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This is refreshing to read in a newspaper:

But as Republicans smelled serious opportunity in the midterm elections, they didn’t let facts get in the way of a great punchline. And few in the press challenged their frequent assertion that under Obama, the government was going to take over the health care industry.

That paragraph is from today’s St. Petersburg Times, and appears in their article PolitiFact’s Lie Of The Year. I think they deserve a great deal of credit for calling out their own.

The article is the kind of reporting the news media should do a lot more of. Facts are good things, and as the saying goes, knowledge is power. Had these facts come out a long time ago the health care reform law may have turned out quite differently.

The article illustrates how the Republican Party set out to sway the public against health care reform and attack President Obama. To do so they used self-proclaimed “Word Doctor” Frank Luntz, the consultant whose slogan is “It’s Not What You Say That Matters, It’s What They Hear,” which seems fitting as a motto for the Republican Party as well. The Republicans turned to Luntz for a similar “snow job” in an attempt to kill financial reform, and he also played a roll in Newt Gingrich’s “Contract For America.”

To construct the big lie for the GOP Luntz came up with the term “government takeover.”

“Takeovers are like coups,” Luntz wrote in a 28-page memo. “They both lead to dictators and a loss of freedom.”

The line stuck. By the time the health care bill was headed toward passage in early 2010, Obama and congressional Democrats had sanded down their program, dropping the “public option” concept that was derided as too much government intrusion. The law passed in March, with new regulations, but no government-run plan.

We’re still hearing the words “government takeover” and the Republicans like the term so much that it’s become interchangeable with just about every issue out there.

The lie worked, in that it got the health care bill watered down considerably.

But that’s not enough for the GOP. They’re working to kill it altogether. 20 states, with Florida in the lead, have filed a lawsuit claiming the law is unconstitutional. Earlier this week, a judge in Virginia actually did rule part of it unconstitutional, but that judge also owns between $15,000 and $50,000 in a GOP political consulting firm. No conflict THERE of course, right? Did someone say “Government takeover?”

No, the Party that’s willing to hold the poor and unemployed hostage, along with DADT, The DREAM Act and national security with the START Treaty in order to get more tax cuts for their rich friends and contributors (not to mention themselves) have no qualms about robbing you and those very same people of a chance at getting health care. So expect more of the same in the future.

In fact, they’ve already begun:

An influential Tea Party group is urging Congress to hold votes in January to repeal healthcare reform in its entirety, according to a confidential memo to congressional Republicans.

The FreedomWorks memo, obtained by The Hill, outlines a strategy that starts with holding a vote in January to repeal the entire law. The group, headed by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), said Congress should then hold repeal votes on certain provisions of the law, such as the individual mandate.

“Repeal is achievable, possibly sooner than many expect, because the American people clearly want and expect repeal, and because the law is vulnerable to effective repeal,” the memo said.

“Because the American people clearly want and expect repeal.” Do you want and expect repeal of the health care law? Because Dick Armey SAYS you do.

“It’s not what you say that matters, it’s what they hear.”

There’s also more to Congress than meets the eye. You see, you may think you know who you elected to go to Washington to fight for you, but you really elected “wordsmiths” and “blowhards” like Frank Luntz and Dick Armey. Those new Republican “leaders” come January who you see crying like babies who claim they’ve harnessed the American Dream are really just puppets who have sold out. They’ve sold you and the country out as well.

We need more exposure to the GOP’s “big lies” from the media. We can’t afford to let the truth get drowned out, or we’ll only “hear” from these guys.

The puppet-masters.

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Here are just a couple of things you’ll see and hear very little about in the mainstream media about President Obama’s health care reform law:

On the ruling yesterday that PART of the health care reform bill is unconstitutional:

Henry E. Hudson, the federal judge in Virginia who just ruled health care reform unconstitutional, owns between $15,000 and $50,000 in a GOP political consulting firm that worked against health care reform.

Most of the reports I’ve read and heard on this are neglecting to mention Judge Henry E. Hudson’s ties to the GOP.

Then there’s this, which surprisingly many people are still unaware of:

Clients lobbying on H.R.3200

Just an FYI for those who actually believe that lawmakers have only the best interests of their constituents at heart.

As hard as it is to believe, there are those who actually do.

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“One of the most important things in races is that people really know as much as they can about how somebody thinks.”

That’s a quote from Republican candidate for governor, Rick Scott. It’s also a pretty hypocritical one, coming from the candidate who:

Just to name a few.

The quote above was actually the answer RIck Scott gave when he was asked how important debates would be against his opponent in the race, Alex Sink:

Scott was asked how important the upcoming TV debates will be with Democratic opponent Alex Sink. “I don’t know. I’ve never done this before,” Scott said. “I take them seriously, and I think it’s a way for people to learn more about the candidates. One of the most important things in races is that people really know as much as they can about how somebody thinks.”

Seriously. He “doesn’t know.” But that’s not all.

One thing missing from my list of other things Rick Scott avoids is appearing before editorial boards as is customary for candidates before elections. Scott wouldn’t sit down with them during the primaries. The St. Petersburg Times asked Scott if he would meet with editorial boards this time around.

His answer:

“I don’t think we’ve made a decision on that. I’ve got to talk to Susie,” Scott said, referring to campaign manager Susie Wiles.

He hasn’t made that decision yet. But why?

Isn’t “one of the most important things in races is that people really know as much as they can about how somebody thinks” to quote Scott’s own words?

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Last week, the city of St. Petersburg, Florida sought to deal with the problem of increased panhandling on city streets, so the City Council unanimously approved banning all street solicitation. No more “begging” on street corners. That doesn’t sound so unusual, does it?

However, the City’s ban covers much more than just begging and “Will Work For Food” signs:

The ban prohibits any transaction between pedestrians and motorists on major city streets. That means it also would restrict activities such as fundraising by the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the selling of newspapers by street vendors.

That’s right. It will now be illegal for a vendor to sell a newspaper on the street. Because the ban covers such transactions on the street, the City Council cites it as “improving public safety.”

In other words, say you’re sitting in your car at a stop light, and a newspaper vendor is holding up a newspaper hoping you’ll buy one. That, they claim, is a matter of public safety.

Now, say you’re sitting in your car at a stop light, and a person holding up a sign that says “Vote _____ For Mayor!” is standing in the vacant spot previously occupied by that now banned newspaper vendor? Is that also a matter of public safety? According to the St. Petersburg City Council, not so much!

In St. Petersburg Florida, a campaign sign is one thing, but INFORMATION ABOUT A CANDIDATE IS DANGEROUS. BEWARE! Not to mention informed choices.

Word on the street is, (unless they’ve banned street corner opinion whispering too) not only is this a benefit to public safety, it’s also a benefit to St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster, who not only supported the ban, but is discouraging the St. Petersburg Times in their federal lawsuit against the city.

Informed choices are things to be discouraged. I suppose that makes sense coming from Foster, who said this in 2008:

“Evolution gives our kids an excuse to believe in natural selection and survival of the fittest, which leads to a belief that they are superior over the weak,” Bill Foster wrote board members in a letter received this week. “This is a slippery slope.”

He continued: “One of the Columbine shooters wrote on his Web site, ‘You know what I love? Natural selection! It’s the best thing that ever happened to the Earth. Getting rid of all the stupid and weak organisms.'”

Foster’s letter comes in the midst of an increasingly emotional tug-of-war over the state’s proposed new science standards, which embrace Charles Darwin’s theory as the fundamental pillar of modern biology. The current standards, written in 1996, do not mention the word “evolution.”

That’s right. Darwin = Hitler. An opinion he shared with another foe of facts, former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Indicted). He too drew a line between Darwin and Columbine. That didn’t work so well for DeLay. He, of course was later ousted and was last seen  prancing around in a red and white sequined GOP leotard on “Dancing With The Stars.” Another ugly public ousting.

Yes, for politicians like Bill Foster and Tom DeLay, information and informed choices can be dangerous. What’s next? Re-writing school textbooks?

Oh, wait….

As Stephen Colbert might say, “You know who ELSE didn’t want newspapers sold by street vendors? Hitler!”

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This headline from a newspaper this morning speaks volumes, doesn’t it? Granted, it was a reference to Charlie Crist and his party tap-dance yesterday and probably not intended to apply to the entire Grand Obstructionist Party, but still….

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The Connecticut Post today has an editorial out today demanding that Joe Lieberman explain his flip-flop on the Medicare buy-in plan for health care reform, calling his “audacity impressive.”

As we have said in the past, Lieberman is of course free to vote his conscience. If he thinks it’s a bad bill, by all means, vote against it.

But that’s not what he’s saying. He won’t even vote to allow a vote — all because the bill contains a provision he supported as recently as September and as long ago as the 2000 election.

He’s hardly bothered to explain his change in position, and instead seems to delight at once again claiming the spotlight as the indispensable man in the Senate deliberations.

He should drop this charade and come up with a coherent explanation for his recent behavior. He should not join a filibuster against the bill.

Otherwise, he risks sending a message that he’s playing games with people’s health care. And that is a dangerous game to play.

That’s exactly what Lieberman is doing. He’s playing a very dangerous “game” with people’s lives; 45,000 a year who will die every year that goes by without health care reform. Those numbers will only go up as the insurance companies have already indicated premiums will go up. Sen. Lieberman knows this full well. He’s doing the insurance companies’ bidding.

Lieberman has come up with every feeble reason he can think of to block reform, including saying his constituents don’t want health care reform.

This editorial from his home state is says otherwise. Lieberman knows this too. How many of his constituents will die because of his latest ego trip?

Shameless.

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Today Nielsen Business Media announced that it will fold Editor & Publisher. It will be missed.

Of course, it doesn’t exactly help the newspaper industry when you have a newspaper publish a Facebook note and call it an “Op-Ed.”

Just sayin.’

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