Over whose dead body? Guns, granny, and health care reform

by on August 26, 2009 · 24 comments

in Civil Rights, Economy, Health, Media, Organizing, San Diego

Originally posted August 21, 2009

What goes through your mind when you see some wahoo standing outside of a town hall meeting about health care with a gun strapped to his body, and the president of the United States is inside that meeting hall?  What do you think when a woman sobs “I want my country baaaaaack!” inside yet another town hall meeting?  Did you catch the commercial about how Gramps is going to be denied health care because he’s an expendable old duffer, but that YOUR TAX DOLLARS will pay for abortions?  How did you respond to the signs showing our President with a mustache a la Hitler?

How about WTF?????    That’s what I’m thinking.

So are we talking about our second amendment right to bear arms?  Euthanasia for old people and Sarah Palin’s child?  Reparations to African Americans?  Abortion for everyone?  The second coming of the Third Reich?

Please wake me up from this Fox News induced nightmare and let’s talk about health care reform and health care reform policy.  And fellas- how about putting away the guns.  Just because you can tote them out in public doesn’t mean you should.

What’s going on here?  It should come as no surprise that the insurance companies are not about to roll over on this one.  Big Pharma=Big Money.  These folks and the Republicants are astroturfing the hell out of the health reform issue.  Check out the faux grassroots websites of the 60 plus association,  http://60plus.org/ or Freedom works http://www.freedomworks.org/ The party of No and Know Nothing is behind all of these.  Then you have Fox News- Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, et al.  shilling for them.  What do you get?  See paragraph one and….

…how about our fellow citizens in South Carolina who call themselves Republicans and 11% of them say that they are either unsure or disagree that Hawaii is a state of the United States?  http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/08/poll-a-lot-of-birthers-in-north-carolina-and-few-state-gopers-say-obama-born-here.php Or the number of Republicans who think that health reform is a plot to kill old people?  http://www.dailykostv.com/w/002070/ Fox News…aiding and abetting the ignorant since 1996.

There is something called fact and something called opinion.  It is a fact, an indisputable fact, that Hawaii is a state and that makes Barack Obama who was born there a citizen.  This is not opinion. We aren’t going to debate this one.  There is a draft health reform bill- HR 3200.  You can pull up this bill and do a key word search for “undocumented aliens” or “medicare” “living wills” and “advance directives” in the search box at the top of the page.  You don’t have to believe me or Rush Limbaugh or Nancy Pelosi.  Read it for yourself.  Please.  If you do a search for “abortion” or “reproduction” you will find absolutely nothing in the bill because abortion is not covered.   Nor will you find anything about death panels or euthanasia.  You will however find that Medicare will provide coverage to a physician to talk to you about advanced directives or your living will.  This is not an opinion- it’s right there in fairly plain English on page 440.

Ordinary citizens truly can go right to the source.  But it takes time.  Is it worth it to you?  Fox New can spout opinion out the wazoo, and they do, as well as stir up the pot in a really ugly scary way, but these guys aren’t stupid.  Venal?  Amoral?  Evil?  You decide, but stupid…no way.

So why are we letting the ignorant and the venal set the agenda here?  When all is said and done, they are “filled with the sound and the fury, signifying nothing.”  Will we settle for nothing?  This is our chance for health reform.

Please come to the town hall meeting on health care reform at the Spring Valley Library on Saturday August 29. 1-2 pm. Congresswoman Susan Davis will give an overview of the bill and answer questions. The Spring Valley Library is located at 836 Kempton Street Spring Valley.  Voice your support for single payer/ public option.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

PSD August 21, 2009 at 10:17 pm

Well, I didn’t exactly take exception to some of the Dubya/Hitler comparisons flying around not too long ago, so I guess I can’t talk there…

But the bogus PACs and the constant effort to drive the debate away from the actual health care plan on the table is kind of burning me. As are the recommended Republic party tactics of keeping any discussions confrontational rather than conversational – this just tells me they don’t have a leg to stand on should a real debate actually break out.


PSD August 21, 2009 at 10:19 pm

Oh, and I forgot to bitch about how ridiculous it is that this fringe group they’re calling the ‘birthers’ is getting so much attention…and to say great rant, Anna!


annagrace August 22, 2009 at 12:06 am

Thanks PSD. While I agree with you that we should be conscious about the terms we use, I’m not real inclined at this moment to wallow in liberal guilt. I just heard a report about the CIA torture document which will be released this Monday. Just a bunch of bureaucratic stuff like drills being held to the head of detainees, or mock executions being held in the cell next door. No, Dubya is not Hitler. He, Dick Cheney and a whole bunch of other people in the Justice Department deserve their very own thoughtful, truthful designation. Domestic wiretapping upon citizens under the rubric of Homeland Security, a costly war, both economically and morally, in which there were no weapons of mass destruction and now contracted out torture complete with…the unspeakable. Let us think upon it.


BillRayDrums August 22, 2009 at 9:33 am

Didja see this fool?

pamelapilger.com (link provided no longer valid)

(Watch the video on the right and you’ll understand why someone went to great lengths to snag her website)


Erin W August 22, 2009 at 10:42 pm

Hey Anna!

I’m so glad to read an article by my fave uppity woman!

I’ll be on vacation for this upcoming Spring Valley Susan Davis shindig… sowwy :( I will be sending sooo many positive vibes via Facebook though :)

Love ya!


annagrace August 23, 2009 at 11:27 am

“I am a proud right wing terrorist.” “Amen, God Bless you. There is a great American.” What do you think of that exchange between a fellow citizen and Republican Congressman Wally Herger of northern California at a town hall meeting?

You can write off this proud home grown terrorist as an aberrant wing nut. You can respond quickly with both facts and censure against such extreme language and abysmal ignorance.

Or you can be a Republican congressman and give the guy a gold star for good citizenship.

The Republican Party and the right wing media continue to talk out of both sides of their twisted mouths. They cannot distance themselves from what they describe as fringe elements acting alone while also acknowledging their laudatory “patriotism.”

So now we have good terrorists and bad terrorists…. and at least one member of the Republican Party is solidly behind the “right kind” of terrorism.

Full article here


jettyboy August 24, 2009 at 9:10 am

I think we (the left) has underestimated the right once again. They play dirty, and they play to win. We attempt to honest and truthful. The organization of right wing is something we should seriously consider. They have managed to destroy any hope of a real healthcare change, and I imagine that the insurance industry will end up making a fortune when all this is said and done, and we will remain in the “bend over and hold your ankles” position. It’s very sad that Americans are so stupid and uneducated that they are more afraid of socialism than debilitating illness and death. The amount of viewers that watch Fox News, and believe them is a testament to the stupidity of the masses. Sad, very very sad…


Abby August 24, 2009 at 9:50 am

You didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.

You didn’t get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.

You didn’t get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.

You didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.

You didn’t get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said illegal war.

You didn’t get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.

You didn’t get mad when you saw the Abu Grahib photos.

You didn’t get mad when you found out we were torturing people.

You didn’t get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

You didn’t get mad when we didn’t catch Bin Laden.

You didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.

You didn’t get mad when we let a major US city drown.

You didn’t get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark.

You finally got mad when.. when… wait for it… when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all ok with you but helping other Americans… well f*ck that. That about right? You know it is.


Ron August 24, 2009 at 10:12 am

Don’t concede defeat so easily. It took a long time to abolish slavery and a long time for women to get the right to vote, and a long time for unions to become legal, and we could go on and on with examples of struggles that spanned generations (and which continue).

We will have a single payer public health care system, and must not stop until we do.

As for the right wing, never forget that “America is a one party system, with two right wings.” The Democratic Party is a party dedicated to capitalism of the global corporate variety; dedicated to violently maintaining a global economic empire with American military bases in more than 100 countries. The Democratic Party is run by the wing of the ruling elites which knows the value of “bread and circuses”. The Republican Party is run by the wing that says “let them eat cake”.

Fox News is currently the worst of the corporate propaganda organs on TV, but even PBS treats socialism as a taboo subject.

In most other capitalist ‘democracies’ they at least have a robust and continuing dialog in the mass media between various left and socialist parties and the pro-capitalist parties, and they have elected officials of both types.

Progressives in this country need to focus a lot more of our organizing energies on reforming the mass media. The internet is a healthy addition to the mix, but it is not enough. Without reform of the broadcast and cable stations, most Americans will continue to be hearing a debate which is really between different views ON THE RIGHT.


doug porter August 24, 2009 at 10:41 am

from arthur salm’s column today…

Today, the acceptance of slavery is all but unimaginable. Literally: unimaginable. So radically have our values shifted that it’s all but impossible to empathize with a slaveholder, to put one’s self into his mindframe and say, “All right, I see that. I may not agree with it, but I can kind of understand where he’s coming from.” It’s beyond our ken.

read the rest here… http://www.sdnn.com/sandiego/2009-08-24/news/arthur-salm-health-care-it’s-in-the-constitution


annagrace August 24, 2009 at 10:47 am

Molly- an awesome, righteous rant if I ever saw one. We should be standing at the health care rallies with a sign (a really big sign) listing everything you said. Thanx.


annagrace August 24, 2009 at 10:48 am

Excuse me- Abby! Thanx.


Dickie August 24, 2009 at 11:13 am

Annagrace and all, I was at the meeting in Redding that Rep. Wally Herger convened at which a man (Burt Stead, 67) made the “Proud to be a rightwing terrorist” comment, and though I could not hear Wally’s exact response, it certainly was approving. Old Burt may have been an “aberrant wing nut” but there were hundreds of them in that gym that evening . . . it was scary to see so many of them in one place at one time . . .
The meeting was organized by Herger, a conservative though usually mild-mannered 12-term congressman from our huge district up here. I live about 50 miles from Redding in the hills and a few of our hill country activist types went at the last minute to the town hall (organized mainly through partisan and right wing circles so we did not even tune into it until the day itself). There were some Redding progressives there as well and some regular decent citizen types . . . we did not come organized (except for some letter sized signs that said “Public Option” or “Health Care for All”), but the teabaggers, the anti-tax militants, the Fox-ophiles, he RonPaulists . . . they did. We doubt they were all from Redding . . . Wally’s district goes from Oregon border to Yuba City . . . they could have been from a long way away . . . it was clearly like coming to a rally for them, and we were the ill-prepared counter-demonstrators . . . but I think the scariest thing was that although the rhetoric was so inflammatory and hateful, the people looked like regular folks . . . now that is scary. If you want a flavor of the local commentary on this, go to:
and you’ll see some comments from various viewpoints and some news articles. redding.com is the web site for Redding Record-Searchlight, the daily newspaper.
I wish all of you going to the Spring Valley town hall the best of luck . . . try to be a little more prepared with chants, signs, organized questioners than we were. . . Confronting these creepy people (I assume they will be there) with good ideas and info and a lot of genuine emotion is our best shot in the current climate.


Dickie August 24, 2009 at 11:16 am

Oh one other thing: the event in Redding was held at Simpson University, a conservative Christian college. On the door of the gym was a sign that read (and I paraphrase):
Simpson University is private property. No one may bring a weapon on campus for any reason at any time.
. . . that they felt they had to say it . . .


Abby August 24, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Thanks annagrace, but I can’t take credit for it, it’s just something someone emailed me this morning, love to know the source.


Gloria C August 24, 2009 at 3:47 pm

Bless you Abby! You got it so right.


Shawn Conrad August 24, 2009 at 3:50 pm

If we as a spieces ever get wise enough to return to our more animalistic insticts and forget this “civilized” life, then teh weak will perish and the strong will survive.

Until then the strong will surround, protect, and uplift the weak so that they can win a ribbon like every other kid on the team.

Nature. Check it out sometime.


Mike Copass August 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Anna Daniels –

This piece is amazing. Thanks for posting the next Davis meeting.

I had a chance to speak with Congresswoman Davis. She does not plan to support any “Medicare for All” legislation (aka single-payer) and has gone far enough to vote AGAINST the Kucinich Amendment allowing states to create their own single-payer health care plans without federal or ERISA interference.

Curious stances from a California Democrat, given that the California Democratic Party passed a resolution in April in favor of Single-Payer.


annagrace August 24, 2009 at 5:05 pm

Dickie- it is pretty dismaying when a usually “mild mannered” conservative responds as he did. Any idea why? Thanks for your first hand account. I emailed Rachel Maddow and asked her to bring this one up on national tv. rachel@msnbc.com I hope you (and others) will too.

In the irony department, Burt Stead age 67 is probably getting Medicare, probably went to a public school, probably drives on federally and state funded roads, maybe has had picnics in a public park. So why shouldn’t he be anti-government?


jettyboy August 24, 2009 at 5:29 pm

Ron, I’m in complete agreement with you concerning the “one party system” in this country. My beef is that the left in America plays to much to the liberal center, and has become non-confrontational because the real right keeps such control of the dialog, that the left is disorganized in the way it responds to issues. It is basically a reactionary movement, without any national leadership or long term strategy. Hell even the strongest unions capitulate when threatened with being called socialist. If we see single payer/government option healthcare under Obama, I’ll be shocked, and the first to apologize for the position I hold now.


Wireless Mike August 24, 2009 at 6:12 pm

So many Americans need to be told what to think and what to believe. And there are plenty of corporate media outlets ready to scare the living hell out of them (in exchange for profits). As long as the right-wing fear mongers in the media can keep enough people scared out of their wits, their corporate masters will continue to get their way with the government. They tell the public whatever it takes to get their way, no matter how damaging it might be. Public health care? Socialism! Boo! Be afraid! They’re gonna take away your guns and bibles and kill Grandma! Boo!

Unfortunately for most of us, too many people believe that crap with a passion. Getting meaningful healthcare reform will be an uphill battle because too many corporations are making too much profit from the broken system we have today, and they will say and do anything to protect those profits at the expense of the public’s well being. Is it worth the fight? Absolutely!


Dickie August 25, 2009 at 9:30 am

Anna — Keith Olbermann featured Wally Herger and his comments to Burt Stead on his “World’s Worst Person” feature. See:
And yes, irony abounds in a crowd like that. woman sitting next to me, who described herself as part of “the angry mob” against socialized medicine actually said to me that she feared Obama’s proposal would take away her Medicare . . . when I said, “hmmm how about Medicare for everyone?” She said,”Now that would be a great idea” and then vigorously applauded the next dumb statement about the federal government taking control of our bodies . . . go figure . . .


Frank Gormlie August 25, 2009 at 9:34 am

Dickie – thanks for keeping us up on this. Just think … Redding on Olbermann. Here’s the link to this spot on Olbermann: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677/#32545917


Geniezuc August 25, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Ah the Socialism Kool Aid ! And here i thought F*CK was the most offensive word to the masses…. dumb me! So, I shall just start saying “socialize you, man!” when i’m totally pissed at someone! Or complain about a defected item to the store manager “this item is socialized up! It just doesn’t work!”
Great stuff anna, thanks abby, and all.
I had to recently quit my job due to a bad back, lost my health insurance, and was offered Cobra @ 571 a mo.! true!
I thought “well, that’s pretty socialized up, that’s almost as much I get for social security!”, I said no thanks socialist head!”
Wish Barney could be at all these “town house” meetings! Like he said (hee hee) talking to that woman would be like talking to the dining room table! yeah!


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