Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Shocking Audio: Rep. Dingell Says ObamaCare Will Eventually ‘Control the People’

 Shocking Audio: Rep. Dingell Says ObamaCare Will Eventually ‘Control the People’

Your Medical Records Aren't Secure
In a January 2009 speech, President Barack Obama said that his administration wants every American to have an electronic health record by 2014, and last year's stimulus bill allocated over $36 billion to build electronic record systems. Meanwhile, the Senate health-care bill just approved by the House of Representatives on Sunday requires certain kinds of research and reporting to be done using electronic health records. Electronic records, Mr. Obama said in his 2009 speech, "will cut waste, eliminate red tape and reduce the need to repeat expensive medical tests [and] save lives by reducing the deadly but preventable medical errors that pervade our health-care system."

Nancy Pelosi claims protesters are "carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on healthcare.", Media Matters, La Raza, Code Pink and International ANSWER. ACORN, weather underground

Swiftboating Town Halls

With federal lawmakers returning home this week to begin their month-long recess, the far right is welcoming them with large, angry throngs at "town halls gone wild." "Screaming constituents, protesters dragged out by the cops [and] congressmen fearful for their safety" have marked the ugly scenes that have become the rule in recent days, as normally respectful meetings between representatives and their constituents have been inundated with right-wing protesters focused on killing health care reform. Over the weekend, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) became one of the more widely publicized victims, when a mob of protesters chanting "just say no" to health care followed him out of an event. These encounters are being orchestrated by the same lobbyist-run groups -- Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks -- that brought together the tax day tea parties in April. While trying to give the appearance of a "grassroots" uprising, the demonstrations are cover for a corporate-lobbyist engineered harassment strategy that encourages participants to "yell," "stand up and shout," and "rattle" elected officials in favor of reforming health care. Their goal -- recently outlined by an influential lobbyist as "delay" then "kill" -- is apparent: Having successfully delayed a vote until after the August recess, lobbyists are seizing on town halls to ambush lawmakers in an attempt to fool them and the greater public into thinking there is wide opposition to health care reform. Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs took a "hard line against the Tea-Party organized disruptions," labeling them a "Brooks Brothers Brigade," a reference to GOP staffers staging protests during the 2000 Florida recount.

THE MEMOS: As with the tea parties, these town halls are "lessons in how political interests enlist human and technological resources to build political pressure while those responsible remain safely behind the curtain." Last week, The Progress Report obtained a leaked memo from a volunteer with Tea Party Patriots, a website sponsored by Americans for Prosperity (AFP) (led by a former associate of Jack Abramoff) and FreedomWorks (led by former Republican Majority Leader and current lobbyist Dick Armey). The memo detailed how town hall goers should infiltrate meetings and harass Democratic members of Congress. The memo said activists should "stand up and shout out and sit right back down" so the representative is "made to feel that a majority, and if not, a significant portion of at least the audience, opposes the socialist agenda of Washington." The overall goal, said the memo, is to "rattle" the elected official. Earlier this week, a FreedomWorks volunteer, who doubles as a Tea Party protester, published another memo that outlined a strategy "for his fellow activists -- a playbook of sorts for protesters seeking to disrupt and harass members of Congress during town hall forums in their districts."

A BROAD STRATEGY: Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, has endorsed the strategy of staged protests, telling Politico the days of civil town halls are now "over." In a memo to House Republicans, Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) promised "anger" during the August recess: "Americans' anger will be on full display in the weeks ahead as Members of Congress leave Washington and travel the nation listening to the voices of their constituents." The published memos are similar to talking points being distributed by FreedomWorks that push an anti-health reform assault all summer. Patients United, a front group maintained by AFP, is busing people all over the country to protest health care reform. America's Health Insurance Plans, the trade group and lobbying juggernaut representing the health insurance industry, is also sending staffers to monitor town halls in 30 states. Meanwhile, Conservatives for Patients' Rights (CPR), led by disgraced hospital executive Rick Scott, is running a national campaign against a public health care option. Yesterday, the group took credit for "helping gin up the sometimes-rowdy outbursts targeting House Dems at town hall meetings around the country, raising questions about their spontaneity." Earlier in the week, a representative of CPR "sent an email to a list serve (called the Tea Party Patriots Health Care Reform Committee) containing a spreadsheet that lists over one hundred congressional town halls from late July into September." And last weekend, CPR announced it will send staff to "confront" lawmakers at town halls and then transition to negative ads.

TOWN HALLS GONE WILD: In one incident of right-wing outrage, protesters surrounded Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY), forcing police to escort him to his car. In another, anti-health care protesters hung up an effigy of Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-MD) outside his district office in Salisbury, MD. The city was the site of a recent symposium on the dangers of "government-run health care," sponsored by a group called "Patients First," a project of AFP. Two nights ago, Reps. Steve Kagen (D-WI) and Steve Driehaus (D-OH) had to face down angry mobs. Kagen, whose town hall was targeted by the Wisconsin chapter of AFP, was "repeatedly disrupted" by "incomprehensible" shrieks and shouts from conservatives. And just last night, Fox's local Houston affiliate reported that at a rowdy town hall hosted by Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), some attendees admitted "they don't live in the district." Still, Democrats are vowing not to let the disruptions stop health care reform. "I hope my colleagues won't fall for a sucker-punch like this," Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) told The Progress Report. "These health insurance companies and people like them are trying to load these town halls for visual impact on television." Doggett agreed. After his town hall was ambushed he declared, "I am more committed than ever to win approval of legislation to offer more individual choice to access affordable health care. An effective public plan is essential to achieve that goal." And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) promised Democrats wouldn't waiver: "In spite of the loud, shrill voices trying to interrupt town hall meetings and just throw a monkey wrench into everything, we're going to continue to be positive and work hard."

Sign Up To Become A Tea Party Reporter

On tax day, April 15, there will be protests with conservative movement leaders across the country, railing against government and high taxes. HuffPost is developing a citizen reporting team to keep track of this movement.

An Ode to Joy this is not

Wednesday, 3rd June 2009

As we all know, in two days’ time Obama is to make a speech of cosmic significance in Cairo. The run-up to this speech has been characterised by some epic spinning from shadowy American and Israeli ‘sources’ which has been creating a powerful bow-wave of feverish speculation and alarm. The Israelis are apparently shocked and appalled by Obama’s demand – transmitted through Hillary Clinton, no less – that not only should Israel build no new settlements but must not allow the current ones to expand through natural growth. In other words, a thinly disguised requirement for ethnic cleansing through a policy of slow strangulation.
If Israel’s government really is shocked and appalled by this, I would regard that as the most shocking and appalling thing of all, since Obama’s irrational beliefs that a) removing the settlers is the route to a Palestinian state and b) such a state will end the Arab war against Israel and help defeat Iran, not to mention c) his ignorance of international law dating back to the still legally binding Mandate giving the right of Jewish settlement throughout the whole of (then) Palestine which includes present day West Bank and Gaza, have been crystal clear since way before his election. (As for Hillary, since she was against Israel’s interests before she was for them -- which by an astounding coincidence took place while she was Senator for New York – and is now against them again, who can be surprised?)
According to this Washington Post story, Mahmoud Abbas confirmed that Netanyahu’s predecessor, Ehud Olmert, offered the Palestinians 97 per cent of the West Bank for a Palestinian state, plus ‘the right of return’ and large-scale Palestinian immigration into Israel – yet still this wasn’t enough for the Palestinians. So how can Obama maintain that all now hinges on the dismantling of the settlements and the construction of a Palestine state, when clearly this is not what the Palestinians want at all?
So yes, all as predictable as it is alarming. As for the claim by Mahmoud Abbas that Obama is trying to bring down Netanyahu by setting the more nationalistic Likudniks against him, thus bringing to power the ineffable Tzipi Livni who shares Obama’s world-view, I wouldn’t disbelieve that either. And the reported threat to punish Israel by cutting US military aid is precisely what his guru Samantha Power is on record as having proposed.
On the other hand, however, all this is still just spin. If the US were to punish Israel for not agreeing to commit national suicide, the real Israel lobby in America -- the Christian heartlands – would go nuts. Plus the relationship between the two countries is not a one-way street: if Israel were to stop sharing its intelligence with the US, for example, the reaction of the US military would likely dwarf even their fury with Obama over publishing ‘torture’ pictures or shutting down the military tribunals. Given that a strategic game is being played vis a vis Iran, every pronouncement or shadowy bit of spin surely has to be regarded as inherently unreliable. But the mood music is all playing one tune, and it sure isn’t the Ode to Joy.
It was a grim commentary on the current British contribution to peace in the Middle East that it took the BBC this morning to make Obama seem quite reasonable in relation to Israel. In an interview, the BBC‘s North American editor Justin Webb pressed Obama to say what he would do to force Israel to keep its commitments under the Road Map, given (and here his voice rose in righteous indignation) that Israeli ministers had been declaring flat-out that Israel would refuse to bend under Obama’s bullying statesmanlike peace initiative. No mention of the claim by Mahmoud Abbas that Obama was apparently intent on producing regime change in Israel (to the BBC, it seems, regime change is only a crime when used against genocidal tyrants -- but of no interest whatever when contemplated against their victims).
No mention by Justin Webb that the Palestinians were in breach of their commitments which are rather more fundamental than settlements, being the requirement to stop waging a war of extermination against Israel. It took Obama to murmur that the Palestinians had to stop their incitement to hatred and murder – something he said a day or so ago, and it is notable and encouraging that he said it; although he’s still not indicating that, as per the Road Map, the Palestinians are required to dismantle their infrastructure of war before Israel is expected to do anything in its turn.
What is also highly troubling about Obama’s imminent trip is not just his speech in Cairo but where he is going after that. For his next stop is Buchenwald – and straight after that, Dresden. Dresden? Why on earth Dresden of all places?  One reason only, surely. The symbolism is unmistakeable – the site of the most controversial Allied bombing of World War Two. It looks horribly like Obama intends to make a symbolic statement of reproach for that event – just to go there makes the point, without even saying anything -- and even worse, to make some kind of equation with the slaughter at Buchenwald. One holocaust doesn't deserve another, would seem to be the unspoken message, would it not? Or to put it another way, if Jews defend themselves by military means, they turn into Nazis.
In the light of Iran’s genocidal threats against Israel and the nuclear weapons that Obama is giving it the time to assemble to make good those threats, such symbolism would be unspeakable – and another feather of western defeatism for a gloating Iran to stick in its cap.

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