE from Los Angeles.

I'll be 'Bradcasting' from L.A.'s KTLK am1150 from 9pm-Midnight ET (6p-9p PT) with analysis, reaction and commentary on the President's health care address to a joint session of Congress.

Please join the conversation during the show in our new, handy-dandy chat room facility below (open during the speech and the show).

Among our scheduled guests tonight...

Malloy's show is nationally syndicated on a number of air affiliates around the country, also on Sirius Ch. 146 & XM Ch. 167, or listen to the free online stream here or here!

Click here to jump into our new LIVE Chat Room during the show, hosted by "Agent 99"! Or see below!... Opening chat room early, at 5p PT (8p ET) during Prez speech tonight!...

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE AND AUDIO ARCHIVES: Archives of our busy live special coverage are now posted below, with thanks to the very busy Ben Burch from WhiteRose Society! The archives of tonight's spirited Chat Room discussion, from during the show, and the President's speech just before it, is all below. Enjoy 'em all!...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Link and Sign Petition on Behalf of H.R. 676 (Medicare for All)
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/8/2009 3:37pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

In "Single-Payer and the 'Democracy Deficit'," citing empirical studies, polls and the extensive data assembled by Physicians for a National Health Program, I argued that the current for-profit health care system is not merely corrupt, irrational and dysfunctional, but deadly; that it pits the obscene profits of a few health insurance company CEOs and their Wall Street investors against the health of our people, whose very lives are treated as nothing more than a commodity.

In that article, and in subsequent posts, I noted that those who seek to preserve the status quo are advocating nothing less than a death sentence for the more than 18,000 Americans who die each year simply because they can't afford insurance; that countless others die after being denied vital procedures.

I cited empirical data that demonstrates that so-called hybrid systems, including one with a "public option," are inordinately expensive as most of the monies find their way into the insurance industry coffers by way of subsidies. Single-payer systems, with administrative costs in the 1% to 2% range, are far more efficient than our multi-payer system where 31% is squandered on for-profit carriers.

I pointed to the undue influence of corporate campaign contributions which have corrupted the legislative process, where the likes of Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) have worked tirelessly to keep single-payer off-the-table. In yet another piece, I noted how wing-nut mobs have provided cover for this betrayal of the American people.

Well, here's your chance, America...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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New: Finger Bitten Off at Healthcare Protest in CA...
By Brad Friedman on 9/2/2009 11:35pm PT  

Via RAW STORY...

A 65-year-old man cheering healthcare reform in Miami was punched in the face and knocked to the ground by an opponent of a public health plan, according to a reporter at the scene. The rally took place outside a Great Miami Chamber of Commerce event where Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) was speaking.
...
"I'm amazed the way this has become such a politicized issue,'' [the victim, Luis] Perrero told [Miami Herald's Toulouse] Oloronippa. "It shows that people who are against the public option will resort to anything, including battery on a senior citizen to prevent healthcare reform.''

Perrero is right, and extremely lucky, that all he received was a punch in the face. As we've noted, on several occasions, we'll consider it a great success if we can make it through this teabagging nightmare without someone getting killed.

Are there any grown-up Republicans left out there? Can anybody save that party (and the country along with it) from utter ruin?

UPDATE 9/3/09: Another man, this one in CA, is punched in face by anti-reformer who gets his finger bitten off in the bargain. Hope someone has good healthcare! [Hat-tip BRAD BLOG commenter Nunya]

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By Brad Friedman on 8/31/2009 9:04pm PT  

Because they don't get nearly enough airtime. What we've allowed the world to become. Good luck to us all...


UPDATE: Thanks to BRAD BLOG commenter Rady for this perfect response to the above. Big props to these kids...


And for good (and also very funny) measure, there's this [hat-tip dday over at Hullaballoo]...


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Randal Terry ejected after previously announcing intention to disrupt...
By Brad Friedman on 8/26/2009 2:45pm PT  

Americans finally stand up against the phony, democracy-hating town hall disrupting bullies. VelvetRevolution.us (of whom The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder) was there to document it last night...


Will this event receive as much coverage in the corporate media as those where the wingnuts weren't outnumbered and shouted down?

And...as we've asked before...how long will this keep escalating before someone ends up dead? (And I'm not referring to those thousands of Americans already dead because a bureaucrat from the corporate healthcare industry was allowed to come between them and a doctor to help deny them healthcare.)

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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/23/2009 11:09am PT  

Guest Editorial by Ernest A. Canning

Appearances by single-payer advocates on corporate mainstream media are few and far between --- all the more reason that when a golden opportunity arises, single-payer advocates must take care to appropriately frame the base-line issue of health care reform.

While there can be no doubt that a single-payer system, which President Obama concedes, provides the only means by which every American can be "covered," is the most cost-effective, the issue is really more basic.

It's about the immorality of treating the health of our people as a commodity; that those who seek to perpetuate a system designed to create obscene wealth for a few insurance company CEOs and their Wall Street investors are advocating nothing less than a death sentence for more than 18,000 Americans each year...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Was the President ever serious about meaningful health care reform?
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/18/2009 4:28pm PT  

Guest Editorial by Ernest A. Canning

A number of comments, some posted here at The BRAD BLOG, others in media accounts, suggest that President Obama's willingness to abandon the "public option" was either a caving-in to "formidable opposition" or, as Howard Fineman speculated on MSNBC's Countdown, merely the case of the President's use of the "public option" as a "bargaining chip" which he played "way too early." T.J. Caswell described it as "throwing in the towel."

Other assessments have been less charitable. In a powerful video, journalist John Pilger argues that President Obama is nothing more than "a marketing creation"; that the American electorate was duped into believing the junior senator from Illinois was on the side of common men and women. Pilger portrays the President as a sort of Manchurian candidate for Wall Street, the corporate security state and Empire.

While perhaps not quite as harsh as Pilger's, Ralph Nader's assessment is just as devastating:

RALPH NADER: What is emerging here is what was being planned by the Obama White House all along, which is they would...only demand legislation that was accepted by the big drug companies and the big health insurance companies.

You can see this emerging over the last few months. President Obama has met with the heads of the drug companies and the health insurance companies. Some executives have met with President Obama four to five times in the White House in the last few months. He has never met with the longtime leaders of the “Full Medicare for Everybody” movement...

Not much of a dialogue over health care when those representing a reform --- single-payer --- favored by 60% of the American electorate can't even get an audience with the President...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Must-see video of Ralph Nader's spot-on analysis...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/17/2009 1:05pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In the final analysis, the ideological differences between Republicans and the corporate/controlling sector of the Democratic party are relatively narrow and insignificant as compared to the bi-partisan link to corporate wealth and power --- a link both share with the corporate-owned, mainstream media.

In 2008 it was the insanity that was the Bush/Cheney flirtation with fascism. Today, it's imaginary "death panels" and the undereducated, easily manipulated wing-nut mobs sent to shut down one of the oldest forms of American democracy --- the town hall meeting.

These provide the perfect cover. They permit the more gifted corporate Democrats, for example Barack Obama, to seduce the great masses of working stiffs who make up the American electorate with soaring, but ultimately deceptive, rhetoric; producing brief euphoria on the eve of the last election, followed by no real substantive change.

As the corporate media misdirects focus on brown shirt-like disruptions at the town halls, the real "death panels" --- the corporate profiteers and their bought-and-paid-for politicians --- hammered out a pseudo-reform package that will perpetuate a corrupt, dysfunctional and deadly health care system which kills more than 18,000 Americans each year simply because they can't afford coverage and countless more when carriers refuse to authorize vital, life-saving procedures...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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PLUS: UK's nationalized health care system keeps them healthier than ours, and the Constitutionality of providing for the general welfare...
By Brad Friedman on 8/16/2009 11:15am PT  

Some fine bloggery from RAW STORY today. First, Diane Sweet highlights Dana Gould's must-watch "WTF" moment on health care reform from last night's Real Times with Bill Maher on HBO:


Gould's package includes a visit to a recent health fair at Staples Center in L.A. where folks lined up around the block for free dental care, glasses, blood pressure checks, mammograms, vital immunizations for children, and other medical procedures not usually available to them, because they don't have health coverage.

Stephen C. Webster notes coverage of that event by another outlet which additionally notes some stark statistics comparing the UK's national health system to the system in the U.S. where health spending is twice that of the UK's (as a percentage of the GDP), more than twice-over per person, and yet, the U.S. life-expectancy is shorter, infant mortality higher, and there are more physicians per capita in the UK.

Finally, Webster also features a video of a town hall forum featuring Congressman Rick Larsen (D-WA) who is forced to inform a wingnut: "I've got facts on my side, you've got Glenn Beck on your side."

(Of course, Beck wasn't always an opponent of health care reform. In fact, he was in favor of it before he was against it --- after arriving at Fox "News" --- as Jon Stewart reminded us earlier this week.)

That, and one other excellent point is made about the "Constitutionality" of Congress providing for the general welfare. Just like it says in the, um, Constitution. Go watch it...

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By Brad Friedman on 8/14/2009 10:09am PT  

"The nightmare that is our health care system." - Jan. '08 for CNN
"The best health care system in the world." - Aug. '09 for Fox "News"

Why The Daily Show must be the one to reveal this stuff on broadcast television remains far beyond our pay grade. We're just glad that someone does....

But what's becoming more and more clear is that Beck seems to be taking a page from the Ann Coulter playbook: Say something outrageous, no matter how factually deficient, whether you believe it or not, in order to help rile the easily riled Republicanist/Fox "News" base, piss off everyone else, garner media attention to yourself, make millions of dollars in the bargain, largely off the losers you're exploiting and lying to in the first place.

Worked well for Coulter, still is, seems to be working very well for Beck now too. (Also for Sarah Palin, though there's some question whether she's smart enough to realize that's what she's doing. Beck, however, knows damn well what he's doing, and knows damn well that he's an unapologetic liar and opportunist, playing the Fox "News" base for the gullible suckers and chumps that they are. Doesn't care.)

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Says same 'protest' mechanisms, tactics he and his father developed, used on abortion providers like the now-murdered Dr. Tiller...
By Brad Friedman on 8/7/2009 11:48am PT  

Devastating. From someone who knows these tactics well. And, if the corporate media wasn't under an almost complete stranglehold, such an op-ed from someone like Frank Schaeffer, author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back, might actually make a difference.

He says the Republican/industry-run health care "protest" mobs have become "a full blown American version of the Nazi Brown Shirts", the Republican party has now become "profoundly anti-American", and that "They can't compute that their white man-led conservative revolution is dead."

Here's just a few of the money quotes from his must-read at Alternet today which suggests, most disturbingly --- as I have long worried since this corporatist/Republicanist-inflamed thuggery began --- that it may not stop until someone actually ends up dead...

The Republican Old Guard are in the fix an atheist would be in if Jesus showed up and raised his mother from the dead: Their world view has just been shattered. Obama's election has driven them over the edge.
...
Having failed at the ballot box, having watched their Fox News-organized "tea parties" fizzle the intimidation tactics which the Republicans have embraced are being used in a well-financed, top-down orchestrated fake grass roots campaign by corporate interests to try and protect the profits of the insurance business.
...
Democratic members of Congress are being harassed by angry, sign-carrying mobs and disruptive behavior at local town halls. It's the tactic we used to follow abortion providers around their neighborhoods. "Protesters" surrounded Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) and forced police officers to have to escort him to his car for safety. We used to do the same to Dr. Tiller... until someone killed him.

Please read his entire piece, or at least the rest of what I've quoted from it below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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ALSO: Glenn Beck-fueled 'near riot' at Tampa forum tonight...
By Brad Friedman on 8/6/2009 6:59pm PT  

How phony are the phony town hall mobs? Rachel Maddow explains it all for you. If only the rest of the corporate MSM did the same. Her investigation of the so-called public interest groups running this thing concludes: "This is professional, corporate-funded, Republican-staffed PR, and it should be reported as such"...

And tonight, these corporate/Republican/Republicanist-media sponsored and enflamed mobs are, as expected, beginning to turn violent. RAW STORY has details on a Glenn Beck-inspired "near riot" tonight at a forum in Tampa.

Anyone surprised? I'm afraid this is gonna get much worse before it gets better...

UPDATE 8/7/09: Repentant right-wing anti-abortionist movement creator Frank Schaeffer worries about the same thing...

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But is it a fair fight? Why hasn't House Leadership asked CBO for a real cost comparison to public-option plans?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/4/2009 10:01pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In an update to Small Victory for a Long-Term Single-Payer Strategy, I reported that “Rep. Anthony Weiner, (D-NY) will...make a motion before the House Energy & Commerce Committee to...replace H.R. 3200 [the hybrid, "public option plan] with H.R. 676 --- single payer Medicare for All."

In exchange for Weiner's agreement to withdraw his amendment during the House Energy and Commerce Committee health care markup session, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) promised to permit Weiner to bring H.R. 676 to a vote on the House floor.

But will the House leadership direct the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to provide a comparative cost analysis between single-payer and alternative plans so that Congress and the American people can make an informed choice? And why have they refused to do so so far?...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Corporate media stand ready to help as usual...
By Brad Friedman on 8/3/2009 12:42pm PT  

[Updated: Right on cue, the Teabaggers turn out to disrupt town hall meetings over the weekend. Video and details at end of article. ... UPDATED AGAIN: Lots more video now, the zombies come out all over the country.]

Are there simply no democratic (small "d") processes left that the Right isn't willing to corrupt to their own corporatized, nefarious purposes? It would seem not.

This from ThinkProgress, concerning the rightwing, corporate-sponsored (read: astroturf) "grassroots" FreedomWatch coalition, and their conveniently leaked talking points instruction memo [PDF] on how to create an appearance of dissension --- "Yell...Stand up and shout out...Rattle Him...Be Disruptive Early and Often" --- at upcoming town hall meetings back in Congressional districts over the August recess...

Rocking the Town Halls - Best Practices

A Political Action Memo

We here in Fairfield County Connecticut conducted an action at Congressman Jim Hime's Town Hall meeting in May 2009. We believe there are some best practices which emberged from the event and our experience, which could be useful to activists in just about any district where their Congressperson has supported the socialist agenda of the Democrat leadership in Washington.
...
-- Artificially Inflate Your Numbers: “Spread out in the hall and try to be in the front half. The objective is to put the Rep on the defensive with your questions and follow-up. The Rep should be made to feel that a majority, and if not, a significant portion of at least the audience, opposes the socialist agenda of Washington.”

-- Be Disruptive Early And Often: “You need to rock-the-boat early in the Rep's presentation, Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Rep's statements early.”

-- Try To “Rattle Him,” Not Have An Intelligent Debate: “The goal is to rattle him, get him off his prepared script and agenda. If he says something outrageous, stand up and shout out and sit right back down. Look for these opportunities before he even takes questions.”

As detailed in the full memo, the strategy "worked," and media took the bait in the Himes' Town Hall event mentioned.

Over the weekend, far-right kook Michelle Malkin, for some reason, was allowed a seat at the roundtable on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos as if she was a legitimate voice.

She predicted (video here) that where Democrats and the White House have "vastly underestimated just how grassroots this movement is," they would soon face "townhalls-gone-wild" in the weeks ahead...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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