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Thread: Showdown! Unions to take on conservative groups health care town halls

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Default Showdown! Unions to take on conservative groups health care town halls

    Sam Stein
    stein@huffingtonpost.com | HuffPost Reporting

    Unions To Take On Conservative Groups Health Care Town Halls


    First Posted: 08- 6-09 09:53 AM | Updated: 08- 6-09 11:24 AM

    The nation's largest federation of labor organizations has promised to directly engage with boisterous conservative protesters at Democratic town halls during the August recess.

    In a memo sent out on Thursday, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney outlined the blueprint for how the union conglomerate would step up recess activities on health care reform and other topics pertinent to the labor community. The document makes clear that Obama allies view the town hall forums as ground zero of the health care debate. It also uses the specter of the infamous 2000 recount "Brooks Brothers" protest to rally its members to the administration's side.

    "The principal battleground in the campaign will be town hall meetings and other gatherings with members of Congress in their home districts," reads the memo. "We want your help to organize major union participation to counter the right-wing "Tea-Party Patriots" who will try to disrupt those meetings, as they've been trying to do to meetings for the last month. ...

    (Remember the hooligans - many of them Republican Congressional staff - who harassed Florida vote counters in 2000? We can't let that happen again!)."

    A showdown between unions and grassroots conservative organizations could make for an August full of fireworks, with even more dysfunctional town hall meetings. The AFL-CIO is planning to target 50 "high priority districts," in addition to organizing telephone town hall gatherings.

    But while the union conglomerate seems poised to flex its political muscle on Obama's behalf, it may find some friction on the policy front. Detailed in Sweeney's memo are certain legislative priorities that are clearly at odds with what seems likely to be produced in the Senate Finance Committee's compromise bill.

    Sweeney describes it as a "requirement that ALL employers 'pay or play,'" that the final bill have "a robust public health insurance plan to compete with private insurers and drive down health costs," and that the legislation contain "relief for company/union funds providing pre-Medicare retiree coverage, and no taxation of health benefits!"

    The AFL-CIO also promises to "Redouble our efforts on Capitol Hill against taxation of benefits OF ANY KIND, for including ALL businesses in the requirement to provide coverage, and for a robust public health insurance plan option."

    According to reports on Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee is considering compromise legislation that will contain no public option for insurance and would tax health-care benefits of the most generous plans.

    UPDATE: AFL-CIO Secretary TreasurCRETARY TREASURER RICHARD TRUMKA ON CORPORATE FUNDED 'MOB RULE' AT TOWN HALLS
    August 6th, 2009

    Every American has the inalienable right to participate in our
    democratic process. Our politics is passionate, heartfelt and often
    loud -- as was the founding of our nation. But that is not what the
    corporate-funded mobs are engaging in when they show up to disrupt town
    halls held by members of Congress.

    Major health care reform is closer than ever to passage and it is no
    secret that special interests want to weaken or block it. These mobs
    are not there to participate. As their own strategy memo states, they
    have been sent by their corporate and lobbyist bankrollers to disrupt,
    heckle and block meaningful debate. This is a desperation move, meant
    to slow the momentum for change.

    Mob rule is not democracy. People have a democratic right to express
    themselves and our elected leaders have a right to hear from their
    constituents -- not organized thugs whose sole purpose is to shut down
    the conversation and attempt to scare our leaders into inaction
    We call on the insurance companies, the lobbyists and the Republican
    leaders who are cheering them on to halt these 'Brooks Brothers
    Riot' tactics. Health care is a crucial issue and everyone - on
    all sides of the issue - deserves to be heard.

    Unions To Take On Conservative Groups Health Care Town Halls

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    oh what the fuck is the point. Obama is already selling the populace down the river to pharma groups and lobbyists with back door deals, the alternative version of healthcare "reform" being pushed by the blue dogs and their rethug allies will most likely be the one accepted and the shit will just continue as it was before because it has NO reform in it whatsoever and just gives MORe money to the HMO's
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    The point is having union guys yelling back at teabaggers makes great television.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    more bread and circuses.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    This is an excellent strategy. I was wondering when the Dems were going to fight back on this.

    The GOP keeps using these protestors to add 'fake outrage' to drown out any real debate on the topic. So, you have the unions there to keep them in check. And, if nothing else, it just pisses off the GOP & insurance companies.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    like they need fake outrage, there's enough real outrage going around
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    The GOP uses the fake outrage to drown out the debate on healthcare at the town halls, and the fake outrage is getting all of the press over the authentic outrage.

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    The GOP uses the fake outrage to drown out the debate on healthcare at the town halls, and the fake outrage is getting all of the press over the authentic outrage.
    A couple of these healthcare townhalls sound like they've been taken over by the Birthers -- but it's people complaining about the healthcare overhaul.

    Sean Hannity had pollster Frank Luntz on two nights ago, and even Luntz was taken aback by the shrill rudeness of the participants. I think Hannity was surprised that Luntz, who normally is just there to comment on poll numbers, made a point of saying that people need to be more respectful of the politicians who are out there soliciting feeback.

    And on a side note - what the hell is up with Luntz's hair? It look like he plopped a coconut shell on top of his head.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    A couple of these healthcare townhalls sound like they've been taken over by the Birthers -- but it's people complaining about the healthcare overhaul.

    Sean Hannity had pollster Frank Luntz on two nights ago, and even Luntz was taken aback by the shrill rudeness of the participants. I think Hannity was surprised that Luntz, who normally is just there to comment on poll numbers, made a point of saying that people need to be more respectful of the politicians who are out there soliciting feeback.

    And on a side note - what the hell is up with Luntz's hair? It look like he plopped a coconut shell on top of his head.
    The birthers and the protestors definitely have some common traits. But I think the big difference is the birthers are fueled by racism and the healthcare protestors are fueled by the money & socialism rhetoric from the GOP & insurance companies.

    And Hannity is surprised whenever anyone talks sense to him. As for Luntz, he's a smart guy but he reminds me of a Hobbit.


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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Tampa Town Hall On Health Care Reform Disrupted By Violence (VIDEO)

    First Posted: 08- 6-09 07:54 PM | Updated: 08- 6-09 10:16 PM

    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 St. Petersburg Times:
    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.
    The Tampa Tribune reports that some protesters carried racist caricatures of President Obama and added details of more fights and scuffles:
    Several of the protesters' signs bore an image of Obama with his face painted as the Joker, an image that drew protests of racism locally when it appeared on a Web site thought to be associated with the Pinellas Republican party.

    There were at least two scuffles between protesters trying to enter and organizers manning the doors.

    One of those involved in a scuffle, Randy Arthur, of Oldsmar said he was injured by those manning the doors and said he would file a police report... Randy Arthur, who owns an air conditioning service company, later talked to police officers, his knit shirt ripped and a few scratches visible on his chest. "They slammed him into the wall,'' Kathy Arthur said.
    Here is video of the health care forum.
    Tampa Town Hall On Health Care Reform Disrupted By Violence (VIDEO)

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    Elite Member Mr. Authority's Avatar
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    THere's an upcoming town hall meeting near where I live taking place. I'm tempted to borrow my dad's pickup truck and run over a few "bumps" along the way.

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Tampa, Florida
    [youtube]yX4F_cb9AXk[/youtube]

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    This is an excellent strategy. I was wondering when the Dems were going to fight back on this.

    The GOP keeps using these protestors to add 'fake outrage' to drown out any real debate on the topic. So, you have the unions there to keep them in check. And, if nothing else, it just pisses off the GOP & insurance companies.

    I agree it's excellent strategy. The GOP and its allies have cornered the market on fake outrage lately. Bunch of whiners.

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    This was QUITE a scene. Im glad it didnt end up in violence. They didnt give the whole story of course. They only opened the doors to staffers and left the rest outside, that had been waiting and waiting, which set everything off. The venue was too small and not one person interviewed said a word about Glenn Beck...errr. Not that I agree with everything but they are exercising their ammendment right to free speech. They just want their voice heard, and they want to know what is being said in the meeting. If the tables were turned...This is only going to get worse Im afraid. There are protestors all over Baywalk and they are there everyday, its crazy.These are for the most part, middleclass Americans that already have insurance. People are scared, they are getiing all kinds of information. alot of it false. They dont know whats going to happen and they are feaking out. They want their voice heard, thats not whining. How would any of us feel if we didnt know what the heck was going to happen to our healthcare and you werent allowed to have your say, or to hear whats being said.We have been lied to so many times its understandable to feel passionate. And when you feel like you are being pushed out in only fuels the fire.
    Last edited by cupcake; August 7th, 2009 at 06:05 AM.
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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffy View Post
    Tampa, Florida
    [youtube]yX4F_cb9AXk[/youtube]
    This reminds me of the same fake outrage protest from the 2000 Florida recount that Rachel Maddow showed the other night. The GOP really are just dusting off the old ploys.

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