August 11, 2009

Amazing. Simply Amazing

Did Speaker Pelosi really call the protesters at Townhall meetings "Un-American"? I heard it on Joe Scarborough this morning so, you know, it has to be true.

Except it's not.

Then there's Richard Mellon Scaife's braintrust at the Tribune-Review. Unbelievable what they did today.

But let's start with Pelosi. Here's exactly what she wrote at USAToday:

Let the facts be heard

These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views — but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades. [emphasis added]

You see that? Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Not protesting the debate but making sure the debate doesn't happen - that's the "un-American" part. Keep that in mind whenever you read or hear that she called protesters un-American. She didn't.

And yet here's how it shows up on the editorial page of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
And utterly despicable is that they characterize as "un-American" average citizens who are rising up in outrage to protest perhaps the greatest attempted shafting in America's history.
But that's par-for-the-course for the Scaife braintrust. But the fun part starts with the next paragraph:
Prior to Monday, Mrs. Pelosi had even intimated that those opposed to the government takeover are Nazis. So much for the "civility" for which she wails.
Really? She called them Nazis?

Of course not. Here's the clip. She was making the point that the protests are "astroturf" (ie "fake" grassroots) and then says that the protesters are bringing "swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on health care."

Heck, even Rush Limbaugh found a photo of a swastika at a health care debate. Give a listen:

Perhaps it was this photo:

But obviously Rush doesn't get the symbolism. By crossing out the swastika, what do you think the protester was saying? She was protesting against what she saw as Nazism - in the health care plan. She was calling the plan Nazism.

And yet it's charged that Pelosi is calling the protesters Nazis, when in fact (at least according to the photo Rush describes) it's the protesters who are calling the health care plan Nazism.

But here's the kicker. What do you think Scaife's braintrust does after (incorrectly) ridiculing Pelosi for calling people Nazis? That's right, they call her and the Obama administration Nazis:
Here's a quotation for Pelosi and Mr. Hoyer to contemplate:

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State."

These are the words of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. Sounds a lot like what Obama & Co. and all its thugs are engaged in, doesn't it?
Amazing. Simply amazing.


EdHeath said...

Welllll, to be fair, you could stretch Pelosi comment to say that she characterized the protestors as un-American. I would say that the shoe kind of fits there, though. Yelling and drowning out others is not democratic debate, therefore not something Americans should do.

On the other hand, we know the Bush administration violated the law (on warrantless wiretaping) and lied to us (on WMD's). No matter how many mistakes the Clinton made that Heir to the Throne wants to trot out, these things are true. The Trib's Goebbels quote seems like it really, really could have applied to the Bush administration. And to paraphrase the French, after they left, the flood came.

the Other Ken said...

"and lied to us (on WMD's)"

and the spirit of the birthers lives on...

EdHeath said...

Look, Other Ken (the), Iraq had nerve gas and mustard gas, and I believe a nuclear weapons program in 1980's. They used mustard gas on the Iranians and nerve gas on the Kurds, and we turned a blind eye at that time because we were worried about the Iranians. After the first gulf war, the UN weapons inspectors worked hard to eliminate Iraq's WMD programs, and they were successful. Our sanctions on Iraq also worked in the sense of keeping them from reconstituting their WMD program (obviously there were problems with the Oil for Food program and the administration of it). In the run up to the war in Iraq the Bush administration made the case that Iraq had a WMD program, which I would say was based on false intelligence. That included information released from an Iraqi defector that was in fact the exact opposite of what he actually said to the administration, at least according to Bob Woodward. Whether George Tenet talked George Bush into going to war, or Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld talked Bush into it, either way, as Harry Truman said …

By contrast, no one has offered any real proof that Obama was born in Kenya, only complaints that the official Certification of Live Birth the Obama campaign released (the thing Hawaii sends out) is somehow not good enough, and an interview where Obama's grandmother makes a mistake because of a momentary lapse in translation.

I would suggest that you, The Other Ken, embody the spirit of the birthers. You refuse to admit that the Bush administration made any mistakes in the run up to and the administration of the Iraq war. This after I suggested that Pelosi did in fact mean the health care demonstrators were un-American, which I gather the Tribune-Review editorial board thinks is a heinous crime.

the Other Ken said...

Awww, there's no need for formality Ed; you can just call me Ken.

Regarding Pelosi’s stupid comment, I don’t recall hearing a peep out of her when “students” were storming podiums throughout the country anytime a conservative was invited to speak on campus or when the code pink biddys were screaming their opinions at various public meetings.

Apparently it’s only un-American when conservatives make their voices heard.

Anonymous said...

Try harder, Ken, because if you think Dem leadership embraced those protesters, you're very much mistaken.

And I'm sure that when millions of Americans filled the streets to protest the Iraq War, you supported their right to be heard and protest, right?

Oh, wait...that's right. Anyone who opposed the war was dismissed as un-American, as was anyone who opposed anything you and your rightwing goons did under Bush.

See, it's called consistency - you're whining about not being heard would mean a lot more if, you know, you and you're Republican goons hadn't cordoned protesters off in "free speech zones," sometimes miles away from the event, just because George W. Bush didn't want to be bothered with seeing them.

Conservatives have no problem having their voices heard in this country. Get over yourself.

But you have no right to show up at a Democratic meeting with the only purpose of screaming and shouting to the point that no discourse is possible.

I guess we could start doing what most Republicans do - card everyone and let no one from outside the district or isn't a diehard Republican into the event (another Bush classic).

Anonymous said...

And why is it that the "big, bad" conservatives are so quick to play the "weak, victim" card?

After years of bullying their political opposition in this country, the little whipped whelps can't handle losing an election. They've turned into a party of angry children, intent on throwing a perpetual tantrum.

You guys had 8 years. And you did nothing but drive this country in a ditch.

With all due respect, it's way past time for the rightwing in this country, which has done so much to ruin this country(like the $2 trillion deficit you left or unfinished wars or neglect of every major domestic issue), to STFD and STFU.

You had your chance at governing the country and you blew it.

Not Democrats, not scary Bill & Hillary Clinton, not the super top secret Muslim, not nonexistent birth certificates...but good ol' all-American conservative Republicans, who boned up the country like no one since the Republicans of the 1920s.

Exactly why should we listen to the ppl who couldn't invade Iraq fast enough? Why should we listen to the people who gave us the mangled response to Katrina? Why should we listen to the people who drove the economy into a ditch, despite the panacea of "supply-side tax cuts?" Why should we listen to an ideology that only results in a weaker economy, an exploding deficit and the doubling of the national debt?

It's not like conservatives know what the hell they are doing when they are put in charge (see History).

Clyde Wynant said...

Fact: "Astroturf" marketing has been part of the GOP playbook for at least 20 years. Every time you see a "hand-drawn" sign, you must ask yourself; who actually did that? Was it Larry the protester or Larry the operative who handed them out that morning before the protest?

Fact: Both parties do research all the time, to gauge what "ideas" and words might resonate with the public. My guess is that, right now, fear and anger keep coming back in poll results and interviews, so the GOP is tapping into that. They KNOW that anger and hate and disruption will work, because they've already tested it. None of this stuff is done in a vacuum. They have all the money in the world and will spend it to find whatever crack or weakness they think they can exploit.

Fact: Loud protests are as American as apple pie. But the line between them and mob behavior is razor thin. This entire debate will turn into a criminal investigation the moment someone gets shot, as "inciting a riot" is certainly on the books as an actionable law.

And finally, we have to stop parsing every single utterance of every politician. We all KNOW what Pelosi means; she means that mobs of screaming, violent people who are shouting down others is NOT reasonable. This need to nitpick every comment is why we have ended up with a lot of research-driven pols who will only stick to the script which they and their consultants have hashed out in advance.

This isn't to say that what folks say isn't important, but let's look at their body of work and their overall approach...and judge them by that, not a single statement. And I mean this on both sides.

Anonymous said...

Conservatives are just crying because ppl aren't putting up with their strong arm tactics and are challenging their lies on health care reform.

When a conservative is crying about free speech, it means he's mad because someone isn't letting him force his extremist, rightwing views on everyone.

@Clyde - The only point of disagreement I would have with you is that, when considering the nature and tradition of these town halls, it is not at all normal for one side to bus in supporters for the purposes of disrupting the event, which we know is the intent as evidenced by memos from various rightwing groups like Conservatives for Patients' Rights.

Also, simply because certain phrases might poll well doesn't mean shouting about "death panels" and forced government euthanasia should be at all tolerated. Spin is one thing, but deliberately pushing extreme falsehoods that are working people up into frenzy is not responsible.

Today in New Hampshire a man was seen carrying a gun on his hip outside the town hall the President is currently holding. At some point, Republican leadership is responsible for the rhetoric they use and when you have ppl like Glenn Beck and Michelle Bachmann talking about armed revolution, it's not unreasonable to suggest that a line has been crossed.

EdHeath said...

Well, Ken, as I suggested, Pelosi appears guilty of calling the Town Hall people un-American. Of course, I think shouting down someone talking at a town hall is not a sign that you support listening to other points of view.

In your comments, you either accused me of being like a birther or brought up past mis-deeds (in your opinion) of Nancy Pelosi. I think your comment that "anytime" a conservative speaks at a college campus the podium is stormed is unsupportable (on its face). I'm sure that happens occasionally but hardly always. As for the Code Pink Women, yes, they are distasteful sometimes. And then you went and used a derogatory term for women to describe (and dismiss) them.

You may not agree with Obama’s plan for health insurance reform. But I have not seen any conservative alternative. It is a plain and simple fact that we spend more on health care as a percentage of GDP than other industrialized nations, and get worse results. And the trend is for us to spend more and more, with no better results. But you want just want to be insulting. Nice substitute for actually taking a stand, and defending it.

Clyde Wynant said...

Jay -

Maybe I wasn't clear. What I am suggesting is that the GOP has indeed found a new battleground, the town hall meetings, which has never really been fought on before.

My thought is that they were afraid a new and improved "Harry and Louise" wouldn't do the trick this time (TV viewership is waaay down in the summer) so they went for this grassroots approach and have successfully tapped into the considerable angst we are all feeling..... From a purely political, strategic viewpoint, I bet they are feeling very smug.

And I agree about the tone of these protests. As I said, it's a razor thin line between protest and mob violence. It is probably only a matter of time before someone gets hurt....or killed. Of course, it'll be interesting to see if they have health insurance, won't it?

For anyone looking for an interesting movie that deals with this subject, I suggest you dig up "Fury," a really intense Spencer Tracy film from 1936.


Anonymous said...

Clyde -

No worries. I'll have to check out that film, too.

the Other Ken said...

"And I'm sure that when millions of Americans filled the streets to protest the Iraq War, you supported their right to be heard and protest, right?"

Why yes, yes I did. And I don't remember any Republican groups urging their members to go out and "drown out their voices" either.

Anonymous said...

Right, Ken.

I guess will just ignore Republicans labeling everyone who protested the war as un-American terrorist sympathizers and cordoning them off in "free speech zones," huh?

And you're comment about Republicans would make sense if Republicans weren't encouraging their members to shout, scream, yell and do everything they can to disrupt these town halls.

Nice attempt to pin that on Dems; too bad we have the memos from groups like Conservative for Patients rights, etc.

It seems to me conservatives can't handle what they dish out.

After years of calling anyone who opposed conservative ideology unAmerican, to hear you whine and cry about being called un-American is pretty funny.

Oh, but I'm sure that when your Republican and conservative leaders were labeling any liberal who dared speak up as un-American you were pleading with them to show some restraint, that it was outrageous to say such a thing about taxpayers.

Of course, you and I know you didn't. I'm willing to go out on that limb. You'll probably say otherwise, but as a conservative, there's not much reason to trust your word. Conservatives have lied so much to this country and are lying so vociferously in the health care debate that it's safe to just assume that you really are all a collection of craven, lying hacks.

How hard did you cheer the smearing of guys like Max Cleland? How happy were you when they set out to destroy the military service of John Kerry?

Frankly, you conservatives are just reaping what you sowed. Enjoy losing the health care debate, because at the end of the day, you will.

the Other Ken said...

"Enjoy losing the health care debate, because at the end of the day, you will."

We all will, jaywillie, we all will.