Wednesday, 5 August 2009

"LOOK OUT! The government is going to take over Medicare!"

Much has already been said about the Astroturfed "popular uprisings" that are being organized by corporate fronts like FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity. This is nothing new, indeed Rachel Maddow puts things in context fairly well:



So fake outrage organized by corporate interests over the internet: okay, that's nothing particularly noteworthy necessarily. But it is a recurring flap that has caught my attention lately. These tea-baggers seem to be screaming "NO GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE!" out of one side of their mouths, while howling "DON'T TOUCH MY MEDICARE!" out of the other. What?!

Indeed, no less a personage than Arthur Laffer, architect of the laughable (no pun intended) Laffer Curve, had this to say:



Let's parse that again:

LAFFER: "I..I mean, if you like the post office, and the Department of Motor Vehicles and you think they're run well, just wait'll you see Medicare, Medicaid and health care done by the government."

Now, to those of you whose brains did *not* just explode, allow me to explain: Medicare and Medicaid ARE run by the government. They are public health programs. Now, an isolated incident, I can understand, but this "LOOK OUT THE GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO TAKE OVER MEDICARE" meme is apparently running riot on the right.

From Faiz Shakir at ThinkProgress, reporting on the teabaggers' attempts to disrupt a town hall meeting held by Gene Greene (D-TX):

During the town hall, one conservative activist turns to his fellow attendees and asks them to raise their hands if they “oppose any form of socialized or government-run health care.” Almost all the hands shot up. Rep Green quickly turned the question on the audience and asked, “How many of you have Medicare?” Nearly half the attendees raised their hands, failing to note the irony.


So we have a number of potent forces converging on the town halls being held during this August recess: a shameless campaign of disinformation on the part of the right (see widespread, conservative-stoked rumors that the government plans to intentionally kill any number of seniors and/or baby boomers), complete ignorance and/or cognitive dissonance on the part of these tea-baggers - which I have posted about before - and, lastly, a playbook of disruptive tactics handed down by a stooge from FreedomWorks (the same corporate Astroturf organization behind many of the "tea parties" held earlier this year).

August is going to be a hot month, indeed.

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