There are none so blind as those who will not see

The mainstream media has been dutifully reporting now for some time about the town hall riots over Obama’s proposed Health Care reform, but what folks dont realize is that these “riots” are staged, shills planted to say provocative things and get the unsuspecting riled up enough that they will perform, like trained monkeys, or Pavlov’s salivating dogs, for the camera to capture and spread elsewhere like some societal virus until (they hope) Obama’s reform momentum loses steam.  The TRUE manipulators of smoke and mirrors behind the scenes are the same GOP fear-mongers and their corporate partners in crime.  The recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine unveils an insightful piece of investigative journalism that blows the lid off of the farce that is duping many decent Americans:

According to internal documents obtained by Rolling Stone, Conservatives for Patients’ Rights had been working closely for weeks as a “coalition partner” with three other right-wing groups in a plot to unleash irate mobs at town-hall meetings just like Doggett’s. Far from representing a spontaneous upwelling of populist rage, the protests were tightly orchestrated from the top down by corporate-funded front groups as well as top lobbyists for the health care industry. Call it the return of the Karl Rove playbook: The effort to mobilize the angriest fringe of the Republican base was guided by a conservative dream team that included the same GOP henchmen who Swift-boated John Kerry in 2004, smeared John McCain in 2000, wrote the script for Republican obstructionism on global warming, and harpooned the health care reform effort led by Hillary Clinton in 1993.”The insurance industry is up to the same dirty tricks, using the same devious PR practices it has used for many years, to kill reform,” says Wendell Potter, who stepped down last year as chief of corporate communications for health insurance giant CIGNA. “I’m certain that people showing up at these town halls feel that they’re there on their own — but they don’t realize they’re being incited, ultimately, by the insurance industry and the other special interests.”

Behind the scenes, top Republicans — including House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, Minority Leader John Boehner and the chairman of the GOP’s Senate steering committee, Jim DeMint — worked hand-in-glove with the organizers of the town brawls. Their goal was not only to block health care reform but to bankrupt President Obama’s political capital before he could move on to other key items on his agenda, including curbing climate change and expanding labor rights. As DeMint told an August teleconference of nearly 20,000 town-hall activists, “If we can stop him on this, the administration won’t be able to go on to cap and trade, card check and the other things they want to do.”

This is exactly what happened to President Clinton during his first term in office, when HE proposed a health care reform, and made his wife an integral part of the process.  Folks scoffed when Hillary Clinton said her husband was the target of a “vast right-wing conspiracy,” but she was right then, and the same thing is happening now, and surprise surprise, the same rabble-rousers are involved:


The campaign to mobilize the town-hall mobs began with a script written by the right’s foremost fearmonger, Frank Luntz. Luntz rose to fame in 1994 as pollster for Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America, and crafted the Republican playbook on global warming. In a May memo, Luntz outlined a battle plan for conservatives to block what he branded the “Washington takeover” of health care — the most terrifying buzz words conjured up in his polls and focus groups.

Online Exclusive:
Read Luntz’s entire memo.

The logic of the language is simple, Luntz writes: “Takeovers are like coups — they both lead to dictators and a loss of freedom.” For a third of all Americans, he adds, the top worry about health care reform is “being denied a procedure or medication because a Washington bureaucrat says no.” Luntz concludes by telling Republicans how best to play the fear card. “It is essential that ‘deny’ and ‘denial’ enter the conservative lexicon immediately,” he writes, “because it is at the core of what scares Americans most about a government takeover of health care.”

Distributed widely to Republicans on Capitol Hill, the memo framed the right-wing attack on health care reform. What Luntz describes as “the best anti-Democrat message” is by now familiar to everyone in America: “No Washington bureaucrat should stand between your family and your doctor… The Democrats want to put Washington politicians in charge of your health care.”

For the archenemies of Obamacare, however, Luntz’s anti-Washington script didn’t go nearly far enough. To amp up the panic, they decided to spin the “takeover” fear to its most extreme conclusion: Washington bureaucrats plan to institute “death panels” that would deny life-sustaining care to the elderly. That portion of the script was drafted by Betsy McCaughey, the former lieutenant governor of New York, who insists that her expertise as a constitutional historian enables her to decipher the 1,017 pages of legalese that comprise the House health care bill.

McCaughey first unveiled her “findings” on July 16th, during an appearance on the radio show of former GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson. “I have just finished reading the House bill,” McCaughey declared. “I hope that people listening will protect their parents from what’s intended under this bill.” Citing page 425 of HR 3200 — a section that outlines the same kind of optional, end-of-life counseling that Republicans have voted for in the past — McCaughey uncorked a terrifying lie. “Congress,” she said, “would make it mandatory — absolutely require that every five years, people in Medicare have a required counseling session that will tell them how to end their life sooner.” The Obama plan, she added, is financed by “shortening your mother or father’s life.”

McCaughey has run this con before. During the debate over Clinton’s health care overhaul in the early 1990s, McCaughey — then an academic at the right-wing Manhattan Institute — wrote an article for The New Republic called “No Exit,” in which she claimed that Hillarycare would prevent even wealthy Americans from “going outside the system to purchase basic health coverage you think is better.” Even though the bill plainly stated that “nothing in this Act” would prohibit consumers from purchasing additional care, McCaughey’s claim was echoed endlessly in the press, with each repetition pounding a stake further into the heart of the reform effort.

McCaughey’s lies were later debunked in a 1995 post-mortem in The Atlantic, and The New Republic recanted the piece in 2006. But what has not been reported until now is that McCaughey’s writing was influenced by Philip Morris, the world’s largest tobacco company, as part of a secret campaign to scuttle Clinton’s health care reform. (The measure would have been funded by a huge increase in tobacco taxes.) In an internal company memo from March 1994, the tobacco giant detailed its strategy to derail Hillarycare through an alliance with conservative think tanks, front groups and media outlets. Integral to the company’s strategy, the memo observed, was an effort to “work on the development of favorable pieces” with “friendly contacts in the media.” The memo, prepared by a Philip Morris executive, mentions only one author by name:

“Worked off-the-record with Manhattan and writer Betsy McCaughey as part of the input to the three-part exposé in The New Republic on what the Clinton plan means to you. The first part detailed specifics of the plan.”

McCaughey did not respond to Rolling Stone‘s request for an interview.

The old adage that heads this post is a sad reminder that those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.  Your parents lost out on the chance for real health care reform when President Clinton was in office.  You stand to lose out now–poised on the very lip of reform–if you do not spread the word that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!  GOP and Corporate special interests must BUTT OUT!  Dont fall for the phony scare tactics, dont buy their brand of snake oil!!  Dig deeper and realize the political reality of who really has the most to lose by this reform, and its not you or me or your parents or mine…its the Medical Insurance juggernaut, and their GOP operatives, all hell-bent on preventing change…

Folks wishing to read the entire Rolling Stone article can find it online HERE

Grateful acknowledgement to my friend Terry for bringing the article to my attention *hugs*


~ by irishgrl on September 30, 2009.

4 Responses to “There are none so blind as those who will not see”

  1. Re Betsy McCaughey’s writing being influenced by Phillip Morris, didn’t The Manhattan Institute refute that claim with the following statement?: “Betsy McCaughey wrote two articles for The Wall Street Journal on the Clinton Health Care plan and an additional article for The New Republic which was solicited by its publisher. At no time were her ideas influenced or controlled by anyone but the author herself.”
    That would seem to discredit the Rolling Stone article.

  2. Unfortunately, you failed to read closely enough. The Rolling Stone article plainly states that McCaughey was an academic at the Manhattan Institute, and a Phillip Morris exec clearly named McCaughey as his contact and co-conspirator in crafting the smear against the Clinton Health plan. The Manhattan Institute can cry Mea Culpa all it wants to, but its credibility is sadly in the toilet. The sad fact is, McCaughey’s claims were debunked themselves in 1995 in an article by The Atlantic. No, this is more of the same swift-boating, fear mongering, riot inciting smear campaign that the GOP seems to glory in.

  3. I don’t know If I said it already but …This blog rocks! I gotta say, that I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..Jim Bean

    • Thanks Jimmy! boy, Ive really been behind the 8-ball getting this approved and replied to havent I? Im so sorry, I never want to neglect the folks who take the time to comment, and I do appreciate your kind words 🙂 Please forgive me for taking so long…..I hope you’ll keep reading!

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