Who Hijacked Our Country

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Help Wanted: Need Employees to Write Form Letters and Attend Protest Rallies

It’s bad enough we’ve been swamped with all this phony “grassroots” activism manufactured by corporations and rightwing think tanks. Now it turns out this Astroturf “activism” is part of your job description if you work for UnitedHealth or WellPoint.

Consumer Watchdog has urged California Attorney General Jerry Brown to investigate these two companies for violating state labor laws. Both of these companies have in-house advocacy groups: United for Health Reform, and Health Action Network. Company employees were “encouraged” to contact their advocacy group — during business hours — for help in crafting letters to Congress. One company e-mail said: “By working with an advocacy specialist to personalize your message, you can quickly and easily add your voice to this historic debate.”

Employees were also encouraged to attend demonstrations and town hall meetings.

A spokesperson for Consumer Watchdog said: “While coercive communications with employees may be legal, if abhorrent, in most states, California’s Labor Code appears to directly prohibit them.”

This has all been part of the huge lobbying effort by AHIP, who’s mobilized fifty thousand “activists” to sabotage the public option.

Throw the book at those motherfuckers.

Remember that quaint old Fairness Doctrine that Republicans have such contempt for? Well, now it seems they want it back.

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Anonymous Carlos said...

This should be illegal in every state, as should all this phony grassroots shit. How people can participate in this kind of fraud is beyond me.

September 5, 2009 at 3:44 AM  
Blogger libhom said...

I think this explains some of the nutjobs at the town halls. However, I suspect many others are being paid by the PR firms working for the HMOs and insurance companies.

September 5, 2009 at 4:24 AM  
Blogger jadedj said...

I read this the other day somewhere else, and my blood pressure is still over the top regards it. The figure I read, and I don't remember where, was 50,000 employees, writing letters, etc. Is that possible? I don't know, but it is a hugh company, and my dealings with these charlatan bastards leads me to believe every word of it. If there is evil incarnate, UnitedHealth is the mother of it. Their record for denying claims is right up there on top of the sorry list. It isn't a health care insurance company, it is the Mafia in action. So, the poor schmucks who work for them have no choice...short of opting for broken legs instead.

September 5, 2009 at 6:14 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Do you think it's fair that a proven communist gets to talk directly to our children, our future warriors against the Red Menace, many of whom will no doubt get injured, thereby needing health insurance and none of that pinko VA crap?

September 5, 2009 at 6:50 AM  
Blogger rockync said...

HR 3200 and the public option are a bullshit choice. I am pushing HR 676 which calls for a single payer program. Go read it here:
It's only 30 pages long, sensible and workable as opposed to the 1017 page legal morass that is HR 3200.
HR 676 is also supported by many physician and nurse groups and in particular, the Mad As Hell docs who have taken their message on the road and are headed for DC. To read more about their mission go here:
It is high time to join our "socialist" brethren in Switzerland, France, Canada and the UK and provide healthcare to ALL.

September 5, 2009 at 7:07 AM  
Blogger Ricardo said...

Jerry will do the right thing here. I have faith in him. This is totally wrong and right in line with why I hate corporate America. It's is dysfunctional and psychotic.

September 5, 2009 at 10:37 AM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

This comes as no surprise, but it's good you're bringing it to our attention. I also hope the book gets thrown at these corporate greedmongers and manipulators.

September 5, 2009 at 4:14 PM  
Blogger Lew Scannon said...

I can't believe the Republicans are demanding airtime following Obama's speech; it's not like the networks aren't already going to present the conservative point of view as standard policy anyway...

September 6, 2009 at 1:14 PM  
Blogger Holte Ender said...

The way corporate America treats its employees is nothing short of diabolical, for a start they call them "associates" which gives the impression they are somewhat involved in the success of the company.
To get them writing letters to support the company's stance on Reform, is disgraceful.

September 6, 2009 at 1:43 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Carlos: It definitely should be illegal. But of course that would be a "nanny state," and we can't have that.

Libhom: I assume these town hall mobs are partially HMO employees and partially "regular" people who were dense enough to fall for all that "death panels" bullshit.

jadedj: Yup, 50,000 is the figure. That's how many people AHIP (Association of Health Insurance Providers, I think) is employing to be "grass roots" activists.

You're right, these HMOs are comparable to the Mafia (unless that's an insult to the Mafia).

Randal: Yes, Hussein X's indoctrination speech will be truly frightening. Our children are doomed.

Rockync: I'll check out those links. I like the single payer idea, but I don't think it has a chance. If Obama is having this much trouble with the government option, I can't even imagine the avalanche there'd be against single payer.

I agree that HR 3200 is about a thousand pages too long. That gives ammunition to everybody who claims (probably correctly) that nobody has actually read the bill.

Maybe Obama and congressional Democrats should take a short retreat, and then come roaring back with the 30-page HR 676 -- this time with some leadership, cojones and a take-no-prisoners attitude.

Ricardo: I hope Jerry Brown will do the right thing. You're right, these corporate thugs are totally out of control and dysfunctional.

SW: I hope there's an actual law that these companies have violated and can be prosecuted for. Enough is enough.

Lew: Republicans demanding "equal time," it's just too funny. I can just imagine Fox News giving equal air time to Al Franken and Keith Olbermann.

Holte: It really is criminal the way our government and the biggest corporations (same thing) treat American citizens. We've deteriorated into one of those third world dictatorships that used to make us think "thank God it can't happen here."

September 6, 2009 at 2:08 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Lew Scannon wrote: ". . . it's not like the networks aren't already going to present the conservative point of view as standard policy anyway..."

Sure as the following Sunday morning will come, you better believe it. ABC/This Week never met a GOP conservative they didn't want to put on with their laughably "balanced" panel of talking heads, including George Will, Cokie Roberts, maybe Michelle Malkin thrown in for bad measure. Ditto for the Conservative News Network and the Conservative Broadcasting System's Sunday-morning gabfest. A bit less pronounced on NBC, but not by a lot.

Which is why throughout 2009 I've rarely wasted my time on these shows. I know what they're there for and what they're doing, and it's a very close kin to what the health insurers/HMO's are doing having employees write letters.

September 6, 2009 at 4:14 PM  
Anonymous Bee said...

Rocksync, thanks for providing the link to Mad as hell Doctors tour - very cool bunch there, might have to blog them myself.

United is well known for: 1. denying claims every chance they get, 2. recission of policies upon illness and 3. scamming the hell out of Medicare (you and me and everyone you know). They need to be put out of business. The final scenes of Fight Club come to mind as a nice way of accomplishing that.

September 7, 2009 at 1:55 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: So you're saying the media isn't really "liberal?"

Bee: I like your Fight Club suggestion. The longer the oligarchy keeps thwarting these insurance reforms people want, the more likely that kind of scenario becomes.

September 7, 2009 at 6:15 PM  
Blogger lisa said...

Why nothing about SEIU,GE or Goldman Sachs?
The silence is deafening.

September 8, 2009 at 6:52 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Lisa: What about them? I'm not sure how GE or Goldman Sachs ties into this post. For the SEIU, I assume you mean union members attending these town hall rallies.

September 8, 2009 at 7:46 PM  
Blogger lisa said...

Sorry Tom I know Rachel Maddow won't be talking about lobbyists and Unions ready to to take over the Health Care industry like the car companies.
I wonder if her GE owned company will be giving her a bonus when they make their billions from Healthcare and Cap and Trade.
After all she's a promoter not a reporter.
No doubt Insurance companies want to protect themselves but they did not initiate the so called "astoturfing" that your dear leaders call it.
Who do you think got the SEIU to counter protest?
One guess.

September 9, 2009 at 9:11 AM  

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