US Healthcare debate turns violent
August 7, 2009 1:51 AM   Subscribe

Story and video about violence at a townhall in Florida. Looks like the Tea Bag crowd are getting violent. Video of the scuffling. Is this the beginning of American fascism and the end of civil discourse?
posted by wuwei (91 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: This is a pretty weird and fascinating extreme of this kind of political astroturfing for the US, and I think there's probably a good post to be made rounding up what has happened and what is happening in the last couple of days, but the framing here sucks a lot. -- cortex



 
Is this the beginning of hyperbolic editorialising? Also, violent tea-baggers? Ew.
posted by nonspecialist at 1:53 AM on August 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah, these guys are massive turd piles, but I don't think this is the beginning or the end of anything. The unions are getting their shit together and they'll have a bunch of plumbers cursing at these people by the end of the week and we can finally be completely done with the whole concept of "civil debate".....
posted by lattiboy at 1:55 AM on August 7, 2009


I like the 'fascism' link
posted by jfrancis at 1:58 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh my God, is everybody ok? Were there any injuries or healthcare issues needing to be addressed?
posted by iamkimiam at 2:08 AM on August 7, 2009


If there's any news story here it's that the "violent scuffles" managed to avoid any violence.

And no - even if you disagree with the demonstrators, people demonstrating about the things they believe in is neither the beginning of fascism or the end of violent discourse. If anything, it's further proof of democracy.
posted by seanyboy at 2:09 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just don't know.
posted by TwelveTwo at 2:17 AM on August 7, 2009


Funny thing is these teabaggers are weakening their political position with their bullshit. Keep it up, fuckheads.

And I disagree with wacky-ass disruption of Town Hall-style meetings being a valid element of democracy. Bring facts, and debate, but leave the inane yelling at home.

Disorderly demonstrations are something we've seen before down in Florida.
posted by @troy at 2:20 AM on August 7, 2009


"people demonstrating about the things they believe in is neither the beginning of fascism or the end of violent discourse"

The tea-baggers weren't demonstrating in the conventional sense, they were actively trying to make sure that the town-hall meeting didn't happen. Sabotage, basically. Qualitative difference IMO.

That said, the spectacle of trying to scare the elderly with threats of "government health-care" to people who are already on Medicare and Medicaid is -- what's the word I'm looking for? -- ricockulous.
posted by bardic at 2:21 AM on August 7, 2009 [8 favorites]


...courtesy of Glenn Beck's atrocious 9-12 Project.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:25 AM on August 7, 2009


Is this the beginning of American fascism and the end of civil discourse?

Yes. Wait, I mean. No.

I'm not sure. Maybe?
posted by onya at 2:35 AM on August 7, 2009


I think there was about as much scuffling here as there was during the "Brooks Brothers Riot(tm)". From the tapes I've seen from inside the building, there was certainly a toxic brew there with a lot of folks emboldened by a group mentality and utter joylessness, but to call it violence is journalistic wishful thinking. I do think eventually it will happen, just didn't happen yesterday.

This was more noteworthy to me: YouTube: Angry About (innuendo about) Healthcare Reform.

Two gems in there. The woman at the 3:15 to the end blathering at length about nothing in particular, but nailing the applause line with "the Constitution of the United States of America". Must have been a shoutout to the Tim Matheson bit in Animal House.

But, the sobbing woman at 1:15 is, well. I don't understand what she's so upset about. Yes, things have gotten noticeably crappy, economy wise in this country, but unless you used to be an investment banker, it didn't happen over night. When she talks about wanting "her America back", I really want to be empathetic, but I am imagining the absolute worst about what exactly has changed for the worse (in her view) about America in the last 8 or 9 months or so.

I don't necessarily agree that this group was comprised by disingenuous teabaggers, but people with sincere concerns that are nevertheless shockingly misinformed.

I admit I watch MSNBC, but only for sport. I manage to I do get my news from a variety of sources, even some right wing sources. A lot of the arguments here seem to originate from a single news source.
posted by psmealey at 2:41 AM on August 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


tea-baggers

You keep using that word! I do not think it means what I think it means ... in this context.

what's a tea-bagger, then?
posted by nonspecialist at 2:44 AM on August 7, 2009


Sometimes I read the comments on newspaper articles and wonder if i'm living on the same planet as some of these people.

Rich Leftist Castor has to call in the SEIU goons and ACCORN voter fraud experts to try to shut up those dangerous old white people who are upset their private healthcare insurance will be stripped away so the SEUI ( DMV crowd )and ACCORN can run a large socialist healthcare nightmare just like the Canucks under. Learjet leftist kathy and the rest of congress have given themselves an exemption and get to keep their plush private insurance !
Who is the mastermind of this evil plot but Patrick Gaspard a former SEIU radical socialist organizer from Chicago and President Soros the guy who spent 650 million for a teleprompter reader!


If you say so!
posted by empath at 3:16 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


empath. You should know better than to read the comments on newspaper articles.
posted by Jimbob at 3:20 AM on August 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Btw, I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see the conservatives being powerless and angry for once.

Fuck 'em. I have absolutely no sympathy for them.
posted by empath at 3:22 AM on August 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


HAHAHAHAHA

Watching American politics is like trying to win an argument on the internet. Everyone ends up looking retarded.

Seriously though, the whole system is polluted. Most of the tea baggers (lol) and libruls get there talking points straight from annoying tv personalities masquerading as "journalists". What a sham.

Although I am loathe to admit I actually follow the US political scene, one of my favourite reads these days has to be redstate.com as it contains endless laughs and propaganda for the righties. Plus, they have member diaries which are hysterical...
posted by Funmonkey1 at 3:23 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here is an interesting video by Rachel Maddow that discusses the supposed "grass roots" organizations that organize these events and these people all riled up.

In short, they are the work of the well-oiled and highly efficient PR machine funded by rich republicans and health care executives.

Not that it should be a surprise to anybody.
posted by chillmost at 3:34 AM on August 7, 2009 [8 favorites]


Civil Discourse started and I missed it?!
posted by smoke at 3:35 AM on August 7, 2009


Rachel Maddow's take on this. The whole thing is a lot less grass-roots than they'd have you imagine.
posted by explosion at 3:35 AM on August 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm so glad I left that fucking state country.
posted by Optamystic at 3:37 AM on August 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Corporate shills. The lot of 'em. They may genuinely believe they are furthering democracy. Really though, they are furthering oligarchy. I guess as long as they keep their damned gubbamint hands of my Medicare . . .
posted by IvoShandor at 3:40 AM on August 7, 2009


Fuck Yes, Rachel Maddow, I love you.

That fucking video was amazing.
posted by empath at 3:55 AM on August 7, 2009


I can't wait for my rep to host a townhall meeting. I'm ready to rumble! It's going to be like the opening scene in Gangs of New York. I just have to choose my weapon. I'm thinking I'll swing lead-filled computer mice.
posted by diogenes at 4:15 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Protest? What, exactly, are they protesting? They are protesting the democratic right of assembly. They are protesting any form of civil communication and dialogue.

They are, essentially, fascists.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:16 AM on August 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Warning, what starts in scuffles usually ends in foofaraw.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:27 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think this is the beginning or the end of anything.

At least one town hall was canceled. There was a death threat on some congressperson. They could easily derail healthcare reform through intimidation.

..to see the conservatives being powerless and angry for once.

They are far from powerless and they've always been angry. In fact, that was one of the things pointed out in 200-2008. They controlled all 3 branches of government and still thought of themselves as angrily fighting back against librul oppressors.

But that's basically the essence of conservatism: "You changed/are going to change WHAT?!?" with an optional side of "you and what army?"
posted by DU at 4:29 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Btw, I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see the conservatives being powerless and angry for once.

But they are not powerless. They are only slightly less powerful (and more angry) than they usually are. This stuff looks and sounds like a street brawl, but it's a chess game. Don't let your guard down.

Yes, they bark insane propaganda -- Democrats want to kill old people and make everyone else communist -- and sh[o]ut down any rational counterstatement, but they are hoping and praying that people will end up hearing only the Republican slogans and that a strong Democratic effort to quash the Republican screamers will make Republicans look like outsiders and underdogs and martyrs vs the Washington machine. It could be a very effective strategy if they play it to the cameras properly.
posted by pracowity at 4:32 AM on August 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Isn't this basically the same type of crap the right pulled during the Florida election recount debacle?
posted by R. Mutt at 4:40 AM on August 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


R. Mutt: "Isn't this basically the same type of crap the right pulled during the Florida election recount debacle?"

The Brooks Brothers riot. It worked then, didn't it? It's probably work this time too.
posted by octothorpe at 4:44 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Isn't this basically the same type of crap the right pulled during the Florida election recount debacle?

Well, sort of. Instead of using a fake grassroots platform to forcibly block the exercise of fundamental voting rights, the GOP is (this time around) using a fake grassroots platform to forcibly block the exercise of the right to free assembly.

We set a bad precedent when we didn't arrest the Blue Collar Rioters and give them life sentences.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:45 AM on August 7, 2009


In short, they are the work of the well-oiled and highly efficient PR machine funded by rich republicans and health care executives.

Actually the Tea Parties are made up of different factions in the Republican Party competing to have them. Some local, some wanna-be national trying to tell locals what to do. It's safe to say your statement has some truth to it, but not at the exclusion of local pissed off conservatives wanting to get their piece said in public.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:45 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's safe to say your statement has some truth to it, but not at the exclusion of local pissed off conservatives wanting to get their piece said in public.

The genius of the conservative movement's leadership is in convincing the footsoldiers that they are the generals.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:53 AM on August 7, 2009 [10 favorites]


local pissed off conservatives wanting to get their piece said in public.

And why are they pissed off? Because they're being riled up by over the top, fabricated conspiracy theories about health care propagated by well funded, self serving corporate interests.
posted by item at 4:56 AM on August 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


The genius of the conservative movement's leadership is in convincing the footsoldiers expendable pawns that they are the generals.
posted by item at 4:58 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


There were a couple diaries over at dkos about the crazy town hall Dingell had. One highlight was a man pushing his cerebral palsy son in a wheelchair, screaming about how healthcare reform would euthanize his son.

I'd like to see some GOP party leaders be asked, on camera, "are there plans to euthanize anybody?" Because seriously. The outright lying and base fearmongering has to stop.
posted by DU at 4:59 AM on August 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Storm in a tea-cup. Seeing that every type of medical care possible seems to be constantly advertised in florida due to it's elderly population, you would think it would benefit quite a bit from a better healthcare system.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 5:03 AM on August 7, 2009


The genius of the conservative movement's leadership is in convincing the footsoldiers that they are the generals.

You obviously haven't met my real spouse.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:03 AM on August 7, 2009


Dick Armey's Freedomworks organization has been doing a lion's share of the organizing of these things. There's a memo from that group that instructs protesters how to act at townhalls and they seem to be following it to the letter:
– Artificially Inflate Your Numbers: “Spread out in the hall and try to be in the front half. The objective is to put the Rep on the defensive with your questions and follow-up. The Rep should be made to feel that a majority, and if not, a significant portion of at least the audience, opposes the socialist agenda of Washington.”

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

– Try To “Rattle Him,” Not Have An Intelligent Debate: “The goal is to rattle him, get him off his prepared script and agenda. If he says something outrageous, stand up and shout out and sit right back down. Look for these opportunities before he even takes questions.”
posted by octothorpe at 5:04 AM on August 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Is this the beginning of American fascism and the end of civil discourse?

Um, that would have been in 2000 1980.
posted by localroger at 5:04 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


And no - even if you disagree with the demonstrators, people demonstrating about the things they believe in is neither the beginning of fascism or the end of violent discourse. If anything, it's further proof of democracy.

People demonstrating against things that no one has actually proposed in order to shut down the discussion of what has been proposed is certainly not good for democracy. If people knew that the plan as it stands is, essentially: (1) insurance companies have to write you a policy at a fair price, can't reject you for pre-existing conditions, and can't drop when you start costing them money, (2) if you still don't like the private sector options, there will be a public plan hosted by the government that anyone can buy and (3) if you are cool the way things are, nothing will change for you--who could get angry about that? No one's going to hold up a sign that says "Let insurance companies continue to abuse us!" or "Don't give me another insurance option!" I really don't think I've ever seen so many people so upset about something they are so misinformed about.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:08 AM on August 7, 2009 [15 favorites]


Try To “Rattle Him,” Not Have An Intelligent Debate

The fact that they included the word "Intelligent" in there really kills me. I mean, "don't have a debate" is common and good advice in some situations. Like, when the police are arresting a guy. "Tell it to the judge." Or when you just want put things positively without denigrating the other side, you are just supposed to state your side and not "debate" or speak negatively about the other side.

But to avoid an intelligent debate. At a town hall meeting with your congressional representative. Damn. It's all boiled down in that one statement.
posted by DU at 5:09 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why don't those town hall meetings have some rules of order and a means of inforcing them? Announce at the beginning that people from both sides will get a chance to voice thier concerns and anyone who interrupts gets Tasered.

Simple.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 5:11 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Don't debate me intelligently bro!
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:14 AM on August 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Speaking up at a meeting is one thing. People have freedom of speech; despite the fact that I think these people are morons, they have the right to say what they want to say. (Oh, they may not like socialized healthcare, but see what happens when you take away their Medicare. I hate conservatards.)

Willfully disrupting and willfully not having an intelligent debate at a meeting is another thing, and (I didn't RTFA) if they were doing that, they should have been arrested if possible. (I think it's possible to arrest them for disrupting a public assembly in that way. Correct me if I'm wrong.)

I'm glad it's the conservatards' chance to be in the minority. I have no pity for these people.
posted by kldickson at 5:19 AM on August 7, 2009


Is this the beginning of American fascism and the end of civil discourse?

Wait until the next Republican convention, when Palin - on the verge of winning - is denied the nomination through last minute rules changes, and leads a walkout. Palin and Beck immediately form the "American Independence Party" (AIP).

TaDah!
posted by R. Mutt at 5:21 AM on August 7, 2009


Oh... seems the AIP already exists?

The American Independent Party is a political party that was a vehicle for the 1968 presidential campaign of Governor of Alabama George C. Wallace, considered a leading advocate of racial segregation...
posted by R. Mutt at 5:28 AM on August 7, 2009


Dick Armey needs his head shoved forcefully up his rectum.

I wonder if his memo is possible grounds for some sort of at least civil case against him.
posted by kldickson at 5:28 AM on August 7, 2009


Dick Armey needs his head shoved forcefully up his rectum.

Oh, wait, you meant literally.
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:32 AM on August 7, 2009


Dick Armey needs his head shoved forcefully up his rectum.

You're at least forty years late on that one.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:41 AM on August 7, 2009


Fascinating that a lot of people seem to think that this is just an isolated instance of hilarious writhing by a bunch of kooks and the death throes of the right wing or "conservatards" or whatever you want to label them and not a well-funded, orchestrated opposition that is occurring at many of these "town halls" all over the country. After the Tampa event, people were interviewed who said they were goaded on by organized political groups and by the rants of Glenn Beck. The message that these organized groups is putting out is consistent and is pushed at every single event, and the Obama war room does not really seem up to the task of responding to it. It's frightening to watch.

As to whether it's "fascism" or not, I don't know. But this sort of activity has been going on, as others have pointed out, since the Gore/Bush dispute in 2000, so whatever it is, it's most certainly not the beginning of it. And whatever it is, it most definitely is not democracy or people getting their say. It's organized political intimidation and an effort to disrupt democracy.
posted by blucevalo at 5:42 AM on August 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Dick Armey needs his head shoved forcefully up his rectum.

Oh, wait, you meant literally.


Fuck yeah, literally. I am by no stretch of anyone on the planet's imagination a wealthy man, but I would somehow find a way to pay a lot of money to make this happen.

I would sell a kidney to make it happen. I am not kidding.
posted by item at 5:43 AM on August 7, 2009


No one's going to hold up a sign that says "Let insurance companies continue to abuse us!" or "Don't give me another insurance option!"

Perhaps folks should show up at recess rally events with just such signs, sort of like "God Hates Figs" at Westboro Baptist protests.
posted by fogovonslack at 5:43 AM on August 7, 2009


Perhaps folks should show up at recess rally events with just such signs, sort of like "God Hates Figs" at Westboro Baptist protests.

Better yet, perhaps folks should show up at Recess Rally events with 'God Hates Fags' signs, to make it perfectly clear whose side the ralliers are on. And to fuck with them.
posted by item at 5:47 AM on August 7, 2009


Oh, wait, you meant literally.

You're at least forty years late on that one.


Rich, well-placed conservatives don't oppose single-payer/public option because they are idiots. Exactly the opposite. They know where their bread is buttered and it isn't on the side of helping regular people.

(The foot-soldiers, though, are another story. As St Alia points out, many of them are merely disinformed1 local idiots. Others are nascent bread-butter-minders willing to take a quick buck for some false, bussed-in outrage.)

1 As opposed to misinformed.
posted by DU at 5:49 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


A dailykos post (TIFWIW) by someone identifying herself as part of the Hillsborough County Democratic Party says that opponents told local media that they were "912ers" (Glenn Beck has a "912 Project," complete with website and talking points); screamed at organizers and people attending that they did not belong in America; and were urged by GOP offices from surrounding counties to attend the event and disrupt it. This woman sent an e-mail to Joe Scarborough's show, bless her heart, as though that e-mail was not going to be laughed out loud at and immediately deleted by that crowd.
posted by blucevalo at 5:53 AM on August 7, 2009


But to avoid an intelligent debate. At a town hall meeting with your congressional representative. Damn. It's all boiled down in that one statement.

If it works for Bill O'Reilly, it'll work for his demographic. If you can't win 'em with reason, shout 'em down and claim victory anyway.

I'm really trying not to be scared by this because I don't want to start going all Chicken Little every time we have to endure another bright moment in partisan politics but man, the fundamental attitude shift here is very disturbing.
posted by Spatch at 5:55 AM on August 7, 2009


blucevalo, were it an isolated incident, I wouldn't be as angry as I am about it.
posted by kldickson at 5:55 AM on August 7, 2009


I watched the video but it just confused me. Did the anti-reformers forget their brown shirts? You'd think it would be easy to remember.
posted by Justinian at 5:56 AM on August 7, 2009


One highlight was a man pushing his cerebral palsy son in a wheelchair, screaming about how healthcare reform would euthanize his son.

Unless if the dude was rich, the irony is that the government is probably already covering his son's care.
posted by drezdn at 5:57 AM on August 7, 2009


Metafilter: The Beginning of American Fascism.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:58 AM on August 7, 2009


Actually the Tea Parties are made up of different factions in the Republican Party competing to have them. Some local, some wanna-be national trying to tell locals what to do. It's safe to say your statement has some truth to it, but not at the exclusion of local pissed off conservatives wanting to get their piece said in public.

It's worth mentioning that the concept of "Tea Party" rallies was first brought up by Rick Santelli's rant on CNBC. A rant that was carefully planned.

That's the genius of what these PR firms do. They plan the "movement" very carefully and encourage people to copy and spread their message by making it appear to come from multiple independent sources. It strikes me as very similar to viral video game or movie advertising - it's like they're setting up a political ARG for people to participate in and do their work for them.
posted by heathkit at 6:03 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


blucevalo, were it an isolated incident, I wouldn't be as angry as I am about it.

Okay, but you call them "conservatards," which implies to me that they should be merely objects of ridicule and not objects of anger. It's their opponents, the ones who are supposed to be driving the debate, who are really the "tards" for not having found a strong, effective, unified message that will counter it. These so-called "conservatards" are winning the idea war.
posted by blucevalo at 6:05 AM on August 7, 2009


There were no tea bags at the Boston Tea Party.
posted by marxchivist at 6:05 AM on August 7, 2009


Civil discourse ended a long time ago.
posted by LakesideOrion at 6:07 AM on August 7, 2009


Okay, against better judgement I actually looked through the comments.

Is there ANYONE who wants to compare this to the standard operating procedures of left-leaning groups exemplified by Code Pink? What makes this fascism and Code Pink righteous?
posted by FuManchu at 6:11 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, those Code Pink "Kiss-Ins" are really threatening.
posted by R. Mutt at 6:15 AM on August 7, 2009


Also... take a moment to read a about Godwin's Law as its directly relevant to the direct of this discussion.
posted by LakesideOrion at 6:15 AM on August 7, 2009


Send these damn teabaggers off to a nice summer camp, say, in West Virginia. They can spend the summer (oh, hell, why stop for winter?) carefully removing the tops off mountains, by hand. Then putting them back.
posted by Goofyy at 6:16 AM on August 7, 2009


Goofyy's law: Sooner or later, some nitwit in an internet discussion about fascist behavior is bound to bring up Godwin's Law.
posted by Goofyy at 6:19 AM on August 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Send these damn teabaggers off to a nice summer camp, say, in West Virginia. They can spend the summer (oh, hell, why stop for winter?) carefully removing the tops off mountains, by hand. Then putting them back.

Ah gulags. That'll cure fascism. Good plan.
posted by codswallop at 6:19 AM on August 7, 2009


Is there ANYONE who wants to compare this to the standard operating procedures of left-leaning groups exemplified by Code Pink?

Yeah. Code Pink really screams at people that they don't belong in America.
posted by blucevalo at 6:20 AM on August 7, 2009


I'm obviously referring to the habit of infiltrating and disrupting public meetings for whatever reason.

And it's solely the content of what they're yelling that makes the difference? Is "you don't belong here" a threat?
posted by FuManchu at 6:23 AM on August 7, 2009


Also... take a moment to read a about Godwin's Law as its directly relevant to the direct of this discussion.

Thank you for this, I was unaware of all internet traditions.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:23 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh also, I've heard what these groups do referred to as "community organizing", and I think it's a very apt comparison. Instead of organizing underrepresented groups so they can get their needs heard, Republican community organizing is all about building communities that will support whatever cause their clients want.

Also, this is quite different from what Code Pink does. They go to public events where the issue they care about isn't being debated, and raise a ruckus until they get kicked out. They're disruptive, sure, but the disruption is temporary - they're not trying to prevent debate by shouting out and then hiding in the crowd, they're trying to raise awareness of an issue by shouting out and being publicly ejected.

It would be one thing if these groups were just showing up with signs and chanting until they got thrown out, but they're not trying to raise awareness of any particular issue. They're just trying to disrupt the meetings to the point where no debate can happen.
posted by heathkit at 6:23 AM on August 7, 2009


Good article. Have been loving Rachel Maddow's coverage of this mess. I'm going to do all I can to agitate for single payer.

Srsly though, I'm still probably moving to Canada. Life resembling Family Guy is too much.
posted by wowbobwow at 6:24 AM on August 7, 2009


I don't know a thing about Code Pink, although I'm pretty sure they aren't well-organized proxies for billionaires and corporations that already have more than their share of seats at the table.
posted by DU at 6:26 AM on August 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


You mean get thrown out like this?
posted by LakesideOrion at 6:27 AM on August 7, 2009


Is there ANYONE who wants to compare this to the standard operating procedures of left-leaning groups exemplified by Code Pink? What makes this fascism and Code Pink righteous?

I'm pretty far to the left and, honestly, I don't know the first thing about Code Pink. When they get the support of an entire television network AND have Democratic Senators and Congressmen openly applauding them AND get organized backing from powerful corporate sponsors, then come back and talk about Code Pink. Besides, Code Pink does not exemplify the SOP of left leaning groups. Left leaning groups, in general, blog, then read blogs, then get together for beer and discuss the blogs. That's just how we roll.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:27 AM on August 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Ahaha, here's a cool thread where a guy ties some of these astroturf sites back to freedomworks. Are there similar sites for the healthcare debate?
posted by heathkit at 6:28 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not to slag on anybody's age, but when I watch footage of the "protestors," most of them seem to be older folks who are probably already on Medicare anyway. WTF are they complaining about? They get subsidized healthcare. Why shouldn't I be able to get it also?
posted by cass at 6:29 AM on August 7, 2009


What makes this fascism and Code Pink righteous?

First, this isn't "fascism," it's old-fashioned hooliganism and intimidation. If you want to defend it here, knock yourself out. Second, while the Code Pink people may be (have been) self-righteous, ineffective, or just plain silly, I can't remember them ever being bullies, starting riots, or making death threats.

I hope that clears things up for you.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:32 AM on August 7, 2009


They get subsidized healthcare. Why shouldn't I be able to get it also?

Because they have theirs already and they don't want to pay for yours. It's pretty simple.
posted by octothorpe at 6:33 AM on August 7, 2009


What get me most is that the pawns/tools/fools that are out there doing this screaming are mostly old people. Old people who all have government insurance already.

I guess they just want the rest of us, including their children and grandchildren, to go fuck themselves.
posted by fungible at 6:35 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


shit I need to preview more
posted by fungible at 6:36 AM on August 7, 2009


Cass-a suprising number of people don't believe that medicare and medicaid are government programs.

Why Obama and all aren't actively pointing out how awesome the government run health insurance we already have is, I don't know.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:37 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wonder if any of the anti-Americans in the meeting, or the rioters outside, were actually from Rep. Castor's district. How many legitimate constituents were shut out of the meeting because of this anti-American shutting down of discourse?

I think we're reaching a point where we have to decide whether sane healthcare is an issue worth cracking skulls over.

Is there ANYONE who wants to compare this to the standard operating procedures of left-leaning groups exemplified by Code Pink? What makes this fascism and Code Pink righteous?

1.) Code Pink's tactics are not supported by the majority of "the left".
2.) Code Pink doesn't send death threats. Code Pink doesn't hang people in effigy.
3.) Code Pink does their thing and gets kicked out or sits down. They don't completely shut down the meeting, preventing anyone else from having their say.
4.) Code Pink isn't organized and funded by the most powerful corporations in the world.
5.) Do you think Code Pink's tactics are legitimate?
posted by dirigibleman at 6:37 AM on August 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


OK, sorry if it's been posted, since I'm running late and wanted to get this in:

Fascist America: Are we there yet?

She's arguing that this mob-ism that's going on is the third step towards fascism. This is a writer who claims she, up to this point, has denied fascism, and said "no"... but now she's beginning to wonder based upon Robert Paxton's five steps.

Interesting read.

I have mixed thoughts. Her case is that it would be different if the GOP and their leadership weren't kowtowing to this side (or even believe it themselves), but they are continuing to align themselves with the nativist demogogues, the moderates are having less of a voice in their leadership.

This is how the Nativism and the Corporatists (not in the Italian fascist sense, I realize) are uniting... over the health care issue.

The mob can get out of control.

I'm concerned. I was ignoring it, but I am starting to get a bit concerned.
posted by symbioid at 6:38 AM on August 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Thought experiment: Pretend health care reform has been enacted and includes a government option, and that taxes were raised to pay for it. Several years have passed. Now imagine that a Democratic administration similar to Obama's has decided it's too expensive and not that efficient and wants to get rid of it. What would the protests look like? Would these same people be among those protesting that the government is taking away their health care?
posted by freecellwizard at 6:38 AM on August 7, 2009


Warning, what starts in scuffles usually ends in foofaraw.

WHAT'D YOU CALL ME, PUNK??
posted by waraw at 6:40 AM on August 7, 2009


I've never been a fan of the Democrats' plans because they needlessly protect the insurance companies, who don't actually provide any care, but who nonetheless profit from deciding who lives and who dies.

But the behavior of these yahoos is making me a supporter of the so-called "public option."

Just so I can be against them.
posted by univac at 6:42 AM on August 7, 2009


Eh, it would seem that the primary difference between Code Pink and what's going on in the OP's articles is their motivations, and whether or not the commentators here agree with them.

Both appear to be effective for what they are trying to do; it is what they are trying to do that we find either repulsive or nominally okay, depending on your political bent. Righteous indignation (even when its manufactured at the stratospheric versus the grassroots level) is nearly always in the eye of the beholder, no?

As it happens, I think motivating the ignorant as your base is suicide in the long term, since no one wants to be identified with 'those' people, even if they are the Real America.
posted by Pragmatica at 6:42 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


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