Stop GOP Hooligans From Stalling Health Reform

News & Politics

Capping off a summer of cacophonous "town hell" meetings, armed threats and race baiting, South Carolina GOP Rep. Joe Wilson's "You lie!" exclamation was yet another example of the desperate sensationalism that has become the right's raison d'être.

This was not Wilson's first outburst. While working as an aide to Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., Wilson called it "unseemly" when Thurmond's illegitimate, biracial daughter, Essie Mae Washington-Williams, came forward. A staunch admirer of Thurmond's, Wilson accused Washington-Williams of lying (she was not) and told a local newspaper that her only motivation was to tarnish Thurmond's reputation.

"It's a smear on the image that [Thurmond] has as a person of high integrity who has been so loyal to the people of South Carolina," he said. "These are heroes of mine. I really hope these would be heroes to future generations of Americans. (The stories) are ... a way to diminish their contributions to our country's existence." He was later forced to apologize.

He had to apologize for his more recent outburst, too. But that didn't stop him from telling Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that he would "not apologize again." Or from brushing off his inexcusable behavior as simply "a town hall moment."

Instead, he has used his nascent notoriety as a platform to push a paranoid, misinformed agenda -- one that falsely claims undocumented immigrants will be granted extravagant health coverage under Obama's plan.

Despite a wave of campaign contributions sent in disgust to his opponent in next year's election, Wilson snagged upwards of $1 million in donations on Sunday. He is essentially being rewarded for preposterous and inappropriate behavior, and it cannot continue.

It's up to you to halt this momentum. Join MoveOn's fight to put pressure on those who are stalling health reform. No one has the right to postpone meaningful change -- especially not someone who has fought so hard in the past to stop it.

Here are the rest of our Take Action campaigns this week:

II -- Protect Obama 

According to Ronald Kessler, a veteran investigative journalist, President Barack Obama receives around 30 death threats per day -- a 400 percent increase from those delivered to George W. Bush while he was in office. Recently, a Secret Service agent told Kessler, "We have half the number of agents we need, but requests for more agents have fallen on deaf ears at headquarters."

Meanwhile, as "birthers," "deathers" and assault-rifle-strapped town hall protesters seem to be multiplying, one fact has become glaringly clear: Obama is not adequately protected. It's time for us to tell Department of Homeland Security Chairwoman Janet Napolitano that she needs to dedicate adequate attention to this problem. Tell her to give Obama the protection he deserves. 

III -- Audit the Federal Reserve

A year after 2008's monumental financial meltdown, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is still refusing to disclose to Congress where trillions in bailout money went. These are dollars that Congress, the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury have taken from American taxpayers and redistributed even as we reel from the recession's effects. Don't we have a right to know where our money went?

Audit the Fed, a self-proclaimed "transpartisan coalition for transparency," has created a petition in which it urges Congress to enact "a full audit of the Fed for the first time in its history" and "provide answers to the American people about how our money is being spent." If you want to know where your money went (and where it still might go), sign up here.

IV -- Help Promote Sustainable Jobs 

It ain't easy being green. Perhaps that's why the Apollo Alliance, an organization that promotes environmentally friendly job solutions, has found itself in Glenn Beck's rhetorical crosshairs as of late. Beck has accused the Alliance of bending the White House to its whims; he has also labeled it "a vast, left-wing conspiracy theory."

But while many on the right claim that a green economy will amputate jobs, the Apollo Alliance's "Make it America" plan will actually create them. And while many of Beck's allies continue to fall back on environmentally unsound business practices, others are successfully riding the green wave. Which side do you want to be a part of? Help build sustainable jobs here.

V -- Tell Senators to Deliver on Climate Change

In June, the House passed the Clean Energy and Security Act (ACESA). This month, that very same bill will come before the Senate. If approved, it would lock us into an immensely complex cap-and-trade system designed to benefit big business; it would actually prevent us from reducing our greenhouse-gas emissions in a meaningful way; and it would use public money to subsidize the most-polluting energy industries, like coal and nuclear energy.

Many climate scientists believe that passing this bill will actually deal more harm to the environment than doing nothing at all. It's time to stand up and fight for real, comprehensive climate change before it's too late. Tell your senators you need them to protect our planet. You can do it here.

VI -- Stop the War in Afghanistan 

Despite maintaining arguably progressive positions on health care and gay rights, Obama has engaged in a hawkish, systematic escalation of troops and funds in Afghanistan. In the past year, he has increased the amount to be spent on the war there by $33 billion. Last Wednesday, a Senate subcommittee approved $636.3 billion for defense spending in 2010.

Afghanistan, once our "good war," has become America's forgotten war. It is at once inconvenient and inescapable. An ideological and political quagmire. A wisp of imperial fantasy. It must come to an end.

You can help. Join the many who have already signed a petition to stop the war. You can do it here.

VII -- Help End Racial Profiling 

A few weeks ago, police shot and killed Mark Anthony Barmore, a young black man, near a church day care center. After he had hidden from them, the officers forced him to emerge from a small closet and shot him in the back repeatedly. He was unarmed.

Join the NAACP in urging the U.S. Department of Justice to "launch a full criminal and 'pattern and practice' investigation into the tragic and outrageous police shooting of unarmed Mark Anthony Barmore." Join them in their fight to "enact legislation to mandate official standards for the use of force, and training in the use of force, for every law enforcement agency, from federal marshals to rank and file cops on the beat." You can do it here.

VIII -- Make a Push for the Clean Water Act 

Recent legislation has narrowed the qualifications for bodies of water that are protected by the Clean Water Act. As it currently stands, many streams and wetlands are susceptible to invasive "development." Add this to the fact that the Bush administration in 2005 exempted natural-gas exploration from similar jurisdiction (in effect giving large corporations a blank check to pollute the environment), and you get a situation nearing environmental catastrophe.

Fortunately, you can help. Join Environment America in their push for full Clean Water Act protection. You can help before it's too late. 

IX -- Call Chevron to Account 

Over the past 30 years, Chevron has carried out an astonishing campaign of environmental warfare against Ecuador's indigenous population. The company has dumped 18 billion (yes, billion) gallons of waste water and spilled 17 million gallons of crude oil while drilling in the Ecuadorian Amazon, and native populations are suffering the consequences. Thousands have suffered from mouth and uterine cancers. Others have experienced spontaneous miscarriages.

Recently, an independent, court-appointed expert determined that Chevron's damages amount to around $27 billion. In spite of such a ruling -- one that has the support of over 30,000 Amazonians -- Chevron is promising a "lifetime of appellate and collateral litigation." This is unacceptable.

Now is your chance to make sure the corporation is called to account. Raise your voice here. Stop Chevron's abuses. 

X -- Tell the Crowne Plaza to Stop Hosting Hate

The Crowne Plaza O'Hare hotel is scheduled to host an event organized by the Illinois Family Institute, a radical, wing-nut collective known for comparing GLBT people to Nazis and slaves. In the past, the IFI has urged churches to combat homosexuality as if it were Nazism.

The Crowne Plaza, which claims to not discriminate based on sexual orientation, has broken its own rules by sponsoring such a hate-filled event. Put pressure on the hotel to drop its support. Tell them not to give hate a home.

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