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The DNC, for a wonder, isn’t taking the latest wingnut assaults on freedom and democracy lying down.
About damn time.
I'll be damned. Hooray.
Someone posed smiling next to a hanging in effigy? Eww...
According to Joe Sudbay at Americablog, the RNC's tactic in response is to dump any phone calls they receive about all of this:
The Republican National Committee doesn't want to hear from people who are upset over its thuggish tactics at Town Hall meetings. The DNC launched an ad, Enough of the Mob, which asked people to call the RNC. Heard from readers, Tim Beauchamp and ShirleyGoodnessandMercy, that the RNC is dumping those who call about the ad. Tim writes:
If you call the number listed in the ad: 202-863-8500 the message suggests "Please press 1 if you are calling in response to DNC ad" and then you are eventually dismissed or hung up on. Callers need to call and press option "2" to keep from being dismissed.
So, if you're calling, press 2.
I've also heard the RNC is trying to send those call back to the DNC. Bottom line: No one from the RNC wants to explain their position. Can you blame them? They've chosen to side with the insurance companies over patients and doctors. And, their whole strategy seems to be one of intimidation. That's all they've got at the RNC.
I've quoted the entire post, as it seems to me the more word about this call-dumping tactic gets around, the better.
It doesn’t seem an effective idea, to ask people to call GOP central, who are the people organising the thuggery in the first place. Wouldn’t it have been better to ask people to call their nearest Republican senator or congressman? Or the ad could have asked GOP members “Are you really proud of what your party is doing?”
But whether they're "really proud of what [their] party is doing" or not, you can damn well betcha that they're proud of the support they'll get from the GOP for their next political race, if they continue to toe the line.
The fun thing is to watch the wingers whine if they take one thirty-second of one percent of the scorn they routinely heaped on liberals for the past decade.
In re-posting the video to my FaceBook page I characterized 'the mob' as 'bad citizens' rather than as Republicans. While the offenders are Republicans, I don't think they represent all Republicans and I want to leave room for more responsible Republicans to distance themselves from this kind of behavior.
Wow. Truly this is the Age of Miracles
BTW, the Birfers have gotten their asses handed to them again.
the d-trip's on it too
They're apparently using Alinsky's Rules For Radicals as a template for these new protests.
I've stopped watching TV news.
Laramie @ 8, thanks for making the distinction.
#12: "I've stopped watching TV news."
That sounds like a good idea.
Pressing 2 led me into the labyrinth of "you have reached an invalid extension". Of course, I was calling at half-past seven.
It's nice to see them calling the GOP on their latest set of shouting points.
An opinion in today's WashPost has "Ohio Sen. George Voinovich charged that Southerners are what's wrong with the Republican Party."
One thing I've definitely been noticing lately is that the various wingnuts that've made it onto televised interviews all manage to work in references to Hitler and Nazis, though what the connection is supposed to be is absolutely unclear.
Honestly I think the media need to start considering Godwin's Law (and corollaries) as also very valid measures of when to end any given interview and call the interviewee "loser".
I have no idea if my representative (George Miller (D) CA) is holding a town meeting to discuss health care. If he is, I would consider attending it to push back against organized disruption. I've been reading the stories at TPM. These folks are wacko. Maybe they genuinely believe that Obama and the Democrats want to euthanize old people and that Medicare is not run by the government -- I don't know. Hard to believe, though.
You can find a list of Town Hall meetings (helpfully put together by one of the right-wing astroturf groups) here.
There's a list of town halls here, too, in the right sidebar. (Click on the name of the congresscritter to get more information.)
As you scroll down, ti will load more, but it tends to jump when it does, so you end up scrolling back and forth.
Well, that's nice to see.
Yanno this sounds remarkably like what the Republican supporters said when faced with folks prtesting Bush's policies. Or at least that's my take from across the Atlantic.
And yes it sounds not totally different from the protests against Clinton for that matter.
Both sides (maybe better ALL sides since there are >2 of them) seem to have within them extremists who prefer to harass and heckle rather than debate. In fact with the internet and the availability of cheap (video)cameras these hecklers can easily spread their message wider than they might otherwise.
In the longer run I'm sure harassment will bite them in the ass and I suspect that eventually the moderate folk on all sides will realize that they don't in fact benefit from having their position supported by the hecklers and will take steps to remove them.
But removing the hecklers is one of those things that has to be done in a multilateral fashion and that, like any disarmament process, is a tricky thing to organize
Francis, no offence, but that's so wrong I hardly know where to begin.
People who wanted to protest or even question Bush's policy decisions were barred from attending his public appearances. We were herded into "free speech zones," often fenced off and invariably far enough away from Bush himself that he would never hear us and rarely see us. All in the name of "security," mind you. Any protestor who managed to slip through security could and would be arrested on sight, often before they could open their mouths at all, for as little as wearing a t-shirt with a protest slogan on it.
Maybe the current furor over manufactured outrages disrupting the civil discourse brings to your mind Republicans' squawking at the idea of being faced with any dissent at all. And maybe boxing is just like ballet, but there's no dancing and they hit each other.
And maybe boxing is just like ballet, but there’s no dancing and they hit each other.
Sometimes there’s dancing. Remember Cassius Clay?
I wasn't sure which post to comment on, so:
Does anyone have any tips on how 'legitimate' audience members might neutralize the hecklers who are trying to take over the Town Hall meetings?
All I can think of is to stand up and ask the heckler where s\he's from and remark that I haven't seen them in my community before. Unfortunately, this could backfire if they're local 'talent.'
John Stannard @ #25 I also remember Muhammed Ali, which I believe was his preferred name, even for dancing.
He spelled it Muhammad Ali, not that it makes much difference. But I said Cassius Clay because I think he danced better in those early days.
Kenyan Birth Certificate Generator.
Sarah W @ #26, Health Care for America Now has a strategy memo which includes suggestions for fighting back.
Sarah @#26: DailyKos has a few diary entries on what is happening to counter them. It pretty much comes down to have a lot of ppl show up, have cops there, don't let them mob up, and don't back down.
But these people aren't heckling Obama because Obama, like Bush, doesn't condescend to talk to hoi polloi in a forum where they can answer back.
What they are doing seems pretty similar to the sorts of things that Code Pink did to disrupt military events for example. And for that matter the persistent heckling of pro-life or anti-immigration speakers on college campuses. The only difference is that the people they are heckling are elected politicians.
Francis T, what planet are you on? One without television?
Every time Obama has a town hall meeting there's a large audience, and he takes questions from the crowd.
Francis, perhaps the media where you are haven't covered the town hall meetings Obama has had himself. There have been several, in which both supportive and opposition hoi-polloi have not only attended but been able to ask questions.
The only difference is that the people they are heckling are elected politicians.
Um, no. Protests at a speech are different in kind from a situation where there is an open forum for all sides to discuss and one party deliberately attempts to make discussion impossible. In the first case a group that would not have an opportunity to be heard is insisting on being heard. In the second, a group is trying to make it impossible for one side to be heard.
There's someone I follow who has a LJ and who has drunk the anti-Obama Kool-Aid to such an extent that she's reprinting the Chuck Norris appeal for Obama to release his birth certifcate and chortling over the announced RNC plan to handle calls from the DNC ad by routing Option 1 to the DNC phone lines. This is sad.
Bruce@35: "...RNC plan to handle calls from the DNC ad by routing Option 1 to the DNC phone lines."
Actually that's just perfect imho...
"Hello, Democratic National Co..."
"and did you press option one?"
"uh huh, they seem to have routed you through to me. I'm with the Democratic Party.
Yeah. They've been doing that a bit. It's sad, isn't it. They want to drown out everyone else at the town hall, and now when you call *them* they don't even want to hear your input.
..and put you through to a party who does want to. While you're here is there anything..
Why thank you, I'll be happy to send that along to the Senator, and we'll see what we can do."
..and the Republicans will get your message next November? Well, we can hope so! Thank you again for your call.
Francis: Some differences between 2005 and 2008: No Republicans hung in effigy, no Republicans receiving death threats (as North Carolina congressman Brad Miller did), no Republican Senators told to commit suicide (as Democratic Senator Chris Dodd was), no Republican congressmen physically assaulted (as Democratic congressman Gerry Connolly was.)
Oh, and the comparatively polite protests in 2005 were not conducted shortly after a Democrat walked into a Republican church and murdered two Republicans (google Jim Adkisson). Or after a Republican state party chairman was shot to death by an angry Democrat (google the late Bill Gwatney, Arkansas Democratic chairman). Or after a Democrat, angry about Bush's policies, murdered three cops (google Richard Poplawski). Or after a leading Republican anti-choice activist was murdered (Scott Roeder killing Dr. George Tiller.)
Or after 554 Republican offices were hit with anthrax attacks (554 abortion clinics received anthrax threats in 2001.) Semi-violent protests are just that much more frightening when you have ample evidence the other side are willing to use deadly violence to achieve their goals.
I don't agree with the false equivalence your ilk is trying to create. Adkisson, Poplawski, Roeder, Timothy Johnson (Gwatney's murderer)--you own them. There are no grownups in the Republican Party willing to stand up and denounce them, and their only slightly more restrained counterparts.
Greg @ 39: While I'm in general agreement with the tone and thrust your post, I must note there is to the best of my knowledge no information indicating that Bill Gwatney's murder was politically motivated.
John, #40: This article mentions that the murderer was "irate" after losing his job. But he wasn't an employee of any business owned by Gwatney, so why would he choose that particular target for his rage? The guy who walked into the UU Church in Knoxville and opened fire blamed "liberals" for ruining the economy and costing him his job; I will bet my betting nickel that a competent investigation would uncover much the same connection here.
Now I suspect reading a Right Wing site like the Weekly Standard is probably grounds for expulsion from this blog (or at the least howls of derisive laughter bruce) so I doubt anyone has read this fairly comprehensive debunking of the video above.
Please read it, follow the links, and note that the "senior republican party operative" is basically a libertarian and furthermore he's been well quoted out of context.
replying to @39
I'm pretty sure that people tormented bush effigies and pictures in all sorts of protests and it wasn't hard to find this post of Sarah Palin's Effigy being hung in Hollywood - http://cbs2.com/local/Sarah.Palin.mannequin.2.849299.html
Now it is true that you don't seem to see people shooting at republican/conservative/... gatherings. I suspect that may be partly because people know these folk are highly likely to shoot back - ISTR some nutter being killed in a Denver church before he could do much damage fairly recently. [Note I don't say this is the sole reason nor do I have any sympathy for the killers you list]
And finally to go back to my earlier point there's the black guy who was beaten up in St Louis at the Carnahan town hall meeting. He appears to have been attacked by SEIU members since he was distributing "Don't tread on me" flags - http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2009/08/tea-party-protesters-attacked-1-man.html
I'm sorry it looks pretty much the same to me
Oh, right, the Weekly Standard. Are they still employing Stephen Hayes? How's the search for The Connection going?
Now it is true that you don't seem to see people shooting at republican/conservative/... gatherings. I suspect that may be partly because people know these folk are highly likely to shoot back
ajay, #43: Oh yeah, that's the Ramboland fantasy in full force. It has an interesting corollary, though -- the underlying assumption that it's perfectly okay to shoot at anyone who you don't think is likely to shoot back. I guess they've all forgotten about Flight 93 already.
Now I suspect reading a Right Wing site like the Weekly Standard is probably grounds for expulsion from this blog
Please do spare us the persecution complex. You'd be surprised the sites some of us read as well as this blog.
(Believe uncritically, well, that's another matter. But if it's any comfort, I tend to be skeptical of the left-wing stuff too.)
abi, I suspect the patronus of Making Light moderators is a mongoose.
Let's not go too far. FrancisT is not a cobra, just someone in the minority in this community who isn't handling it in the best possible way.
He deserves a measure of respect for putting his head above the parapet in a liberal crowd.
abi (47): I assumed 'mongoose' was a reference to Rikki-Tikki-Tavi ("run and find out").
I suspect that may be partly because people know these folk are highly likely to shoot back
Oh, now you're just winding us up. I mean, seriously? You think the ability to absorb return fire is a genuine consideration for moderates or liberals in deciding whether or not to shoot up a conservative event?
Talk about a Wag The Dog situation. Think Progress is lace making with spider silk. To quote from TWS:
"Right Principles PAC was formed by Bob MacGuffie and four friends in 2008, and has taken in a whopping $5,017 and disbursed $1,777, according to its FEC filing.
""We're just trying to shake this state up and make a difference up here," MacGuffie told me during a telephone interview. He's surprised at his elevation to national rabble-rouser by the Left.
"Right Principles has a Facebook group with 23 members and a Twitter account with five followers. MacGuffie describes himself as an "opponent of leftist thinking in America," and told me he's "never pulled a lever" for a Republican or Democrat on a federal level. Yet this Connecticut libertarian's influence over a national, orchestrated Republican health-care push-back is strong, indeed, if you listen to liberal pundits and the Democratic National Committee, who have crafted a nefarious web out of refutable evidence."
What's worrisome is not that Think Progress blew this out of proportion, but that the MSM reported this uncritically.
Wyman, that's a bit like making a close examination of my left pinky, with its limited musculature and blood flow, and from that analysis claiming to debunk my ability to lay you out with an uppercut. (Not that I would do such a thing without a damnably good reason.)
MacGuffie is a small time operator, but where does he get his "information" (scare quotes not optional) and whose mailing lists disseminate his foolishness? Follow the connections. They lead to "Americans for Prosperity," an M Street lobbying firm run on the funds and impulses of David Koch, the 19th richest man in the world and owner of the largest privately held oil company in America. Follow the connections further and you'll find our old friend Dick Armey and FreedomWorks. You'll find Roger Ailes and Fox News. You'll find Rick Scott, the mastermind of the single largest health care fraud in American history. It's the same billionaires' club that manufactured the faux outrage of the teabaggers, fought the stimulus package which is now starting to work. It's the rich and well-connected scaring the most ill-informed into stampeding.
I wouldn't need to examine your pinky finger to know it would be nearly impossible to lay me out; I have a fairly hard jaw. Not that I have any urge to mix it up either.
I don't know if MacGuffie is foolish or not. My point is that a group on either the right or the left shouldn't have outsize influence on the media.
Wyman Cook @52:
I appreciate your courage in getting involved in a discussion where you are a minority. However, you're not showing your side of the discussion to any great advantage in this comment.
To be quite blunt, that was one of your less honest, direct and useful contributions on this site. Actually, either paragraph taken in isolation would be a contender.
I thought you might have a point at 50, though the preponderance of evidence (the fact that the best collations of Town Hall meetings are on right wing sites, with instructions to disrupt them, for instance) is against it. After 52, I'm much less impressed.
You know, the difference between these Town Hall disruptors, and both Code Pink and ACT-UP is that the latter two are real true grassroots organizations.
Note also that ACT-UP was not and is not there to support a particular political party: ACT-UP was founded by people who were fighting for their lives and the lives of people they loved, who were being ignored or attacked by just about everyone in government at the time.
That is what we in the trade used to call "plausible deniablity."
Wyman Cooke @52: "I don't know if MacGuffie is foolish or not. My point is that a group on either the right or the left shouldn't have outsize influence on the media."
MacGuffie is a Connecticut Libertarian. That's enough right there to tell me he's an utter fool.
Moreover, pretty much the entirety of recent American history in small-time political operators with outsize influence over the content of mass broadcast media has been on the Right: the swiftboaters, the teabaggers, the birthers, the clinic siege artists, the minutemen, etc.
The big media operations are fascinated with the antics of these goons, and when they carry stories about them, it's like a conveyor belt to deliver their lunacy undisturbed into millions of American homes. By comparison, the big media don't give a rip about the antics of similarly sized players on the Left, except to misrepresent them and to smear bigger and more moderate liberals by association.
Your point is to draw an equivalence that seems to be completely false. This is the part where I point my finger and laugh, except I'm just not feeling it today.
Abi, first of all the name is Cooke. I want to try and nip this error in the bud.
Second of all my comment at 52 was a response to Mark at 51. I'm sorry if you felt I was being dishonest, but I was trying to be direct to his two points.
Let me be clear here. I don't necessarily agree with the protesters. What gets my goat is when I see dishonesty in the political scene. There are plenty of people here who can and will point out dishonesty coming from elements of the right; I simply want to point out dishonesty as I see it coming from elements of the left. Note that I feel that a majority of people on either the left or the right honestly hold their opinions and beliefs.
Wyman Cooke @58:
My apologies about the spelling.
I know your comment at 52 was a reply to Mark at 51. But your first paragraph about the fistfight ignores the fact that he was using an analogy. Since I don't think you're actually stupid, I must conclude that your decision to take it literally is an evasion at best.
The second paragraph includes the statement My point is that a group on either the right or the left shouldn't have outsize influence on the media. Sorry, but a plain reading of 50 is that you were disputing whether MacGuffie actually did have that kind of influence ("Think Progress is lace making with spider silk.").
There's a huge difference between "should" and "did". Again, you're well bright enough to know this. Why were you shifting your ground?
What gets my goat is when I see dishonesty in the political scene.
I agree entirely, but I'm not sure you really kept your focus in this instance.
Lee @ 41: I know no reason why the investigation of Bill Gwatney's death wouldn't have been competent. If you have some reason to think so, then let me know. If it's political interference you worry about, let me point out this is a Democratic state. It's an odd one, with a party well to the right of Democrats nationwide, and the ugly blot of Bill Clinton on its record, but so far as wanting to know why the state party chairman was killed, it's solid Democratic and no question about it.
The facts as we know them in this case don't fit this narrative.
John, #41: I haven't been able to find many facts. Was a motive ever established at all? What I'm saying is that there didn't seem (from what I could find) to be a plausible non-political motive for his choice of Gwatney as a target, which makes me have to wonder if he was a regular listener to hate radio. I have friends in Arkansas who tell me it's very popular there, Democratic state or no.
John@40--thanks for the support on the others, and you're right about Gwatney w/ there being no direct evidence. That being said, the murder did take place at Democratic party headquarters; Johnson asked specifically to see Gwatney, and they had no prior personal connection. It could be a crazy guy who randomly decided to shoot a well-known person, but I don't even know who the state party chairman of either party in CA or IA (the two places I live) is. It's something he would've had to look up, so I'm inclined to lean towards Lee's viewpoint. But you're right in that there's no direct evidence.
Francis @42--if a movement of angry conservatives in a world in which seven progressives have been murdered by four angry conservatives in the past year looks the same as a movement of liberals, with zero murders in the past year look the same to you, well, I don't think anything more needs to be said. Four fatal shootings in one year is not an isolated incident. And that's not even counting the anti-abortion murders of doctors or Eric Rudolph, or others.
Lee @ 61:
No one seems to know what went on in that poor fucker's head, but he did get fired under odd circumstances from his previous job. My first thought was that it was another political killing, but there hasn't been any evidence to support that.
This thread seems like the best place to post this.
That guy who showed up at an Obama speech with an assault rifle? It was staged.
On the one hand, this makes me feel slightly better. The cops weren't just ignoring some random loon with an assault rifle; they knew about it, and had someone posted nearby to keep an eye on things.
On the other hand... one wonders, given the location, whether they were trying to encourage other loons to come out in the open by seeming to let this one get away with it. And if so, to what purpose?
Oh, and a friend of mine has a good designation for these people who are showing up displaying guns at events which have nothing at all to do with guns or gun-related legislation: "Gun trolls." Like other trolls, their justification is, "Because I CAN, and you can't stop me!"
#64: Gun troll sums it up perfectly.
Damn shame you can't disemvowel them.
You can, however, ignore them. No coverage, no pictures.