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Healthcare Advocates Overwhelm Wu

Hundreds of healthcare supporters showed up today on the doorsteps of the David Wu town hall at Good Samaritan Hospital today that began at Noon and ended at 1pm.
This is Martha Perez, General Political Activist, reporting to you live from Auditorium # 2, where the David Wu town hall is currently underway at this moment. About a maximum of 60 participants were allowed into the building itself (and due to fire code regulations on safety), no more participants were given access. There were no spill-over rooms available for seating. Mounted Portland City police, hospital security staff, and at least one major media news outlet (Ch. 8), were on hand, to observe the mainly peaceful, yet galvanized, rally.

The majority of those who showed up to urge the Congressman to fight for healthcare reform, were wrapped around the building by the hundreds, carrying a diverse array of signs, for the following healthcare reform type(s): Single Payer, true Public Option, Archimedes, healthcare reform in general, abortion issues, and at least one sign that said "Just Say Bah-Humbug, Let 'em All Die!".

A myriad display of who's who included, but not limited to the following organizations: Oregon Action, HCAN - Healthcare for Americans NOW!, Single Payer Action, Archimedes Movement, Jobs With Justice, CNA - Nurses Association, PNHP - Physicians for a National Health Plan, the Mad-As-Hell! Doctors, FSP - Freedom Socialist Party, numerous unions, organizers, activists, medical community, patients, students, and other grassroots based groups.

As the month of August accelerates, and town hall attendance across the state and nationwide, is expected to step up, there were few counter-protesters present, if any, at today's meeting. The pressure being put on elected officials, by their constituency (as well as the pressure being felt by President Obama) is beginning to snowball not only in Oregon, but across the US. August is considered to be a major turning point, as the battle over healthcare reform, begins to boil over in Washington, DC.

Reporting to you from NW Portland, this is Martha Perez, General Political Activist.

Stop complaining about the right-wing protesters!--an action item 12.Aug.2009 00:26

Dave Lindorff and me

Here in Clatsop County(home of Astoria), when people fail to follow the script at county commission/city council meetings, and have the temerity to ask about the relationship between the government and LNG salesmen,or the erosion of civil liberties and normalization of torture, or the execution of endless imperial wars, we get threatened with expulsion from the meeting, and arrest. And a few of us have been physically escorted from chambers, stood up to cops at the peace gathering at the post office lawn, and recognize that the scene here is getting increasingly militarized. So how come the wing-nuts are allowed to get away with choreographed disruption? Uhhh--maybe it's because BOTH "parties" support the military-industrial-medical-entertainment-prison complex, and these "protests" are playing right into their hands. Just a thought.

Now here are Dave Lindorff's thoughts, an action item:

OMG! Those protesters showing up at Democratic "town meetings" to promote the president's health care "reform" program are being bused in from out of town?

Scandal! Que horrible! (Gasp!)

But wait! That's exactly what we on the left always did when we held demonstrations--at least if we could. Who in the trade union movement hasn't called on fellow workers in other unions to join them in rallies during struggles with an employer, or asked them to join sparse picket-lines? Who hasn't pulled out the stops trying to get people from other cities to attend a local protest?

Okay, if it were shown that the Republicans were hiring fake protesters to go to those Democratic pep rallies to mess them up, as was done during the 2000 Florida vote recount, there'd be a good investigative story, but from the righteous if ignorant anger that is being expressed by the tea-baggers and anti-government types that I've seen in news reports, these seem like legitimate right-wing cranks, who are willing to be rallied to the cause of opposing what they see as a socialist plot. Never mind that you've got ignorant numbskulls demanding that Democrats in Congress "Keep your government hands off my Medicare!" or that you've got right-wing protesters in their 70's who are all on Medicare irrationally shouting "Keep government out of health care!" The point is that confused and ignorant or not, these people are willing to make the effort to travel fair distances to make their voices heard, and they're willing to stand up, shout, and even scuffle for the chance to make their point.

It's not as if Democrats haven't gone to great length to fill those same halls with earnest supporters.

The real question is why is the left in the US so goddamned polite and domesticated that these Right Wing cranks look positively rowdy.

Back in the late 1950s and the 1960s, the Civil Rights movement wasn't polite and domesticated. It brought activists to events in the Deep South all the way from New York and Boston. Its members rallied in the thousands to shut down segregated public and even private institutions. Its activists occupied buildings on university campuses, boldly confronting police and police dogs and armed men in white robes.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, anti-war protesters in turn shut down recruiting and induction centers, destroyed draft board records, tried to close down Washington, DC, got arrested in the hundreds, incited soldiers to desert and then helped hide them from the law, exposed the 1968 Democratic Convention as a farce, and faced down armed police and soldiers repeatedly, at one point in 1970 closing down the nation's campuses in a national student strike when soldiers shot and killed four unarmed students at Kent State University.

Years earlier, when workers were being abused, they occupied factories, forcibly shutting them down with sit-down strikes, battled Pinkerton detectives and armed National Guard forces, and set up tent cities in Washington to make themselves heard.

And they won great victories.

Where is that passion today? For the most part, the left, in all its various guises--environmentalists, labor unions, civil rights advocates, health care reform advocates, anti-war activists--have become neutered office-chair potatoes, sending canned emails to their elected representatives or to the White House, occasionally marching politely inside of pre-approved, permitted and police-prescribed routes, and attending sponsored events like the current round of town meetings, perhaps to raise polite objections to aspects of a proposed piece of legislation.

The agenda of the left in today's America is being written not by uncompromising radicals in the street as in earlier decades of struggle, but by the bought-and-paid Democrats in Washington. The left, such as it is, has become simply a reactive force, trying to make discrete little improvements in the truly horrible legislation--health care "reform," cap-and-trade, the Employee Not-So-Free Choice Act, continued Iraq and Afghanistan War funding bills--that is being offered by a wholly corrupt Washington in thrall to corporate lobbyists.

We all need to take a lesson from the Right, and from those lusty, cantankerous folks who are raising hell at those pathetic "town meetings."

How can it be that 10 percent of American workers don't have a job, and that the government is expecting that number to keep rising for another year or more, or that another 7 percent have either given up even trying to find a job, or have taken part-time work in desperation, and yet we have not had one mass protest in Washington demanding public jobs for the jobless!

How can it be that the country has been mired in two wars now for eight years, and we haven't had a million people storming the Pentagon to shut it down (or at least levitate it)!

How can it be that we have 49 million Americans who can't even afford to see a doctor when they're sick, and we're talking about a health care "reform" plan that not only won't fix the problem, but will actually end up costing us all $600 billion over 10 years without solving it! And we just write letters to Congress! Why aren't we liberating hospitals and opening them up to the uninsured?

How can it be that the ice cap at the North Pole is actually disappearing, and the whole arctic tundra across Canada, Alaska and Siberia is starting to boil with the release of prehistoric methane trapped under now-melting permafrost, threatening the very lives of our grandchildren, and we're calmly watching as even the Obama administration's pathetic "cap-and-trade" legislation gets stalled by coal-state Democrats! Why aren't we on the left lying down on the tracks to block the coal trains, or tearing up those tracks!

Where is the passion and commitment we once had?

It all seems to be on the Right these days.

About author

Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal < http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1567512283/thesmirkingchimp>. His new book of columns titled "This Can't be Happening! < http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1567512283/thesmirkingchimp>. His new book of columns titled "This Can't be Happening! < link to www.amazon.com co-authored by Barbara Olshansky.

Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light 14.Aug.2009 15:42

Schecter Kirchner

"Insiders hate conflict and loud voices. They prefer managing change from above and manipulating messages with language that blurs the truth. In this respect, The Dems and the GOP are more alike than different." (Danny Schecter)

"So you are wondering where all of this anger and rage is coming from at town hall meetings. You might think that those raging and shouting down our so called leaders are corporate plants or blue meanies with stupid backward ideas. Think again. What is happening here is simply this: when a country shuts off and blacks out independent candidates and 3rd parties, and runs amok with taxpayers money for their own gain and corporate welfare, and then threatens to pass a fairness doctrine that will try and squash the first amendment, people revolt. People speak up. People shout. And its about damn time. Because if they don't, this thing could turn just downright bloody. "Better to jaw jaw than to bang bang," said Churchill.

So, you don't agree with their objections to health care. Neither do I. But that has nothing to do with it. People are speaking out. Dissent is not optional for a free society to operate.

My question is, "Where is the true blue left in all of this"? Answer: co-opted by the Obama machine. Better to have those right wingers out raising bloody hell than no one at all. As a socialist and a man who believes in dissent I don't care about their motives in shouting down those who claim to be our leaders. What I care about and am excited about is the fact that someone is doing it. This may wake up what is left of the left to really push for socialized medicine. And for crying out loud, lets use the words "socialized medicine"!

Make no mistake about it: those who are confronting the Empire from within are our real leaders, by leading by dissent. Rage on my rightwing friends... for right now you are the only ones not under the Obama spell that have the courage to speak out and face down this oppressive plutocratic government power base." (Rocket Kirchner)