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Town hall tension: Meeting turns ugly over health care
Memphis Commercial Appeal ^ | August 8, 2009 | Linda Moore

Posted on 08/09/2009 3:52:05 AM PDT by Man50D

Hundreds of people crowded into the BRIDGES building in Downtown Memphis on Saturday for a congressional town hall meeting that quickly deviated into a raucous shouting free-for-all, requiring extra law enforcement officers to watch over the scene.

The meeting, hosted by U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, was scheduled to address constituents' concerns about Social Security and veterans' benefits, but the real topic of the day was health care reform legislation being crafted by Congress.

Most people in the crowd of close to 500 were in loud opposition, although Cohen supporters held their own, waving signs that read "Health Care Now."

And as one heckler yelled, another shouted back, "Shut up! I want to hear my congressman. You shut your mouth!"

Within 15 minutes of the start of the event, a nearly nose-to-nose confrontation between individuals with opposing views became so heated they had to be separated as Shelby County sheriff's deputies and Memphis police officers called for reinforcements. No arrests were made.

With town hall meetings greeted with similar protests across the nation, Cohen was prepared.

"This is America, this is Memphis, Tennessee. Take two aspirin and come back in the morning," he yelled over out over the room.

Cohen invited area physicians to share their opinions on health care reform.

Dr. Neal Beckford was roundly booed when he said 50 million people were without health insurance.

However, he pointed out that as a society Americans need to decide what they want.

"And when we've decided what we want and how much it cost, we then need collectively to decide what we are willing to pay," he said.

Cardiologist Dr. James Klemis believes that ethically the poor must be taken care of. But this bill is being rushed and is too similar to Canada's and Britain's socialized medicine, he said.

"The problem is, government can't be the solution. It's got to be within the community," Klemis said.

Dr. Laura Bishop shared her disdain for insurance companies but is no fan of Washington's plan.

"Government getting involved in deciding what health care you are receiving is not the way to go," Bishop said.

Honesty, said Dr. Autry Parker, must be part of the conversation on health care reform.

"This issue will not be solved by people shouting, it will not be solved by people telling lies over and over again," Parker said. "Yes, I have read it and I do not agree with everything in it, but there is absolutely nothing in the bill that is going to euthanize grandma."

One of the signs waved by a plan opponent said "Don't tell my gigi how to die," referring to allegations that the bill would allow senior citizens to be euthanized, something the nonpartisan group FactCheck.org said is false. Cohen also denied that the bill would pay for abortions -- another claim made by opponents.

Roger Fakes, 70, said he sat quitely during most of the meeting, but Cohen's insistence that citizens would be able to keep their private health care drove him to his feet.

He argued that changes to private insurance would force citizens into the government plan.

"There are some of us old gray-haired folks that don't want the government involved in any of our business," he said.

The nearly all-white audience was not a snapshot of the mostly African-American 9th District that Cohen represents.

One of those who came from outside the district was Mark Mullis, 67, of Olive Branch, who was treated for cancer two years ago. He's afraid of what the plan will do to his insurance coverage, a combination of Medicare and retiree benefits.

"I know some people think a 25-year-old has a whole lot more to give. Maybe I've got seven or eight more years. To me all life is precious no matter what age," Mullis said.

Also from outside the district was bill supporter John Miles, 21, of Tupelo, Miss., who debated with opponents during the meeting.

"The purpose of this is to ask questions and receive answers. These people had all the answers," Miles said. "It's frustrating. It seemed that side in particular was doing a lot of yelling and screaming and booing. I just felt like yelling back."

Cohen is also proposing an amendment to the bill that would create a national pilot program on infant mortality, an issue of grave concern in Memphis, where infant-mortality rates are like those of a Third World country, he said.

Despite the boos, jeers and general disorder Saturday, Cohen said that after 33 years in public service he wasn't rattled.

"I expected it to be a lot worse," Cohen said.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Tennessee
KEYWORDS: 111th; angrymob; bhohealthcare; memphis; obamacare; readthebill; socializedmedicine; tennessee; townhall; townhalls
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1 posted on 08/09/2009 3:52:05 AM PDT by Man50D
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To: Man50D

“Maybe I’ve got seven or eight more years. To me all life is precious no matter what age,”

I doubt the Central Planners share this view.


2 posted on 08/09/2009 4:00:32 AM PDT by TCats
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To: Man50D
"The nearly all-white audience was not a snapshot of the mostly African-American 9th District that Cohen represents. One of those who came from outside the district was Mark Mullis, 67..."

"NIGHT RIDERS AND OUTSIDE AGITATORS!" Just can't stop playing the race card, eh? Got nothing else? I think that move has worn a bit thin.

3 posted on 08/09/2009 4:03:49 AM PDT by PowderMonkey (Will work for ammo. Proud member of the well dressed mob.)
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To: PowderMonkey

Spin of the week.


4 posted on 08/09/2009 4:05:44 AM PDT by screaminsunshine (!!)
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To: Man50D
Cohen was prepared.

"This is America, this is Memphis, Tennessee. Take two aspirin and come back in the morning," he yelled over out over the room.

I see he got his talking points from "just take a painkiller for your heart problems" Obama.

5 posted on 08/09/2009 4:07:30 AM PDT by raybbr (It's going to get a lot worse now that the anchor babies are voting!)
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To: Man50D
Most people in the crowd of close to 500 were in loud opposition, although Cohen supporters held their own, waving signs that read "Health Care Now."

Yes, on one side of the aisle were the taxpayers of this country; on the other side were the union thugs, freeloaders, and recipients of the government largesse, who only want more and more.

Unfortunately for us all, the taxpayers are in the minority. They need to shut up and pay more taxes according to the Marxists. To each according to his needs, from each according to his ability.

6 posted on 08/09/2009 4:08:05 AM PDT by olezip
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To: Man50D

Probably the same “grassroot” signs they picked up at the Florida meeting where they decided they couldnt use them.


7 posted on 08/09/2009 4:11:09 AM PDT by Venturer
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To: Man50D
Point of fact to all so called "Journalists"

All those arrested so far for violence at town halls are Obama supporters.

8 posted on 08/09/2009 4:12:55 AM PDT by MNJohnnie (Obamanomics: we have to destroy the US Economy in order to save it!)
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To: Man50D
Cardiologist Dr. James Klemis believes that ethically the poor must be taken care of. But this bill is being rushed and is too similar to Canada's and Britain's socialized medicine, he said.

They are being taken care of under the current system. That is one of the biggest lies of the Democrat mantra on Health Care, that they would extend care to the uncared for.

9 posted on 08/09/2009 4:14:31 AM PDT by MNJohnnie (Obamanomics: we have to destroy the US Economy in order to save it!)
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To: olezip

I could not have said it better myself. You are absolutely correct.


10 posted on 08/09/2009 4:15:42 AM PDT by Shane (I'll keep my guns, money and freedom, you can keep the change.)
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To: Man50D
Here is some video of Union thugs in action:

(Outside the Carnahan Townhall)

Are you paying attention now?

Are you paying attention now? ver. 2

11 posted on 08/09/2009 4:16:52 AM PDT by Mad Dawgg (If you're going to deny my 1st Amendment rights then I must proceed to the next one...)
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To: Man50D
Despite the boos, jeers and general disorder Saturday, Cohen said that after 33 years in public service he wasn't rattled.

Yet another reason why term limits should be the law of the land!

Oh and Stevie, you may not be rattled yet-but we're just getting started...
12 posted on 08/09/2009 4:18:47 AM PDT by snuffy smiff (the only good commie is a dead commie)
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To: MNJohnnie
All those arrested so far for violence at town halls are Obama supporters.

I wonder if they get a bonus for getting busted, in addition to their normal astroturf check?

13 posted on 08/09/2009 4:20:10 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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To: Man50D
FactCheck (mentioned in the article) is not non partisan. It is Leftwing, like Snopes but with, perhaps, a greater bias since it gets the monies from the same foundation that funded B. Hussein Obama and William Ayers when they worked together.

Their confirmation of O'Bolshevik's deskjet printed COLB is also fishy since the COLB as given to KOS and on their hilariously named "fight the smears" website is a horrible fogery: Obama's COLB is still a horrible fogery. Change you can believe in

14 posted on 08/09/2009 4:22:33 AM PDT by Stepan12 (Palin & Bolton in 2012)
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To: Man50D

Reading the comments section at the Comical Appeal web site, someone said there were 10 doctors there that spoke, 8 of which were strongly against Obamacare, and 2 that were only skeptical.


15 posted on 08/09/2009 4:24:22 AM PDT by zipper
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To: Man50D

Does anyone really think that any one of these Democrats is going to pay the slightest attention to any opposition to this bill? The Democrats are for big government, first, last, and always.


16 posted on 08/09/2009 4:28:14 AM PDT by popdonnelly (Yes, we disagree - no, we won't shut up - no, we won't quit.)
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To: Man50D
This protest movement is only partly about healthcare.

IMO a lot of the energy and fear and anger are due to the idea that Obama and his supporters are simply taking control of America...whether the voters like it or not.

Healthcare is one of the first fronts, but if Obama succeeds here, the march to complete control continues with even greater force.

Once Obama controls your personal healthcare, he will dare you to protest or disagree. If he will threaten Jon Kyl as blatantly as he did (with letters to AZ Gov. Jan Brewer from Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, HUD Sec. Shaun Donovan, and Interior Sec. Ken Salazar threatening the withholding of stimulus moneys), one can only imagine how he might intimidate regular citizens.

We must win on healthcare!

17 posted on 08/09/2009 4:33:11 AM PDT by SonOfDarkSkies (Obama is "An" AntiChrist...but is he "THE" AntiChrist? The jury is still out...for the moment!)
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To: Man50D

“I expected it to be a lot worse,” Cohen said.”
Hold another one then!


18 posted on 08/09/2009 4:34:48 AM PDT by jmaroneps37 (Conservatism is truth. Liberalism is lies.)
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To: Smokin' Joe

These goon beasts were arrested. Where are their names, Locals, hometowns, and pictures? Where is the info as to whether or not they were “on the clock” at the time?


19 posted on 08/09/2009 4:35:04 AM PDT by DGHoodini (Iran Azadi!)
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To: Man50D

As the GA town hall meeting shows (where the Dem congressman accused a constituent who was also a doctor of being bused in from outside), these Dems have brainwashed themselves into thinking these aren’t their constituents, but rather people bused in from other areas.

They’ll go back to Washington and vote it in. Only Nov. 2010 will they realize they were their constituents.


20 posted on 08/09/2009 4:43:49 AM PDT by Brookhaven (And in their desperation, they turned to a man they fully did not understand--Rise of the Joker)
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To: DGHoodini

There sjhould be a website where the names, faces Locals,and hometowns, of the Union Mobster Violent Goons, are posted after every event they are caught on video, doing the Criminal orders of Obama, Sebelius, Pelosi, Reid, Markham(?), and their Union Mobster criminal bosses.


21 posted on 08/09/2009 4:43:57 AM PDT by DGHoodini (Iran Azadi!)
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To: SonOfDarkSkies

” This protest movement is only partly about healthcare.
IMO a lot of the energy and fear and anger are due to the idea that Obama and his supporters are simply taking control of America...whether the voters like it or not.

Healthcare is one of the first fronts, but if Obama succeeds here, the march to complete control continues with even greater force. “

Exactly!!

Call it ‘culture war’ if you will - this is a battle in the larger war against ‘Omniscient, Omnipotent Government’ - whether or not most of the participants realize it.

We can only hope that this is the beginning of the ‘Final Battle’.....


22 posted on 08/09/2009 4:44:23 AM PDT by Uncle Ike (Rope is cheap, and there are lots of trees...)
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To: Uncle Ike
What most people are missing is the elderly are very mobile. If this gets as ugly as we think it will, my husband and I AND our money will just move to another country that respects the elderly.
23 posted on 08/09/2009 4:48:27 AM PDT by native texan
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To: Man50D

The frustration stems from the fact that the Obama regime has already decided prior to any discussion what they want and what they are going to do.The town halls are only meant on their part to demonstrate to the serfs that this is what is going to happen.
Well sorry,but this is not Hugo Cavez Land yet....
This is America and WE the PEOPLE decide what we want.
In a short 7 months Obama has presented himslef not as a leader but as a dictator.
Not going to work.


24 posted on 08/09/2009 4:48:30 AM PDT by SECURE AMERICA (Proud to have made Communist Leader Obama's hit list at flag@whitehouse.gov)
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To: Man50D

Townhall Meetings turn ugly after President Joker releases his SEIU union thugs on the crowds.

Not one incident of violence before the SEIU thugs showed up.


25 posted on 08/09/2009 4:54:09 AM PDT by Tarpon (The Joker's plan -- Slavery by debt so large it can never be repaid)
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To: native texan

” If this gets as ugly as we think it will, my husband and I AND our money will just move to another country that respects the elderly. “

Pretty slim pickins’ out there — certainly no place that stacks up against Texas... (I’m assuming that your ‘nick’ means what I think it means...)


26 posted on 08/09/2009 4:54:35 AM PDT by Uncle Ike (Rope is cheap, and there are lots of trees...)
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To: Uncle Ike

Wellll, I meant to say, if Texas should secede we will stay here! Texas is a pretty good place.


27 posted on 08/09/2009 4:56:23 AM PDT by native texan
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To: Uncle Ike
On another thread, a poster wondered how Obama could threaten him and I posted the following:
If he gets to control your healthcare, you'll find out.

Mysteriously, the computer will somehow not approve the appropriate treatment for anyone in your family...or worse.

In the extreme, I can imagine a scenario wherein one is scheduled for a relative harmless procedure, but after awakening from the anesthesia finds a leg or arm has mistakenly been amputated...or perhaps a really troublesome protester falls into a coma and doesn't awaken from the anesthetic at all.
28 posted on 08/09/2009 4:56:43 AM PDT by SonOfDarkSkies (Obama is "An" AntiChrist...but is he "THE" AntiChrist? The jury is still out...for the moment!)
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To: Man50D

This is why I hope King Willie wins this seat. I don’t think he will be a Pelosi stooge.


29 posted on 08/09/2009 4:59:39 AM PDT by Sybeck1 (No teleprompters were harmed in the creation of this post.)
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To: Man50D
Meeting turns ugly...

Did Code Pink show up?

30 posted on 08/09/2009 4:59:48 AM PDT by Hillarys Gate Cult (The man who said "there's no such thing as a stupid question" has never talked to Helen Thomas.)
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To: Stepan12
FactCheck (mentioned in the article) is not non partisan. It is Leftwing, like Snopes but with, perhaps, a greater bias since it gets the monies from the same foundation that funded B. Hussein Obama and William Ayers when they worked together.

In actual fact, this is called a red herring. Fact Check says no euthanasia, and this is close enough to true to be solid. But, thats not the charge, the charge is that government bureaucrats and planners will set up system where granny just doesn't merit that knee-replacement, cancer drug, or by-pass. So she dies quicker of "natural causes."

And this is a plain fact about this plan. The Baby Boomers who have been paying the Max Social Security and Medicare Tax will get into their late 60's and early 70's and be told you are too old for that "enter life saving care option here" and thus, why don't you consider hospice?

31 posted on 08/09/2009 5:01:23 AM PDT by dalight
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To: Uncle Ike

I’m afraid we have only begun to see the tip of the iceberg of what this creep is capable of.

He sent in the union thugs this time but I would not be surprised if he sent in the National Guard next to subdue us. He literally thinks he can get away with murder.

Then next item on the agenda will be amnesty for all the millions of illegals in this miserable economy with all the unemployed masses. Just watch him arm-wrestle that one through. Gotta buy those votes.

King Barry does not fear anyone and he’s got millions of brain dead zombies behind him. I know several myself who are real proud of him. It’s absolutely astounding. We are living in the twilight zone.


32 posted on 08/09/2009 5:03:10 AM PDT by bergmeid
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To: native texan

I’m not mobile and this may sound dumb and even severely simplistic, but I feel blessed to have been born where I have and blessed with the opportunities I have been afforded. I myself would stay to contend it in every way possible. I am a young(and probably naive) man though.


33 posted on 08/09/2009 5:03:19 AM PDT by FreeSouthernAmerican (If Only To Be Left To Live My Own Life)
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To: Man50D

I notice “fact check” puts forth a straw dog argument so it can shoot it down. There doesn’t have to be some explixit euthansia clause in the bill. Withholding care or putting it on indefinite hold will do the job just as well as formalized euthanasia. People will die on waiting lists of things that could have been prevented and their gov can still technically claim they aren’t being “officially” euthanized. They’re just the collateral damage from being denied access to a free market in health care.


34 posted on 08/09/2009 5:05:08 AM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge)
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To: FreeSouthernAmerican
I am 5th generation Texan. There is no way I will just sit silent while Obama and his thugs take our land and people without a fight. But what I am saying is elderly people who have Obama’s death sentence over their head can and should think about moving...not just staying here in horrible conditions waiting for death. We do have a choice.
35 posted on 08/09/2009 5:08:36 AM PDT by native texan
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To: SonOfDarkSkies

This is possible.

“The Net: Part I-V”


36 posted on 08/09/2009 5:11:57 AM PDT by combat_boots (The Lion of Judah cometh. Hallelujah. Gloria Patri, Fili et Spiritus Sancti.)
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To: All

“He literally thinks he can get away with murder.”

“We are living in the twilight zone.”

I can see posters.....but can’t make them.

Oh, and of course, we need one for “I can see dead people.”


37 posted on 08/09/2009 5:16:18 AM PDT by combat_boots (The Lion of Judah cometh. Hallelujah. Gloria Patri, Fili et Spiritus Sancti.)
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To: native texan

Agreed. I think Texas will secede before that though. We see what happened when South Carolina decided to secede. They weren’t the only one.


38 posted on 08/09/2009 5:16:46 AM PDT by FreeSouthernAmerican (If Only To Be Left To Live My Own Life)
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To: Man50D
It's pretty clear that all the town hall meetings in the world won't change the minds of most Democrat lawmakers who are probably hoping that once their bill passes the furor will die down and a dumbed-down electorate will re-elect them.
If that happens we have some hard choices to make.
Also the Republicans could run on a platform that if they are elected in large enough numbers in 2010 they will vote to repeal any Obamacare measure that has passed.
Another choice is more extreme but I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking about it.
39 posted on 08/09/2009 5:27:51 AM PDT by Larry381 ("in the final instance civilization is always saved by a platoon of soldiers" Oswald Spengler)
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To: SonOfDarkSkies; All
Once Obama controls your personal healthcare, he will dare you to protest or disagree. If he will threaten Jon Kyl as blatantly as he did (with letters to AZ Gov. Jan Brewer from Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, HUD Sec. Shaun Donovan, and Interior Sec. Ken Salazar threatening the withholding of stimulus moneys), one can only imagine how he might intimidate regular citizens.

There's enough flexibility in Obamacare for bureaucrats to have a lot of discretion in deciding who gets what medications and procedures. Right now he's collecting a massive email and articles data base of people who oppose him, all of which is instantly and digitally searchable. The FEC records of nearly all campaign contributions are also digitally searchable. It would be incredibly easy for an Obama bureaucrat to run such a search against you, me, or anyone else to see if any of us was politically qualified to receive a needed drug or procedure.

A presidential occupant (NOT a legitimately elected president) who's supposed to be the country's chief law enforcement officer who deliberately incites mob violence against ordinary citizens and refuses to enforce the Voting Rights Act against two thugs who commit the most blatant violation of that act in 40 years is fully capable of enacting a political qualification test to determine who gets needed medical care. Obamacare isn't about health care; it's all about gaining totalitarian domination of each of us through our health care needs.

40 posted on 08/09/2009 5:30:49 AM PDT by libstripper
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To: libstripper
Obamacare isn't about health care; it's all about gaining totalitarian domination of each of us through our health care needs.

That bears repeating...loudly...

Obamacare isn't about health care; it's all about gaining totalitarian domination of each of us through our health care needs.

41 posted on 08/09/2009 5:37:57 AM PDT by SonOfDarkSkies (Obama is "An" AntiChrist...but is he "THE" AntiChrist? The jury is still out...for the moment!)
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To: SonOfDarkSkies

Obamacare is a TAX on life


42 posted on 08/09/2009 5:39:05 AM PDT by usmcobra (Your chances of dying in bed are reduced by getting out of it, but most people still die in bed)
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To: bergmeid

Now why is it that this usurper had a limo designed to take a hit that a tank could take, with a machine gun turret and an entourage of weaponry that would rival any convoy in Iraq. These criminals have plans and we are just beginning to see what they are capable of. Free elections forget it!!
It is my opinion that we had better get organized and prepared for the worst!


43 posted on 08/09/2009 5:45:54 AM PDT by timetostand
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To: SonOfDarkSkies
“Obama and his supporters are simply taking control of America...whether the voters like it or not.”

It's not about health care or the economy or the environment or women's rights or gay marriage or social justice or anything the rhetoric pretends it to be; it's about power and subjugation. And if you think the administration is ignoring the people on health care, just wait until we try to effectuate change at the ballot box; it will not be tolerated. This government is here to stay.

44 posted on 08/09/2009 6:13:42 AM PDT by Spok
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To: Stepan12

I wonder if a new “factcheck.org” could be put together...which really checks facts!


45 posted on 08/09/2009 6:15:07 AM PDT by mdmathis6
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To: Man50D
Take two aspirin and come back in the morning

Pretty much covers ZerOcare, except for that come back in the morning thing.

46 posted on 08/09/2009 6:16:52 AM PDT by depressed in 06 (Idiotcracy has arrived 400 years early.)
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To: Spok
This government is here to stay.

Absolutely! Obama has demonstrated clearly that he has no compunction in using whatever totalitarian strategy he must to stay in power and to increase that power.

That is why the counter-revolution must begin now!

47 posted on 08/09/2009 6:18:21 AM PDT by SonOfDarkSkies (Obama is "An" AntiChrist...but is he "THE" AntiChrist? The jury is still out...for the moment!)
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To: piasa

You understand their intent correctly. Not to actually murder just to kill by neglect.


48 posted on 08/09/2009 6:20:23 AM PDT by pepperdog (As Israel goes, so goes America!)
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To: depressed in 06
Pennsylvania freepers take note. Senator Arlen Specter will hold a town hall meeting on Tuesday, August 11, 2009 in Lebanon, PA at the Harrisburg Area Community College
Auditorium in downtown Lebanon. We need all the Freepers there we can muster. The meeting begins at 9:30AM.
Let's let Specter know where we stand on Obamacare.
49 posted on 08/09/2009 6:24:54 AM PDT by Mr. Wright
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To: Man50D
"And when we've decided what we want and how much it cost, we then need collectively to decide what we are willing to pay," he said.

Wait one second. How about deciding individually how much each one of us is willing to spend? If I decide that my health is worth more, I can buy better insurance or save more for future treatment. This starts with the presumption that medicine is a service that will (not even should) be distributed by the government.

"This issue will not be solved by people shouting,

Shouting is the only volume which the Congress will listen to. If the same opponents of medical nationalization went to the town halls, allowed the organizers to pick their usual prescreened questioners ask their usually supportive questions to the Democrat congressmen, and then went home quietly shaking their heads about the medical hell this country is headed towards, this bill would have been steamrollered through long ago. Only by shouting can we get them to notice and react. Also, it allows the wolf who thought he was alone in the world to howl and listen for the rest of the dispersed pack to howl in return to show how many are truly out there.

it will not be solved by people telling lies over and over again," Parker said. "Yes, I have read it and I do not agree with everything in it, but there is absolutely nothing in the bill that is going to euthanize grandma."

One of the signs waved by a plan opponent said "Don't tell my gigi how to die," referring to allegations that the bill would allow senior citizens to be euthanized, something the nonpartisan group FactCheck.org said is false. Cohen also denied that the bill would pay for abortions -- another claim made by opponents.

Euthanized? No, not on this version. This version is just to ration treatment. So you die six months into your two year waiting period for an angioplasty that used to be done the next day back in the good old days of semi-free market medicine. Or you get a type of cancer which researchers had been making progress on, but which was stopped when pharmaceutical companies are no longer allowed to sell drugs for more than the manufacturing cost of already known formulas plus a little profit. Or you get treatable macular degeneration in one eye and are told that you still have a good eye and that's good enough for government work (which is essentially what one patient under Britain's NHS was told).

Oh, also FactCheck.org is only non-partisan in that they support leftists no matter which party they belong to: Democrat, Socialist or Communist. Don't pretend that they are non-ideological.

50 posted on 08/09/2009 6:31:38 AM PDT by KarlInOhio (Obama's medical nationalization bill reads like Atlas Shrugged with doctors instead of railroads.)
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