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Progressives Should be Shutting Down These So-Called 'Town Meetings' Too!

By Dave Lindorff

Many progressives are getting all bent out of shape over the "brown shirt" rabble organized by health industry PR firms to disrupt the so-called "town meetings" being organized all over the country by Democratic members of Congress.

What they are conveniently forgetting is that these are not really "town meetings" at all, at least in the sense of the town meetings I grew up with, and started out covering as a young journalist in Connecticut--that is, meetings called and run democratically, with leaders elected from the floor, open to all residents of a community.

These "town meetings" are really nothing but propaganda sessions run by members of Congress who are trying to burnish their fraudulent credentials as public servants, and trying to perpetrate a huge fraud of a health care bill that purports to be a progressive "reform" of the US health care system, but that actually further entrenches the control of that system by the insurance industry, and to a lesser extent, the hospital and drug industry.

ObamaCare is to health reform what bank bailouts are to financial system reform, which is to say it is the opposite of what its name implies.

The right-wing nuts who cry that ObamaCare is introducing euthanasia for the elderly and infirm, or that it is socialism, are ignorant wackos, to be sure, but they are right about one thing: Americans are about to be royally screwed on health care reform by the president and the Democratic Congress, just as they've been screwed by them on financial system "reform."

The appropriate response to this screw-job is the one the right has adopted: shut these sham "town meetings" down, and run the sell-out politicians out of town on a rail, preferably coated in tar and feathers they way the snake-oil salesmen of old used to be handled!

This is not about civil discourse. This is about propaganda. The Obama administration and the Democratic Congressional leadership have sold out health care reform for the tainted coin of the medical-industrial industry, and are holding, or trying to hold, these meetings around the country to promote legislation that has essentially been written for them by that industry--legislation that will force everyone to pay for insurance as offered, and priced, by the private insurance industry. What a deal for those companies--a captive market of 300 million people! There will be little or no effort to control prices, and the higher costs will be financed through higher taxes, and through cuts in Medicare benefits.

This isn't "reform." It's corruption, pure and simple.

Any mention of a system that works--single payer--the system we already have in the form of Medicare for the elderly and disabled, and the system that has proved successful for almost four decades in Canada-- has been systematically blocked and censored out of the discussion. Every effort has been made to bury an excellent bill, HR 676, offered up by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), which would cover every American by simply expanding Medicare to cover everyone.

The only proper response at this point is obstruction, and the more militant and boisterous that obstruction, the better.

Instead of opposing the right-wing hecklers at these events, progressives should be making common cause with them. Instead of calling them fascists, we should be working to turn them, by showing them that the enemy is not the left; it is the corporations that own both Democrats and Republicans alike.

The only proper approach to the wretched health care legislation currently working its way through Congress at this point is to kill it and start over. At these "town meeting" staged events, Obama and the Democrats need to hear, in no uncertain terms, that we don't want no stinkin' ObamaCare. We want Medicare for all.

DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist. He is author of “Marketplace Medicine: The Rise of the For-Profit Hospital Chains” (Bantam Books, 1992), and more recently of “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006). His work is available at

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I received the email below, and I hope there will be a lot of Single-Payer supporters on this conference call!

I quote:

I just talked with David Axelrod, former Obama for America strategist and current Senior Adviser to the President.

David knows that with the fight over health insurance reform at a fevered pitch, the organizing we're doing is more important than ever. So he asked to be able to speak with a few of our most active supporters to update them on the state of the fight -- what we'll need to do to make sure real reform passes.

I've set up a conference call for Tuesday night, and I'd like to invite you to join us.

What: Health Care Conference Call with
David Axelrod

When: Tuesday, August 11th
8:00 p.m. Eastern Time

RSVP here:

The call will be led by Jeremy Bird, OFA's Deputy Director. David will give an overview of the debate in Washington, discuss the strategy for passing reform, and answer questions that you can submit when you sign up. It's a great opportunity to hear from one of the smartest minds in politics at a critical time. I hope you can make it.

Capitalism’s Done Deal
A socialist advocates ownership of the means of production by workers collectively or through the government, an equitable sharing by all of the burdens and benefits of a society and the realization that justice denied to anyone, anywhere is justice denied to all.

It seems the healthcare reform deal has been struck and the ‘reform’ will consist of little more than an increase in health insurance companies’ business and profits. There will be a mandate to purchase private health insurance and the government will provide subsidies for many to do so, but still all will not be covered. The health insurers will continue to siphon 1/3 off the top for profit and expense, as costs continue to escalate. We have been told that pre existing conditions will no longer be grounds for non coverage, but non inclusion of dental and mental health will continue, along with co-pays, deductibles and limits on coverage.

Socialists supported adoption of a government single-payer system in which we would continue to go to our doctor or hospital of choice and the government would handle all the payments. Dental and mental health would be included and there would be no co-pays, deductibles or limits on coverage. Keeping in the democratic spirit of socialism, everyone would be covered. It would be paid for by redirecting employers’ present insurance payments to the federal government and taxing those most fortunate in our society. In addition to the more expansive coverage, families would no longer be burdened with insurance and other medical payments.

Socialists would also support actual socialized medicine similar to the VA system or the medical treatment given to our service members and their families. One in which the government employs all the healthcare workers and owns the facilities. Your choice of doctors would be limited, but I certainly never found the care lacking when I served and I was hospitalized several times.

Of course reform like this is anathema to capitalism and the corporate medical insurers got out their checkbooks and paid off our President, Senators and Representatives to guarantee that it was never even included in the President’s so called ‘all inclusive’ discussions on the subject. So goes life under capitalist two-party rule.
Nick Egnatz, Munster, Indiana

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