Republicans Abandon Social Security Town Hall Meetings

Ha ha:Republicans in Congress have a game plan to avoid "March madness" when they go home this weekend to talk to constituents about Social Security during a two-week holiday recess.

Shaken by raucous protests at open "town hall"-style meetings last month, House Republican Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce of Ohio and other GOP leaders are urging lawmakers to hold lower-profile events this time.(...)

This month, Republican leaders say they are chucking the open town-hall format. They plan to visit newspaper editorial boards and talk to constituents at Rotary Club lunches, senior citizen centers, chambers of commerce meetings and local businesses. In those settings, "there isn't an opportunity for it to disintegrate into something that's less desirable," says Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.

I wonder how Santorum ever got the idea that the town halls were ineffective. I guess Republicans will have to revert to pre-packaged propaganda again, since the public is clearly too much for them.

Funeral March, Save the Netroots, and Open Thread

I'll be leaving in a little while to attend a Funeral March for Social Security at 4pm. It starts at 12th and Market, and ends at Santorum's office. Swing State Project should be liveblogging, and we will have some video from the event as well.

If you are in Philly, kick off work early to come join. Wear black.

Also, show some support for the online coalition to defend the netroots from FEC regulation.

Otherwise, use this as an open thread.

PAC business

There's a new GE PAC (they've a blogad here this week), formed by David Mauro & Stephen Yellin, two high-school students, Generation Election. The GE PAC is just getting started, and so if any of you young activists are looking to get together and make an impact, there ya go. Also, they are in need of help in dealing with the FEC, and the other financial matters, if anyone would like to help in that regard.

Our blogger community PAC, BlogPac.org is about to take it's next step of organizing. We'll be up with a survey for all bloggers shortly, that will take the steps toward organizing bloggers through all 50 states, and within the 4 regions. From there we'll create regional Board of Advisors that will take initiatives with campaigns. We're also looking forward to ActBlue getting up their recurring donations, so that BlogPac can recruit the Seeders that are going to grow BlogPac.

In the recent BlogPac campaign, ThereIsNoCrisis.org, we had over 500 blogs participate, which is just amazing. However, there is no way that a national BOD can maximize the potential, but regionally, and eventually, state by state, the potential impact can become a powerful force for progressive action.  

Couple Used in Homophobic Anti-AARP Ad Files Federal Lawsuit

From Americablog:A $25 million lawsuit was filed today against right-wing front group USA Next and political consulting firm Mark Montini International for stealing an Oregon couple's wedding photo and using it without permission in a high-profile gay-bashing ad designed to drum up support for social security privatization.

Following an admission of photo theft by the creator, advertiser and publisher of the ad, the couple whose image was stolen - Rick Raymen and Steve Hansen of Portland, Oregon - today filed a four-count lawsuit in federal court in Washington, DC. The suit alleges that the use of the couple's image without permission constituted an invasion of privacy, was libelous, violated their right of publicity and constituted an intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Even though homophobes might not realize it, stealing someone's private property and then using that property to make that person a target for hate is illegal. Banning gay marriage in eleven states did not strip gay Americans of all their rights.

Ending the War

Visit this site: http://www.iraqresolution.org/

While cheating on us over at Dailykos, commenter Paul Rosenberg reports on a grassroots effort designed to build support for withdrawal from Iraq:

March 1 was Town Meeting Day in Vermont, and resolutions to withdraw from Iraq were on the agenda of more than 50 Vermont towns (the exact number is unclear due to conflicting reports.) They passed in 48 towns, according to a report on Democracy Now this morning.

Earlier reports from print sources on the web (ie, here) put the number at 38, with a number of towns still to report (Vermont was snowed in yesterday). However, Democracy Now reported the same number of towns voting no (3) or undecided (3), as well as the earlier total, so the figure of 48 towns seems solid.

For what its worth, the actual figure is now 49.

This is exciting stuff. It is the sort of well-planned, direct grassroots action that will be necessary in order to end the war. The more towns, cities, and Democratic committees pass such resolutions, the more withdrawal will begin to seep into the national debate. The country will be receptive to such a debate, even though the media is intent on keeping it fringe, and people like Instapundit will call you a traitor for even suggesting it. After all, depending on how the question is asked, support for withdrawal nationwide is already somewhere between 41% and 59% of the population.

Considering its success in Vermont, and with possibly only six more weeks to go in the Social Security debate, I think the next great netroots effort we should undertake would be to have as many cities, towns Democratic committees, and other organizations pass resolutions in favor of withdrawal as possible. This will not have any legal ramifications, but it will help shift the national debate on the subject, and build momentum in favor of withdrawal. Ultimately, in order to end the war it will be necessary for Congress to pass a resolution ending Bush's authority to wage the war. Considering the famous Republican caucus discipline, the earliest we could probably hope for such a resolution to pass would be early 2007. Still, it is a noble effort with a real possibility of long-term success.

Excerpts from news articles on the subject are in the extended entry.

There's more...

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