On "Astroturf", Town Halls, "Thugocracy", and Hypocrisy

I have a very low tolerance for intimidation or violence, so Genghis’ post on the Town Hall protests is appreciated. However, as a Republican, I think these people, my party, and protest in general are getting a bum rap in this instance, based primarily on whose ox is being gored. Let me explain how, in several ways.

First, to act as is this is a Republican movement is silly. The national Republican Party cannot get out of its own way, never mind strategize and execute an effective, nationwide grass-roots movement.  If they were this sophisticated at mass-motivation, the last two elections may have had different endings. But they aren’t. These events seem to be locally organized, and ignited by legitimate grass-roots passion, not what Nancy Pelosi called “Astroturf.”

As for the actors, it seems to me a lot of these protesters are independents who became a bit sore after President Obama – who promised to be a different kind of Democrat, not a tax and spender, and opposed to deficits, proceeded to double the projected annual deficit within one month of taking office. That’ll make people feel that have been had. Since Obama does not do too many local visits, these swing voters are taking their complaints to the audience they can find — their local representative.

Third, the whole point of August recess is to allow Congress to discuss pending legislation with their constituents. It is far better that these representatives know how people feel about a major pending bill — such as the health care overhaul, or as Chris notes, the 2003 Iraq War vote — BEFORE the vote takes place, not thereafter. So I think that voters going to Town Halls and letting their reps know how they feel about health care is a very solid piece of citizenship. Goo-goos are always telling people to get involved, go to meetings, write letters. But now a group of voters is making their opinion felt, both on passed bills (the Bailouts), and on pending legislation (health care), and suddenly they are a bunch of thugs. This strikes me as cherry-picking. I.E., “Its good for democracy if you show up to protest legislation I DON’T LIKE — such as authorizing the Iraq War — but bad for democracy if you oppose one of my pet legislative goals, which is universal health care.”

In short, if this is a debate, the representatives should welcome the opposition, and try to counter it, rather than hiding out and/or blaming the protesters for not playing by the Marquess of Queensberry rules.

As for why they are angry about health care reform, it is probably not any particular passage in the various bills, but rather the similarity between the extreme haste demanded by Obama to push through the Stimulus, and the resultant disappointment, which reminds these voters of what has been inarguably a rush to pass this fast, fast, fast. It’s a big chunk of the economy, and has to do with people’s most important and intimate choices, and I think these people feel it is being rushed, and that maybe that is dangerous. Plus, experience shows that every health care plan, from Medicare to the Massachusetts universal plan, overruns cost, and after the massive deficits of this year, more deficit spending is simply anathema. Deficits lead to more taxes. What we are seeing is the middle class fearing higher taxes, especially after both Geithner and Axelrod admitted that general tax increases cannot be ruled out.  Ergo, passion. Lots of it.

Again, if this a debate, let’s debate. If it is a fait accompli, then pass it, and don’t seek cover by calling your opponents names. And as for “all of us being patriots,” it’s true. Chris, you didn’t like it when you were protesting Iraq and some called you un-American. I wouldn’t either, and I would never say that, as I admire people who take the time to express their views peacefully. I think what you did was patriotic. And while I have not been to any of these Town Hall meetings (the Tea Parties were a separate phenomenon), I am equally proud of these voters for letting their reps and the rest of the country know how they feel. And by the way, recent polls show they are on the side of the majority, as a plurality now oppose Obama-care. It’s not a fringe. It’s a bunch of angry voters, and I recommend the reps take note, or else find out that 1994 was not an isolated electoral event.

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76 responses to “On "Astroturf", Town Halls, "Thugocracy", and Hypocrisy

  1. And Mary Katharine Hamm debunked the “organizing myth” of CT’s Bob MacDuffie.

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2009/08/think_progress_msnbc_manufactu.asp

  2. Bruce Rubenstein

    Vincent….I understand that you as a Republican want to distance the party from these nuts but the fact remains that many Republicans spoke at these events and incited the crowds…..they also gave ” the birthers” some cover by questioning Obama’s birth…even to this day.

  3. Nice post,Vincent.

  4. And why isn’t the attack by SEIU Union thugs on a jobless Black American not news as Andrew Breitbart points out…

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/aug/10/i-am-kenneth-gladney/?feat=home_headlines&

    “Last week, a black gentleman named Kenneth Gladney went to a town-hall meeting hosted by Rep. Russ Carnahan, Missouri Democrat. While passing out “Don’t Tread on Me” flags, he was viciously attacked by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) members. One called him a “nigger.”

    These union thugs were directed by the White House to go to the protests and “punch back twice as hard.” And they did.

    While the attack was captured on video and is available on YouTube, Mr. Gladney’s horrifying story is absent from MSNBC’s 24/7 media cycle. Mr. Krugman has yet to write about it. And Mr. Cooper has yet to condemn the attack. “

  5. Vincent….I understand that you as a Republican want to distance the party from these nuts but the fact remains that many Republicans spoke at these events and incited the crowds…..they also gave ” the birthers” some cover by questioning Obama’s birth…even to this day.

    Bruce, I have no qualms distancing myself from the nuts aka “birthers” that claim Obama is not an American citizen. Are you as a Democrat willing to distance yourself from the 61% of the Democrat nuts that either believe or question if President Bush knew about the 9-11 attacks in advance?

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/brent-baker/2009/08/04/flashback-35-democrats-think-bush-knew-9-11-attacks-advance

  6. In short, if this is a debate, the representatives should welcome the opposition, and try to counter it, rather than hiding out and/or blaming the protesters for not playing by the Marquess of Queensberry rules.

    Yeah, really, Democratic Reps should “welcome” the multiple right-wing death threats, Republican activists bringing guns to town hall meetings, Republican protesters using nazi imagery and hanging Democrats in effigy, Republicans rioting to shut down debate, and Republican activists telling them to commit suicide, all of it ramped up, amplified, and condoned by conservative radio hosts and Republican party officials.

  7. SouthernWreck

    While the attack was captured on video and is available on YouTube, Mr. Gladney’s horrifying story is absent from MSNBC’s 24/7 media cycle. Mr. Krugman has yet to write about it. And Mr. Cooper has yet to condemn the attack. “

    Jeez, get the fainting couch! Fear and trembling. The video is completely inconclusive – seconds after he got up from the sidewalk, he started haranguing the crowd, and as to who hit who, no way of knowing from the video.

    The unreal irony is now the guy is in a wheelchair, who knows why, cameras and his fifteen minutes maybe, but he’s unemployed and now soliciting donations for his medical care bills BECAUSE HE HAS NO HEALTH INSURANCE! This is insane. He has no role to play other than as a consumer in the system. It makes no sense, just like the fat guy regaling Dodd and Murphy – a ticking time bomb of health care expenditures.

    Horrifying!

  8. AndersonScooper

    Vincent, the Tea Baggers are definitely a political movement. On Tax Day they turned out over 5,000 nutmeggers to their events, including visits from Rob Simmons and Peter Schiff.

    Further, for you to suggest that the ‘Baggers aren’t hard-core Republicans is completely naive. I recommend that you attend one or more of their events, and see for yourself. If so you’ll find that they are motivated by a hatred of Obama, and that collectively they possess a level of angst and paranoia that has barely been reported. (a little old lady swore to me that the government wanted to euthanize her!)

    Finally, I can’t believe you are proud of the Jim Bancroft’s of the world and their bullying tactics. But if that’s what you want as the face of the CT GOP, so be it.

  9. Why not cut right to the chase her? Set the BS aside for a moment.

    A lot of Americans (but not nearly enough to win a national election) will never get over the fact Barack Obama was elected. They will fight to the death WHATEVER he proposes. Health care, environment, economy, war, peace – makes absolutely no difference. They are pissed and they are embarrassed to have lost and they have no ability to understand their own anger. They are pretty much unreachable. Facts, truths, right and wrong, decency, reality – all are useless with them.

    Thus, they are easily manipulated (as they are being manipulated now) by a tiny, much wealthier minority of Americans who have made millions and billions of dollars in unregulated and lightly regulated markets (at the unfortunate expense of the remaining 99 percent of us). Health insurance, with its ridiculous profit margins (and failing products/services), is one of this minority’s favorite money-taps. Touch it ever-so-lightly (say, to try to extend coverage to 47 million uninsured Americans) and they scream murder. But they scream in private. They direct their bought/owned Senators and Representatives and media outlets to do the loudest braying for them. Here are your marching orders, Joe. Stick with the script, Rush.

    But let’s not forget the deepest undercurrent that the wealthy minority is using to whip up the vulnerable: good-old American-style racism. How dare a black man threaten the “American Way!” Look at him – he’s African, NOT American. Here – I’ve got the faked birth certificate to prove it! It’s all been a horrific nightmare. We WILL replace the liberal black demon with one of us. Then America will return to the way we remember it (White Father’s Knows Best, right?). Why, the black man even had the b-lls to put an uppity brown woman on our highest court! The temerity! The vulgarity! Next thing you know, he’ll have (married!) GAYS running around in the White Man’s House!

    Manipulate, spread hate. Divide, conquer every market.

    That’s the real show here. That’s why it’s so hard to see. And even harder to admit.

  10. Vincent, don’t even bother. They’re trying to get into your head and make this issue more about how crazy people are for not wanting “free” health care from the government, and by doing so, they’re obfuscating the issue.

    iBlog, you’ll never believe this, because it’s easier for you to think I’m a racist, a hater, a divider, and all of the above, but this is a true statement: I have absolutely nothing wrong with Barack Obama, as a person. He grew up without a father, he faced at least a modicum of racial tension while he was growing up, he dabbled in drugs and yet he still rose up to graduate from two Ivy League schools and get himself elected state Senator, U.S. Senator and President. He made $2.7 million last year, all of it coming from his own personal talents (a.k.a. “The American Dream”). By all accounts, he is a very good father, too. He deserves respect for all of these things.

    I have a problem with is what he’s doing to the country. From buying car companies and handing them to unions, to kicking the economy in the groin with this “cap-and-trade” nonsense, to handing out $4,500 checks for people to trash perfectly good automobiles, to ignoring ethical rules and standards for his own Cabinet members, to passing a wasteful and unnecessary “stimulus” package (“we must pass this now or unemployment will reach 8%!”) and then having the balls to claim that there’s no earmarks or wasteful spending in it, to blaming George Bush for the economy’s troubles when he voted in favor of every single stupid economic decision that Bush made as President, to saying that a policeman “acted stupidly” without knowing the facts… well, the list goes on and on and on.

    I have a serious problem, however, with your implication that I am being manipulated by anyone, or that those (including myself) who opposes Obama’s sterling track record (and I mean that with every available ounce of facetiousness) MUST be a racist. You’re not simply playing “the” race card — you’re opening a box and playing 52-pick-up. You — yes, you — are trying to stifle argument and free speech, under a blanket of supposed “racism,” when the behavior you’re denouncing comes straight out of the Democrats’ playbook for the last decade. By the way, ask Tom Tancredo what it’s like to get violently tossed out of an assembly. (But I thought liberals didn’t do such a thing?)

    Are there racists who oppose single-payer health care, gift-wrapping car companies for unions and “cars for clunkers”? Sure, a very, very small percentage. But there are racists who want government health care, there are racists who want to bail out car companies, there are racists who got $4,500 off of a car purchase for (literally) no good reason, and there are racists who voted for Barack Obama: a very small percentage. That’s not the point.

    Our government is making far too many stupid decisions, one after another, and people have every right to be angry about it. Why are people trying to stop what Obama is doing? Because they don’t like it, and that’s the point, so take down your “racism” banner and give it back to Robert Byrd or George Wallace.

  11. SouthernWreck

    iB:

    Nicely said. Now wait for the onslaught from Puf and Goat and Dobb – the conservo-rationalists here who will, as you get so well, never get it.

    The adjectives will be ‘stupid’, ‘mindless’, etc. – and there will be a Pelosi or Kennedy jab therein.

    So, it turns out that the bully is more on the dole than any of us healthy folks here will probably ever be. A vet who exemplifies that anger you limned so well, and yet who perhaps has conditions that require support that would cost in excess of a thousand or more a month, if purchased from AnthemWellpointAetna. Gladney – “send me money for health insurance premiums”!

    “On disability”, “unemployed”, “uninsured”, and just part of this huge segment of the working class (Gladney, et al.) that are a drain on the system (emergency rooms for primary care), and drive the costs up because they have no reliable source of quality care.

    But a great summary of the real motivating forces, and the political backdrop – said it all more succinctly than I.

  12. Thus, they are easily manipulated (as they are being manipulated now) by a tiny, much wealthier minority of Americans who have made millions and billions of dollars in unregulated and lightly regulated markets (at the unfortunate expense of the remaining 99 percent of us). Health insurance, with its ridiculous profit margins (and failing products/services), is one of this minority’s favorite money-taps. Touch it ever-so-lightly (say, to try to extend coverage to 47 million uninsured Americans) and they scream murder. But they scream in private. They direct their bought/owned Senators and Representatives and media outlets to do the loudest braying for them. Here are your marching orders, Joe. Stick with the script, Rush.

    Just because you think that health insurance has “ridiculous” profit margins doesn’t make it so. Here are the EBITDA (Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) margins of various insurance companies:

    Aetna: 8.02%
    Cigna: 6.02%
    Coventry: 4.28%
    Health Net: 2.60%
    Healthspring: 9.16%
    Humana: 5.32%
    Molina: 3.60%
    UnitedHealth: 9.74%
    WellPoint: 6.88%

    So, what exactly do you think is “ridiculous” about the profit margins above. Bear in mind that the above don’t include depreciation, nor do they include interest or taxes. And not a single company has an EBITDA margin in excess of 10%.

    So what about some other companies out there:

    Apple: 21.76%
    Dell: 6.57%
    Disney: 20.04%
    ExxonMobil: 16.49%
    Ford: 3.85% (yeah, sucks to be a car company now)
    Microsoft: 39.82%
    Starbucks: 12.56%
    Target: 9.43%

    So what exactly is so ridiculous about the health insurance companies’ profit margins? They are all under 10%. That’s damned low for EBITDA! Seriously, had you ever seen actual numbers about health insurance profits before? Or do you just assume that since a company is big, it must have massive profits?

  13. But let’s not forget the deepest undercurrent that the wealthy minority is using to whip up the vulnerable: good-old American-style racism. How dare a black man threaten the “American Way!” Look at him – he’s African, NOT American. Here – I’ve got the faked birth certificate to prove it! It’s all been a horrific nightmare. We WILL replace the liberal black demon with one of us. Then America will return to the way we remember it (White Father’s Knows Best, right?). Why, the black man even had the b-lls to put an uppity brown woman on our highest court! The temerity! The vulgarity! Next thing you know, he’ll have (married!) GAYS running around in the White Man’s House!

    You can be against Obama’s policies and not be racist.

  14. Bruce, I have no qualms distancing myself from the nuts aka “birthers” that claim Obama is not an American citizen. Are you as a Democrat willing to distance yourself from the 61% of the Democrat nuts that either believe or question if President Bush knew about the 9-11 attacks in advance?

    Hi Puffy,

    Someone believes that George Dubya actually knew something, in advance?

  15. Hey iBlog,

    You could not be more off point. Your ranting is exact liberal elitism that is ruining this country. Because you are a self proclaimed “enlightened soul” you fail to believe that any one person could have an opinion that differs from your own. Have you ever thought that these people that are expressing their opinion just hold the belief that government intervention is not the answer to whatever is perceived to be the “problem” with America. Did you have such an issue with (and I’m guessing you did not) the protesting of the US invasion of Iraq? On the surface you are dealing with the same thing, the protesting of policy. Why is it o.k. for a number of citizens to savagely attack a sitting member of Congress on his vote to go to war yet a different group can not oppose the intervention of government into the management of one’s well-being? Only because you and you alone deem one cause more worthy than the other?

    I also have a problem with your generilization that Republicans opposed the most recent Supreme Court justice because of her color and ethnicity. That only shows that you yourself have a bias. Personally (and I am not alone) I have an issue with ANY judge, black, white, purple, man, woman or dog who believes that the duty of a justice is to legislate. The courts duties are to interptret the laws as they are written by legislators, that is the fundamental basis of the three tiered governement. When an individual does not understand the job in which they are applying, they might not be the best applicant. Does that make me a bigot?

  16. AndersonScooper

    I still can’t believe Rob Simmons and Peter Schiff would hang out with the screaming, paranoid Tea Baggers.

    To their credit, Sam Caligiuri and Tom Foley have kept away.

  17. Amazing to believe that if an adult citizen who feels that a gradual take over of health care and making choices for citizens by committee is against their wishes and they strongly protest (discount the few who go over the edge with threats on either side) must be racially motivated is crazy.

    Yes, President Obama won. He is a well educated (albeit liberally educated), political person and is trying to run the country as he sees fit. I can disagree without being upset about race.

    I have a problem with the new Supreme Court justice because she has said, and shown through her work, that she feels she should put her thumb on the scales of justice to assist those who she believes have to be given extra credit in the eyes of the system. I don’t care what ethnicity or what color. Justice must be blind.

  18. I still can’t believe Rob Simmons and Peter Schiff would hang out with the screaming, paranoid Tea Baggers.

    Your fascination with tea bagging (you mention it in like every third post, out of blue) is intriquing….

    Just saying…

  19. I have several problems about this whole mess. First it’s utter nonsense, two groups arguing over different aspects. I do believe there is a fear among some people that don’t want to see the boat shaken too far in this debate and their concerns are appropriate and deserve attention. Their fear is of medical care on their personal level will somehow change, whereas those that wish for Universal Healthcare Coverage want to change the insurance side of it and not really the delivery mechanisms (that’s not the point).

    A lot of people are worried about the deficit and debt. This bothers me on two fronts, first of all this whole National Insurance programme is a chance to stop a major clip of projected costs, and two the biggest part of the change of debt levels is not the cost of infrastructure of the “stimulus” (which actually helped, the tax-cuts were an utter waste of money) but the actualised cost of the Iraq War which finally got put on the books. Don’t forget, only a fraction of the Stimulus money has been spent and much of it likely won’t. The real problem WILL be cost of Medicare and Medicaid coming up if no action is taken.

    Also, the complainers are a vast minority with 72% of Americans in major polls supporting at least a Public Option.

    As well, I’m getting sick of the quasi-conservatives obsession with taxation being the only deterrent to business. I find it hard to believe these people have everrrrr tried to run a business, been around upper-management business decisions, and many times I’d be surprised if they even work at all. There are a lot of factors that make business successful, and it is tough, but taxes rarely are the culprit. Now, if we had excessive graft I’d agree taxes are an issue, but now they just simply aren’t.

    And now I’m not quite smart, I never heard of that EBITDA before and the reason I found out that that number and $1.75 gets you a small coffee it seems.

    ~Cheers

  20. AndersonScooper

    Dude, ur dead on correct. I should be much more interested in Bernier, Daly, Novak, Gregory, Merkle, etc.

    I expect HUGE victories for the CT GOP. (or not!)

    As to my fascination with the Tea Baggers, , it’s like trying to turn away from a train wreck…

  21. I love that I ask people to defend their plan in open debate, and avoid name-calling, and they turn around and call the protesters stupid racists. This is the new Democrat default debate tactic — we know better, we have a large majority, so shut up or we will accuse you of malfeasance.

    In this case, iBlog says that all those showing up at the Town Halls are racists. That is a perfect example of trying to change the subjest with a vile accusation, in the hopes of muzzling the opposition — predictable, and the opposite of what I pleaded for. Is it the Republicans or the Democrats who are resorting to the uglier tactics here?

    I still believe that many of these people across the country are swing voters who voted for Obama and now feel duped. As such, it would be hard for them to also be racists who will never accept a black President. But I have no data for that, it is sinply a hunch.

    As for myself, I liked Barack Obama’s books, and had hopes after his election that he would govern as a moderate. Those were shattered pretty quickly, and I do in fact oppose the various health care plans, which he has been especially careless in NOT shepherding through the various committees, adding to the chaotic nature of this entire affair.

    So keep on calling us racists, easily led, stupid, fringe, tagging us with sexual nicknames, and so on. And keep on missing the point of what these people’s self-generated passion and organization really means. Because what it means is a visual representation of the poll results — that the middle class swing voter is gradually rejecting the Administration’s plans.

  22. Beeker your comment:

    “I find it hard to believe these people have everrrrr tried to run a business, been around upper-management business decisions, and many times I’d be surprised if they even work at all. There are a lot of factors that make business successful, and it is tough, but taxes rarely are the culprit. Now, if we had excessive graft I’d agree taxes are an issue, but now they just simply aren’t.
    And now I’m not quite smart, I never heard of that EBITDA before and the reason I found out that that number and $1.75 gets you a small coffee it seems.”

    You say that you have made business decisions with upper management yet have never heard the term EBITDA from gmr’s post #12 before?? Simply put it is a very widely used accounting tool used to help provide a clearer view of just how well a company is doing……… You can Google it’s exact definition if you wish to know more.

    I don’t know exactly what kind of upper level business decisions you were making while never having heard of this term before but I suspect far too many members of Congress, as well as far too many from the left may suffer under the same lack of basic financial knowledge as well.

    What I find interesting is you ask if those people ( from the right) protesting their concerns have ever run a business before? I would ask you to wonder when if ever just how many lifetime politicians we here in CT keep sending to Washington last held a job outside of public service? I wonder just how many of them ever ran a business or like you never heard of EBITDA as well?

    If business knowledge in your eyes is needed to lend credence to someone’s concerns, would it not make sense it should be a requirement for someone voting on these issues in Congress?

  23. So what is in this healthcare plan that is so great? Instead of harping about people providing misinformation maybe telling the people what is actually in it will help the Obamaplan cause. So now that there is no one to interrupt, why don’t one of you supporters of this plan give details about it and tell me why I shouldn’t be worried. Here’s your opportunity…let’s here it!!!!

  24. I still believe that many of these people across the country are swing voters who voted for Obama and now feel duped. As such, it would be hard for them to also be racists who will never accept a black President. But I have no data for that, it is sinply a hunch.

    Forget silly things like “data” or evidence, you don’t even have any anecdotes to back that up.

    And yet now you’re drawing conclusions from your unsubstantiated, unsupported hunch?

    This right-wing’s entire argument in this “debate” has taken the form of a self-reinforcing and inciteful “death panel” for facts:

    The health care debate is now being driven by a perverse nonsense feedback loop in which the Palin/Limbaugh crowd says all sorts of completely insane lies, gets a lot of … how shall we put it, impressionable people totally jacked up over a bunch of complete nonsense, and then Fox brings one of them, Mike Sola, on the air to basically lose his mind on camera. And then Mike becomes evidence of popular fear, terror, outrage at the president’s plan. Which becomes more grist.

    Enough “gut feelings.” Let’s stick to facts and evidence.

  25. Mr. Reality,

    I will gladly give you my reasons for supporting a public option. Before that however, it is hard to say why I support “this bill”, because currently there are four different bills and none are finalized. I also think there is another item that needs to be known and that is what type of reform do those who are opposed to the public option support? Or do you feel reform is unneccessary. To me I feel it is a valid charge that Republicans will never reform healthcare. It was never brought up under Reagan, Bush I, or Bush II. It just isn’t a priority for Republicans. And that is fine, let’s all just admit that those opposed to this do not have the fortitude to push through reform because their hearts are only in defense of the status quo and not offense of changing and reforming a busted system. The only time Republicans talk about healthcare is when they are out of power and know the changes they suggest won’t become realities.

    Sorry for the lenghty intro. Why I support a public option:
    1. Many businesses benefit by slashing 20-30% of costs off the top by removing private insurance overhead.
    2. small companies could have access to higher skilled workers b/c previously they couldn’t compete in the labor market by offering similar benefits.
    3. Increased entrepreneurship as those who once saw striking out on their own too risky due to the first year they may need to go w/o healthcare can now go out on their own with their ideas and not worry about being able to afford coverage for thier famalies.
    4. Dramatic drop in bankruptcies
    5. contract employment more viable for workers since they are guaranteed access to healthcare.
    6. People are covered while unemployed and the risk of them being financially wiped out when someone loses a job is nullified.
    7. the private sector can compete with the public sector and already does in courrier delivery. The post office (gov’t) keeps costs down and yet Fedex and UPS still make enough money to hire lobbyists for millions of dollars.
    8. Government healthcare is what we already use for the most part for the most fragile among us, the elederly.
    9. Small businesses and self employed individuals are being priced out of the market as we speak. Something needs to be done, and so far all I am hearing is one side with ideas while the other side is happy with the status quo. I’m going with ideas over nothing.

    The above is some of the reasons why I support a public option. Now without a public option, I’m pretty sure i’d like to see this thing killed until someone convinces me how this helps people w/o a public option.

    But back to the loyal opposition. What are your ideas for reform?

  26. And as for “all of us being patriots,” it’s true. Chris, you didn’t like it when you were protesting Iraq and some called you un-American. I wouldn’t either, and I would never say that, as I admire people who take the time to express their views peacefully.

    I too respect Genghis and anyone else for their peaceful protesting but I have to wonder, where are all these protesters now? They didn’t like War under Bush but are now silent with war under Obama? We just experienced our worst month for casualties in Afghanistan yet there is no talk and no protest.

    Remember the Democrat chants of bring the troops home now during the 2006 elections? People gave them the majority in congress..then, they couldn’t end the war because of big bad George Bush…then what? We get Obama. What now? We’re still at war under a Democrat controlled congress and a Democrat President.

    The only thing different, the war protesters have become silent. Anybody think perhaps the past war protesters were ginned up by the Democrats?

    PS Genghis, you are a sincere guy and the above is in no way directed at you so please, don’t take it as such.

    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/world/stories/DN-afghan_01int.ART.State.Edition1.4bb2187.html

  27. Bruce Rubenstein

    PufnStuf…i am not one of those that believes he knew in advance about 9/11..He did know from the NSA and FBI about Bin Laden’s likely attacking us and did nothing about it.

  28. And now I’m not quite smart, I never heard of that EBITDA before and the reason I found out that that number and $1.75 gets you a small coffee it seems.

    EBITDA is one of the most widely used financial metrics. I can’t help it that you haven’t heard of it. Do you propose a different way of determining if a company’s profits are “ridiculous” or do you also just to prefer to make a remark totally unsubstantiated by the facts?

    EBITDA is simply profits, before taking into account interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. Interest is excluded because it isn’t part of your operations: you earn it whether or not your company’s operations are productive. Taxes are excluded to put all companies on a pre-tax basis. This is because of all the tax breaks and such companies employ: they employ them at different times and thus this keeps all comparisons on an apples-to-apples basis. Amortization and depreciation are non-cash expenses, and so they are excluded.

    But if you think you know it all (except EBITDA), then please, go ahead and tell us why insurance companies are making “ridiculous” profits. Or is it just when someone presents facts that don’t coincide with your world view, you just want to say, no I don’t know what that means, so it doesn’t matter.

  29. Thanks for the reply for Reals…the problem here is while you support the public option even you do not know what is going to be in the bill. I think we need to look at the causes of why health insurance is so expensive. A friend of my wife’s is an OB GYN and said that “you would not believe” the cost of their med malpractice insurance. Tort Reform would be a great first step at reducing costs and making it more affordable. Obama is opposed to that, and while I do believe that people have the right to sue, I also believe that frivilous lawsuits have played a huge in the high cost of insurance. The Trial Lawyes are a powerful group.

  30. put an uppity brown woman on our highest court!

    I doubt anyone would consider Andy Thibault of The Cool Justice Report to be terribly conservative or right leaning.

    Never-the-less, like many others he too had some trepidation regarding the nominee, as you can see in this July 30th post.

  31. Todays news: Four foot swastika painted on door of Rep. David Scott’s (D-GA) office, crowd at Specter’s town hall boos statement that President Obama is an American, caller to CT right-wing radio show threatens “beginning of a civil war”…

    Those all must be “swing voters who voted for Obama and now feel duped”…

  32. ……….He did know from the NSA and FBI……..

    Both had been pretty badly gutted during the previous eight years.

  33. SouthernWreck

    I still believe that many of these people across the country are swing voters who voted for Obama and now feel duped. As such, it would be hard for them to also be racists who will never accept a black President. But I have no data for that, it is sinply a hunch.

    Young Ezra:

    “…the relationship between the protesters and the government is not healthy. The protesters believe the government capable of madness. There is no evidence for that claim, which means that there is no answer for it, either. That claim is not about what is in this bill, or what government has done in Medicare and Medicaid and the VA. It is about what a certain slice of Americans think their government — and by extension, their fellow citizens — capable of.”

    A certain slice – I’d say really narrow. But that’s just a hunch….at least in protesting Iraq there was a basis of being lied to….not so in this bill.

    Remember the Democrat chants of bring the troops home now during the 2006 elections? People gave them the majority in congress..then, they couldn’t end the war because of big bad George Bush…then what? We get Obama. What now? We’re still at war under a Democrat controlled congress and a Democrat President.

    Let’s correct that diction and spelling one mo’ time, right – it’s correct to say “Democratically-controlled”, “a Democratic president” – the Rush slur becomes really tiresome, folks. I’m not using “Repugnicant” on this blog.

    At least we’re at war with the radicals who attacked us, and their sponsors, not because we want to re-make the MidEast region via a neo-con fantasy. And there is a substantial Democratic faction in Congress looking at the time-line and success trajectory there…..

    Big swastika in GA – thanks, Rush. What a patriot. Which GOP moderates will name this for what it is? Let’s go, Americans – we gonna let the Nativism of the the 1880’s re-emerge on steroids? In 2009?

    Cool it, everyone – this ain’t worth it. The health insurance system has to be fixed, the economy at large (employers) will benefit, and the American people support it in the majority. Let’s just start listening and state the facts, and come September, get it done and then work on ending the Afghan war.

    These are the most important tasks right now – we dodged an incredible Depression bulllet, even conservatives concur – GOP needs to go along to get along (22%?), and Dems need to deliver a clear message.

    Eight years of CheneyBush did amazing damage – no one disputes such – from Gonzo to Enron to Saddam – bad government, bad choices – a decrepit MSM, a huge bubble, tragic natural disasters, financial meltdown, cultural polarization, environmental change delayed.

    You want to keep on that course? Not me – I got teenagers – young men – I want big change, and they do too.

  34. Vincent, you’re right. These people aren’t inheriently racist and it’s a crime to paint with such a broad stroke, but there is an element there of individuals. Really have to go on a case by case basis. It’s a red herring and should be put in it’s proper place, a minimal one, and left at that.

    Al, I did do research because it’s what I do when ..::gasp::.. I realise there are terms and words I don’t know and concepts I don’t immediately grasp. But believe you me once I start reading I don’t stop, and not many people had good things to say about your little number on its’ own. Essentially it was a term in the 80’s and 90’s that taken on it’s own hyper-leveraged companies by essentially hiding any bad part of the operation.

    “Likewise, EBITDA numbers are easy to manipulate. If fraudulent accounting techniques are used to inflate revenues and interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization are factored out of the equation, almost any company will look great. Of course, when the truth comes out about the sales figures, the house of cards will tumble and investors will be in trouble.” http://www.investopedia.com/articles/analyst/020602.asp

    Who says the deception can’t go both ways when the time is right? To be fair, this article and the others I read do go on to say if this is used in conjunction with a whole ton of other information it could possibly be useful which makes sense, but most agree it turned out to be a bum statistic on its’ own. Therefore bringing it up in this debate is moot. And don’t ever doubt my intelligence ever again, because especially like in cases exampled by this, more times than not you’ll look the fool.

    And by the way, I’m a member of the small business club. Which ironically may drive more of the economy with less of the workers as the multinational corporations (basically because of the nature of business overflow, not just because of productivity rates although most research I’ve seen points to small businesses being much more proficient). And my reasons against the Health Insurance companies is that they are killllllllling small businesses in a way you wish taxes did. We have to renegotiate terms of care every 2 years or so, premiums go up, their reimbursement policies are jokes, and switching providers may cause a lapse in coverage and thus make the new policy worthless due to “pre-existing conditions” ..::coudiabetesgh::.. You’re world of businessman’s greatest enemy of the taxman died long ago, and now its’ a civil war between themselves.

    I just find it hard that you’d rather pay 4 fold more for subpar service rather than have a balancing factor of a public option. Out of what, spite? The main drivers of health care insurance costs are as follows: people using the ER as primary care during emergencies, “me too” designer drugs, lack of primary care physicians because insurance companies repay specialists much much more, some tort issues but hardly a defining factor.

    For example, even if you don’t like public schools it makes a lot of private ones cheaper, with out the system being learned would be a land of the elite and our economy would be crippled. The exact reason why the free market doesn’t work is because people are irrational, I mean look at you guys fighting something that will save you a hell of a lot of money and time tooth and nail on political grounds. You can feel the way you do, but know that it the strictest terms it goes against your self interest.

    And ACR, nice job trying to pin it at just Clinton but Bush I started the trend.

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2007/nov/19/rudy-giuliani/hes-on-point-but-still-off-base/

    ~Cheers

  35. Thanks for the reply for Reals…the problem here is while you support the public option even you do not know what is going to be in the bill. I think we need to look at the causes of why health insurance is so expensive. A friend of my wife’s is an OB GYN and said that “you would not believe” the cost of their med malpractice insurance. Tort Reform would be a great first step at reducing costs and making it more affordable. Obama is opposed to that, and while I do believe that people have the right to sue, I also believe that frivilous lawsuits have played a huge in the high cost of insurance. The Trial Lawyes are a powerful group.

    What if malpractice insurance rates had nothing to do with awards to the injured?

    http://www.boston.com/business/globe/articles/2005/06/01/rising_doctors_premiums_not_due_to_lawsuit_awards/

    ~Paz

  36. And sorry last post for a while… the above post isn’t supposed to be an end all be authoritative… just something to ponder and take into consideration.

  37. Thomas Hooker

    Third, the whole point of August recess is to allow Congress to discuss pending legislation with their constituents. It is far better that these representatives know how people feel about a major pending bill…BEFORE the vote takes place, not thereafter.

    In short, if this is a debate, the representatives should welcome the opposition, and try to counter it, rather than hiding out and/or blaming the protesters for not playing by the Marquess of Queensberry rules.

    The problem, Vincent, is that these protestors are not interested in debate, or discussing pending legislation with their representatives. They are attempting to frighten and intimidate their representatives and stifle opposing voices. One has only to view the video that even Fox News is carrying to understand that this is not about discussion.

    I opposed Chris Shays when he was Fairfield County’s congressman, and over a period of years attended numerous town hall meetings he hosted. At those meetings I frequently asked a question. But at no time did I yell and scream or threaten him or anyone else. At no time was I anything but civil with him, and though many addressed him as “Chris”, as many address Jim Himes as “Jim”, I always prefaced my question with “Congressman”, or “Congressman Shays”. Indeed, at no time over a period of years did I witness anyone attempt to disrupt one of his meetings or physically intimidate him or anyone else in attendance. And let’s keep in mind that during that period he was a major supporter of an increasingly unpopular war. Also recall, if you will, Congressman Shays’ town hall meeting in Westport on the subject of the impending invasion of Iraq in February 2003. Though there were hundreds of people there and those opposing the war were the large majority of those in attendance, there were no disruptions, no shouting him down, no calling him a liar. Now that, Vincent, was civilized discourse with our elected official. What the anti-health care reform people are doing at these town hall meetings is nothing of the sort.

    Take a look at the video of demonstrators who came out to Congressman Chris Murphy’s town hall meeting in Simsbury, video that is available at My Left Nutmeg. The people were hostile and physically jostled the person video-taping them. And listen to the bizarre accusations they were making. Clearly those people were not out there for a civilized conversation, but were intent on intimidating both the congressman and any pro-reform citizens who showed up.

    If you have a “low toleration for violence and intimidation”, Vincent, as you write in your post, you should be appalled by the behavior of these anti-reform demonstrators who are intimidating and disrupting meetings across the country.

  38. PufnStuf…i am not one of those that believes he knew in advance about 9/11..He did know from the NSA and FBI about Bin Laden’s likely attacking us and did nothing about it.

    Thanks for saying that Bruce. You did forget to mention that Bill Clinton also dropped the ball on Bin Laden. As always, plenty of blame to go around.

  39. BohemianBill

    Thanks for saying that Bruce. You did forget to mention that Bill Clinton also dropped the ball on Bin Laden. As always, plenty of blame to go around.

    Pufnstuf, there’s always plenty of blame to around for you Republicans when one of your own screws up big time as Bush did with bin Laden. Funny how your kind claim you don’t like to play the blame game when that’s all you do. Clinton tried to take out bin Laden. Bush did nothing for eight years, even to the point where he stated explicitly that he had stopped worrying about bin Laden. So much for false equivalence.

    Bush might not have known the details about the impending al Qaeda attack but he damned well knew something was brewing, something big was brewing. Bush and his circus did nothing. Cheney did nothing, despite being charged with addressing terrorism until well after the attack and then he decided to terrorize the American voter to make up for his failures. Those are facts, which the Republican party tried its damnedest to keep hidden for seven long years. It must really suck to learn just how evil your personal heroes have turned out to be.

  40. I have a very low tolerance for intimidation or violence, so Genghis’ post on the Town Hall protests is appreciated. However, as a Republican, I think these people, my party, and protest in general are getting a bum rap in this instance, based primarily on whose ox is being gored. Let me explain how, in several ways.

    Vincent, if any Democrat has done to Shays in the spring of 2003 what these Republican mobs are doing to Murphy, Shays would have had them arrested and you would have cheered the cops on, arguing that the Democrats ought to be sent to Gitmo. We all know that’s true too. Now, you and your ilk seek mercy. Why aren’t Republicans capable of empathy until after they’ve experienced the circumstance the Democrats have warned them about. Is there a human gene missing in Republicans which makes them less than human? It certainly appears to be the case all too often.

  41. Oh please, folks. The Republicans were routinely called Nazis (swastika sightings? How many did we see during anti-Bush protests?) for decades, and we let it go. It’s politics, let it go. But a few people act like jerks, and you paint the entire opposition as if they are wearing brown shirts. Come off it.

    Meanwhile, the President went to NH, and as I suggested here, addressed a selected and friendly audience, as usual, while addressing this issue. It is only in local rep visits that the nation can really state its feelings about recent policy, as most Americans are too respectful of both Obama and the Presidency to get too vocal. And that respect is good. But the venting we’re seeing at these Town Halls is real.

    As for most Americans wanting free health care, well, all of us want free cars and houses and ice cream, too, but at some point, the bill has to be paid. In polling regarding the bills in question, most people are now opposed to the legislation.

  42. Funny, I never recall George Bush or Reagan saying “Argue with your neighbors, get in their face”. But Obama did say this…

    Both sides have their share of people who want to be disruptive, and it’s nothing new. Nixon repeatedly got shouted down, heck, so did Hubert Humphrey (by anti war protestors).

    Are the protests organized? Well, I guess all protests have to be somewhat organized: people need to be informed when, where, etc. The left has done that for a long time (wasn’t that what moveon was founded to do?). But there’s no evidence that the people protesting are actually disinterested people who are merely getting paid to be there. And no, not everyone who is protesting is a racist, swastika painting dude who thinks Barack Obama should go back to Africa. Just like every anti-war protestor wasn’t some sympathizer with Hugo Chavez.

  43. “…And no, not everyone who is protesting is a racist, swastika painting dude who thinks Barack Obama should go back to Africa. Just like every anti-war protestor wasn’t some sympathizer with Hugo Chavez.”

    GMR, I’d be able to agree with you but for the fact that virtually every, last one of the folks who attacks the Representative or Senator spouts the same nonsense with every tinge of racist comment they can muster. Worse, every last Republican around did attack anti-war protesters as sympathizers of Hugo Chavez, as Communists, as Nazis, as un-American, as traitors. I just never saw the anti-war protestors screaming into the face of the elected official who was holding the town hall meeting, and that includes the meeting Lieberman was holding in the spring of 2006 in Windsor when he was lying through his teeth about how he was against the war but that he needed to vote for it anyway. About the only thing Republicans haven’t called anti-war Democrats is “bolshies” and I suspect that’s because most of them are too ignorant to have ever heard the term. I bet if they’d heard about the term “chekist” they’d have used it against Democrats as well.

    I’m tired of hearing you Republicans bleat about the budget and the deficit with respect to national health insurance. You guys didn’t care one whit about the deficit when wanted your benighted war in Iraq and you didn’t fund it during the five years Bush fumbled it. You slashed taxes without thinking about the future, figuring that you’d just screw the middle-class in the end, as you’re trying to do right now. Cheney even said Reagan proved deficits don’t matter. If the St. Ronnie Ray-gun proved deficits don’t matter, how come they matter to you now? Or, was St. Ronnie only right about some things, some of the time, when you want to pick and choose the time and subject?

  44. Oh please, folks. The Republicans were routinely called Nazis (swastika sightings? How many did we see during anti-Bush protests?) for decades, and we let it go. It’s politics, let it go. But a few people act like jerks, and you paint the entire opposition as if they are wearing brown shirts. Come off it.

    Vincent, what a lie? How the hell could anyone see swastikas or anything at a Bush rally when everyone was screened before they could get in? Riddle me that one? Also, while Bush’s terms in office might have seemed like decades, he was only pResident for eight years. Yeah, yeah, I know that he did as much damage as someone who squatted in the Oval Office for decades, but it was only eight years. So, it couldn’t have been for decades as you aver. And, your kind didn’t let it go. You claimed that everybody who opposed Bush’s wrong-headed (as proven by facts and results) were evil, anti-American traitors. I’ve had right-wing creeps scream that at me in my face, before the latest group of stormtroopers got pushed into action. I’ve always found it amusing that right-wing authoritarian thugs hate being called directly what they themselves know they are. Truth hurts, no?

  45. AndersonScooper

    GMR, Vincent–

    It’s amazing to me that as supposedly “moderate” Republicans, you’re so willing to get in bed with, and support, the Tea Baggers.

    These political battles are meant to be won at the ballot box, and not via mob violence.

    When said violence happens, the responsibility should be laid at your feet. (and you shoud wear your “tolerance”.) Will you all be such supposedly “stand-up” guys then? Doubtful.

    Again, I encourage dissent, and your anti-Obama efforts. But the current tenor is so anti-American, it is worrisome. Where is your decency?

  46. It’s amazing to me that as supposedly “moderate” Republicans, you’re so willing to get in bed with, and support, the Tea Baggers.

    Again, I encourage dissent, and your anti-Obama efforts. But the current tenor is so anti-American, it is worrisome. Where is your decency?

    Scooper, You had to be getting a good laugh when you wrote that…lol

  47. Thomas Hooker

    Oh please, folks…But a few people act like jerks, and you paint the entire opposition as if they are wearing brown shirts. Come off it.

    Meanwhile, the President went to NH, and as I suggested here, addressed a selected and friendly audience, as usual, while addressing this issue.

    First, how can you possibly view all of the video of the disruptions and shouting matches in town hall meetings across the country and assert that it’s just “a vew people acting like jerks.” It’s an organized effort to disrupt and intimidate, aided and abetted by Fox News. Did you ever attend a town hall meeting hosted by Chris Shays that was disrupted like that? Even as Shays was scraping by with barely more than half the votes, did anyone attempt to intimidate him or shout down his supporters? That’s not politics, that’s thuggery.

    And contrary to your assertion that President Obama appeared before “a selected and handpicked audience”, NPR reported this morning that tickets to the event had been handed out at random. Furthermore, as reported by NPR, President Obama actually scanned the audience looking for people to call on who might be opposed to his proposals for health reform.

    Now contrast President Obama’s taking on all questions and questioners with former President Bush’s practice of forcing all people wishing to attend his public appearances to sign “loyalty oaths”, and excluding all who wore T-shirts with slogans opposing his administration. And recall, if you will, that his administration issued instructions to his organizers explaining how they should organize groups in the audience to shout down those who might raise questions displaying opposition to Mr. Bush’s policies.

    How can you accuse Mr. Obama of hand-picking his audience when it isn’t true, ignore his taking numerous questions in each and every appearance nationally from people who oppose his proposals, and also pretend that Mr. Bush didn’t do exactly what you falsely accuse Mr. Obama of doing?

  48. First, how can you possibly view all of the video of the disruptions and shouting matches in town hall meetings across the country and assert that it’s just “a vew people acting like jerks.”.

    Just goes to show you what happens when Democrats try to turn America into a soci@list state. The shouting and frustration will only increase should Obama, Pelosi and the rest of the gang continue to turn their backs on the majority of Americans.

  49. Beeker,

    “And don’t ever doubt my intelligence ever again, because especially like in cases exampled by this, more times than not you’ll look the fool.”

    I ask you to once again go back and read my post #22 which is the one you are referring to here. Can you please point out to me specifically where in that post I claimed you were not intelligent? In fact it is you yourself who claim “you are not quite smart” Please don’t use typical liberal smoke screen tactics to side tract a discussion with me by putting your words about yourself who I have never met, into my mouth.

    Now if you are interested in any well reasoned intelligent adult debate on any topic I will be happy to try to match wits with you. If I don’t know enough about the topic I will tell you. I will not try to dismiss your argument as implausible by simply claiming I am unfamiliar enough with it to accept the possibility it may be true. If I agree with you I will be happy to tell you so. If find your argument is persuasive enough, I’ll even admit defeat and accept that you taught me something……… Just don’t ask me to argue with you in a sand box some place… Adult enough for you coming from a fool??????????

    As to EBITDA once again where did I say or suggest it was the gold standard and only tool that can be used to help evaluate the financial health of a company? I told you it is simply a widely used tool. One of many. And yes not one to be simply used on it’s own to form a complete picture. But it certainly does help form a picture.

    Of course now that you have taken the time to try and learn what EBITDA is you should have also learned that it is not used as a tool used by accountants to make any company look great, but as a tool (one tool) to help provide a clearer picture of just how well business operations ARE, OR ARE NOT going. It does so by removing some numbers which can typically help cloud that view. It is NOT a replacement for a balance sheet, or P & L.

    But now allow me to digress: From your post # 32 I’ll quote you here:

    “Likewise, EBITDA numbers are easy to manipulate. If fraudulent accounting techniques are used to inflate revenues and interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization are factored out of the equation, almost any company will look great.

    Let me ask you how do you feel about the state claiming it produces a balanced budget each year while at the same time running up over $50 billion in under funding of retiree pensions and health care obligations over many years, by “factoring out” the need to fully add their true cost from our budgets?

    Do you agree it is proper to claim we are covering our budget obligations while we constantly defer much of it each year to our kids to worry about? What kind of accounting do you call that? If not fraudulent, how about at least questionable?? Maybe even a tad deceptive??

    And you ask if only those from the right need to learn something about business? Please hold those who we elect to run our state, both Democrats as well as Republicans to the same high standards you seem to want to hold those from the right

    Yes,,,,,,,,,Let the debates begin Mr Beeker. I’ll be happy to try and let you make me look like a fool……..

  50. Hypocrisy? Very mild Vincent. Very mild.

    Where’s the war protesters under Obama?

    Obama’s doubled our presence in Afghansitan to 48,000 troops. There have been over 100 dead in Iraq plus citizens. Citizen deaths are way up in Afghastan under Obama.

    Not a peep from the war protesters at the Town Hall meetings?

    Here’s why. The war protestors were protesting Bush and the GOP not the war. Dead soldiers were just a tool for anti-GOP protests. In fact, these astroturfing ‘protesters’ don’t care if there’s a war on currently. They crawled right back into the Democratic woodwork where they came from.

    The GOP is now using the same tactics with the birthers and the town hall protesters using health care as a rallying cry. If Romney was president you wouldn’t see these teabaggers. They would disappear just like war protesters.

    Both sides lack any real conviction.

    Real war protesters would still be out there fighting the good fight, singing the songs, writing their columns and pushing the withdrawal issue on Obama all day every day.

    Party hacks posing as war protesters? Silent. Quiet. Worried about birthers and other such weighty issues but not the war .

  51. Here’s why. The war protestors were protesting Bush and the GOP not the war. Dead soldiers were just a tool for anti-GOP protests. In fact, these astroturfing ‘protesters’ don’t care if there’s a war on currently. They crawled right back into the Democratic woodwork where they came from.

    Don’t be stupid. Anywhere that there was a war protestor in 2008, there are still war protestors in 2009.

  52. Don’t be stupid. Anywhere that there was a war protestor in 2008, there are still war protestors in 2009.

    Yeah sure….see `em all over the place.

    Not.

  53. Yeah sure….see `em all over the place.

    Not.

    There are a few groups still at it. But it’s not like there were waves of protest last year either. Most got dispirited after a couple years of their complaints being ignored, and started focusing on other things.

    Believe it or not, liberal activists aren’t on your schedule.

  54. There are a few groups still at it. But it’s not like there were waves of protest last year either. Most got dispirited after a couple years of their complaints being ignored, and started focusing on other things.

    Tons of protest last year…Many in West Hartford center, people handing our anti-war literature and collecting signatures…..Main street Hartford…..Main Street East Hartford, on the Green in New Haven…and where are they this year? Oh yea, they’re “dispirited”. lol

  55. Yeah sure….see `em all over the place.

    Don’t worry ACR, they’ll all be out in full force again in 2013 when the Republicans regain control of congress and the White House.

  56. Thomas Hooker

    Just goes to show you what happens when Democrats try to turn America into a soci@list state. The shouting and frustration will only increase should Obama, Pelosi and the rest of the gang continue to turn their backs on the majority of Americans.

    “The majority of Americans”? Where have you been over the past year? Americans voted in 60 Democrats in the United States Senate, they elected 245 Democrats to the House of Representatives, substantially more Democrats then there ever were Republicans during the so-called “Republican Revolution”, and they elected Democratic president Barack Obama by a margin of- what was it?- 4 million votes? Yet you can sit there and write that Mssrs. Obama and Pelosi are ignoring “the majority of Americans”?

    Just what sort of delusions lead you to imagine that you are part of the majority either in this state or this country?

  57. I expect Afghanistan will be an issue in 2010 as the GOP makes the withdrawal issue their own as they pile on the hapless Obama.

    To quote Don Corleone: ‘revenge is a dish best served cold.’

    FWIW I didn’t vote for McCain. I’m just watching a couple things develop that I think will bring the Democrats crashing back to reality in 2010/12.

  58. AndersonScooper

    Hooker–

    You need to start listening to Limbaugh, Hannity, and CT’s own Beck and Vicevich.

    Tal radio is the new LSD…

  59. AndersonScooper

    Sorry all, on my BlackBerry.

    That’s meant to be “talk radio”…

  60. As to EBITDA once again where did I say or suggest it was the gold standard and only tool that can be used to help evaluate the financial health of a company? I told you it is simply a widely used tool. One of many. And yes not one to be simply used on it’s own to form a complete picture. But it certainly does help form a picture.

    I wish it did form a picture, but its like describing a glass of water as “well it has a bottom,” which is true but for all intents and purposes fairly useless. What it leaves out is just way to vast, and you were the one to bring it up as a stand alone piece of evidence that the companies are somehow reasonable (which I’m sure some are).

    I wonder just how many of them ever ran a business or like you never heard of EBITDA as well?

    You say that you have made business decisions with upper management yet have never heard the term EBITDA from gmr’s post #12 before?? Simply put it is a very widely used accounting tool used to help provide a clearer view of just how well a company is doing……… You can Google it’s exact definition if you wish to know more.

    Oi mate, you might need thicker skin. Sorry if I came off rude, I’m always in the middle of work and I rush through in between breaks and I think I was responding to both yours and gmr in a mash-up and forgot to quote him/her directly, but these are what I considered possible cracks at my intelligence. You just didn’t take me on my word and frankly I was hoping for more. Believe me, if there’s anything I don’t understand I’ll either ask or look for myself. I try not to talk out of my rear whenever possible, although sometimes it’s bound to happen.

    Let me ask you how do you feel about the state claiming it produces a balanced budget each year while at the same time running up over $50 billion in under funding of retiree pensions and health care obligations over many years, by “factoring out” the need to fully add their true cost from our budgets?

    Truthfully, I have no idea what you’re referring to. I’m trying to find anything close to that scenario because it seems quite high. Reference please?

  61. “The majority of Americans”? Where have you been over the past year? Americans voted in 60 Democrats in the United States Senate, they elected 245 Democrats to the House of Representatives, substantially more Democrats then there ever were Republicans during the so-called “Republican Revolution”, and they elected Democratic president Barack Obama by a margin of- what was it?- 4 million votes? Yet you can sit there and write that Mssrs. Obama and Pelosi are ignoring “the majority of Americans”?

    Obama was elected by a margin of 52.9% to 45.7%. This means that if there are 20 voters in a room, 11 voted for Obama and 9 voted for McCain. Not exactly a decisive mandate to completely destroy the way Americans receive their health care — and you know what? If they had run on that platform, they would have been throttled.

    According to Time magazine, 86% of Americans are pleased with their health care coverage. Since you are overreacting over a 53%-46% margin, what do you say about an 86%-14% margin?

  62. “The majority of Americans”? Where have you been over the past year? Americans voted in 60 Democrats in the United States Senate, they elected 245 Democrats to the House of Representatives, substantially more Democrats then there ever were Republicans during the so-called “Republican Revolution”, and they elected Democratic president Barack Obama by a margin of- what was it?- 4 million votes? Yet you can sit there and write that Mssrs. Obama and Pelosi are ignoring “the majority of Americans”?

    Hooker, you’re reading last years news. Huge difference between then and now.

  63. AndersonScooper

    Puf–

    Have you checked Congress’ approval ratings?

    Sure the Democrats aren’t great, but Congressional Republicans come in almost twenty points lower.

    There is no real hunger to replace Democrats with Republicans. And that’s why your CT GOP has been unable to find real candidates to run for Congress.

  64. Sure the Democrats aren’t great, but Congressional Republicans come in almost twenty points lower.

    2o points you say?

    Hmmmm.

    This Real Clear Politics post says it’s more like 1.

  65. Scoop, here are the generic ballots for the House – GOP now up 4, has been between 2 and 5 for some time.

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/mood_of_america/generic_congressional_ballot

    A Rule: The GOP has usually showed its strongest gains when the Democrats, in a super-majority position, overreach.

  66. Beeker

    PLEASE once again I ask that you go back and re read my post #22 CAREFULLY…….. Why do you still persist with this comment from your post # 60:

    “I wish it did form a picture, but its like describing a glass of water as “well it has a bottom,” which is true but for all intents and purposes fairly useless. What it leaves out is just way to vast, and you were the one to bring it up as a stand alone piece of evidence that the companies are somehow reasonable (which I’m sure some are).”

    Where please where in my post did I even suggest EBITDA was a stand alone tool?? It is simply a tool used to remove some aspects of a business that can help cloud the performance of that business. GMR does an excellent job in his post # 28 of explaining the reasons why.

    However it makes no matter to me if you do, or do not, consider EBITDA a valuable, or worthless accounting tool, no matter how widely accepted it is. What does matter to me this comment from your post #19:

    “I’m getting sick of the quasi-conservatives obsession with taxation being the only deterrent to business. I find it hard to believe these people have everrrrr tried to run a business,”

    You seem to be suggesting that since many of them have probably not run a business themselves their very legitimate concerns are not valid do to their assumed lack of business knowledge…….. I again ask you just how many people we send to Washington who blindly vote along party lines have ever run a business themselves or even ever held a job outside of public service? I guess you feel business knowledge is required to protest, but not to pass laws that directly impact business??

    You asked me for any reference regarding my point that our elected officials in Hartford are using IMO highly questionable accounting tricks to help hide from the taxpayers of this state the true cost of the state pensions as well as retiree health care benefits. Remember just like EBITDA if you don’t include all your expenses you only have part of the story. Also keep in mind just because you claim to produce a “balanced a budget” does not mean you have covered all you expenses.

    Try this link ….please copy and paste it.

    http://www.pewtrusts.org/uploadedFiles/wwwpewtrustsorg/Fact_Sheets/State_policy/Connecticut.pdf

    You will see that there is close to $40 billion in under funding listed there and that does not even include the additional billions in teacher pension under funding……… This is from 2006 and is even worse now. If we could afford to pay these sort of benefits why then not include the proper funding in our budgets each year? The fact is this sort of under funding took years to create. Well the answer is clear as the link shows, because properly funding this would now require an additional billion in taxes to be able to do so.

    That’s a billion more in taxes top of the billion or so the Democrats are already proposing!! And you suggest those “quasi-conservatives” have no idea what they are talking about??

    I suggest we should properly fund these pensions and benefits each year going forward from right now this year…….. Let’s add the billion more in taxes to the list on top of the billions the Democrats are already proposing. Let the taxpayers in on this dirty little secret. Yah sure that will help bring jobs to this state.

  67. Thanks for the link~ it is a serious issue and now I have a starting point. It just took me way too long at 3am scouring for it. However, it puts the shortfall by $15mil, which is still the size of an entire budget but not the four fold thereof. I’m going to see if I can find more info then get back to you.

    You seem to be suggesting that since many of them have probably not run a business themselves their very legitimate concerns are not valid do to their assumed lack of business knowledge…….. I again ask you just how many people we send to Washington who blindly vote along party lines have ever run a business themselves or even ever held a job outside of public service? I guess you feel business knowledge is required to protest, but not to pass laws that directly impact business??

    That may be the case, but they aren’t being the champions of a fictional group and ignoring the real issues. I’m talking specifically about the one trick “a tax cut for every ailment” politicians like the modern Republican party. It lacks basis in reality, and to treat that all are taxed the same is folly and THIS is the time to chip in a little more, especially considering we already have the most efficiently run governments in the nation WITH a great supply of services.

    And stop hiding behind the jobs! There isn’t much credible evidence that the states that have been ranked as “business friendly” have been any better to people or the businesses themselves. Like Texas is considered the best in terms of business atmosphere but they go through constant bursts and booms AND have much worse social and economic problems at the height of good times (not too mention the addition on natural resource taxes Connecticut simply cannot impose). We are not just the land of the Buck, and by golly I’m so proud of that.

    And to think that taxes are the ONLY thing to drive businesses is so irresponsible in policy it’s mind blowing. You are forgetting the other big aspect of that in which there has to be a market for people to purchase goods and services, and simply without the social safety nets the number of people with higher disposable income shrinks and the economy eventually collapses. Even in Texas with their cheap labour, they rely on the disposable income that OUR taxes help sure up.

    ~Cheers

  68. Now let me be clear, I don’t believe tossing money at issues make them go away, but so far the Republicans have endorsed the only plan that doesn’t attack our issues from the multiple angles I would like to see. There is certainly room for improvement, but let’s start with simple solutions first then work our ways up. Perhaps we need a IG in Connecticut finally?

  69. AndersonScooper

    Well guys, I was referencing this Research 2000 weekly tracking poll:
    http://www.dailykos.com/weeklytrends

    Congressional Dems: 42%
    Congressional Reps: 10%

    Democratic Party: 44%
    Republican Party: 18%

    But if you really want to have fun, check out the crosstabs:
    Congressional Dems, FAV/UnFAV = 55%-37%
    Congressional Reps, FAV/UnFAV = 4%-88%

    Kind of cool the way that New Englanders dislike Republicans. But I’m sure the Tea Baggers’ screaming against health care will help!

  70. Beeker,

    OK we are making progress……

    First let me explain for you the $15 billion and the $50 billion. The $15 billion you agree with is only one small part of the total under funding issue. It is the state worker pension part. There is also under funding for their health care of an additional $21 billion ( shown to the right of the $15 billion in my link) then there is the teacher pension under funding which is about another $7 or so billion. Adds up pretty close to $50 billion.

    These are 2006 numbers so as I say they are even worse now. And that is after we were forced to bond $2 billion for the teacher pension under funding a couple of years ago. If we cannot afford to properly fund these solid gold pension and health care retiree benefits for our state workers in each of our budgets is it then perhaps logical to assume they are far too generous?

    Far too generous or not however if we wish to treat our state workers so well, at least why not let the taxpayers in on the true expense? At this point an additional billion dollars a year in taxes on top of the billions the Democrats are already calling for would be needed. Can you imagine what that billion could do for health care in this state?? But as I say if that is the cost why don’t we just pay now for our promises, and stop hiding behind our kids?

    I agree with you that Republicans need a better message than to simply say cut taxes. However as someone who was forced to make difficult business decisions as to which state (or country) I placed hundreds of jobs into I can certainly tell you it is MY experience that taxes really do matter. But as you point out and I agree they are only one thing that matters. What I can say is once I moved jobs out of CT they never came back. What I can also say is that CT has long ago lost it’s competitive advantage.

    Also as someone who spent my entire career working to improve the quality of my products, while providing better service to my customers, and at the same time doing so as we were forced to lower all our costs, I know with 100% certainty that this state has not even scratched the surface in it’s effort to lower the cost of government while improving it’s service to us all.

    Do you realize that one of the “cost cutting” things the state workers agreed to this past year in exchange for job security was to once again allow the state to not properly fund their pensions?? Why should they care how under funded they are? The taxpayers are in the dark. When the time comes to pay this huge bill do you think benefits will be cut, or taxes raised??

    Do you realize that the state workers agreeing to allow the state to offer them an early retirement package which pays those who chose to accept that package even more than they otherwise would be entitled to was also considered a “concession” by them which called for a promise of job security?

    You work I assume in the private sector……. Are you not doing more with less?? Can you just raise your prices (taxes) without risking the loss of business? Is it unfair for those of us who know better to demand that the state to do more with less just like the rest of us? How long could you run your business the way this state is being run if you didn’t have an unlimited supply of tax money to tap into to cover your waste and incompetence?

    One last thing when we say it’s time the rich pay their fair share….. Just what is their fair share?? Is there some number that is their fair share, or is it always just going to be something more than they currently pay?

  71. Sorry, I apologise… you were completely right about your numbers!~ That is a mess… more analysis soon on this as I do more research.

    ~Cheers

  72. Beeker,

    Thank you, and no apology is needed, your were just as much in the dark as most of the rest of this state.

    Not to further make my point but whenever my team and I looked to different locations around the country as we considered where we would place jobs in the process of our due diligence we looked for this sort of stuff.

    When the time comes who exactly do you think has the kind of pockets to pay for this sort of incompetence? The average taxpayer?? Shoot no!! Why would any business that does it’s homework gamble on this?? It would be like going to a casino and trying to roll a 7 without ever having any dice to throw in the first place. It’s a sure loser.

    Taxes as one component of total costs do matter, as does exactly what kind of mind set a state has. As I pointed out CT long ago lost it’s competitive advantage.

    Our kids are leaving. Our taxes are outrageous. Additional business costs like workers comp are off the scale. Energy costs are bad, infrastructure is a mess, and the Democrats in power like Donovan are looking to drive the final nail into the union made coffin. Beyond that not even our weather is anything to brag about.

    We as a state can do better, much better, but not if we continue to view state waste and incompetence as just another cost of doing business

  73. Well guys, I was referencing this Research 2000 weekly tracking poll:http://www.dailykos.com/weeklytrends

    Congressional Dems: 42%Congressional Reps: 10%

    Democratic Party: 44%Republican Party: 18%

    If the dailykos is giving Republicans double digit ratings, the Democrats are in big trouble! Kos readers giving any support to Republican is akin to your Mother not voting for you.

  74. The Democrats are getting ready to bail out on the public option:

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/32438677

  75. NYT confirming the above and the ‘Death Panels’ are out in the Senate Bill and in committee.

    What’s left are yet-to-be created non-profits that can compete against organized insurance. Single payer is offically dead.

    In other words no competition against organized insurance (organized crime if you prefer) will exist when the bill passes. How complete a victory is this for the status quo?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/17/health/policy/17talkshows.html?hp

  76. What’s left are yet-to-be created non-profits that can compete against organized insurance. Single payer is offically dead.

    So if these non profits run into financial problems, I assume the federal govt. will bail them out. So how is this different from a public option?

    In other words no competition against organized insurance (organized crime if you prefer) will exist when the bill passes. How complete a victory is this for the status quo?

    Won’t the insurance companies compete with each other? After all, there’s no public competitor to most things.

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