Well, the Teabaggers are certainly making a spectacle of themselves. They're turning town halls into riot zones and proving that when it comes to rabid invective, nobody does rabid better than the right.
It didn't take them long to escalate from tantrums to death threats:
And more death threats:
Given the toxic environment, I suppose this was a predictable reaction from the far-right.
An official with SEIU, which has been sending members to town halls to counterbalance the Tea Party brigade, sends over this audio of a phone call the union received on its central voicemail system, threatening to teach union officials a thing or two about "the Second Amendment."
The call seems to refer to reports today to scuffles in St. Louis between SEIU members and town hall rowdies.
"I suggest you tell your people to calm down, act like American citizens, and stop trying to repress people's First Amendment rights," the caller says. "That, or y'all are gonna come up against the Second Amendment."
You stay classy, conservative activists.
And "joking" about poisoning members of Congress:
Based on the news that health care events are edging into violence, an anti-health care reform protester in New Mexico named Scott Oskay is calling on his hundreds of online followers to bring firearms to town halls, and to 'badly hurt' SEIU and ACORN counter protesters.
Glenn Beck had a glass of wine with Nancy Pelosi last night.
Of course, it wasn't actually Pelosi. It was some poor Fox employee made to sit across the desk from Beck with a cardboard Pelosi mask, holding a glass of juice of some kind that was serving as a stand-in for wine.
It was all meant to spoof Pelosi for supposedly listening only to "millionaire contributors" instead of her constituents.
But then he tossed in a little "joke":
Beck: I just want you to drink it. Drink it. [Laughs] Drink it! I really just wanted to thank you for having us over here to wine country. You know, to be invited, I thought you had to be a major Democratic donor or longtime friend of yours, which I'm not. Oh, ah, by the way, I put poison in your -- no I --
And basically proving that when they can't win the argument by virtue of better arguments, they're more than happy to whip out guns, fists, and arsenic. That, my darlings, is not democracy in action - it's thuggery pure and simple.
The fuckwits who unleashed the crazy people now claim they can't rein them in:
FreedomWorks, an industry-backed right-wing group led by former GOP congressman Dick Armey, has been heavily engaged in organizing conservatives to ambush Democratic members of Congress supporting health care reform at town halls across the country during the August recess. Its “astroturf” campaign is designed to present the appearance of wide-spread public discontent with health care reform, but the reality is that the town halls have become forums for disruption, extremism and even violence.
Last night on MSNBC, FreedomWorks Vice President Max Pappas boasted about flooding congresspeople’s town hall meetings and “blowing them apart.” “We have about 400,000 on-line members who we can contact with an e-mail database that we have, send them information about when the town halls are, give them briefings on the health care reform plans,” he said.
Pappas was on C-SPAN this morning, and a Republican veteran called in and asked Pappas to “to tell these people to wrap it down.” “We Republicans already have the image of being owned by corporate America. Now we’re getting the image of being owned by wild red-neck America,” the caller complained. But Pappas refused his request, claiming he doesn’t “have the power” to calm down his troops:
PAPPAS: We don’t have the power to control how many people turn out or how they behave there. All we really do is facilitate their participation by letting people know when these town halls are and giving them information about the issues that are going to be discussed The passions are so deep about this issue that we can’t send out an email that says “calm down.”
Why, yes, Max, you can. You send out an email that says "calm down." It's really simple. In fact, it's only eight letters and one space you have to type there. You might want to throw in a sentence or two about how violence will cause a backlash and how you're shooting your credibility to shit. Word that however you like.
It might also help calm people's passions if Con leaders would stop saying outrageously stupid shit:
In a new posting on her Facebook account, former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) made a dire statement about health care reform -- that it could result in an Obama-created "death panel" killing her infant son with Down Syndrome:Funny thing, Sarah - it's not Dems who think that way. The only people talking about killing seniors and children are Cons. You people are so sick and twisted that you're comparing a simple discussion between doctors and their patients about end of life care to Hitler:The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's "death panel" so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their "level of productivity in society," whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.
At an event on the "Patients First" bus tour of David H. Koch's Americans for Prosperity held in Pueblo, Colorado, speaker Mark Harrison says that the House health care bill -- H.R. 3200 -- is like Hitler's "final solution":
Part of this process is called end of life counseling and part of the end of life counseling can be an end of life order.
Let me repeat that, part of this end of life counseling on line 429 of HR 3200 deals with an end of life order.
What does that mean?
End of life. Another word for that is death.
Order. What's another word for that? A sentence.[snip]
Adolph Hitler issued 6 million end of life orders. He called his program the final solution.
When you've invoked Godwin, you've lost. When all you have on your side is raw, naked fear, you're side has failed.
And you're all just tools anyway. AFP doesn't give a shit about anything but the corporate money they can whore themselves out for:
This is the man you're turning yourselves into a mob for, Teabaggers. How's corporate whoredom treating you these days? Kinda sad that you're not going to get a dime of that corporate cash, innit? All that hard work threatening people, shouting down those trying to hold a dialogue, and making all those signs with the Nazi symbols, and all you get is shaft.
Last night on MSNBC, host Rachel Maddow interviewed Americans for Prosperity (AFP) head Tim Phillips.
Trying to create a veneer of grassroots legitimacy, Phillips denied claims of running an astroturf operation and smirked to Maddow, “Hey I’m a community organizer.” Maddow pressed him to reveal his contributors, and Phillips eventually acknowledged being largely funded from Koch Industries, a $90 billion oil and gas conglomerate and one of the largest privately held companies in the world. Maddow then asked Phillips if his organization had ever been funded by ExxonMobil:[snip]
MADDOW: Are you, guys, funded in part by Exxon or have you been?
PHILLIPS: No, absolutely not.
MADDOW: No Exxon money.
PHILLIPS: Absolutely not. But I’ll tell you again, though, we would be happy to take funding from broader groups like that. [...]
MADDOW: Exxon does list the Americans for Prosperity Foundation as a recipient of, in some years, tens of thousands of dollars, in other years, hundreds of thousands of dollars, even for things just like general operations. But you’re saying Americans for Prosperity, no Exxon money?
PHILLIPS: This year, we haven’t had any Exxon money. I would be happy to go back and look at the records. And I will get back to you, Rachel, if we have. But again, though, we’re happy to take corporate money.
During the course of the interview, Phillips both appealed to corporations for more cash while repeatedly denying claims of being a lobbyist or serving any special interest.
Well, that and a good dose of humilation when you're all caught out in lies:
Rep. Steve Kagen (D-WI) faced a “heated” discussion about health care at a town hall meeting yesterday, with people in the crowd who were heckling, interrupting, and filibustering him.
One vocal attendee was a woman named Heather Blish, who identified herself as “just a mom from a few blocks away” and “not affiliated with any political party.” When interviewed by the local NBC affiliate, Blish insisted she was not a member of the Republican Party. “I left the party,” she said. Blish’s statements, however, are distortions. From NBC’s report:
Her LinkedIn page shows something different. She was the vice chair of the Republican Party of Kewaunee County until last year. She worked on the John Gard campaign, who ran unsuccessfully against Kagen last year. And it says she’s a part of the Republican Party for Kagen’s district, as well as the Republican Party of Wisconsin, and the Republican National Committee.
These kinds of things rather destroy credibility.
And they could destroy that tower of lies Cons have spent so long building. Americans could start thinking they need less screaming and more information. They might stop needing "balance" and start needing facts:
The more the right relies on brute force to shut the dialogue down, the more likely it is Americans will realize they've been played for fools. This will not make them very happy come Election Day.
We need, in other words, more columns like this one from the Washington Post's Steven Pearlstein.[snip]
As a columnist who regularly dishes out sharp criticism, I try not to question the motives of people with whom I don't agree. Today, I'm going to step over that line.
The recent attacks by Republican leaders and their ideological fellow-travelers on the effort to reform the health-care system have been so misleading, so disingenuous, that they could only spring from a cynical effort to gain partisan political advantage. By poisoning the political well, they've given up any pretense of being the loyal opposition. They've become political terrorists, willing to say or do anything to prevent the country from reaching a consensus on one of its most serious domestic problems.
There are lots of valid criticisms that can be made against the health reform plans moving through Congress -- I've made a few myself. But there is no credible way to look at what has been proposed by the president or any congressional committee and conclude that these will result in a government takeover of the health-care system. That is a flat-out lie whose only purpose is to scare the public and stop political conversation. [...]
Health reform is a test of whether this country can function once again as a civil society -- whether we can trust ourselves to embrace the big, important changes that require everyone to give up something in order to make everyone better off. Republican leaders are eager to see us fail that test. We need to show them that no matter how many lies they tell or how many scare tactics they concoct, Americans will come together and get this done.
Pearlstein has watched professional liars engage in a campaign of deception, so he's telling the public the truth. And in this case, a major political party is deliberately lying so they can derail the health care reform Americans have been waiting for.
Truth will out, Cons. More specifically, truth will get you tossed out. All the Teaparty mobs in the world can't save you.