Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
iNow

Opponents of US Healthcare Reform Lose Battle on Merits; Resort to Tantrums/Theatrics

Recommended Posts

There is an active campaign right now to make it look like there is greater opposition to US Healthcare reform than there truly is. More on that below. However, if you look at actual polling data, roughly 70% of Americans want healthcare reform.

 

 

http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1913426,00.html

Forty-six percent of respondents said it was "very important" that Congress and the President pass major health reform in the next few months, and an additional 23% said it was "somewhat important." Only 28% found the immediate effort either not very or not at all important. In a separate question, more Americans said it would be better to pass "major reform" to health care (55%) rather than "minor adjustments" (43%).

 

 

 

Yet, if you watch television, or listen to news reports, you may never be able to tell that this level of support exists. As per usual, it turns out that the loudest voices are being given the most air time, are getting the most attention, and this is giving a false impression that healthcare reform in our nation is not supported by the people.

 

"Well... of course the loud ones get more air time... that makes sense... that's just the way the news operates," you might say. I'd normally agree, but it turns out that this is an active strategy to disrupt the discussion, divert attention from the merits of the changes being discussed, and focus instead more on the theatrics.

 

 

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2009/08/recipe_surfaces_for_guerilla_w.html

Forget Norman Rockwell. The town hall meetings that many representatives and senators are holding back in their districts to make the case for a health care overhaul are turning into knockdown-dragouts.

 

Some of the aggressive questioning, and even heckling, of legislators meeting with constituents across the country appears to be staged. A memo on "best practices" for disrupting town hall meetings has surfaced on the Web.

 

While some of the concerns being raised by crowds are valid and deserve answers, these outbursts are regularly going far beyond normal debate and public discourse. This IMO is about plain civil unrest, has nothing to do with the merits of the respective positions, and shows how clearly the act of listening simply doesn't appear to be a trait many in these crowds care to exhibit.

 

In fact, some of you may have seen a recent video which shows a raucous crowd at a town hall meeting with Sen. Arlen Specter and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Watch below:

 

 

cpt8BzyFpa4

J-Bpshk5nX0

 

 

 

It turns out that much of this resentment is "manufactured," as evidenced by the memos circulating among conservative groups, telling them (instead of asking genuine questions and listening to the answers) how to focus on scaring their congressmen and to put them on edge.

 

For example, there is a website called "Embarrass your Congressman" which focuses entirely on explaining these tactics, and making them as public as possible. On their website, they have a section called "The Battle Plan" which includes tips like tracking congress persons itinerary, finding ways to yell and shout and draw attention, and how to video tape it so it can be shared and made to look like the country doesn't want healthcare change... Basically, to ignore the merits and focus on the theatrics.

 

 

http://www.operationembarrassyourcongressman.com/operation_embarrass_your_congressman_004.htm

6 STEPS TO EMBARRASSING YOUR CONGRESSMAN

Read the COMMON SENSE QUESTIONS about CURRENT LEGISLATION to confront your Congressman with.

(They're really embarrassing themselves by exhibiting arrogance, ignorance, and insolence. We're just here to expose it publicly!)

There is no charge to join the battle - it's free! You join by participating in exposing the arrogance, ignorance, and insolence in Washington, D.C.

 

 

 

Seriously, they are getting people to stand up, shout an abrasive question, sit down immediately, and then continually interrupt the response to keep the congressman uncomfortable and scared... Then to upload a video recording of the event so as to extend the embarrassment they caused the congressman to the widest possible audience, and over-represent the opposition.

 

 

There's also this memo circulating explaining specifically how to disrupt town hall style meetings:

 

http://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/townhallactionmemo.pdf

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.

 

<...>

 

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.

 

<...>

 

Don't carry-on and make a scene - just short intermittent shout outs.
The purpose is to make him uneasy
early on and set the tone for the hall as clearly informal, and free-wheeling.

 

<...>

 

The goal is to rattle him.

 

 

So, no longer in America are citizens arguing their points by focusing on facts and engaging in mature discourse... seeking to obtain correct answers and argue on merits, but instead to fling poo and stir up riots. Take note. This is a problem we will continue to see, and it's dangerous in the same way that the Salem Witch Trials were.

 

 

 

 

Anyway, I've repeatedly circled around this point about issues being "manufactured" and frenzies being stirred up across the nation. TDS touched on this last night, and it only lends further support to the article from NPR which I shared at the top of this post:

 

 

Click to watch: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-august-3-2009/master-rebators---the-crank-cycle

Fox News plants the seed, a viewer pollinates the point, and an outrage-generating ecosystem is created.

 

 

I'm disappointed in the level of discourse among my fellow citizens. I think I've proven to most of you that I am open to solid arguments, and am quite willing to change my mind when a good position is expressed. However, I'm not seeing that in these healthcare "debates," and I'm saddened that this seems less about doing something good for our society, doing something intelligent and well designed, and more about theater and rabid unrestrained anger.

 

I really think we've turned into a bunch of uncivilized monkeys who are only sated by throwing gladiators to the lions... That we as a populace only seem to cheer or involve ourselves when there is bloodshed, disorder, and beheadings in the public square... no longer concerning ourselves with the progress of society.

 

 

What do you think?

Edited by iNow

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe we all need to go to town hall meetings to yell "ah, shut up ya crank and get your facts straight" and sit down immediately after - can we consider this a memo? :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Haha that would be awesome, I'm seconding Padren on that, we should organize it and disrupt the annoyers !..!,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do have to say most of the options that are popular among Democrats now fail to address the costs of the program, especially if Obama intends to keep his campaign promise of not increasing taxes.

 

I see a single-payer system as the best approach to keep costs down. In theory it should be one of the cheapest options available.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my opinion, most Americans want health care reform, but are opposed to the two bills currently being pushed by the insurance lobbies through Congress as "health care reform". And from what I've been reading lately Obama's poll numbers have been sinking since he hitched his wagon to this expensive and ill-conceived train. He should have told Congress to shove it where the sun don't shine and spent that popularity on a bill people would support, but I don't think anybody could have predicted how quickly the public's support for these bills would fade once the price tag became apparent.

 

People are upset about seeing trillion-dollar projects, especially now that the GAO is saying we're looking at a trillion-dollar-a-year deficit for the next ten years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Am I the only one that noticed the two groups spread out in the audience? One group in orange t shirts, the other is in red. They appear to be at or near an outburst when it is caught on camera.

 

As a point, the tactics iNow describes are nothing new. The green movement in Australia has been using them for decades.

 

I would think that they're standard fare for any form of political activism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interestingly, a few hours after I created this thread, the Colbert Report shared a similar argument.

 

Click link to watch: http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/240728/august-04-2009/the-word---hippie-replacement

Soon America's grassroots people-power movements will be rid of the one thing that's holding them back: people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just visited a private, ultra-conservative forum (though leaning more libertarian and fiscal than social or neo-con), and ran across an argument along the lines that iNow describes. Their main tactic was a slippery slope argument, saying that this would turn into a socialistic system. Much of the thread involved dishonestly calling the proposed bill a single-payer system, which is clearly false, and prays open people's lack of understanding of health care issues (as discussed here).

 

So I know it's out there, and it's more common than many moderate conservatives want to admit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's the classic Karl Rove strategy of attacking the opponent at their strongest point. The current congress and white house have the backing of the people who strongly support major healthcare reform. So, they attack that support, suggesting that the people DON'T want healthcare reform.

 

It's the same thing they did with tobacco. The strongest argument against tobacco use was the science, so they attacked the science as flawed and misrepresentative, putting out inaccurate reports of their own to suggest the science said smoking was okay.

 

It's the same thing they DO with global warming, attacking the science since the data is it's strongest point. Suggest the science is all laden with politics and false data and wrong interpretations.

 

It's the same thing creationists do with evolution... attack it at it's strongest point... suggest that there is no evidence of one species turning into another... suggest that there is controversy about whether or not evolution is valid... suggest that counter arguments are suppressed and censored simply for being counter arguments (as opposed to the true reason they are not published in journals or textbooks... they are invalid, flawed, and wrong).

 

 

That's what's happening here. Huge percentages of the population support healthcare reform. That is it's strongest point, so they attack it there by manufacturing nationwide dissent... by using theatrics to suggest the country is actually AGAINST reform.

 

 

The endumbening of the United States has been allowed to progress for far too long, and now we're seeing the consequences. It's all about pitching gladiators to the lions, and not at all about reason and rationality.

 

 

 

U0XCl6OHgiM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing I overheard in a conservative forum yesterday was the accusation that under the new plan if you have private insurance you can keep it, just like Obama says, but you won't be able to CHANGE private plans without permission from the government. I don't know where that one's coming from and I've been trying to hunt down a citation on it so I can refute it in various discussions (even though I don't like the proposal for different reasons -- I just hate disinformation).

Edited by Pangloss

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One payer system= Socialism

 

Hit and run posts = a waste of everyone's time. Care to elaborate on how that's thread relevant, Syntho-sis?


Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/06/tampa-town-hall-on-health_n_253478.html

 

Police officers were called to calm down an unruly crowd outside a health care reform town hall meeting in downtown Tampa, Florida on Thursday evening, according to local news reports.

 

Angry protesters screamed, yelled and banged on windows as officers hurried to guard the entrances to the facility, where U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor was trying to discuss the various health care reform proposals being debated in Congress. One photojournalist said that a fistfight broke out inside the building, reports WTSP.

 

Many of the hundreds of protesters said that they had been inspired by a conservative activist group promoted by Fox News host Glenn Beck and some received emails from the county Republican party, according to the

Instead, hundreds of vocal critics turned out, many of them saying they had been spurred on through the Tampa 912 activist group promoted by conservative radio and television personality Glenn Beck. Others had received e-mails from the Hillsborough Republican party that urged people to speak out against the plan and offered talking points to challenge supporters.

The
Times
added:

The spectacle at the Children's Board in Ybor City sounded more like a wrestling cage match than a panel discussion on national policy, and it was just the latest example of a health care meeting disrupted by livid protesters.
Edited by iNow
Consecutive posts merged.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hit and run posts = a waste of everyone's time. Care to elaborate on how that's thread relevant, Syntho-sis?

 

Why waste everyone's time with huge monologues, when I can sum up my thoughts up pretty clearly with a single statement?

 

And you're trying to say that my comments aren't relevant?

 

Can you even refute that statement yourself?

 

http://news.aol.com/article/official-5-plans-revamp-health-care-none/577975

 

There's one fellow who agrees with my statement, as un elaborated it may be...

 

:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am the originator of this thread. I am rather confident that my understanding of its primary intent is not under question.

 

I am not saying that your statements (plural) are irrelevant. I am saying that your post "single payer = socialism" was. If you feel that way, then cool. I disagree a little since it's an oversimplification and generalization, but understand what you mean when you say that single payer equals socialism and I'm fine with that.

 

However, that's really not the point. This thread is an exploration of the scare tactics and misinformation being used to displace our ability to successfully reform the existing system. This thread is about calling attention to the fact that most of the counter arguments being made right now rely on theatrics, misinformation, and scare-mongering instead of meritorious arguments. The point of this thread is to challenge people to stop listening to the nonsense, and focus on what matters... to remain focused on intelligent debate, facts, and evidence, not on the perceptual salience of a small handful of angry mobs.

 

I am not certain how a drive-by post like "single payer = socialism" is relevant to those talking points, and I asked you to clarify. Your response only further reinforces my sense that you are commenting off-topic. Please let me know if I can clarify. I don't mean this as an attack, just as a request that contributions be thread relevant. Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am the originator of this thread. I am rather confident that my understanding of its primary intent is not under question.

 

I am not saying that your statements (plural) are irrelevant. I am saying that your post "single payer = socialism" was not. If you feel that way, then cool. I disagree a little since it's an oversimplification and generalization, but understand what you mean when you say that single payer equals socialism and I'm fine with that.

 

However, that's really not the point. This thread is an exploration of the scare tactics and misinformation being used to displace our ability to successfully reform the existing system. This thread is about calling attention to the fact that most of the counter arguments being made right now rely on theatrics instead of meritorious arguments. The point of this thread is to challenge people to stop listening to the nonsense, and focus on what matters.

 

I am not certain how "single payer = socialism" is relevant to those talking points, and I asked you to clarify. Your response only further reinforces my sense that you are commenting off-topic. Thanks.

 

 

What could be considered "scare tactics" and "theatrics" is all a matter of opinion. If there exists a real factual basis for the argument against this new healthcare plan, then claiming it is nothing more than "whining" and "tantrums" is counterproductive and belittling to those who share different views.

 

I agree that most Americans want healthcare reform, but I do not agree with this current legislation on the matter.

 

From what I gather, the intent of this thread is a demonizing of anybody who does not support President Obama's plan for healthcare reform. You seem to be using extreme examples to hammer your point into the ground.

 

Twenty years down the road it will not matter who supported what on this issue, it will only matter that some sort of reform has taken place.

 

But the current plan will have to change drastically before I will give it my full support.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
From what I gather, the intent of this thread is a demonizing of anybody who does not support President Obama's plan for healthcare reform.

And you've gathered mistakenly. I elaborated on my intent in my post above. Now, who do you think is a better arbiter of my true intent... you or me?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How is what Inow presented not factual and based on opinion?

 

Has yelling and screaming become accepted as good argument? I thought that was mostly for 3-10 year old. We need to stop defending people who do not act properly. Sure it's counter productive to label, but when your opposition acts like a child the discussion is already at a stand still.

 

This is bad, I think people are underestimating the seriousness of allowing this to happen. Our society is degrading in the opposite direction. !00 years ago this sort of behaviour would of been shunned and most likely criminal. I accept that freedom of speech is important or we limit ourselves and open windows for abuse as been shown in the past, but somehow we allowing to go to a point where freedom of speech is destructive. It's being flipped to the other side.

 

This is abusing freedom of speech plain and simple. It seriously needs to stop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Conservatives seem to be abdicating their responsibility in this debate. This is where an opposition party should shine, pointing out legitimate flaws in the plans of the majority and working constructively to fix them and make a plan the best for everybody. The bills before Congress will cost a lot of money and haven't been adequately paid for, and, most importantly, don't seem to hold much promise of lowering health care costs. Those are real issues. Instead, Republicans are descending into apoplectic stupidity.


Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged
This is bad, I think people are underestimating the seriousness of allowing this to happen. Our society is degrading in the opposite direction. !00 years ago this sort of behaviour would of been shunned and most likely criminal.

 

Eh, I don't know about that. In 1900 there was an entire political party (the Populists) predicated on vaguely anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about the "Gold Power." There were Klan rallies down Pennsylvania Avenue in the early 20th Century. These little spasms of craziness are nothing new, narratives of decline notwithstanding.

Edited by CDarwin
Consecutive posts merged.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Note: Whether or not a single-payer system is "socialism" is not the subject of this thread. Congress is not debating a single-payer health care system at the present time.

 

Incidentally, calling the current reform approach "single payer" is a very common tactic at these rowdy meetings and amongst conservatives in opposition to these two (non single-payer) bills. It's part of an effort to mislead and misdirect undecided citizens on the issue.

 

That having been said, I think that some of those criticizing the rowdy opposition showing up at these town hall meetings (like Krugman yesterday) miss the fact that people hate Congress right now. Sure, people are being mislead, but they don't burn congressmen in effigy on a whim or for a hot dog and a coke. It also has little to do with Democrats and Republicans.

 

They're ALREADY angry, and they're angry for a darn good reason.

Edited by Pangloss

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eh, I don't know about that. In 1900 there was an entire political party (the Populists) predicated on vaguely anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about the "Gold Power." There were Klan rallies down Pennsylvania Avenue in the early 20th Century. These little spasms of craziness are nothing new, narratives of decline notwithstanding.

 

My history sucks but there was time when saying something about your leaders could warrant something close to captial punishment. I am just trying to illustrated the flipping from one extreme to another like government or societies interpretation of civil disobedience.

 

It should be virtuous to act properly and coherently, the deliberate teaching of people to do the opposite is unacceptable, and should not be safe guarded under the disguise of freedom of speech.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If there exists a real factual basis for the argument against this new healthcare plan, then claiming it is nothing more than "whining" and "tantrums" is counterproductive and belittling to those who share different views.

 

The problem which (the normally conservative-leaning) Pangloss pointed out is that the "whining" and "tantrums" aren't based on factual arguments against the bills, but gross distortions/lies.

 

There are certainly problems with these bills (I for one don't think they go far enough and would prefer a single-payer system) but the arguments against them coming out of these neocon PAC-organized town hall meeting crashing sessions aren't particularly valid.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now all we need is for our Democratic congress critters to grow a pair and get it done.

 

Will it take supporters shouting down the opposition in the manner suggested in posts #2 and 3 to make it happen? Seriously... I always thought you fought fire with water... but should we instead be fighting fire with fire... taking a tip from these paste eaters and following their lead?


Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged

lGdbKEr29I0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd just like to see I've seen an awful lot of coverage of these (neocon PAC-moivated) town hall meeting crashings. These people have no argument. They have no real position other than that the Democrats are doing it, therefore they're wrong. They have a whole host of disinformation they've been perpetrating.

 

I'm not sure what's to be done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.