Archive | September, 2009

Maybe I was Wrong About the Crazies

30 Sep

I have previously posted a lot on healthcare. As the healthcare debate ended up stuck in the mud during the post-Obama speech period, I decided I’d wait to post again until Something Happened. Well, Something now did Happen, as liberals once again failed at the act of governance with Baucus’ knife in the heart of the Public Option. I was writing the post on that subject in my head when I made a mistake this morning. I turned on Tom Bauerle, and after listening for five minutes, had a revelation.

grinch

Maybe I’ve been wrong about the Birfers, Freeners, Screamers, and Teabaggers the whole time. Maybe, just maybe, its the duty of every sentient human being in this country to denounce this crap daily until rationality (not unanimity) is present once again in our country.

My God, what are these people smoking? The only thing more terrifying than the rhetoric was the knowledge that the people on this show live in my city, and may someday interact with my children.

Today’s topic on Bauerle was ostensibly about the evils of vaccinations, and how terrible it is that New York would force state healthcare workers to receive the H1N1 Flu Vaccine, or face disciplinary action. Bauerle and every single one of his callers, (as Pundit has discovered, no dissention in the echo chamber) see this an invasion of their personal liberty because 1) no one can tell me what to do with my body, 2) all vaccines are unsafe and untested, and 3) Obama is a dictator.

Obviously a sense of irony is not a prerequisite for this group. I assume most are Pro-Lifers, but the fact that Argument #1 is the main Pro-Choice defense is lost on them. As well, lets for a second ignore Argument #2 – I only have time for one crazy conspiracy at a time. Instead, lets look at #3.

Somehow the topic of vaccines in NY was a perfect segue into a discussion of Obama the Foreign Dictator. Forced vaccines would lead to, among other things, the institution of martial law, forced birth control, the canceling of the 2012 election (Obama would declare himself President-for-Life), Communism and Hitlerism. Proof that this would happen? That Obama received student aid as a foreign student and is spending $1M to fight the release of his birth certificate. Also, his trip to Copenhagen to fight for Chicago to get the Summer Olympics is about Union kickbacks to his funders, and national healthcare is bad.

Of course, most of these things are mild compared to calling Obama the Anti-Christ based upon some numerology. To me, its easy to dismiss a couple websites that I think Alan spends too much time perusing. But somehow hearing it on the radio today, on a “news program,” made it a lot worse.  WBEN may not be CNN, but its audience is much larger than Birfer conspiracy groups. Judging by the content, no wonder most the commercials were for hypnotic weight loss and “miracle” anti-aging cream.

 I’ve previously thought that this fringe too will pass – ignore them and they go away. But their influence and size is growing, not shrinking. And as Tom Friedman points out:

The American political system was, as the saying goes, “designed by geniuses so it could be run by idiots.” But a cocktail of political and technological trends have converged in the last decade that are making it possible for the idiots of all political stripes to overwhelm and paralyze the genius of our system.

We need to tamp down the idiots. Republicans, Conservatives and those on the Right have a special obligation to do this, because these people claim to be on our side (though many claim the Republican party has let them down too). What John McCain did with the crazy woman at one of his town halls, we need to do every day. Correct. Refute. Inform. Advocate.

This doesn’t mean Obama has the right policies. I don’t care for many of them. But call me old fashioned – we should respond with ideas, not fear mongering lunacy. Silence is becoming acquiescence.

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The Truth About ACORN

30 Sep

Rachel Maddow did a great job last night boiling the ACORN smear campaign down to its essence.  Enjoy.

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Open Thread

30 Sep

This one is for griping and sniping and stems off of a post that went off on a tangent.

As to that tangent, according to the St Petersburg Times Obameter, the President has kept 44 campaign promises, broken 7, and compromised on 12.

12 are stalled, 100 are in progress, and 340 haven’t been acted on yet.

Insurance Reform On A Napkin

30 Sep

back of the napkin

Last year, I read a great book titled “The Back Of The Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures“.  The premise is that through our reliance on words, industry terminology and buzzword slang, we have made complex business problems more difficult to solve.  He encourages a new approach, visual thinking.  Simply taking ideas and sketching them out in order to create a simplistic view of the problem which promotes creative discussion and solutions.

I generally loathe business books, especially those written by anyone in the marketing industry, but I found this one to be a powerful tool as I go about my day-to-day trudge through the creative wasteland of corporate information technology organizations.

The author of the book, Dan Roam, partnered up with a healthcare marketing strategist to create what has been call, un-ironically enough, as the “best presentation in the world for 2009“.

They decided to take a step back from the constant stream of purposeful disinformation presented in the ongoing healthcare debate to lay out a simple set of facts and describe the problem set.  I might quibble with some of their statements and conclusions, but this is one of the clearest presentations on healthcare that I have seen.  If President Obama had started out the summer with something simple like this in a televised address to the American people, we’d be much closer to a solution to this multi-generational problem.

I think the visual thinking method helps smart people talk to the vast majority of dummies in our society by boiling complex issues down to the intelligence level of your average Oklahoma house frau who thinks Sarah Palin is just like her, dagnabbit!.  Let me know what you make of the presentation.

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Coup Plotters

29 Sep

Ever wonder why there’s no English word for junta or coup d’etat or putsch?

Because Anglophone countries have a very sparse history of overthrowing their legitimate governments. (The coup in the New York State Senate earlier this year doesn’t really count – that was a parliamentary switch of the majority, and the word coup isn’t all that accurate – the move was legal.)

That hasn’t stopped the Obamaphobes from suggesting that a military coup would be the best way to solve the – no joke – “Obama problem”.

I remember when it was treason to disagree that we should invade Iraq. I believe that, with talk of a coup, we have reached peak wingnut.

Health and the Public Option

29 Sep

Today, the Senate Finance Committee rejected two separate amendments to the health insurance reform plan that would have instituted a public health insurance option, a federal health insurance plan that would be subsidized on a sliding scale depending on need, and offer affordable, quality health insurance coverage to anyone who wants it. Contrary to “socialized medicine” screamers, this plan would require people to pay a premium. Just like you do now, if you’re fortunate enough to have coverage of some sort.

This would most benefit people in the middle class who are not Medicare or Medicaid eligible, and are self-employed. The non-employer-backed health insurance market is the most expensive with the least regulation and worst coverage.

Two separate public option amendments proposed by Senators Rockefeller and Schumer were defeated, with the help of all ten Republicans on the Finance Committee, as well as Democratic Senators Baucus of Montana, Carper of Delaware, Conrad of North Dakota, Lincoln of Arkansas, and Nelson of Florida.

The Republicans, naturally, are dead-set against any sort of universal health care or government option. That led to this phenomenal exchange between Senators Grassley and Schumer:

Democrats quickly rose up to answer the charges, including Mr. Schumer, who challenged Mr. Grassley to spell out his views on Medicare, the government insurance plan for Americans over age 65 and for the disabled.

“I just want to know what you think of Medicare, which is a much more government-run program,” Mr. Schumer said.

“I think that Medicare is part of the social fabric of America just like Social Security is,” Mr. Grassley said. “To say that I support it is not to say that it’s the best system that it could be.”

“But it is a government-run plan,” Mr. Schumer shot back.

Mr. Grassley, a veteran Senate debater, insisted that Medicare did not pose a threat to the private insurance industry. “It’s not easy to undo a Medicare plan without also hurting a lot of private initiatives that are coupled with it,” he said.

Mr. Schumer pounced. “You are supportive of Medicare,” he said. “I just don’t understand the difference. That’s a government-run plan and the main knock you have made on Senator Rockefeller’s amendment, and I am sure on mine, is that it’s government-run.”

The battle for a public option is not dead, but it is on life support. The Times reports that Senate Majority “Leader” Harry Reid will not include a public option in whatever bill goes to the full Senate for a vote, so it will be up to Senators like Rockefeller and Schumer to bring it up again on the floor.

Seriously, the Republicans are a better majority caucus with 40 members in the Senate than the Democrats are with 60.

Genuine Voter Fraud Alleged

29 Sep

Actual false votes were allegedly cast on the Working Families line in Albany-area races.

Again – abolish. electoral. fusion. It is a breeding ground for corruption. The WFP will bear the brunt of the backlash. Their ties to ACORN will be brought up, and the whole thing will be a great sideshow.

But don’t for a minute think this doesn’t go on in the Conservative or Independence Party lines on a regular basis; don’t for a minute think this is unique to the WFP. Electoral fusion is what fuels this, and parties should be required to run their members as candidates, period. Hopefully this revelation will result in Albany abolishing the fusion system – they’ve been reluctant to do so until now because let’s face it, it helps them get elected.

Collins' Obamaphobes React

29 Sep

One of the favorites among Obamaphobes is to send around chain emails that detail the fact that Obama is, e.g., an Aramaic translation of “666” thus proving that he was born the anti-Christ to a Kenyan heretic and has taken on Hitlerstalin’s cause of fascismsocialismnaziism to destroy America.  Yesterday, I was sent this idiocy (debunked by Snopes) by a person who commented on this site, claiming to have created Tea New York, and came from a teanewyork.com domain.   It was cc’d to Chris Smith and Allen Coniglio.  I replied:

First of all, that’s not written by the person you say wrote it: http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/proportions.asp

Secondly, if you think that forwarding this to me would suddenly make me realize that Obama really is black Hitler, you’re woefully misguided.

I will, however send this along to your endorsed candidates for county legislature and ask them again why they’re associating themselves with such false and ignorant hatred.

Alan

I honestly don’t know why they do, and I honestly don’t know what on God’s green Earth Obamaphobia has to do with reforming New York or downsizing the Erie County Legislature or anything else about our governmental or economic crises here in New York State.

The Republican Party has sunk pretty low if they have to pepper “less government” and “lower taxes” (something they seldom achieve when in power, incidentally) with “Obama is worse than al Qaeda” or whatever else they dream up.

Well, Coniglio himself replied to me, since he was copied in on the silly chain email I received, and I hit “reply to all”.  I will let it speak for itself.

Who is this guy talking to? I didn’t send him anything. I also am very familiar with the piece he is raving about and I realize the man listed as the author most likely did not write it as he has denied it. That is very old news. Additionally, I never said obama is the black anything, let alone Hitler. obama is just another tyrant wannabe, a creepy little fascist/socialist (just like Hitler, not so coincidentally) who will fall eventually to his own treacherous and diabolical ways. History will be very certain about that. What is this race stuff? Why is it necessary to bring it up?  I do not dwell on a person’s race although it is very apparent that those on the left seem quite obsessed with the subject. In fact, in all the time I have been working to change things in this county and beyond, I have never heard anyone I have been associated with say anything about race except in passing or in response to the drivel that seems to come daily from the left. What is going on with that? Why are they so obsessed with a person’s race? That seems more than a bit strange to me. As a tea party person, the only thing I have ever said and/or written about race is that black people are held in servitude to the left, falling, unfortunately, for the slick packaging and incessant lies and propaganda the left is noted for, and that we need to find a way to bring more black people into our movement and to liberate them from the new slaveholders. The most difficult thing for me to tolerate is a liar and a hypocrite. It seems that is all we are able to mine from those who mindlessly oppose us. Think. On what grounds do you oppose us? Our goal and stated mission is to preserve the constitution of the United States and to insure liberty and justice for all. Strangely enough, that used to be a good thing until the fear driven assault from the left began in force in the 1960’s. Who are these people and why do they insist on making no sense?

BTW, why do you find it necessary to threaten me? What is it supposed to mean that you are going to send things to other people that I purportedly said or disseminated? Am I supposed to be afraid of you? I never say ANYTHING that I cannot stand behind or back up and if I say something, I will admit it. Just what kind of foul thinking snitch are you? Maybe you can send this on to obama’s snitch website so he will know whom to put on his enemies list. When you do, ask him to produce a birth certificate. If he and the other evildoers of this world did not own the courts and the media from top to bottom, and if they did not wield incredible political power backed by the treasury of the United States of America, he would never have made it to the White House in the first place. Pelosi knew about his illegitimacy and she worked to cover it up. She too will have to face the consequences for what she has done as will all those who have allowed this to go as far as it has. It appears, however, that America will soon have her day in court. Here is part of what I posted to ReformNYS regarding a lawsuit which may well force the issue of obama’s legitimacy.

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What's Another Mistaken Release?

29 Sep

Sheriff Tim Howard does it again!  Wow! What competence!

The Collins Quartet & the local Birchers

28 Sep

In follow-up to this post and Chris’ post, I sent the following email to candidates Dixon, Hardwick, Fudoli, and Schratz:

http://wnymedia.net/wnymedia/smith/2009/09/teabaggers-endorse-county-legislature-candidates/
http://wnymedia.net/wnymedia/buffalopundit/2009/09/well-well-well-what-do-we-have-here/

At least one (if not more) of the members of this coalition holds some pretty extreme, fringe viewpoints.  As in it makes the John Birch Society seem mild in comparison.

Thanks in advance,

Alan

I received two official campaign responses.

Professor Hardwick sent this along:

Although I doubt any two people in this community agree on the appropriate role of government or level of taxation, I think most people would agree that there is too much government in Erie County and taxes are too high. I, therefore, am pleased that the coalition believes I am the candidate for 10th District Erie County Legislature most likely to address these issues.

Lynne Dixon sent this along:

While I never sought the endorsement, if their basic principles are that of lower taxes, less government and creating a better business climate in Western New York, then I appreciate that they believe I am the better candidate to address those issues.  As an Independent who left a long journalism career to try and do what’s best for the people of Erie County, regardless of party, that has been and will continue to be what guides me in my campaign.

One of the people on Fudoli’s contact page responded to me, but indicated that his reply was not the official campaign reaction.  Schratz never replied in any way.

So, shorter Dixon/Hardwick would be: I don’t care who they are, if they support me and are for lower taxes/smaller government, I’ll take it.

I’m very disappointed that they don’t think this is a big deal.  Because it is, to me.

One of the members of the Tea Party Coalition holds some pretty repugnant views.  First of all, the members of that coalition who chose to join with him have some soul-searching to do.  Secondly, the candidates who are apparently enthusiastic about the Tea Party Coalition endorsement should be ashamed of themselves.

I wouldn’t join a group, or accept the endorsement of someone who says this:

“[T]he only other solution might be a civil war in which the people or factions thereof, attempt to take back control of their destinies from a dangerously out of control and inept ruling class . . . Expect devastation, famine, starvation, disease, war and disaster after disaster before the ship rights itself. It will not be pretty but, in a way, I welcome it because I know that it is the only way out of the morass in which we have become mired.”

And:

“[T]here are many more unproductive slackers [today] due to big government, new slaveholder interventions and slave breeding programs. People of the type created by these programs would not have existed in any measurable quantity as there would have been little possibility of survival prior to the advent of the modern welfare state. Slacking is now in the genes of the people who have been on welfare for 3 or 4 generations or more and these people are now, for all intents and purposes, societally worthless, ineducable and probably beyond redemption. Yes, they are different because they have been bred to do nothing but slack and vote for Democrats by their slavemasters Jackson, Sharpton, Farrakhan, Reid, Kerry, Kennedy, the Clintons, etc.”

And:

We need to protest the bias of the state run media and how they have bcome nothing more than poop boys for the messiah, obama, and his radical, fringe, take down America agenda.

And:

I have been associated with the tea party movement since March of 2009 and in spite of all the nonsense I hear coming from such small minded people as Pelosi, Reid, Carter, and both obamas, I have yet to hear one member of the tea party movement utter any kind of racially insensitive remark or claim that they oppose obama because of his race. When you tell certain people, liberals, to be precise, that you oppose obama because of his national socialist policies and his wanton disregard for the US Constitution and the rule of law, they seem confused and disbelieving, unable to grasp, I believe, that anyone could oppose him for those reasons….They are convinced that we are part of a Republican cabal, a vast right wing conspiracy dedicated to keeping the masses of poor people permanently enslaved so that we can use them as a never ending source of labor to enrich ourselves and our evil fellow collaborators, Republican racists every one. I don’t know about you but I have never belonged to any political party and I never will. I do, however, vote in every election in which I am allowed and I always vote for the best person – man or woman, of whatever race and/or political party. I think that is more than we can say for our liberal accusers.

The fact that they are endorsing only Republicans must be a coincidence.

I believe that obama has plans to legalize illegal aliens in this country, possibly limiting it to only those from North America which would be mainly Mexicans, and thus guarantee himself and the dems a victory in the midterm elections. This, of course, would come at a time when polls are showing that the dems are going to take a beating of historic proportions in 2010 and possibly lose control of both the House and the Senate. Truly, this would be an act of war against the American people, using a foreign army of illegals to steal from American voters something which obama and the dems could not win in an honest election. This will, of course, spark widesprad protests, possibly some violence, and would give obama an excuse to call out the national guard and place America under martial law. At this point, he would have near dictatorial powers and he would then constitute his dreamed of “civilian” armed corps which he has spoken of openly on more than one occaion.

When confronted with this sort of explicitly ignorant drivel, Dixon and Hardwick punted – they accepted the endorsement anyway, and did not even take care to denounce the specific rantings of this leading member of the group that endorsed them.

Candidates Hardwick, Fudoli, Dixon, and Schratz have had an opportunity to read these things and to weigh in.  A simple:

“I recognize that the Tea Party Coalition is made up of several individuals who don’t always agree with each other on every issue, nor do I agree with each of them on everything.  With respect to the hateful conspiratorial writings you and Chris highlighted, I expressly reject that, and repudiate it.  I will accept the endorsement of any person or group that believes in lower taxes and smaller government, and I will continue to work towards my election to the county legislature, so I may promote that agenda on behalf of all the people of the ___ District.”

…would do. See, that wasn’t so hard.

I wrote last week:

then I’d like to know if, as a Republican, you’re going to be a limp fish and go along with such viciously ignorant hatred, or if you’re going to be like William F. Buckley, Jr. and take a firm stand against the lunatic fringe.

I electorally reject anyone who won’t reject the John Birch Society crap I’ve quoted above.  William F. Buckley would be ashamed.

It’s early, and I’m running late this morning, but I’ll have more to say about this. Seriously, I find it appalling.