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Author: Subject: Ye Olde Fund of Ensurance (SATIRE WARNING!)

Zen Peach





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  posted on 9/15/2009 at 09:29 AM
Note: since there are certain people that may read the contents of this thread and take great offense, you are warned. The highly complicated and intensively powerful cartoon images may produce a chuckle or intense anger. There is also a fair chance that you may discover that the viewpoints expressed may not be the same as your own. Read at your own risk.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 9/15/2009 at 10:40 AM
Where's the penguin?
 

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  posted on 9/15/2009 at 11:15 AM
Seems like something is missing.

Where's the panel where the elected leaders of the peasants, entrusted to wisely manage, invest, grow, and protect the fund contributions, instead spend it as soon as it is received, thus having no money to cover future needs?

I wonder how the peasants feel towards them?

Do the peasants blindly continue to re-elect them and believe every new promise?

I can't wait till next week!

And yeah; where's the penguin?



[Edited on 9/15/2009 by Fujirich]

 

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  posted on 9/15/2009 at 11:25 AM
LOL!!! Thanks for the laugh Tom and Jerry!

 

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  posted on 9/15/2009 at 11:57 AM
quote:
Seems like something is missing.

Where's the panel where the elected leaders of the peasants, entrusted to wisely manage, invest, grow, and protect the fund contributions, instead spend it as soon as it is received, thus having no money to cover future needs?

I wonder how the peasants feel towards them?

Do the peasants blindly continue to re-elect them and believe every new promise?

I can't wait till next week!

And yeah; where's the penguin?



[Edited on 9/15/2009 by Fujirich]


Fuji, in all this discussion, you completely ignore the issue of having insurance companies run our health care, and defend the billions they pull off the top. You keep going on and on about how incompetent the government is, but seem to give the insurance industry a free pass. I'm curious to know why that is so. Do you really think the current system is better than anything else "the land of the free and the home of the brave" could come up with?

 

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  posted on 9/15/2009 at 11:58 AM
And Tom Tomorrow gets right to the heart of the matter, as usual.

 

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  posted on 9/15/2009 at 12:25 PM
quote:
Note: since there are certain people that may read the contents of this thread and take great offense, you are warned. The highly complicated and intensively powerful cartoon images may produce a chuckle or intense anger. There is also a fair chance that you may discover that the viewpoints expressed may not be the same as your own. Read at your own risk.


Disclaimer of the year !

 

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Extreme Peach



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  posted on 9/15/2009 at 12:44 PM
SCB - some of those insurance companies, like Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield here in NJ, are non profit entities. And the CEO of HBCBS makes $6 million a yr. doesn't seem right to me.

yes the system is broken in health insurance.

by like all of his cartoons, Tom Tomorrow slants his cartoon to prove his own personal viewpoint and completely ignores other crucial items in the scenario. but i guess if he were honest about the entire picture, his cartoons wouldn't be funny to some people.

 

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  posted on 9/15/2009 at 12:51 PM
quote:
Fuji, in all this discussion, you completely ignore the issue of having insurance companies run our health care, and defend the billions they pull off the top. You keep going on and on about how incompetent the government is, but seem to give the insurance industry a free pass. I'm curious to know why that is so. Do you really think the current system is better than anything else "the land of the free and the home of the brave" could come up with?
Nonsense. I've never defended any entity in this debate. I see unsubstantiated claims about greed, married with no recognition whatsoever of how much of our money is truly wasted by govt, and try to bring some comparative economics to the discussion.

I'd never deny that health insurance companies reach decisions that can easily be seen as heartless. But that's the emotional side of the issue, for which there will never be a solution. There will never be enough resources and money to satisfy every possible situation. If you want to see heartless decision making, just wait till a govt bureaucracy runs something.

In the meantime, the economics of the issue must be dealt with. You want to go on blindly accepting the rosy promises of politicians who have proven only to be failures over our nation's economic issues? Feel free, but I chose a little deeper examination.

Do you have any understanding of just how poorly our Washington politicians have managed the planning and funding of the major social programs we have all contributed to? If govt had to report their financial condition in the same way they force businesses to do, our true national debt would be $60 to $80 trillion dollars. These unfunded liabilities can not possibly be resolved without huge cutbacks in promised services. You think some of the health care town halls were rowdy? Wait till some of these programs start faltering.

I've yet to see a single person on this forum dispute, with decent facts, any claim I've made about govt waste and inefficiency. If the evidence showed that govt could do something better than private industry, I'd agree in a second. Please present such a case for us to examine and discuss.

 

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Obamacare: To insure the uninsured, we first make the insured
uninsured and then make them pay more to be insured again,
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Zen Peach



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  posted on 9/15/2009 at 01:33 PM
quote:
LOL!!! Thanks for the laugh Tom and Jerry!


Huzzah

 

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  posted on 9/16/2009 at 07:55 AM
quote:
f the evidence showed that govt could do something better than private industry, I'd agree in a second.


OK, how about road building? I don't see many private businesses planning and maintaining roads. How about protecting the country? I don't see many private actors funding nuclear research, training armies, etc..How about keeping the food supply safe? Which corporations are out there doing that? Insuring the elderly and the poor? Market cannot do a good job at that, and the health care that the private sector does insure is a robust number 37 in the world. Which private corporation keeps the drugs that are being marketed from killing us needlessly? National security? You tell me which private entity does a better job than the govt on this? Courts? Police? Education? If you think public education is bad, imagine if there wasn't such a thing. Why not private buses and subways ? Why aren't there private companies making a killing in those areas? Postal service? Imagine how much it would cost to mail a letter if not publicly supported? Disaster management? Where are the private FEMA's? Any corps like that in the Fortune 500? Lending libraries?

The fact is that the government provides many necessary services that the free market cannot handle. Health is one of these areas. The very fact that medical costs are ruining the economy by consuming an ever increasing share of the GDP is one indication of the fact that the free market is incapable of dealing with this area in an efficient manner.

All of the above examples show the public commons and the need to provide infrastructure to enable people to live quality lives and even enables businesses and people to get rich beyond their wildest dreams. It is by working together and with a sense of a shared responsibility for each other that allows a country to progress. The myth of the rugged individualist is just that, a myth. We are all dependent on one another for survival and for success. No one succeeds on their own, first their parents have to enable them to live to adulthood, and prepare them for the world by educating them. The laws of the land and their enforcement protect them from predatory forces and which provides stability to each community and the nation. The transportaion infrastructure allows mobility and the choice of many jobs so they can feed their kids, food that usually will not kill them, because, and only because, the FDA is in place. When sick, the medicine prescribed can be rationally assumed to be safe. The roads also allow the distribution of goods that the free market cannot thrive without.

Sad that these things aren't self evident to all these rugged libertarians and conservatives. I didn't even scratch the surface on how the government is indispensible to an economy and a free market, just the obvious stuff. The bottom line is this: without these safeguards and infrastructure in place, you have a third world country. After decades of attacking government we now find ourselves on the verge of third world status and wonder why. It is because when you hitch your wagon to lies and bad philosophy and wishful thinking and supply side economics, etc...it leads to disaster. Where we are now as a country is the manifestation of that philosophy.

 

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  posted on 9/16/2009 at 09:48 AM
quote:
How about protecting the country? I don't see many private actors funding nuclear research, training armies, etc..How about keeping the food supply safe?
Agree with all these.

quote:
OK, how about road building?
This is primarily a state issue, but Federal involvement increased with the construction of the interstate highway system. That system is now pretty much completed. Maintenance and refinement (like adding hubs around cities, or extra lanes to what exists) is a state issue. Why do we need a to have so much money funneled back to us from the Federal govt for this?

quote:
Insuring the elderly and the poor?
Insuring them for what? Are you talking Medicare/Medicaid here? If so, I can't believe you're using these two as examples in the positive. They are both going broke. They are the poster children for poor financial management. Medicare has massive waste, as agreed to by both D's and R's alike, but neither party has mounted a serious attempt to improve that. This and Social Security are the ultimate examples of what should be considered criminal negligence of taxpayer monies.

quote:
Which private corporation keeps the drugs that are being marketed from killing us needlessly? National security? You tell me which private entity does a better job than the govt on this? Courts? Police?
Agreed. But most courts are state and local functions, as are police departments.

quote:
Education? If you think public education is bad, imagine if there wasn't such a thing.
This function is at least as bad off as health care, and it's no accident that as the Federal structure has assumed more control and grown ever-more involved, the quality has plummeted. The Feds continue to keep a lid on the kind of competition necessary for improvement here with their blind support of the unions. I'm all for public education, where it produces a quality result. Why can't the public's money fund a privately-run school? Politics and unions trump the kids and a better result here.

quote:
Why not private buses and subways ? Why aren't there private companies making a killing in those areas?
For the most part, these functions are a state and local issue. And yes; why aren't private companies involved? I guess we'd have to examine the policies of individual states and cities. Oh yeah - almost forgot - there is some Federal-managed public transportation: Amtrack. Have they ever managed to break even financially?

quote:
Postal service?
Agreed. But we don't really know if anyone could compete privately because I believe they are granted monopoly status on the delivery of mail, periodicals, etc.

quote:
Disaster management? Where are the private FEMA's?
You really want to use FEMA as an example of a well-run service? Have you missed all the stories of how FEMA money is wasted, or subject to fraud? Not to mention their stellar service record.

quote:
Lending libraries?
A state/city function, and ones I agree completely with.



I find it amazing that some see a critique of the ineptitude of specific Federal functions and automatically leap to the conclusion that the questioner is a 100% anti-govt anarchist. Labeling the other party in a debate in stark black & white terms seems all the fashion.

I challenge anyone to find where I've stated that all govt is unnecessary or bad, and all private industry is perfect and good. Yet this is the way the debate usually plays out with some individuals here.

I find many things in a our society to be necessary Federal govt functions. But a large percentage of what they do today is not within the original scope of the Constitution. Those in favor of an all-powerful statist, expansive govt have perverted parts of that founding document to permit every possible breech of its intent. And it comes as little surprise that programs adopted or considered which over-run those barriers are usually the ones with huge waste, out of control spending, and economically unsustainable futures. Hard to understand how some can so easily ignore that, and suggest we go further and further down the road of fiscal irresponsibility.

 

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Obamacare: To insure the uninsured, we first make the insured
uninsured and then make them pay more to be insured again,
so the original uninsured can be insured for free.

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 9/16/2009 at 10:23 AM


quote:
Disaster management? Where are the private FEMA's?
You really want to use FEMA as an example of a well-run service? Have you missed all the stories of how FEMA money is wasted, or subject to fraud? Not to mention their stellar service record.




Actually, FEMA was a well-run, effective agency till Bush put Brownie in charge.

Fuji, I get two things out of all your posts:

1. Americans aren't capable of doing anything at all unless their is a huge profit margin involved. When they work for corporations, they are geniuses. When they go to work for the government, they turn into morons.

2. Nothing is worth doing unless there is a huge profit margin involved. The government should not provide any service unless there is money to be made.

That may not be what you intend, but I get the feeling nothing is worthwhile to you unless there is money to be made on it.

I think that is the attitude that put this country where we are economically.

 

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  posted on 9/16/2009 at 12:07 PM
quote:
quote:
quote:
Disaster management? Where are the private FEMA's?
You really want to use FEMA as an example of a well-run service? Have you missed all the stories of how FEMA money is wasted, or subject to fraud? Not to mention their stellar service record.
Actually, FEMA was a well-run, effective agency till Bush put Brownie in charge.

Fuji, I get two things out of all your posts:

1. Americans aren't capable of doing anything at all unless their is a huge profit margin involved. When they work for corporations, they are geniuses. When they go to work for the government, they turn into morons.

2. Nothing is worth doing unless there is a huge profit margin involved. The government should not provide any service unless there is money to be made.

That may not be what you intend, but I get the feeling nothing is worthwhile to you unless there is money to be made on it.

I think that is the attitude that put this country where we are economically.
Those are extrapolations on your part, not aligning with anything I've said.

This is really simple: there are core functions that govt must do, as they are the only ones so suited. I have no quarrel with those. Beyond that are a set of functions that either govt or private industry could perform. These have typically become some derivative of a social program or benefit. Show me where any of those Federal govt-run programs are managed in a fiscally responsible manner. Is there a high percentage of waste and fraud? Is the program set up to be fiscally sound for the future?

I see no major Federal social program that meets those simple goals. Now I know that the health care debate has moved past having any sort of Federal-run program for now. But as a general observation: why should a thinking person invest their faith in govt to provide important personal needs when any rational examination of what govt already provides in that arena is so seriously flawed?

I've never once argued with the need for reform to the health care situation. But railing against the profits of the insurance companies is akin to hunting for squirrels for a meal when there's cows and chickens and pigs right nearby. Not saying it won't be helpful, just that there's far bigger targets to go after first.

 

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so the original uninsured can be insured for free.

 

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  posted on 9/16/2009 at 12:12 PM
The problem, Fuji, is the notion that government is bad, bad, bad and cannot do anything well. That is a black and white statement. Your argument was not stated in terms of, well, there is some waste and inefficiency in some parts of government and that needs to be addressed, but overall, government is indispensable to the overall economy and well being of the citizenry, and has to provide for the things that are not profitable. When you start framing your arguments thus, I will frame mine differently.

See, you ask why Amtrak is not profitable. It is a service that is needed and whether it is profitable or not is not the issue. Does the military turn a profit? Police and fire departments. I see nothing relevant in the argument over whether something is a state/local issue or national. They are government services, period, end of conversation. Profit is not the motivating factor in these things. Government must provide them, because the private sector will not, whether state or federal. When states will not or cannot provide the services, the federal govt has to. Unless you want to live in a third world country, that is...

Another reality is that humans must rely on one another, which turns most libertarian philosophy into myth. Ignoring one of the most basic realities, such as humans, to survive, must look after one another, leads to actions that will destroy any society. This is just a fundamental fact of life.

I do get the impression that you are against all government based on the tone and direction of the line of thought you express. It runs right through all your posts on politics. It seems to me extreme and radical. Am I just imagining this or do you think maybe that is how it is coming across to others?


quote:
Why can't the public's money fund a privately-run school? Politics and unions trump the kids and a better result here.


I think it is more a conflict of interest issue, mainly. Who gets funding? Who doesn't? The private company would then be profiting directly off the taxpayers. I don't know about you, but I would just as soon not have companies set up to profit from taxpayers directly. A business should be able to provide a product that does not need to rely solely on the taxpayer to be a going concern. What's the point of calling it a private business if it cannot make it without public monies?

The need for government services and the services themselves are usually by definition unprofitable, or else we would not be having this conversation at all. Some private company or companies would be filling the need, profitably.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 9/16/2009 at 12:16 PM
I agree that things should be done as efficiently as possible, and should be paid for. That can be done without the profit motive.

I've mentioned several times that there is a lot more than "profit" involved, when we are talking about money that the insurance industries spend for things other than health care. Why do you keep ignoring all the money they spend lobbying congress, or advertising their products, or paying their executives outlandish salaries? All that money comes out of the premiums they charge their customers. Do you think that is an efficient way to run a health care system?

In fact, how can we know how good a job the insurance industry does running health care? As long as they are making a profit, does that mean they are doing a good job? Or does the level of care, and outcomes, have anything at all to do with this?

 

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  posted on 9/16/2009 at 01:07 PM
quote:
The problem, Fuji, is the notion that government is bad, bad, bad and cannot do anything well. That is a black and white statement. Your argument was not stated in terms of, well, there is some waste and inefficiency in some parts of government and that needs to be addressed, but overall, government is indispensable to the overall economy and well being of the citizenry, and has to provide for the things that are not profitable. When you start framing your arguments thus, I will frame mine differently.
Please show me any statement of mine where I said that govt is "bad, bad, bad and cannot do anything well" in the entirety of what it does. I just agreed with a large part of what you said are necessary govt functions. Did you even read the reply? Maybe its a comprehension issue.

quote:
See, you ask why Amtrak is not profitable. It is a service that is needed and whether it is profitable or not is not the issue.
When you take money from the entire country to fund something that benefits only a few, it sure as hell is an issue. Needed? As if there are no competitors to traveling between Boston, NYC, Philly, & DC. I didn't say they should be profitable, but a break-even at some point would be nice. I still can't believe you use Amtrack as an example of something successful.

quote:
I see nothing relevant in the argument over whether something is a state/local issue or national.
You can look at it anyway you personally like, but our country was set up to have power diffuse and distributed, not to have a giant Federal structure ruling everything they chose to get involved in. You'd criticize any company that became so large they dominated both consumers and competitors alike, wouldn't you? Why are you so happy with a govt doing the same, and wasting ever-more of your money in the process? Perhaps you just don't care. Some of us do.

quote:
I do get the impression that you are against all government based on the tone and direction of the line of thought you express.
Why go on responding to you after agreeing with most of what you previously proposed as vital govt services. Ramble away.

 

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Obamacare: To insure the uninsured, we first make the insured
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so the original uninsured can be insured for free.

 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 9/16/2009 at 01:40 PM
quote:
I agree that things should be done as efficiently as possible, and should be paid for. That can be done without the profit motive.
It would require some new form of economic structure satisfy this scenario SCB. Currently, we have a hugely wasteful govt, and a private sector that needs some level of profit to survive. Neither seem likely to change radically in the near future.

In a separate thread, Bhawk expressed a difference of opinion with the Fortune study that health insurance companies are only 2.2% profitable.

Reference - http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2009/performers/industrie s/profits/

He had no figures to back up that belief. But let's say he's right. Let's triple Fortune's figures. Govt wishes they could make Medicare only 6.6% wasteful!

quote:
Why do you keep ignoring all the money they spend lobbying congress, or advertising their products, or paying their executives outlandish salaries? All that money comes out of the premiums they charge their customers. Do you think that is an efficient way to run a health care system?
These are valid concerns. And I don't ignore them. But let's apply some scale here. We're talking millions in terms of these lobbying efforts. For Medicare waste, we're talking tens of billions. Several orders of magnitude different.

The salary expense comes out of the profits of shareholders. Competition determines the prices the consumers pay. The company must still compete with others for the prices they charge. That competition should yield the best price for the customer. But it would work even better if the doors were flung open wider and the state-to-state barriers to health insurance coverage were eliminated. What's standing in the way of that? Our old friend: Mr Govt

quote:
In fact, how can we know how good a job the insurance industry does running health care? As long as they are making a profit, does that mean they are doing a good job? Or does the level of care, and outcomes, have anything at all to do with this
Completely agree with you here. I'm really not worried about any company's profits when I buy their product. I want a quality result for what I paid, and for them to be there in case I have trouble in the future (that sort of implies they need to make something in order to survive).

We're not getting that from either the private insurance companies or the govt-run programs. Why? Have you heard Obama, or anyone in Congress try to answer that question with plausible detail? I'd say the best we've heard so far are vague references, not detailed answers. I wish they'd attack the problem from this direction. I believe they'd earn much more credibility in the process.

Remember: even the govt's own accounting agency - the CBO - has scored the plans they have been presented thus far as more expensive than what we currently have.

 

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Obamacare: To insure the uninsured, we first make the insured
uninsured and then make them pay more to be insured again,
so the original uninsured can be insured for free.

 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 9/16/2009 at 01:47 PM
Most road/bridge building I see around this part of the country is subcontracted out to private companies....those aren't city/state or federal workers out there.

ALL school bus operations in the city I live in have been subcontracted out.

 

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  posted on 9/16/2009 at 02:38 PM
Goliath,

You make some pretty good points, but so does Fuji. a couple of things we all have to take into consideration:

1 - things like police, national security - private entities could never compete because they are not subsidized through taxes. and yes, these entities technically run a p&l statement and need to run in the black. they have budgets that they need to comply with and when they do not, taxes go up.

2 - road building, some aspects of national security and major portions of federal initiatives are subcontracted to private companies.

 

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  posted on 9/16/2009 at 03:12 PM
If the sub-contractors get most of their projects and money from the government, then they are pretty much government companies. That is not the point though. The point is that the government pays for the roads to be built and we all benefit from it. Why doesn't the the government leave the funding to the private sector? Because then we would have the use of the byways only for anyone with enough money for the toll. It facilitates commerce and allows people to get around. I bet you that private police forces could compete. They would have to have their own private courts too. Probably would have their own laws too. I think if you can follow the train of thought and logic I am using here, you could easily name of 40 or 50 things that would be intolerable about private police. The corruption would be rampant also. In the end, there would be no things as justice and fair play in our lives, which is the exact same argument that should resonate about health care. Only people that can afford it get 'justice'.

Paying private companies to provide the services that the govt provides is not really the issue at all. Alot of times it makes a lot of sense to farm out these services.

This is the point I am trying to make: Government is absolutely vital to the well being of a society. It does immense good, every single day. Having roads, police, fire departments, food and drug safety, national defense, judiciary, the rule of law to protect us, on and on and on....the people who work for the government are doing vital work for all of us, and they are respectable and responsible people for the overwhelming most part doing good work. This is the sane view of the world. Now let's start our discussions from here...or we could talk about birth certificates and death squads and communism and socialism and deficits and fascism some more.

 

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  posted on 9/16/2009 at 03:31 PM
quote:
Please present such a case for us to examine and discuss.


Well, I presented a bunch, and it is all pretty boring stuff. The perception I get from this question is that you think there is no such thing to be had as a single case. This is the style you frame your arguments. There are complex issues out there, that are expensive and must be dealt with. There is corruption. There are inefficiencies. There is waste. I do not know anyone who champions such things as corruption, waste, and inefficeiency. There should be strict processes in place to control these things as much as possible. That would be a government function too and it costs money.

I have never seen someone attack the government like you and others do Fuji, and then say show me where I have ever said the govt is bad. You are too clever by half.

 

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