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August 7th, 2009
06:35 AM ET

Avlon: 'Wingnuts' confuse patriotism with hyper-partisanship

Editor’s note: John P. Avlon is the author of Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics and writes a weekly column for The Daily Beast. Previously, he served as Chief Speechwriter for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="William Jefferson (L) and Bob MacGuffie (R)."]

Politics is getting heated in the month of August, as health care debates cause the "tea party" activists to hijack town halls and a former Democratic congressman finds himself heading to the cooler for corruption. It’s all in this edition of "Wingnuts of the Week."

Cartoonish corruption is a stereotype often associated with big city Democrats from Boss Tweed to Rod Blagojevich. Former New Orleans Congressman William Jefferson officially entered the "ring of dishonor" this week with his conviction of using his public office to enrich himself.

The eight-term Democratic Congressman and member of the influential House Ways and Means Committee was accused of having taken more than $400,000 in bribes tied to business ventures in Africa, including an infamous $90,000 in cold, hard cash found in his home freezer.

Undaunted by the evidence and embarrassment, Jefferson ran for re-election in 2008 and was defeated despite his attempts to play the victim of a government sting.

Jefferson's lawyer offered the defense that his client was stupid and unethical, but not criminal. The jury decided otherwise.

During the trial, Mr. Jefferson's team also tried to play the race card by arguing that the congressman was disadvantaged by the trial's location in Virginia, where the cold cash was found. While the congressman’s wife was at his side during all six weeks of the trial, it appears that she was still being paid for her position at a state college in Louisiana – adding insult to the taxpayers’ injury.

Sentencing will proceed in October, but it's likely that former Rep. Jefferson will be joining his money in the cooler for a long time.

On the right, the "tea party" movement is taking to the town halls as congressmen face angry activist constituents during the summer recess. The curtain was pulled back on these organized efforts in the form of a wingnut memo written by Connecticut grassroots conservative activist Bob MacGuffie.

Titled “Rocking the Town Halls – Best Practices” and written under the banner of MacGuffie’s group “RightPrinciples” – the memo seeks to teach people how to disrupt the town halls held in support of what is called “the socialist agenda of the Democrat leadership in Washington.”

In a perfect wingnut irony, the memo counsels conservatives to “Use the [Saul] Alinsky playbook of which the left is so proud: freeze it, attack it, personalize it and polarize it.”

“The objective is to put the Rep on the defensive…you need to rock the boat early. Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Reps statements’ early. If he blames Bush for something or offers other excuses – call him on it, yell back and have someone else follow up with a shout out…Look for these opportunities even before he takes questions.” Beyond barraging the congressmen, the stated goal is to intimidate the undecided: “We want the independent thinkers to leave the hall with some doubts about the Democrat solutions continually proposed by the national leadership.”

This is politics as an ideological bloodsport, where civility is the first calculated casualty. And things are starting to get ugly, with Maryland Congressman Frank Kratovil being hung in effigy outside his office, Congressman Tim Bishop having to be escorted to his car by police after one town hall and North Carolina Congressman Brad Miller deciding to cancel his August town halls after receiving a death threat. Protesters against Connecticut senator Chris Dodd suggested that he commit suicide with whiskey and painkillers as a treatment for his newly disclosed prostate cancer. One sign at that rally summed up the fear-mongering: “universal health care = equals medical genocide.” Needless to say, neither universal health care or genocide is being contemplated in the current bills. As freshman Virginia Representative Gerry Connolly said, “They’re inciting people to riot with just total distortions of facts. They think we’re going to euthanize Grandma and the government is going to take over.”

But Democrats make a mistake if they think conservative populist outrage over health care and the unprecedented government spending is artificial and canned. It is genuine, building off the kind of deficit hawk frustration that gave rise to the Ross Perot’s independent campaign in 1992. But those activists who are trying to stir the pot of hysteria and hatred toward our elected representatives are playing a dangerous game. They are confusing patriotism with hyper-partisanship.

In a bonus round of "Wingnuts of the Week," here’s a headline that caught my attention: “Bacon as a Weapon of Mass Destruction.” In an article from the Indypendent, explicated on the network Democracy Now, columnist Arun Gupta details the explosion in park consumption fueled by industrial farming. The controversy as detailed in the recent documentary “Food, Inc.” is complex and not uninteresting, but with hysterical headlines like that you can’t help but think that the wingnut PC police are coming for your bacon next. Enjoy your breakfast while you can.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John Avlon.

Filed under: Wingnuts of the week
soundoff (281 Responses)
  1. lsmith

    Incredible. After reading about 20 of these posts, I have realized that we are all doomed. There is a cold civil war going on in this country. a Quiet, polite, culture war that is covered up by consumer civility.

    What are all you people arguing about? The right to protest? The right to disrupt? How the other guys did it last time, and now we can do it too?

    Red vs Blue, it's a gang fight now, a turf war. No more sophisticated than a schoolyard brawl.

    How is it evil to want health care for everyone? how is it wrong to argue, legitimately the points for and against different methods of taking care of ourselves. Why can't we look at models from other countries? Why aren't we actually talking about Heath Care Reform?

    this has all been horribly distorted, and now all I see are threats, hollow accusations and lies. Armed protests, and irrational arguments and questions thrown around with so much ignorant pride. I really wonder what it's supposed to gain, and who gains from all this? I fear it corporations, who owe no allegiance, and care not for your vote or well being, only your dollar.

    August 21, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  2. 2manyhorses

    Hello, wingnuts...

    Medicare and Medicade ARE government run health care programs!!!

    The anti-government hysteria reminds me of all the de-regulation that added enormously to our current financial crisis.

    I can barely afford my massive monthly health care premiums and the pharmaceutical companies are getting rich at my expense.

    Private industry is not out to be altruistic, they are in it to make a profit, DUH!

    Bring on the government!!

    August 17, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  3. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    All wingnuts do not know anything about our country, and they do not care to learn either, they exists solely to spread hate and fear! So they do not mind telling lies, as long as the fear level rises they can feel justified in their horrid acts!

    August 17, 2009 at 6:56 am |
  4. Dr. Gregory Garamoni

    Ron Howerton on August 14th, 2009 9:56 am ET said:

    "the fact that you post anonymously casts doubt on your opinion anyway."

    If you took the time, you would see that my original post was not anonymous:

    Dr. Gregory Garamoni August 8th, 2009 9:39 pm ET

    Now you should know that if you think hate mail will make me go away, "Jesus of Nazareth" already told me to go to hell."

    August 15, 2009 at 7:06 pm |
  5. hypocrites_are_everywhere

    Right wingnuts,

    Remember? "You are either with us or against us." What did Bush say that you don't seem to understand?

    Until, at least, 2016, it's fun watching you getting slaughtered and screaming all the way to heaven/hell with your patriotism and morality! 🙂

    August 15, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  6. john

    Well we know that the Republicans will say and do anything to be in power. They're lying about these death panels (Palin, Grassley, ect...). John Mcain and Palin lied about Obama several times during his campaign. If the republicans had a plan (which they don't) I would look at it. They don't have a plan because healthcare reform means and end to their easy money. And don't forget that right now our healthcare "IS" being rationed; not by procedure but by the patient as a whole. Like toolz shed said " health reform means government FUNDED, not government in scrubs". Take out the greedy middlemen (corporations which feed the health industry, big pharma) and there you go, plenty of money to cover everyone.

    August 14, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  7. Toolz Shed

    I hate people who want health care reform. I hate people who don't think and look like me.

    I think we should abolish Medicaid (a socialist government program) and let the unemployed people die. We'll save billions in tax dollars. They don't contribute to society. They're a drain. Good for nothing. We'll consider it population control.
    And those who pay huge premiums and get their claims denied... who cares? They'll eventually die too. I don't care. It's not me. I don't want my tax dollars helping anyone but me.

    August 14, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  8. Toolz Shed

    Government in scrubs... LOL... what a concept.

    Obama asked congress to draft a bill. A bill that he will sign or veto. He has a vision for the plan... but he's not writing the plan. If you don't want health care reform, fine. Tell your senators... but at least know what your asking. Don't kill something out of fear and hate for change and then regret it later when YOU or your loved one loses their insurance or gets a claim denied. Get the facts and make a logical choice... and then voice your opinion by contacting your senator. PS... of course the bill is long... health care reform is an enormous undertaking... with a long list of ramifications. You can't draft this sort of bill using a few pages.

    August 14, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  9. Toolz Shed

    I respect that Obama is taking a solid stance. That's integrity. He's keeping a campaign promise. Doing what he was elected to do.

    He said: He believes that reforming health care is the right thing to do. Who benefits from health care reform? Him? He said it could cost him the presidency, but he's going to continue fighting for it because he believes it is right. He told us during his campaign that he was going to reform health care. What... you're scared now because your out of your comfort zone?

    Redirect medicaid funds.. that will help pay for it. No... I didn't say medicare. I said medicaid.

    I would like to add that Palin changes her mind and stance depending on her target audience. That's not leadership people. That's hypocrisy.

    August 14, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  10. Toolz Shed

    Health Care Reform means government funded… not government in scrubs.

    August 14, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  11. Toolz Shed

    Health Reform means government funded… not government in scrubs.

    August 14, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  12. Ron Howerton


    I have no desire to understand you or your viewpoint on this subject. Your only expressed interest is to stifle debate, which you do by insulting anybody who expresses a opinion opposing your own narrow worldview. Furthermore, the fact that you post anonymously casts doubt on your opinion anyway.

    IMHO, you and the people like you are why conservatives lost the last election. Hope you enjoy the next 8 years!

    August 14, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  13. Amy - ILLINOIS

    There is a power vaccuum and no -one including the president has stepped up. Obama himself has just inflammed the situation by dictating the absurd to pass a bill NOW on healthcare reform even though such a bill does not exist.

    The fundamental question is NOT do we need healthcare reform. Not wether we as a country need to have a mechanism in place to provide basic healthcare to all citizens. We absolutely need to work to fullfill those basic needs as a great country and as a basic human moral obligation.

    The Democratic/ Obama view has been demonstrated to be to unify control and create a more nebulus and larger player (I.E government plan) to compete with the free market to force competition from the top down. A rosey and misguided understanding of the free market and a step to allow government ( which is the last refuge for indiviuals in the greastest need ) to further ilfiltrate into indiviuals lives. So far the plans they have put forth do not do anything to actually lower cost and increase openness and ease the fears of government intrusion into the lives of indiviuals.
    Obama was elected by majority to create change. If the republican party is the party of NO – the democratic party is the party of dissentives. The current bills in play will not create a more fair market system but will fundamently cause people to be forced over to the government plan which to be deficit neutral will need to drasticly ration care or raise taxes. Regardless of the promises " RESOURCES ARE LIMITED " you cant make something out of nothing
    The current plans being considered provide

    1) Dissesentives for individuals to make money – Taxes on those making 350,000.

    Capitalism is responsible for the greatest advances in health care in our lifetimes – capitolism and profiteerism is responsible for some of the worst conditions in health care in the greatest country in the world.

    2) Dissensentives to be resposible – limit on medical savings ; account – reducing cost for patients who refuse to stop smoking, eat correctly, be inconvienced by waiting or showing up for an appointment ( LOOK AT ER VISITS AT ILLINOIS HOSPITALS – NON-EMERGENT CARE FOR INDIVIUALS WITH GOVERNMENT INSURANCE (MEDICAID)by taking My hard earned money.

    3) Dissensentive for doctors to make money and/or act as a buisness. On HR3200 apparently conress is much more trust worthy than our own doctors, and pharmacist because they propose restrictions on them they aparrently don't need to apply to themselves (campaign finance reform )

    3) Dissensentivess for buisnesses to provide insurance. If current legislation is enacted why would a buisness provide insurance if it is much more cost effective not too. Many buisness provide insurance as a benefit and as a moral obligation but bottom line is the true difining factor and the fee for not providing is less expensive than providing coverage
    The promise if you like your plan you can keep it – if you like you doctor you can keep it – can only work and be true **AGAIN YOU CAN NOT MAKE SOMETHING FROM NOTHING** if your current plan is not being offered !!

    The above sentence reflects the reason for the true and real anger in townhall meetings ( excepted is Obamas meeting with " cherry picked " participants)
    Obama is once again dictating the absurd pass a health care bill now that does not exist further- more bills are being negotiated without public input *** and it has apparently been decided without understanding the true will of the people*** that the governement will assume ***DIRECT*** responsibilty for an indiviuals most sacred and personal right – their own health.
    People are currently asking why the public feels their voices are not being heard even with the response at town hall meetings ? Most of the public believes the president and congress have decided what they plan to do and the town hall meeting are just perfuctory actions for congress to figure out how to "spin" and "word" what they have already decided to do.
    These meetings are any thing but open and honest every one claims the bills have not been hammered out and all ideas are on the table but that is NOT true. The public realizes the only idea on the table is the creation of a larger government plan that does not promote personal responsibilty and will not be deficit neutral. Even now the spin to decrease the effects of CAP and TRADE deficits are occuring. Example – IT's just a reallocation of resources "
    How is the governement healthcare plan going to be deficit neutral ... Obama has already started the spin... the deficit is over 10 years... you are paying for uninsured already etc.

    Reform now !

    But lets reform what's broken.. The first rule must be DO NO HARM . NO GOVERMENT PLAN – cover short term, chronic, and basic access only !!!
    Our country does not need our politicians to re-create the wheel. Demand that your politicians represent the will of the people and not the will of the government

    August 14, 2009 at 6:46 am |
  14. Lynda


    Are you seriously comparing what a lawyer does and what a doctor does. I can choose to have a lawyer, in most cases having a doctor is a necessaity to save my life.

    This garbage about people being encouraged to die is just right-wingnut propaganda. The fact that someone may actually have access to information that would help them make a well-informed decision about making a living will, is not where near encouraging people. But I'm sure you believe that keeping teen-agers ignorant of facts keeps them from getting knocked up.

    Do you believe that right now, with all the people who are completely uninsured, they have made a decision to put themselves and their families at risk of illness, death or at best bankrupcy? I'd rather have the government be helping me and I would never ever chose to see a doctor like you so you don't have to worry about having to see riff-raff like me.

    August 13, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  15. john

    glgphd, your absolutely right. You don't have to tell anyone why you would make healthcare more affordable and ensure universal healthcare. That's why you haven't been voted in to do so and many others "have". Just like the many laws that regulate "your" line of work for "many" reasons, our law makers have to add more regulation because of people and corporations like you who could care less about all of our citizens and only care about their capitalistic self interest. So while you and others keep on "kicking and screaming" you will lose in the end.

    August 13, 2009 at 10:04 pm |
  16. glgphd


    Ridicule has had its place in the public square from the founding of our country.

    Your inference that I lack maturity and am unable to discuss this rationally is a non sequitur.

    Calling me a "fringe wingnut" is an ad hominem.

    I am not obliged to tell you how I "would make health care more affordable and ensure universal coverage" because my focus is on making policy wonks come up with solutions that respect the rights of patients and doctors to make private, personal, and independent health care decisions without government interference.

    Do you think lawyers would ever submit to a system of government-run "universal legal care" with their fees based on outcomes rather than billable hours?

    "do you honestly feel that the ill and poor should be encouraged to die and decrease the surplus population?" Give me a break. Of course not.

    August 13, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  17. Ron Howerton


    glgphd's rejection of altruism sounds like typical Ayn Rand rhetoric to justify his selfishness. Blindess to all but their own causes cost them control of the national agenda, and they now tilt at windmills for lack of any leadership on their part. You're beating your head against a wall trying to convince his kind they are wrong because nothing outside their own self-interest concerns them.


    Calling Obama the "Quack-in-Chief" only demonstrates a lack of maturity and an inabillity to discuss this rationally. Agitators shouting invectives are preventing America from debating this subject properly! IMHO, those who cannot cannot debate without resorting to ad hominem attacks do not deserve to be recognized. It's my hope the town meetings will start ejecting those whose only intent is to derail debate. You might consider that before posting another rant full of name calling and finger pointing.

    Rather than sounding like a fringe wingnut who can be safely ignored, you might try explaining how you would make health care more affordable and ensure universal coverage. Or do you honestly feel that the ill and poor should be encouraged to die and decrease the surplus population? Just how selfish do you want the right to be?

    August 13, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  18. john

    Glgphd, Why would The government want to come between doctors and their patients? That's not what the dems have purposed at all. It seems that for all your education you have totally missed everything i've said.

    August 12, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  19. glgphd


    First of all, I am a practicing psychologist who invested 14 years in undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate education and training to do what I do. Your guess that I only studied to get money–like the rest of your statements–is a gross distortion of reality. I could have made a lot more money continuing to work in HR in corporations as I had been doing for 10 years before going to graduate school. In fact, I missed out on making (with stock options) somewhere between $1,500,000 to $2,500,000 during those years.

    Our "Quack-in-Chief" is practicing medicine without license and "outcome"-based compensation is a collectivist-utopian scheme to invite government bureaucrats to intrude on doctor-patient relationships.

    Your comments about ethics reveal your ignorance, naivete, or both. I reject the moral theory of altruism–that selfless service to others is noble–that self-sacrifice is one's highest virtue and measure of person's moral worth. The ethic of altruism that has been used by collectivists like Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Mao, and Pol Pot to justify the subordination and sacrifice of the individual to the will of the collective.

    Relationships between people should be voluntary and mutually beneficial–neither sacrificial nor predatory. Persuasion not force is the way to obtain values.

    August 12, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  20. john

    Throttled career? I guess you only studied to get the money. That sounds like a sad fact and I don't know any medical school that promotes that kind of thinking. President Obama is trying to get medical professionals to focus on the patient's best outcome and stop the rewards of individual fee for service. We patients are people, citizens of the U.S., and we're being treated like a cable tv package where "more is better". If you, Dr.Greg, don't like to do what's right then I guess it's good for you to step down. Your obviously not the best man for the job and you might want to retake your ethics classes over again; review is good especially if you've lost your way.

    August 10, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  21. DrGreg

    In Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, there’s a brain surgeon, Dr. Hendricks, who refused to practice under a socialized medicine. This monologue explains why Dr. Hendricks decided to shrug and why life under Obama will imitate art:

    “I quit when medicine was placed under State control some years ago,” said Dr. Hendricks. “Do you know what it takes to perform a brain operation? Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill? That was what I could not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun. I would not let them dictate the purpose for which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice of patients, or the amount of my reward. I observed that in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything—except the desires of the doctors. Men considered only the ‘welfare’ of the patients, with no thought for those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire or choice in the matter, was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, but ‘to serve.’ That a man’s willing to work under compulsion is too dangerous a brute to entrust with a job in the stockyards—never occurred to those who proposed to help the sick by making life impossible for the healthy. I have often wondered at the smugness at which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to stifle my mind—yet what is it they expect to depend on, when they lie on an operating table under my hands? Their moral code has taught them to believe that it is safe to rely on the virtue of their victims. Well, that is the virtue I have withdrawn. Let them discover the kind of doctors that their system will now produce. Let them discover, in the operating rooms and hospital wards, that it is not safe to place their lives in the hands of a man they have throttled. It is not safe, if he is the sort of man who resents it—and still less safe, if he is the sort who doesn’t.”

    August 10, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  22. john

    Hey Vinson Massif, I don't have diabetes, I run my own business, and I could probably bench press you, you flake! What's wrong? You don't want others to have healthcare? Are you one of the special people born with a silver spoon in your mouth? And to Dr. Garmoni, the laws will be rewritten to keep selfish, UN-ETHICAL docs like you from having your way. You call yourself a professional? if you don't like the U.S. you can move to Canada, England, or France. (ooops) You can't do what ever you want in these countries either! Anyway, we all know that it will be the SAME doctors and nurses treating us, just the incentive to treat will be different. Is the care received the BEST option OR the MOST profitable? That's the moral hazard that we have now. It's like putting your car in the shop and you can't trust the mechanic. The mechanic LIES to you and performs all kinds of unnecessary work to milk the job and your wallet.

    August 10, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  23. josephine

    The Repubs already have tried this tactic with the McCain/Palin campaign and look where it got them. Being loud and boisterous may make you feel that you won the argument but in the end you still are the loser.

    August 10, 2009 at 8:10 am |
  24. khemerRougeRedux

    Doesn't matter. Anyone who opposes the liberals are labled nazi, bigot, racists, homophobes. So be it Nancy Pelosi. I'm a nazi because I dont' want big government.

    "The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits. "

    "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty. "

    "What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? "

    "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them"

    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. "

    "Most bad government has grown out of too much government. "

    Thomas Jefferson.

    Bush started this mess and Obama is continuing it. Term limits for all in congress.

    August 10, 2009 at 12:58 am |
  25. democratsarefascists

    You Democrat HYPOCRITES.

    You were fine with Alinksy's communist tactics when you were using them.

    August 10, 2009 at 12:36 am |
  26. jock

    yo libs, no tax hikes, yea rite, all 57 states suffer, stick to guns and religion

    August 9, 2009 at 11:49 pm |
  27. Cynic

    The author of this article is letting letting bias get in the way when connecting the dots from A to B:

    the stated goal is to intimidate the undecided: “We want the independent thinkers to leave the hall with some doubts about the Democrat solutions continually proposed by the national leadership.”
    (End Quote)

    How is introducing doubt in the minds of independent thinkers even imply intimidation?

    I found it hard not to tune out the rest of the article after that ridiculous example.

    August 9, 2009 at 11:48 pm |
  28. G Trystn Taylor

    The "brownshirt" behavior is being demonstrated by the fearmongers in the so-called "republican" so-called "party" – more properly known as the FUBAR Protestant Neo-Communist Mob.
    Yes, they are stupidly afraid of social services, after all, CPS punishes them for carrying their fondest fantasies.
    Yes, they are right to worry about government control, however their fatal flaw is that they, exactly like the "liberals" they deplore live under the delusion that government is "altruistic, benevolent, and able to legislate away the world's ills" according to their book of goatherders' fairytales. (Even the book itself refutes this fantasy repeatedly.)

    August 9, 2009 at 11:41 pm |
  29. rebecca

    Hey John why don't you look who wrote the legislation that allowed for the creation of HMOs. I'm sure if you search in the right places you will find that it was good old Ted Kennedy that brought that forward. So if you want to blame anyone for the HMOs you can blame the Dems.
    If my representative was having a town hall I would go. I certainly would not be disruptive or rude but these people represent us and they need to listen to what we say.

    August 9, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  30. joe

    Its the fiduciary duty of these politicians to obey the oath they have taken. Voting on laws without reading them is taxation without representation and should be held accountable. Breach of trust and of office at the very least! The constitution is a contract between the people and the government, failure to keep that contract is by definition a breach, action must be taken to stop this tyranny! Call them all out and stop this madness!

    August 9, 2009 at 10:06 pm |
  31. john

    To continue where notshouting left off, I believe there is nothing wrong with dissent, but when they dissenters have a playbook to disrupt a legislator such as " yell before he or she has a chance to talk" and "sit down immediately so your not thrown out" tactics, that's more than dissent, that's plain disrespectful. Healthcare reform is coming, our population has become too large and the insurance companies have become too out of touch for it not to. We trust the gov with our military and control of our nukes and they do fine.

    August 9, 2009 at 9:01 pm |
  32. john

    Very well put "notshouting".

    August 9, 2009 at 8:52 pm |
  33. Pam

    The wing nuts are the same NUTS that use Jesus Christ as their poster boy to gain votes.It's truly disgusting to attend church and listen to so called ministers bash the health care fight.They teach and preach the opposite of what the new testement teaches about humanity.

    August 9, 2009 at 8:45 pm |
  34. Pam

    Of course Lush Limbaugh doesnt want universal health coverage.He's made a disgusting fortune to the tune of 350 million being the spokesperson for the billionaire club. The bottome line for these money hog colluionist is to use the airwaves,pay off these phony protesters and maintain the status quo. Again,while Lush,Rabid Coulter,Fox Spews and their talking heads become wealthier using nazi brainwash tactics,and money book deals,their mindless and zombie like followers become poorer. It's amazing to me that after this debate was began in the early 1900's we're still fighting each other to prevent what should be a human right,and not a priviledge for all American citizens.But that would dip into the status quo money monopoly. And false face,inferior educated,sociopath appearing Palin,needs to stay in AK and teach her younger children about sex education,and how to protect themselves from the media by keeping her ego out of the spotlight.Her 15 minutes of nauseating fame is up.

    August 9, 2009 at 8:41 pm |
  35. Lynda

    Dr. Gregory Garamoni - OH MY GOD.. I missed the best part of your post. Health care is not a right. You just summed up everything that is wrong with you as a human being

    August 9, 2009 at 7:25 pm |
  36. Lynda

    Dr. Gregory Garamoni - wow... you take the cake!
    We are Americans.. we believe in individual rights. To H*ll with out friends and neighbors, it's all about me!

    Forcing people to have health care reduces costs with preventive medicine.. DUH
    Forcing business to give insurance (if this wasn't untrue I could still argue it.. why not force them , they make their money off the backs of their employees labor.
    Forcing one group to pay for another... oh yeah.. helping someone else again.. ME first
    Forcing future generation to pay for present care. Well let me take away your social insurance. Oh right.. ME First!
    Forcing patients/doctors to participate in government plan.. Really.. come on.. really?

    Oh heck, you drone on and on...

    Anyone on here want to raise their hand if they would be willing to refuse affordable health care for their families in order to have NOTHING and go bankrupt when the kid needs his tonsils taken out? If there is anyone, I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.

    August 9, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  37. ed

    to notshouting: while your elitist attitude makes it painfully obvious that you think a lot of yourself and your intelligence, your knowledge of how this country is supposed to run is lacking. whether people are stupid or not (i agree there are a lot of them, but that is their right, and they are not all conservatives) representatives and senators have a DUTY to listen to their constituents and represent their desires in congress. that doesn't mean they have to act on those desires, especially if it is not the majority. but they do need to listen to know that they are many sides to this argument. there is no IQ test for voting or being a citizen of the US, therefore your comments about the reps not listening to people because they cannot form a complete sentence shows just how low you think of everyone around you. so much for caring about everyone. literacy tests to vote were outlawed for a reason, apparently you dont think they should have been

    August 9, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  38. vinson massif

    lol, John the tough key board warrior. I'm sure you are closer to 6 feet 300 pounds. Probably have diabetes, bad job & want us who work hard for a living to pay for you lazy, loser lifestyle.

    August 9, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  39. Lynda

    Joe–Both parties are corrupt – but if I had to choose, I'd pick the Republicans, only because they believe I should keep more of my paycheck.

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news Joe, but the only reason the Rep want you to keep more money in your paycheck is so you can direct it to their friends families and cronies in over-priced goods and services that will benefit them.

    August 9, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  40. Lynda

    Pragmatic Mississippi Girl

    Do I remember Vietnam.. Heck yes! The reason why I got to move to one of the greatest most caring countries in the world.. Canada (not perfect, but darn close). Now that we're getting older my family would like me to come home.. Not in a million years. I have never waited more than a few days for a doctor, one I chose and no.. no bogey man here, no one is telling my doctor how to treat me (Sarah Palin should be ashamed of her lies)

    August 9, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  41. Rodney Hytonen

    FIFTY email notices of posts in a few minutes indicates to me an organized campaign.

    And "organized" can mean it's all the viewpoint (and even originated by) one person, or a really tiny, Napoleonic minority.

    "Shock and Awe," my butt.

    A plethora of lies are still nothing but lies, and admit much in their desperation.

    In this case the desperation is that of an indefensibly greedy Industry, for its self-consciously undeserved and exorbitant profits, incidentally intentionally maximized through callous fomentation of human suffering and death.

    Such an "Industry" should not survive in any form, except carefully regulated nonprofit, from bottom to top.

    August 9, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  42. notshouting

    Unfortunately the "average American Public" is all too often ill-informed, easily manipulated, and forms its opinions based on sound bites from the last news report that it has heard, from the only source it uses.

    This is why elected officials don't, and shouldn't, listen to their constituents, when these constituents can't spell or put together a coherent sentence in defense of their points of view.

    The current health-care system is unsustainable, period. Just because "you got yours" (until the insurance company cancels your coverage for getting too sick) doesn't mean others aren't suffering from a broken system.

    Frankly, I'm very uncomfortable with the idea that the hardworking professionals quietly working to improve my family's health care future could be derailed by a bunch of C-minus citizens disrupting town hall meetings and making fools of themselves at the behest of professional fearmongers.

    I'm getting way beyond tired of having every new idea pounced on, distorted beyond recognition, and stomped to death before it has a fair hearing or civil discussion. I'm tired of wingnuts, bleeding heart liberals, socialists, commies, fascists, morons, and all the other labels that substitute for thoughtful discourse.

    If you are worried about socialism, then you'd better pull your kids out of public school, get your parents off of Medicare, turn in your library card, stay off public highways, get off the electric grid (yup, there goes your computer access!) and disconnect your phone so that no one in your home can call 911 for help in an emergency.

    The very reason that "socialized medicine" has to be considered is that Big Insurance is now in charge of our health care system, and hijacking the whole concept of personal choice. You'd better believe that they aren't going to give it up unless they get a big cut of the action. And THAT is what should be worrying everybody most!

    August 9, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  43. Pragmatic Mississippi Girl

    People who protest are concerned about healthcare, regardless if they are reading conservative websites or not. If you disagree with protest and scathing name-calling, you should also realize this is a major tactic of liberals. Are you unaware of the legions of protests during Vietnam or is your memory that convenient?? THINK.

    August 9, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  44. William

    The "tearing of hair", the "rending of sack cloth", the "gnashing of teeth", the "gouging of eyes ", and the "din of tongues " will continue until September 8th when some pretty peeved legislators return to Washington to pass the strongest health care reform ever! The folks causing the disturbance (the anti-reform folks) are just the same crowd (mob) that John and Sarah courted back in November in an effort to get a lock on the village idiot vote.

    August 9, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  45. john

    Well folks, we know the right thing is to provide health insurance for all and to stop HMO's from DISCRIMINATING against the sick or unhealthy! What the insurance companies are doing (cherry picking) is just plain INHUMANE!!!!!!!! We must run this country with a moral compass. Yes that means higher taxes for you mr. and mrs. $350k on up. If I go to any town hall meetings and some repub WINGNUT won't shut his mouth, i'm going to grab him or her and throw them out!!! I'm 6 foot 6 and 275lbs, shout at your own risk!!

    August 9, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  46. vinson massif

    I'm so tired of the lame talking points liberals are grabbing from the DNC homepage regarding this bill. Lib loons have majority of power but blame groups at town hall mettings. pathetic.

    Once the government takes over something, it never gives it back. The quality of life under government run health care will drop significantly in this country. There will be no competition. No incentive.

    Government will be making life and death decisions. Not the individual. So go ahead and spout your weak talking points and finger Obama like a good little drone. Personally, I will never accept my government having that type of control or power over my life.

    August 9, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  47. Jonathan Basye

    These are regular ordinary people who are sick of the republicans and the democrats good people and draw no distinction between the two because they know that most politicians are working at the top bought and paid for by the International bankers that have robbed American citizens blind and are sick of it more than 70% were against the bailout , the war, the health care plan with eugenics, the new world order which is really the old world order ~~~ every time the people vote its overtuned in the courts. this is the land of " We the People" not a Bankster run moffia/dictatorship with a scientific overlay &......Should Americans be upset that Fascism and Socialism is slitting the throat of our nation and that our freedom, bill of rights and our liberties are on the choppingblock..Im glad folks are waking up to the left right dummy fight and breaking through in order to stop this sickening all to powerful federal government and stop this futile totalitarian corporate BANKER takeover before its to late. People are coming out with the spirit of 1776 and I'm proud of American citizens...the corruption has awakened the sleeping giant .....Politicians are there to represent the good of the people not the good of elite bankers. I urge all all politicians and media who are guilty of this to leave your post before its to late resign before the American people have found out what you have done.....because the parties over..

    August 9, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  48. Joe

    "Since our reps don’t seem to listen when we call and email, how else is one to be heard if they don’t start shouting?"

    Did you ever think that they do listen to you, but it just happens there are more people that think the opposite of what you think? Your solution to not being heard is to throw a temper tantrum like a child? This is just getting sad.

    August 9, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  49. Rogerandout

    Hey wingnuts, did you speak out when left wing radicals were screaming and camping out protesting George Bush. Did George Bush go on Natl TV to call them out, if you think these people protesting are nuts and should be "rounded up" obviously have a serious problem so get the heck out of my country. Protesting is a fundamental right ,so don't tell me about organized mayhem. The Dems invented it.

    August 9, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  50. PJBurke

    Reich Wingers start from a fact-immune, wholly ill-informed position which is part misinformation, part disinformation and part free-wheeling delusion...

    then they proceed - irrationally, illogically and ineptly - through a series of utterly baffling, incoherent, pretzel-logic assertions and conclusions which make no rational sense whatsoever...

    and so therefore the hapless, witless Reich Wingers babble and bluster and blunder their way - always and inevitably - deep into the muck of fact-free, reason-challenged Error.

    It has always been thus.

    August 9, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  51. PJBurke

    Reich Wingers are such witless hypocrites. Even after both Bush and Cheney's public admissions of having ordered torture - on top of all the prior felonies and deliberate, methodical Constitution-shredding - there wasn't even a muted peep from the Reich Wing.

    Even after it became public knowledge that such Bush-Cheney-ordered torture had resulted in the known-and-documented torture-homicides of 100-plus detainees (and counting)... people who were never even charged with any crime or offense who were beaten to death, frozen to death, and even children who were raped to death in front of their own mothers... there wasn't even a muted peep of objection from the Reich Wing.

    Even after the commission of the "supreme war crime" of launching an illegal war of aggression (based on deliberate lies and fabricated intelligence) which squandered $12 billion a month FOR YEARS... and which recklessly - and pointlessly - sacrificed several thousand of our military servicemember's lives and maimed tens of thousands of others... and which recklessly, callously - and, again, pointlessly - sqandered the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians and displaced roughly 4 million more... and again, there wasn't even a muted peep of objection from the Reich Wing.

    BUT NOW... now that we try to direct our government to restructure our unsustainably dysfunctional healthcare system - to do something to save lives instead of taking them... for a change - NOW they find their outrage and their voice.

    Harrumph. The mass murder-cheering, torture-loving, war criminal revering Reich Wing warmongers need to sit down and be quiet. Their turn is over.

    America is back under adult supervision. Get used to it.

    August 9, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  52. amy Illinois

    The Democratic and Republican leaders (yes president Obama included ) are displaying hypocrisy with no limits .
    It was Obama who said " get in there faces and question them) – Were going to punch back twice as hard – the republicans just NEED TO GET OUT OF THE WAY....
    The Republican leaders just trying to kill the bill for any reason is just absurdity.

    Obama is dictating the absurd - pass a bill now - even though that bill does not exist in any reasonable form, furthermore he's saying trust me I will not sign a bill that does meet my requirements. Those requirements are obtuse and unclear.
    With all due respect, even if you truly trust Obama do you trust congress who so far has been developing a bill without transparency and openness and bipartisan that Obama said he would make sure happens. This is the same congress who added 2 jets to a defense appropriations bill ( just because ????) at a time when everyone is tightening their belts and limiting their spending. The same congress who over the last years ( republican and democratic majorities ) pilfered away the so called medicare trust fund and now want to establish 1 or 4 or 5 (HR 3200) trust funds. Give Me a break !
    Is the yelling rude, uncivilized, counter productive YES YES YES
    IT's absolutely real ! Orchestrated on not it doesn't matter. This whole process has been schizophrenic and anything but open? The yelling is further provoked by indicating those involved are pawns ? They just want to be heard and so far have had no other platforms.
    Just a concept for all those supporters who want a government plan to compete with the free market look at the consequences of Fannie May and Freddie Mac . (CLINTON – DEMOCRATIC REFORM) . The housing market and banking crisis was strongly influenced because the free market had to compete with the government plan.
    Government plans should be only short term, or for catastrophic or for chronic illnesses. Look at Illinois medicaid the emergency rooms have a high number of visits with government insurance because of limited access and because of convenience. People need to be held accountable.
    Open reasonable debate without the pressure to pass anything ( good or bad ) and inclusion of the public in the actual process as opposed to being told how the government is going to effect their lives will stop the yelling.

    August 9, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  53. Joe

    Destroying our country with massive debt and changin our country from one of individual freedoms to one of governmnet serfdom The PROTESTERS ARE PATRIOTS! and calling them racists just proves the left has lost its way and been corrupted by special interest – unions who only care about dues and power, racial leaders who use race to maintain power while destroying the communities they supposedly represent and healthcae which has nothing to do with healthcare but everything to do with government power. Imagine a 25 million person healthcare government union which votes 100% democratic and supports the dems with billions of dollars These issues are not about healthcare but power. Do we want individual freedom or to live in a 1984 type society?? Lower standard of living and the end of the American dream These protesters are all that stands between America and utter destruction at the hand of the statists. God bless our protesters. Hopefully we can stop the insanity while we still have free elections and courts

    August 9, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  54. AJ

    Health care is not a right!!! Get that through your heads . I went a long time with out being able to afford health care. I never in all that time thought that some one should have to pay for me to have health care or that the govt. should pick up the tab. The People that want this heathcare bill are just the working Poor that did not do what they needed to do to get a good job and be able to afford to pay for thier own heath care. I spent seven years in school ( 4 under grad 3 masters) to make a good living for my self and my family, I don't want to have to pay for someone else.

    August 9, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  55. Bryce

    CNN, I don't think you are listening to the real people of this country who disagree with government-run health care. The premis of this bill is a loss of freedom, privacy and control. The government works for the people and the minute the government trys to BULLY its people into submission, we will fufill our duty as americans and fight back. These are not organized extreme protestors, but upset individual Americans. CNN is ignoring basic constitutional rights and is doing it's best to portray them as an organized effort. It is a shameful quest of shaping news rather than honest reporting.

    August 9, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  56. Tim

    It's simply amazing to me that there are so many people who loudly proclaim their disdain for any so-called "government control" of our sad health care system, yet for some reason do not accept that currently it is the health insurance companies that control our health care? And we all see how well that's working out! We do not get to elect the CEO's and executives at these companies. In addition, as private companies, they are not required to disclose all of their financial information to the public. At least with a government program, even if it's just health insurance reform, we do in fact have a chance to elect the representatives that are making policy.

    Some folks have asked, "Where are these 45-50 million Americans that do not have health insurance?" They are where they've always been – they are the voices that are seldom heard residing towards the bottom of the financial spectrum in America. If a leader could yoke their strength, these few "wingnuts" would be drowned out completely.

    August 9, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  57. Joe

    There is a video which outlines where the President wants to take this – Single Payer – Government Controlled System – if you don't believe you, watch the video.

    Both parties are corrupt – but if I had to choose, I'd pick the Republicans, only because they believe I should keep more of my paycheck. A tenet of the democrats has always been excuse driven and punitive to those who have some success.

    The President is pushing Healthcare reform to satisfy his "base" and needs to do it NOW because they have the power to cram anything down our throats with both houses controlled by his party.

    We have Former President Bush to thank for our new President.

    August 9, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  58. Thinker

    It is a shame that this organized disruptions of town hall meetings, are going on. whats even more disturbing about it, is that the republican party is endorsing it. Why are they afraid to have on open dialogue? why won't they condemn these actions?

    August 9, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  59. Joe the Troll

    Aren't the union people there of their own free will also?

    August 9, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  60. George

    Most of the disruption is being proliferated by people who appear only bent on ensuring that the health care message does not get to the average American. If these WingNuts would allow a civilized Town Hall meeting, it would signal the end of the GOP since ALL Americans stand to benefit; not just the 'chosen few rednecks'. This is the epitome of the Republican stand that a Black Man should not be allowed to succeed as PRESIDENT.

    The Town Hall meetings will not work as a medium of cross-information because of the orchestrated disruptions and the President should now revert to his e-mailing as well as public advertisement through the print and electronic media.

    August 9, 2009 at 9:53 am |
  61. folkslinger

    Not only is the 'silent majority' no longer silent, they're no longer the majority either.

    August 9, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  62. robla

    The Democratic Congress has so alienated the average American with wanting the government IN everything (send us your money and let us decide who gets what and when) that people of all parties are frustrated. Our elected leaders are supposed to listen but they appear hard headed, bent on spending with no plan or thought of where it's coming from (out pockets), and openly admit they don't read the bills they vote on. People are fed up. The original Boston Tea Party would be considered an orchestrated event today by Democratic standards. Is that so wrong that it's done that way? The Democrats have done the same thing in their campaign events and media appearances. They have made some serious mistakes and in the tried and true defensive technique, they're trying to find another enemy to focus on while labeling protestors as crackpots or plants.

    American's aren't happy with Congress and where it's leading America so they're mad.

    The protestors may be rude, almost out of control, and split on the issues, but what brings them to that point is real and they're frustrated. Pelosi and her ilk won't get it or listen. The better balanced minds of Congress and the Senate better.

    August 9, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  63. fiona

    President Obama ran his election campaign on reforming healthcare, maybe you should not have voted him into office.
    Some of these people could not do anything on their own, clearly the level of intelligence shown at some of these meetings confirms that.
    Can I just add, you would see this level of anger in the UK, if the government tried to take the NHS AWAY from the public.
    Too frighten the elderly in your society, with horror stories that I have heard on the US news channels is criminal, and those commentators doing it, must be dodging lightening bolts on their way in and out of church, because they are all good God fearing people aren't they!
    I pray for the day to come when Americans can feel the relief and peace of mind that comes with universal healthcare, yes it has its problems, and not the ones that are cited on your news channels, but I will stick to the NHS any day.
    By the way, the biggest problem is ABUSE of the system, by people coming from other countries including the USA, to get care under the NHS.

    August 9, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  64. Stan

    If there were two sides to the health care issue, debate would be much easier. The problem is we have at least 5 sides!

    1. President Obama – knows what we have doesn't work for too many people and wants a better system NOW. (needs to be more patient, the problem is too big to solve quickly).
    2. Nancy Pelosi – refuses to listen to anyone! Most closed-minded person in Washington! Her way or no way!
    3. Conservatives (Republicans?, Blue Dogs, Rush!) – cannot come up with any ideas at all, only to continue what doesn't work.
    4. The uninsured and under-insured – People left out of "the system" who have no choice but to clog emergency rooms because no one else will help them. Most could pay a "reasonable" fee to see a doctor, but no doctor will see them! (our system at work!)
    5. The fully insured – This group has no idea what their "health plans" really costs, and don't care! They never see the bill that gets sent to their insurance carrier. If they knew, they would be shocked!

    Of course there are other sides as well. The big mistake being made here is that we have the wrong people trying to fix a broken system. This is why the "plan" is 1800 pages long! Politicians do not research problems before acting. All they do is write something they cannot be blamed for if it goes wrong. No one really knows what is in this "plan" and it frightens everyone!

    These town hall meeting should have been held before one page was written! Politicians, however, don't like to talk with anyone other than lobbyists. This is where they went wrong! The only reasonable course of action is to throw out this 1800 page mystery document and start fresh. Talk with each other, investigate and most of all, listen! If you have written to your government representatives, you know what I mean! They are not interested in OUR opinions. The only response you get (if any) is a request for a donation!

    Health care reform is needed! Politicians are simply not qualified to do this job! Personally, I would like to see Collen Powell appointed to take on this issue! A "compassionate conservative" who knows the difference between "facts" and "fiction". Give him a big budget to hire truly competent people (we have many) and truly study this problem. We need something that will work and is affordable. Not a QUICK FIX!

    August 9, 2009 at 9:05 am |
  65. jean

    I'm pretty sure there are people at those town hall meetings who want to hear about the new proposed changes in health care, so to those of you who want to disrupt these meetings.......... shut the hell up.

    Let the independent thinker make up his own mind about health care reform.

    August 9, 2009 at 8:35 am |
  66. John

    Neither the left nor the right would have to go to such extremes if only the media would do their jobs and quit pandering to the democrat positions. Report the FACTS and let the public decide!

    August 9, 2009 at 8:24 am |
  67. City Girl

    I think the Republicans' behavior during the health care debate will cause the end of their party. The GOP will be no more. The Dems will split into two parties – one more conservative and one more liberal.

    I, for one, say good riddance. All we will get from the GOP is 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. Like the spies who returned from Canaan with wild stories about giants, the GOP keeps us from a better life complete with health care for all. We should ignore their false reports and march forward instead of dying in the wilderness.

    August 9, 2009 at 8:15 am |
  68. Steve

    CNN took a very different tacked when covering the war protestors during the Bush presidency. It is a shame when I have to read CNN and then the Drudge report to find the truth somewhere in the middle.

    August 9, 2009 at 7:53 am |
  69. Bernice

    You are, even on here, being highly misled! The GOP has nothing to do with sending one or more of Obamas groups to the meetings taking place across this country! There were emails sent out to try to stop the People from speaking, but they did not come from the GOP! The email came from the WH! The demos sent it!! Watch Fox News, see the REAL CLIP VIDEOS.....and then you will not be so easily decieved the next time!

    August 9, 2009 at 7:38 am |
  70. Jac

    The only people who ever read those 'memos' seem to be the press. I don't believe the elderly people who 'hijacked' that AARP meeting on youtube were a 'nazi mob' bussed in by insurance companies. Of course, CNN basically being DNC-TalkingPoint-TV they certainly won't show on it on the air.

    It's hilarious too that as recent as a year ago dissent was the greatest form of patriotism and organizing community activists was a laudable goal. It seems that the only activism allowed are left leaning groups, anything else is somehow illegitimate. Why they have an opinion we can't allow that!

    August 9, 2009 at 6:57 am |
  71. ed

    the liberals commenting on this site sicken me. the most common quote i read or hear is "do a little research for your self and stop being an ignorant redneck conservative" or some other derivation of that line. the irony of it is that 90% of them haven't read this bill for themselves or lack the brain power to interpret what it is saying. i have spent about 12 hours reading through the bill myself, and while i have not ready it in its entirety, i have hit some major points that prove to me that a glaring majority of people who talk like they are superior because of what they THINK they know are misinformed, on BOTH parties.

    no, this bill is not going to make private insurance illegal (conservative lie).

    yes, this bill may lead to the EVENTUAL (within 5 yrs) failure of all private insurance companies by placing too many restrictions on them and creating a public option that can adjust not only their rates but the rates of all private companies as well. (whether liberals want to believe it or not)

    no there is nothing about "death panels" explicitly stated in the bill (conservative lie)

    yes, there is too much ambiguity in the section pertaining to Advanced Care Planning and end of life care. it is stated that a concensus based organization will endorse proper techniques and measures for end of life care and the Secretary of Health will propose a set of measures based on that. but no details are given on who will make up the group, or what measures can be discussed. ( again most liberals believe there is no talk at all of end of life care)

    this bill will NOT cover illegal aliens

    you WILL be taxed if you do not have insurance of any kind. you will be required to have insurance whether through the public option or some private insurer.

    its surprising what you can learn if you take the time to really look it up instead of selectively believing what you hear and telling other people that they are misinformed. both liberals and conservatives are wrong most times from what i read and hear in discussions about what is contained in the bill. personally i dont like the bill because it is so vague! in every aspect, too much is left to interpretation, too much is left to be determined at a future date, and too much references amendments to other bills that you cannot find and are not stated within this bill.

    August 9, 2009 at 5:39 am |
  72. Ed S

    @Eric-I would not ride John so harshly for his views. I really think he is saying "poor Bush and poor Republicans" because he can't find any poor Democrats to blame for the financial and political mess we are in right now! Now, I've never been to Nancy Pelosi's private vineyard, and I've never, ever been invited to the Hamptons by Harry Reid. Suffice it to say, the Dems seemed to have made it through the Bush administration relatively unscathed.
    I really thought Bush was going to go down as the worst President in the history our nation.. Not anymore.
    And when you say, "no real tax increases over the last 17 years" are you referring to income taxes only? Or are you referring to all these other innovative taxes, like the death tax or fuel sur-tax, that we as Americans have been subjected to over that same period.
    And as for our "archaeic ideals" – you have to go all the way back to 1776 to understand where they came from. I'm just as guilty as John is for having them myself.
    I openly admit that I am a Republican. After embracing the horror that I have witnessed over the last six months (not to dismiss what happened to us over the previous eight years), I could never consider going any further left than the center of the aisle. Extreme left will never be an option for me based on what I have seen so far. If it were up to me, I'd fire every last one of them and start all over. I would honestly rather have people that don't understand anything except the Constitution and the Bill of Rights running our Country, than what we have in place right now.

    August 9, 2009 at 4:18 am |
  73. Ed S

    @Arlene-reading your post I can not help but think that it is the old and disabled that are attending these town hall meetings. Also, I agree that Medcare is a government-run program, but it is a broke government-run program. And the proposed healthcare reform will make it disappear. Recent former AARP members are calling it the Medicare reform bill. And if they do away with Medicare, does that mean we won't be refunded by the government all the money we wre forced to put into this program all of our working lives because we voted to reform our current healthcare system and hand it all over to the government? Then, instead of being reimbursed, we are going to pay an additional 1.5 Trillion to them. I don't think so.

    August 9, 2009 at 3:30 am |
  74. Deb

    I don't care if you post this or not, as it is not strictly on-topic about the antics at town hall meetings, which are totally undemocratic in spirit. I just had to get this off my chest. I am extremely disappointed in my fellow Americans, as they exhibit the most self-centered and mean-spirited behaviour I have ever seen.

    As an American who lives in Canada and has required extraordinary medical care over the years due to a genetic illness, I can attest that the "horror" stories about the Canadian health care system are greatly exaggerated. As a patient advocate who has daily contact with hundreds of clients in the USA who have genetic illnesses, the largest "deniers" of health care are American HMOs.

    This hysteria is being fanned by those who stand to lose the most, insurance companies, HMOs and the politicians and commentators who have been "lobbied" to support their opposition.

    Canada has socialized insurance, not socialized medicine. Ours pays for doc's visits, tests, all emergency and hospital care, end-of-life care, even prescriptions for certain groups. When my husband needed an MRI he had one in hours. He had emergency orthopedic surgery in hours. My b-i-l died of Lou Gerig's and had 20 hours of in-home care *daily* the last year of his life, at absolutely no cost to his family.

    Doctors are independent businessmen here just as they are in the US. The difference is here they aren't rewarded by an insurer when they overlook a patient's illness, refuse to run needed tests, or decide to *not* treat the sick.

    Why do the naysayers scream the US government would decide what doctor you could see and point north? The US insurer does that *right now*. My friend in Dallas had to change doctors three times in the last five years of her life because her husband's employer kept switching insurers, and every time – all new doctors. CEOs of insurance companies have admitted denying tests and treatments for financial reasons. I don't understand why the insurer can do it and no Republican (or Democrat) stands up to protest, yet they whip up fear about universal health care and some compare the idea of providing medical care to everyone as being "Nazi-like".

    We've had four family physicians over the past 30 years. One retired, we moved away from two and we have a *wonderful* physician now. Canadians are not denied care based on age, as was stated by a guest on AC 360 last evening. That is a blatant lie. It doesn't happen. I've seen a 96-year-old wheeled out of the ER for a hip replacement, and my 80-y-o mother-in-law was cared for as carefully as if she was 22, even though she was demented and abusive to her caregivers. The truth is Canadians value *life* – not just MONEY. Even the homeless have access to the same level of health care the business man gets. Hockey players – well – they are royalty in Canada, and they get FAST service. At $60,000 an hour those guys need to be skating and paying taxes! LOL

    The average Canadian lives more than two years longer than the average American, despite a much harsher climate and lower standard of living. Canada's mortality rate in children five and under per 100,000 is 5.9, while the USA's rate is 7.8. Those two children's deaths may not mean a lot, unless one of the children is yours.

    The USA, the wealthiest nation in the world, is the only country in the G8 which doesn't consider access to health care a human right. It's time to stop the intimidation tactics and fear-mongering. In truth, universal access to health care results in a safer, healthier, more prosperous country. That's good for everyone!

    August 9, 2009 at 3:29 am |
  75. capt obvious

    The congressman are getting called out on their free-for-all spending binge by Americans. But Obama and company can't take some criticism of their bloated, deficit increasing health-care package, it's obviously just a bunch of right-wing nutjobs. Not the millions of Americans who have watched the deficit balloon in the last six months.

    August 9, 2009 at 3:21 am |
  76. Obama

    When will CNN start reporting about the gentleman who was beat up in a town hall meeting? How about MSNBC?

    August 9, 2009 at 12:35 am |
  77. Rodney Hytonen

    The figurative brown shirts belong on the "demonstrators" – though demonstrating never meant disruption and the savaging of one's opponents' right to free speech and at least equal time – more, if it's their meeting..

    And, if these astroturf leftover tinfoil-hatted former teabaggers are upset about busing, it must be remembered that it was the Americans for Prosperity, Patients first, and "Hands off our Health Care" "13-state bus tour" – funded by Billionaire-backed 'K' (and 'M') -Street lobbying spinoff professional "organizer" firms, that really kicked all this off.

    Union members have volunteered to help keep order against the disruption-obsessed dupes, whose behavior is curiously reminiscent of the Republican "Party of No" obstructionism and delay on the floors of the House and Senate.

    Essentially these "legislators" are too busy running their partisan 2010 – 2012 campaigns, agendas of disruption and even delay, not only to govern as in their oaths, but even to allow the party they resent for having won, to honor theirs and, I don't know...........actually govern?

    All I know is they must be stopped – because someone has to govern.

    Perhaps we just need to exert the American people's ultimate option and admit the nonexistence of political parties, admit that corporatism has created two overriding interests: Industry, with its campaign contributions and government as their pawns, and the American people.

    Perhaps we should just oust all incumbents for the foreseeable future. Keep your party affiliations if you really think they're less corrupt than the opposition (they're not...) and do it at the primaries, but do it.

    August 9, 2009 at 12:11 am |
  78. JEAN W

    My husband and I are Senior Citizens.......We are,both, on Medicare and Tricare for Life......We can see any doctor that we desire and go to any hospital that we want to...and have excellent care.....our medications are at discounted rate according to the Tricare for Life insurance..........We, both are extremely pleased with this GOVERNMENT Insurance...........and NOTE: years ago my son was dying with cancer in the hospital ...and our PRIVATE HEALTHCARE POLICY cancelled us......and at the same time I was pregnant with my another child..........BELIEVE me...I KNOW about Private Healthcare............Thank God for our Prisident Obama.

    August 8, 2009 at 11:35 pm |
  79. Patricia

    How can President Obama unite people when a person can't even get a word in. I have watched these town hall meetings and these people cannot even hold a civil conversation, all they do is shout. This is not the America I know.

    August 8, 2009 at 11:29 pm |
  80. shilohsmom

    Why is a Democratic party official slapping a health care reform protester at a town hall meeting?

    Looks like the violence is coming from the Dems and not the protesters at these Town Hall meetings!

    August 8, 2009 at 11:24 pm |
  81. Lynda

    If these people truly cared.. as even some here say they do, they would take the time to educate themselves to the issue and what is being proposed before shouting down people trying to speak. Living in a country that does have universal health care (yeah.. we actually DO believe all citizens are created equal instead of just mouthing it) what Obama is proposing is so far away from universal care you really should never use those words in relation to it.

    The people in the rest of the world look and shake our heads at American, what you believe in can be summed up in 2 words "ME FIRST".

    August 8, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
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