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Democrats Send in the Thugs

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I never would have expected it to happen this quickly, but after several health care town hall meetings where concerned constituents asked questions and challenged Democrat congressmen over their support of health care legislation, the Democrats have struck back with violence. When packing the halls with picked supporters failed to silence opposition and smear campaigns about "astroturf" and fictional corporate organizers didn't discredit genuine grassroots protest, on Thursday they decided to send in the thugs.

Town halls in St. Louis and Tampa were marred by forced exclusion of constituents and disrupted by violence against protesters from uniformed members of the Service Employees International Union, a group which has a history of staging protests with paid agitators and engaging in organized intimidation and violence. In Tampa, the purple-shirted SEIU thugs allowed only handpicked attendees into the hall to speak with Rep. Kathy Castor, excluding over 1500 local residents who had waited peacefully in line for hours. When a few activists got in and tried to videotape the meeting, they were forcibly ejected, and at least one man was injured in the process.

In St. Louis, the role of the SEIU purple-shirts was much the same. Hundreds turned out to talk with Rep. Russ Karnahan, but only a limited number of picked people were allowed in through a side door, while the real constituents waited in line. Karnahan had been mildly heckled at a similar event last month and clearly was not going to let it happen again. After the St. Louis event, an African-American man who was selling Gadsden flags and political buttons outside the hall was attacked by several SEIU thugs, knocked to the ground while one of his attackers shouted a racial insult, and was beaten as onlookers tried to intervene. He was subsequently taken to the emergency room. Six of those involved in the violence were arrested, including Jack Wagman, a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The similarities between these incidents is striking. In both cases, attempts were made to exclude regular constituents and control who was in the audience. In both cases, there were efforts to keep people with video equipment out of the events. In both cases, SEIU members were present in union t-shirts and were the instigators of violence.

In the aftermath of both events, eyewitness accounts and news reports differ considerably. Media reports largely gloss over the fact that protests began only after citizens who had waited for hours were excluded from the events, and mostly don't mention the involvement of union workers. They also focus on observations from Democrat organizers and speakers repeating the party line that the protesters were sent there by lobbyists for the insurance industry. Eyewitness accounts are notably different in that they include evidence that the protesters were mostly non-violent local citizens with genuine concerns who were targeted for harassment, and ultimately violence, by union thugs working with the Democrat party organizers. They are also backed up by video confirming the presence and actions of SEIU thugs.

The crowds of concerned constituents at these town halls were considerably larger than at those held earlier in the month. As media coverage grows, and the left and the administration continue to attempt to demonize and misrepresent grassroots activists, we may see more radicalization and even larger and angrier crowds turning out to protest rather than participate. Involved groups like the Republican Liberty Caucus have urged their members to remain civil; to attend events to ask questions and engage in reasonable dialog, but if lawmakers continue to treat their constituents like enemies, responding to their legitimate concerns with exclusion, insults and thuggery, then tensions are bound to escalate.

Americans deserve representatives who are responsive and accountable. If you're going to hold a town hall, then let the people in and let them ask questions and state their concerns. That's participatory democracy. Talking only to crowds of partisans and using union thugs to intimidate constituents and silence dissent are the tactics of tyrants and cowards.

In this video from Tampa, citizens are forced out of the town hall immediately prior to the incident in which the attendee in the green t-shirt in this video is roughed up.

A brief interview with the Tampa man who was manhandled and injured by union thugs.

July 22nd town hall appearance in which Rep. Russ Carnahan misrepresents CBO report findings and is confronted by a citizen who is then removed from the hall.

Large crowd which waited for hours in line in St. Louis without being allowed into the hall.

Video of side door where SEIU members were alllowing in only selected people to attend the St. Louis town hall.

Video of attack on Kenneth Gladney after St. Louis town hall.

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About Dave Nalle

  • Jordan Richardson

    Dave, what does this article have to do with Hitler’s SS?

  • Jane

    God bless these patriots protesting Obamacare. He has never produced a birth certificate and most evidence shows he was born in Kenya. How can a man who is not even legally President shove socialized medicine on us. We need one of our OWN KIND in the White house. Vote Republican as if your life depended on it because it probably does!

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    If ‘regular constituents’ are being kept out of the meetings, who is being let in? Irregular constituents? Regular inconstituents? Irregular incontinent Republicans?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Dave, what does this article have to do with Hitler’s SS?

    It’s a reference to the comment in the blurb for the article and to the tactics of the SEIU thugs.

    If ‘regular constituents’ are being kept out of the meetings, who is being let in? Irregular constituents? Regular inconstituents? Irregular incontinent Republicans?

    Democrat precinct chairmen, union members, picked partisans of one kind or another. In the case of the St. Louis event the hall was almost completely filled with union staff and officers.

    And Jane, the conspiracy stuff really doesn’t help. We’ve got a real issue here which needs real solutions.

    Dave

  • Jordan Richardson

    to the tactics of the SEIU thugs

    Understood.

    I’m curious. How many protesters were imprisoned by these thugs? How much land or property was seized? And where are the concentration camps that house the protesters waiting for extermination? How many were merely shot on the spot?

  • Franco

    Jordan Richardson

    The sound of your silence is deafening. All tyranny starts out with an uncontested spill out. Are you not disturbed about this?

    [Needless repetition deleted by Comments Editor]

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    The Brown letter is very informative. Thanks for posting it. It has details which weren’t in the news reports or the eyewitness accounts.

    Jordan, take your questions and consider how Germans would have answered them in 1928. Had the SS seized land and property or imprisoned anyone then? Nope, just some threatening partisan activists in tan shirts giving out the occasional beating and protecting their leader.

    Dave

  • Jordan Richardson

    Are you not disturbed about this?

    Yes, I am disturbed by this. I’m disturbed by continued attempts by both the Left and the Right to characterize the other as Nazis, fascists and so forth. I find it offensive and ignorant to history to do so and I’d hope to hell that these articulate, intelligent individuals would think better than to use one of the biggest atrocities in human history as a mere metaphor here.

    In any case, if you really believe that Obama and his ilk are comparable to Nazis and that the outcome is comparable to the Final Solution or some sort of other process, what are you doing about it? How’s about you, Dave? Writing articles about it? Is that all?

    If the leader of your country is an insane tyrant prepared to gas an entire people group, should you not be more worried than this? Should you not be marching on Washington with a trunk full of weapons?

    This type of mindless hyperbole leads the ignorant among us to do just that, Dave. While you might find the comparison apt due to your inability to avoid senseless metaphors and stick with the facts, others are scared shitless and, due to their fear and paranoia, are capable of violence in defense of what they believe to be “their country.” It’s only a matter of time before this ridiculous characterization of Obama and Co. as Nazis or fascists leads to some violence and even death.

    What will you say then, Mr. Nalle? Franco? Archie?

    What’s your excuse going to be when your contribution to this discourse is fuel to someone’s fire?

    Something tells me that the silence, at long last, will be “deafening.”

  • Jordan Richardson

    Dave, are you suggesting that the “best is yet to come?” Is there any logical reason to compare these people to murderous thugs at this point and time or are you just fresh out of sanity and looking to stir the pot for political gain?

  • http://joannehuspek.wordpress.com Joanne Huspek

    I’m shaking my head. A few things come to mind. Freedom of speech. The ability to connect with your representative to voice your concern. Freedom of thought.

    We live in a time when these things are being eroded day by day right under our noses.

    In order to be a good citizen, one must examine the events around them. Reasonable discourse follows naturally. What is unreasonable is to expect that intelligent people buy the company line without question.

    Perhaps the best to come out of these trying times is that the normally apathetic are getting off their couches and actually DOING something.

  • Arch Conservative

    Did you get your panties in a bunch every time some leftist dolt compared Bush to Hitler during the last eight years Jordan?

    My money’s on no you didn’t.

    The messiah himself is coming to my home state of NH next week to spread his lies and propaganda at one of his staged pep rallies. I’m sure the event will be chock full of Acorn operatives and union meatheads who’ve never set foot in New Hampshire before.

    I hope that at the end of the day more than a few of these out of state Obama brownshirts find themselves with the opportunity to experience NH hospitality at some of our local ERs.

    They’re not welcome here and neither is the Chicago thug in chief.

  • http://philipharris.blogspot.com Philip Harris

    Shouting slogans is not participatory democracy. In Maine, we have town meetings to “discuss’ local issues and to decide what we want to do. There is no chanting, no screaming–discussion. Does it get heated at times, ayuh-but we get through it. Even when the state had a set of very controversial hearings on same sex marriage-the thousands of attendees were civil and polite. I seriously doubt that those who attend a meeting with placards and shouting slogans are looking to discuss anything. I am sorry, but health care reform should not be pushing such hot buttons unless they are being orchestrated-the question is by whom?
    Name calling only inflames and ends discussion. These ignorant comparisons to madmen is not meant to start dialog, but to end it (a tactic used in totalitarian states).
    So, why not have a real discussion about the issues and end this inflammatory attempt to demonize Obama or the Democrats. And there is very little doubt that lobby groups are falsifying information and stirring the racist pot to end discussion-a tactic not usually associated with Democrats-hmm, does Watergate come to mind?
    So let’s talk issues and end the yelling.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Did you get your panties in a bunch every time some leftist dolt compared Bush to Hitler during the last eight years Jordan?

    Yes, I did. Again, these comparisons are insensitive to the historical record, to Holocaust survivors and to human beings in general. It’s metaphorical nonsense and a completely unnecessary part of public discourse, left or right.

    They’re not welcome here and neither is the Chicago thug in chief.

    I didn’t know you spoke for your entire state, Archie, but I do find it interesting that instead of a positive, receptive attitude towards learning and discussion, you possess one of hatred and vitriol.

    I finally realized that Barack Obama has nothing to do with your little diatribes at all. It could be ANY democrat or any dreaded leftist. You’d have different slogans a little hate-filled anecdotes for them, too. The truth is that you can’t handle opposing views at all. You think, like so many others, that the only “logical” conclusion is to be of your philosophical foundation. There’s no room in “your America” for others.

    Sad, really.

  • Jordan Richardson

    We live in a time when these things are being eroded day by day right under our noses.

    I’m sorry but I don’t agree with this at all. Each time a Democrat is elected, there’s this similar song and dance about freedoms being eroded. Then a Republican comes in and allegedly “restores” liberty and freedom before the next Democrat.

    You’re not living in a “time” when these things are being eroded. You’re caught in an eternal political spin cycle that obstructs the raw truth, imprisons the public in a web of lies and deceit from both political parties and all media outlets, and preys on the fears and paranoia of people like Joanne and Archie and Dave for political, fiscal and corporate gain.

    And the cycle continues because each one of you allows it to. There’s really little difference between the left and the right behind closed doors, yet you guys play “Opposite Day” on these issues to concoct this idea of electoral choice. What about another political party? Economic system? Electoral system? Health care option?

    Wouldn’t dream of it, would you? Nobody discusses the options or the possibilities in America. They never do. They only discuss their lack of freedoms while simultaneously telling the rest of us in the world that we’re even less free.

    Brilliant.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Dave, are you suggesting that the “best is yet to come?” Is there any logical reason to compare these people to murderous thugs at this point and time or are you just fresh out of sanity and looking to stir the pot for political gain?

    Jordan, read up on the history of past SEIU activities. They have a history of resorting to fairly extreme violence when put on the job as “security” or intimidating workers.

    The nazi comparisons are inevitable, because what we’re looking at here is a paramilitary put to work as thugs for a political party, combined with a massive propaganda effort. Go read some of the articles about these protests at Huffington Post and then watch some of the videos I’ve included here. The amount of deliberate lying coming from the left is remarkable. It’s truly troubling that they think they can get away with this stuff.

    As for being murderous, I haven’t gone that far yet. But they are thugs, no question. My concern is that with a month of this still to go the crowds of protesters are going to grow — they went from hundreds to thousands in a week — and the level of violence against them will go up. These protesters are NOT hippies. A lot of them are veterans and a lot of them are at the breaking point. There’s a very real possibility that someone is going to fight back and things are going to get ugly.

    On the upside, I’ve been doing what I can to discourage violence and apply some of what I learned growing up in the 60s. You might be interested in my articles at the RLC.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    So, why not have a real discussion about the issues and end this inflammatory attempt to demonize Obama or the Democrats.

    Philip, did you not read the article? Common constituents who go to these events to discuss the issues in a peaceful way are being forced out and denied the opportunity to speak and in some cases attacked. In most cases the protests really only start after free speech is denied.

    Stop reading the propaganda from the left and look a little deeper.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Jordan,

    I happen to think that the union involvement on the Democrats’ behalf is a mistake. I understand the Democrats’ concern of letting the right wing’s opposition to the Obama plan go uncontested was well taken, for it would created the impression that public opinion weighs heavily about health reforms, but there are other, more effective ways of dealing with the problem than by bringing in the outsiders. Let the right wing boast of that particular distinction.

    All that needs be done is to make sure that these so-called “town meetings” are attended to only by the locals. Local police departments could easily see to that by checking the attendees IDs, and that would be it.

    It’s interesting, though, that Dave is so quick to call the Democrats’ response thuggery while he was all rah rah rah for similar behavior on the part of the right wingers and called it free speech. Talking about double standard.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    All that needs be done is to make sure that these so-called “town meetings” are attended to only by the locals. Local police departments could easily see to that by checking the attendees IDs, and that would be it.

    This sounds fine to me because I know that these so called “mobs” are in fact made up of local citizens who just want a chance to express their concerns. The reason the union thugs are being used is that the Dems realize this too, and they want to limit the audience ideologically rather than geographically.

    It’s interesting, though, that Dave is so quick to call the Democrats’ response thuggery while he was all rah rah rah for similar behavior on the part of the right wingers and called it free speech. Talking about double standard.

    Really? When did I support or in any way advocate violence or thuggery on the part of protesters? In point of fact I’ve written two articles at the RLC website specifically advising against any show of force as a tactic in these situations.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m not saying you’re supporting it, Dave, only referred to your terms of reference. Even if you’re right in assuming that the participation from the right wing is predominantly local, that still doesn’t excuse the kind of rowdy behavior which characterized these meetings. And
    anger” is no excuse, not in a public forum. So local or not, both parties to the dispute are guilty of “thuggery.”

    After one or two of such incidences, sufficient measures should be taken to control this behavior and ensure orderly discussion. The fact that nothing was done only shows the ineptness of our political process and the people who are in charge of it. Pathetic.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    You’re missing the point, Roger. People are going to these events with the intent of taking part in discussion and are then being denied that opportunity. That is why they are angry. That is why there are protests. If these events actually allowed free discussion and treated constituents with respect the problems wouldn’t exist.

    Dave

  • Arch Conservative

    Jordan…I guarantee you there will be more native NH residents outside the town hall protesting Obamacare than there will be inside supporting it.

    But don’t expect this to be shown on MSNBC or CBS news where it’s contest who can kiss the most Obama ass.

    I’d go protest myself if I didn’t have to work and I also don’t feel like getting arrested. I know that if I attended a protest outside the staged town hall and some union thug or Acorn douchebag from out of state laid one finger on me or even got up in my face and started yelling………they’d be in an ambulance and I’d be in a police cruiser shortly afterward. I know this….so it’s best for me to stay away and watch from afar those that can better control their anger at our thug and cheif and his brownshirt goons.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “People are going to these events with the intent of taking part in discussion and are then being denied that opportunity. That is why they are angry. That is why there are protests. If these events actually allowed free discussion and treated constituents with respect the problems wouldn’t exist.”

    If that’s what is really going on, then you’re right. It’s inconcievable then that no measures have been taken by the organizers of these meetings to ensure proper citizen participations. It’s not that hard to do. And second, that there we haven’t seen any objective reporting on these events. It’s impossible to believe that in this nation of over 200 million we can’t have objective, disinterested reporting on these important events.

    If we can’t ascertain where the truth really lies in simple matters such as these, then we’re indeed doomed as a nation, Dave.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    As a counterpoint, take our Archie’s comment above (#21): he’d go there to protest and, if necessary, to bash heads. Which is why, wisely, he decided to abstain.

    That’s certainly not the kind of attitude that’s conducive to discussing the issues. His mind is already made up.

  • Arch Conservative

    You forgot the part where I prefaced my remark by saying if someone laid their hands on me or started yelling in my face Roger. How convenient.

    The fact is that the thug in chief is having his people send out these union meatheads and Acorns members to intimidate and threaten people who oppose the Thug’s socialist agenda.

    How am I or any other citizen who’d like to heave their voice heard without being called an angry mob, or being ridiculed by the THUG supposed to respond Roger?

    How many trillions of taxpayer dollars must we watch the government waste while they consistently and continually ignore our letters, questions and peaceful attempts at redress before we have your permission to get a little pushy Roger?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    No I didn’t, Archie, just did it for economy of expression. I did not characterize you as a trouble maker – only picked up that part of your comment which dealt with the subject at hand. Dave spoke of the underlying purpose behind these meetings being “to discuss.” You spoke of registering a protest. And you do have a perfect right to have your mind made up, it’s only that your motivation is different from what Dave was arguing for. So I brought up your remark as a counterexample.

  • Arch Conservative

    the THUG and the Democrats have a far left agenda and they will not stray from it.

    What is there to discuss?

    What those opposed to this agenda must do is work hard to expose it and undermine it 24-7

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That may be so, Archie, but these congress people also have to be re-elected and they’re obligated to respond to their constituents. So even in the interest of their own self-preservation, the dynamics argue that discussion is not only possible but necessary.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The NY Times’s wry, often hilarious, utterly invaluable columnist Gail Collins weighed in this morning, humorously making the real point that all the yelling may work against the anti-reform forces on a political level:

    Protesters are following members of Congress around this summer, disrupting their constituent meetings and shrieking about socialized medicine.

    They claim to be following the great American tradition of dissent. This must refer to the time back in colonial days when our founding fathers disguised themselves as Indians and broke up a public hearing on a plan for national health care, which involved regulating the price of leeches.

    the White House has been urging the Democrats to rally their own forces of placard-waving, sweaty, yelling supporters to confront the crazies.

    This makes no sense at all. It’s not often that members of Congress look as sympathetic as they’ve been lately on YouTube, surrounded by loud and unlovable hecklers.

    In fact, the best chance for health care reform may be to sell it as the thing that those people pounding on the doors of a town meeting in Tampa and screaming at the fire marshals don’t want.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    As too often happens on these pages, Dave Nalle, a very intelligent writer who knows how to balance an argument when he wants to, turns into a rabid propagandist when he gets the opportunity. Among his assertions:

    • All SEIU participants at the meetings are thugs.

    • All anti-reform protesters are virtuous, upstanding citizens who just want their reasonable questions answered.

    • None of the protesters were in any way encouraged or coached by DC-based far-right advocacy groups or talk-radio loudmouths.

    • The increasingly numerous comparisons of Obama to Hitler and the Democrats to Nazis are perfectly sound and reasonable.

    • All Democratic congressmen/women are lying, deceitful, and evasive and refuse to answer any of those reasonable questions.

    • All articles that contradict any of the above assertions are 100% lies. Obviously, no one who disagrees with Mr. Nalle could possibly have their facts straight.

    But then there are the actual videos of the town hall meetings.

    One which Dave encouraged us to look at, on ABC News’ web site, told of a Blue Dog [i.e., conservative] Democrat in a Maryland swing district who tried earnestly to answer questions. No evasiveness, no lies. But the crowd was having none of it: They shouted “Tyranny!” over every word he tried to utter. [And he had been hanged in effigy the week before.] Very solid citizens, these folks.

    Over and over again in the videos, the ‘reasonable questions’ are more along the lines of “Why are you trying to force a single-payer system on us?” “Why do you want to send government agents to the homes of the elderly to force them to sign end-of-life documents?” [Actually, that question is more likely to be an accusation: “You want to kill old people!”]

    If the congressman tries to say, “That’s not in the bill, it’s not true,” [which is completely correct], he is shouted down.

    These folks are not interested in a real discussion. Portraying them otherwise is inaccurate and irresponsible.

    Dave says he discourages violence on his Republican Liberty Caucus postings. I’m glad [it would be pretty shocking if he didn’t]. But does he encourage people to be genuinely informed about the bills before Congress and to question them fairly? If so, his voice is apparently not being heard.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It’s inconceivable to me, Handy, that Dave hasn’t integrity enough to be guilty as charged. There must be some other reason. He must really believe in his version of the story.

  • Mark

    But does he encourage people to be genuinely informed about the bills before Congress and to question them fairly?

    From Dave’s Advice to Townhall Activists:

    2. Go with questions in mind. Have several thought out in advance so that if someone else asks one you wanted to ask you have a back-up ready. Read the Health Care bill (HR3200 on opencongress.org) and find something in it which bothers you. Preface your question by telling them that you’ve read the bill or most of the bill. Be honest about it and ask them about specifics.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    If that’s what is really going on, then you’re right. It’s inconcievable then that no measures have been taken by the organizers of these meetings to ensure proper citizen participations. It’s not that hard to do.

    That’s not really what they want out of this. Their goal is to promote Obamacare, not to discuss alternatives or hear objections. They have a bill and these meetings are about selling it to the public. Plus, from the early townhalls in June they’ve seen that there’s a lot of public disconent and they don’t want to give those people a forum. By my count 5 townhalls have already been cancelled. If keeping the wrong people out doesn’t work or violence escalates then more cancellations will follow because they don’t want to create an opportunity for the airing of any views but their own.

    And second, that there we haven’t seen any objective reporting on these events. It’s impossible to believe that in this nation of over 200 million we can’t have objective, disinterested reporting on these important events.

    For several days I was getting all of my news about these events from video and eyewitness reports. I was shocked when I then started reading newspaper articles to see how much information was being looked out and how little coverage of the facts there was. Then I went and read some of the partisan press like HuffPo and was stunned to see them spreading absolute lies which directly contradict even the media reports. It’s amazing what they think they can get away with.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Again, if what you’re saying is true as regards part one – i.e., if the object is “to sell” without engaging in a debate and trying to deal with objections – then we may as forget about our two-party system. I would doubt, however, that every congress person is as partisan and narrow-minded as you describe. Besides, it ignores the political realities. Are they from districts where they can be assured of re-election? Can they really ignore the opposition? That defies logic and common sense.

  • Clavos

    The Town Hall meetings are sales blitzes on the part of the administration and Democratic party.

    As a salesman with more than 40 years experience, I can say that, judging from the performances in the videos of these meetings I’ve seen, the average congressman couldn’t sell ice water to the denizens of hell.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I guess it comes from their accustomed position of privilege – of not having to rise to their position of prominence by virtue of merit and the kind of competition that’s a prerequisite in ordinary life.

  • Bliffle

    What, exactly, are the rightists upset about? Is it specifics of the HR3200? Or is it the very concept of healthcare reform? Do they have specific personal concerns, do they have reason to think that parts of HR3200 will be adverse to them?

    Since Dave seems to be close to the demonstrators perhaps he could tell us. That would seem to be more pertinent than whooping things up and accusing the opponents, who, after all, can maintain that they are simply trying to restore civility.

  • Bliffle

    “Thugs”?

    It’s hard to see the sense that this word is being used in.

    IIRC, “thuggees” were professional assassins in India. Is it suggested that Obama (ala Archie) is a professional assassin, a hired killer?

    As I understand it, ‘thug’, in hip hop, is a guy struggling with personal demons, perhaps violently.

    Or are you following Michelle Malkins lead and using the word constantly to deride opponents.

    It’s a great word: it has the sound of finality produced by a blackjack cracking a skull.

    But, alas, I fear it’s sting will be diluted through routine use for mere political hyperbole.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Bearing in mind that this is an “off year” in the election cycle, I thought I should take a look at where some of the cash is going when it comes to SEIU. As of June 30, they have $6.8 million in their coffers. They play both sides of the aisle and what I found most troubling is that they contributed over $250K to the campaign of Sara Feigenholtz, a candidate who ran to replace Rahm Emmanuel when he ascended to the Oval Office. Now, ask yourselves, WHY would a political action committee spend a quarter million dollars on a candidate?

    Unions have their place and do indeed protect their respective memberships. If Unions are going to continue to be a part of the process, then they need to organize as a Laborers Party, pure and simple. Stop playing both sides of the fence and come to the table.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Well, then, Mark [and Dave], apparently too few of his RLC readers are listening to what he says.

    Dave’s idealism about theoretical Republican/Libertarian goals and beliefs often crashes head-on into reality: the wild-eyed, loudmouth, goonish Know-Nothings who populate far too much of the rightward half of political discourse.

    The Know Nothings are prevailing in the tactics on display at the town halls.

    And Dave himself, after originally cautiously admitting that, yes, there are a lot of crazies out there, is now giving in to the easy temptation of caricatured, cartoon-level rhetoric — demonizing the opposition as Nazi-like thugs out to destroy free speech.

    Does Dave really believe we have an authoritarian president? Or is he just using that poster-slogan image as convenient shorthand?

    If we would all ratchet the rhetoric down a notch or three around here, we might actually end up saying something worth listening to.

    I don’t believe the town-hall protesters are conspiring to destroy free speech. I think they mostly want to defeat Obama, who scares them, for reasons not entirely articulated or rational. [Their allies in Washington are happy to play along and encourage this, for pure, raw political reasons.]

    Now will Dave admit that he doesn’t really believe Obama and the Dems want to shut down free speech either? They want to pass this bill, for political reasons and, believe or not, because some of us think the current health system needs reform.

    But that wouldn’t be as much fun as writing about ‘sending in the thugs.’

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    So he’s just doing it, Handy, in order to be sensational.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Understandable journalistic desire. Especially if you’re keen on increasing your readership.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Last night Bill Maher implied that all these “frustrated white people” are protesting not so much about health care but more about the fact that they have a “colored” President. I don’t know if I buy that rationale completely but I do think race continues to play a factor.

    The tactics being used by both sides are a bit over the top but it is those same theatrics that drive ratings and create fodder for the pundit press. All the world’s a stage, folks, and unless there’s visual dramatics, viewers don’t respond. We are sheep. Welcome to Brokeback Mountain II – minus the queers.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That’s why I’m so skeptical, Silas, about the angry white male constituency. Something just doesn’t sit right here.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    So it seems that MSNBC and FOX are trying to salvage a cease fire especially with regard to Olbermann and O’Reilly. I have an idea — FIRE THEM BOTH. They’re a major part of the thuggery problem.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Are you suggesting they serve as instigators for their blind followers?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I think Olbermann serves up some valuable investigative journalism. Of course, it’s all wrapped up in fire-breathing partisanship. But at least he has a sense of humor.

    [He’s actually more accurately a foil for Glenn Beck rather than for O’Reilly. Beck is also basically a partisan humorist. Only problem: he’s not funny, and his provocations regularly cross the lines of taste and decency.]

    I used to watch O’Reilly as entertainment: what will this pinhead [his favorite word for others, but a good tag for himself] say next?

    But in the end he is rather humorless, repetitive, and in the end, dishonest. So I gave up.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    This article was a pleasure to read. But Dave, I have to wonder if you were ever bullied. It’s really liberating to realize that the answer to bullying is to crack the bully’s skull in – that lesson came from Rav Meir Kahane, z”l, hy”d, of the Jewish Defense League. It’s one you would do well to learn and learn well.

    If these thugs continue to do these things, then thuggery calls for thuggery in return. Bullies don’t give a damn what you say to them. The only morals they have are the avoidance of pain – physical pain. so physical pain is what you need to deal out. Otherwise, at some point you will be attacked by a bunch or thugs and severely damaged yourself. Non-violence is NOT the answer.

  • zingzing

    yeah! let’s have us a FUCKIN WAR! RIGHT RUVY? BORN 2 KILL!

  • zingzing

    you’re so punk rock.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    There we go again. A civil society at the point of disintegrating.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I love #37. I love the word ‘thug’. I think that blackjack thing is a great description. I agree with the analysis and appreciate the insight regarding hip-hop culture.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Finally, Roger, you are catching on. American civil society is beginning to disintegrate. That is what Dave is writing about, whether he admits to it or not. Gandhi’s non-violent policies only got him killede and encouraged a civil war on the Indian sub-contintnt that killed over three million people. So, non-violence in the face of violence is not the answer.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I think Ruvy’s advice is at its root, one of the very clear things that is wrong with the world. If I followed your advice, Ruvy, I’m afraid I’d be left with no option but to take you out. That would go for an awful lot of other people in the world.

    I base my choice of who to destroy on who is involved in destruction. Sort of hypocritical, but then all violence is. That’s why the good guys and the bad guys get hard to tell apart. The only people who are safe from my blowing them to smithereens are those who wish to live the way I see fit, everyone else is the enemy of life and should be destroyed. Oh, wait, I’m getting carried away…I almost said praise Jesus or the sun god or yahweh or…

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Handy, you bring up good points about Olbermann and I’ll submit that he IS entertaining. I also LOVE the fact that he’s hot on the trail of C Street politics; Blackwater and its CEO (in tandem with Rachel Maddow who has the largest balls at MSNBC). I just wish he would be a little less partisan in his presentation as what he has to say is important for moderates to hear.

    After your remarks about Olbermann’s voice and being “handsome” I actually took a look at him with an open mind last night. You’re right. He has a beautiful voice and for a man his age he is quite attractive. So maybe going straight as an alternative to Olbermann isn’t such a good idea after all. I just don’t know if I could handle the step-by-step commentary during, well you know what I mean.

  • zingzing

    cindy, your first step would have to be killing “Jesus or the sun god or yahweh or…”

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    If I followed your advice, Ruvy, I’m afraid I’d be left with no option but to take you out.

    That’s okay, Cindy. I also have “a little list”.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Ah, sweet Cindy, voice of reason and promoter of peace. Let’s hold hands and sing Cumbaya around a campfire in Mosul. And then we’ll shoot the bastards.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Ruvy,

    I well realize the possibility that we may be on the verge. But I do not wish it. Do you?

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Ruvy, serious question here. As a man who has lived in various parts of the world, your opinion on this matter is relevant. DO you think a Constitutional Convention to reform government and make it more Parliamentary would be in order here in these disUnited States??

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Roger, I know people here in New England that are so convinced there will be a civil war that they’ve stocked up on rations and yes, even weaponry. These same individuals are the ones who bought up millions of Saddaam-era Iraqi Dinars which were smuggled out of Iraq in 2002 by US soldiers. These clowns actually believe that the Dinar will be restored and they will walks away with millions. I hope they do make millions and I hope the IRS confiscates every penny.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Dave is not advocating violence; he is falsely accusing the government of fomenting violence.

    Rachel Maddow has an interesting take on this that goes a little too far for me: she sees all the Nazi comparisons as ways to make Obama and the Dems acceptable targets for violence [even if only symbolic or fantasy violence]. It’s not OK to hurt someone because they’re black or liberal; but if they’re effin’ Nazis, well….

    She began this line after the abortion doctor was assassinated in Kansas. [Bill O’Reilly had called the doc a Nazi on the air.] She thinks some right-wing commentators are deliberately playing with fire — and it’s only a matter of time before some nut job takes this as a call to action.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Oh, God, Silas, don’t encourage Ruvy, pleez.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Unbelievable, Silas. And in New England, you say, rather than Deep South. It’s a fucking mob mentality, reminiscent of the paramilitary, militia movement from not so long ago.

    If even half of what you say is true, we had better recognize the evil in our midst and act accordingly. A house divided cannot stand.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #61,

    One way or another, Handy, union participation in these meetings is unwarranted and should not be allowed. Only locals need attend.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Oh come on, Handy. Ruvy’s not THAT bad. His bark is far worse than his bite.

    Roger, the bottom line is that because racism in New England is not focused on the African-American community it goes unnoticed. When I hear Chris Matthews and Bill Maher talk about racism in the South my blood boils. This is how racism is carried out in the Northeast:

    An African-American landscaper goes to the back door of a customer’s house on a hot, humid summer day and asks for a glass of water. The white female property owner gladly obliges and returns with a tall glass of cold, fresh water. The yard worker’s thirst is quenched and the property owner has fulfilled a random act of kindness for the day. The man returns to his chores and the white woman throws the glass into the trash. Her children observe her actions and ask no questions. They just repeat the practice 20 years later. Every word of this story is true, Roger. It happened within my own family. That’s racism, no matter how subtle.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Nothing subtle about it, Silas, just hidden. There is a sense in which many blacks are more comfortable in the South; at least they know what they’re up against, as opposed to the two-faced Northerner. I had no idea, though, that New England is so backwards. I lived in New York for over fifteen years, and then for the next forty, in the West, mostly in California.

    You don’t see anything like that in the Bay Area. Perhaps that’s why I’m so shocked.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Roger, you’re accepting Dave’s [highly questionable] premise as a given. What if there are numerous local SEIU members who want to attend? What if some of the anti-reform folks are there just to cause trouble? And what about the ‘regular constituents’ who are for health care reform?

    The rhetoric in the halls is mysteriously, suspiciously one-sided. And there have been interviews with some attendees who have been embarrassed or offended by the rudeness and the shouting-down tactics.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    My interactions in the last week have taught me a lot about Northeast life, Roger. I’m not so stupid as to believe that racism is nonexistent, I just didn’t realize how deep it really is.

    Case in point is Woonsocket, a small city in Northern Rhode Island. Within a mile radius there is an Irish, three Frnech-Canadian, a Polish and an Italian parish. That’s 6 Roman Catholic Churches, most within walking distance of the other. Originally there were three or four other parishes but the drop off in Papists caused church closings. So why the separation of churches? Because the prejudice of national origin was and is alive, well and sanctioned by the Diocese pf Providence. When one’s own Church encourages the separation of origins is it any wonder there remains racism?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I wasn’t dealing with Dave’s premise, Handy. I only addressed the issue of local participation. Whether they’re union or right wing, I don’t care. Still, these meetings should be conducted in an orderly fashion. And the administration should be disavowing any connection with mounting the opposition.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, Silas. It looks like this whole nation is up for a serious overhaul. So perhaps we should consider ourselves lucky that we live in interesting times. It will either make us stronger or break our back as a nation. Either result is preferable to the kind of lie we’ve apparently been living.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    DO you think a Constitutional Convention to reform government and make it more Parliamentary would be in order here in these disUnited States??

    Silas,

    The problem with the United States is not presidential government. The basic premises of a presidential government with checks and balances, limited powers, etc. are fine, provided you leave out all the prerogatives that the British Crown has as an executive authority – prerogatives that the British PM has and prerogatives that the Israeli PM has as well.

    The problem you face is not structure, it is the total corruption of that structure. The concepts of a limited government for a federated republic just do not apply in the States because corporate pigs control the executive and the civil service. The problem is not the presidential system – in spite of the fraud at its head – the problem is getting rid of the corporate pigs who have ruined your nation (and a good part of the world as well). That problem will not be solved with constitutional conventions.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I well realize the possibility that we may be on the verge. But I do not wish it. Do you?

    What I wish is irrelevant. I mean, I wish I had my health back, that I could speak Hebrew better and get a job as a fast food manager at a Burger Ranch restaurant in J-lem. I’m not going to get my wishes, though the Hebrew is coming with practice and hard work.

    What I’m telling you is that what I wish with respect to the USA or with respect to Israel is irrelevant. It’s mostly out of my hands.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Not in my book. We hold our destiny in our hands and how we act today will determine our future. But that’s my philosophy.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Consider the following, Silas. It sounds fishy to me.

    If commercial endorsement was the only problem, it’d seem to me that NYT should have given him ample warning. Which makes me think the dismissal was over the other thing – namely, the intelligent design thing. Kind of arbitrary for a major news organization to exercise their powers so.

  • Bliffle

    Handy says:

    “…it’s only a matter of time before some nut job takes this as a call to action.”

    Well, haven’t they already? By killing Dr. Cutter? Timothy McVeigh?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    57- That Kumbaya thing fools them every time, Silas. ;-)

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    re: Bliffle, #75

    McVeigh’s bombings and Eric Rudolph’s bombings took place during the Clinton administration. Back in the Black Helicopter, pre-Al Qaeda era. They were both associated with white separatist, Aryan Nation type rhetoric.

    The assassin of Dr. Cutter and the guy who opened fire at the Holocaust Museum are both this year.

    Did this sort of thing skip the Bush years for a reason?

    I’m not a conspiracy theorist, and as I say, I don’t necessarily buy Rachel Maddow’s paranoia about right-wing violence. But ‘lone nuts’ could conceivably take inspiration from some of the crazier Tea Party nonsense.
    And the Clinton era wingnuts and this year’s birthers do seem to be branches of similar belief systems.

    And didn’t the GOP raise ridiculous objections to a Dept of Homeland Security report that dared to mention the threat of domestic terrorism, from the kinds of groups tracked by the wonderful Southern Poverty Law Center? They even got Janet Napolitano to apologize for possibly offending grassroots conservatives.

    Some of Dave’s articles and some of his wilder statements in the comments section are only a couple of clicks down the dial from this kind of anti-government, Black Helicopter paranoia, which used to be real popular in the early days of the Interwebs.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    And didn’t the GOP raise ridiculous objections to a Dept of Homeland Security report that dared to mention the threat of domestic terrorism, from the kinds of groups tracked by the wonderful Southern Poverty Law Center? They even got Janet Napolitano to apologize for possibly offending grassroots conservatives.

    Yeah, but that’s what’s sensible about them. I objected to that. Anyone who isn’t keen on fascism would have objected to that. And that’s where I start worrying about the left and some of their admiration for govt telling people how many squares of TP they should wipe with.

    Really, I just paid almost $3 for ‘obesity tax’ on juice with no sugar in it, whilst Tropicana’s million grams of sugar 100% juice is immune to taxation, all because some dimwit decided he’d be the boss of what people should do and what people should drink for their own good. However, he didn’t feel the need to educate himself about the subject of obesity before he decided his own biased opinion was good enough to subject everyone in NY to. (and apparently NJ agrees)

    As far as I am concerned both the left and the right are deluded and each have their dangers. It’s as if they just will never see what’s in front of their eyes.

    If I said anything realistic it would be everyone just shut up and eat what’s on your plate. You apparently like it and expect (against all sane thinking) that it’s just going to work if you only argue your vision of it strongly enough. You don’t really wish to solve the problem. You apparently wish more to continually complain about it whilst offering solutions that will do nothing but perpetuate the problem.

    Of course, I mean the collective ‘you’ left and right.

  • Cannonshop

    #77 Handy, there’s a school of thought that holds that McVeigh was ‘primed’ and advised so that a counter-incident could be created and thus, an end to inquiries into Federal Misconduct after Waco and Ruby Ridge.

    It’s not hard to see how people become un-hinged when they start down those roads.

    I’ve observed before that we get a rash of school-shootings and McDonalds Massacres whenever a Democratic Congress starts fiddling with gun-control advocacy. (and who wants to remember the Beltway Sniper…oh, wait, he’s the wrong colour for a guy shooting random people in a serial-killer’s premeditated style. Those’re supposed to be white…)

    ANYTHING you can put any kind of pattern on (and you can put a pattern to any event that happens more than once) is fodder for Conspiracy Nuts of one stripe or another, and sometimes MULTIPLE theories from across the spectrum-including American Communists killed Kennedy to put Johnson in the White House (no lie-it’s a real conspiracy theory.)

    If you REALLY want to get creepy about it, ask who benefits-whose ‘case’ is made, when events like Eric Rudolph, school shooters, drive-bys, McVeigh, or that lunatic at the holocaust museum, occur?

    ’cause nine from ten odds, it is NOT the cause these nutballs claim to support. (well, the Unabomber-but that one only really made news AFTER they caught him…)

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy
  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I tend to see most extremists, in this country at least, as almost by definition self-defeating.

    The public as a whole recoils from extremists — murderous bombers, of course, but also politicians who rant and rave too much.

    And this probably applies as well to the rude dim-bulbs who have been disrupting town halls. It will repel more people from their ’cause’ than it will attract.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    God, Cindy, you’re gonna be showing up at town halls with “Hitler Gave Good Speeches Too” signs soon. I worry for you.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Wonkette carried a rather different first-person perspective on the St. Louis SEIU confrontations. It’s worth a look, and as always with Wonkette, it’s very entertaining. And illustrated with a Simpsons pic besides.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    The public as a whole recoils from extremists — murderous bombers, of course…

    See, that is the problem for me Handy. They don’t. They just don’t like non-govt sanctioned murderers.

    I have to admit, I was thinking of a different report. The one that profiled potential terrorists as people who had American flags and bumper stickers for one of the losing Republican candidates. Still, I don’t like the idea of the report and it targets people like ‘disgruntled’ vets.

    I don’t trust the govt to profile citizens and decide who is an enemy. The govt has a habit of ending up deciding everyone that doesn’t agree with it is an enemy. The govt has been militarizing police forces for some time. Reports like that are used as excuses to continue to deprive people of their rights and to remove more rights and to scapegoat people who are only dissenting as potential terrorists. I don’t like it. It’s a continuation of the ‘War on Terror’. That needs to be ended.

    Maybe the govt needs to listen to ‘disgruntled vets’ as opposed to writing reports that marginalize them as wackos without grounds for complaint.

    “Hitler Gave Good Speeches Too”

    Nah, I would never say that.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    The Gateway pundit report bears out the other eyewitness reports and the extensive video of the event. The Wonkette report isn’t all that amusing, but seems to confirm what I’ve heard which is that the protest at the SEIU HQ was kind of a non-event since the SEIU members stayed away.

    Dave

  • RJ
  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Well, then, Mark [and Dave], apparently too few of his RLC readers are listening to what he says.

    I’m sure some of them are listening. I’ve gotten lots of positive feedback about my various missives to the activists. But we’re just one group in a coalition, and I may have some credibility to get people to listen to me, but I’ve got very little power to compel people within the RLC and less outside of it.

    Dave’s idealism about theoretical Republican/Libertarian goals and beliefs often crashes head-on into reality: the wild-eyed, loudmouth, goonish Know-Nothings who populate far too much of the rightward half of political discourse.

    Who are remarkably similar to the goonish know-nothings of the leftward side of the political discourse. Every movement has its share of goons and troublemakers, but you only run into trouble if they take over the agenda, and we’re all working hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.

    And Dave himself, after originally cautiously admitting that, yes, there are a lot of crazies out there, is now giving in to the easy temptation of caricatured, cartoon-level rhetoric — demonizing the opposition as Nazi-like thugs out to destroy free speech.

    I only started expressing that perspective AFTER the recent events which have made it so clear that fears about the silencing of free speech and violence against protesters were justified.

    Does Dave really believe we have an authoritarian president? Or is he just using that poster-slogan image as convenient shorthand?

    I believe that we have an administration and a dominant political party which have an agenda which they very much want to see realized and they are willing to resort to a variety of suspect tactics to achieve that, including intimidation, propaganda and violence.

    I don’t believe the town-hall protesters are conspiring to destroy free speech.

    Good, since it’s their speech which is being suppressed.

    I think they mostly want to defeat Obama, who scares them, for reasons not entirely articulated or rational. [Their allies in Washington are happy to play along and encourage this, for pure, raw political reasons.]

    If you got to know the protesters you would realize that it is not Obama who they view as their enemy, but the entire political elite of which he is just a symbol. Most of them are as hostile to many of the Republican politicians as they are to most Democrats.

    Now will Dave admit that he doesn’t really believe Obama and the Dems want to shut down free speech either? They want to pass this bill, for political reasons and, believe or not, because some of us think the current health system needs reform.

    They may not want to silence free speech in general, but in this particular context they do not want an open and honest debate. This is very, very clear from everything we see going on here.

    Dave

    But that wouldn’t be as much fun as writing about ‘sending in the thugs.’

  • RJ

    Dave,

    Your voice is an important one in these dark days. Keep it up. Please.

    The truth must be reported. Don’t let these wannabe Castros and Chavezes silence you with their disgusting personal attacks.

    We as a nation are at the tipping point. If the center-right stands up as one, we can reclaim our democratic constitutional republic. But if we cower in the face of union thuggery and socialist goon tactics, we will resemble Cuba or Venezuela within the decade.

    That’s why we fight.

  • Arch Conservative

    RJ it appears as if those of us who don’t sit at our keyboards for five hours a day are starting to stand up.

    The THUG thought it would be a whole lot easier than this and he was caught flat footed when the American people didn’t just roll over for him on the government takeover of health care. Now he and his minions don’t know how to respond so they’ve resorted to ridiculing and intimidating American citizens. They fail to realize that rather than intimidate, these tactics will only anger and embolden the American people. The THUG is obviously under the impression that all the world operates like Chicago when nothing could be further from the truth.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Archie, this is sort of like the African folktale which I quote a bit too often, where the old lady sees a snake in the road and picks it up and takes it home and feeds it and cares for it and makes it a pet and then one day it bites her and as she’s dying she says “I fed you and took care of you and gave you everything you wanted” and it replies “you knew I was a snake when you picked me up.”

    Obama has surrounded himself with the kind of people he has worked with throughout his political career as a “community organizer” and a big part of that element of Democratic Party politics is unions and the thuggery and corruption which go with those unions. So when Obama sends out the not unreasonable order to promote his healthcare policy, one of the groups which responds is used to implementing orders from their bosses by busting heads and scaring people.

    Dave

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Good, but much too brief, debate on health care this morning between Newt Gingrich and Howard Dean on George Stephanopoulos’s show, followed by a not-bad ’roundtable’ [unfortunately minus George Will, and you will have to endure the unendurable Sam Donaldson, bloviating].

    If the discussions at town halls [and elsewhere] on this issue were anywhere near this substantive, there would be no motivation for dumb, rabble-rousing articles with reprehensible titles like “Democrats Send in the Thugs.”

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Re: RJ, #88:

    This is just sloganeering. I defy you to read my posts and honestly categorize them as personal attacks.

    I was/am responding honestly and with a great deal of thought [and solid back-up facts] to what I see as bald propaganda based on a false premise.

    You could as well compare Dave’s deliberate overstatement and totally non-balanced, one-sided articles to Chavez.

    But comparing each other to dictators is part of the problem. I want there to be a fair and honest debate, about health care and about other issues too.

    People yelling “Tyranny! Traitor! Fascist!” over every attempted answer in a town hall does not constitute free, open debate. It constitutes deliberate chaos.

    You know this, Dave knows this, even, I suspect, Arch knows this. Your post is the written equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling, “I can’t hear you, traitor!”

  • Arch Conservative

    Yes I know it does not constitute free open debate.

    You’d prefer that we go to these town halls, sit on our hands, smile congenially and accept what the THUG operatives say at face value when we know damn well that every last word is a lie?

    Just an example………..do you honestly expect us to believe that if we instituted some kind of “public option” now that the government wouldn’t eventually try to chip away little by little at private health care until it no longer existed Handy?

    Obama himself is on camera a few years back saying that his goal would be to eventually get rid of all private insurance but now that he has the opportunity to actually begin to do that we’re supposed to believe the words coming out of his mouth now?

    The THUG is quite simply the most dishonest, arrogant, condescending, and narcissistic piece of garbage that’s ever inhabited the white house.

    I know you probably have twenty t-shirts that say “yes we can” or “change we can believe in” so you’re incapable of seeing what’s going on handy but people are angry and it’s not just right wingers it’s anger all across the spectrum at both parties.

    There is absolutely no doubt that the Union meatheads and Acorn henchman have been let loose to intimidate and harass those who don’t agree with the THUG. Both of these parties have a long history of engaging in such behavior. It’s not going to work though.

    I cannot tell you how tempted I am to attend the protest next week here in NH when the THUG comes to spread his lies. So tempted just to attend in the hopes that some union meathead or Acorn scumbag will get in my face so I can give him a beatdown that’d make him wish he’d never been born.

    The anger is very mainstream, widespread and real handy. Make no mistake about it. This is just the beginning. it is not incumbent upon the American people that we should restrain ourselves so that the THUG may do as he pleases, but rather it is incumbent upon him to do what is best for this nation and it’s citizens and if he refuses to do so, which he has done at every fork in the road so far, he will suffer the consequences.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    I read the article about Ben Stein and the NYT, Roger. The whole thing IS fishy.

    God, Cindy, you’re gonna be showing up at town halls with “Hitler Gave Good Speeches Too” signs soon. I worry for you.

    Let’s be blatantly honest here. In his time, Hitler gave brilliant speeches which inspired and rallied the German people. Those speeches led them down the wrong path but that should not take away from the basic premise of good rhetoric. Why are people so afraid of admitting that in the beginning Hitler was brilliant at gaining control of Germany? It’s fact. It happened. The results were horrific but the effect of his rhetoric is something that should not go unnoticed.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    There is the question of what percentage of the population agrees with the town hall protesters. Of course all Americans have a right to free expression, but if, say, a noisy 5% or 10% [or even Dave’s speculation of 20%] drowns out the other 80% or 90%, is that a good thing?

    Gallup ran a really useful summary of multiple polls [their own and others] on the subject.

    Many Americans are uneasy about reform, mostly for two reasons: its cost, and their belief that it will benefit others but not themselves.

    [Note that the president has vowed, repeatedly, to veto any health bill that adds to the deficit.]

    But look closer: A majority of Americans support several individual elements of the current bills, including the public option and higher taxes on the wealthy.

    It’s only when the question is asked, “Do you think Pres. Obama’s healthcare plan is a good idea?” [without the specific elements listed] that, depending on which poll you read, 40% to 52% say “No.”

    This suggests a considerable amount of ambivalence and shifting of opinion.

    Chances are that ambivalent Americans would not be inclined to shout “Tyranny!” at their legislators. And the 35% to 50% [again, depending on the poll] who still do support the plan certainly deserve to have their voices heard.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Arch, before and after Obama was nominated, you referred to him [at least a million times] as ‘an empty suit with big ears.’

    Now he is a dangerous thug out to destroy the Constitution. I guess he learned remarkably quickly how to fill his suit.

    Calling someone names, EVEN IN ALL CAPS and repeating it hundreds of times, does not make the name true.

    Sitting on your hands or blowing a gasket in rage are not your only two choices. Trying to construct an actual argument out of real facts and ideas would be another possibility.

    Well, we can dream, can’t we?

  • Clavos

    [Note that the president has vowed, repeatedly, to veto any health bill that adds to the deficit.]

    So he has.

    Either he’s lying or dangerously naive.

    ANY health care bill currently supported by the administration will add to the deficit, according to the CBO.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    If the Democrats would bite the bullet and tax employer-provided healthcare plans, much of the cost problem would be solved. If Congress weren’t so stubborn about Obama’s proposal to reduce income tax deduction percentages above a certain income level, that would also solve a substantial revenue gap.

    Sen. Baucus says his finance committee bill actually begins to reduce the deficit at the 10-year mark, which is the threshold the president and others are aiming at. In fact, I don’t think the Senate will pass a bill with a revenue shortfall. But unfortunately they will probably get there by cutting coverage.

    Several different groups in Congress have drawn lines in the sand, and have said, I won’t cross THAT. And this is a big part of the problem.

    And while the CBO performs a very valuable service, even they will admit that they deliberately lowball any estimates of savings that reform could enable. Their focus is spending, and if they can’t identify a specific savings dollar amount, they estimate it at zero.

  • Clavos

    *

    And while the CBO performs a very valuable service, even they will admit that they deliberately lowball any estimates of savings that reform could enable. Their focus is spending, and if they can’t identify a specific savings dollar amount, they estimate it at zero.

    Oh please, handy.

    Not even Obama disputes their conclusion that the administration plans will add to the deficit.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I didn’t just pull that assertion out of thin air. The CBO does concentrate on spending, not savings. So if, for example, the government were to negotiate lower drug prices, the savings may be difficult to estimate specificallly in advance and might be estimated on the CBO report as zero.

    And the CBO hasn’t yet scored the finance committee bill, because it isn’t finished.

    From an editorial in the NY Times:

    The budget office provides vitally important guidance to Congress, but focuses primarily on how new legislation might affect federal spending and federal deficits. The office gives only a cursory glance at how reforms might cut costs for the overall system and yield savings for employers, families and state and local governments, the issue that concerns most people.

    Moreover, the office makes middle-of-the road estimates of cost and more pessimistic estimates of savings. That makes sense (lawmakers and government agencies routinely exaggerate the virtues of their proposals), but it makes it harder to evaluate proposed innovations.

    Respected analysts who are not bound by the C.B.O.’s conservatism have projected significant savings from reforms that the C.B.O. scores poorly. The Commonwealth Fund, a research organization, and David Cutler, a Harvard health economist, separately estimate that an array of reforms could save the government hundreds of billions of dollars in the first decade and the health care system even more. These estimates, coming from advocates of reform, may be too rosy, but underscore the point that the C.B.O. may undervalue savings.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    [Note that the president has vowed, repeatedly, to veto any health bill that adds to the deficit.]

    So he has.

    Either he’s lying or dangerously naive.

    Not at all. He just expects to raise taxes to the level where he will pull another trillion or so straight out of the economy he’s trying to destroy to pay for the health care changes.

    Dave

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I pulled a lot of data out of Gallup and elsewhere and that one parenthetical comment about Obama and the deficit gets all the attention.

    Yes, health care reform is expensive. Yes, the revenue and savings have to come from somewhere.

    Better to discuss the specific proposals than caricature them all ideologically, Dave’s chosen route.

  • Clavos

    I didn’t say you pulled it outof thin air, handy.

    The fact is, even the sources cited in the NYT credit only hundreds of billions in savings (much of which, the NYT doesn’t mention, will come from cutting back Medicare and Medicaid), but the CBO estimate projects an additional deficit of more than a trillion, and without even insuring all the presently uninsured.

    Any health plan that adds up to 50 million people is going to cost more money, that’s just common sense. Believing that the government will save money is naive in the extreme.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Handy, do you dispute that the only way Obama can keep his promise not to raise the deficit is to raise taxes?

    I’d love to hear your argument on that. Even if they find ways to reduce costs significantly, the proposed cost is so huge that tax increases are unavoidable.

    Dave

  • Bliffle

    Dave #87:

    “I believe that we have an administration and a dominant political party which have an agenda which they very much want to see realized and they are willing to resort to a variety of suspect tactics to achieve that, including intimidation, propaganda and violence.”

    Just like the previous administration. And the one before that, and the one before that…..stretching back as far as the eye can see.

    Politics.

  • Bliffle

    As for the health reform costs, there are several proposed sources for offsetting new costs, such as:

    – taxing employer provided insurance benefits. This seems imminently fair, since such benefits are in lieu of salary in most cases, so they escape income taxation.

    – reducing or eliminating the 30%-40% premium paid to insurance companies for Medicare Plus. This is just a big fat welfare handout to insurance companies.

    – recapturing the premium income from well-clients who are presently selected in by insurance company policies such as recission, etc., so that the high-cost clients are shunted off to public burden. The insurance companies simply are cream-skimming.

    – reduce the unwarranted 28% overhead cost of private insurance which they are able to demand because of their monopoly position. They simply can’t justify that on the basis of risk.

    – reduce or eliminate the 12% burden reflected back on providers (Dr.s, hospitals, etc.).

    Too much money is lost in the insurance companies and there’s no economic/business justification for it.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    It’s fine with me, as it apparently is with a majority of the public, to raise taxes on the wealthy to offset the cost of healthcare — either a surtax or a reduction in deduction percentages.

    But this seems to be a non-starter not only among Republicans but quite a few Democrats. Lines in the sand foolishly drawn and stubbornly adhered to.

    [By the way, it rarely gets mentioned in the ritual cries of ‘class warfare’ that Obama received a majority of the millionaire vote last Nov.]

    Even Senate Republicans seem ok with taxing ‘Cadillac’ health plans from employers that have a premium cost of several tens of thousands a year. This tax may be levied against insurance companies or employers [e.g. Goldman Sachs, where some execs get a $40,000 plan] or split between them.

    I think it makes sense to tax all employer sponsored plans. But this would immediately break an Obama campaign pledge not to raise taxes on people making less than $250,000 a year.

    Not all the cost of insuring the uninsured will be paid by the government, but that is the biggest deficit challenge on the front end. There would be a sliding scale of subsidies for those who can’t afford insurance. The income level where this kicks in has been reduced in some of the proposals from $80,000 for a family of four to less than $70,000. If they keep messing with that figure, the cost will go down, but so will the number of currently uninsured who get covered.

    The cost of helping lower income people either buy insurance or get added to Medicaid is completely separate from the other cost issue: the fact that health care costs have been increasing at several times the rate of inflation This will be a deficit nightmare for Medicare and Medicaid in years to come.

    That needs to be tackled too, and isn’t addressed sufficiently in the current proposals.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    If that’s what is really going on, then you’re right.

    Not saying that there aren’s some people who go just to shout slogans and wave signs, but when 1500 people show up as was the case in Tampa last week, a lot of those people just want to get in a room with a representative and air their concerns.

    It’s inconcievable then that no measures have been taken by the organizers of these meetings to ensure proper citizen participations.

    It’s not inconceivable at all. They don’t WANT citizen participation. They want to hear from their supporters and tell their supporters what to say when they go out and talk to people. The express mission here is to PROMOTE health care reform, not to hold a discussion about it with people who don’t support it.

    It’s not that hard to do. And second, that there we haven’t seen any objective reporting on these events. It’s impossible to believe that in this nation of over 200 million we can’t have objective, disinterested reporting on these important events.

    I have actually seen some objective reporting. Check local papers and TV station coverage for the most balanced viewpoint. Or just watch the unedited videos that are on YouTube.

    Dave

    If we can’t ascertain where the truth really lies in simple matters such as these, then we’re indeed doomed as a nation, Dave.

  • http://www.morethings.com Al Barger

    Dave, you seem to be missing a big part of the point of these exclusionary meetings, at least as I understand it. There are easier ways for Democrats and liberals to give their supporters the talking points.

    Rather, I take it that the point is more to try to generate news reports and video for local news showing that really pretty much all normal citizens basically support their plans for socialized medicine.

    You’ve got Pelosi et al lamely attempting to discredit those who protest their plans as paid stooges of the insurance industry. On the basis of what evidence? They must not be legitimate citizens with grievances because they tend to be well dressed. Seriously.

    Then they get some actual paid stooges from unions to limit attendance to those who agree, and it shows up on the local tv news like really pretty much everyone supports their commie nonsense.

    And really, you don’t want to get reported to the White House as an enemy of the people’s truth now, do ya? [Just stopped long enough to drop this article URL to flag@whitehouse.gov]

    So since we’re pretty much all in agreement, we need to go ahead and vote on this thing right away – before anyone gets a chance to actual read some million page bill and seriously start unpacking what’s in it.

    At least that was the plan.

  • zingzing

    silas: “Why are people so afraid of admitting that in the beginning Hitler was brilliant at gaining control of Germany? It’s fact. It happened.”

    god, i love this place. man of the year 1938.

    dave: “He just expects to raise taxes to the level where he will pull another trillion or so straight out of the economy he’s trying to destroy to pay for the health care changes.”

    yep. he wants to destroy our economy. so the fucking aliens can take over. monkeys and dragons. i fucked a keyboard last night and the damn thing created an entire universe. it was like the atom bomb going off in my miles davis poster. thing blew a cauldron of light bulbs into the artist. shut the fuck up.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Thank you, zing, for reminding me of that one.

    Back to the subject at hand. You know when the Far Right sends out faux protesters, it’s mean spirited and thuggery. When Democrats do it, it’s exercising their right to Free Speech. The problem is that all these sound bites are taking away from what really matters. Are we so stupid as a society that we can’t cut the media wheat from the media chaff? Shit. Why did I even bother to ask?

    Education, folks. It’s all about education. We better get our kids a proper education or they’re screwed when it comes time for the to inherit the mess we’re leaving behind.

  • Arch Conservative

    Since Obama is coming to my home state this morning for a staged pep rally that he will portray as a town hall full of NH residents supporting him but will actually be full of union meatheads and Acorn members from everywhere but NH, I thought I’d provide a link to a news political news source in NH that actually reports the truth for anyone interested.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    If Al, Arch, Dave, et al., would stop propagandizing and actually discuss the issues involved, something might get said.

    Greatest Hits [and the principles/fallacies they demonstrate], just from this page [there are thousands more examples]:

    “Dems send in the thugs”
    [ignore or deny any thuggery on your own side]

    “Marxist thugs”
    [when all else fails, bring out the Heavy Ideological Name-Calling Cannon]

    “they are willing to resort to a variety of suspect tactics to achieve that, including intimidation, propaganda and violence”
    [exaggerate isolated incidents and ignore all counterexamples, including your own! — the ABC report on the Maryland Blue Dog guy who opposes the bill and got hanged in effigy and ambushed at his town hall anyhow]

    “these wannabe Castros and Chavezes”
    [see Big Cannon, above]

    “every last word is a lie”
    [you forgot to add “including ‘a,’ ‘an,’ and ‘the'”]

    “The THUG is quite simply the most dishonest, arrogant, condescending, and narcissistic piece of garbage that’s ever inhabited the white house”
    [this one probably even made Dave roll his eyes, groan and/or giggle]

    “he will pull another trillion or so straight out of the economy he’s trying to destroy to pay for the health care changes”
    [present ‘economy he’s trying to destroy’ as an already proven fact, no supporting documentation required]

    It’s pretty shameless. And note that barely one word about the current or any future health care system is included.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The CBO report on the initially proposed House bill, which Clavos and other conservatives are fond of quoting for its deficit estimates [possibly the first time they have thought of the CBO fondly, ever], also includes this projection:

    By 2016:

    Number of people with employer-sponsored insurance will increase from 159 million to 162 million

    Enrollment in the proposed ‘public option’ plan would total 11 million people

    Medicaid rolls would increase by 10 million [most of them currently uninsured]

    The government right now, without any changes, accounts for at least 35% of the $2.5 trillion spent annually on health care. There is nonetheless a thriving, profitable private health care industry.

    So unless the CBO is dead wrong, a ‘public option’ would not gut or destroy the private health insurance industry, as Clavos and Congressional Republicans have repeatedly claimed.

    This info comes from an excellent article in today’s NY Times which attempts to filter through the rhetoric and compare various proposals and various criticisms:

    As Bombast Escalates, a Primer on the Details of Health Care Reform

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I’m an SEIU member and our local chapter is far too wimpy… ahem, polite to resort to any kind of thuggery.

    In fact we’ve been actively campaigning for the removal of our state leadership, whom we feel have become utterly unaccountable to union members.

    One other thing: I do find it ironic that one of the Redstate pieces Dave links to complains about the SEIU’s ‘rentamob’ – having just described the call to arms it put out for people to crowd the meeting and oppose the healthcare reform proposals.

  • Clavos

    One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor…

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    There is disingenuousness [disingenuity?] to spare on both sides, Doc.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    ‘Disingenuousness’ is the correct word, Handy.

    ‘Disingenuity’ would, insofar as I can get my brain round the concept, describe the state of becoming not ingenious. The unlikeliness of such an accomplishment probably explains why it’s not a real word.

  • Clavos

    The first is correct, handy. Ingenuousness is not the same thing as ingenuity.

  • Clavos

    Drat you, Doc!

  • Clavos

    I beklieve that makes it about 50-50?

  • Clavos

    And I believe, too…

  • http://www.fontcraft.com Dave Nalle

    Handy, I think your need to lie shows the bankruptcy of the position you’re trying to defend. You say earlier that no one here has offered alternative suggestions for health care, but you’ve been on here enough to know that I’ve written at least 3 detailed articles with discussions of the problems of proposed plans and specific suggestions of alternate approaches.

    Dave

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Dave’s need to characterize me as a liar with a bankrupt agenda completely ignores 95% of what I have posted in the comments section of your article.

    My post where I was [fairly gently] mocking the over-the-top rhetoric you and others regularly employ on here was based entirely on examples drawn from this 3rd page of comments on this article. My point was that the discussion had degenerated — in this case [not in all other cases] primarily from several rightist voices.

    I know that you have written other articles with health care proposals in them. I responded to them. You responded back. That’s how it should work.

    Of the nearly 50 comments on this page, 7 written by me were issue discussions about health care [not about rent-a-mobs], with references and links. 4 or 5 others, usually briefer, were rebuttals to you, Arch and RJ, whose ‘defenses’ of your article arguably have the opposite of the intended effect. The issue-based posts got a lot less attention than the rebuttals.

    I do not lie, ever, intentionally, when posting on here. I am genuinely interested in discussing this issue.

    On the basis of this article and your #123, among others, I’m not convinced you are. You’d rather propagandize.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com Dave Nalle

    For those who haven’t quite grasped how ridiculous and desperate the left’s smears and attacks against the protesters are, check out this absolutely brilliant video from a guy in Tucson who went out and interviewed some of the protesters. It might even be enough to open the eyes of some of the irrational partisans on here.

    Dave

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Re: Dave’s video link in #125:
    Very pleasant, smiling people, which makes the hammer-and-sickle imagery on their signs even more disturbing. Smile when you call me a Commie! I’m still not one, however, and neither is the president.

    Possibly the people who hanged Maryland Rep. Frank Kratovil in effigy were smiling and pleasant, too. He’s the Blue Dog opposed to the House bill who got shouted down anyway [the day after the effigy hanging] by people who no doubt are very smiling and pleasant when they are not shrieking “Tyranny!” at their Congressman. Dave at one point posted a link to Rep. Kratovil’s story, perhaps before he realized that it undermined his preferred storyline about the town halls. Now he doesn’t talk so much about that particular Rep.

    And I bet the folks who made the sign that showed a tombstone with Lloyd Doggett’s name on it were pleasantly smiling the whole time. Also the people who carry signs doomfully warning about Government Euthanasia for Seniors. They are helping to spread a disgusting lie, but no doubt they are just as sweet as can be, with the nicest smiles.

    I do not want to mischaracterize these folks, or silence them. I just think the one-sided fawning portrait of them Dave wants us to buy is also phony.

    By the way, AgapeMedia, producers of this sweet lil vid, have several other videos on their site. About half are about “Tea Parties” and the other half are about Jesus. Would Jesus laugh at fantasizing the deaths of Congressmen, or about spreading lies to scare old people? I don’t claim to have the answer to that one.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I know that you have written other articles with health care proposals in them. I responded to them. You responded back. That’s how it should work.

    But yet you seem not to remember that I wrote them and made other reasonable proposals in comments when it serves your rhetorical purpose.

    The issue-based posts got a lot less attention than the rebuttals.

    In my case that’s because I know and remember that it’s all material we’ve been over before.

    I do not lie, ever, intentionally, when posting on here. I am genuinely interested in discussing this issue.

    This is not the impression created by your generally hostile, dismissive and exclusionary postings.

    On the basis of this article and your #123, among others, I’m not convinced you are. You’d rather propagandize.

    And you’d rather dismiss genuine concern and positive suggestions as propaganda than deal with them.

    Dave

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Cokie Roberts made me laugh out loud yesterday on the Stephanopoulos show when she said the “unpleasant screaming and yelling” on display at the town halls could be blamed on “the shortage of nuns.”

    “People raised by nuns just would not behave in that fashion.” The panel laughed, and she did too, but I’m not sure she was entirely joking.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I called this particular article propaganda because I sincerely believe that’s what it is. I discussed the reasons for this at length back in comment #29.

    If you should decide to write a fair article [one that perhaps acknowledges that intelligent, informed people could have a different opinion from your own without being liars, idiots, or communists], then I won’t call it unpleasant [but accurate] names.

  • Bliffle

    Clavos avers:

    “Any health plan that adds up to 50 million people is going to cost more money, that’s just common sense.”

    Not at all. I’ve demonstrated several times how the math works out to encompass more people AND reduce total cost.

    Basically, the insurance companies, employing their monopoly, charge exorbitant rates and create tremendous waste.

    “Believing that the government will save money is naive in the extreme.”

    Not at all. A private monopoly has about 40% overhead and a government monopoly has about 3%, so the government monopoly costs less.

    “Common sense” would dictate that one look at the reality and the numbers for private monopolies vs. public monopolies.

    In fact, the private insurance companies are well aware of this and that is what frightens them to death about a public option: they can’t compete against a low-overhead government operation like Medicare.

  • Clavos

    Not at all. A private monopoly has about 40% overhead and a government monopoly has about 3%, so the government monopoly costs less.

    But spends more.

    The USPS will lose $7B this FY ($2.4B last quarter alone).

    Medicare and Medicaid expenditures per patient are escalating much more rapidly than health care in general.

    Plus, your “overhead” comparison is fallacious. Since private insurers insure more than twice as many people as the government, only valid comparison is on a a patient by patient (or per capita) basis. Compared thus, Medicare and Medicaid are MUCH more expensive than private insurers.

    I’m going to keep pointing this out every time you bring up that “overhead” red herring, bliffle.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    “People raised by nuns just would not behave in that fashion.” The panel laughed, and she did too, but I’m not sure she was entirely joking.

    Perhaps people raised by nuns are taught to obey authority on reflex rather than thinking for themselves.

    I called this particular article propaganda because I sincerely believe that’s what it is.

    I’m sure you’re entirely sincere and just as sincere as Nancy Pelosi is when she lies and accuses protesters of being nazis and part of a mob. And you’re just as wrong and deceitful as she is. But as with George W. Bush, if you yourself are deluded by your beliefs, you’re technically not lying. A really good lie begins with lying to yourself.

    If you should decide to write a fair article [one that perhaps acknowledges that intelligent, informed people could have a different opinion from your own without being liars, idiots, or communists], then I won’t call it unpleasant [but accurate] names.

    You can deny and dismiss the truth all you want, but it doesn’t change it. People CAN have a different opinion from mine and that’s perfectly legitimate. They can also interpret facts differently and come to different conclusions. But what you can’t get away with and yet keep trying, is dismissing the facts and trying to replace them with a crudely shaped and transparent fiction.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    As you said yourself, facts don’t speak for themselves because they can be interpreted differently. What “facts” then are being dismissed?

  • Bliffle

    Clavos says:

    “…only valid comparison is on a a patient by patient (or per capita) basis. Compared thus, Medicare and Medicaid are MUCH more expensive than private insurers.”

    I rebutted this, successfully, apparently, because you did not contest it, when you first brought this up.

    It’s a red herring.

  • zingzing

    bliffle’s red herring vs. clavos’ red herring. who will win? is this what we’ve been reduced to? and why a red herring? i’m going to look it up.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Because they’ve never had a schmaltz herring, so they can only dream

  • Clavos

    I rebutted this, successfully, apparently, because you did not contest it, when you first brought this up.

    No you didn’t, bliffle.

    You did not present a rebuttal. All you did was give your negative opinion as to the veracity of my point, which does not constitute a rebuttal.

    Consequently, I saw no need to contest, there was nothing there.

    Your non-rebuttal was only uncontested, not “successful.”

    There’s a difference.

    Nice try, though.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Perhaps people raised by nuns are taught to obey authority on reflex rather than thinking for themselves.

    I don’t know about that. I recall Sr. Mary Ronald, my high school religion and philosophy teacher. She used to urge us to question everything in both Testaments. She spoke of the Torah as being more symbolic in nature and not pure fact. Back then Vatican II was in full swing and there was a real debate about coming out of the Dark Ages.

    When Bobby Kennedy died, I recall distinctly hearing a fellow student pose the question as to why would God’s Will allow Bobby to die? And the good Sister explained that God’s Will is that every human has free will to make individual choices. While God could have stopped this tragedy in theory, it would have interfered with His primary directive. And that’s when the floodgates opened into personal accountability and consequences of choice. Here we are 41 years later and the debate lingers with no clear cut answers in our midst.

    In fact, the private insurance companies are well aware of this and that is what frightens them to death about a public option: they can’t compete against a low-overhead government operation like Medicare.

    Yes they are. When the CEO of United Health Care gets paid $106,000 per hour, I have a problem. When $1 of every $700 spent in medical care goes to that same CEO, I get outraged. As much as I love capitalism, there’s no morality in maintaining a for profit health care system. Of course insurance companies are in a panic and they’re spending millions on lobbying efforts. Millions which could have been returned to the health care system to reduce overall administrative costs. Maybe I’m wrong but the way I see it, a public option is a necessary ingredient in turning health care around.

  • Clavos

    From NRO:

    As the head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Elmendorf, recently said, the bills moving through Congress did not contain “the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount. And on the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health-care costs.”

    ***

    Why do we need to increase spending on health care by at least $1.6 trillion and steal prosperity from our children and grandchildren when we spend nearly twice per person what other industrialized nations spend on health care?…The problem is not that we don’t spend enough on health care, but that we don’t allocate resources efficiently and get value for what we pay.

    ***

    Both the Senate and House bills set up a government-run “comparative effectiveness” board that will make final decisions about treatment and care. In committee, I gave senators several opportunities to accept language that would forbid this board from denying care. All of my amendments were rejected, which suggests that the intent is to set up a board that will ration care, as is done in the United Kingdom.

    …according to a new DNC ad, individual Americans who oppose a government takeover of health care are not acting out of good faith, sound reasoning, and independent judgment, but rather are part of an “angry mob” that lacks the intelligence to think critically and independently. The condescension underlying this claim is breathtaking, particularly when the entire strategy of public-option proponents depends on misdirection and subterfuge. Public-option advocates want the American people to believe, in spite of their past statements, that they aren’t trying to lay the groundwork for a total government takeover of health care, but instead are trying to create new choices. Fortunately, the American people aren’t buying it, and public-option proponents are now attacking the skeptics.

    ***

    Individual Americans should view the month of August as their best, and perhaps final, opportunity to alter the health-care bills before Congress reconvenes in September. Citizens should ask hard questions without having their motives questioned.

    …the greater threat to freedom and liberty is not an informed citizenry but an irresponsible, elitist, and evasive political class that refuses to answer hard questions and make tough choices.

  • Clavos

    Of course insurance companies are in a panic and they’re spending millions on lobbying efforts. Millions which could have been returned to the health care system to reduce overall administrative costs. Maybe I’m wrong but the way I see it, a public option is a necessary ingredient in turning health care around.

    After meeting with him, the insurance companies are supporting Obama’s proposals, “public option” and all.

    Why?

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Clavos, there are a lot of things our government is doing where we should be asking WHY! I’m inclined to believe that 80% of the members of Congress have no idea what is at the heart of legislation that’s passed on a daily basis. There’s no way a member of Congress read that health care bill with a magnifying glass. They rely on leadership caucuses to decide their vote.

    Perhaps we should put them up in housing like the Cardinals have during conclave. When Congress is in session, the membership eats, sleeps, drinks together. The taxpayer will maintain the housing, nourishment, etc. required. When Congress is in recess, the respective members can return to their individual districts to report to the people on their job performance. Seems rather a simple solution to a burgeoning problem.

  • Clavos

    I like that idea, Silas!

    Trying to bring them all together like that would probably be more daunting than herding cats, however.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Silas @ #138:

    Back when I was the co-impresario of a little amateur dramatic group in England, I considered putting on a production of Christopher Durang’s Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, an absurdist satire on traditional Catholicism. The eponymous Sister is dogmatic in the extreme: prepared to defend her literalist interpretation of the Bible and Church teachings to the death – quite literally. The apotheosis of your Sister Mary Ronald – in whose class I would, by your account, have felt privileged to sit!

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    The thing with the conclave is that each and every cardinal goes into one with the awareness that there is a chance, however slight, that he may be elected the next Pontiff.

    There’s no such macabre lure with the Congress.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    First of all, Dread, Sr. Mary Ignatius is one of my favourite plays of all time. I’ve seen Diane Keaton perform it on national stage and I’ve seen a couple of locals do it. Absolutely hysterical in a freakish sort of way.

    Sr. Ronald was one of a kind and did more to inspire me than any teacher I have ever known.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Rep. Bob Inglis [R – SC] was a guest on Chris Matthews’s show last night. Mr. Inglis has recently written a memo titled “16 Reasons to Oppose ObamaCare.”

    At his town hall meeting over the weekend, he remarked, after someone in the crowd suggested he watch Glenn Beck: “When Glenn Beck comes on, I suggest that you just turn that television off. He is playing on people’s fears.”

    The ensuing roar of disapproval from the crowd drowned out everything else he tried to say for several minutes. How dare this man attack… Glenn Beck!

  • Clavos

    For those of you on the left who think that opponents of Obamacare worry unnecessarily about the end-of-life provisions of the administration proposals, here is an article written by Lee Siegel, a self-professed supporter of the White House plans. The article is published by The Daily Beast.

    Mr. Siegel notes:

    Make no mistake about it. Determining which treatments are “cost effective” at the end of a person’s life and which are not is one of Obama’s priorities. It’s one of the principal ways he counts on saving money and making universal healthcare affordable.

    And:

    Where is Obama coming from? Why is such an apparently humane man considering embracing a utilitarian initiative straight out of Victorian England? A good part of the explanation has to do with the University of Chicago Law School milieu that Obama comes out of. By far, the most influential figure in that world is Judge Richard Posner, who teaches law at Chicago and publishes streams of pompous, robotically written books that are much praised and little read.

    Judge Posner is both an enthusiastic advocate of euthanasia and an energetic eugenicist. He once wrote of Oliver Wendell Holmes’ ideas about eugenics – Holmes believed that a just society “prevents continuance of the unfit” – that “we may yet find [Holmes’] enthusiasms prescient rather than depraved.”

    Cass Sunstein, who is Obama’s nominee for regulatory czar, is a disciple of Posner and believes in what Time magazine describes as “the statistical practice of taking into account years of life expectancy when evaluating a regulation.” In other words, Sunstein believes that the lives of younger people have a greater value than those of the elderly. This, obviously, would have a radical bearing on end-of-life considerations.

    It’s worth a read.

  • zingzing

    well, that was some nice editing. and some nice use of “he was taught by so n’ so, so you know…” junk. also, how is what you describe here different from what goes on today? and what are you leaving out? and what exactly do you think is in the so-called “end of life” clause? and who do you think wrote it?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The specific ‘end of life care’ provision in the legislation came from a Republican, Johnny Isakson of Georgia. If patients want to get advice on a living will and related issues, Medicare will pay for it, which is not the case currently.

    This is a good, commonsense proposal that has been distorted.

    The distortion conflates Sen. Isakson’s proposal with the putative rationing of care that will allegedly be used to deny treatment.

    A medical panel of experts [not an ‘evil death panel’] will attempt to determine which treatments are effective and which are a waste of money — they won’t be determining individual cases, but setting up general guidelines.

    The result will not inevitably be less care for patients; in some or many cases, there could be more tests and treatments than now. But there will be less duplicative and ineffective care.

    Part of the way this issue is being argued [on both sides] is to oversimplify and caricature proposals and arguments.

    Of course it is possible, even probable, that some patients and doctors will disagree with decisions about coverage — just as they do now with private insurance and Medicare.

    But when this leads to people holding up signs about government euthanasia, or Sarah Palin writing about ‘death panels’ and a health plan that is [because of the nonexistent ‘death panels’] ‘just plain evil’ — well, this is a gross distortion that does real harm, because there are some people who will believe the disinformation.

  • Clavos

    Zing sez:

    well, that was some nice editing. and some nice use of “he was taught by so n’ so, so you know…”

    Given that I also linked to the entire article, that comment is, like most of what you post, bullshit.

    From Eugene Robinson, by no stretch of the imagination a conservative writer(selectively edited for zing’s delectation; linked for the thinking readers):

    We know that there are crazies in the town-hall mobs — paranoid fantasists who imagine they hear the whop-whop-whop of the World Government black helicopters coming closer by the minute. We know that much of the action is being directed from the wings by cynical political operatives, following a script written by Washington lobbyists. But the nut jobs and carpetbaggers are outnumbered by confused and concerned Americans who seem genuinely convinced they’re not being told the whole truth about health care reform.

    And they have a point.

    Just so there’s no misunderstanding, I’m a true believer. It’s scandalous and immoral that the richest, most powerful nation on earth callously ignores the fact that 47 million citizens lack health insurance. I feel strongly that there should be a public option to keep private insurers honest; and I want the government to be able to negotiate drug prices with the pharmaceutical companies.

    ***

    The unvarnished truth is that services are ultimately going to have to be curtailed regardless of what happens with reform. We perform more expensive tests, questionable surgeries and high-tech diagnostic scans than we can afford. We spend unsustainable amounts of money on patients during the final year of life.

    Yes, it’s true that doctors order some questionable procedures defensively, to keep from getting sued. But it’s a cop-out to blame the doctors or the tort lawyers. We’re the ones who demand these tests, scans and surgeries. And why not? If a technology exists that can prolong life or improve its quality, even for a few weeks or months, why shouldn’t we want it?

    That’s the reason people are so frightened and enraged about the proposed measure that would allow Medicare to pay for end-of-life counseling. If the government says it has to control health care costs and then offers to pay doctors to give advice about hospice care, citizens are not delusional to conclude that the goal is to reduce end-of-life spending.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I like Gene Robinson, and I’m with him until that last paragraph. It’s a leap in logic, not an inevitable conclusion.

    Does Clavos oppose encouraging people to have living wills and related information? This is not some loony left-wing idea, nor is it a death sentence for anybody.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “But the nut jobs and carpetbaggers are outnumbered by confused and concerned Americans . . .”

    But that’s a natural condition, Clavos. Why should you expect anything different, why here and why now?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Close the italics, please.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Maybe it’s not a leap in logic, Handy, just defining the resistance as stemming from this concern alone. There are plenty of reasons why people are confused and scared, as many as there a people themselves. The “socialism” scare being one.

    And perhaps, just perhaps, “the proposed measure that would allow Medicare to pay for end-of-life counseling [services]” is not such a hot idea. The bill on the table is already controversial enough (insofar as many people are concerned), so why make it even more so? And that’s regardless of the intent of the proposed measure. Aside from the facts of the case, you’ve got to consider peoples’ perceptions.

  • Clavos

    handy,

    A medical panel of experts [not an ‘evil death panel’] will attempt to determine which treatments are effective and which are a waste of money — they won’t be determining individual cases, but setting up general guidelines.

    That, to me, is the real horror; people are not all alike, general guidelines will not take that into account. Individual decisions would probably be more equitable and compassionate, but obviously more difficult and labor intensive.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Good point, Clavos. But these guidelines are already more or less in effect, in the form of “unwritten rules,” in a tacit kind of way. But the point of course is – they’re being invoked individually, on a case-by-case basis.

    So yes – their application to any statistical grouping at large is the main point of concern.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I’m going to double check this, but I don’t think the panel will have the force of law…just guidance.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    A counterpoint to Clavos’s argument.

    Watch the video.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    OK, I just watched a few minutes of Obama in NH. Some heavy-set guy gets up whining about Lipitor vs. the generic version. Obama addressed his concerns – in a cowardly way. I would have answered the question in a more forthright manner. The guy needs to LOSE WEIGHT! That’s the discussion we’re not having in this health care debate. 80% of the health problems can be conquered by LOSING WEIGHT. I know. I’ve been there. I know the routine – Insulin, Metformin, Lipitor, anti-depression drugs, blah, blah, blah. Drug companies are reaping profits because of fat, lazy Americans. Perhaps I’m being harsh, but I think it’s time for truth in insuring.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Dread, as a follow up to Sr. Ronald, I just wanted you to know that I think I found her and can’t believe she’s still alive! I wrote her a long letter this morning thanking her for her influence on me and for her years of service to education. Were it not for your words, Dread, I would not have written that letter. So, a special thank you to you as well.

  • Clavos

    That is way cool, Silas!

    Doc, you’re such a force for good! :>)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Silas,

    We’re not going to resolve this problem by overhauling peoples’ lifestyles – in the long run perhaps, but not short term. You’re bypassing therefore the present controversy concerning the healthcare reform that’s on the table.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    What I’m beginning to see, the opposition is essentially political. If it weren’t for the healthcare proposal, some other issue would have served. It just so happens that the healthcare issue serves as call to arms par excellence. We are undergoing radical social changes as a nation, and it’s but a front for all those who are dreading it.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    I’m not really bypassing the health care issue, Roger, because obesity is a major part of the problem. Take a look around you. We’re getting fatter. Medicare is buying motor scooters faster than the American consumer is taking advantage of cash for clunkers. Again, I’ve fought the obesity battle which gives me the advantage.

    We need to look at HOW health care is provided more so than the cost. Got a kid who acts up in class? Drug them. Got diabetes as a result of being fat? Drug them. Can’t achieve an erection because your stomach gets in the way? Drug them.

    For every problem there’s a pill. We can’t handle normal day-to-day stress without taking a pill. We can’t go to sleep without taking a pill or finding a physician who’s willing to pump anesthesia in your veins for a hefty fee. Kids have boundless energy that needs to be burned. Instead, we pump them full of drugs because they have ADD, ADHD or ABC. I remember when my grandfather died back in 1966. Before they told my mother, they gave her 10mg of Valium for starters. She was drugged during the entire 5 day Irish Catholic waking process. It took her years to get over the loss of her father because she was medicated for six months following his death. It’s pathetic. It’s immoral. It’s the easy way out for the end user and profitable for the drug company. Enough is enough, Roger.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    CNN has been showing town halls, live, all day. Arlen Specter, looking feeble and frail, faced some real fiery loony birds, one of whom told Specter he would fry in the fires of hell.

    Claire McCaskill came across as a high school teacher facing an unruly class. I thought she handled it pretty well: she told them there is no single payer, or ‘nationalized’ health care bill before congress right now. And they jeered her. She said, “What’s wrong, what are you reacting to?” And they said, We don’t trust you. But she was telling the truth! How should she respond? She’s not lying or evading.

    The president claimed his own questioners were not screened, but even I am skeptical of this. The whole tone was so different in New Hampshire. Although maybe people are less inclined to jeer a president when he’s right there in the room with them. At any rate, he is still his own best salesman and I hope he does lots more of this. He was extremely convincing and fair-minded, acknowledging as valid concerns the high costs and the fact that some people distrust the idea of public option.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m not questioning the root causes of most of our ailments, Silas, only the fact that the present healthcare controversy had turned into nothing but a political issue.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Verily I say to Thee, it all comes down to one core issue — EDUCATION. The American public is too stupid to understand the ramifications of health care reform. They are buying into the hyperbole spewed from both sides of the aisle. Those with the most money and flashiest ad campaigns will win. We’re such an easy population to fool.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Another thing, Roger, people have to learn to alter their lifestyles. It’s not going to be easy but it has to be done. I refer to Wall-E and the humans on the ship. That’s America in the next 25 years.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You’re right, of course, but you can’t expect an immediate results overnight. Human ignorance has no limits, and we, Americans, excel. But what I’m saying, we’re dealing with a problem that far exceeds the particulars of this particular bill or that, be it healthcare, or stimulus package, or corporate bailouts. All these and the controversies surrounding them are but symptoms of disintegration in progress – of rearranging within the existing power structures, forming new alliances, things of that sort. That’s what I find fascinating.

  • zingzing

    “Given that I also linked to the entire article, that comment is, like most of what you post, bullshit.”

    take your fuck off pills, clavos. i read the entire article, and i think your editing was a hack job. and i had other points, like your treatment of the section on his teachers. but did you decide to respond to any of my questions? no, you didn’t, so you go figure out the definition of “bullshit” and stick it in your mouth. you’re worse than i am, and i’m just playing a character most of the time.

    “That, to me, is the real horror; people are not all alike, general guidelines will not take that into account. ”

    they’re already there! you live with this “horror” every day, and don’t even know it? (and i thought your wife was sick…) that’s the damn point. for fuck’s sake, clavos. you are such a damn crank.

    the point is that this bit of legislation was written by a republican, it’s pretty much the same that’s already out there and the only difference is that now YOU don’t have to pay for it, the government will. if you had actually read my comment, instead of immediately being a little bitch and calling it bullshit because of some faulty assumption of yours, you would’ve figured that out, but no… clavos had to get on his high horse and go around being an insulting little creep. you’re not always like this, but when you are, it’s fucking disgusting. now i’m going to walk away and hope you aren’t pmsing all over the place tomorrow.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    zing,

    Clavos has lots on his mind. We all need some slack from time to time.

  • zingzing

    oh, he’ll probably come back with some sort of thing about how i’m a misogynist or something ridiculous, and then i’ll tell him to go sit on the poop deck of his yacht, and he’ll come back with something, lalala. it’s all part of the game.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Good to know you two are enjoying it.

  • Bliffle

    Clavos:

    “139 – Clavos
    Aug 10, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    From NRO:”

    Now we know where the fount of Clavos’ wisdom is: a flagrantly rightist rag.

    A thug quoting thugs.

    I suppose other thugs like Dave, and that thug Cannonshop, and all the other BC thugs will come to his defense (as if any were possible for a thug like Clavos).

    Thugs thugs thugs. They’re all over the place!

  • Bliffle

    A “red herring” referred to the practice of dragging a rotten stinky dead fish (red from rot) across a trail to throw tracking dogs off.

    Jayzus, i’ve got to explain EVERYTHING to this BC kindergarten class!!!!

  • Clavos

    I copied the parts of the article I felt most applied to my point, but I also linked it — hack job your ass.

    and i had other points, like your treatment of the section on his teachers

    “Treatment?” What “treatment?” I freakin’ copy-and-pasted, it.

    they’re already there! you live with this “horror” every day, and don’t even know it? (and i thought your wife was sick…)

    She is. Because I have a gold-plated PRIVATE insurance policy, there are NO restrictions; they pay everything her docs come up with that Medicare refuses, which is plenty. In fact, Medicare stopped paying for hher present stay in the hospital two weeks ago; if it weren’t for that PRIVATE policy I’d be out of pocket the $500 a day room charges for the past 15 days.

    Which is exactly why I don’t trust the pols’ proposals,once it’s enacted we’ll see who’s right.

    the point is that this bit of legislation was written by a republican…

    I don’t care if it was written by Jesus Christ, bad ideas are bad ideas.

    the only difference is that now YOU don’t have to pay for it, the government will.

    Man, you’re dumber than I thought you were — the government doesn’t have any money, zing, it doesn’t “pay” shit, that’s OUR money, in my case more than $50K last year; the government GIVES NOTHING, we taxpayers do!

    There’s the real problem; as Franklin so wisely said, “When the people find they can vote themselves money; that will herald the end of the republic.”

    And we’re in those days.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    You’re right, of course, but you can’t expect an immediate results overnight.

    Why not, Roger? Obama is only in office 200 days and the American public is ready to remove him from office. Americans have no patience nor do they want to hear the word sacrifice. They want immediate results for everything except that which matters most. Education, Roger. It’s all about education.

  • Clavos

    Now we know where the fount of Clavos’ wisdom is: a flagrantly rightist rag.

    I’m a rightist, bliffle, I’m not about to quote from The Daily Worker.

    Apparently you’ve been unconscious for the last three years.

    Take your meds, bliffle, you’re slipping again.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Americans want immediate results, Silas, so long as somebody else does the doing. It’s never the case when the requisite changes have to be done by the person/s having those expectations. Human nature, I’d say.

  • Bliffle

    Clavos claims:

    “137 – Clavos
    Aug 10, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    I rebutted this, successfully, apparently, because you did not contest it, when you first brought this up.

    No you didn’t, bliffle.

    You did not present a rebuttal. All you did was give your negative opinion as to the veracity of my point, which does not constitute a rebuttal. ”

    I crushed your puny little argument like the insignificant bug that it is!

    I dare you to bring it forward again from your original statement along with the URL reference (I begrudge wasting extra time smashing that stupid argument you quoted from some rightist rag!) and I will demonstrate again how puny and weak is your ‘per capita’ argument (that you copied). It is as weak as your own lack of originality and research!

  • Clavos

    I crushed your puny little argument like the insignificant bug that it is!

    Empty rhetoric.

    Watch your blood pressure, old man.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Obama is only in office 200 days and the American public is ready to remove him from office.

    Half a dozen cranky guys on Blogcritics should not give you this false impression.

    The red-faced screamers at the town halls represent a tiny sliver of the population.

    But you know this, Silas. I think you just type whatever the hell pops into your head, without thinking much first.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I agree with Handy, Silas. Try to get a perspective. The desperation of the far right is but a symptom of imminent change, they grasping at straws. Don’t be caught up in hysteria.

  • Arch Conservative

    Well Handy according to the polls, most people oppose Obamacare.

    Wouldn’t you be happier sitting in some corner mumbling to yourself “hope and change?”

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    But you know this, Silas. I think you just type whatever the hell pops into your head, without thinking much first.

    So crucify me for being human. Bottom line is that Obama’s numbers are slipping. It’s got nothing to do with the planted protesters at Town Hall meetings nor does it have to do with hysteria. It has to do with America’s love affair with instant gratification. Prove to me that most Americans are ready, willing and able to sacrifice for the “common good” — you can’t because they won’t.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    And, by the way, it’s not a half dozen cranky guys on BC. I spoke with a news reporter yesterday as well as to a MA state representative. The reporter tells me that he’s hearing more negatives about Obama from folks at Harvard and MIT than not. Imagine that, even the reporter was surprised. And the state rep commented that perhaps McCain should have been elected, because the Democrats could have “neutralized” him from the git-go.

    Things keep going the way they are and Obama is headed for a Jimmy Carter redux. The only difference between the two is that Obama is less honest with us because he knows we’re “sensitive” and can’t handle the truth. Carter gave us cold, hard facts and we sent him back to Plains, Georgia. That’s America for you!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You’re perfectly right, Silas. Since you were ironic, you reinstated my faith in you.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    So what are you saying? That no matter who’d be in the White House, the fault lies with the American people? That we’re beyond redemption?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    We probably all place too much emphasis on polls, especially us ‘political junkies’ who tend to post in this section.

    That said, Obama’s Gallup poll number bounced back up 4 points last week, after drifting down. And the RealClearPolitics average of multiple polls is at 53% approval, 41% disapproval.

    And please revisit my comment #95 in this article, regarding Gallup’s analysis of their own and others’ polls on health care. A majority [a majority!] support several individual elements of the plan, including two that are very contentious on here: the “public option” plan, and taxing the wealthy to pay for health reform.

    When you ask if people think the president’s health plan is a good idea, without the specific elements mentioned, opinion breaks about 50-52% No, 40-45% yes, depending on the poll.

    Those are not exactly “Let’s dump him” numbers. People are understandably ambivalent about big changes and big spending. A good debate to have. Minus all the red-faced gasket-blowing.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    No, Roger, we’re not beyond redemption. We need to take a long, hard look at ourselves as a society and realize that we need to change some basics for our own well being. I’m not saying that we’ll be the generation to do it — in fact, I’d doubt we could. However, we can effect change by insuring this young generation receives a well rounded education that re-enforces the American ideals of entrepreneurship, personal responsibility and conception of how the “American dream” is defined.

    Again, we have become a society where instant gratification is what’s expected. During World War II, that wasn’t the case which is why we prevailed. Just consider one point, Roger. What if there were an invasion on our soil? What if hundreds of thousands were killed in the process? Are we ready as a people to defend our land? We we physically capable of doing so? The survivors of such an invasion would be the immigrants who came to this country to escape the tyranny and violence within their own. The first to perish? The white folk. I don’t think my supposition is far off the mark on this one.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    When unemployment starts to ease as the economy improves, those numbers will look even better.

    Ronald Reagan’s poll numbers drifted below 50% by the end of his first year, tied to bad unemployment numbers. The polls improved dramatically as employment returned.

    I began comparing Obama’s trajectory to Reagan’s last summer [I am not the only one]. He was viewed skeptically by many in the campaign, yet went on to a decisive victory. A nasty recession lingered, damaging his initial popularity. This eventually turned around.

    So he may be the left’s Reagan rather than another Carter. The economy will determine that for the most part.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Well, Handy, I find myself comparing Obama to Reagan more often than not. And I make no apologies for working to get Reagan elected in 1980 and 1984. I agree with you that Obama’s poll numbers will go up as unemployment subsides. That being said I am more concerned about the quality of the jobs that will emerge from this crisis. It’s one thing to flip burgers at McDonald’s – it’s quite another to be employed by a manufacturing company. This is the time for innovation and reignition of the flames of classic American entrepreneurship. We need people with vision and determinatiuon who still believe in the American ideal. The state rep I spoke of earlier told me yesterday that there are times I’m too idealistic. I asked him how is that bad? His answer was simple, yet eloquent. He replied, “it’s not bad, the problem is nobody is idealistic any more.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Silas. Forget about the past. The spirit is gone and it’s not going to return. The way we’ve handled this crisis and the way we’re still going about it, bickering among ourselves and all that – it’s a telling sign. We’ve had it.

    So yes, there will be a rejuvenation, but not with the old configuration in mind: more like a world community, global village, the NWO, whatever, but not America as you and I know it. It’s gone.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Roger, I don’t believe it. There remains those who still cling onto the American ideal. There are those, myself included, who believe that we can create a dialogue that will lead to political reform that includes education, health care and campaign finance.

    I referred to a discussion I had with a local print news reporter yesterday. We discussed a wide range of topics which included the fall of print media, divisive politics and public ignorance of their own system of government. This was an idealistic kid, fresh out of college a couple of years. He’s got that journalism fire in his belly and he wants to make his profession count for something. I’m encouraged by that and in that encouragement I urged him to go to the local high schools. I urged him to talk to kids who seem to share his passion and cultivate that talent. Remind them of Peter Zenger and what free press really means. Amazing to me, he agreed concerning education. He agreed there is a vacuum and more has to be done in primary schools to capture the spirits of our young.

    No, Roger, it’s not too late. The problem is that we’re too lazy to commit.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Sure, Silas. There are still some individuals like you and me. But that’s not the point anymore. It’s been dawning on me of late, and it had finally come to a peak. After 50 some years of loving this country, I don’t believe in it anymore. In a sense, it’s a feeling of relief and sadness. I don’t feel like I owe it any more allegiance, not to the old farts scared shitless and senseless, not the Wall Street sharks, not to anyone anymore who, for all their live, have thought only of themselves.

    So yes, I do say that we will carve out a new future, but it will no longer be the good old USA. And to tell you the truth, I’m glad because we don’t fucking deserve it. It’s time to concern ourselves with the world at large. Fuck our parochial ways and attitudes. The whole world is awaiting, and it, not this fucking country, is going to be my first concern.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Jon Stewart’s ever-useful TV clip library provided a great counterpoint to the current screaming matches: Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly, during Bush’s second term, tsk-tsking about the ‘rage’ of antiwar activists and ‘the left’ — and then comparing them to … Nazis, who ‘disrupted and intimidated’ public debate.

    Stewart sometimes provides just the humorous touch that clarifies the truth about an issue.

    Healther Skelter

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Roger, dear dear Roger. I wish it were that easy to just throw in the towel. My maternal g-g-g-grandfather came here from Northern Ireland in 1826 to escape persecution of Roman Catholics in Country Antrim. The woman who became his wife arrived here on July 3, 1826 to fireworks exploding in the New York skyline. The ship’s passengers were so frightened that they begged the captain of the ship to sail back to Liverpool. He explained that Americans were celebrating the 50th anniversary of their Independence.

    My paternal grandfather came here from Poland at a time when it wasn’t even on the map. The ship manifest states that he was from Russia and born in Austria. He came here because Russians had taken the family farmland and displaced native Poles and he wanted a place where he could raise his family in peace, run a business and achieve personal security.

    Those are just two of the many stories I’ve compiled about my ancestors in my genealogical research. I even have a copy of my g-g-grandfather’s military records while he served in the Civil War. I know what injuries he sustained and what his sentiments were at that time because I have a copy of a letter he wrote to his mother while he recovered from wounds received in the Battle of Antietam at Mansion House in Alexandria, Virginia.

    Were it not for those people, I wouldn’t have been blessed with all I have. I owe them something for that. They believed in this “dream” and while it was a different time and era, the root causes of why they came here are common. And those causes deserve to be celebrated, revered and protected. So, if I’m too idealistic, so be it. At least I don’t owe the memory of my ancestors an apology.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It ain’t easy, Silas. It’s been a fifty year love affair. I’ve finally realized it’s over and time to move on. Sorry, I don’t owe her allegiance anymore. Let the world be the stage and the people. The dream and the idea still live on. Only in a different form.

    I’d never suspected I’d ever say it. These thoughts were completely foreign to me only yesterday. Well, it’s done.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Is this the part where we queue Doris Day’s Que Sera, Sera?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Something like that. Later, friend.

  • Irene Wagner

    Hey, why not, Silas? The future is NOT ours to see. It makes me sad–and I think it annoys you, too– to see so many here discouraged about the future just because they can’t shame or intimidate enough people into becoming liberals, or “the proper” brand of Christian, or atheists, or conservatives, or to make aliyah just the way have. They can discuss and encourage, but comes a time when they have to be on their way for the rest of the day, to fulfill the responsibility THEMSELVES of being any of those things they want the others to become. It’s only sane to say, “que sera, sera” when dealing with what others decide to do. But to say, que sera sera about one’s own contribution to the future? That’s laziness or despair that needs medication or prayer or a kick in the butt to shift out of.

    Roger N, good for you for not wanting to be hyper-focused on America to the exclusion of all other needs in the world. But you have to start where you are! Little kids, even (or maybe especially) those who have trouble learning to read, or who don’t get enough attention at home EAT IT UP when a surrogate grandpa or grandma comes along with a book to read to them. There are so many lonely folks who feel useless before their time that could be matched with little kids like that. Maybe you could start a program to do that, Roger, in your town or county. The next generation of Americans can’t change the world if they can’t read, or haven’t had enough love poured into them to be able to pour it out to someone else.

    And because I’m me….this link is for the people who were discussing higher criticism of Genesis the other night. Some people are happy with the non-relationship they have with the non-God, and I don’t want to put you down except to say that there are others aren’t happy with that, or at least they’re not willing to let higher critics do all their thinking for them. Some higher critics have changed their minds about Genesis. When you read the Bible for YOURSELVES and wait long enough to hear the voice of God to YOU, you will see that God is good! He won’t tell you what the future is, or why He lets disasters happen, but He can lead you into what YOU’RE supposed to give to the future, what YOU are supposed to do about the suffering in the world.

    And that is all I have to say about that for now. Kick me if I show up here again before November. Say hi to Cindy for me, and tell her that it looks like the Feral Kitten will be a permanent fixture. Wishing similar cat blessings for her when her husband is ready for them!

  • http://www.fontcraft.com Dave Nalle

    Amusingly the latest news from the townhall protests is that the guy carrying a Obama/Hitler sign at the Dingell townhall two days ago turns out to have been a Dingell staffer. Classic agitprop.

    Dave

  • Bliffle

    So, who was the guy whose pistol fell on the floor?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Good comment, Irene. I haven’t given up on person-to-person involvement. That’s always more fundamental and basic than any other kind of allegiance. I don’t think, however, it’s the American people as such who will be the vanguard – a major obstacle, more likely. With or without them, it’s gonna happen.

  • Deano

    Dave,

    Not to be picky, but can you cite us a verifiable source for that?…classic agitprop y’know…

  • Bliffle

    Clavos #181:

    “I crushed your puny little argument like the insignificant bug that it is!

    Empty rhetoric.”

    Consider yourself warned:

    If your wimpy pencil-neck geek argument shows it’s ugly face around here again I’ll stomp on that ugly face with my Waffle-stompers and then I’ll nail it up on a tree and drill holes in it with my magna-ported .44 Magnum and then I’ll glue it to the bottom of my car tire and screech around mountain roads until it cries “Uncle!”. And then I’ll make it sign a statement that says: “Clavos is a doo-doo head”!

    Beware of my wrath!

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Deano, it turns out that the Obama/Hitler poster actually originates with far leftwingers who feel the current plan is too compromised and want a single-payer, entirely government run system. Details on the story can be found here.

    Dave

  • http://loftypremise.blogspot.com/2008/11/pardons-anyone.html Tommy Mack

    Dave,

    Palin is hot. Not.

    I would have thought that you might get over your election loss; but I am incorrect from time to time.

    But, SS? You must have Chevy in mind and I am the only one who got it.

    At the ’88 Vice Presidential debate in Omaha — Benston v. Quayle — I watched busses unload plackard-caring protestors in front of the Red Lion for each party. Those “hire-a-protest” folks have been around since before our country (not nation) began. Check out Sam Adams and the original “tea party”.

    Democrats having thugs is interesting. Republicans being bigots is the story.

    Let’s not forget the 500-pound gorilla in the living room: our President is a man of color.

    Palin is only hot to other white rubes (see Charles Krauthammer, NYT.) Fox News is an oxymoron.

    Tommy Mack

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    According to an article on The New Republic, the origin of the Obama/Hitler “I’ve Changed” sign is Lyndon LaRouche’s PAC.

    Maybe to Dave, LaRouche was/is a far lefty, but I think this story may be the correct one.

  • zingzing

    clavos: “”Treament?” “What treatment?””

    alright then, bullshit. whatever you want to call it. it’s a fallacy and you know it. you treated it with kid gloves even though you can see as well as anyone else that it doesn’t matter one twittle. arch will be the first to tell you that. if he ever gets into public office, would you go looking at his teachers? nope. shit, i was taught by some hardline right wingers back in the day.

    “Man, you’re dumber than I thought you were”

    lovely. the more you disagree with me these days, the better. i see you don’t disagree that you’re being a dick. so we can agree there. smart man. me too.

    “– the government doesn’t have any money, zing, it doesn’t “pay” shit, that’s OUR money, in my case more than $50K last year; the government GIVES NOTHING, we taxpayers do!”

    fine, use rhetoric if you must. still stands that you don’t have to pay for it, your government insurance does. you fuckin’ miss my point, or are you just acting like a total ass?

    “Because I have a gold-plated PRIVATE insurance policy,”

    ohh la la.

    “there are NO restrictions;”

    glad for you. (i am, really.) it doesn’t change the fact that the “horror” i was referring to is the same “horror” that (well, not) you (but others) have to deal with every day. you pay more than most others can afford. and these things exist. so that they would still exist (even if not in any form that you seem to believe they exist in) doesn’t change a damn thing. so it’s not like it’s new.

    where are we disconnecting here? it’s bright enough in here to see through your bullshit tactics, so i don’t know why you’re having such trouble.

  • Cannonshop

    210/211: Repeating yourself doesn’t make your point.

    Back on ‘track’ here, the SEIU’s behaviour reflects badly on those of us in Unions that actually WORK for a living.

    And Zing, Clavos’ health insurance sounds a lot like the Health plan that we get through…

    Our Union Negotiated Contract. Now, mind you, Obamacare means that the likely outcome is that we who have gone on strike will be stuck with NHS style and level of care if this passes. Why? Why wouldn’t an employer stand their ground instead of folding? once the bill is passed, my benefits become taxed, while the government plan isn’t. Puts people in private business out of work, increases the tax-load, craps on people who work for a living, all to service those who will not, but whose votes are guaranteed to the Party of Socialist Europhiles and Corrupt Chicago-style Politicians.

    Every time something fought for by Unions becomes ‘Universal’ it’s diluted to uselessness. Social Security is a perfect example of this, there are others, and the people who pay for these corrupt, crooked, waste-laden government jobs programmes are the same people who generally LOSE their benefits when Government tries to apply those benefits universally to those unwilling to put in the work to win them or earn them.

  • Bliffle

    Cannon, wrong again:

    “…Every time something fought for by Unions becomes ‘Universal’ it’s diluted to uselessness. Social Security is a perfect example of this,…”

    Not at all. SS is very useful. I get SS and I could easily live on SS alone if I had to.

  • Clavos

    Cannon,

    And Zing, Clavos’ health insurance sounds a lot like the Health plan that we get through…

    Our Union Negotiated Contract.

    Bingo. So’s mine (actually my wife’s — I’m self employed) her employer doesn’t pay the premiums, we do, but it’s the standard policy extended to all the employees, including the union ones, who belong to…

    the SEIU!.

  • Bliffle

    See, unions are good after all. They got you the gold-plated health insurance that, thanks to their negotiating power and the group effect of spreading the risk, allows you to pay only $11,000/year while reaping benefits of $72,000. You could never get that deal on your own.

    Ain’t socialism wonderful?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    No one on the right will believe it, but the NY Times opinion pages are a must read today.

    First, the lead editorial convincingly makes the case that most small businesses will actually benefit from the proposed health reform, because insurance will become much more affordable for them, and it’s better for companies to offer insurance than not to [it makes them more attractive to potential employees and they will generally have healthier employees].

    Second, Gail Collins’s nearly always wonderful column, which I will excerpt separately.

    But best of all, an op-ed written by 4 doctors. They set out to find communities in the US where health care costs are successfully being controlled [or which are making the best improvements]. They analyzed Medicare data and picked the following 10-best communities out of 306 ‘hospital referral’ regions nationwide.

    Asheville, N.C.
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    Everett, Wash.
    La Crosse, Wis.
    Portland, Me.
    Richmond, Va.
    Sacramento, Calif.
    Sayre, Pa.
    Temple, Tex.
    Tallahassee, Fla.

    It’s a really good, non-partisan article and I encourage everyone to take a look.

    One interesting factoid:

    Cedar Rapids decided to target unnecessary CAT scans when they found out that 52,000 scans were being done a year — in a community of 300,000 people.

    Sounds ridiculous. But guess what the nationwide figure is?

    62 million CAT scans a year for a population of 300 million.

    [By the way, CAT scans expose patients to 1000 times more radiation than a chest X-ray.]

    The authors conclude:
    “Many high-cost regions are just a few hours’ drive from a lower-cost, higher-quality region. And in the more efficient areas, neither the physicians nor the citizens reported feeling that care is ‘rationed.'”

    In other words, we can control cost without rationing care. Yes we can.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Gail Collins’s column today is entitled Gunning for Health Care. An excerpt:

    Thanks to the health care protests over the past week, the nation seems to have come to a fragile consensus on a few critical issues. For instance, government-run death panels: not good. And, Nazis: nobody likes them.

    Interestingly, we do not have any agreement at all on the question of whether it is a good plan to bring a gun to a gathering of angry and overwrought people. To be honest, I thought we might be able to nail this one down.

    But no.

    We are getting yet another series of reminders of the vast gun gap in this country. There is the part that thinks a room full of red-faced men and women screaming at one another is the worst place in the world to bring a firearm. And then there is the part that holds it is exactly the place where you need it most.

    She then proceeds to flay, amusingly and deservedly, William Kostric, the numbskull who stood outside Pres. Obama’s town hall meeting this week with a loaded pistol strapped to his thigh, and carrying a sign saying, “It Is Time to Water the Tree of Liberty.” [He subtly left out the implied “with the blood of patriots and tyrants,” via a much-beloved [by wingnuts] Thomas Jefferson quote.]

  • hm

    cannonshop: “210/211: Repeating yourself doesn’t make your point.”

    neither does taking a cheap shot. and that’s all that was.

  • Cannonshop

    #214 It’s not socialism, dude. Nobody’s holding a gun to hte members’ heads and compelling them to participate. At its root, Socialism requires force, and relies on the coercive power of government at both the recieving and delivering ends.

    Union membership is VOLUNTARY. Which is how and why it works. Socialism is COMPULSORY, which is how and why it’s even MORE corrupt than Unions. Your statement is very much like calling CORPORATIONS socialism.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Medicare, as the odious Dick Armey pointed out in a very revealing debate last night on PBS, is also compulsory.

    If you opt out, you have to give up your Social Security payments too. But he knows the truth: the only people who might possibly want to opt out of Medicare are people rich enough not to care about losing their Social Security money. [He claims that he himself is not wealthy enough to do so. Ha!]

  • Bliffle

    #219 explains why Cannonshop is so confused. He thinks socialism requires guns to the heads of citizens. Apparently, he’s never been to Europe, where socialism flourishes, is accepted by citizens (none of whom want to trade in their NHS for an American healthcare insurance system). I’ve been to Europe, and the only guns I’ve seen are in country houses where Dad keeps a rifle handy for shooting pests, like moles, and a shotgun for the occasional game bird. Never saw a government official hold a gun to the head of a citizen to get him to vote for a change in the NHS. they seem to do it voluntarily.

    And now I guess we can take Clavos and Cannonshop off the hate-unions list since they are receiving rewards from THEIR unions.

    Isn’t that always the way? Scratch a rabid pro-capitalist political screamer and you find a secret collectivist.

  • Clavos

    And now I guess we can take Clavos and Cannonshop off the hate-unions list since they are receiving rewards from THEIR unions.

    I can’t speak for Cannon, but I don’t have a union, and neither does my wife; lower-level employees (specifically the janitorial staff) are the union members at my wife’s employer, where before she became disabled, my wife was a manager.

    Isn’t that always the way? Scratch a rabid pro-capitalist political screamer and you find a secret collectivist.

    I am not now, nor have I ever been, a collectivist; secret or not.

  • Mar k

    I am not now, nor have I ever been, a collectivist; secret or not.

    But isn’t the concept of insurance fundamentally collectivist – an alternative to taxation – another method of pooling and transferring wealth?

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    tickle?

    Clav?

  • Cannonshop

    #221 Bliffle, government power is, by its inherent nature, a gun to your head. Try opting out of Social Security and still having a job-it isn’t going to happen, and if you refuse to pay the vig, and you refuse strongly enough, you WILL be killed for it.

    Same thing with any tax-funded institution. Socialism is government control of the means of production and distribution. Government relies on the monopoly on lethal force to maintain its authority and power, therefore, Socialism IS a gun to your head. I can opt-out of a Union,even in a closed shop state like Washington (I just have to donate the dues-equivalent to an approved non-profit here.)

    I can NOT opt out of ‘services’ government desires to tax me for. This is coercive by its very nature, it is non-voluntary, backed by the threat of Lethal Force-and there are quite a FEW examples of this in practice already.

    Government is a dangerous tool-and like any dangerous tool, it can be Over-used, and like any tool, it can be mis-used-and frequently IS mis-used. The more things you try to make it do, the more likely mis-use and abuse are to occur, and the less useful a tool it really is. It’s like adding features to your OS without upgrading the hardware (think running Widows Vista on a 286, or better yet, a Commodore 64.)

    We put Bernie Maddoff in prison for doing what Social Security’s done for the last forty years. The reason is that Bernie Maddoff can’t shoot people who refuse to play by his rules.

  • Cannonshop

    #223 I can fire my insurer. I can find another one, if I can find the capital, I can go into the business. It’s Voluntary, Mark. If your Insurance company tries to jack your rates for no reason, you can dump/drop them and get someone else, you can even choose to (*gasp!!*) go without them if you have to.

    It’s ‘collective’ between willing participants, and you have this rule-book that is your policy, that tells you what it will, and won’t, pay for (and how much), and if it’s not what you need, or you can negotiate a better deal, you can change providers.

    Nobody is going to shoot you or put you in jail for changing insurance companies, or going without.

    Try that with Government sometime.

    It’s a difference between a collective one voluntarily joins and contributes to in exchange for defined benefits, that one can leave voluntarily, and a collective that will kill you if you try leaving.

    There’s a BIG difference there.

  • Cannonshop

    As for the “Hate Unions” thing…

    I’m a union member-not only that, but I’m a PROUD member of my union. MY union-the one I’m a member of voluntarily.

    I’m in FAVOUR of unions, particularly with the proliferation of Corporations in business (as opposed to sole proprieterships). This doesn’t mean I “Like” ALL unions-there are several that are quite corrupt, and others that no longer represent their members as much as they act as a fund-raising arm for a Political Party.

    I don’t care for those. I’d as soon see them forced out-but only by the VOLUNTARY actions of their members-any other way is just wrong.

    I believe in Unions, and I believe in the Beck Decision. They help maintain a balance that allows complex systems to function, and provide a hedge against abusive middle-managers and other bureaucratic parasites in corporations. Unfortunately, when you get out of the private sector into the Public Sector, they lose their basic utility and become the parasites themselves.

    SEIU is a perfect example of this.

    IMHO, Union-Membership should be the mark of the Citizenry who are NOT on the public payroll. Civil Servants should not be allowed to form or join unions-after all, they’re the same people tasked with regulating them-a bit of fox watching henhouse, made worse by the tendency for their economic priorities to be reverse of the rest of us-when the private sector does poorly, government expands. (it expands anyway, but it seems to want to grow MORE when times are hard for the rest of us.) A little job insecurity would do many of our so-called public servants some good=or at least, do us who AREN’T public Servants some good, since they’d be a bit less inclined to lord it over the folks who aren’t big wheels in “the Party” in favour of not losing their jobs due to poor performance.

  • Bliffle

    OK, so that whole “gun to the head” thing was just a metaphor. I get it.

    What do you call it when the insurance company tells you “the price is what the price is”, i.e., they all charge the same. What’s the metaphor?

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Dr Dread.. a follow up to Sister Mary Ronald! I received an email from her today. We’re going to maintain a dialog! I am thrilled to reconnect with her after almost 40 years. The fact that she is even alive is miraculous except for the fact that’s she’s only 70-ish. Anyway, she was grateful and humbled by the thanks I gave her. It was nice to come full circle with her and I have you, Doc, to thank.

  • Cannonshop

    #228 Keep Looking. (On the other hand, if you can prove that there’s price-fixing involved, take it to the Justice department-there ARE anti-Trust laws, and if there were more sincere pressure to see those enforced…)

    But seriously, if one company gives you a price, move on until you can either establish that it’s the “Real” price of the service you’re looking for, or down-grade until you can afford what’s available. Even Insurance isn’t a one-price-store model.

    Under our current situation, if you truly can’t find something that matches your means and your actual needs, THEN, and ONLY then, should you consider a “Public” option (which we have several if you include state-level systems). Public option will NEVER go completely away-it may change how it’s done, but it will never depart entirely from these shores, there’s too many ‘entitled’ people who also vote.

    For that matter, even BEFORE all the current entitlements existed, there were charity options out there that serviced (and in some cases, STILL service) the destitute. Government should not be a Charity institution-it should ENCOURAGE charity institutions, maybe even regulate/inspect/possibly assist them from time to time…

    but if you’re trying to get something for less than it’s actual worth, and you’re using Government to get it for you, well…

    Sorry, I can not, and never will, support what is at its base robbery through deceit, backed with armed force.

    The MORE providers you have, the Lower the consumer price (barring price-fixing legislation), and in general, the higher the quality of the goods or services AT that lower price. It’s called competition, and competition is wonderful stuff. The FEWER your providers for a given service or product, the HIGHER the prices are going to be, and the lower the quality of the goods or services. That is called many names, I think of it as “Monopolism” even when there are more than one-“Limited Monopoly”, let’s say.

    In my opinion, the single best way to ‘solve’ this current mess, is to break up the super-companies with interstate or international clout using Trust-Busting, and that’s not something EITHER party’s willing to do-because BOTH political parties find fewer providers to be easier to use as levers for control of the populace-Folk like yourself just want to take it one step further, and make it all “Government Inc.”, which translates in real terms to non-answerable, non-threatenable, absolutes of power and control into the hands of those neither elected by the people (let’s face it-elected officials are largely chosen like contestants on “Star Search” or “American Idol”_pretty and sounds good beats both knowledge, and experience in the voting booth-esp. on the National level), it’s the guys who Sit in Middle management with unassailable job-security and no competent oversight, regulating things they know nothing about. (a bit like…corporate middle-management parasites-the problems of Big Business and Big Government are the SAME, the lack of solutions or accountability are equally the same-though Government Parasites have a taxpayer-supplied cushion and pretty much have to kill someone while raping them to get fired.)

    On the whole, Democrat or Republican, the same behaviours and the same abuses are a constant (or have been, at least, for as long as I’ve been alive), granting them MORE things to mishandle is ridiculous, in my opinion. The civil-service doesn’t enforce the laws that exist (if they did, there wouldn’t have BEEN the superbanks to help collapse the economy, nor would we the taxpayers now own part of General Motors and Chrysler).

    We also wouldn’t be staring down the level of National Debt (not just deficit) we are today, if not for how “Wisely” our Congresscritters and the agencies they fund spent OUR (we the Taxpayers’) money.

    Past results mirror future performance, especially in large systems of complex bureaucratic largesse. Social Security totters on (at least until 2012) in spite of being run in the style of Bernie Madoff by congresses both Democrat and Republican. “Waste” figures put out by the government (you know, the same folks who’re supposedly responsible for it) often slice off data that is commonly applied in Private INdustry, in order to cook the books to look better than they really are, and I’ve WORKED for a Contractor on a federal project, seen the corners-cutting and the winked-at on-site fraud, Bliffle. IT’s systemic, it’s common, it’s ignored.

    Before Government can credibly reform Health Care, Government needs to credibly reform ITSELF-which isn’t going to happen until the tap of free money is turned off and the People stop electing leaders based on the criteria for American Idol.

  • Bliffle

    Cannonshop is living in a dreamworld.

    He counsels us to find a lower cost insurance company, but your employer makes that decision.

    He counsels us to enforce anti-trust and price-fixing laws, but the insurance companies are specifically exempted from that by the 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act. Anyway, the Bush regime progressively cut the JD anti-trust budget. What was the last big anti-trust case you’ve heard of?

    It can hardly be doubted that insurance is a monopoly (perhaps prettified as an ‘oligopoly’). A small businessman I know was shopping for health insurance for his 20 employees, the first company he called gave him a price, and when he went to others they gave him the same price. When he queried that, an insurer told him simply: “the price is the price”. It’s ‘industry standard’. That’s the way it is.

  • Cannonshop

    #231 (a)Bliffle, I’m presuming you’re unemployed, since you’ve mentioned drawing SSI before.

    (b) I said we “Should”, I’d never go so far as to think (even in a fevered fantasy) that McCarron-Ferguson would be repealed, or that anti-trust would be anything OTHER than a convenient Political Football (as demonstrated in the Microsoft Prosecutions).

    (c) The price is…the price. How it comes about can be traced to…well, you mentioned it already, however I don’t see your lot (Democrats) doing what actually needs to be done, since doing so would put paid to fantasies of socializing the system with universal support-it’s better for those seeking to expand governments role for things to persist in the direction they’ve gone, Oligopolist/Monopolistic practices and all.

    (thus, why the solution may be clear, it will NOT happen)

  • Bliffle

    Cannonshop makes two mistakes in one short missive:

    -I’m not ‘unemployed’, in fact I’m heavily employed pursuing various pleasures at the moment, such as sitting on my deck overlooking the valley, having a breakfast of yogurt and fresh blueberries, listening to commercial-free radio, warming in the rising morning sun. I have my fishing pole at the ready, in case a vagrant bass should come by, it being 1/2 mile to the lake. I’m sipping a small glass of Prosecco to cleanse my palate after my morning cup of coffee. I’m contemplating my morning duties, gathering my initiative to actually do them, water the basil, change 4 sparkplugs in my mountain sportscar so I can drive swiftly down the mountain to town for a couple of errands. But before the sun gets too high I must take a bicycle ride on the few miles of paved road hereabouts. You see, I AM heavily employed.

    -I’m not and never have been a democrat. I was a republican for many years, and as a YR and YAF, etc., during the 60s and 70s contributed to the resurgance of the republican party and the candidacy of Goldwater. But the party left me, and I didn’t chase it, so now I’m non-partisan.

    I consider myself a conservative (never drew a government check, nor welfare, spent half my working life in big corps and half doing startups and consulting).

    My interest in health insurance reform is to save American business from being entirely consumed by rogue monopoly insurance companies holding healthcare hostage.

    Seems like a worthy goal that any self-styled conservative would support.Don’t you agree?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Great tale, Blffle. If only more conservatives were like you, the world would be a better place.