“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Community Organizers testy about community organizers

Pelosi Calls Health Care Protests 'Astroturf'
Politics Daily
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office sent out a fact sheet to reporters Tuesday afternoon, calling recent demonstrations at congressional town hall events "Astroturf," the Washington euphemism for a corporate public relations campaign disguised to look like a grass roots citizen movement.

Pelosi said that while Democrats are putting forth proposals to reform health care, "those not interested in health insurance reform are disrupting public meetings and not allowing concerned constituents to ask questions and express their views. Many of these opponents who are shutting down civil discussion are organized by out-of-district, extremist political groups, and industry-supported lobbying firms."

The statement, citing numerous media reports, linked disruptions of congressional meetings to the insurance industry and conservative organizations like FreedomWorks, which is run by former House Republican leader Dick Armey.

As opposed to Astroturf opponents, "Democratic members of Congress will continue to talk about the benefits" of health insurance reform, Pelosi said. "Successful, informative constituent meetings are being headlined by Democrats across the country."

Democratic House members are traveling through their districts, frequently encountering angry crowds opposing health care reform, energy reform and the growing federal deficit. This week, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) faced a group of protesting constituents, which he called a "mob scene."

Pelosi's words are part of a broader Democratic effort to portray the demonstrations as not reflecting real voter sentiment. The DNC and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent out similar communications on Tuesday.


  1. I gave them Ash's Blog.

    Don't piss me off or YOU could be next.

  2. If the "blogosphere" doesn't have a ball with this I'll be surprised.

  3. Doug's been giving me a "hard" time, recently.

  4. Cornyn responded by accusing the White House of compiling an "enemies list." In a letter to the president, Cornyn urged Obama to provide Congress with more details on what the White House plans to do with anyone reported for "fishy" speech.

    "I am not aware of any precedent for a president asking American citizens to report their fellow citizens to the White House for pure political speech that is deemed 'fishy' or otherwise inimical to the White House's political interests," Cornyn wrote.

    "You should not be surprised that these actions taken by your White House staff raise the specter of a data collection program. As Congress debates health care reform and other critical policy matters, citizen engagement must not be chilled by fear of government monitoring the exercise of free speech rights," he wrote.

    Opponents Over Substance

  5. Regardless of the program's specific pros and cons, however, several economists told Newsmax that the program offers a clear preview of what lies ahead on a much larger scale, if President Obama succeeds in implementing his broader legislative agenda.

    Among their concerns:

    Market Unpredictability

    Market forces have proved to be far too complex for government officials to gauge. The rush to participate blindsided officials.

    Faulty central planning

    Germany, a country with one-third the population of the United States, kicked off a similar program this year — funded at $7 billion. There were indications for months that U.S. car buyers were delaying their purchases until the cash-for-clunkers incentive took effect.

    Massive cost overruns

    Assuming that the additional $2 billion is approved, the cost of the program to taxpayers will have tripled in about two weeks' time. Although proponents may say that's a good investment, it highlights the government's inability to accurately assess the long-term cost of its own programs.

    Bodes Ill for Healthcare

  6. Faulty central planning.

    An oxymoron.

  7. Earlier in the week, a hurricane forecasting team at Colorado State University issued a slightly lower storm prediction for storms forming in the Atlantic.

    The university said it expects 10 named storms in the Atlantic -- four of them hurricanes and two of them major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher, meaning they would have sustained winds of at least 111 mph.

    The team reduced its previous forecast, issued in June, of 11 named storms, five hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

    Towards Hawaii