Our collective failure to meet this challenge --- year after year, decade after decade --- has led us to a breaking point. Everyone understands the extraordinary hardships that are placed on the uninsured, who live every day just one accident or illness away from bankruptcy...
We are the only advanced democracy on Earth...that allows such hardships for millions of its people….In just a two year period, one in every three Americans goes without health care coverage at some point. And every day, 14,000 Americans lose their coverage...
But the problem that plagues the health care system is not just a problem of the uninsured. Those who do have insurance have never had less security and stability than they do today…More and more Americans pay their premiums, only to discover that their insurance company has dropped their coverage when they get sick, or won’t pay the full cost of care. It happens every day.
That was the easy part. Anyone who has paid attention understands that the core problem lies in the profit motives of the private insurance and pharmaceutical industries.
Thus, the President's diagnosis of the U.S. health care system was accurate, but did he prescribe "change we can believe in?"...
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?
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...
[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...
Israel's gay community was rocked on Sunday by the killing of two people in a homosexual and lesbian youth center and the possibility they fell victim to a hate crime in the Jewish state's most freewheeling city.
"The biggest shock is to think that it happened in Tel Aviv, which is the most tolerant city in the country," said Avi Sofer, a gay rights activist.
Witnesses said a masked gunman clad in black opened fire on Saturday night in a basement club belonging to the Tel Aviv Gay and Lesbian Association, which was hosting a weekly event for teenage gays.
The attacker killed a 26-year-old man and a 16-year-old girl and wounded 13 people before fleeing, hospital officials said.
Pam Spaulding at Houseblend has much more, including a late update detailing the death now of a third shooting victim. Here's some quick video...
Kudos --- for the actual reporting and literal legwork --- to Mike Stark of Firedoglake ("Scum of the earth," according to Rep. Tom Price (R-GA)) for nailing this in between FDL reader-funder Capitol Hill reportage on health care (ya know, stuff that actually matters).
Kudos too to Rep. Tommy Franks (R-AZ), for his willingness to admit, for the camera --- unlike all of the other Republicans that Stark tried to get comment from on the Hill --- that Obama is a natural born "citizen of the United States of America."
We were prepared to offer Franks a much-sought, but too-rarely bestowed BRAD BLOG Intellectually Honest Conservative Award, but then he blew it at the very end by noting his condemnation of Obama "for promoting abortion on demand, for standing by and letting Jihad gain traction in the word, and for doing things to undermine our constitution and for turning us into a Socialist nation." Too bad. And you were so close, Mr. Franks!
BTW, in a very related late update, FDL's Jane Hamsher notes...
It's been nearly five months since the official complaint about Ann Coulter's alleged voter fraud in 2002 and 2004 was filed in Connecticut, yet state election officials continue to refuse comment on the status of the case beyond acknowledging that it's "still pending," as recently confirmed by The BRAD BLOG.
Several charges of absentee voter fraud were alleged in the complaint against Coulter in Connecticut, where evidence shows she cast absentee ballots illegally while living in her then permanent New York City residence.
In addition to the head of the California GOP's voter registration firm pleading guilty to fraud last week (his company, Young Political Majors, is under investigation in several other states as well, and is alleged to have secretly changed thousands of registrations from Democratic to Republican, denying voters the ability to cast votes in last year's primary), and the Republican election official in Kentucky who last month pleaded guilty to participating in a massive election fraud conspiracy beginning in 2002, there still remains the outstanding official investigation into the allegations against Coulter, the GOP's storied Queen of Voter Fraud.
If all you watched was the Fox "News" Channel, however, and their increasingly bizarre --- and yet still evidence-free --- "investigation" into "voter fraud" by ACORN, you'd have no idea. That, even though Coulter herself continues to parade in front of their cameras as a regular guest without ever being asked about the official inquiry in the second state to investigate voting improprieties by the GOP superstar.
"The delay in this case is inexplicable given they need to prove two things: where she registered to vote/voted and where she lived when she registered to vote/voted," the complainant in the case, Daniel Borchers, a Christian conservative who has long opposed Coulter's behavior, told The BRAD BLOG. "Both are easily proven."...
In last week's "New Rules" segment on HBO's Real Time, Bill Maher blasted President Obama for "not getting the job done," adding "this is not what I voted for." He had been critical of Obama's lack of fight for health care reform, and "nibbling" that's leaving insurance companies "still running the show," bailed out banks "laughing at us about how easy it was to get back to 'business as usual,'" and scientists' vital warnings about serious climate change being largely ignored.
We ran that video last week, and found it was linked to by an enormous number of rightwing websites, using the opportunity to suggest that Maher now agreed with them about Obama.
This week (video above-right) Maher clarified the record. He first noted: "Last week in this space, I criticized President Obama for not fighting corporate influence enough, and it made some Liberals very angry. My phone rang off the hook." But he then removed any doubt about whether he was actually "in league" with those on the Right.
"As far as you folks on the Right that think that we're somehow in league --- we're not in league! I was criticizing Obama for not being hard enough on the corporate douche bags you live to defend. I don't wanna be on your team. Pick another kid."
"So I stand by my words," Maher said, before launching into a no-holds barred attack on the Democrats and Obama for their failings, yet again. "There is another side to the story. And that is, that every time Obama tries to take on a Progressive cause, there's a major political party standing in his way --- the Democrats."
"We don't have a Left and a Right party in this country anymore. We have a center-Right party and a crazy party. And over the last thirty-odd years, Democrats have moved to the Right, and the Right has moved into a mental hospital."
He went on to criticize Democrats for becoming the party of "hedge fund managers, credit card companies, banks, defense contractors, big agriculture and the pharmaceutical lobby [who] sit across the aisle from a small group of religious lunatics, flat-earthers, and Civil War re-enacters...who mostly communicate by AM radio and call themselves the Republicans."
The major concluding thesis in his scathing criticism: "Bottom line, Democrats are the new Republicans"
Diane Sweet of RAW STORY observed in her coverage: "If Maher had finished by declaring his candidacy for public office, by the sound of the applause in response to his monologue, he would have left the studio Friday evening with an audience full of supporters."
If you're unable to watch the video (above right), a text-transcript of the key quotes from this week's must-see monologue follow below. As with last week's, we find ourselves hard-pressed to disagree with a word of it...
What's perhaps most interesting here is what isn't mentioned in this story, as written on the Los Angeles Times' "L.A. Now" blog. First, here's their entire blog item...
The owner of a voter-registration company pleaded guilty Tuesday to voter-registration fraud, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
Laguna Beach resident Mark Jacoby, who collects signatures for petition drives, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to three years' probation and 30 days of service with the California Department of Transportation.
Jacoby, owner of Young Political Majors, registered to vote at Los Angeles addresses that were not his own. State law requires petition circulators to be qualified voters. Jacoby will also be required to show proof he is registered at his correct address.
And what they didn't bother to mention in that story?...
How long will it be until white supremacists claim that the shooting at the Holocaust Museum never happened?
And, speaking of denialist wingnuts, where up is down, Right is now Left. TPM offers actual reportage (versus satire, as above) on mainstream wingnutters who are becoming more and more indistinguishable from their loony, extremist, denialists brethren just barely to their right. The "respectable" Righties are now actually trying to make the case that James von Brunn, the Obama-hating, Nazi-loving, accused gunman from this week's Holocaust Museum assassination is a Lefty. Seriously, that's the case they're pleading...
This from Harris County, Texas --- the third largest county in the US:
Johnson is the associate voter registrar at the Harris County Tax Assessor Collectors office, but according to state documents, that's just his day job. Johnson is also a paid director of a small company that provides voter data to Republican candidates for office. That company, Campaign Data Systems, billed at least $140,000 in 2008.
(No explanation for the blank :45 seconds or so on the back end. Feel free to offer yours in comments. Hat-tip Josh Marshall who notes the vid is "Catching fire on the right-wing websites." The clowns at the wingnut PowerLine call the video "Hope for the future" in one post and in a second --- yes, top clown Scott Johnson posted it twice there in two days! --- say that it "displays wit and learning in equal parts". The "more info" description on the YouTube posting, says "Young Conservatives is a group with a devout mission to spread the love and logic surrounding true conservatism." As mentioned, best of luck with that, boyz.)
UPDATE, YO!: If you can't watch the video for some reason, or even if you can, Tiger Beatdown's commentary on the high-points is worth the read. And yes, Young Cons, we're laughing at you, not with you...But, um, as we said, good luck with that, boyz...Drill, baby, drill, and all that...And yes, please bring on a follow up soon! Your fans are waiting!
[Now updated with a load of new details on the election conspiracy, how it worked, and who the candidates were that allegedly benefited from it, following today's guilty plea entered in court. See bottom of article for that new information.]
A Republican election official, one of six allegedly bi-partisan [ed note: see update below for more on that] Clay County, KY, Board of Elections officials arrested last March and charged with a long-term conspiracy to rig elections, buy votes, and manipulate vote-selections on electronic voting machines without the knowledge of voters, has asked to change his plea from not guilty to guilty, according to local news reports...
The attorney for Paul E. Bishop filed a motion Thursday seeking a hearing for him to plead guilty to one count of racketeering.
That charge alleges that members of the conspiracy used the county Board of Elections as a vehicle to corrupt voting between 2002 and 2007 so they could hold on to power and enrich themselves and others.
According to the indictment [PDF], Bishop was a Republican election judge at precincts in 2002 and 2004, and hosted meetings at his house where candidates pooled money to be used for buying votes. The latest report also notes that Bishop, and some of the other conspirators, even employed Rush Limbaugh's illicit drug of choice, OxyContin, as part of their scheme...