Aug 7, 2009

The thugs come out at night


What a class guy Congressman John Dingell is. Despite the abuse and crap he took from the fake Astroturf tea bag thugs at his townhall meeting on health care Thursday night in Romulus, he opted for a second session so everyone could get inside.

As expected, the thugs, egged on by the corporate, Rightwing lobbying groups and think tanks “Americans for Prosperity” and “ “Freedom Works,” - the same people who brought us the fake “tea parties” - did their best to intimidate and harass people they disagree with. A colleague called me from there to tell me how was crazy it was, and as out of control as I expected. There were the usual disgusting signs comparing Democrats and President Obama to Hitler, and they tried to shout down anyone who disagrees with them.

I watched the 11 p.m. local news, and a guy who gave his name as Mike Sola of Milan to the media interrupted Dingell repeatedly as he pushed his son, Scott, in a wheelchair to the podium and got in the Congressman’s face and screamed at him until he was finally escorted out by the police. Frankly, I was a little confused by what he was angry about. I’m pretty sure his son is getting SSI checks every month (Supplemental Security Income), and his health care will be taken care of my Medicaid. This will not affect him. Plus, there is no such person as Mike Sola in Milan; or at least he is not a registered voter.

They have excellent coverage and photos of the event over at Michigan Liberal, as well as Blogging for Michigan.

I almost fell out of my chair when I read the official unofficial rightwing blog, who said “Wayne County Democrats did a great job of stacking the meeting, while simultaneously angering the large number of people who were in attendance this evening.”

Hello. This was a townhall for constituents of the 15th Congressional District, and the Downriver area is predominantly Democratic. However, this person is right about one thing though: we do need to “stack the meeting” to let people know insurance providers are making huge profits, rates for family plans have gone up 73 percent in just a few years and more than 50 million Americans are without access to quality health care is unacceptable. We also need to stack the meetings so that people know they are just a small, fringe minority. A loud, vocal minority, but still a minority. Most civilized people don’t want to get in the kind of mosh pit these people have created, but we need to for the good of our country and its citizens.

The good news is people are getting a good look at how low the GOP has sunk. We also know they will do anything to stop real reform.

It was also interesting to read the accounts from the corporate media.

Booth Newspapers reported:
“The meeting wasn't announced until Thursday morning, but word quickly spread.
Freep.com, Aug. 7: Scott Hagerstrom, the Michigan director for Americans for Prosperity -- a group opposing President Barack Obama's health care initiative -- said that after he learned about it, he sent an e-mail alerting 18,000 members in southeast Michigan.”

That’s a complete lie. Their affiliate web sits have been pushing this since at least Monday, but it does show that the corporate lobbyists are pushing this. After all, the insurance lobby is spending $1.4 million a day to stop this needed reform, but they are getting a bargain with these thugs. It’s a shame the way these people have been used, and that they have actually bought into the lies they have been told about assisted suicide, socialism and socialized medicine. Fear and ignorance can easily be manipulated.

Update: I was wrong about Mike Sola when I said he was not a registered voter and even suggested that may not be his real name. He is a Croatian immigrant, and because Mike is apparently an Americanized version of his first name I was unable to find him. In a good story in the Free Press, he claims he is now getting death threats, so I won’t tell you his real first name. But just like many of he other people disrupting townhalls who were duped by conservative lobbying firms and Republicans, he was set off by an outrageous lie. In this case is was a since debunked op-ed in the NY Post by Betsy McCaughey, a Republican former Lt. Gov. of New York, a fellow at the “free market” conservative think tank called the Hudson Institute and a member of the Board of Directors at Cantel Medical Corp.

17 comments:

Not Anonymous said...

I read the story in the Free Press and there is no mention of whether or not the gentleman from Milan and his son are registered voters or not.

A couple of things about this.

1. Who cares if he is a registered voter or not? He's an American citizen and he's worried that his sons health care will no longer be there under Obamascare. Whether he's a voter or not, he still has a right to attend the meeting, to question the congressman and to voice his opinion.

2. Since the story didn't mention that he was or wasn't a registered voter there is only a couple of conclusions that can be made about the comments by the writer of the blog piece. First, either he's lying and doesn't know if the gentleman is a registered voter or not or second, he's got access to voter registration files or knows someone that does, which smacks of big brother. If he has access or is able to gather information from someone in the clerks office on citizens. This would seem to be an abuse of power.

kevins said...

Actually, NA, my guess is that guru is questioning whether the guy gave his correct name. I'm guessing that there are online data bases for registered voters that anyone can access, but I don't know.

What I truly suspect is that there is a big PR game going on here. Reform opponents are urging people to attend...or disrupt...these meetings. Some suggest that Dems are actually planting "angry" people to make anti-reformers looks bad. Seems a stretch, but anything is possible. This morning on the radio, a guy claimed that a man holding up a poster with Obama-as-Hitler was actually working at a health care reform table, passing out pro-reform fliers, after the meeting. True? Who knows?

What is true is that there are many examples of really angry people out there. Some may have legitimate claims; others have been angered by twisted claims designed to fuel emotions. I, for one, don't believe the government plans to urge me to end my life. I also know that some people just like to get angry at public meetings. I've seen it from all kinds.

The Dems are right to be angry at some of the extreme measures...Rush Limbaugh repeatedly refers to Obama as a Nazi. That's horrible and it riles up those already wanting to be angry.

But there are legitimate questions. This is a major piece of reform that most in Congress haven't read, much less understand. As Biden said, they "guessed" wrong on the stimulus. Do we want that same expertise deciding health care reform becaue of an artificial timeline?

Dingell was a bit slippery with his answers. It may be true (I'm not sure) that no direct federal money will fund abortions. But the federal plan surely is designed to maintain if not expand coverage for abortions. It may be a shell game, but if federal expenditures go up, then indirectly the plan is funding abortions. (I'm not against that, by the way, but I do believe in facts.)

Here's my biggest concern. Everyone says the cost of health care in America is too high. If it's too high and if this is reform, why is the cost going up?

I also don't know why so much is made about Dingell introducing a health care bill every year since 1955. Perhaps that says something about persistence, but it also says he repeatedly has been a failure...even when Dems controlled Congress and the White House.

Guru's whining about insurance company profits is a red herring? For a so-called non-socialist, he sure hates profits. Tell me: we've had times when auto manufacturers made big profits and times when they made no profits...which was better for the auto worker? Would guru feel better if insurance execs took huge bonuses, thus reducing the company profits?

And, again, guru can't make a point without name-calling. You disagree with his socialist agenda and you are automatically a thug, a wacko, an extremist, a fascist, etc. He is so defensive about his leanings that he won't even admit that programs such as SOCIAL security, Medicare and Medicaid have a socialist base. That doesn't make them bad. That's just a fact.

Not Anonymous said...

Kevins,

I don't care anything about what Guru says, thinks or does. He's proven himself to be a liar and proven himself to be a lowlife letting his wife go without health care. For someone complaining about health care so much, you'd think he would do everything he could to cover someone he's supposed to care about. I guess he cares more about himself than her, so he's useless.


These town hall meetings were not promoted in the beginning by the conservative groups. Some are now, including Glenn Beck but for the most part, they are small groups and not the major groups that the socialist democrats say. This began out of grassroots.

I saw a site the other day that showed the logo's for Obama, Health Care reform and the Nazi logo. The similarities are scary.

I just finished reading that now that the socialist Democrats are fighting back, arrests are being made and people are being escorted out of meetings or blocked out by union thugs. We've been transported back to the 30's. Six Democrats were arrested yesterday in St. Louis.

The end of life provision is in the bill. I've read it. The bill is designed to eliminate medicare. Now there are video's of Obama, Frank and others saying that this will lead to single payer and the eliminate of insurance companies.

Abortion is in the bill. You'll find it just by reading the bills.

This health care reform is doomed to failure. The only way it can pass is if the socialist democrats go against the will of the people of this country. The number is now 53% against health care reform and the public option.

If they do, by some miracle, pass this bill, the House will be turned over to the Republicans in the next election. Possibly the Senate as well. This may already be a fait accompli due to the socialist democrats reactions to the people asking questions that's putting these congresspeople into a tizzy.

As for guru. He's a waste of oxygen.

Communications guru said...

The Free Press doesn’t say anything about the guy from Milan being a registered voter. After his behavior he cannot be called a gentleman. Voter registration is public record, and I could not find him there, nor could I find him in any Michigan phone book.

1. No one. His son’s health is fine, and I’m sure he gets SSI and Medicaid; both government programs. He has every right to attend the meeting and express his opinion, but he does not have the right to disrupt the meeting.

2. Like I said, voter registration is public record. “An abuse of power?” Get real.

Communications guru said...

You’re close, but it’s more than a “PR game.” It’s pair of D.C. rightwing lobbying groups and Republicans putting out false into on behalf of the insurance companies. The suggestion that Democrats are “planting” people is ridiculous.

There is no doubt that there are “really angry people out there,” but they are being incited by false information. I agree with you when you say there are legitimate questions, but the tea baggers don’t want to hear answers. The suggestion that Congress hasn’t read the bill is ridiculous, especially in John Dingell’s case. He wrote it.

“Dingell was a bit slippery with his answers?” What are you basing that on? It is true that no direct federal money will fund abortions, and that has been the case since 1976. There is no plan to expand abortion.

I have never said the cost of health care is increasing. The cost of health care insurance is increasing. John Dingell has recognized the benefits of universal health care since 1955.

“A red herring?” One of the biggest health care providers turns in a 155 percent profit in one year and premiums for families go up 73 percent and you see it as a “red herring?” Insurance execs are taking huge bonuses. The UnitedHealth CEO makes $13.2 million a year, the Humana CEO makes $10.3 million a year and the Aetna CEO makes $23 million a year.

You’re lecturing me about name-calling? That’s rich, brett. There is no such thing a s socialist Democrat in this country and that is just a fascist Republican talking point. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid do not have a “socialist base.”

Communications guru said...

Then why do you keep coming back if you “don't care anything about what Guru says?” “He's proven himself to be a liar.” That’s a lie, but we know you have never proven I’m a liar. With insurances premiums going up 73 percent in Michigan since 2000, a lot of people can’t afford health care insurance.

“These town hall meetings were not promoted in the beginning by the conservative groups?” Please. This was ginned up by the same two D.C. lobbying groups that ginned up the fake Astroturf “tea parties.”

There is no such thing as a “socialist” Democrat in this country, and that is just a fascist Republican talking point. Democrats are fighting back, and Republicans can’t deal with it. The thug Republicans are being escorted out by police and no one is being blocked from going into a meeting by anyone.

“We've been transported back to the 30's?” You mean when workers were being exploited and killed and injured at work? The six people arrested in St. Louis were not Democrats. Hell, one of them was a reporter with the local paper.

“The end of life provision” is about living wills. “The bill is designed to eliminate Medicare?” Where did you get that at? Nothing could be farther from the truth. Federal funds will not be used for abortion.

“Against the will of the people of this country?” Perhaps you missed the results of the electron in November.

If I’m a “waste of oxygen” I guess I won’t be hearing from you again.

kevins said...

Except, of course, you've been caught in countless lies. But you ignore the proof. A few (only a few) examples:

1. You lied when you said the county Republican Party had broken a campaign law. It's doubtful any law was broken, but in any case there was no illegal action by the Republican party.

2. You lied when you said protesters were planning an illegal action in Monroe. When you were asked to support that lie, you lied again when you said you had answered it.

3. You lied when you said you have never hidden your identify on another blog.

4. You lied when you said you were kicked off another blog because of your views. You were not kicked off; the host of the site merely instituted a rule that you use here which blocks "anonymous" posters. That action wasn't even directed at you; you were using a screen name at the time.

5. You lie repeatedly when you say you haven't been caught in any lies.

That's just a few of the lies. Then there are the mistakes which are either lies or stupidity. It's hard to tell with you.

1. You say there is no difference between having not having health insurance and not having access to health care. There is a huge difference. You are either lying or you have not even the basic understanding of the health care debate.

2. You scream all the time about the nasty profits of insurance firms. Do you know what kind of "profits" are earned by non-profit hospitals? They are astronomically high. (Technically, they aren't profits because the hospitals are non-profit, but they are still plus-side income.) Such numbers, while sounding large, are meaningless unless you also know the total revenue involved, as well as capital obligations, etc. That requires thinking, perspective and understanding.

Besides, I never hear you complaining about the increase in taxes or government spending. Does the consumer really care if his wallet is emptied by private business or by government? Either was he has less money.

Finally, you anger at profits reveals basic ignorance. There was a time when the Big Three made huge profits. Lately, they don't make any money at all. Which era do you think was better for the typical auto worker?

Profits aren't a bad thing. The best thing a corporation can do for the American worker is to make a profit.

Communications guru said...

In your dreams, brett.
1. The Livingston County Republican Party illegal tried to influence a school millage election.

2. An extremist group in Monroe attempted to illegally disrupt the fair parade in Monroe.

3. I have never hidden my identity on another blog. I used my name and last initial - Kevins - before I registered a screen name.

4. I was kicked off of a blog and forced to register a screen name because the person did not like being shown up. I caught you in a lie. I was not using a screen name at the time.

5. Still waiting for you to catch me in a lie, and you never will brett.

1. No difference.

2.Really. Then why are hospitals laying people off, delaying building projects and making cuts? More than half of all hospitals are losing money.
http://www.aha.org/aha/content/2005/pdf/05fragilehosps.pdf

The problem is the Big 3 never exploited people to make excessive profits, and they weren’t the only corporation posting large profits. I agree, Profits aren't a bad thing, and I never said otherwise.

Not Anonymous said...

Well, well, well. The video has been put out showing the father and son at the Dingell town hall meeting. As always seems to be the case, the facts don't match up with what's stated on this blogsite.

The father was standing there with his son in a wheelchair saying he had a question. Dingell wouldn't recognize him. So the gentleman got louder and said he had a question, and louder and louder. Some lady in the background was yelling for him to sit down. Then another voice, a male voice yelled out "Answer him Damnit".

Finally the father got his question out and Dingell couldn't or wouldn't answer it.

The police were asked to escort the man and his son out. As the man left, he was cheered by the crowd and one man even came up to the door and gave the father a high five.

The video is quite a bit different than what was stated here by two people. But I'm not surprised by that.

kevins said...

Hospitals are taking these dramatic cost-cutting steps because of the financial blow that followed last fall's banking blow-up. Prior to that time, hospitals were doing quite well, thank you. In fact, if you read the stories, you will see this tone: Even hospitals, which have been immune from the financial pitfalls, are facing hard times. Capital projects were mothballed because financing dried up. In Michigan, automotive layoffs and labor reductions have reduced those who could use automotive health care plans.

I stand by my story that hospitals were turning large "profits"...at least in terms of raw dollars...although their profit margins, in terms of a percent of their incomes, was not particularly high. My point was that you referred to large insurance company profits without putting the raw dollars into context.

You still have failed to prove either of your assertions that the county party broke a campaign law, or that the Monroe parade protester were planning illegal activities. No surprise, because both statements were untrue.

Your lie was that you were kicked off because of your statements, which you yourself show is a lie because you said you immediately logged on under a different name. Since you identified yourself when you re-signed on, why would the blogger let you stay? It's because he never kicked you off. One more time, you spell out your own lies. You are just too stupid to recognize it.

Communications guru said...

Well, well, well. There’s no way you can be watching the video from John Dingell’s townhall with the man allegedly from Milan. I guess part of the problem is you see that as acceptable behavior. Dingell answered the man’s ridiculous question, but that wasn’t good enough.

The guy should have been arrested. It was clearly he posed a physical threat. Perhaps he should have been arrested for disturbing the peace, but I understand you have to been in your own home for that to happen.

Communications guru said...

Hospitals are losing money because they are performing uncompensated care.

Sorry, brett, the Livingston County Republican Party violated campaign finance law. You knew they were never going to be held accountable with this Secretary of State, but that does not mean they did not violate the law. I just wonder how many times are you are going to keep bringing up this debunked crap?

The Monroe parade protesters were planning illegal activities.

I was kicked off because I was debunking his arguments. We have already been over this time after time, and you’re still wrong.

Thanks for the compliment, brett.

Johnny C said...

Not Anonymous and Kevins I wish you guys on the right cut the bullshit, these protesters are prompt by the health care industry, right wing talk radio, right wing websites and Fox News.

It's one thing if there's no proof of these mobs being told what to do and what to say then ok, but that's not the cause you have memos being leaked and people behind the mobs admitting they're telling these folks what to say and how to behave at these town halls.

These folks don't want to debate they were bus in for one reason and one reason only and that's cause trouble. They don't put forth any alternative ideas to fix health care, they don't know what they're talking about they bitch about government run health care but scream don't touch my medicare.

I wish the mob just admit they don't like having a black man as president.

kevins said...

Well that's pretty racist of you Johnny C. You can't criticize the president without race being a factor? But then you say it's all orchestrated by big business. Which is it: A bunch or pawns or a bunch of racists? I guess in your world, it's both.

Here's what I see:

1. A lot of people angry and frustrated and, for good reason, not trusting anyone in lobbyist land, otherwise known as Washington, D.C.

2. There obviously has been secret, covered-up support for some of the protests. It's egged on by Fox which is playing to its base. This has been well reported, especially by Rachel Maddow. It's very hard to know how many of the protesters are directly tied or influenced by this, but some (many?) are.

3. Many are also influenced by false reports zinging around cyber space on web sites and through emails. There is a ton of misinformation.

4. What bothers me most about the protests at town halls -- besides the rudeness -- is the fact that most don't have questions or seem to have a point. They just yell "give us back our country," or "don't take away my insurance," or "I believe in the constitution." There's nothing there by disruption, a moment in the public eye and, I suspect, anger and fear fueled by misinformation.

5. But this idea of saying that everyone who speaks out or protests is a tool of the insurance company, or a plant, or a racist...well, that's pretty elitist of you and it's darn condescending to American people. They've got a right not to trust Big Government. Those guys in the expensive suits and haircuts haven't really been carrying the banner for the common man. That's true for both parties.

6. You...and guru...should take a page from Dingell's playbook. While guru is doubting the man's authenticity ("allegedly" from Milan) and suggested he should be arrested (once again, guru shows his disdain for democracy), and both of you seem to think he was a plant, Dingell actually sought the guy out. Turns out he's real and he had real concerns about his son. He had those concerns because he read a piece written by a Republican politician that gave him cause for concern about his son's future care. The piece was wrong. It was full of misinformation. But the guy believed it. Dingell wrote the guy a letter explaining how his son's coverage and treatment would not be worsened...and probably improved...by the reform bills.

So, you see, the guy was angry and frustrated and perhaps not sophisticated enough to express his concerns in a more appropriate manner. But he wasn't a racist. He wasn't a plant. He wasn't a lawbreaker. He was a concerned father. And Guru wanted him arrested. (No surprise: Guru thinks it is illegal to hold signs up along a parade route. Guru thinks it is illegal to oppose a tax hike he thinks should be approved. Guru hates the First Amendment. I'm hoping you are different Johnny.)

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Communications guru said...

1. A lot of people are angry and frustrated all right, but that’s because they are being fed false information and scared by rightwing groups and Republican lobbying groups.

6. You are full of it, brett. You need to go back and read the update. He’s from Milan all right, but Mike isn’t his real name and that’s why I could not find him. He should have been arrested. Men have been arrested for less for distributing the peace in their very own home. As I also pointed out, his concern for his son was completely misguided. No one said he wasn’t “angry and frustrated,” but it was because of the lies and scare tactics he was being fed.

You can keep telling the lies about me, but no one is buying it, brett.