Zippidy Doo Da

I'm not stupid, I'm from Texas!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

They walk among us..

You may have been seeing news reports of angry mobs shouting down Democratic congressmen holding townhall meetings on health care reform. It looks a lot like the teabagger crowd crossed with the rioters that stopped the Florida recounts in 2000. My first reaction is that these are poor unfortunate ignos duped into opposing their own interests; “Chickens for Colonel Sanders.”

But it’s not like that. Turns out that when you spend $1.4 million per day protecting your obscene profit margins, as America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (pHarma) do, it’s no problem to muster a flash mob that can drown out reasonable discourse.

One of these phony grassroots or, “Astroturf” operations is the Coalition to Protect Patient’s Rights, founded by Rick Scott. Scott was head of Colombia/HCA insurance in the 1990’s until he was ousted by the board of directors after the company was found guilty of fraud and paid $1.7 billion in fines. They are managed by the Washington lobbyists The DCI Group, who organized “smokers rights” groups for the tobacco companies to fight tobacco regulations, and worked for ExxonMobil disputing climate science.

FreedomWorks is another Astroturf outfit behind the latest noise. Chaired by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey and funded in part by billionaire Steve Forbes, they orchestrated last April’s “tea parties.”(Forgive me but I don’t think that I should pay the same “flat” tax rate as Steve Forbes, heir to gay billionaire Malcolm Forbes’ fortune.)

“FreedomWorks in summer of 2009 began pursuing an aggressive strategy to create the image of mass public opposition to health care and clean energy reform at Congressmembers' town-hall meetings in their districts. A leaked memo from Bob MacGuffie, a volunteer with the FreedomWorks website "Tea Party Patriots," describes how members should infiltrate town hall meetings and harass and intimidate Democratic members of Congress:

“Spread out in the hall and try to be in the front half. The objective is to put the Rep on the defensive with your questions and follow-up ... You need to rock-the-boat early in the Rep's presentation. Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Rep's 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 ... The goal is to rattle him ..."
(From http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=FreedomWorks )

In “Naked Lunch,” William S. Burroughs wrote of latahs, zombie-like people who could be assembled into crowds that could then be induced to demonstrate or riot.

And I thought it was fiction.

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