10 August, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the newest hero of the Teabag movement, a man who has suffered mightily in service of Teabagging:

Let's see if we can set this up properly.

There is a scuffle at a health care townhall in St. Louis and Kenneth Gladney, who was outside hawking Don't Tread On Me flags, gets knocked to the ground.

I'll let Eric Boehlert take it from here:

The conservative blogosphere is absolutely atwitter with news that an activist was attacked by union thugs at a town hall meeting this week in St. Louis. It's the best the right-wing can do to deflect blame for unleashing mini-mobs on town hall forums: They did it!


Mary Katharine Ham wrote up an especially excited write-up at The Weekly Standard about the vicious union thugs and how Gladney was severely beaten. The only mistake Ham made was including a YouTube clip of the incident; a clip that pretty much undercuts the entire tale of run-away union violence.

Go watch the YouTube video. (Or, the "shocking video," as Power Line hypes it.) The first thing you notice when the camera starts rolling is a union member already sprawled out on the ground with somebody standing over him. No explanation of how he got there (pushed, shoved, punched?) and Ham couldn't care less. Then yes, Gladney is pulled to the ground by somebody wearing a union shirt. (At the :06 mark.) But instead of Gladney being beaten and punched, as his attorney describes, and instead of union "thugs" standing over him and threatening him, Gladney bounces right back on his feet in approximately two seconds and the scuffle ends.

That was the savage "beating" the conservative blogosphere can't stop talking about?

Yes, that's the "savage beating" that left poor Kenneth wheelchair-bound, "too weak to speak," with a bandage on his knee and not a single mark on his face. Milking it for all he's worth, he is. Nobody can malinger like a Teabagger who smells fame. And money:

In today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Georgina Gustin reports this bit of pure and awesome irony:

Kenneth Gladney sat in a wheelchair on Pershing Avenue Saturday, his knee bandaged, holding a flag that read: "Don't Tread on Me."

Gladney, 38, was handing out the same flags after a town hall forum in Mehlville Thursday night, when, he says, he was attacked by members of the Service Employees International Union.

Less than 48 hours later, protesters gathered Saturday in front of the union's offices, many of them holding signs with a slightly different version of the message: "Don't Tread on Kenny."

Supporters cheered. [His attorney, David] Brown finished by telling the crowd that Gladney is accepting donations toward his medical expenses. Gladney told reporters he was recently laid off and has no health insurance.


As some folks in the comments have noted, Mr. Gladney seemed just fine until the cameras started shining on him. Now he's suddenly in a wheelchair with mounting medical bills. Someone should tell him that plotline is already taken.

There's a reason I call them "Cons." This is one. This is another:

Dana Loesch claims she's just an ordinary person showing up at these town halls to speak her mind and no one told her or any of the rest of them to show up. Just one problem with that. She's one of the ones telling others to show up, actively promoting these protests on her web site, on her Twitter page, and she works for 97.1 FM Talk in St. Louis, Mo., which has a big flashing banner across the front of its web site right now on how to get more info on town hall meetings.

Can't these people work just a wee bit harder on making their lies plausible? They're really just too easy to debunk:

Lloyd Doggett's town hall on health care in Austin last week was one of the first such events that got national attention because of the outrageously thuggish tactics employed by the Teabagger mob. At the time, the media coverage suggested this was a spontaneous protest.

We now know that isn't true.

A Gazette reporter was there to witness an unruly hollering mob of people disrupt the meeting and personally insult Congressman Doggett. Conservative cable news and talk radio stations around the country hailed the event as a spontaneous outbreak of opposition to proposed healthcare reform. But it was later discovered that the Travis County Republican Party Chair had led an organizing effort to disrupt the event...

These people were Republican ringers, period.

Spontaneous my arse.

Meanwhile, back at David "Diapers" Vitter's latest town hall, we learn that the angry mob is welcome at his events - as long as he can pre-screen the questions:

At one point, however, an attendee asked Vitter about the confrontations at Democratic town hall meetings around the country. Vitter seemed to mock his colleagues, saying that although he had been advised to have “security” for his town hall meetings, he “told them the best security is to do what the people want you to do.” He added that “the angry mob is always welcome at my events.”


Ironically, this Pineville event where Vitter made these comments was full of pre-screened questions. According to a report from Pineville’s local paper, The Alexandria Town Talk:

The Louisiana Republican spoke at what was billed as a town hall meeting at Louisiana College’s Guinn Auditorium. It was a friendly audience but there was little chance for disagreement to be expressed.

The panel of speakers all joined Vitter in opposing the reform package being debated in Congress. Questions from audience members were screened and selected in advance of the event.

Way to practice what you preach, there, Diapers.

But then, logical consistency never was a Con talent:

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the latest in GOP talking points trying to take the conversation off what health care reform really means to Americans:

MCCONNELL: Well, look. I think attacking citizens in our country for expressing their opinions about an issue of this magnitude may indicate some weakness in their position on the merits.

That makes sense. If you are troubled by being likened to Nazis, being shouted down and mobbed by people bussed in to be disruptive or having you or your staffers threatened, then it's your position that's weak.

Really? Um, how about if you're so scared of honest facts (as opposed to scare tactics about euthanasia) that you need to shut down discussion, maybe it's your position that's weak? Of course, there was no discussion of weakness of merits when Bush required loyalty oaths during his Social Security-palooza tour. Consistency, the GOP rarely knows ye.

And can someone tell me why the media has such a hard time calling a spade a lying fucktard?

The AP had an item yesterday on Sarah Palin's insane accusation that health care reform is "downright evil" because it would create an imaginary "death panel" that could deny care to her infant son. In the fourth paragraph, the AP report noted the integrity of the former governor's attack. (thanks to reader K.R.)

The claim that the Democratic health care bills would encourage euthanasia has been circulating on the Internet for weeks and has been echoed by some Republican leaders. Democrats from Obama on down have dismissed it as a distortion. The nonpartisan group FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania says the claim is false.

I see. Republicans and their allied activists have made the claim; Democrats and experts have disputed the claim. The AP piece went on to quote President Obama telling the AARP that the attack isn't based on fact.

But the AP can't quite bring itself to say who's right and who's wrong. There's an objective truth here -- Palin's vile nonsense is an obvious, slanderous lie -- and the AP seems to want to nudge the reader towards that conclusion. But the AP, like most major media outlets, stops well short of telling the public four simple words: "Palin's attack isn't true."

Looks like they need some lessons in journalism from Steven Pearlstein.

And someone really needs to tell our media that Newt Gingrinch is no more credible than Palin - unless you're just having him "This Week" for the fun of watching George Stephanopolous back him into a corner:

The best Noot could do, when finally cornered?

You're asking us to trust turning power over to the government when there clearly are people in America who believe in establishing euthanasia, including selective standards.

Yes, it appears the entire basis for the wingnut "Obama wants to gas old people and Downs babies" meme is that someone, somewhere believes we should.

Very convincing!

You know what? They're soooo good, they totally got us. We surrender:

In this clever Kos item, Stroszek, responding to "cogent and potent criticisms" from the right, is prepared to offer Republican critics of health care reform a gracious compromise.

Over the past week, we have seen your passionate protests and heard your concerns about Democratic proposals for health care reform. We have considered your insightful and well reasoned arguments, and on behalf of progressives everywhere, I am here to say: OK! We give up! We are willing to compromise on the proposals that concern you. You've won! Yay!

Yes, in light of the provisions that conservative activists have demanded be removed from any and all legislation, Stroszek is willing to say, without equivocation, that under Democratic reform proposals, "We will not euthanize your grandmother." Democrats will also agree, among other things, not to let Rahm Emanuel's brother kill Sarah Palin's baby, not to nationalize hospitals, not to "provide illegal immigrants with unlimited free health care," not to eliminate private insurance, and not to establish "a super-secret-awesome health care program for ACORN employees."

There. Everybody wins. Who knew negotiating with crazy people could make health care reform solutions so easy?

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