More Reaction to Carnahan's Town Hall & Public Beatings…
AUGUST 8, 2009 – St. Louis police officers were on the scene of Saturday’s protest by members of the St. Louis Tea Party who gathered in front of the SEIU headquarters on Pershing Avenue to protest Thursday’s beating of conservative activist Kenneth Gladney. Gladney said he was assaulted by members of the union outside a Mehlville healthcare forum sponsored by U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan. Tea Party protestors were on site to speak against violence against Gladney. (Robert Cohen/P-D)
(Jamie Allman was not happy about the flags shaped as klan hats in the photo.)
Here is a detailed account from a reader who was inside the Carnahan town hall meeting last Thursday:
Is Russ Carnahan avoiding his constituents?
I attended the forum on Aging in America, hosted by Russ Carnahan at Bernard Middle School in south St. Louis County, on Thursday, August 6th.
Arriving early in hopes of getting inside, I found a long line of well over 200 people, mostly seniors and baby boomers, eagerly waiting to hear from senator Carnahan. There were some people holding signs, but not more than 25 or so. It appeared this was mostly a group of voters approaching retirement or already well into retirement. One woman told me she was 83 years old.
I have to admit I placed myself near the front of the line in order to get inside, as I was anxious to hear what Rep. Carnahan had to say. Moments before the doors were opened a policeman walked down the line telling everyone that no signs would be permitted in the building. A number of people voiced their opinion that this requirement was a direct violation of their first amendment right to free speech, especially since the school is a publicly funded building. The police said the signs still were not allowed.
Inside, all attendees were required to give their name and address before being allowed access to the event. The forum was located in the school gymnasium. The chairs placed on the floor were divided into 2 sections, right and left. All of the chairs on the left side facing the stage area were tagged reserved for pre-registrants. I found it interesting to see that everyone on that side of the room was pro-Obamacare. There were SEIU members in their union shirts, and ACORN people who I saw standing outside carrying their look-alike pre-printed signs, and local politicians and staff members of Russ Carhahan, as well as dedicated supporters.
The right side of the room was open for the citizens who came to hear Mr. Carnahan. I couldn’t help but notice how the setup made it impossible for there to be a majority of people opposed to Obamacare, and that only half of the room (maybe 100 people) was dedicated to people who actually wanted to hear what was going to be covered by the senator. I also found it amusing that the room was arranged so the left side was liberal and the right conservative. Gee, what a coincidence?
In the hour spent before the event started I spoke to a number of people around me, and found them all very concerned about the health care bill. They had questions about rationing, end of life counseling and “orders for end of life” as the bill states, costs; including increased taxes, and concerns about physicians leaving their practices as many doctors have expressed.
When Rep. Carnahan arrived the forum began. He was introduced by the moderator and spent the next eight minutes or so introducing speakers and friends, politicians and staff workers who were present. He then introduced the first speaker, from AARP, and took a seat on the stage.
Mr. Sargent was not warmly welcomed by the older adults in the crowd. We listened to him speak about AARP’s support of the healthcare bill and how the current system is broken and is in desperate need of repair.
The crowd was restless however and wanted to hear from Russ Carnahan. Some of them stated rather loudly they had questions for him during Mr. Sargent’s speech. The moderator broke in and said they would field questions at the end of the event.
The next three speakers talked about benefits offered by Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security, and the Agency on Aging. There were a number of points made about what each of these organizations is doing to help those who are advancing in years and gave the listeners information on contacting the agencies for additional help. It seemed they were all telling the crowd “this is what is available to you now, please take advantage of it.” I thought that was a great idea, but after listening to the first three speakers a question came to mind…
If Russ Carnahan is for national healthcare and thinks the system is broken, why would he have speakers from three different agencies tell us what is working now and how to take advantage of the benefits they offer? None of them spoke about what will be available after Obamacare passes, or said anything about the problems they are having that need to be fixed. It was all very positive about the current system. I was hoping he would be able to answer my question…
However, after the last speaker finished, the moderator took the podium and said there were a number of questions they would like to answer. As people stood with their hands raised to be called upon, she read three questions that were written by a woman who we didn’t know was even in attendance. A number of people again stated they had questions to ask and were asked, “Did you submit written questions?”
That threw a number of people off, including me, because no one ever mentioned our questions had to be submitted in writing in order to be considered. The crowd was non-the-less angered by this situation and voiced this to the moderator. At that point Russ Carnahan came to the podium and gave a 1 ½ minute canned message about healthcare and seniors, thanked everyone for attending, turned and walked out the back door of the building. He didn’t take one question or provide any insight as to where he stands or what the current status of the healthcare plan is. He just turned and left!
Why? Why would our elected “representative” avoid talking to us about the biggest concern of the citizens of the state of Missouri and the nation, and simply walk away? What is he afraid of? Does he figure why bother, because he realizes he’s shot himself in the foot and won’t get re-elected, or has he completely sold his soul to the devil in Washington and just doesn’t care? I left the event completely confused and totally disappointed in my elected representative.
Russ Carnahan, you should be ashamed of yourself. You spent the better part of ten minutes dropping names of your cronies and thanking them all for attending, yet you couldn’t devote more than two minutes or even take one question from your constituents, the very voters who put you in office? You’ve shown the people of Missouri you aren’t the least bit concerned for any of us, and that you think your power and prestige is more important.
You’ve reminded me of a definition I read in a very good book about certain people and their agenda. Here it is:
An International, Conspiratorial Drive For Power On The Part Of Men In High Places Willing To Use Any Means To Bring About Their Desired
Aim – Global Conquest.
I’d give you my name but I don’t want to get on the Obama watch list.
Next… Chip B. sent this letter to the Post-Dispatch after their dishonest report on the SEIU attacks on Thursday:
I respectfully disagree with your coverage of recent outbreaks of violence at so-called townhall meetings resulting from the Health Care debate, in the 06 August 2009 article titled, “Local clash mirrored by national protests, fights over healthcare”. To wit:
1) What transpired Thursday evening in St. Louis was not a “raucous demonstration”, but rather an unprovoked attack, by SEIU members, against a man peacefully exercising his First-Amendment right of political expression by passing out Gadsden flags.
You later state “members of the Service Employees International Union were present when the Thursday melee broke out” – completely obfuscating that union members were not merely *present*, but were actually the *instigators* of the assault of Kenneth Gladney, and that four union members – and no Obama healthcare opponents – were arrested.
2) What transpired the same night in Tampa, FL, was not a “scuffle… [featuring] protesters on both sides of the health care reform debate,” but rather an unprovoked attack, by SEIU members, against an elderly man – in front of his frightened wife – who was, again, peacefully exercising his First-Amendment right to assemble for redress of grievances.
Nowhere in your article do you mention that *every* instance of aggression and violence has been instigated by those who support Obama’s healthcare legislation, and that *every* victim of such aggression has been a protester against Obama’s healthcare legislation.
3) You mention that “the locations and times of many of McCaskill’s events are published on the “action center” of the website for a group called Conservatives for Patients Rights”, but fail to mention that SEIU is *sponsoring* many of these “townhall” events – including the one in Tampa – and are actively sending members to the events, and that Organizing For America – Obama’s perpetual-campaign organization – is organizing its members also to attend these events.
4) You use a derogatory, pejorative term to reference the Tea Party movement:
“Conservative activist Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, described the town hall protests as an evolution of the sentiments that started taking shape during the so-called Tea Bag protests last spring.”
The only people referring to the Tea Party movement as “Tea Bag protests” and its participants as “teabaggers” are leftwing activists and sympathizers. An ostensibly objective journalist, such as you, certainly should refrain from such debasement of civil discourse.
I realize that the management of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has stated publicly and officially that the newspaper intends to maintain a liberal viewpoint; however, you still have a public duty to ensure that coverage of such issues is more objective that what is exemplified by this article.
I respectfully request a correction to the omissions listed here, and a retraction of your reference to the Tea Party protests as “Tea Bag” protests.
Please note, I am a St. Louis county (Breckenridge Hills) resident. I have included pertinent contact information for verification, should you need it.
I would appreciate the courtesy of a reply. I maintain a weblog, and will extend the same courtesy to you, should I write any blog posts on this or any
of your articles.
Finally, Andrew D. sent this list of freedoms you’d lose under Obamacare:
Freedoms you’d lose in health care reform
1. Freedom to choose what’s in your plan.
2. Freedom to be rewarded for healthy living, or pay your real costs..
3. Freedom to choose high-deductible coverage.
4. Freedom to keep your existing plan.
5. Freedom to choose your doctors…
• Page 22: Mandates audits of all employers that self-insure!
• Page 29: Admission: your health care will be rationed!
• Page 30: A government committee will decide what treatments and benefits you get (and, unlike an insurer, there will be no appeals process)
• Page 42: The “Health Choices Commissioner” will decide health benefits for you. You will have no choice. None.
• Page 50: All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free healthcare services.
• Page 58: Every person will be issued a National ID Health card.
• Page 59: The federal government will have direct, real-time access to all individual bank accounts for electronic funds transfer.
• Page 65: Taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree and community organizer health plans (read: SEIU, UAW and ACORN)
• Page 72: All private healthcare plans must conform to government rules to participate in a Healthcare Exchange.
• Page 84: All private healthcare plans must participate in the Healthcare Exchange (i.e., total government control of private plans)
• Page 91: Government mandates linguistic infrastructure for services; translation: illegal aliens
• Page 95: The Government will pay ACORN and Americorps to sign up individuals for Government-run Health Care plan.
• Page 102: Those eligible for Medicaid will be automatically enrolled: you have no choice in the matter.
• Page 124: No company can sue the government for price-fixing. No “judicial review” is permitted against the government monopoly. Put simply, private insurers will be crushed.
• Page 127: The AMA sold doctors out: the government will set wages.
• Page 145: An employer MUST auto-enroll employees into the government-run public plan. No alternatives.
• Page 126: Employers MUST pay healthcare bills for part-time employees AND their families.
• Page 149: Any employer with a payroll of $400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays an 8% tax on payroll
• Page 150: Any employer with a payroll of $250K-400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays a 2 to 6% tax on payroll
• Page 167: Any individual who doesn’t have acceptable healthcare (according to the government) will be taxed 2.5% of income.
• Page 170: Any NON-RESIDENT alien is exempt from individual taxes (Americans will pay for them).
• Page 195: Officers and employees of Government Healthcare Bureaucracy will have access to ALL American financial and personal records.
• Page 203: “The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax.” Yes, it really says that.
• Page 239: Bill will reduce physician services for Medicaid. Seniors and the poor most affected.”
• Page 241: Doctors: no matter what specialty you have, you’ll all be paid the same (thanks, AMA!)
• Page 253: Government sets value of doctors’ time, their professional judgment, etc.
• Page 265: Government mandates and controls productivity for private healthcare industries.
• Page 268: Government regulates rental and purchase of power-driven wheelchairs.
• Page 272: Cancer patients: welcome to the wonderful world of rationing!
• Page 280: Hospitals will be penalized for what the government deems preventable re-admissions.
• Page 298: Doctors: if you treat a patient during an initial admission that results in a readmission, you will be penalized by the government.
• Page 317: Doctors: you are now prohibited for owning and investing in healthcare companies!
• Page 318: Prohibition on hospital expansion. Hospitals cannot expand without government approval.
• Page 321: Hospital expansion hinges on “community” input: in
other words, yet another payoff for ACORN.
• Page 335: Government mandates establishment of outcome-based measures: i.e., rationing.
• Page 341: Government has authority to disqualify Medicare Advantage Plans, HMOs, etc.
• Page 354: Government will restrict enrollment of SPECIAL NEEDS individuals.
• Page 379: More bureaucracy: Telehealth Advisory Committee (healthcare by phone).
• Page 425: More bureaucracy: Advance Care Planning Consult: Senior Citizens, assisted suicide, euthanasia?
• Page 425: Government will instruct and consult regarding living wills, durable powers of attorney, etc. Mandatory. Appears to lock in estate taxes ahead of time.
• Page 425: Government provides approved list of end-of-life resources, guiding you in death.
• Page 427: Government mandates program that orders end-of-life treatment; government dictates how your life ends.
• Page 429: Advance Care Planning Consult will be used to dictate treatment as patient’s health deteriorates. This can include an ORDER for end-of-life plans. An ORDER from the GOVERNMENT.
• Page 430: Government will decide what level of treatments you may have at end-of-life.
• Page 469: Community-based Home Medical Services: more payoffs for ACORN.
• Page 472: Payments to Community-based organizations: more payoffs for ACORN.