More GOP Astroturf?

August 4, 2009 | By | 11 Replies More

I watched Rachel Maddow last night, and one of her segments focused on the disruption of recent Democratic Town Halls by ‘grass roots activists’. Her piece exposed the activists as following an agenda designed by a DC lobbying firm. In many ways this is worse that the Tea Party fiasco, since that was unfocused and generally laughable kookery. This, however, is targeted directly at health-care reform, and appears to be heavily funded by lobbyists for that industry (indeed, Rachel mentioned that some firms were sending ‘representatives’ to every state).

I also happened to see many of the same clips on Fox & Friends this morning (forced upon me in the hotel gym). F&F ‘reported’ the ‘protests’ as legitimate outpourings of anger against the ‘government’s plans for healthcare reform’.

I was surprised. Not!

Think Progress has more on the Lobbyist memo.


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Category: American Culture, Current Events, Fraud, Health, hypocrisy, Politics, snake oil, Uncategorized

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I'm a technophile with an enduring interest in almost anything real or imagined. I suffer fools badly, and love trashy science fiction, plot-free action movies, playing guitar, and baking (especially scones. You haven't lived 'til you've eaten my scones. I've recently undertaken bread, and am now in danger of gaining in a matter of weeks the 60 pounds I've lost in the past 2 years). My wife & I are Scottish, living north of Atlanta, GA, with two children, one dog, and a growing collection of gadgets. I work for a living.

Comments (11)

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  1. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    The sensible thing to do would be to have bouncers on the scene to eject the people with boorish behaviour.

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    Representative Bernie Sanders has taken a strong stand against these fake protesters.

  3. Dex N says:

    I would stronly recommend you make INFORMED comments AFTER you read the 1000+ pages of hurry-up, forced- down-our-throats legislaiton. I agree reform is needed but this pace will lead to disaster. I urge every one to Get Informed and make sure the partizenship does not craft a monument to a party nor a roadblock to needed reform! Check out what HIPPA (another congressional monster)costs doctors/us in addition medical admin requirements. How about attacking medical malpractice ligigation and the insurance cost added to all our bills. While you at it, insist that those that are not here legally be treated/patched up enough to send them back to where they are legal. There are lots of things that need to be done first.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Dex N. I agree that we need better information. Consider this recent post.

      As for medical malpractice, you are way out of date. Over the past 10 years, many states have capped damages to such a degree that malpractice lawyers have virtually or completely left the practice. Are you suggesting that doctors and hospitals don't ever act negligently or recklessly in such ways that people are terribly injured or killed? What is your suggestion to the flagrant cases? Screw the patient. Consider the real life economics of a severely capped medmal case, then consider how you would feel if a drunk doctor injected your child with 10 times too much medicine and killed her. What is your proposed solution to this situation? I'm sorry?

  4. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Dex N,

    The point here is that the disruptions of the town hall meetings are interfering with the communications between an elected official and his constituents. They are in effect censoring the flow of ideas and information between the public and the lawmakers.

    It seems to me that if the health care reform opponents had legitimate documented facts to support their stance, then an orderly debate would prove them right. But these tactics indicate that they know they can't win on merit and are working to suppress the flow of information so the constituency are only allowed to hear one side of the issue. Furthermore, if the constituents are kept in the dark then they can't tell when the opponents are lying, which then makes it easer to perpetuate the lies.

  5. As to information in the hands of the consumer, yes, indeed, more. But consider the recipient. At a town hall meeting in Southwest Missouri in a discussion of the health reform program, an irate fellow stood up and said to the congressional spokesperson, "Damnit, keep the government out of my medicare!"

    Just exactly how do you educate that?

  6. Tony Coyle says:

    Dex N: regarding HIPAA

    perhaps you should recognize that the reason for that legislation being so cumbersome had absolutely nothing to do with our government (per se). the majority of the legislation is due to caveats and considerations and exceptions imposed upon the legislators by (primarily) industry lobbyists.

    The original proposals were about security and simplification. The industry imposed obfuscation, and confusion, and lack of compatibility.

    Perhaps you need to provide a focus to your objection, other than size of legislation. If it weren't for the power of industry lobbyists, we'd have a single payor option on the table, and the legislation for that would be relatively simple (extend medicare)

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Tony: I agree entirely that extending medicare is what we need and that this could be done simply. Why aren't the conservatives crying out that Medicare is "socialized medicine" and that Social Security is "socialized retirement"?

  7. Tony Coyle says:

    Erich: let me take a wild stab in the dark and suggest that it's because that would require them to confess that socialized medecine is not "teh devil" and will not lead to "re-education camps" and "euthenized old people"

  8. grumpypilgrim says:

    This post reminds me of a recent interview of a GOP congressman who was ranting against the healthcare legislation efforts by Congress. He proclaimed that Medicare will soon be a failure "because it is run by the government" and, therefore, that the government should stop trying to get into the healthcare business. Actually, the reason why Medicare will soon be a failure (it will likely run out of money sometime around 2016) is that the Bush Administration eviscerated its funding.

    This is how the GOP operates. It can't tackle issues head-on so, instead, it lies and cheats.

  9. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    In the town hall meetings, it is important for the constituents to have their questions answered, but it is even more important for the congressman or senator to find out the views of his constituents. How can a representative know what his people want without asking them?

    One of the major methods employed by lobbying firms to affect legislation is through various astroturf campaigns and by disrupting the communications between the people and their legislators.( e.g. Send out mass mailings containing lies half truths and spin that is designed to anger the voters that are most likely to write their legislators or hiring indigents as seat fillers to displaces interested individuals)

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