Thursday, August 6, 2009

Contrary to Steele’s Claim, TX State GOP Is Actively Promoting Town Hall Mobs

RNC Chairman Michael Steele: We’re not encouraging people to be angry I mean to the point of being nasty and brutish and ugly. That’s not what this is about. There’s no upside for the Republican Party or the people involved to do that. . . .that’s not something deliberately coordinated by me or any one state party.

Steele’s statement isn’t true. This past weekend, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) was harassed by right-wing protesters who refused to have a civil dialogue with the Congressman. The front page of the official website of the Texas Republican Party prominently features and endorses the incident. The website headline reads, “Doggett Fields Softballs“:
If you click on the YouTube picture, it links to a video that portrays the Texas GOP's version of the Doggett town hall. This video is hosted at the Texas Republican Party’s official YouTube account, txgoptv. At the conclusion of the video, the words “Produced by the Republican Party of Texas” pop up alongside a legal disclaimer that proclaims the video was paid for the by the Republican Party of Texas.

Now, contrary to how the Texas GOP portrays the events of Congressman Doggett's town hall meeting this past weekend, the video left shows what really happened. Congressman Doggett was the victim of the right’s strategy, where protesters followed him and chanted “just say no” to health care. Congressman Doggett had this to say after being cornered by a mob this past Saturday:
"This mob, sent by the local Republican and Libertarian parties, did not come just to be heard, but to deny others the right to be heard. And this appears to be part of a coordinated, nationwide effort. What could be more appropriate for the "party of no" than having its stalwarts drowning out the voices of their neighbors by screaming "just say no!" Their fanatical insistence on repealing Social Security and Medicare is not just about halting health care reform but rolling back 75 years of progress. I am more committed than ever to win approval of legislation to offer more individual choice to access affordable health care. An effective public plan is essential to achieve that goal."

Control Over The Dollars Americans Spend On Healthcare

Video - MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Exposes How Conservative Protesters At Health Care Town Halls Are Being Manipulated And Used By The Insurance Industry And Ultra-Wealthy Money Men To Maintain Their Control Over The Dollars Americans Spend On Healthcare - 08/05/09.

In an email sent Wednesday morning, the Democratic National Committee labels recent town hall disruptions as "a sham," describing them as an orchestrated effort by the health care industry to "break the President and his agenda for change."

Jen O'Malley Dillon, Executive Director of the DNC, says the protests "are being organized and largely paid for by Washington special interests and insurance companies who are desperate to block reform." She accuses them of using "lies" and "fear" to sustain the status quo.

"Health insurance reform is about our lives, our jobs, and our families -- we can't let distortions and intimidation get in the way," writes O'Malley, before offering five facts about the protests:
  1. These disruptions are being funded and organized by out-of-district special-interest groups and insurance companies who fear that health insurance reform could help Americans, but hurt their bottom line. A group run by the same folks who made the "Swiftboat" ads against John Kerry is compiling a list of congressional events in August to disrupt. An insurance company coalition has stationed employees in 30 states to track where local lawmakers hold town-hall meetings.

  2. People are scared because they are being fed frightening lies. These crowds are being riled up by anti-reform lies being spread by industry front groups that invent smears to tarnish the President's plan and scare voters. But as the President has repeatedly said, health insurance reform will create more health care choices for the American people, not reduce them. If you like your insurance or your doctor, you can keep them, and there is no "government takeover" in any part of any plan supported by the President or Congress.

  3. Their actions are getting more extreme. Texas protesters brought signs displaying a tombstone for Rep. Lloyd Doggett and using the "SS" symbol to compare President Obama's policies to Nazism. Maryland Rep. Frank Kratovil was hanged in effigy outside his district office. Rep. Tim Bishop of New York had to be escorted to his car by police after an angry few disrupted his town hall meeting -- and more examples like this come in every day. And they have gone beyond just trying to derail the President's health insurance reform plans, they are trying to "break" the President himself and ruin his Presidency.

  4. Their goal is to disrupt and shut down legitimate conversation. Protesters have routinely shouted down representatives trying to engage in constructive dialogue with voters, and done everything they can to intimidate and silence regular people who just want more information. One attack group has even published a manual instructing protesters to "stand up and shout" and try to "rattle" lawmakers to prevent them from talking peacefully with their constituents.

  5. Republican leadership is irresponsibly cheering on the thuggish crowds.Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner issued a statement applauding and promoting a video of the disruptions and looking forward to "a long, hot August for Democrats in Congress."
The DNC email concludes, "It's time to expose this charade, before it gets more dangerous. Now, more than ever, we need to stand strong together and defend the truth."

The DNC email is part of a larger effort by the DNC to combat angry disruptions in recent town hall meetings hosted by Democratic lawmakers.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Next Public Hearing On Implementing Voting Centers

Meeting Thursday, August 6th On Implementing Countywide Voting Centers for the Nov. 3, 2009 Election.
Thursday, August 6, 2009 – 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
Collin County Community College.
Spring Creek Campus.
Conference Center Room AA135.
2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano, Texas - map.
  • Site Selection Committee Report on Proposed Election Day Locations
  • Research Presentation on Vote Centers by Dr. Robert M. Stein.
  • Public Comment on Countywide Election Day Polling Place Program
Though the efforts of Shawn Stevens, the new chairperson of the Democratic Party of Collin County, Dr. Robert M. Stein of Rice University in Houston will attend the August 6th meeting to speak to the planning committee.

Related Post:

Thumbs Up To Pres. Bill Clinton For Bringing Home Two Americans

Thumbs Up To Pres. Bill Clinton For Bringing Home U.S. Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee.

The two journalists were accompanied by President Clinton and CAP President and CEO John Podesta, arrived back home in California this morning after being held for five months in North Korea while reporting for Current TV. They had been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for allegedly illegally entering North Korea. North Korea held the two captive for 140 days.

“I am very happy that after this long ordeal, Laura Ling and Euna Lee are now home and reunited with their loved ones,” President Clinton said in a statement. “When their families, Vice President Gore and the White House asked that I undertake this humanitarian mission, I agreed. I share a deep sense of relief with Laura and Euna and their families that they are safely home.”

Shortly after landing in Los Angeles, Ling expressed her “deepest gratitude” for the rescue:
LING: Thirty hours ago Euna Lee and I were prisoners in North Korea. We feared that at any moment we could be sent to a hard labor camp and then suddenly we were told that we were going to a meeting. We were taken to a location and when we walked through the doors we saw standing before us President Bill Clinton. We were shocked but we knew instantly in our hearts that the nightmare of our lives was finally coming to an end. And now, we stand here, home and free. Euna and I would just like to express our deepest gratitude to President Clinton and his wonderful, amazing, not to mention, super-cool team.

Conservative GOP Violent Rhetoric Breeds Violence

DNC Web Ad: "Enough of the Mob"
President Obama faces an increase of 400% in death threats a day as lobbyist-run conservative special interest groups whip conservative activists into mounting mob mentality.
Since Mr Obama took office, the rate of threats against the president has increased 400 per cent from the 3,000 a year or so under President George W. Bush, according to Ronald Kessler, author of In the President's Secret Service.

Some threats to Mr Obama, whose Secret Service codename is Renegade, have been publicized, including an alleged plot by white supremacists in Tennessee late last year to rob a gun store, shoot 88 black people, decapitate another 14 and then assassinate the first black president in American history.

Most, however, are kept under wraps because the Secret Service fears that revealing details of them would only increase the number of copycat attempts. Although most threats are not credible, each one has to be investigated meticulously.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), the president of the freshman Democratic class has revealed that “at least one freshman Democrat” has already been “physically assaulted at a local event.” Connolly warned that conservative groups had taken things to a “dangerous level“:
“When you look at the fervor of some of these people who are all being whipped up by the right-wing talking heads on Fox, to me, you’re crossing a line,’ Connolly said. ‘They’re inciting people to riot with just total distortions of facts. They think we’re going to euthanize Grandma and the government is going to take over.”
The violent rhetoric from talk radio and FOX News continues to throw gasoline on the fire. Remember Dr. Tiller?

In fact, threatening phone calls escalate to a death threat for Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC) over the health care bill. His offices have received threatening phone calls, including at least one direct threat against his life.

RNC Refuses To Accept Calls Generated By New DNC Web Ad On Conservative Mobs

Cherry Creek News: A BROAD STRATEGY: Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, has endorsed the strategy of staged protests, telling Politico the days of civil town halls are now "over." [Democrats launch a phone counter-offensive on Pete Sessions]
In a memo to House Republicans, Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) promised "anger" during the August recess: "Americans' anger will be on full display in the weeks ahead as Members of Congress leave Washington and travel the nation listening to the voices of their constituents."

The published memos are similar to talking points being distributed by FreedomWorks that push an anti-health reform assault all summer. Patients United, a front group maintained by AFP, is busing people all over the country to protest health care reform. America's Health Insurance Plans, the trade group and lobbying juggernaut representing the health insurance industry, is also sending staffers to monitor town halls in 30 states.

Meanwhile, Conservatives for Patients' Rights (CPR), led bydisgraced hospital executive Rick Scott, is running a national campaign against a public health care option. Yesterday, the group took credit for "helping gin up the sometimes-rowdy outbursts targeting House Dems at town hall meetings around the country, raising questions about their spontaneity."

Earlier in the week, a representative of CPR "sent an email to a list serve (called the Tea Party Patriots Health Care Reform Committee) containing a spreadsheet that lists over one hundred congressional town halls from late July into September."

And last weekend, CPR announced it will send staff to "confront" lawmakers at town halls and then transition to negative ads.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mental Illness Services in Collin County (Meeting)

The Healthcare Committee of Collin County (HCCC) will conduct a panel discussion on Mental Illness in Collin County on Tuesday, August 4, at 7:00 PM at the Collin College McKinney Campus Conference Center.
2200 West University Drive, McKinney, TX 75070 - Room D106 Section B - Look for the main entrance across from the Clock Tower on Campus - map
Most Texans don't realize that the State of Texas is ranked 49th in per capita funding for Mental Health while one out of every six adults will experience a serious Mental Illness throughout their life.

The HCCC has assembled a panel of local experts in the field of mental health care services who will share their thoughts and expertise on the subject. The committee is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to improving healthcare in Collin County. Please attend to find out what mental health care services are available in your Collin County community.

This meeting is open to the public, and the public is encouraged to ask questions of the panelists.

Sign up at:

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Right-Wing Thuggery At Democratic Events

Tea party conservatives are organizing into a campaign of disruption and intimidation to disrupt health-care forums and other Democratic events. Politico reports that disruptions are becoming quite common and Think Progress reports that the disruptions are being carefully planned:
This growing phenomenon is often marked by violence and absurdity. Missing from [corporate media] reporting of these stories is the fact that many of these protests are coordinated by public relations firms and lobbyists who have a stake in opposing President Obama’s reforms.

The lobbyist-run groups 'Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks,' which orchestrated the anti-Obama tea parties earlier this year, are now pursuing an aggressive strategy to create an image of mass public opposition to Democratic iniyitives. A leaked memo from Bob MacGuffie, a volunteer with the FreedomWorks website Tea Party Patriots, details how members should be infiltrating town halls and harassing Democrats.
Some of the advice being dispensed to disrupt Democratic events includes:
  • Be Disruptive Early And Often
  • Try To Rattle To Not Have An Intelligent Debate
Chris Good at The Atlantic reports that we can expect a long August with these kinds of events:
Over August recess, conservative activist groups will mount a renewed effort to kill the dreaded ObamaCare. August will be a melee of grassroots (or Astroturfed) activity on both sides: members of Congress will be home in their districts, holding town-halls, taking feedback from constituents--in other words, they'll be more open to pressure from activist campaigns than at any other time during the year.
Think Progress: Angry right harasses Rep. Lloyd Doggett with anti-health care chants. (Updated) - Today, House members are back home to begin their month-long recess. The far right has indicated that they plan to welcome many of their representatives with large, angry throngs (“town halls gone wild”). The corporate lobbyists engineering these “grassroots” efforts have indicated their harassment strategy is to “yell,” “stand up and shout,” and “rattle” the members. Politico reported that Democratic members of Congress are increasingly being confronted by “angry, sign-carrying mobs and disruptive behavior” at local town halls.
This past weekend, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) was the latest victim of the right’s strategy, where protesters followed him and chanted “just say no” to health care. Watch the video:

Congressman Doggett had this to say after being cornered by Teabaggers and Birthers this past Saturday
"This mob, sent by the local Republican and Libertarian parties, did not come just to be heard, but to deny others the right to be heard. And this appears to be part of a coordinated, nationwide effort. What could be more appropriate for the "party of no" than having its stalwarts drowning out the voices of their neighbors by screaming "just say no!" Their fanatical insistence on repealing Social Security and Medicare is not just about halting health care reform but rolling back 75 years of progress. I am more committed than ever to win approval of legislation to offer more individual choice to access affordable health care. An effective public plan is essential to achieve that goal."
Texas has the highest uninsured rate in the nation and stands to be among the most to gain from Obama’s health care plan. “Nearly 6 million Texans, including the one in six U.S. uninsured children who live there, could get health insurance for the first time if the plan is enacted.”
MSNBC's Countdown talks about these disruptions in the following video:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Latest Republican Scare Tactic Against Healthcare Reform

In the most recent multi-million dollar PR campaign to kill off health care reform, insurance companies, special interest groups and Republicans are lying to and scaring the daylights out of senior citizens in the most appalling manner.

They are telling seniors that health care reform will literally kill them; That government agents will be sent to senior's homes to ask them how they want to die or they will be required to have five-year medical reviews that could result in death sentences, if Pres. Obama's health care reform is enacted.

Republicans in Congress are completely on board with this beyond this campaign of terror against senior citizens.

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and Chris Mathews talk about this so called "deather" campaign in the video below.

Where Did All the Republicans Go?

Gallup Poll Daily tracking data from the first six months of 2009 continues to show only four states with a sizable Republican advantage in party identification. As was the case in Gallup's analysis of 2008 yearly data, most states are currently Democratic in their party orientation, with the greatest number (30, including the District of Columbia) classified as solidly Democratic, with an additional 8 states leaning Democratic. Meanwhile, only four states can be considered solidly Republican -- Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Alaska, with Alabama falling into the leaning Republican category.

While the size of the Democratic advantage at the national level has shrunk in the first six months of 2009, this has been due to an increase in independent identification rather than an increase in Republican support. While the Republican Party is still able to compete in elections if they enjoy greater turnout from their supporters or greater support for its candidates from independent voters, the deck is clearly stacked in the Democratic Party's favor for now.

The mid-2009 Gallup state-by-state data continues to show a 42% to 40% Democratic Party identification to Republican Party identification in Texas.

New York Times The January 2009 Gallup poll showed Texas and large swathes of the U.S. to be competitive for Democrats.

Gallup released a report on its survey of political party affiliation by voters at the state level. The results, depicted in the map above, show that only five states have a statistically significant majority of voters who identify themselves as Republicans. The data come from interviews last year with “more than 350,000 U.S. adults as part of Gallup Poll Daily tracking.”

The survey shows that Texas is no longer a solid red state and lists Texas as among the “most balanced political states” in party identification. The surveys show that Democrats in Texas now have a slight advantage in party identification, 43% to 41%, a clear reversal from the recent past.

The advance by Democrats is not accidental. Under one party Republican control, Texas ranks last or near last on virtually every issue that affects quality of life for Texas families.


Republicans like Rick Perry, Kay Bailey Hutchison and David Dewhurst have failed as leaders. At the same time, Democrats have reorganized politically, targeted resources carefully and nominated mainstream candidates who put ideology aside to solve problems.

Related Posts and Links:

Scrap Obama Care For Perry Care Plan, Says Gov. Perry

Obama said last week at an AARP-hosted town hall on health care, "I got a letter the other day from a woman. She said, 'I don't want government-run health care. I don't want socialized medicine. And don't touch my Medicare.'" The woman should send that letter to Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

The Texas Observer:
This afternoon, Rick Perry’s office released a letter the governor has sent to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. In the letter, Perry once again threatens to invoke the “state’s rights” protections in the 10th Amendment to resist any health care reform passed by Democrats in Washington. (see Gov. Perry Threatens 10th Amendment Again To Reject Health Care Reform)

Instead of Obama-care, Perry wants the feds to approve a free-market-based plan that Texas officials pitched about 18 months ago.

Under the Perry plan, Texas would divert Medicaid money to allow uninsured Texans to shop for, and buy, health coverage from private insurers.


Perry writes in his letter to Sebelius that his plan “presents a strategic alternative to continued reliance on government-run health care programs and our already overburdened safety net systems of care.”

I have just one question: Does Perry not realize that Medicaid is a “government-run health care program”? Or that using Medicaid money to fund his plan isn’t reducing our reliance on government-funded health care at all?

(Here’s a pdf of Perry’s letter to Sebelius. And, for all the policy geeks out there, here’s a pdf of the original Texas proposal from December 2007.)
Read Insurance Industry Pushing For "Private, For Profit" Health Care Reform