Mobs on Medicare

[Updated below.]

A rightie blogger with comments disabled posts photographs to show that “the mob” isn’t scary after all, and writes,

I am the mob. My kids are the mob. My grandma is the mob. My family members did not shed blood for this country so that their elected officials could silence them into shame if they dared to speak out and voice their concerns.

I don’t see anyone in the photographs being silenced. Many of them appear to be old enough for Medicare, however. Are they so committed to “no government-run health care” that they refuse Medicare? I doubt it. It’s fine for them to get their health care paid for by the taxpayer dollars of others, but everyone else can go bleep himself?

And does anyone on the Right have a brain in his or her head? Not that I’m seeing.

Update: Some right-wing blogs are picking up these photographs, repeating the claim that it shows people who are representative of others whose rights to free speech have been curtailed. Not one has noticed the photographs show people calmly participating at a meeting and even speaking into microphones, so certainly the people in the photographs are speaking freely. And not one has noticed that many are old enough for Medicare, which is a government-run health care system very similar to Canada’s.

Update: Via Brian Beutler:

“Based on the news that health care events are edging into violence, an anti-health care reform protester in New Mexico named Scott Oskay is calling on his hundreds of online followers to bring firearms to town halls, and to ‘badly hurt’ SEIU and ACORN counter protesters.”

People are calling SEIU and making not-too-veiled threats of gun violence against Union members.

Threats of violence qualify as terrorism, even if they don’t carry it through.

23 thoughts on “Mobs on Medicare

  1. Brains? What for, if you’ve got a gun, you can solve any problem, right?

    These are the mobs that were supposed to defeat the Obama election. It didn’t work then and we can make sure it doesn’t work this time. Yes we can!

  2. Classic SA tactic’s to disrupt any democratic process. All they lack is brown shirts. Of course, these people are too ignorant to know about Hitlers Germany. All they can do is scream about fascist tactics, not realiazing that they’re using them.
    Also, I’ve never seen anyone proud of being a member of a mob. In our anti-war protest’s, we NEVER described ourselves as a mob. That would mean there is no control.

  3. c u n d gulag, I think the fellow was using “mob” in an ironic sense, although he may not have realized that.

  4. I’ve never seen anyone proud of being a member of a mob.

    This is a key to the astroturfers’ and teabaggers’ thinking. It goes back to the Nixon “dirty tricks” days; he and his cronies sort of wrote the basic playbook that Karl Rove perfected. The Right does things most of us were taught not to do before we even entered kindergarten, and then the righties boast about it.

    In the case of the blogger quoted in the post: Ye gads, drama queen much? My own sainted, long-departed Republican grandma would have laughed at such a fool.

  5. Righties “reason” that anybody with a different opinion is a threat, and therefore is somehow violating their [fill-in-the-blank with some arbitrary name of] rights. They have no concept of toleration of others, nor understand that “freedom of speech” applies to everyone. And so they holler “freedom of speech” without even knowing what it means.

  6. Today’s must-read article is by Sara Robinson, Fascist America? Are We There Yet?. This is the most important thing I’ve read in quite awhile. Excerpts (my emphasis in bold):

    All through the dark years of the Bush Administration, progressives watched in horror as Constitutional protections vanished, nativist rhetoric ratcheted up, hate speech turned into intimidation and violence, and the president of the United States seized for himself powers only demanded by history’s worst dictators. With each new outrage, the small handful of us who’d made ourselves experts on right-wing culture and politics would hear once again from worried readers: Is this it? Have we finally become a fascist state? Are we there yet?

    And every time this question got asked, people like Chip Berlet and Dave Neiwert and Fred Clarkson and yours truly would look up from our maps like a parent on a long drive, and smile a wan smile of reassurance. “Wellll…we’re on a bad road, and if we don’t change course, we could end up there soon enough. But there’s also still plenty of time and opportunity to turn back. Watch, but don’t worry. As bad as this looks: no — we are not there yet.”

    In tracking the mileage on this trip to perdition, many of us relied on the work of historian Robert Paxton, who is probably the world’s pre-eminent scholar on the subject of how countries turn fascist…..[Paxton] said, mature democracies turn fascist by a recognizable process, a set of five stages that may be the most important family resemblance that links all the whole motley collection of 20th Century fascisms together. According to our reading of Paxton’s stages, we weren’t there yet. There were certain signs — one in particular — we were keeping an eye out for, and we just weren’t seeing it.

    And now we are. In fact, if you know what you’re looking for, it’s suddenly everywhere. It’s odd that I haven’t been asked for quite a while; but if you asked me today, I’d tell you that if we’re not there right now, we’ve certainly taken that last turn into the parking lot and are now looking for a space….

    ….We know beyond doubt that the Teabag movement was created out of whole cloth by astroturf groups like Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks and Tim Phillips’ Americans for Prosperity, with massive media help from FOX News. We see the Birther fracas — the kind of urban myth-making that should have never made it out of the pages of the National Enquirer — being openly ratified by Congressional Republicans. We’ve seen Armey’s own professionally-produced field manual that carefully instructs conservative goon squads in the fine art of disrupting the democratic governing process — and the film of public officials being terrorized and threatened to the point where some of them required armed escorts to leave the building. We’ve seen Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner applauding and promoting a video of the disruptions and looking forward to “a long, hot August for Democrats in Congress.”

    This is the sign we were waiting for — the one that tells us that yes, kids: we are there now. America’s conservative elites have openly thrown in with the country’s legions of discontented far right thugs. They have explicitly deputized them and empowered them to act as their enforcement arm on America’s streets, sanctioning the physical harassment and intimidation of workers, liberals, and public officials who won’t do their political or economic bidding.

    This is the catalyzing moment at which honest-to-Hitler fascism begins. It’s also our very last chance to stop it.

    The article explains Paxton’s five stages. Continuing:

    …History tells us that once this alliance catalyzes and makes a successful bid for power, there’s no way off this ride. As Dave Neiwert wrote in his recent book, The Eliminationists, “if we can only identify fascism in its mature form—the goose-stepping brownshirts, the full-fledged use of violence and intimidation tactics, the mass rallies—then it will be far too late to stop it.” Paxton (who presciently warned that “An authentic popular fascism in the United States would be pious and anti-Black”) agrees that if a corporate/brownshirt alliance gets a toehold — as ours is now scrambling to do — it can very quickly rise to power and destroy the last vestiges of democratic government. Once they start racking up wins, the country will be doomed to take the whole ugly trip through the last two stages, with no turnoffs or pit stops between now and the end….

    Unfortunately, all the noise and bluster actually obscures the danger. These people are as serious as a lynch mob, and have already taken the first steps toward becoming one. And they’re going to walk taller and louder and prouder now that their bumbling efforts at civil disobedience are being committed with the full sanction and support of the country’s most powerful people, who are cynically using them in a last-ditch effort to save their own places of profit and prestige.

    We’ve arrived. We are now parked on the exact spot where our best experts tell us full-blown fascism is born. Every day that the conservatives in Congress, the right-wing talking heads, and their noisy minions are allowed to hold up our ability to govern the country is another day we’re slowly creeping across the final line beyond which, history tells us, no country has ever been able to return.

  7. One defining characteristic of modern conservatives is the ability to hold two contradictory viewpoints at the.same time without experiencing cognitive dissonance. My brother-in-law, who is ultra-conservative and routinely bitches about how evil the government is, was laid off recently. He immediately applied for unemployment and commented at a family gathering about how easy it was to apply and how quickly he got a check. When I pointed out that unemployment insurance is a program put in place by liberals (FDR) and that it was administered by the “evil government”, he got red in the face, mumbled something about, “Well, this is different” and stormed off.

    Conservatives are very confused people.

  8. The first question to these folks should be, “How many of you are enrolled in the government’s Medicare program, or have parents enrolled in the government’s Medicare program”?

    When Congressman Gene Greene asked that at his town hall meeting about half raised their hands. I guess irony is dead to a hysterical right-winger.

  9. Just to play Devil’s Advocate on one particular subject, the righties on mcare and caid aren’t protesting access to those two particular government-run, socialist programs. Sure, they’re being misinformed and are speaking in purposely vague terms, but the righties could conceivably counter this argument by saying they’re not protesting existing government-run healthcare, but the complete takeover of healthcare by the government. Not that that’s accurate; I’m just thinking out loud here…

  10. It isn’t that difficult to understand why we are calling them mobs – they are not engaging in civil discourse. Their tactic is to disrupt and stop civil discourse. That’s a mob and we’re right to call them such.

    I think one key way of disarming them is to engage them one on one in civil conversation . Listen and talk them down from their fear and uncertainty. They are in the grips of something very scary to them and by calm engagement we can defuse their fear.

  11. …they’re not protesting existing government-run healthcare, but the complete takeover of healthcare by the government.

    The Teabaggers on Medicare are hypocrites of the worst sort. They are on a single-payer program run by the government and funded by the taxpayers. It’s the worst kind of “I’ve got mine, screw you” arrogance.

    They’ve got theirs because it is being given to them. Some of it is being given to them by those who work and pay Medicare taxes, but have no insurance through their employer. Those folks are paying for the old Teabaggers’ medical insurance and while they and their children go without coverage.

  12. wmd,
    I wish you luck, and I wish that were true. But, they don’t do “civil.” Their fear and uncertainty are all they can see.
    I recently met an 82 year-old man who is very intellegent. He can only understand the world according to FOX.
    Let me know if it works. And what you said to turn their minds. As far as I’ve seen, you have a better chance of proving that Iceland is warmer than Jamaica because in Jamaica you need to have ice-cubes in your drink…

  13. Here’s a thought – scrap the proposals in their preent forms and go to a straightforward medicare-for-all. You can keep your private insurance or go for a medicare-for-all if you are uninsured. (FUnd it with taxes on employers, a payroll deduction according to inome, and tax people over 500K per year for the difference). But here’s the kicker. Tie it to Medicaid – a no vote on health care for all will repeal Medicare.

  14. It is not “free speech” to be disruptive and inhibit someone else’s ability to engage in free speech. It is thuggery..

    Your free speech ends where mine begins.

  15. When have righties ever been able to argue anything on the merits? Most of them know they’re stupid (at some unconscious level) so they try and use force and persistence to get their point across. If is kinda funny that Mr. Danashow calls his family part of the puppet mob, though.

  16. I think this is a good time to keep in mind Maha’s “bigger asshole” theory and do all we can to encourage protestors to be bigger assholes (so long as they stop short of actually shooting anyone, of course). My guess is if they keep going this way, soon their Republican sponsors will be desperately trying to dial it back before they provoke a serious backlash.

  17. And to think we had “free speech” zones less than one year ago!
    Yeah, that Obama is a real fascist. He’s gonna make us buy a new car by giving us a break on the price, he’s gonna raise taxes on people earning more than $250,000 per year, he wants to take away our guns,and he wants to make sure we have healthcare that won’t bankrupt us.
    This whole thing reminds me of the time many years ago when I was just out of diving school, working on my first ship job;
    One guy had to use the toilet, which he did, but couldn’t find any toilet paper.
    It was dark in the “head”, so he grabbed the first thing handy, which happened to be another guy’s shirt, cleaned up his backside, and came up on deck.
    Guy # 2 (no pun intended) finishes out his shift, goes up to the “head”, and gets dressed. He comes back on deck, and askes everyone if they smell shit.It eventually dawned on him why he was smelling shit( the whole crew was ROFL), then all hell broke loose.
    Moral; when those tea-bagging astroturfing primitives figure out (and it may take a while) how badly theyhave been used, and their health care plan consists of a bottle of asprin, a roll of duct tape, and a Bible; they’re gonna be plenty pissed.
    A little side bar, my wife worked in the SO. CAL.retail clerks’ union for over 15 years, she started getting a pension several years ago when she hit 50 ( about $250.00 per month); she just got a letter from the pension fund, which is in trouble, and her pension has been cut by about 10%. We won’t be surprised if it goes insolvent.
    This economic storm is FAR from over, the socialism the right is freaking over may yet become a way of life for many for a decade.

  18. Recipe for disaster:
    Greed – use as much as you want
    1 cup propaganda
    3 oz ignorance
    2 oz of fucking stupid
    Dash or two of violence
    Heaping tablespoon of Corporate MSM

    Combine 1st five ingredients. Shake liberally – uhm, a lot.
    Cover with Corporate MSM
    Stand back and watch it gel
    Then get the Hell out of the house before the shit explodes

    Count the dead
    Smell the Fascism – it should smell like victory

    Deny this was your recipe

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