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Hastings Urges President Obama to Respond to June 22 ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Letter


(Ft. Lauderdale, FL) Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) sent the following letter to President Barack Obama regarding a June 22 letter he sent with 76 of his colleagues on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."  The White House has yet to respond to the letter urging President Obama to suspend the investigation and discharge of service members in the Armed Forces because of their sexual orientation.  Under the discriminatory law of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," openly gay and lesbian service members and those suspected of "homosexual conduct" may not serve in the military. (Please find below and attached a copy of the letter.  Additionally, please find attached a copy of the letter sent on June 22.)

 

August 27, 2009

 

The Honorable Barack H. Obama

President of the United States

The White House

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear President Obama:

 

On June 22, I sent you a letter signed by 77 Members of Congress urging you to take leadership in working together with Congress to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell and to replace it with a policy of inclusion and non-discrimination.  More than two months later, I have yet to receive an official response.  

 

I am deeply disappointed that you have not responded to my letter and that we are not addressing Don't Ask, Don't Tell at this time.  With the recent addition of 17,000 American troops to Afghanistan and the possibility of another request for even more troops from General McChrystal in the coming weeks, I am sure that you will agree that we cannot afford to lose any of our dedicated, highly-qualified service members to Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

 

As you know, we lose approximately two service members every day to Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  While I commend Secretary Gates and the Pentagon's general counsel for their continued efforts to identify possible provisional measures, you can take action right now.  I sincerely hope that your administration will make Don't Ask, Don't Tell a priority and do everything in its power to repeal this ridiculous, bigoted law once and for all.    

 

Mr. President, I am extremely proud of the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces and truly appreciate the countless sacrifices they continue to make every single day to protect this nation and the American people.  They deserve better than Don't Ask, Don't Tell. 

 

Please know that I will continue to monitor this situation closely and stand ready to assist you and my colleagues in Congress in repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell today.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Alcee L. Hastings

Member of Congress

 

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings is Vice Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a senior member of the House Rules Committee, and Co-Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

 





what we are seeing at the Health Care Town halls

I believe what we are witnessing at the Health Care town halls today, are the same people I witnessed when I was 10 or 11 years old watching on TV as the city of Boston was instituting school Busing and grown adults were screaming the "N" word and throwing rocks at 6 year old black girls. watching that on TV every morning for weeks from my home in Kansas City, changed the way I think, forever and ever.

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Senator Edward Kennedy: "The Cause Endures" Speech

Senator Kennedy Speech - The Cause Endures

The keynote speaker at the 1980 Democratic convention in New York was the man who had hoped to get the nomination for president, Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts.

He had unsuccessfully opposed Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter whose own political fortunes were sagging due to an economy plagued by chronic inflation and high unemployment. Further political problems resulted from the taking of American hostages in Iran after the downfall of the American backed Shah of Iran.

In July of 1980, the Republicans had chosen popular conservative Ronald Reagan as their nominee. He was riding the crest of a new wave of conservatism by opposing many of the traditional liberal Democratic policies which traced their roots back to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal.

Those policies utilized the power of the Federal government to implement social change and improve the well being of citizens in need though expensive government programs. Conservatives argued the policies resulted in inefficient government bureaucracies which spent billions of taxpayer dollars with little actual success.

As a candidate for president, Ted Kennedy stood for the Democratic ideals championed by Roosevelt and also by his late brothers, President John F. Kennedy and especially his brother Robert, a presidential candidate in 1968.

This speech is generally considered the finest of Senator Kennedy's career and serves as an eloquent defense of those liberal ideals.

Well, things worked out a little different from the way I thought, but let me tell you, I still love New York.

My fellow Democrats and my fellow Americans, I have come here tonight not to argue as a candidate but to affirm a cause. I'm asking you--I am asking you to renew the commitment of the Democratic Party to economic justice.

I am asking you to renew our commitment to a fair and lasting prosperity that can put America back to work.

This is the cause that brought me into the campaign and that sustained me for nine months across 100,000 miles in 40 different states. We had our losses, but the pain of our defeats is far, far less than the pain of the people that I have met.

We have learned that it is important to take issues seriously, but never to take ourselves too seriously.

The serious issue before us tonight is the cause for which the Democratic Party has stood in its finest hours, the cause that keeps our Party young and makes it, in the second century of its age, the largest political party in this republic and the longest lasting political party on this planet.

Our cause has been, since the days of Thomas Jefferson, the cause of the common man and the common woman.

Our commitment has been, since the days of Andrew Jackson, to all those he called "the humble members of society--the farmers, mechanics, and laborers." On this foundation we have defined our values, refined our policies and refreshed our faith.

Now I take the unusual step of carrying the cause and the commitment of my campaign personally to our national convention. I speak out of a deep sense of urgency about the anguish and anxiety I have seen across America.

I speak out of a deep belief in the ideals of the Democratic Party, and in the potential of that Party and of a President to make a difference. And I speak out of a deep trust in our capacity to proceed with boldness and a common vision that will feel and heal the suffering of our time and the divisions of our Party.

The economic plank of this platform on its face concerns only material things, but it is also a moral issue that I raise tonight. It has taken many forms over many years. In this campaign and in this country that we seek to lead, the challenge in 1980 is to give our voice and our vote for these fundamental democratic principles.

Let us pledge that we will never misuse unemployment, high interest rates, and human misery as false weapons against inflation.

Let us pledge that employment will be the first priority of our economic policy.

Let us pledge that there will be security for all those who are now at work, and let us pledge that there will be jobs for all who are out of work; and we will not compromise on the issue of jobs.

These are not simplistic pledges. Simply put, they are the heart of our tradition, and they have been the soul of our Party across the generations. It is the glory and the greatness of our tradition to speak for those who have no voice, to remember those who are forgotten, to respond to the frustrations and fulfill the aspirations of all Americans seeking a better life in a better land.

We dare not forsake that tradition. We cannot let the great purposes of the Democratic Party become the bygone passages of history.

We must not permit the Republicans to seize and run on the slogans of prosperity. We heard the orators at their convention all trying to talk like Democrats. They proved that even Republican nominees can quote Franklin Roosevelt to their own purpose.

The Grand Old Party thinks it has found a great new trick, but 40 years ago an earlier generation of Republicans attempted the same trick. And Franklin Roosevelt himself replied, "Most Republican leaders have bitterly fought and blocked the forward surge of average men and women in their pursuit of happiness. Let us not be deluded that overnight those leaders have suddenly become the friends of average men and women."

"You know," he continued, "very few of us are that gullible." And four years later when the Republicans tried that trick again, Franklin Roosevelt asked "Can the Old Guard pass itself off as the New Deal? I think not. We have all seen many marvelous stunts in the circus, but no performing elephant could turn a handspring without falling flat on its back."

The 1980 Republican convention was awash with crocodile tears for our economic distress, but it is by their long record and not their recent words that you shall know them.

The same Republicans who are talking about the crisis of unemployment have nominated a man who once said, and I quote, "Unemployment insurance is a prepaid vacation plan for freeloaders." And that nominee is no friend of labor.

The same Republicans who are talking about the problems of the inner cities have nominated a man who said, and I quote, "I have included in my morning and evening prayers every day the prayer that the Federal Government not bail out New York." And that nominee is no friend of this city and our great urban centers across this Nation.

The same Republicans who are talking about security for the elderly have nominated a man who said just four years ago that "Participation in social security should be made voluntary." And that nominee is no friend of the senior citizens of this Nation.

The same Republicans who are talking about preserving the environment have nominated a man who last year made the preposterous statement, and I quote, "Eighty percent of our air pollution comes from plants and trees."

And that nominee is no friend of the environment.

And the same Republicans who are invoking Franklin Roosevelt have nominated a man who said in 1976, and these are his exact words, "Fascism was really the basis of the New Deal." And that nominee whose name is Ronald Reagan has no right to quote Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The great adventures which our opponents offer is a voyage into the past. Progress is our heritage, not theirs. What is right for us as Democrats is also the right way for Democrats to win.

The commitment I seek is not to outworn views but to old values that will never wear out. Programs may sometimes become obsolete, but the ideal of fairness always endures.

Circumstances may change, but the work of compassion must continue. It is surely correct that we cannot solve problems by throwing money at them, but it is also correct that we dare not throw out our national problems onto a scrap heap of inattention and indifference. The poor may be out of political fashion, but they are not without human needs. The middle class may be angry, but they have not lost the dream that all Americans can advance together.

The demand of our people in 1980 is not for smaller government or bigger government but for better government. Some say that government is always bad and that spending for basic social programs is the root of our economic evils. But we reply: The present inflation and recession cost our economy $200 billion a year. We reply: Inflation and unemployment are the biggest spenders of all.

The task of leadership in 1980 is not to parade scapegoats or to seek refuge in reaction, but to match our power to the possibilities of progress. While others talked of free enterprise, it was the Democratic Party that acted and we ended excessive regulation in the airline and trucking industry and we restored competition to the marketplace. And I take some satisfaction that this deregulation was legislation that I sponsored and passed in the Congress of the United States.

As Democrats we recognize that each generation of Americans has a rendezvous with a different reality. The answers of one generation become the questions of the next generation. But there is a guiding star in the American firmament. It is as old as the revolutionary belief that all people are created equal, and as clear as the contemporary condition of Liberty City and the South Bronx.

Again and again Democratic leaders have followed that star and they have given new meaning to the old values of liberty and justice for all.

We are the party. We are the party of the New Freedom, the New Deal and the New Frontier. We have always been the party of hope. So this year let us offer new hope, new hope to an America uncertain about the present, but unsurpassed in its potential for the future.

To all those who are idle in the cities and industries of America let us provide new hope for the dignity of useful work. Democrats have always believed that a basic civil right of all Americans is their right to earn their own way. The party of the people must always be the party of full employment. To all those who doubt the future of our economy, let us provide new hope for the reindustrialization of America. And let our vision reach beyond the next election or the next year to a new generation of prosperity. If we could rebuild Germany and Japan after World War II, then surely we can reindustrialize our own nation and revive our inner cities in the 1980s.

To all those who work hard for a living wage let us provide new hope that the price of their employment shall not be an unsafe workplace and a death at an earlier age.

To all those who inhabit our land from California to the New York Island, from the Redwood Forest to the Gulfstream waters, let us provide new hope that prosperity shall not be purchased by poisoning the air, the rivers and the natural resources that are the greatest gift of this continent.

We must insist that our children and our grandchildren shall inherit a land which they can truly call America the beautiful.

To all those who see the worth of their work and their savings taken by inflation, let us offer new hope for a stable economy. We must meet the pressures of the present by invoking the full power of government to master increasing prices.

In candor, we must say that the Federal budget can be balanced only by policies that bring us to a balanced prosperity of full employment and price restraint.

And to all those overburdened by an unfair tax structure, let us provide new hope for real tax reform. Instead of shutting down classrooms, let us shut off tax shelters.

Instead of cutting out school lunches, let us cut off tax subsidies for expensive business lunches that are nothing more than food stamps for the rich.

The tax cut of our Republican opponents takes the name of tax reform in vain. It is a wonderfully Republican idea that would redistribute income in the wrong direction. It is good news for any of you with incomes over $200,000 a year. For the few of you, it offers a pot of gold worth $14,000. But the Republican tax cut is bad news for the middle income families.

For the many of you, they plan a pittance of $200 a year, and that is not what the Democratic Party means when we say tax reform.

The vast majority of Americans cannot afford this panacea from a Republican nominee who has denounced the progressive income tax as the invention of Karl Marx. I am afraid he has confused Karl Marx with Theodore Roosevelt--that obscure Republican president who sought and fought for a tax system based on ability to pay. Theodore Roosevelt was not Karl Marx, and the Republican tax scheme is not tax reform.

Finally, we cannot have a fair prosperity in isolation from a fair society. So I will continue to stand for a national health insurance.

We must not surrender to the relentless medical inflation that can bankrupt almost anyone and that may soon break the budgets of government at every level. Let us insist on real control over what doctors and hospitals can charge, and let us resolve that the state of a family's health shall never depend on the size of a family's wealth.

The President, the Vice President, the members of Congress have a medical plan that meets their needs in full, and whenever senators and representatives catch a little cold, the Capitol physician will see them immediately, treat them promptly, fill a prescription on the spot. We do not get a bill even if we ask for it, and when do you think was the last time a member of Congress asked for a bill from the Federal Government?

I say again, as I have before, if health insurance is good enough for the President, the Vice President and the Congress of the United States, then it is good enough for you and every family in America.

There were some who said we should be silent about our differences on issues during this convention, but the heritage of the Democratic Party has been a history of democracy. We fight hard because we care deeply about our principles and purposes. We did not flee this struggle. We welcome the contrast with the empty and expedient spectacle last month in Detroit where no nomination was contested, no question was debated, and no one dared to raise any doubt or dissent.

Democrats can be proud that we chose a different course and a different platform. We can be proud that our party stands for investment in safe energy instead of a nuclear future that may threaten the future itself.

We must not permit the neighborhoods of America to be permanently shadowed by the fear of another Three Mile Island.

We can be proud that our party stands for a fair housing law to unlock the doors of discrimination once and for all. The American house will be divided against itself so long as there is prejudice against any American buying or renting a home.

And we can be proud that our party stands plainly and publicly and persistently for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Women hold their rightful place at our convention, and women must have their rightful place in the Constitution of the United States. On this issue we will not yield, we will not equivocate, we will not rationalize, explain or excuse. We will stand for E.R.A. and for the recognition at long last that our nation was made up of founding mothers as well as founding fathers.

A fair prosperity and a just society are within our vision and our grasp, and we do not have every answer. There are questions not yet asked, waiting for us in the recesses of the future, but of this much we can be certain because it is the lesson of all our history: Together a president and the people can make a difference. I have found that faith still alive wherever I have traveled across this land. So let us reject the counsel of retreat and the call to reaction. Let us go forward in the knowledge that history only helps those who help themselves.

There will be setbacks and sacrifices in the years ahead but I am convinced that we as a people are ready to give something back to our country in return for all it has given to us.

Let this be our commitment: Whatever sacrifices must be made will be shared and shared fairly. And let this be our confidence: At the end of our journey and always before us shines that ideal of liberty and justice for all.

In closing, let me say a few words to all those that I have met and to all those who have supported me, at this convention and across the country. There were hard hours on our journey, and often we sailed against the wind. But always we kept our rudder true, and there were so many of you who stayed the course and shared our hope. You gave your help, but even more, you gave your hearts.

Because of you, this has been a happy campaign. You welcomed Joan, me and our family into your homes and neighborhoods, your churches, your campuses, your union halls. When I think back of all the miles and all the months and all the memories, I think of you. I recall the poet's words, and I say: What golden friends I have.

Among you, my golden friends across this land, I have listened and learned.

I have listened to Kenny Dubois, a glassblower in Charleston, West Virginia, who has ten children to support but has lost his job after 35 years, just three years short of qualifying for his pension.

I have listened to the Trachta family who farm in Iowa and who wonder whether they can pass the good life and the good earth on to their children.

I have listened to the grandmother in East Oakland who no longer has a phone to call her grandchildren because she gave it up to pay the rent on her small apartment.

I have listened to young workers out of work, to students without the tuition for college, and to families without the chance to own a home. I have seen the closed factories and the stalled assembly lines of Anderson, Indiana and South Gate, California, and I have seen too many, far too many idle men and women desperate to work. I have seen too many, far too many working families desperate to protect the value of their wages from the ravages of inflation.

Yet I have also sensed a yearning for new hope among the people in every state where I have been. And I have felt it in their handshakes, I saw it in their faces, and I shall never forget the mothers who carried children to our rallies. I shall always remember the elderly who have lived in an America of high purpose and who believe that it can all happen again.

Tonight, in their name, I have come here to speak for them. And for their sake, I ask you to stand with them. On their behalf I ask you to restate and reaffirm the timeless truth of our party.

I congratulate President Carter on his victory here.

I am confident that the Democratic Party will reunite on the basis of Democratic principles, and that together we will march towards a Democratic victory in 1980.

And someday, long after this convention, long after the signs come down, and the crowds stop cheering, and the bands stop playing, may it be said of our campaign that we kept the faith. May it be said of our Party in 1980 that we found our faith again.

And may it be said of us, both in dark passages and in bright days, in the words of Tennyson that my brothers quoted and loved, and that have special meaning for me now:
"I am a part of all that I have met....
Tho much is taken, much abides....
That which we are, we are--
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
              ...strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die. Hear this .WAV 173K

Senator Edward M. Kennedy - August 12, 1980


David Frum Analyzes Why ‘The Crazies’ Are Running the GOP

He blames the predicament, in part, on the “conservative entertainment-industrial complex,” a term coined by Andrew Sullivan. In Frum’s telling, this complex has “distorted conservative dialogue to suit the wishes of the Fox audience.” He says that drawing on such a group, “you can get seriously rich out of that, but you can’t govern a country with that kind of voter base, it’s a tiny minority-within-a-minority.”



The Media Made This Summer's Political Insanity Inevitable



opednews.com It is the media's behavior that has made this summer's madness inevitable. When they let the loudest yellers and most audacious liars drive the discourse, they guarantee that people who can't win on the merits will yell and lie. When they focus on politics rather than policy, they guarantee the public will remain in the dark about basic facts.



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Have Republicans Turned Into a Weird Religious Cult?

The election of Obama - a black man with an anti-conservative message - as a successor to George W. Bush has scrambled the core American right's view of their country. In their gut, they saw the US as a white-skinned, right-wing nation forever shaped like Sarah Palin.

Read More..........

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Obama's Numbers still Overwhelms the GOP's

For all the talk of Obama's declining poll numbers this summer, he towers over his opponents. In last week's Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll, only 21 percent approve of how Republicans in Congress are handling health care reform (as opposed to the president's 41 percent). Should Obama fail to deliver serious reform because his administration treats the pharmaceutical and insurance industries as deferentially as it has the banks, that would be shameful. Should he fail because he in any way catered to a decimated opposition party that has sunk and shrunk to its craziest common denominator, that would be ludicrous.

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What Do People Mean When They Say "I Want My Country Back"



There is a buzz phrase coming from tea baggers, birthers, deathers and right wing people who are raising a ruckus at Town Halls dealing with President OBama's Health Care Reform. I will now translate what people mean when they say "I want my country back".

"I Want My Country Back" means:

1) All immigrants from Mexico, Latin America, Central American Countries, Asian countries should be deported immediately!

2) Black people can remain athletes and musical entertainers. They cannot be presidents or in any position of political power. Once that they are done playing their professional sports and entertaining us with music and dancing, they must go home to their neighborhoods and not return to all white places until they come to clean, cook, entertain or play sports.

3) Black entertainers can only perform jazz, blues, pop and easy listening R & B, Motown hits and early 70's R&B. Hip Hop will be banned.

4) All none English speaking people should be placed in language assimilation camps until they speak English.

5) All movies, television and Broadway shows should have 99% Caucasian casts and White Christian American themes. Black and of color people should be reserved for token roles that reinforce racial and ethnic stereotypes. Caricatured blacks, Asians and other minorities should be encouraged in all movies, television and Broadway shows.

6) Gay people must go back into their closets or else be sent to assimilation camps to be reprogrammed back into white, Christian, heterosexual society.

7) All Gay, Lesbian and transgender people who have children will have their children placed in new foster homes of proper white, fundamentalist Christian familes. Children of mixed races will be appropriately placed in fundamentalist Christian homes of their none white heritage race.

8) Racial profiling will be made legal and encouraged.

9) Hate crimes laws will be reversed.

10) Gay bashing, non Christian grave and temple desecration and lynching will be made legal and encouraged.

11) Politically correct terms will be made illegal. Offensive Racial and sexual epithets will be encouraged.

12) Anti Semitism will be encouraged and made legal.

13) Abortion will be made illegal except for wealthy women who can discretely arrange them with their private physicians for a "DnC" meaning dusting and cleaning. DnC's will be paid for by top insurance companies. DnC is a code word for abortion rights for privileged white women. Poor women can arrange back alley abortions at their own risks. However if they are discovered they and their abortionists will be sentenced to immediate execution.

14) Racial segregation will become a new law. White children will get better educations in general, especially if they are wealthy. Middleclass white students will receive mediocre educations with no art history, music clubs or classes. Poor whites will receive little education and be sent to work by age 12. Creationism will be the only history and science allowed to be taught in schools.The newest and best books will be available in order of income to white children.

15) Child labor laws will be revered. Poor children will be encouraged to work at their earliest possible age with no legalized work shifts.

16) Women and African Americans will lose voter rights.

17) Women's salaries will be reversed to pre 1973 inequality. Girls will be taught in the virtues of being home makers.

18) Non white members of the Supreme Court and female justices will be fired and replaced by white evangelical Christian male justices.

19) America will then be back to the country that all tea baggers, birthers, deathers, white Christian conservatives and right wingnuts want. These are the people that hate President OBama's election. For such people it simply feels wrong to have a black man in the white house, they cannot wrap their head's around the concept of a black man who is educated.

Even though American once belonged to Native American Indians, the America that most uneducated white Christian Conservatives want back is a White Evangelical Christian America. Can they "have their country back"? Thank God this will be very unlikely as American will continue to evolve as a nation of freedom of speech, religious freedom and a land where human rights will prevail. In 2042 Caucasian people will become a minority, however American will become a nation of multi-cultural and multiracial people.

Educated Americans will continue to fight for the greater humanitarian good of our country. At the end of the day America will continue to grow as a wonderful country based upon inclusion and equality. One day we will look back at these town halls and the disruptive, misinformed people "who want their country back". They are the shameful remnants of an America that was once was unenlightened about racial, religious and gender equality.


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Single Payer Action everybody in. nobody out.

Single Payer Action
everybody in. nobody out.

http://singlepayeraction.org

Visit the site and sign up as a single payer supporter.

What We Want:

* Single payer.
* Simple.
* Direct.
* Everybody in.
* Nobody out.

Lakoff Framing of Healthcare - guide for discourse

Insurance company plans have failed to care for our people. They profit from denying care. Americans care about one another. An American plan is both the moral and practical alternative to provide care for our people.

The insurance companies are doing their worst, spreading lies in an attempt to maintain their profits and keep Americans from getting the care they so desperately need. You, our citizens, must be the heroes. Stand up, and speak up, for an American plan.

Language

As for language, the term "public option" is boring. Yes, it is public, and yes, it is an option, but it does not get to the moral and inspiring idea. Call it the American Plan, because that's what it really is.

The American Plan. Health care is a patriotic issue. It is what your countrymen are engaged in because Americans care about each other. The right wing understands this well. It's got conservative veterans at Town Hall meeting shouting things like, "I fought for this country in Vietnam, and I'm fight for it here." Progressives should be stressing the patriotic nature of having our nation guaranteeing care for our people.

A Health Care Emergency. Americans are suffering and dying because of the failure of insurance company health care. 50 million have no insurance at all, and millions of those who do are denied necessary care or lose their insurance. We can't wait any longer. It's an emergency. We have to act now to end the suffering and death.

Doctor-Patient care. This is what the public plan is really about. Call it that. You have said it, buried in PolicySpeak. Use the slogan. Repeat it. Have every spokesperson repeat it.

Coverage is not care. You think you're insured. You very well may not be, because insurance companies make money by denying you care.

Deny you care... Use the words. That's what all the paperwork and administrative costs of insurance companies are about - denying you care if they can.

Insurance company profit-based plans. The bottom line is the bottom line for insurance companies. Say it.

Private Taxation. Insurance companies have the power to tax and they tax the public mightily. When 20% - 30% of payments do not go to health care, but to denying care and profiting from it, that constitutes a tax on the 96% of voters that have health care. But the tax does not go to benefit those who are taxed; it benefits managers and investors. And the people taxed have no representation. Insurance company health care is a huge example of taxation without representation. And you can't vote out the people who have taxed you. The American Plan offers an alternative to private taxation.

Is it time for progressive tea parties at insurance company offices?

Doctors care; insurance companies don't. A public plan aims to put care back into the hands of doctors.

Insurance company bureaucrats.  Obama mentions them, but there is no consistent uproar about them. The term needs to come into common parlance.

Insurance companies ration care. Say it and ask the right questions: Have you ever had to wait more than a week for an authorization? Have you ever had an authorization turned down? Have you had to wait months to see a specialist? Does you primary care physician have to rush you through? Have your out-of-pocket costs gone up? Ask these questions. You know the answers. It's because insurance companies have been rationing care. Say it.

Insurance companies are inefficient and wasteful. A large chunk of your health care dollar is not going for health care when you buy from insurance companies.

Insurance companies govern your lives. They have more power over you than even governments have. They make life and death decisions. And they are accountable only to profit, not to citizens.

The health care failure is an insurance company failure. Why keep a failing system? Augment it. Give an alternative.  

The Needed Communication System

A progressive communication system should be started. It should go into every Congressional district. It should concentrate on general progressive ideas. President Obama has articulated what these are.

• The basic values are empathy (we care about people), responsibility for ourselves and others, and the ethic of excellence (making ourselves better and the world better).

• These values form the basis of democracy: It's because we care about our fellow citizens that we have values like freedom and fairness, for everyone, not just the powerful.

• From that, it follows that government has two moral missions: protection (of consumers, workers, the environment, the old, the sick, the powerless; and empowerment through public works; communication, energy, and water systems; education; banks that work; a court system: and so on. Without them, no one makes it in America. Taxes are what you pay for protection and empowerment by the government, and the more you make the greater your responsibility to maintain the system.

Appropriate language can be found to express these values. They lie at the heart of all progressive policies. If they are out there every day, it becomes easier to discuss any issue. This is what it means to prepare the ground for specific framings..."

Written by :
Cynthia Pooler
http://www.democratunity.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=145:lakoff-framing-of-healthcare-guide-for-discourse&catid=42:info&Itemid=50

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Right Wing Violence in 2009

December 16, 2008
Kody Ray Brittingham, a lance corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps, is arrested with four others on attempted robbery charges. A search of his barracks room at Camp Lejeune, N.C., allegedly turns up white supremacist materials and a journal written by Brittingham containing plans to kill Barack Obama. Brittingham is indicted for threatening the president-elect of the United States, a crime that carries a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

January 21, 2009
  On the day after Barack Obama is inaugurated as the nation's first black president, Keith Luke of Brockton, Mass., is arrested after allegedly shooting three black immigrants from Cape Verde, killing two of them, as part of a racially motivated killing spree. The two murders are apparently only part of Luke's plan to kill black, Latino and Jewish people. After being captured by police, he reportedly says he planned to go to an Orthodox synagogue near his home that night and "kill as many Jews as possible." Police say Luke, a white man who apparently had no contact with white supremacists but spent the previous six months reading racist websites, told them he was "fighting for a dying race." Luke also says he formed his racist views in large part after watching videos on Podblanc, a racist video-sharing website run by longtime white supremacist Craig Cobb. When he later appears in court for a hearing, Luke, charged with murder, kidnapping and aggravated rape, has etched a swastika into his own forehead, apparently using a jail razor.

April 4, 2009
Three Pittsburgh police officers — Paul Sciullo III, Stephen Mayhle and Eric Kelly — are fatally shot and a fourth, Timothy McManaway, is wounded after responding to a domestic dispute at the home of Richard Andrew Poplawski, who had posted his racist and anti-Semitic views on white supremacist websites. In one post, Poplawski talks about wanting a white supremacist tattoo. He also reportedly tells a friend that America is controlled by a cabal of Jews, that U.S. troops may soon be used against American citizens, and that he fears a ban on guns is coming. Poplawski later allegedly tells investigators that he fired extra bullets into the bodies of two of the officers "just to make sure they were dead" and says he "thought I got that one, too" when told that the fourth officer survived. More law enforcement officers are killed during the incident than in any other single act of violence by a domestic political extremist since the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

April 25, 2009
  Joshua Cartwright, a Florida National Guardsman, allegedly shoots to death two Okaloosa County, Fla., sheriff's deputies — Burt Lopez and Warren "Skip" York — at a gun range as the officers attempt to arrest Cartwright on domestic violence charges. After fleeing the scene, Cartwright is fatally shot during a gun battle with pursuing officers. Cartwright's wife later tells investigators that her husband was "severely disturbed" that Barack Obama has been elected president. He also reportedly believed the U.S. government was conspiring against him. The sheriff tells reporters that Cartwright had been interested in joining a militia group.

May 31, 2009
Scott Roeder, an anti-abortion extremist who was involved with the antigovernment "freemen" movement in the 1990s, allegedly shoots to death Kansas late-term abortion provider George Tiller as the doctor is serving as an usher in his Wichita church. Adherents of "freemen" ideology claim they are "sovereign citizens" not subject to federal and other laws, and often form their own "common law" courts and issue their own license plates. It was one of those homemade plates that led Topeka police to stop Roeder in April 1996, when a search of his trunk revealed a pound of gunpowder, a 9-volt battery wired to a switch, blasting caps and ammunition. A prosecutor in that case called Roeder a "substantial threat to public safety," citing Roeder's refusal to acknowledge the court's authority. But his conviction in the 1996 case is ultimately overturned. In the more recent case, Roeder is charged with murder and could face up to life in prison if convicted.

June 10, 2009
  Eighty-eight-year-old James von Brunn, a longtime neo-Nazi, walks up to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and allegedly shoots to death security guard Stephen Johns before he is himself shot and critically wounded by other officers. Von Brunn, who earlier served six years in connection with his 1981 attempt to kidnap the members of the Federal Reserve Board at the point of a sawed-off shotgun, has been active in the white supremacist movement for more than four decades. As early as the early 1970s, he worked at the Holocaust-denying Noontide Press, and in subsequent decades, he comes to know many of the key leaders of the radical right. A search of von Brunn's car after the museum attack turns up a list of other apparent targets, including the White House, the Capitol, the National Cathedral and The Washington Post. A note allegedly left by von Brunn in his car reads: "You want my weapons; this is how you'll get them … the Holocaust is a lie … Obama was created by Jews. Obama does what his Jew owners tell him to do. Jews captured America's money. Jews control the mass media." He is charged with murder.

June 12, 2009
Shawna Forde — the executive director of Minutemen American Defense (MAD), an anti-immigrant vigilante group that conducts "citizen patrols" on the Arizona-Mexico border — is charged with two counts of first-degree murder for her alleged role in the slayings of a Latino man and his 9-year-old daughter in Arivaca, Ariz. Forde allegedly orchestrated the May 30 home invasion because she believed the man was a narcotics trafficker and wanted to steal drugs and cash to fund her group. Authorities say the murders, including the killing of the child, were part of the plan. Also arrested and charged with murder are the alleged triggerman, MAD Operations Director Jason Eugene "Gunny" Bush, and Albert Robert Gaxiola, 42, a local member of MAD. Authorities say that Bush had ties to the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations in Idaho, and that Forde has spoken of recruiting its members.

June 25, 2009
Longtime white supremacist Dennis Mahon and his brother Daniel are indicted in Arizona in connection with a mail bomb sent in 2004 to a diversity office in Scottsdale that injured three people. Mahon, formerly tied to the neo-Nazi White Aryan Resistance (WAR) group, allegedly left a phone message at the office saying that "the White Aryan Resistance is growing in Scottsdale. There's a few white people who are standing up." In a related raid, agents search the Indiana home of Tom Metzger, founder of WAR, but he is not arrested. On the same day, white supremacist Robert Joos is arrested in rural Missouri, apparently because phone records show that Dennis Mahon's first call after the mail bombing was to Joos' cell phone. Joos is charged with being a felon in possession of firearms.

Read more of the report, 'Return of the Militias,' released by the Southern Poverty Law Center.



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Research 2000 Poll Obama's Approval rating down 2 points

Research 2000, Adults MoE 2%, Aug 17, 2009 - Aug 20, 2009 (last week's results in parentheses)
Full Crosstabs

FAVORABLE
UNFAVORABLE DON'T KNOWNET CHANGE
PRESIDENT OBAMA58 (60)38 (36)4 (4)-4
PELOSI:34 (36)57 (56)9 (8)-3
REID:33 (34)56 (55)11 (11)-2
McCONNELL:17 (16)65 (66)18 (18)2
BOEHNER:13 (11)65 (66)22 (23)3
CONGRESSIONAL DEMS:41 (43)53 (51)6 (6)-4
CONGRESSIONAL GOPS:12 (10)75 (76)13 (14)3
DEMOCRATIC PARTY:44 (45)49 (48)7 (7)-2
REPUBLICAN PARTY:18 (17)72 (74)10 (9)3


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7 Ways We Can Fight Back Against the Rising Fascist Threat

7 Ways We Can Fight Back Against the Rising Fascist Threat


First: The teabaggers must not win this one. Back in elementary school, most of us learned that when a bully learns that intimidation and threats work, he'll will keep doing more of it. In fact, the longer he goes without comeuppance, the bolder and badder he becomes, and the harder it is to make him stop. Every success teaches him something new about how to use terror for maximum effect and tempts him to push the envelope and see what else he can get away with. Do nothing, and he'll soon take over the whole playground.

And it happens like this for bullies in groups, too. Living in a fascist regime is just living in a town dominated by the Mob, a street gang, the KKK, or a corrupt sheriff.

It only takes a small handful of thugs to terrorize people into giving up their civil rights, abandoning democracy and doing what they're told, just so they can keep their jobs, windows and families intact.

The main imperative in life becomes staying off the goons' radar. All the enforcers need to do is make an horrific example out of one or two troublemakers every now and then -- and the resulting fear will keep everybody else quietly in line.

Conservatives have tried to subdue other Americans this way for centuries, so there's nothing new going on here. And this is the way they've always done it: they used race (and yes, the birthers and anti-health care rioters are, at root, all about race) and economic calamity to whip up a posse of terrified, well-armed vigilantes, and then turned them loose on society to "enforce order."

Given their colossal investment in organizing and indoctinating the teabaggers, we'd be stupid to believe that this is all going to go away when Congress returns to Washington in September. Having had a taste of power and publicity, these newly empowered mobs are very likely to stick around town and see what else they can do to keep the muck stirred up.

Our choice now is stark: knock them back while they're still new, small and not yet entrenched; or deal with them later, when they've got some real power to fight back with, and the cost to all of us will be so much higher.

Second: Think nationally, fight locally. The conservatives are running this effort as a national campaign -- but that's not where the real fight is. The terror that fuels fascism is always intensely, intimately local in scale.

Fascist goon squads always recruit from the neighborhood -- they're built on people you know. Since that's where they start, that's where they have to be stopped.

This is why all the best tactics involve community-level action. The high-level fight in Congress and the media is already under way, and the Democratic leadership is fighting it with unusual elan. But anybody who sits this one out because they assume that the folks in D.C. have it all handled for them shouldn't be surprised when they start getting "special treatment" from longtime neighbors, or discover that they can't park their car downtown any more without having it vandalized.

That's just the next baby step up from where we are now; and in some places, it's already started to happen. Winning this means getting out there and defending our community's standards and boundaries now, while they're still there to be defended.

Third: Brush up on our nonviolent resistance -- but leave the heavy lifting and rough enforcement to the cops. It's true that the only way to stop a bully is to stand up to them. But there are ways to stand up to them that don't involve getting down to the eye-for-an-eye level.

Back home, we had a saying: "Never mudwrestle a pig. You will lose, and the pig enjoys it."

If we meet thuggery with thuggery, we will lose, because they're just plain better at it. And make no mistake: they will enjoy it. Right now, the right wing is looking -- hard -- to make the case that they're the innocent victim and the left instigated this whole thing. This quote from religious right organizer Gary Bauer is typical of the genre:

My fear, given the stakes and emotions on both sides, is that union thugs, ACORN activists and left-wing anarchists (who ransacked the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul during last year's Republican National Convention) will turn violent, and innocent people will get hurt. If that happens, the radical left will bear the responsibility for demonizing free speech.

The Nazis used this kind of victim-blaming to tremendous effect as they built up their party.

We must not -- must not -- give our proto-brownshirts any basis to make the same kind of argument. (Of course, the absence of evidence will only drive them to make up fake victims; but then we get to call them out as whining liars with a big fat persecution complex, which is always a fun way to spend a news cycle or two.)

It's about the moral high ground, people. Any choices we make must be consistent with our own values, or we betray both ourselves and the country.

Standing up for health care reform is important; but before that, the country needs to see us standing up for civil discourse and the right to democratic free speech. Since we're defending the rule of law, our best tactic is to use that law.

You have a right to attend a public meeting and speak your mind in a civil, respectful manner. You do not have a right to be disruptive or deprive other people of their right to be heard. And most jurisdictions have laws about disturbing the peace and creating a public nuisance -- laws, let's not forget, that the Bush regime didn't hesitate to stretch until the elastic gave out against people who merely showed up at meetings with the wrong bumper stickers or T-shirts.

Since we're not Bush goons, we can't go around arresting people who haven't yet broken any laws. But when people -- from either side -- cross that line, it's time for the cops and prosecutors to make the point for us: bullying people in a public meeting (or anywhere else) is illegal and will not be tolerated in this county.

Fourth: We need to make absolutely sure that the media get the story right. The teabaggers would run out of power with the flick of a switch if the media would just turn off their cameras. But the cold reality is that this kind of drama is a real ratings-booster.

It would be like telling lions to lay off that elephant carcass. Left alone, the media (local news in particular) will turn these people into cultural heroes. They couldn't turn their backs on this if the republic depended on it.

Since we can't beat 'em, we'll have to join 'em. The best cure for bad speech is always more speech. This means bringing cameras and documenting everything, getting it up on YouTube, and blogging it.

It also means coordinating rapid-response letterwriting to the local paper and keeping down-home reporters well-fed every single day with some new theme that reinforces the idea of concerned nonpartisan citizens trying to keep control over their democratic discourse in the face of organized thugs. Since the media are watching, let's make sure they see it all.

Fifth: Support legislators who don't show fear. The Democratic Party seems to be playing this just right (so far). The leadership has made it known that these noisy, scary people don't represent the 73 percent of Americans who support health care reform. The GOP is running the risk of being marginalized as not only the Party of No, but the Party of Moonbat Crazy.

If you've never attended a public meeting in your life, August 2009 is the month you need to start. Your congressperson's Web site probably lists a schedule, or at least a number you can call to inquire.

But that's just a first step. Do more. Write. Call. Find out where your local congressional office is, and just drop by when you're in the neighborhood. Tell the staff how you feel -- about health care reform, about the teabaggers, about your legislator's brave stance in the face of this.

If they're showing stress, encourage them to stand firm. A constituent in the office counts for thousands writing e-mails, so an in-person visit is 15 minutes incredibly well spent.

One visit or call is good. More is better. Put it in your schedule to contact your representatives at least once a week for the duration, and make sure they're not buckling under the pressure.

Sixth: Shut down the hate talkers. In most parts of the country, the teabaggers are coming straight out of right-wing talk-radio audiences. For hours every day, they're mainlining raw emotion and toxic misinformation.

They're going put your kids before "death panels!" They're going to kill your granny! You're going to have to call the White House to get a bone set! You'll be a Real American Hero if you get out there and join the "resistance!"

Cutting off this endless torrent of lies, fearmongering and validation will go a long way toward powering down the whole movement. (Conversely, what happens when these kinds of radio instigators are left to spin it all the way out to the end can be summed up in two words: Radio Rwanda.)

The basic recipe: Record their shows. Take notes of anything they say that is intimidating, threatening, or aimed at inciting violence against a named target. And while you're at it, note every single advertiser they have.

Then write a polite letter the CEOs of the sponsoring companies. Throw them some choice quotes from these shows and ask them if this is the kind of thing they want their product associated with. (Point out that if their own employees said things like this at work, they'd be fired on the spot.)

Often, the CEO has no clue that any of this is happening and will pull the ads as soon as she finds out what's being done in her name. This has worked extremely well -- and quickly -- at both the local and national level.

Finally: Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Even if we succeed this time, let's not kid ourselves that this is over. The conservatives are investing a lot of money and effort to build a mass movement that is explicitly aimed at destroying a Democratic government -- and if we learned anything from the Clinton years, it's that they're not going to let up for a second as long as the Democrats are in control.

This is our new reality -- and it comes straight out of Hitler's playbook (check out Chapter 6 of Mein Kampf). Their intention is to keep the outrage junkies high by giving them a never-ending supply of new, made-up reasons to act out.

When the birth certificate fracas cools, they're standing by with "death panels." When that one's run its course, there will be something else -- over and over, every few weeks, for as long as the Dems rule.

Which means that even if we win this round, we can't stand down. We're going to be pushing back against these bullies, over and over, for the next three to seven years.

There are only two outcomes here. Either we get very good at spotting and stopping these attempts at a brownshirt takeover the minute they crop up; or they're going to get very good at public intimidation and keep ratcheting it up further toward outright violence and goon rule.

That's how it's going to be for the rest of this administration. The sooner we resign ourselves to the zero-sum nature of this fight, the sooner we can get on with getting good at it.



Posted by: Sara Robinson

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Rahm didn't count on you

FDL Action

Help us reach 25,000 petition signatures: House progressives need to keep the pledge for a strong public option.

When Congress returns to work on health care next month, Jane Hamsher and nyceve will be there to deliver the petition.

Click here to add your name to our petition.


After two months of your hard work, 65 members House drew a line in the sand: no public option, no health care reform.  You responded by raising more than $175,000 for those members in less than 48 hours. 

It's a great start, but it's just the beginning.  We need to make sure these 65 members hold firm.  We've shown them we have their backs.  Now they need to get ours.

I'm starting a petition to the House to keep their pledge to support only a public option in both the House bill AND the conference bill. 

I'm going to be in DC next month.  If we can reach 25,000 signatures, Jane Hamsher and I will be there to hand-deliver the petition to the House when they return to take up health care.

Click here to add your name to our petition to members of Congress who pledged to support only a strong public option.

Members of the House who took this pledge will be under insane pressure from Rahm Emanuel and the rest of the Obama Administration to cave for an insurance industry bailout. 

Rahm's plan all along has been to trade away the public option.  But Rahm didn't count on you.  Now that we've shown progressives in the House it's possible to stick together, it will be our job to make sure these members hold the line on a strong public option.

Let's be clear: these members need to hold the line on two votes.  Once when the House passes its own bill, and again on the conference bill that's combined with the Senate's version.  Anything less is a vote for an insurance industry bailout.

Help us reach 25,000 signatures on our petition to House progressives. You can make sure that progressives keep the pledge to only vote for a strong public option.

Click here to add your name to our petition: http://action.firedoglake.com/page/s/keepthepledge

Thanks so much for your help.  I hope we can get to 25,000 signatures so I can deliver the petition with Jane next month.

Best,

Eve Gittelson (nyceve)



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Former Cigna exec describes industry's "close ties" to conservative media, to which "they feed the talking points"

Former Cigna exec describes industry's "close ties" to conservative media, to which "they feed the talking points"
Former Cigna exec describes industry's "close ties" to conservative media, to which "they feed the talking points" | Media Matters for America
Source: mediamatters.org



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President at 60 percent Approval

According to a Research 2000 Poll

PRESIDENT OBAMA60 (60)

  
PELOSI:36 (35)

REID:34 (33)

McCONNELL:16 (17)

BOEHNER:11 (12)

  
CONGRESSIONAL DEMS:43 (42)

CONGRESSIONAL GOPS:10 (10)

  
DEMOCRATIC PARTY:45 (44)

REPUBLICAN PARTY:17 (18)



Read The Poll

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Please give a warm welcome to our death panelists

Media Matters: Please give a warm welcome to our death panelists

The role of rationality in our republic was again called into question this week, as the newest conservative lines of attack against health care reform embraced an equally new level of madness.

As you surely know by now, Sarah Palin loves Facebook, and last Friday, she wanted to make sure her friends knew the terrible secret hiding in H.R. 3200.

"The America I know and love," she wrote, "is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of [President] 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 idea that government bureaucrats will soon create "death panels" that will encourage the killing of Americans with disabilities as well as the elderly has now officially entered the conservative media's playbook. The notion is apparently rooted in an extremely selective reading of past writings by Ezekiel Emanuel, coupled with a total misreading of Section 1233 of the House health care legislation, which aims only to reimburse doctors who provide voluntary end-of-life counseling for those on Medicare.

As usual, media conservatives didn't let the facts get in the way of fear. Glenn Beck defended Palin's "death panel" statement on Monday, as did Fox News' Andrew Napolitano. That same day, Rush Limbaugh cited an op-ed that, while raising concerns about the end-of-life consultations, called euthanasia talk "rubbish." Then he ignored that statement and proceeded to talk about euthanasia.

The narratives continued unabated and were repeatedly given attention by Fox's Brian Kilmeade. (Fox & Friends, it turns out, is a bad place to go for accurate analysis of health care reform.) Beck dismissed the unconvinced, warning that they would "laugh all the way to the death panels," and Ann Coulter said that Emanuel was on her "death list." Beck and Limbaugh also revisited the Nazi theme of the previous week, equating the principles and tactics of the Third Reich to those being employed by congressional Democrats and the media. When the Senate Finance Committee indicated that the end-of-life counseling provision would be removed from its version of the legislation, The Fox Nation impartially reported the news by declaring victory.

By the way, in case you had any doubt about how hard the conservative media are working to defeat health care reform (and I know you did), just take a look at this study Media Matters for America conducted. Over a two-day period (August 10 and 11), we tallied up the guests on Fox News who discussed health care. The result: 10 supported progressive reforms, and 63 opposed them. As always, fair and balanced.

So what's the good news?

Despite it all, there was actually a host of accurate coverage concerning health care reform this week -- a reminder of just how shockingly irresponsible most conservative media outlets are. ABC's Kate Snow dismissed the end-of-life controversy as misinformation started by Betsy McCaughey, and Joe Scarborough put the smear out to pasture as well. The "death panel" assertion was further debunked by CNN's John Roberts, MSNBC's Dr. Nancy Snyderman, David Shuster, and Willie Geist, NBC's Anne Thompson, and ABC's chief medical editor, Dr. Tim Johnson.

CBS and NBC also ran stories illustrating the urgent need for health care reform, and CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta addressed the right-wing "rationing" canard, explaining how rationing occurs all the time under our current system. There was even pushback against the claim that Democrats were advocating a "Canadian-style" system.

Sadly, there was also some backsliding. USA Today falsely claimed that the "estimated cost of a health care overhaul" would be $1 trillion, and one CNN report cited Heritage Foundation research while ignoring estimates from the CBO. Most telling was an ABC piece that contradicted the network's own reporting and portrayed the end-of-life issue as still being an open question. It was a classic example of the mainstream media's desire to avoid criticism by presenting both sides of a story -- even when one side doesn't make any sense. Let's hope this Sunday's Meet the Press won't follow suit (David Gregory has promised it won't).

Don't show me the money!

There was an encouraging development in the ongoing campaign to get hate off our public airwaves. After a host of progressive groups, among them Media Matters and ColorOfChange.org, publicized Beck's recent rant accusing Obama of racism, multiple companies announced that they would no longer advertise on his program -- among them: ConAgra, Roche, Sanofi-Aventis, Radio Shack, GEICO, Travelocity, and Sargento. Reflecting on the development, The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart said that it might "pump the brakes on some of these wild statements." We can only hope.

Anti-democratic Democrats continue hosting public forums

Town hall protests continued this week, all of which were given extensive coverage by Fox News and other conservative outlets (respectful meetings were ignored). Andrew Breitbart attempted to blame any past or future violence on Democrats and their thuggish union allies, while Fox's Megyn Kelly allowed protester Mike Sola to claim that Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer had sent goons to his house to intimidate his family. No, there simply aren't any provocations coming from the right these days. "[W]e need to be very, very careful," Beck warned his audience while appealing for calm. "Somebody's going to do something stupid, and it will change the republic overnight." Nor does Lou Dobbs want anyone to misinterpret his assessment of Howard Dean ("[H]e's a bloodsucking leftist -- I mean, you gotta put a stake through his heart to stop this guy"). When a guest criticized him for calling Dean a "bloodsucking liberal," Dobbs defended himself. "I called him a bloodsucking leftist," he repeated. And just for good measure, Beck and Bill O'Reilly derided an 11-year-old girl's question at Obama's town hall in New Hampshire. Just a normal day at the right-wing office.

Conservatives, seeking to exploit the town halls to full effect, also aimed to portray Democrats as being anti-democratic. In a Monday op-ed, Pelosi and Hoyer made a simple declaration: "Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American." It seemed clear enough -- if you attend a town hall, you shouldn't shout people down. But that's not how the right -- as well as the mainstream media -- spun it. The line was twisted, and both representatives were attacked for calling the protesters "un-American." Dobbs chastised their "hypocrisy." Kilmeade repeated the distortion, as did Politico and Fox's Gretchen Carlson and Steve Doocy. Even NBC's Chuck Todd and NPR's Diane Rehm got into the mix. Sean Hannity, of course, wasn't to be topped, saying that "we've had hardworking Americans called Nazis and brownshirts and un-American by Nancy Pelosi." It seemed as though the CNN's Errol Louis and MSNBC's Contessa Brewer were the only ones who took the time to read the editorial before commenting on it.

Barack Obama is just like Richard Nixon

How, you ask? Why, they both have enemies lists, of course! That's how Beck and Dobbs described the White House's request that supporters pass along emails containing erroneous smears about health care reform. Indeed, Rush nailed the administration's true intent: It's a "snitch website" he declared. It's Obama's "own exclusive, private domestic spying program" -- forget that whole FISA thing. In order to ensure the program's secrecy, the president chose to publicly address the attack during a town hall meeting. Then he asked for everyone's Social Security number and something embarrassing he could blackmail them with.

Down the rabbit hole

At a few points this week, words were exchanged that simply don't fit the rubric of normal conservative misinformation. Specifically: Michael Savage again warned the public of the "internment camps" that Obama is now readying for his political opponents; Hannity derided the "sick, psychotic, twisted individuals in their underwear in a basement" who monitor Fox and right-wing talk radio (he means us!); Limbaugh once again dismissed a report on the growing threat of right-wing militia violence (because there were no consequences the last time that was done); and Beck explained that health care was not a God-given right for all Americans -- not unless Jesus himself is conducting the physicals.

But in the end, it was Beck who truly broke new ground when he said something that was so crazy that even his panel of yes-men were left speechless. He's really hitting his stride.

This week's media columns

This week's media columns from the Media Matters senior fellows: Eric Boehlert asks why the media don't care when conservatives cry "Nazi" (only when liberals do), and Jamison Foser reminds us that facts matter.

Don't forget to order your autographed copy of Eric Boehlert's compelling new book, Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press (Free Press, May 2009).

If you use the social networking site Facebook, be sure to join the official Media Matters page and those of our senior fellows Eric Boehlert, Jamison Foser, and Karl Frisch as well. You can also follow Media Matters, Boehlert, Foser, and Frisch on Twitter.

This weekly wrap-up was compiled by John V. Santore, an associate at Media Matters.


posted at mediamatters.org

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