How Does Freedom Work?

Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks is a corporate-funded “grassroots” lobbying group that astroturfs members of Congress and is responsible for, among other things, the Tea Party movement we saw last April. They have begun deploying their mindless (and, no doubt, unwitting) minions to descend on congressmen at town hall meetings, shouting down the “socialist” health-care agenda of the “Democrat” party, filled with a new vigor inspired by a recently leaked document that tells them “Artificially Inflate Your Numbers: Spread out in the hall and try to be in the front half”, “Be Disruptive Early And Often,” and “Try To ‘Rattle Him,’ Not Have An Intelligent Debate.”

We’ve known for a long time that the success of the new right began in the seventies when conservatives took up the tactics of the civil rights movement, organizing their own variations on sit-ins and protests. Making a bunch of congressional staffers looks like normal citizens is a tactic we saw used to excellent effect during the scandal that was the 2000 election: members of Tom DeLay’s staff were flown to Florida to pose as outraged citizens demanding the recount be stopped “for the good of the country.”

FreedomWorks is a looser bag of peanuts, though. These are actual citizens (many of them) who don’t realize they are being goaded on and manipulated by lobbying forces that have very large stakes in the outcomes of the issues being raised. The pharmaceutical and insurance industries are heavily invested in seeing these protesters get out with their message in hand. This means that for every over-priced medicine you buy, for every claim you are being refused, you are instead paying for lobbyists to go out and incite paranoid Americans into unruly mob behavior often verging on outright violence.

The Democrats aren’t going to give the country what it really needs: single payer health care. Their agenda is far from anything any sensible observer would consider socialist or even liberal. The best we can hope for out of this bill is that Kucinich’s amendment clearing the path for individual states to develop single-payer systems will remain in the final version. Then we can get back to the real grassroots work of turning our states into functioning democracies.


18 Responses to “How Does Freedom Work?”

  1. barndoor cowlegs Says:

    fine work cripsy!
    it kills me about these people, they don’t see how they are being manipulated, what’s worse- some of them mean well as far as spending, but fail to see that the very people leading em are the ones receiving all this taxpayer money and support
    apparently the healthcare supporters and opponents are starting to meet each other on the streets, wonder if there’s a way to expose the paid operatives of the opposition

    • Chatty Kathy Says:

      The thing about “these people” or the Rep/Con Sheeple, as I like to refer to them, is that they enjoy being led. I recently stumbled upon an article in Psch. Today that pretty much explained why my head wanted to explode when I heard Glenn “Tin Foil Hat” Beck say,”I’m a conservative, therefore I don’t believe in global warming… OMG! It’s like you’ve probably been thinking it but there’s the scientific study that says they can’t help it they were born that way! LOL

      Really, they hate change, they love going by the book and even more, they don’t want to think if someone will do it for them. Which also explains why so many are evangelicals. How do you debate the finer points of health care reform (reform =change=scary) with someone who prays over what to have for dinner. True! I was in the grocery store with my cousin’s whacko wife when she paused and closed her eyes in the middle of the aisle. At first I thought she was having an absence seizure or something, but then she told me she was praying about what to have for dinner. WTF? As if Jesus gives a flying fuck about whether you choose the Cheesy Enchilada or the Mexi-Taco Hamburger Helper for crying out loud.

  2. “Same as it ever was, same as it ever was”- D Byrne
    The people or the politicians? Who is more trustworthy? Is anyone trustworthy or are we all just corrupted by our iron clad, blindness inducing ideals, and inability to accept anything but our own “truth”? Hate, anger, and fear are at the heart of all conflict and is what leads all humans to do the most viscous of things, usually wrapped in some desire for the perceived need for justice, fairness, and change.

  3. cripsyduck Says:

    About that link:
    Every day it gets more and more apparent that we’re getting “good cop/bad cop” out the Dems and Repugs. Both teams (with a few noteworthy exceptions) represent the money that props up their campaigns and little else.

    However, uneducated Americans running around saying “keep your government hands off our Medicare” are clearly being manipulated. (Medicare is, after all, government-run.) Sen. Grassley claimed that if Ted Kennedy was on government health care, he wouldn’t be treated for brain tumors because he’s too old and doesn’t bring in enough money. TED KENNEDY IS ON GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE!!! As is Chuck Grassley. A flaming pack of fucking lies, it is.

    Unfortunately, the lies start at “single payer isn’t an option,” which basically translates to “we’re gonna keep letting the Pharma and Insurance pirates have their way with you, but we’re gonna ask them to smile while they do it.”

    And all because of some bullshit Ayn Randian concept of economic freedom that states “all men should be free to screw other men who aren’t as ambitious/smart/cut-throat as they are.” Steaming pile of bullshit.

  4. That’s the problem isn’t? Power and influence, be it via financial or governmental success and the desire for it has proven throughout history to corrupt the best and brightest of humans.
    But humans also seem to desire some sort of system and level of rules and boundaries for human interaction. Seems that those two desires would lead to a permanent ‘catch-22’ for society. Under that supposition I would expect that those of differing motivations to find common ground and end up supporting similar options even if their goals are diverse.

  5. cripsyduck Says:

    Makes you fucking sick, doesn’t it?

  6. barndoor cowlegs Says:

    check this out if you wanna get really freaked by this whole breakdown-
    tea-baggers showing up armed, sweet, now we got not only big business, but big guntoting rednecks standing the way of progress

  7. I just finished reading the Flickr discussion under “excessive inflammatory hyperbole” between you and Capt Jim. I wish I was able to be that consise instead of my usual overly verbous, meandering, and incomprehensiable missives which tend to make me sound under educated and a complete looney.

    Two points come to mind;
    A) I am sure there is abuses here but the rate doctors charge in theroy reflects thier med school expense, the cost of thier malpactice insurance, and office staff needed to do the massive adminitration work that the fed and insurance co’s require.
    B) This may be too personal for posting a reply here and we may have already discussed but I have forgotten. Why didn’t you sue the “Reputable Doctor” who fileted your pinky?

    One more. How about single payer electrical service? $353.50 this month. Three times what I am paying for Sue and I’s health insurance this month.

  8. barndoor cowlegs Says:

    wow dog boy, we’ll make a pinko outta you yet- single-payer electricity! not that far fetched, but gotta un-privatize and go back to how things were first.

    if you really want to get into the craziness, this website is intensely depressing

    tells you all about who’s paying the politicians, and all kinds of other stuff including dollar amounts.

  9. Well I am sure you know that who ever help the self obsessed politicans in this country to continually be re-elected gets thier attention. Saw a great pair of Henry Fonda films latly that really illuminate the proplem with politics and the professional politican. So here again is a bone to chew on and a concept for debate. We have to have term limits put some backbone into the political class. All who seek political office have pyscological issues that drive them to do so. When someone first gets in to politica, I beleive, some of the drive is true belief that their ideas are the best and would be most benifical for the country. Some of it is a deep need for attention. Some of it is a deep desire for power. Then once they get in and find thier way to the money troughts and other temptations of high position in government, the human has no sense of the coruption of the soul that is accuring. That way I think we need term limits. No matter how stought a persons constitution is, if they have desire for that high a public office, they will over time become corupted in someway. Give them 3 terms in the house and two in the senate. Twelve years is more than enough time to convince your fellow representives and the public that your ideas rock and get the job done. That time frame is also three complete presidental terms so the matter of who is president is inconiquential as an agruement against this. So have at it you commie pinkos. Much love!

  10. barndoor cowlegs Says:

    take the money out first.. then we’ll see
    (like it’ll ever happen)
    for now, bust your reps and sens on where their money comes from, then bust the media for ignoring it

  11. Until the broadcasters and newspapers are forced to provide free and equal access money will by necessity will remain a part of the election process. Advertising is always the costliest part of any political popularity contest. My contention is that the politician starts out no more corrupted by life than any other citizen but over time in the rarefied air of high elected office they become more and more corrupted by the environment and the experience. So I think the continued focus on” we gotta get that evil money out of the political process” is wasted effort. I contend that if you have limited terms in office the continually growing compulsion, over time by the politician, to become a fund raising entity loses importance to the politician. Big, medium, small businesses and uber, filthy, some what wealthy individuals don’t spend or give away their money in an erratic fashion. They want to feel that they got something, not necessarily some dastardly deed for their personal and/or factions benefit, but more often than not support for someone or some party that represents ideals, goals, or policies they also support. I know this statement is not nearly as cynical as some other ideas I have expressed but living your life with the conviction that we’re all just out to screw each other “so it would be better for me to screw you before the inevitable screwing I’m gonna get happens” is an ugly way to live. I don’t think a majority of people wake up with that kind of thought in their head but I can see why some may come to that type of mental conclusion. Starting to meander so I will stop here.

  12. cripsyduck Says:

    I dig where you’re coming from scooby, but I don’t agree with term limits. Some congresspeople serve a long time for the right reasons, and it seems to me counter-first-amendment to force them to quit based on an arbitrary number of years. Sometimes it takes more than a few years to bring your colleagues around. (health care has been an ongoing debate for the better part of the last century, and the only reason it hasn’t happened (and probably won’t) is because big money dumps cash into political coffers to make sure its voice gets heard first and loudest.)

    Barndoor’s right: the MONEY is the problem. If we forbade private donations to political campaigns, if the only money you could make while in office was from your gov. paycheck, most of the greedy fuckers wouldn’t run, and corporate interests wouldn’t tell them what to do, and they would be forced to do the bidding of their constituents. If we all just gave up $10 a taxpayer annually, that’d probably do it. And remember, the airwaves are publicly owned and leased to the media corps. They could be forced to give up airtime for public debates, campaign commercials, etc. – IF they didn’t already own congress.

    The money’s definitely the problem. And have you been listening to my new tunes while I’m not looking? I’ve got a new song called “The Good of the People” that’s all about how politicians all start out thinking they’re doing it for the good of the people, but after time they get twisted and lose their perspective. Just like you said. Very strange.

    Oh, and Barndoor failed to mention, we’ve been in the studio for the past week and we almost have a new record ready to go! Yay!

  13. I personally believe that the founders could not conceive that anyone would want to or think it right to spend a majority of their lives as a representative of a state. We do have term limits some politicians already. Why for Christ sake is limiting the presidents’ term just dandy and not counter to the first amendment but god forbid we put limits on congress because that is counter to the first amendment. Your logic escapes me. I also think that no matter how elections are funded you’re still going to get corrupt individuals running just for the power and the corrupt will always find ways to be corrupt. The desire of some for public funded health care would have still been with us regardless of term limits or not. Policy ideas always come from real or assumed public need and desire not because some fat ass politico has been in office for half a century. Money is a problem but only due to the misguided idea that “I have to be here or nothing will get done and the country/state/county/city/town will go to hell in a hand basket!” and the misguide support of such a short sighted, narrow, and frankly narcissistic concept, fostered by most politicians for their own gain, not the publics. Are you kidding me!! If a politician can’t get a point across and create awareness for their issue in 12 years the Politician shouldn’t be there. They would obviously suck as a communicator and lacked the required skill to convince anyone their idea had any merit. You do realize that it only takes a president to tell his FCC head to hold up any broadcast license renewal to get the broadcasters in line. Emanuel, it’s theorized and would not be surprising, used just that to get ABC to do that propaganda show on health care. But the limit of two terms makes sure we won’t have to deal with that smuck for too long. That’s a good thing, right?

    What happened to the live album? Where are you recording at and who with? Have you thought about getting added to Muzak? I just got confirmation that they are adding the Dave Gerard and Truffle catalogs. Can’t wait to hear what you’ve done although I would have liked to have helped. It would not have been possible though. I can’t afford to travel these days due to the massive debt from being out of work last year.

  14. cripsyduck Says:

    I just don’t think that limiting terms is going to have 1/1000th the effect that getting the money out of campaigning will. Of course, the presidential term limit is a convention initiated by George Washington, not actual law.

    I’m not afraid of politicians, I’m afraid of the people that buy them.

  15. The presidential term limit is the 22ND AMENDMENT found here.

  16. cripsyduck Says:

    oh, right.

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