Friday, November 6, 2009

Being Hypocritical IV

Here is the worst kind of hypocrisy being exposed. An actual veteran, Marko Moulitsas, calls out a proud anti-government non-veteran former congressman, Tom Tancredo, when he tries to speak negatively of the Veterans' Adminstration, essentially proclaiming that "government is the problem." He's against the public option.

When Tancredo is called out about his own deferment, his lack of service during Vietnam, he storms off the set right in the middle of a live broadcast but not before demanding an apology. An apology, for the truth? Tancredo sounds a lot like Dick Cheney. These types can dish it but can't take it.


zorro said...

From John Wayne to Ronald Reagan, conservatives have always been chickenhawks. In 1980, when Reagan was running against George Bush the elder in the primary, Reagan thought Bush (a moderate at the time who called Reagans economic ideas "Voodoo Economics" and said we'd be 'in deep economic Voodoo' if we elected Reagan) was a wimp, even though Reagan sat out WWII and Bush was shot down fighting in that war.
Also, the peace candidate in 1972, McGovern was a bomber pilot in WWII and Nixon 'the war candidate' also was able to avoid combat in WWII. Its a tradition with these guys -

Judith Ellis said...

Excellent, Zorro. Thank you for that bit of history: Reagan and Bush and McGovern and Nixon. How about George W. Bush and John Kerry? How ugly were those swift boat ads? It also appears that political affiliations do not get in the way of hypocrisy. It seems more about power-grabbing and degrading your opponent. (I was actually proud of the way President Obama ran his campaign in this regard.) Politics doesn't seem honorable in many cases to say the very least.

zorro said...

Another story about Eisnhower. William Buckley started National Review in part as a response to the
election of Eisnhower. For Buckley
(the son of a wealthy oil executive) Eisnhower was too liberal.
In the 1950's the economy was doing great. There were no practical reasons to be against liberal ideas. Taxes were high (for the rich) and the gap between rich and poor was getting narrower. The techologies that we depend on today were developed in the 1950's using government money. Based on this, the argument that the conservatives make that thier ideas make the economy stronger don't hold water. Conservative ideas not only weaken the economy over time (since nothing is ever invested for the long term), they create a large gap between the rich and the middle class. Government done reasonally well (and I would argue this always happens when Democrats are in power) is good for the vast majority of the people.
For some reason, 'the beige people' are more suseptable to the Conservative con-game than other races.

Judith Ellis said...

Thanks also for that, Zorro. Much appreciated. My mother who was a die-hard liberal followed Buckley and Will closely. She was impressed with their reasoning abilities but deplored their politics. I posted a video here where James Baldwin the son of sharecroppers ate Buckley's lunch at Oxford. I had never heard Buckley sound so moronic.after the debate Baldwin received a raucous long standing ovation. He was terrified of Baldwin. LOL! By the way, who are beige people? That's a new one for me.:-)

Judith Ellis said...

Oh, I totally respect Eisenhower. Almost everything that I have read of him has been great, not to support him seems very narrow indeed. It's also a great point you bring up about the Internet.

Dave Wheeler said...


So let me see if I'm following you here. A former Congressman who never served is not entitled to the knowledge that position gave him regarding the quality of care and service provided by the Vetrans Administration? I'm thinking if one looked at his constituent services files he probably got more than one earful bout the quality of care and service received through V.A. I know my Congressman Vic Snyder has. However, a person who served three years, who may have never even used a V.A. facility, has more knowledge on the subject? I'm thinking it's the "Daily Kos" thing, not expertise on V.A. healthcare that brought Mr. Moulitsas to this discussion. So if one who has never served is not entitled to use their knowledge or experience to speak out on the issues, where does that leave a Commander-in -Chief who never served? I never bought into that argument with President Clinton nor do I do it now. How is Tancredi's defferment an issue here? I know from personal experience of the wait times and care quality provided at V.A. facilities. Is it something that is "government" run? Yes! Is it something that needs to be improved...greatly? Yes! Will including a public option in any health care reform lead to changes in the V.A. system? Who knows? Is it an example of a government run program that is ineffective and inefficient? Yes, but then again there are many enterprises both public and private that are. So Tancredi's service status is relevant how again...I'm missing the point?

The Write Girl said...

Wow that's pretty low to walk off the set in the middle of an interview Judith. I am not too familiar with the politics and history of Tancredi but thanks for sharing.

Judith Ellis said...

Here, Dave, let me see if I can help you. Whenever these "government is the problem" types advocate against the people nine times out of ten they are doing so on a rather ideological standpoint as opposed to a pragmatic one, as government has been and is involved in businesses through the laws we pass, not to mention the research and development that Zorro mentions above without which where would we be? The government is involved in our lives through schools, safety and business via the likes of Halliburton on a large scale in which they are given billions of dollars and Cheney may not be so personally rich, and small businesses on a smaller scale. It is not a matter here of who has the right to advocate; it is a matter of the hypocrisy of the like of Tancredi and Cheney to discredit through their arrogance and hypocrisy that they know what is best in government, both having benefited from the government and largely left in disgrace according to the eyes of the people. Clinton never struck me as arrogant or hypocritical, but as a consensus builder, not that his deregulation laws were good for the country either.

What I am addressing here is the arrogance and hypocrisy of the likes of Cheney and Rumsfeld who basically could not run a war successfully, yet are consistently berating others who seek to move in another direction. Tancredi is one who does this at every opportunity and his hypocrisy is well seen by his abrupt leaving of a live show. Would you have done so because a question was asked of you about your deferment if you were not trying to put yourself out there as not only an expert but one whose personal views couldn't be challenged? I wonder why. Why didn't Tancredi simply say, "Yes, I did not serve in Vietnam when I could have done so honorably? I was literally scared to death and this is why I got that deferment.” Instead, he was exposed for the non-veteran that he is, instead of the solider he purports. How weak of him to ask for an apology! Be a man!

Yes, Tancredi can advocate for veterans all day long. Mothers who have never served have done this for years and it is laudable indeed. The problem as I see it is the arrogance that he knows best. Regarding the VA, there are undoubtedly problems there, as there are obviously on Wall Street which he lobbies for. The shameful thing is to say that "government is the problem" when you have been served well by government as a Congressman with Cadillac health care benefits and which know enables you to lobby for companies that would otherwise probably not even be interested in you. It is also quite likely that Cheney served as a lobbyist for Halliburton while he served as the VP. It is the hypocrisy that I'm addressing here.

Tancredi is speaking negatively about a government ran health care system where a large majority of soldiers are pleased. The VA serves as a model for a system, any system, with the most improvement. It has been far above the curve with regards to major waste by computerizing patients' records. I know personally quite a lot about the advantage of this, having done a lot of research for a client. By the way, I would preferably be more apt to listen to a veteran AND an advocate both of which Marko is. Your comment about his business venture the DailyKos seems to seek to discredit Marko. He is one who remembers civil war up close when he witnessed the execution of students by communist guerillas when his family moved to San Salvador. He served the United States honorably even though some his statements have been over the top. He is young. "Age should teach wisdom." What is Tancredi’s excuse?

Judith Ellis said...

The Write Girl - When people are caught in their hypocrisy they are exposed and need to simply get out of the lights. This is how I see Tancredi's action, not to say that he behaved highly unprofessionally. Tancredi was a congressman; you can see by this action alone what kind of advocate his was for his constituents. This is undoubtedly the reason he is a former congressman.

zorro said...

"By the way, who are beige people? "

I saw it in one of the responses in your blog. I'm pretty sure it means white people - I forget who coined the term -
Maybe Richard Pryor?
The middle class white people at the rally in washington are being conned y the conservative line.
Here's a video of Bob Dylan singing about it in 1963. Its somewhat outdated, but I still think the basic ideas apply today.

Judith Ellis said...

Wow, Zorro! Wow! That's a truly serious song and very relevant. Whose writing such today? Thanks for that. I had never heard this song before. I include the link here for those who wish to go right to it: Only a Pawn in Their Game. Thanks again.

Richard Pryor, eh? Cool. His comedy could be quite serious and biting too. He is clearly among the greatest comedians ever.

Dave Wheeler said...


Cheney? Rumsfeld? Haliburton? You assumed my mention of the Daily Kos was to discredit Mr. Moulitsas? Why? As I a vetran, I too want a more effective V.A. Computerized medical records don't change the fact my neighbor has been waiting three months to see an orthopedic surgeon regarding a knee replacement. Dental services...fugetaboutit! The best research on the quality and level of "customer satisfaction" can be done in any V.A. medical facility. Why take someone's word for it when you can experience it live and in full affect.

LBJ declared A War on Poverty in 1964. Since that time, bazillions of dollars have been spent on education programs, housing programs, crime programs, jobs programs to name a few. Both parties have had their shot at resolving and finding solutions and both have faied miserably. Just because something is done differently in no way guranttes it will be done more efficiently and effectively. People's problems haven't in the past or aren't in the future going to be fixed with "political" solutions or with paybacks to the special interest groups. I have spent a great deal of time today between football games watching and listening to the House debate. I seen many representatives use Medicare as the example of a successful government run health care program. They also point out that the trillion dollar pricetag for the reform bill will be paid for in large part by eliminating wastes and inefficiencies in the very program they cite as being successful. I wouldn't call that hypocrisy and it's not quite insanity. But absurdity and stupidity sure come to mind. I'm just not sure who that label applies to. The Congress for proposing it or "We the People" for believing it. Cleary reform is needed, why is this bill the answer?

Judith Ellis said...

Dave - If by your opening you're wondering why I have mentioned the above I have not the energy to explain why in further detail. Clearly my many words above were not enough and I don't think any more on the subject that "the government is the problem" will matter significantly. But let me briefly say that my words relate to hypocrisy, arrogance, misuse of power, and hundreds of billions of dollars. Government has been the friend of these not their enemy. I think that it is hypocritical to proclaim that government is the problem while benefiting from the very government you berate. Tancredo does the same. These guys are largely ideologues. I agree with Zorro that the likes of these are the problem, not the government in and of itself.

I know full well that you are a veteran and I appreciate your service. Regarding the medical record mention, the exact point refers to a system that, as I said above, has been greatly improved. Do you not agree with this? (I'm now remembering the many posts that Tom Peters has written on the topic of the VA and their many improvements.) Computerizing records reduces errors and makes systems more efficient from hospital to hospital. Needless to say, there can be improvements with any system, as I also said above, among these many private institutions that put the American and global economies on the brink of collapse.

What I assumed was your dissing of Marko was your remark that perhaps he has not even been in a VA facility and perhaps has never used their services. It appeared that your assumption was that he was perhaps not qualified to speak simply because of his business venture or that he was speaking because of it. If I have misunderstood you here, I stand corrected. I will also concede that Tancredo may have heard disgruntle veterans. There are disgruntle people all about and sometimes there are justifiable reasons. But this does not necessarily negate government health care as a whole which Tancredo tries to do consistently without offering any solutions himself. From his 10 year history in Congress he does not seem in my brief research seem to have been stellar. Inflammatory? For sure.

Are you suggesting that there have been no VA improvements and that the majority of veterans are displeased with the system and would rather buy their insurance on the private market? I think not. Many could not even afford this. Do you have any relatives who are seniors? Would they prefer the private market? Do you think that we should do away with Medicare and Medicaid because they are imperfect systems? Would you like for your loved ones to pay for their insurance in the private market if they currently have Medicare or Medicaid? Shall we do away with all forms of government health care? Why don't we require that all government employees pay for their health care? Why should we pay for theirs?

Judith Ellis said...

Dave, you wrote:

"They also point out that the trillion dollar pricetag for the reform bill will be paid for in large part by eliminating wastes and inefficiencies in the very program they cite as being successful. I wouldn't call that hypocrisy and it's not quite insanity."

The ending is a funny line. But can a program not be useful in some areas and need improvement in others? The reality is that you would probably have to pry Medicare and Medicaid out of the "cold dead hands" of many of the Teabaggers. My question to you again is are you prepared to do away with all forms of government ran health care, including the VA, just because improvements are necessary?

I would not call the above hypocrisy or insanity at all. I think your explanation here is rather simplistic. If you polled many of the seniors at the Tea Party events many of you will undoubtedly tell you that there are on some form of government ran health care program and yet many are screaming take your hands off of my health care. Now, that's hypocrisy, insanity, or stupidity.

Let me be clear. I have not read the whole bill, but I am for some of the changes which forbid insurance companies to use obesity or diabetes as a pre-condition and not pay out a claim after having received premiums for many years. I am also for a public option which will provide competition and not collusion and allow for the working poor to get insurance if they are unable to do so in the private market. I don't know how that shaping up lately.

Have you read the whole bill?

Let me also say this. If anybody has read this blog more than a few times, I regularly write about political issues from various sides and write about various Congress members of all parties. For me, these issues are not about right or left but about what I see as fair and just, like it or not, although I am more than happy to discuss anything that I have written.

Regarding your LBJ poverty mention, I don't think anyone will say that government alone will solve anything. This would be downright ignorant and foolish. The problem that I have addressed is proclaiming that "the government is the problem" when you benefit from the government or have caused the problems that the system of the government has to now deal with.

zorro said...

LBJ's war on poverty reduced poverty - poverty was trending down - right up to when Nixon cut it back.

If you like 40 hour work weeks, thank the government. If you think it important that the food you eat be processed in clean facilities, thank the government. If you know anyone whose life was saved by an airbag or a seat belt, thank the government. If you are glad there are child labor laws in this country, thank the government. If you enjoy weekends off, thank the government. If you enjoy discussing stuff like this on blogs that live on the Internet, thank the government. If you can read, you can more than likely thank can the government.
If you live in a large metropolitan region, thank the government for the air you breathe. The fact that it is relativeley clean is a government success story.
If you are glad the Grand Canyon is not filled with condos and is a not gated community, thank the goverment.

Judith Ellis said...

Beautiful, Zorro. Succinct and to the point, including unemployment insurance without which many more million Americans would now be in soup lines and unable to feed their families although they have been taxpayers for years.

zorro said...

How many of the Teabaggers drove
to Washington on the Interstate?

Judith Ellis said...

LOL, Zorro! That's too funny, but, oh, so relevant!

Dave Wheeler said...


Simplistic? I'm great with that! Government is one thing. Politics is another. Fixing the ineffectiveness and inefficiencies with government programs simply requires only the application of sound management and business practices. Identify the "real" problems Build on the common ground. Fix what is broke. Measure results. Make people accountable. Computerized medical records might be a marvelous thing but the real solution to the medical care delivery issue with in the V.A. system is more staffing and physicians. What screws up "government" are the politicians and the political process. When your policies are dictated by raising money, perpetuating conflict to raise even more money, and paying back those who gave you money by passing legislation that enables them to make wonder they fail. I see the vote was 220 to 215 even with the the Stupak Amendment language in the bill...the next few months will be interesting indeed!

So Auntie "J"...even though there are still some questions left unanswered in our discussion...please know you are still "simply" the best in my opinion!

Judith Ellis said...

Best, Dave, my friend.

Dave Wheeler said...


It was Reagan in 1981 not Nixon who began cutting the Great Society programs. Poverty in all groups declined steadily through the 70's

When I see individual public schools failing in spite of the infusion of billions of dollars each year into the education system, billions being spent each year subsidizing childcare that is neither responsive to the needs of the children or working parents they are designed to assist, when I see billions of dollars being given to a variety of non profit enterprises that produce "papers" and "education" services only (essential components of advocacy done exceptionally well by some)rather than services to help those needing the assistance or those who provide I thank the government too? This list could continue forever? I'm thinking the cost to benefit ratio of many government programs can and needs to be dramitically improved. I know these are real issues and challenges because I see them "up close and personal" working in my local community. One party wants to tax and spend, and grow government (or just spend)...that hasn't worked...the other does the opposite. Neither works and who gets screwed in the process? Rising costs and stagnant wages...that is the legacy of not government but the political parties that attempt to run it. Increased costs to business get passed to consumers yet productivity gains and cost savings seldom get passed to the employee. I am a manager in a bargained environment in a right to work state. The "union" negotiated a whopping 2.4 percent annual increase over 4 years. Cost of living increases and goods and services are definitely gonna exceed that 2.4 mark. I'm thinking we might need to re-think that whole "Union" thing. Maybe legislation along the lines of a "Living Wage" initiative could accomplish more in a faster period of time than the Employee Free Choice Act could. But then again, all that money and union support has to be re-paid somehow right. Government can work. It's biggest barrier to excellence however is politics and politicians. Seems that far to often it's the agenda of the party they align with rather than the needs of those that they were elected to serve is the one they work towards. That is what needs to change first and foremost...

I do see a bit of hope however in yesterday's health care vote. 39 Democrats and one Republican appeared to have voted to represent their constituents interests or their conscience rather than just the needs of their party. Bi-partisianship does not have to occur only when supporting a piece of legislation...opposition can be a great thing too!

Judith Ellis said...

Dave – The overall observation for me upon the first reading is a sweeping generalization that often times is indeed not even true. Let me explain.

1) "One party wants to tax and spend, and grow government (or just spend)..that hasn't worked...the other does the opposite."

The reality is that Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush increased the deficit by any president heretofore. Both of these Republican presidents spent like drunken sailors. We should probably start with the truth of the matter and actually define spending that actually grew the economy and made America stronger as opposed to that which increased the coffers of big business that enabled them through trade policies to increase their profit and not build the lives of Americans. Bill Clinton can also be considered among the presidents who stripped deregulation laws and signed free trade legislation with his Republican House that are affecting Americans today.

2) "Rising costs and stagnant wages...that is the legacy of not government but the political parties that attempt to run it."

If we consider that places like WalMart and Walgreen are actually selling things that in the past were much more expensive, your opening does not really bear true. What used to cost much more, i.e., clothes, toys, and laptops, are much cheaper because the labor has been shipped to developing nations like China and India. The greater question as it seems to me is that it will not matter how cheap the products are if American cannot buy them. So, in fact, the stagnant incomes could bee relieved in some ways.

The problem is without work there will be no purchasing period for a large portion of Americans. I think the basis of the argument is building American lives. What we have now is not our representative democracy in its best form where Bloomberg (I-NYC)) can spend over $100 million and Corzine (D-NJ) some $50 million which looks like an effort to buy votes and where capitalism where the capital is flushed into Wall Street banking system that don't "trickle" down but is invested all over the whole world, building their bank and busting ours.

Judith Ellis said...

3) "39 Democrats and one Republican appeared to have voted to represent their constituents interests or their conscience rather than just the needs of their party. Bi-partisianship does not have to occur only when supporting a piece of legislation...opposition can be a great thing too!"

I appreciated the fact that Corzine (D) lost in New Jersey while the exit polls indicate that the president has a high approval rating. I liked the independence of thought here and the idea that as Tip O'Neil said, "all politics is local." Regarding your comment above, you assume that these Democrats voted against the bill because they were voting with their constituents. I think that this assumption is incorrect. Many Democrats when I last checked were voting AGAINST the will of their constituents and aligning themselves instead with the big insurance companies who were financing their campaign and those who wives sit on various boards and have billions of dollars flow into their personal households. It would be interesting to go state by state of th3 39 and see precisely if the constituents were for health care reform. I think you will find that your hope is misguided in that the "no" was in fact against the wishes of their constituents. I did a search some time ago. But I haven't done one lately.

4) " I thank the government too?"

I do not think anyone here believes that government under any administration is as efficient as it needs to be. The point is those who claim that "the government is the problem" while they themselves benefit from it through Cadillac health care, billion dollar profit for former companies they ran, lobbying efforts after Congress, and the ego of running an "efficient" war with few troops that caused the lives of many of the same.

5) "The "union" negotiated a whopping 2.4 percent annual increase over 4 years. Cost of living increases and goods and services are definitely gonna exceed that 2.4 mark. I'm thinking we might need to re-think that whole "Union" thing."

What this statement misses for me is that the unions are acting just as big business. Both entities are both out for themselves, for their own profitability. The unions were indeed valuable in the past on a host of necessary issues for the workers. But the unions here made large concessions and big banks were required to make very few and they were given over $750 billion dollars. I'm for local banks and small businesses that deal directly with the community and whose workers are intricately a part of the business. I think globalization in many regards has failed the American workers big.

Judith Ellis said...

Following the money, these are the numbers on average according to the Center for Responsive Politics:


"Yes" Vote: $437,100
"No" Vote: $502,650

Those who voted "no" on average got more than $65,000 from the insurance and health care industries.

According to the same study, the Senators who are against health care reform receive nearly $1.5 million, more than half of what House members received from the above industries.

House: $470,580
Senate: $1,466.407

We've heard a lot of talk about the health care bill being "DOA" in the Senate. I think it has more to do with the money and not policy. Campaign reform, now! By the way, do we even need the Senate?