Sorry, kids, the Constitution says we can't care for you

By Dean Powers of Portland, Oregon. Dean is an editor and contributor at OpEdNews.com and a former intern at The Nation. Previously, he wrote about Measure 50 in Davey Crockett Against the Blank Check.

The Healthy Kids Plan has invariably brought out the worst in our neighbors and sadly, sometimes, even friends. The ballot initiative, known as Measure 50, is designed to tax tobacco to provide health care to children whose parents earn too much to qualify for the Oregon Health Plan, but to little to purchase a private plan.

You’ve heard opponents of Measure 50 indignantly chastise the bill because it would amend the Oregon Constitution, as if nothing else need be said. “Well I’m not going to vote for it because it amends the constitution.”

A piece of paper. A document that’s been amended hundreds of times. A ream of legal jargon that of the people lamenting its possible alteration, one percent has actually read.

The people who make the constitutional argument the center of their opposition to Measure 50 ought to be ashamed. Can you imagine this person sharing your roads, or your neighborhoods or your schools?

If this person found your bleeding, unconscious child on the sidewalk they would walk away as long as the alternative would modify some stale legal document that’s gathering dust in Salem ... (oh yeah, and cut down on the number of children who get hooked on tobacco annually).

In light of the possible consequences, you can see how important it would be to leave the child bleeding to death. Maybe these people need the constitution to remind them that they are human beings. One of them always seems to sneer and say, “Their parents ought to learn how to be parents.”

That is the mentality of a barbarian society. These people will happily let your child die because you should have worked 80 hours per week instead of 65. Should this bill fail, in ten years these people will tune out child fatality statistics as they tune into the latest mindless TV sitcom. This same person never considers that but for the grace of God they grew up with fantastic economic security; or they never needed surgeries or medicine or urgent care.

Even if this bill fails, it will teach us a valuable lesson: our neighbors, hiding behind their shuttered windows, can be monsters. It will teach us that brainwashing can convince people that a piece of paper is more important than the lives of children. It will teach us that we must do more to bring these people out of isolation with messages of selflessness and humility. But if it triumphs, it will teach us that Oregon is still small and independently-minded enough to overcome the most expensive RJ Reynolds and Philip Morris campaign ever waged against a ballot initiative in Oregon.

On Monday President Bush requested $46 billion additional dollars for Iraq. If Congress approves his request, the price tag for the war since February will be $187 billion. Bush's request comes just days after he vetoed a bill that would renew health care for the nation’s poorest children—the child health care program’s estimated cost: $7 billion additionally per year.

The stroke of his veto pen upon that bill fell with no less devastation or cruelty than the electric chair switch that Bush controlled as governor in Texas.

We’ve come to expect brutal acts from our president but not from our neighbors. Nothing less than the lives and fates of 100,000 children is riding on this bill. Voting “no” amounts to flipping the switch on Oregon kids. Opponents have created a flowery, snobby legal argument against the bill—that it amends the constitution, and thus should be opposed—but at the end of the day, these people are simply denying kids health security while also enabling more kids to get hooked to tobacco. It’s a win-win situation if your role model is Satan, himself.

Maybe the opponents of Measure 50 need the Oregon Constitution to tell them about a homework assignment, or wish them happy Mother’s or Father’s Day, or pitch a Little League game, or make breakfast for them in bed ... because right now it seems like they have their priorities way mixed up.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Dean,

    Having looked at the demographics in some detail I am confused by your characterization of those who oppose the constitutional amending aspect of M50.

    I actually find the Good Samaritin analogy appropo and useful. You've characterized those who wouldn't vote for M50 because of the amending thing as akin to being willing to walk by a wounded child rather than help. But doesn't M50 do precisely that for the overwhelming majority of Oregonians? If you don't smoke and M50 passes then the reality is that you will be one of the ones walking by because you voted to place the responsibility upon someone else.

    Aren't you every bit as guilty of the barbarian society image you drew? Or do you feel that you ought to get a pass for being willing to let someone else pay for that child's medical needs and those who are unwilling to let someone else pay for it, for whatever reason, are the barbarians?

  • iggi (unverified)
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    consider this dead horse thoroughly flogged:

    http://www.blueoregon.com/2007/10/the-bitter-real.html#comments

  • (Show?)

    I will consider the horse dead and flogged after the election when either 100,000 children have health insurance or they don't, either way thanks to the voters.

  • Lucy (unverified)
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    [I voted for Measure 50.]

    It will teach us that brainwashing can convince people that a piece of paper is more important than the lives of children.

    To call a constitution, any constitution, a mere piece of paper is a dangerous and slippery slope. I fully appreciate the passion for this cause and believe that all children in Oregon, all people in Oregon, should have access to healthcare regardless of economic standing, but I also believe in the importance and sanctity of constitutions. What happens when people start to view the United States Constitution as a dust-gathering, antiquated document?

    The constitution is the building block of a society, delineating the fundamental precepts upon which it is founded. Has the Oregon Constitution been amended countless times before? Yes, it has, but for you to rely on that argument to counter those who hesitate to vote for M50 because of that implication, seems to me as if you would rather your friends and neighbors adopt a lemming-like mentality.

    I fundamentally agree with what you say about the importance of M50 to the children of Oregon, but wonder if shame, accusation, and comparisons to Satan are the best way to convince those who worry about constitutional implications to vote our way.

  • Clay Fouts (unverified)
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    Thanks for tipping the scales. This repulsive bit of polemic has managed to assuage me of any doubt I had remaining about my decision to vote against this measure.

  • Pat Ryan (unverified)
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    Thank you Lucy!!!!!

    I voted for this craven piece of crap today too, but any alleged "progressive" argument that calls the state constitution "a piece of paper" multiple times is unworthy of serious consideration.

    "“It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”---GW Bush

    Mr. Powers, meet your fellow traveller in the Whitehouse. I've seen plenty of the heated rhetoric that runs rampant at OpEdNews, and your continuation in this tradition sure lowers the bar here at Blue Oregon.

    Can we expect a diatribe about the trade towers being brought down by the Bush Twins, for your next Opus?

  • Eric J. (unverified)
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    After reading the column, I am thouroughly convinced it is nothing more than pure and unadulterated ubiquitous drivel of propaganda in the name of children.

    Shame shame shame.

  • LiberalIncarnate (unverified)
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    The Constitution should only be amended to forbid gays and lesbians from the right to marry.

    According to the Religious Right and the libertarian wackos, Jesus hates gays and children equally.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    yeah, i voted for M50 (with reservation), but i have to say that i am not at all pleased or impressed with the polemics that have been appearing on BO of late, accusing dissenters of hating kids or whatever.

    it IS a flawed piece of legislation. to my judgment, the benefits outweighed its flaws. but i understand that not everyone is going to come to the same conclusion that i did.

    this is not a no-brainer of a vote, far from it. and shaming and name-calling people who don't agree on this one issue is not a healthy productive way to build a progressive coalition.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Kevin,

    I'm more than happy to pay for children's health care out of my taxes. You show me a proposal to do that TODAY, and I will vote "yes" for it. The barbaric reference was directed specifically toward people who say they won't help children because "their parents ought to start behaving like parents." You've taken it out of context.

    Lucy,

    In passing Measure 50, we are so far away from destabilizing the "building block of a society" that I find your overwrought appeals to temperance a bit... overwrought.

    Pat,

    Thank you for providing me with the "serious consideration" criterion for all my future posts. It's Thursday afternoon. In two weeks, I want Oregon children--who live and breath and feel--to be covered with medical insurance. I cast my lot with the living, not with inanimate, man-made artifacts that are supposed to govern our lives. I will never apologize for calling the constitution a piece of paper to emphasize that point. Let Eternity judge my soul.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Trishka,

    Monstrous: Shockingly hideous or frightful

    It is monstrous to deny children health care because the alternative modifies the state constitution. It is monstrous to enable more children to get hooked to tobacco. I'm just calling it like it is.

  • (Show?)

    I fundamentally agree with trishka, and to some extent lucy, it's not perfect, and one does have to weigh the pros and cons. I have a post that I'll put up tomorrow talking about that, I hope those of you who have been displeased lately will consider what I have to say.

    That said, I also agree with the underlying idea that helping children is a worthy cause for which to amend the constitution. It's interesting, people see the oregon constitution as sacred, yet that has not stopped them from amending it 240 times. It's certainly dangerous to say that the constitution is irrelevant, it's not, it shapes our government and establishes the fundamental liberties of our society. But it's also a document that must be updated, albeit carefully and thoughtfully, to maintain its importance and relevance. Opposing all constitutional amendments would be unwise.

  • Lucy (unverified)
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    Dean,

    I never said Measure 50 was destabilizing the Oregon Constitution. What I suggested is that you should think carefully before casually dismissing the constitution as the governmental equivalent of a piece of garbage. Today it is Measure 50, but what will you say when it isn't something quite so progressive that is being considered for addition to the Constitution?

    You seem to think that it is fine to be overwrought and rely on fear, intimidation, and threats, as long as you can justify it by saying that it is for children.

    I am thinking about the bigger picture that is implied by your general argument, not the specific implication of one vote on this particular ballot measure.

  • Admiral Naismith (unverified)
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    I proudly cast my vote for Measure 50 today. One small blow against the barbarians. Here's hoping there are enough others!

    Ad thank you for your efforts, Mr. Powers. The kids will thank you for it.

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    Lucy seems to be very smart. I voted for M50 but I wish the Republicans in the house had allowed us to vote on a statute instead of a constitutional amendment.

    But I don't believe most of the people who claim they oppose M50 because it amends the consitution are being honest. I think they say that because they hope it will persuade others and because their real reasons are shameful.

  • (Show?)
    It is monstrous to enable more children to get hooked to tobacco. I'm just calling it like it is.

    If that is "monstrous" then how important would you say that it is to do everything we can to dissuade children from getting hooked? I ask because M50 hardly qualifies as a serious attempt to dissuade children from getting hooked. Indeed it has been characterized as tapping into a "stable" source of funds. Obviously that means that lots of children are being counted on to get hooked and keep the money rolling in.

    Wouldn't such a crass calculation have to qualify as "mostrous" too? After all, this is children we're talking aobut here.

  • (Show?)
    I'm more than happy to pay for children's health care out of my taxes. You show me a proposal to do that TODAY, and I will vote "yes" for it.

    Are you seriously suggesting that it's anywhere close to the realm of reality for little ol' me to somehow manage to usurp all power in the state of Oregon and all by myself produce a proposal which you can vote on???

    Have you asked Governor Kulongoski to show you a proposal that would allow you to fund this cause out of your tax dollars?

    Have you asked your state representative?

    Have you asked your state Senator?

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Lucy,

    To insinuate that anything. I have ever written. Anywhere. Period. Including and especially this post--and my follow-up comments--contain "intimidation" or "threats" is reckless and off-base. You are accusing me of engaging in criminal behavior for expressing my thoughts. You should read up on that little piece of writing on a piece of paper that talks about free speech.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    To call a constitution, any constitution, a mere piece of paper is a dangerous and slippery slope.

    Five years ago 76 senators and a majority of representatives in Congress thought of the Constitution as "a mere piece of paper" and put this nation on the slippery slope to war on Iraq and the disastrous consequences that have evolved since then. Will there be a similar majority in Congress if Bush decides Iran is too much of a threat for the United States to run the risk of a change in commander-in-chief and cancels the November 2008 election?

    Dean: I'm sure you meant well, but the principal impressions I got from your column were those of immaturity and hyperbole. You would do well to consider the criticisms leveled at you. But don't stop writing. You need the experience.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Bill,

    Thanks for helping me see my immaturity. Now that I've been mentored by an older far more wizened man, like yourself, I would like to restate my firmly held belief.

    I have gone door-to-door-to-door for this campaign. I've looked into the eyes of mothers and fathers who have begged me to promise that this bill is passed as their children play nearby, blissfully ignorant of the fate that befalls them on November 6th.

    The constitution is a man-made construction. It was not constructed perfectly. It may never be perfect. At the end of the day, I care more about those living breathing children. I care more about those parents that I do about some piece of paper in Salem. Ooops, did I just call the constitution a piece of paper again?

    Don't remind me that my comments are setting the world stage for the third World War. Don't tell me that my opinions will allow Bush to invade Iran. I'm not buying it, and neither is anyone else.

  • David Shoemaker (unverified)
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    Thanks for tipping the scales. This repulsive bit of polemic has managed to assuage me of any doubt I had remaining about my decision to vote against this measure.

    Yep.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    I ask because M50 hardly qualifies as a serious attempt to dissuade children from getting hooked. Indeed it has been characterized as tapping into a "stable" source of funds.

    Kevin,

    Weren't you the one who characterized M50 as a "stable" source of funds. Oh, good, because I almost thought you meant that the proponents of M50 did the characterization.

    And yes, I am suggesting that lil' ol' you usurp all the power in the state of Oregon. Is that an immature opinion? Hey, you got my "yes" vote buddy.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Lucy,

    One more thought. I value any constitution that prevents children from receiving health care no more than I value garbage.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Bill,

    Thanks for helping me see my immaturity.

    Dean: You didn't see your immaturity at all which is revealed by the unwarranted conclusion you jumped to after reading my comment. I stated several days ago that I was in favor of Measure 50 because it put kids' health first which needed to be a priority and any injury to the constitution could be repaired at a later date.

    On the other hand it appears that you fail to recognize the importance a constitution should have in a democratic republic. Apparently, you never had discussions with John Nichols when you were interning at The Nation. Gordon Brown, the new British Prime Minister, initiated steps recently to create a written constitution for his nation, one of the oldest democracies in the world.

    Let me give you another tip even though you will probably also ignore it. When emotions give impetus to your writing, give rein to them and write what you feel like writing but keep these thoughts to yourself until you calm down. That way you won't have so much to regret if later events prove you to have been wrong.

  • Sally (unverified)
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    Thanks to everyone who votes. You should have your ballots by Friday--the last of them were mailed out on Tuesday.

    I'd also like to thank God that soon the election will be over and this daily stream of M50 topics will end.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Bill,

    Hey, no emotion here, buddy. We're just discussing the facts.

    Dean: You didn't see your immaturity at all which is revealed by the unwarranted conclusion you jumped to after reading my comment.

    By the way, what conclusion did I "jump to?"

    Here's your first comment. Dean: I'm sure you meant well, but the principal impressions I got from your column were those of immaturity and hyperbole.

    Oh, you mean that I didn't let your innate sense of superiority over me stop me from responding to your attack? So I responded to you. Well, I have a tendency to stand up for my beliefs.

    And I love the way you bring up Gordon Brown. As long as my posts on Blue Oregon are having such a pronounced effect around the world, I'd like to ratify the Kyoto Treaty for every nation in the world, end the war in Iraq and distribute America's wealth evenly throughout the world. Oh, wait. That was so immature of me. Sorry, folks. I'll just ground myself for the weekend.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    italic What's up with these italics?

  • (Show?)
    Oh, wait. That was so immature of me. Sorry, folks. I'll just ground myself for the weekend. Geez... I'm embarassed for you.
  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Awwww...thanks Kevie. Don't forget, me and you are still gonna usurp the power of the whole state to get plan B on the ballot.

  • djk (unverified)
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    If this person found your bleeding, unconscious child on the sidewalk they would walk away as long as the alternative would modify some stale legal document that’s gathering dust in Salem ...

    Yep. Because medical emergencies typically involve legal steps to vandalize the state constitution.

    Even if this bill fails, it will teach us a valuable lesson: our neighbors, hiding behind their shuttered windows, can be monsters. It will teach us that brainwashing can convince people that a piece of paper is more important than the lives of children. It will teach us that we must do more to bring these people out of isolation with messages of selflessness and humility.

    Well, speaking as a monster, yeah, you got me. Gotta run off now. I've got some babies to eat. In a selfish, arrogant way, of course.

    (Gotta say, though, the tobacco industry's brainwashing is remarkably effective. It got through to me something like twenty years ago. Amazing: they're rich enough to send mind control rays through time. Or something.)

    I value any constitution that prevents children from receiving health care no more than I value garbage.

    The state constitution "prevents" children from receiving health care? Where's that? Where are you getting this stuff?

  • djk (unverified)
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    can someone fix these tags?

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    I knew that the tobacco companies were paying actors to pretend to be liberals concerned about Measure 50, but I had no idea they were paying off trolls to act like concerned liberals.

    You guys or guy deserve a Tony.

  • anon (unverified)
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    dean, i've met you a few times at political events. you seem like a decent guy. but you need to stop attacking people here.

    i think you're missing that bill b. is actually being pretty kind in his advice to you -- you'll be taken more seriously if you settle down a bit. you don't help any cause by making its spokespeople seem hostile to questioning.

    he encouraged you to keep writing, and i hope you will, too. because your heart's in the right place and you can make a difference with better messaging skills. but really, for now, it's more conducive to discussion here at blue o when the writer leaves the comments to have a life of their own without getting defensive.

  • anon (unverified)
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    testing ital

  • (Show?)

    ok, it worked. folks, to turn off italics, just put this code somewhere in your comment box:

    < / i >

    except without the spaces between the characters. just a little more unsolicited, anonymous advice...

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Hey Anon,

    I'm going to keep defending myself, as long as people keep dishing it out. This comments section is for the exchange of free speech. And don't get me wrong, I love it. I love it when Bill calls my writing "immature" and "hyperbolic" because it reminds me that liberals have this idea about what "liberal writing" is supposed to look like and behave like on the page. I just don't fit that mold, and I never will. That's the beauty of free speech, but the people who practice it are rarely embraced.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Let me correct myself. "Some liberals have this idea about what 'liberal writing' is supposed to look like..." Certainly not most.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    dean -

    did you happen to notice that 2 posters here have said that you're writing is what cemented their decision to vote AGAINST M50? this is not to say that your post is entirely responsible for their decision, but if they hadn't completely made up their minds yet, then there was a chance, however slim, that someone might have convinced them to vote for it.

    that chance is now gone.

    what i'm saying here is: what you're doing is having the opposite effect of what you want it to have. you want people to vote for M50. you write a post trying to make that happen. after your post, people say that it is, in part, responsible for them voting AGAINST M50.

    free speech is great. you have the right to write what you want here at BO. nobody wants to take that away from you.

    the question is, to borrow from doctor phil: how's that working for you?

    you can choose to not change your writing style. that's up to you. you can ignore written evidence from people saying that your writing style is driving them in the opposite direction from where you want them to go. or not.

    none of us have any control over your choices, nor do we want to. it's up to you to evaluate how effective you are being, and modify your behaviour accordingly. or not.

    all we can do is make suggestions. and this is pretty much the last i have to say on the subject.

  • anon from above (unverified)
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    ditto what trishka said. i know you, dean, and i think you can do better. prove me right.

  • Eric J. (unverified)
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    You are right on target, Trishka. That is why I mentioned that Dean's writing made his article look like nothing more than unadulterated ubiquitous drivel of propaganda in the name of children. It gave me visions of glassy eyed, brain dead, and flag waving cult followers chanting "children first" or "it's for the children" in monotone voices.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Oh, you mean that I didn't let your innate sense of superiority over me stop me from responding to your attack?

    Dean: In one respect, I'm in no position to have an "innate sense of superiority over" you. When I was your age, which I presume to be in the early twenties, I made many of the mistakes you made above and probably elsewhere. Where I probably have an edge, however, is that I usually, though regrettably not always, had enough sense to back down and not dig myself a deeper hole when I was presented with reliable evidence that I might be wrong. I came to an early conclusion that I was like most people capable of making mistakes.

    I would, however, like to give you credit for your passion in advocating for health care for children, but the important thing about passion is that it needs to be controlled. Take two golfers who approach their tee shots with passion to drive their balls farther than the other. The first has uncontrolled passion and is likely to spray the ball in any direction - assuming he hits it in the first place. The other, a professional or low handicapper, has complete control. He will be the one who gets his ball in the best position for his next shot.

  • djk (unverified)
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    And in case it's over your head Dean -- there are people out there who give a damn about the integrity of the state constitution. To you, the constitution is just a silly piece of paper that doesn't really matter. That's immature, irresponsible, and short-sighted, but I get it: you don't care. But I do, and I have cared about this stuff, and thought about it, and studied it, probably for longer than you've been alive.

    Here's a hint: if you want to win over principled people who honestly disagree with you, you'll make no headway whatsoever by calling them monsters, barbarians, brainwashed, selfish, arrogant, snobby, satanic, or trolls. Taking the time to actually understand where people are coming from, and discussing things reasonably, gets your cause a lot further than name-calling. And you'll look a lot less foolish, which helps your credibility in the long run.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    If the above don't help Dean in his attitude, I would like to suggest that some adult at Blue Oregon give him some necessary and overdue advice.

  • (Show?)

    I second Bill above. The attitude of Dean is terribly counter-productive.I say that as someone who has already voted yes on M50.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Come on, Trishka, You can't believe that those two people who said my post cemented their decision not to vote for M50 are actually serious. They've opposed M50 since day 1, and they're probably the same actors we're seeing on TV commercials. But your reaction is exactly what they want.

    And Bill, I'm disappointed with your ageist comments.

    When I was your age, which I presume to be in the early twenties, I made many of the mistakes you made above and probably elsewhere.

    You don't know how old I am, and to insinuate that my age ought to be a consideration for the legitimacy of my opinions is the same type of snobby elitism that the Right wing accuses the Left of engaging in.

    If the above don't help Dean in his attitude, I would like to suggest that some adult at Blue Oregon give him some necessary and overdue advice.

    You hope that by rubbing my nose in my age I'm going to back down and shut up and second guess my beliefs. It ain't happening, and no "adult at Blue Oregon" is going to give me a spanking.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Sorry to ruin that fantasy for you.

  • Eric J. (unverified)
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    Based on the last post by Dean and all the other posts about M50 on other topic areas in BO and it's plain to see why many people outside the political arena just give up and not participate in discussions like this, register as an independent, or just don't vote at all. Why would you want to vote on M40 and M50 if you get screamed at, accused of, finger pointed at, and demonized only becuase you have an opposing viewpoint on those measures? My viewpoints are of my own doing - not from watching those terribly acted and preachy TV ads (for both sides - on both measures) or those equally bad flyers I have been getting in my mail. Many here are acting as if acting on your own accord and thinkg for yourself is demonic and you must "toe the line" of a liberal point of view.

    I am a mix of views, but consider myself a liberal. Just because I have a view that may be a view that is undesireable for "toeing the liberal line" does not make me a agent of the devil in any way, shape or form.

    At the end of the day, we all really aren't a dem or a rep, or conservative or liberal, we are Oregonians - true thinkers that need not to point a finger at each other, be extremely uptight, and not scream at each other as if we are losing our sanity.

    But what do I know? I will probably just get ignored if the latest posts on M49 and M50 are any indication.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Eric,

    Congratulations, you have just exaggerated the tone of my writing so immensely that I too must join you in disparaging this writer that you're talking about. What a finger-pointer! What a shame to the nation! How dare he! He's swinging his arms like a drunken brawler.

    I used a sprinkling of evocative language to stress my point, and you people have had a heyday with it. What's all the defensiveness about?

    I'm pretty sure my readers don't actually have a poster of Satan on their wall. However, denying children health care and enabling more people to smoke by voting no on Measure 50 will real consequences for real children.

  • Ann Richard (unverified)
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    Bush must be so proud of his veto. Children in this country should have health coverage, regardless of Bush vetoing everything that is put in front of him. He doesn't want the children to be covered with health insurance unless they're in Iraq. The very gall of this man(and he has of guts) to veto, health coverage for the poor children of our country, then turn around and ask Congress for 46B to kill with. This man has never had his priorities straight. If Congress grants him $46B more to kill with, what he terms the enemy, then they have no priorities, either and we will vote them out, when they finish their term. We know by now, he is not very intelligent, but this is plain stupid of our President. The VP, I mean, he's the ringleader. Oh, They're both useless as "tits on a bull"! They're America's liability to progress!

  • jfe (unverified)
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    Dean: You don't need to "second guess my beliefs," or back down.

    What you need to consider is what is most persuasive.

    Dean, your post was a polemic for people who have already made up their minds, it reinforces what they already believe.

    People, who haven't made up their minds don't usally respond to such harsh language vilifying anyone against the measure.

    After all, these people are undecided and will reject a commentary that could turn them into monsters.

    The Constitution is one argument to oppose measure 50.

    But do we have to demonize smokers to justify raising their taxes? Your take seems to expand this demonization. ANYONE who is against this tax hike on a HATED minority is to be demonized TOO.

    I have to say, in some quarters, this kind of tactic is identified with intolerance and a broader concern with far-left or far-right thinking in general.

    It's not about logic and reason, but about top-down commanding, which if you don't accept and go along with -- YOU MUST BE DEMONIZED -- so your reasoning can be ignored, and, therefore, successfully marginalized.

    Dean, is that the kind of writing style you want to be known for?

    I hope not.

    But don't you see: More people are offended by your writing, here, more than M50 itself. And this is a very sympathetic site for M50, these folks are more likely to excuse your writing because they also support M50.

    People who weren't so predisposed to support M50, would reject your argument, out of hand because of its harsh tone.

    Most people of good will, don't consider themselves so harsh as to condemn anybody against them.

    Your writing suggests you do.

    I hope I'm wrong in that assessment.

    But can you see why I would say that?

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Hey, I'm not demonizing smokers. They are the victims, here. And it is in our interest to protect them and future generations of smokers by passing this Measure.

    The people who take offense to my article are generally offended because they created a liberal argument against Measure 50 that is more about showing off their intellect than the matter at hand. They cite Gordon Brown, the Geneva Convention, Bush and Iran, the Dali Lama, and Barney the purple dinosaur.

    A no vote on Measure 50 allows more people to get hooked to tobacco and prevents 100,000 kids from getting health insurance. There is no other plan on the table, and no reason to serve as lobbyists for the tobacco industry.

  • Eric J. (unverified)
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    For the record, I wasn't just talking about Dean, I was also referring to other posts in other topic areas within BO concerning both measures. I do not think that a new person looking for information on both sides of all the issues would not appreciate the tone of some (on both sides on both measures) in all the postings. In fact, a friend of mine asked me if "being extremely uptight" was a pre-requisite to join in the conversations here in BO.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    it really is you against the world, isn't it dean? i mean, even the people who agree with you & voted YES on M50 are wrong.

    what a lonely place that must be. but at least you get to know you are right. i hope you find comfort in that.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    I forgot to tie my thoughts together. These people can't stand that I am denying the legitimacy of an argument against Measure 50 because it would change the constitution. That ruins their beautifully constructed theory. So they are attacking me in the hopes that I change and profess that I hold the sanctity of our constitution above our children in this state.

  • Eric J. (unverified)
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    ..and Dean, I am not offended by your article. I am actually greatly amused (and slightly bewildered) that you would use so much propaganda tools of drivel to make your point when more simpler language with the good facts you already have would have been so much better for the masses you are trying to convince.

  • (Show?)

    Dean,

    I've seen a number of comments by folks who voted FOR M50 which I find respectable even though I reached a different decision. Your's isn't one of them. I find yours intellectually vacuous, at best.

    A no vote on Measure 50 allows more people to get hooked to tobacco

    M50 makes no pretense at seriously abating smoking rates in Oregon. Indeed it needs enough smokers to keep on smoking in order to keep sufficient funds rolling in to pay for the various things it seeks to fund.

    There is no other plan on the table

    Was there EVER another plan on the table this session? I mean this is an immediate need for healthcare, right? Surely several plans were debated by the legislature and this one was chosen as the best one... right?

    and no reason to serve as lobbyists for the tobacco industry.

    Nice... There's nothing like a cute ad hominem to finish off a series of vacuous assertions, eh?

  • R2 (unverified)
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    I am a tobacco user and I am more than happy to pay my fair share! I have for years tried to ignore that I am a role model for children, but sadly it is true. When I publicly use tobacco I am saying that it is all right for people to smoke. I am tired of non-smokers trying to stand up for my rights! I choose to use a product that does nothing more than kill me, waste my money and make me smell bad. We all know smoking is a bad choice and when we do it in public we are telling children that it is OK, so why not use the revenue from an increased tax to help prevent the ones who look up to us from making the same poor decision.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Eric,

    I'm going to have to cite you for excessive use of the word "drivel."

  • Eric J. (unverified)
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    Ok, I'll bite.

    How about it's synonym, which is the word 'nonsense'?

    That better? :)

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Yes, because it doesn't remind me of drool, but I suggest the word "brilliance."

  • jfe (unverified)
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    Dean: Smokers are the victims here? You want to tax them (because rest assured, the tax increased gets past on to them by the tobacco companies). Many smokers would condider taxing them 157% more per pack, a strange way of saying they are the victims.

    This tax measure brings out "the worst in our neighbors..."

    Those who make the "Constitution" argument should be "ashamed."

    Can you imagine sharing "roads, neighborhoods, or schools," with anybody against M50?

    Can you spell ostricism, or isolation as your goal?

    Anybody who votes against M50 is leaving a "child bleeding to death."

    Anybody who votes against M50 has the "mentality of a barbarian."

    Anybody, even your neighbors, who are against M50 "can be monsters."

    Anybody against M50 is "brainwashed."

    Anybody against M50 pushes the "electric chair switch."

    Anybody against M50 is engaged in "brutal acts."

    Dean, your tone is exactly as Eric has described it.

    And the fact that you are deflecting his comment shows you have too much pride of authorship and can't be objective, or simply are too intolerant to understand how offensive your tone is.

    Now, it's true you don't demonize smokers -- you demonized anybody who doesn't want to tax smokers. I would argue your argument is even MORE "monstrous" than demonizing just smokers (which in my view is wrong) because anybody against M50, when you add up all your pejoritives, is sub-human.

    These are the type of arguments that the most vile extremists use. (Dean, how do you like it when the argument gets turned around at you? I bet you don't.)

    Now, I know I'm going to piss people off, but your arguments are so naked and raw (and transparent and flagrant), I suspect many liberals are embarrassed by your commentary (because, too often, this passes for logical and reasoned debate by liberals).

    If this passes for liberal reasoning they should be embarrassed.

    Your message, I'm sure, will bring out "self-lessness and humility" of all who hear it.

    Not.

    More like defensiveness and rejection, as you've seen today in the responses to your commentary.

    The people who voted for M50 don't want to see themselves in the tones you describe.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Jfe,

    The people who voted for Measure 50 have rejected the argument that the constitution's sanctity is holier than our kids, so my post does not apply to them, and they don't have to see themselves in the tones I describe. But I don't expect that little fact to prevent you from trying to win their support here by manipulating my words into such an exaggeration of the facts that it's ridiculous.

    Again, your absolutes take my words out of context. People who sneer at the plight of low-income families and say of the children in these families "their parents ought to learn how to be parents" are barbarians. I find that comment barbaric. That's all. You may think it's a nurturing and selfless position to take. Are you a compassionate conservative?

  • anon (unverified)
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    You don't know how old I am, and to insinuate that my age ought to be a consideration for the legitimacy of my opinions is the same type of snobby elitism that the Right wing accuses the Left of engaging in.

    wow, he's trying to give you the benefit of the doubt. you are making that increasingly difficult, even for me. i'm not reading any more of your posts. they seem like attention-seeking crap.

  • (Show?)

    The people who voted for Measure 50 have rejected the argument that the constitution's sanctity is holier than our kids

    You are correct in asserting that we have rejected the argument made by RJ Reynolds.

    so my post does not apply to them

    You are incorrect is saying that your post does not apply to us. You didn't just counter Reynolds ads in your little diatibe, you vilified in various ways, anyone who holds the position on principle that the Oregon constitution is being damaged and devalued by this (and around 200 previous) "amendments".

    Many of us who ultimately supported M50 hold these beliefs as well and resent your condescending and patronizing attitude.

    We are not, however, a bit surprised.

  • jfe (unverified)
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    Dean: You don't get it, do you? Even supporters of M50 were uncomfortable with your outright demonization of anybody against M50.

    What M50 supporters are accepting, which you seem to reject, is that people of good will can disagree on the merits of M50.

    Am I taking you out of context? Slightly, yes.

    But I'm just adding up all your de-humanizing statements, so they standout.

    How do you know people who don't support M50 "...sneer at the plight of low-income families...?"

    Is it possible, these people believe a better mechanism exists or can be created, than taxing a low-income minority, which over time, will not cover the cost of the program? In other words, is not self-sustaining.

    Dean, in the quote you say I take out of context, you create your own statement, attribute it to others, then call them "barbarians" for believing in your imaginary statement. Talk about creating a straw man.

    That kind of logical fallacy needs to be pointed out. So, thank you, for highlighting your own errors. Although, I'm sure, that's not what you intended.

    That seens to be the result of the over all commentary, unintended consequenses.

    I don't care where you are. If your open to improvement, you will take this feedback as a lesson you apply to future writing.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    they seem like attention-seeking crap.

    Exactly. If this kid were interested in an intelligent conversation and capable of appreciating the courtesies he has been shown, he would be thoroughly embarrassed by the number of times he has been exposed as being full of stuff. He reminds me of an old friend who used to say that he didn't care what people said about him as long as they said something. The difference is that he was joking while Dean is apparently reveling in all the attention he has received over the last day. So as far as I'm concerned Dean's 24 hours of nonsense, narcissism, egoism or whatever it is are up. And I hope the editors at Blue Oregon will think twice before they post any more of his claptrap.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Bill,

    I love the way you manage to throw dozens of ad hominem attacks at me while feigning utter disgust at my use of name-calling. It's just so you.

    Pat,

    I wrote "The people who make the constitutional argument the center of their opposition to Measure 50 ought to be ashamed."

    This simply does not include people who object to a constitutional amendment. It only includes people who oppose Measure 50.

    However, if I had only read the comments from nameless people like jfe, who probably work for the tobacco industry I would also be confused into believing that my original article attacked everybody who lived in Oregon.

  • dannyk (unverified)
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    Thanks Mr. Powers for your passionate effort to support Oregon's kids.

    m50 will save lives.

  • paul g. (unverified)
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    Dean, you opened up the ad hominem, personalized, and ageist comments when you called Bill "wizened" ( mentored by an older far more wizened man). That was your first response to Bill's quite reasonable response.

    Kevin later wrote that he was "embarrassed for you" and your reply was "Awwww...thanks Kevie."

    Bill first suggested that you need to "keep writing ... you need the experience." Only later did he accuse you of "lack of maturity."

    His latter comment was on target.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    I would gladly incur additional taxes to provide health care for legal Oregon children in need of health care and this were the last available measure. I would gladly support any legislation banning tobacco products as the death causing carcinogens that they are.

    Dean, you sound like the churlish child proclaiming they will hold their breath until they pass out in order to get their way. Your polemic attacks and surly attitude are exactly what turn people away from many worthwhile causes.

    I voted NO on 50. It is a bad answer to a real problem. This approach to funding needed healthcare for children will only serve to exacerbate the problem of affordable and available healthcare in the future should it pass.

    Again I ask; who is the most addicted? Is it the tobacco addict that will meekly submit to ever increasing taxation or is it the various governments that cynically pass more and more taxes on the product and say that they want the consumption to end?

  • reading (unverified)
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    I think the most important thing Dean illustrates is an unfortunate quality of the pro-M50 camp and most of the most verbal advocates here at Blue Oregon to not let their ignorance of the truth and complexity of a public policy matter stop them from loudly asserting that only they, in their miserably uninformed and childishly simplistic understanding, know what is the proper thing to do.

    I think this article from the progressive Rockridge Institute demonstrates just how much of a disservice those who are pushing M50 are doing all of us including children:

    SCHIP and the Rigged Health Insurance Game http://www.rockridgenation.org/blog/archive/2007/10/26/schip-and-the-rigged-health-insurance-game

    The point of the article is that those who are fighting SCHIP at the Federal level are doing so to protect the health insurance industry (and the corporate health care industry includes virtually all not-for-profit entities in Oregon that generate "excess operating revenues" for purposes other than providing care) industry to the detriment of children and us all.

    In Oregon, M50 twisted anti-tobacco zealots, Healthy Kids Oregon, Oregonians for Health Security, socioeconomically-privileged Democratic politicians led by Merkley, Bates, and Republican Westlund (based on his behavior to now I object to his theft of the label "Democrat" for his own purposes) have conspired with the health insurance and health care industry in M50 and Oregon's version of Healthy Kids (SB3) to knowingly and cynically give those opponents of SCHIP at the Federal level exactly what they advocate: It is an undisputable fact that the overwhelming majority (on the order of 70%) of the tobacco tax funds and the Federal matching SCHIP funds would by law go to the health insurance industry through the "Office of Private Health Partnerships".

    From the viewpoint of the Administration and their supporters, if there is to be any use of taxes to subsidize health coverage in any way, Oregon's Healthy Kid's Program is exactly what they want to see at the state level: Federal funds going into the pocket of private insurers, resulting in less and lower-quality health care for children, rather than into a public system like Medicaid that we should doing everything we can to expand into a full public insurance system because upwards of 95% of the money actually goes to providers. (Ideally, community-centered individual providers and small provider-owned joint practices and not major community monopolizing not-for-profits.).

    It is also striking just how much the pro-M50 propagandistic political argument of how we have a crisis so right now we need to further destroy our health care system and benefit powerful interests at the expense of us all follows the same contours as the Administration's propagandistic political argument that we face national threats so right now we need to wage wars, authorize warrantless wiretapping, demonize the less powerful, etc. DeFazio of all people sunk to a new low in the latest ACS/ALA ad when he stated it was our only chance to help children. This is still a democracy (barely) and it not our only chance UNLESS we decide we are not going to do the right thing for children and adults.

    As the Rockridge Institute illuminates, no one feature of M50 is the reason to vote "No". The right reason for voting "No" is the very lack of moral character M50 with SB3 represents in it's entirety, and the further damage it does to our society and our health care system to the detriment of children and adults.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Hey Reading,

    You forgot to add that greedy low-income parents are in cahoots with the local politicians in a scheme that would siphon money that Measure 50 generates away from their own children into vast off-shore accounts in the Cayman Islands which would subsidize an illegal world-wide gambling network built on the backs of child labor with the single aim of establishing a rebel colony of Tualitin locals on Mars in five years.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Paul,

    Tell me, was Bill's "reasonable" response this one? (his first by the way):

    Dean: I'm sure you meant well, but the principal impressions I got from your column were those of immaturity and hyperbole.

    Ahhh, well let's consult the dictionary because maybe I'm not fully grown enough to understand the meaning of the word "immaturity." Let's see, here it is: "Not fully grown or developed." How did I ever interpret that as either an ad hominem attack or an ageist comment?

    Man, I should know by now that anything Bill does or writes is correct and infallible.

  • Sally (unverified)
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    reading>Don't make the mistake of thinking that "Dean Powers" speaks for anyone but "Dean Powers". Although there's a strong partisan element expressed here -- it is Blue Oregon -- most of the posters can disagree without becoming disagreeable.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    I love the tobacco goons.

  • Sally (unverified)
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    Thanks for proving my point.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Dean, you opened up the ad hominem, personalized, and ageist comments when you called Bill "wizened" ( mentored by an older far more wizened man). That was your first response to Bill's quite reasonable response.

    Paul G: Thank you for your comment. For the record, Webster's defines "wizened" as dried up, shrivelled. Since I could probably benefit from losing about 30 pounds the choice of this word, like so many others in the screeds and diatribes above, was unwarranted and definitely inaccurate.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Dean, thanks for reinforcing the impression. Not only are you childish, but I do believe you hold the modern internet record for a run-on sentence

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    The most laughable thing about all of you henchmen and women for the anti-50 campaign calling me irrelevant is that you are still posting comments three days after I published this article.

    You people keep coming back again and again to post another comment calling me irrelevant and disagreeable and done-for and over-with.

    You keep wringing your hands and praying and hoping that your comments are going to sink my reputation forever. Well I got news for you, if anything, your comments are emboldening my readers who are beginning to see a pattern here. We have a bunch of nameless people posing as citizens authentically concerned about the discourse here at Blue Oregon.

    "Oh, how dreadful. How dare Dean Powers call people names. Nobody has ever done that anywhere ever before. What is our happy little village coming to?"

    And they are beginning to remember those television commercials in which a couple of paid actors pretend to care about Oregon.

    The opponents of Measure 50 don't give one thought to the fate of this little village or the state we live in. Period. They are actors and this is their stage. And they are damn good at fooling people into denying children access to health care and allowing tobacco companies to emerge victorious from a record-breaking multi-million dollar ad campaign against kids.

    To you opponents, it's all about protecting the tobacco company's fixed source of revenue: the next generation of smokers. Why else would Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds spend a combined $11 million to defeat M50? To protect Oregon's constitution?

    Ha! I called it a piece of paper. They wouldn't mind using it as a rag to wipe up the latest tobacco casualties and clean up for the next generation to be hooked. $11 million is a little investment with hundreds of millions of dollars in returns when the next generation of Oregon kids get hooked.

    These people are vicious, evil, highly-paid, cynical, cold-calculating androids--oops, I used an ad hominem--intent on getting their seven figure salary at any cost.

    And they are not going to stop coming back here to call me irrelevant and fantasize that they are writing my eulogy because they are scared that you are going to read my writing and realize what a scam the M50 opponents have sold us.

    So I appreciate the many of you who have written to support me, and I encourage you to stand up and post here and let these thugs know how you feel about a bunch of out-of-state, carpet-bagging troglodytes messing with our state and our children. I'll clean up my "disagreeable" language when all of Oregon's children have health care.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    blah, blah, blah.....

    It is you, my ill-informed blow hard that is the carpet bagger.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Oooh. Good comeback.

  • (Show?)

    Dean said:

    Weren't you the one who characterized M50 as a "stable" source of funds. Oh, good, because I almost thought you meant that the proponents of M50 did the characterization.

    Proponents of M50 did characterize it as a stable source of funding for years to come, as I pointed out several threads ago.

    In a document from Tobacco Free Kids titled "Tobacco Tax Benefits for Oregon: Reducing Smoking, Saving Lives, and Saving Money", an October 2007 report supporting Measure 50 (http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/reports/prices/Oregon_Report_10_2007.pdf), on page 34 it says:

    <blockquotetobacco tax="" increases="" are="" a="" predictable="" and="" stable="" source="" of="" substantial="" new="" state="" revenues.="" every="" single="" state="" that="" has="" significantly="" raised="" its="" cigarette="" tax="" rate="" has="" enjoyed="" substantial="" increases="" to="" state="" revenues,="" despite="" the="" related="" declines="" in="" state="" smoking="" levels="" and="" despite="" any="" related="" increases="" in="" cigarette="" smuggling="" or="" cigarette="" tax="" avoidance.="" put="" simply,="" the="" increased="" tax="" per="" pack="" sold="" brings="" in="" more="" new="" revenue="" than="" is="" lost="" by="" the="" related="" pack="" sales="" declines.="" moreover,="" once="" the="" dust="" has="" settled="" after="" a="" major="" cigarette="" tax="" increase,="" the="" new="" higher="" levels="" of="" state="" tobacco="" tax="" revenues="" typically="" decline="" by="" only="" about="" two="" percent="" per="" year,="" on="" average,="" because="" of="" ongoing="" reductions="" in="" state="" smoking="" rates.="" year="" to="" year,="" state="" cigarette="" tax="" revenues="" are="" more="" predictable="" and="" less="" volatile="" than="" many="" other="" state="" revenue="" sources,="" such="" as="" state="" income="" tax="" or="" corporate="" tax="" revenues,="" which="" can="" vary="" considerably="" year="" to="" year="" because="" of="" nationwide="" recessions="" or="" state="" economic="" slowdowns.<="" blockquote=""> It reiterates that point in a section beginning on page 8, with the headline "The New Revenues from Raising Oregon’s Cigarette Tax Rate will be Stable and Predictable for Years to Come". So yeas, I think people did mean that proponents of the measure believe it will provide a stable revenue source. It certainly wouldn't be much good as a source of funding health care for uninsured children if it was unstable.
  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    It's astonishing to think that people are out there parsing every single comment for a slip. I'm seriously honored.

  • reading (unverified)
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    I wonder how proud the Nation is of one of their interns at this point?

    By the way Dean, the Rockridge Institute is George Lakoff's progressive policy institute: The Rockridge has been as strong a progressive advocate for SCHIP as you'll find out there. As I noted, their opposition is predicated on exactly the basis that many informed health care reform advocates who recognize the corrupt insurance industry and corporate health care interests that M50/SB3 is specifically designed to serve, and who have become appalled at the blatant intellectual dishonesty and tactics of the proponents oppose M50.

    Despite what the pro M50 camp has made the sole tactic of their campaign, just because big tobacco funds ads doesn't mean everybody opposed to M50 is opposed for the reasons in those ads. That the "Yes on 50" side has entirely campaigned on distracting the public from the actual reasons thoughtful people who really are involved in working hard for health care reform are opposed to M50 demonstrates just how little the "Yes On 50" membership has to offer Oregon and our children. I think this episode has opened the eyes of a lot of Oregonians to an elitist, corrupted segment of our Democratic Party, and many supposed health care advocates who have sold-out to them to the detriment of children and adults.

  • (Show?)

    I'm not sure what "slip" you're referring to, Dean, but the remark about stable funding certainly wasn't a slip. It just showed that you hadn't done your research. You hadn't read the previous postings and comments here at Blue Oregon where it was mentioned numerous times. You hadn't read the source material of the people proposing M50. You hadn't looked at the numbers behind the measure, with regard to expected decreases in tobacco consumption or revenue generation.

    Showing up at a debate unprepared and uninformed is just sloppy.

  • reading (unverified)
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    I think the headline that should be on Dean's article is:

    "Sorry kids, all the health care for the privileged are going to give you is what your smoking family and friends will pay for, and that the insurance companies will authorize if it doesn't hurt their bottom line."

    That's a fact that that is what the M50/SB3 approach is about. At the behest of those they really serve, Merkley and the rest of the sold-out Democratic leadership even put the condition in SB3 that the program wouldn't go forward UNLESS M50 is passed. Great message of affirmation and health-positive example to send lower-income children that those of us fighting for SCHIP are trying to help. You're and your "Yes On 50" friends who won't `fess up to that reality are elitist frauds Dean.

  • reading (unverified)
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    Correction to that headline. Should be:

    "Sorry kids, the only health care the privileged are going to give you is what your smoking family and friends will pay for, and that the insurance companies will authorize if it doesn't hurt their bottom line."

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Reading,

    You sound like an informed liberal. A good guy in this twisted debate, trying to stop the insanity spurred by a greedy-gone-mad health insurance industry in cahoots with our legislators.

    The argument plays well, because I and many liberals agree that our private health insurance system is wrought with problems.

    But you can't prevent your true feelings from seeping out through your writing.

    In Oregon, M50 twisted anti-tobacco zealots, Healthy Kids Oregon, Oregonians for Health Security, socioeconomically-privileged Democratic politicians led by Merkley, Bates, and Republican Westlund (based on his behavior to now I object to his theft of the label "Democrat" for his own purposes)

    Then you cover your bases and sound VERY liberal when you argue that we should expand medicaid into a full public health care system.

    But you just can't help yourself.

    DeFazio of all people sunk to a new low in the latest ACS/ALA ad

    A new low? How many lows had he sunk to prior in your estimation?

    You attack several Oregon based health care non-profits who tirelessly work to reverse the damages of our private health care system: on of them is Oregonians for Health Security. Anybody who has ever met Mary Beth Healy, the executive director for Healthy Kids Oregon, knows exactly how she feels about private insurance agencies, and how utterly ridiculous your claim is.

    It's the same claim that Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds--surprise, surprise--are making to defeat Measure 50.

    Who are you Reading? Why don't you be a man (or woman or whatever you are) and identify yourself so that we can all see what a tireless Jesus you are for the needy. You won't and you can't because you're a phony.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    I meant to write that Mary Beth Healy is the executive director for Oregonians for Health Security.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    This is a repost with the above correction:

    Reading,

    You sound like an informed liberal. A good guy in this twisted debate, trying to stop the insanity spurred by a greedy-gone-mad health insurance industry in cahoots with our legislators.

    The argument plays well, because I and many liberals agree that our private health insurance system is wrought with problems.

    But you can't prevent your true feelings from seeping out through your writing.

    In Oregon, M50 twisted anti-tobacco zealots, Healthy Kids Oregon, Oregonians for Health Security, socioeconomically-privileged Democratic politicians led by Merkley, Bates, and Republican Westlund (based on his behavior to now I object to his theft of the label "Democrat" for his own purposes)

    Then you cover your bases and sound VERY liberal when you argue that we should expand medicaid into a full public health care system.

    But you just can't help yourself.

    DeFazio of all people sunk to a new low in the latest ACS/ALA ad

    A new low? How many lows had he sunk to prior in your estimation?

    You attack several Oregon based health care non-profits who tirelessly work to reverse the damages done by our private health care system: one of them is Oregonians for Health Security. Anybody who has ever met Mary Beth Healy, the executive director for Oregonians for Health Security, knows exactly how she feels about private insurance agencies, and how utterly ridiculous your claim that she is in bed with the corporate insurance industry is.

    It's the same claim that Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds--surprise, surprise--are making to defeat Measure 50.

    Who are you Reading? Why don't you be a man (or woman or whatever you are) and identify yourself so that we can all see what a tireless Jesus you are for the needy. You won't and you can't because you're an absolute phony.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    This is my last repost of this comment with italics included this time:

    Reading,

    You sound like an informed liberal. A good guy in this twisted debate, trying to stop the insanity spurred by a greedy-gone-mad health insurance industry in cahoots with our legislators.

    The argument plays well, because I and many liberals agree that our private health insurance system is wrought with problems.

    But you can't prevent your true feelings from seeping out through your writing.

    In Oregon, M50 twisted anti-tobacco zealots, Healthy Kids Oregon, Oregonians for Health Security, socioeconomically-privileged Democratic politicians led by Merkley, Bates, and Republican Westlund (based on his behavior to now I object to his theft of the label "Democrat" for his own purposes)

    Then you cover your bases and sound VERY liberal when you argue that we should expand medicaid into a full public health care system.

    But you just can't help yourself.

    DeFazio of all people sunk to a new low in the latest ACS/ALA ad

    A new low? How many lows had he sunk to prior in your estimation?

    You attack several Oregon based health care non-profits who tirelessly work to reverse the damages done by our private health care system: one of them is Oregonians for Health Security. Anybody who has ever met Mary Beth Healy, the executive director for Oregonians for Health Security, knows exactly how she feels about private insurance agencies, and how utterly ridiculous your claim that she is in bed with the corporate insurance industry is.

    It's the same claim that Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds--surprise, surprise--are making to defeat Measure 50.

    Who are you Reading? Why don't you be a man (or woman or whatever you are) and identify yourself so that we can all see what a tireless Jesus you are for the needy. You won't and you can't because you're an absolute phony.

  • reading (unverified)
    (Show?)

    DeFazio of all people sunk to a new low in the latest ACS/ALA ad
    A new low? How many lows had he sunk to prior in your estimation?

    In context, the quote clearly is to be understood as:

    DeFazio of all people sunk to a new low FOR THE PRO-M50 SIDE in the latest ACS/ALA ad when he stated it was our only chance to help children. This is still a democracy (barely) and it not our only chance UNLESS we decide we are not going to do the right thing for children and adults

    However, DeFazio has done several unsettling things in the last several months, including angrily criticizing constituents in public for demanding impeachment hearings, ridiculing national health insurance advocates and citing what the Admin has done to Medicare as the reason to support a private health insurance solution, and voting with conviction in support of the House resolution to condemn Moveon.org. Over his career he has always been a bit independent and sometimes done some odd things, but he always seemed to come back to what I, as a hard-core liberal Democrat and supporter of universal access to affordable health care (health insurance is NOT health care), have always understood to be the values we as liberal Democrats stand for. Hopefully we aren't seeing him become just another one of those worn-out politicians who have been in D.C. too long.

    Talk is cheap, and pointing to what Healy may have said has nothing to do with the poor judgement and cynical politics she and the OHSC have engaged in here at great expense to the very people they want to help. I found her 620KPOJ presentation the other day spoke very poorly for her personally and for her values as she presented them, even though I feel it was not a well-rounded reflection of her. She was smug knowing she was talking to a friendly and equally smug audience, and apparently totally oblivious to the true ugliness, deceit, and ignorance of her argument to those outside that self-affirming circle. At least I want to believe she was oblivious. Otherwise, as with DeFazio, I fear she and the OHSC decision makers may have been in this game too long and just become actors in the status quo on the health care debate, each happily playing their self-assigned, comfortable and predictable role, and thus no longer really capable of being true leaders for change.

    You and the smug, economically comfortable, elitist advocates for M50 don't have a clue what true liberal, working-class Democratic Party values are. Nor why this cynical, corporate welfare, pro-insurance industry plan is a fundamental repudiation of those values in so many ways, and therefore, the truth be told, actually not that pro-child.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    You are just like every other Republican Company spokesperson trying to call Democrats elitist, snob, New York Times reading, sushi eating, body pierced freaks.

    If these people that you are libeling are truly covert agents for the corporate insurance industry, then there is no hope. There are no more liberal people than the very crowd you are attacking.

    These people represent a community of mothers and fathers ever willing give up their Saturday mornings for coffee and muffins and voluntarily walk door-to-door on this issue. They wake up every weekday and go to work in offices with mis-matched tables and chairs, and devote themselves to their political beliefs rather than the almighty dollar.

    I challenged you to put your name behind your gutless attacks against Mary Beth Healy, DeFazio, and every other charity and non-profit organization in Oregon manned (and womanned) by people who have dedicated their lives toward helping others in exchange for less pay than they would earn in the private sector.

    You won't because you're a phony and you probably work for Big Tobacco.

  • (Show?)

    Dean said:

    Reading, You sound like an informed liberal. A good guy in this twisted debate, trying to stop the insanity spurred by a greedy-gone-mad health insurance industry in cahoots with our legislators.

    Then, less than a day later, Dean said in response to another post by reading:

    You are just like every other Republican Company spokesperson trying to call Democrats elitist, snob, New York Times reading, sushi eating, body pierced freaks. ... You won't because you're a phony and you probably work for Big Tobacco.

    Make up your mind, Dean.

    Reading criticizes DeFazio for not supporting impeachment, not supporting universal health care, and condemning Moveon and you take that to mean he's working for the tobacco companies? You're spinning like a top.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Of course he does. That makes him sound like the perfect liberal, which is exactly what I pointed out.

    He (or she, I might add since we have absolutely no clue) sounds like a liberal so he can win over supporters here on Blue Oregon and nobody can attack him for opposing Measure 50.

    The problem is, this guy has attacked every single Democrat and liberal in Oregon involved in politics. The whole elitist thing is a buzz word for the Republican Company. But why am I explaining this to you, darrelplant. You know better than anybody.

  • (Show?)
    The whole elitist thing is a buzz word for the Republican Company. But why am I explaining this to you, darrelplant. You know better than anybody.

    I guess you probably think that the couple of hundred people who showed up at Ron Wyden's town hall in August and expressed their displeasure at his lack of support for impeachment or his support for Bush administration saber-rattling on Iran were all Republican plants too.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    I did! I also believe in aliens and I think people are chasing me. Is this abnormal?

    Your comment almost drives the last nail through my coffin, darrelplant, but then I realize that it makes no sense. Did all those people slander Mary Beth Healy and say that the proponents of Measure 50 are in bed with the Bush administration? Oh, they didn't? Hmmm. If I were you, I'd assume that they are authentic liberals. Why, are you looking for employment?

  • talkideas (unverified)
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    Did anyone see that study mentioned in the Portland Tribune the other day? Bottom line, Measure 50 would produce a net economic benefit of $163 million for low-income Oregonians.

    Low income families will get $183 million in new health care, while low income smokers will spend $20 million more on cigarettes. Thus, the net effect is a positive $163 million.

    I think this should put the argument about regressive taxation to rest. Measure 50 is a boon to low income families.

  • (Show?)
    Did all those people slander Mary Beth Healy and say that the proponents of Measure 50 are in bed with the Bush administration?

    No, but then neither did reading. You were the one who brought up Healy. reading didn't say anything about her or M50 backers being in bed with the administration, simply that they were "smug, economically comfortable, elitist advocates" who "don't have a clue what true liberal, working-class Democratic Party values are". That's a long-standing criticism of the leadership of both parties, quite frankly. It's almost certain to be one of the topics of conversation next week at the McGovern Conference on the 35th anniversary of an insurgent anti-war campaign against an entrenched party leadership that supported the Vietnam War.

    I'll let you know when I get back from South Dakota.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Dean has been listed as having been an intern at The Nation. If he were representative of that venerable and responsible magazine, I would cancel my subscription immediately. His modus operandum suggests to me he is more influenced by the bumper-sticker mentality of Ann Coulter. Use a bunch of one-liners if they sound right regardless of how ridiculous they may be and how much they ignore the facts.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    In Oregon, M50 twisted anti-tobacco zealots, Healthy Kids Oregon, Oregonians for Health Security, socioeconomically-privileged Democratic politicians led by Merkley, Bates, and Republican Westlund (based on his behavior to now I object to his theft of the label "Democrat" for his own purposes) have conspired with the health insurance and health care industry in M50 and Oregon's version of Healthy Kids (SB3) to knowingly and cynically give those opponents of SCHIP at the Federal level exactly what they advocate: It is an undisputable fact that the overwhelming majority (on the order of 70%) of the tobacco tax funds and the Federal matching SCHIP funds would by law go to the health insurance industry through the "Office of Private Health Partnerships".

    Did you not do your homework, darrelplant?

  • (Show?)
    Low income families will get $183 million in new health care, while low income smokers will spend $20 million more on cigarettes. Thus, the net effect is a positive $163 million.

    The advertised bulk of M50 recipients would be folks who currently don't have health care coverage. Thus in terms of their own income and expenditures they would be losing money.

    According to the OCPP piece from April the bulk of those actually gaining income from M50 would be healthcare professionals. I'm gonna go out on a limb here as assert that none of them are in the same $15k or less per year income bracket of which 30% smoke and would be paying those new taxes. A few of them might be in the slightly higher $25k or less per year bracket of which another 30% smoke. Most will be from the higher income brackets of which drastically fewer smoke and thus would be contributing drastically less to healthcare for kids.

    That, my friend, is a classic regressive tax scheme.

  • (Show?)

    Conspiring with the "health insurance and health care industry" isn't the same thing as being in bed with the Bush administration.

    I've been reading The Nation for 30 years. Exposés of Democratic collusion with corporate interests have been part of the magazine's stock in trade for at least that long, Dean. Maybe you should have spent more time looking at the back catalog while you were there.

    Repeatedly accusing anyone who disagrees with you of being a Republican shill is just stupid as accusing people of being a "Green/Socialist" troll or an "pathetic, commie, Loser". It certainly doesn't further your argument. Ad hominem attacks are really just a last refuge for people who can't make their case on merit.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    That wasn't good enough for you. Okay, here take this comment:

    From the viewpoint of the Administration and their supporters, if there is to be any use of taxes to subsidize health coverage in any way, Oregon's Healthy Kid's Program is exactly what they want to see at the state level."

    The Bush administration supports Measure 50! Crazy huh?

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    That wasn't good enough for you. Okay, here take this comment:

    From the viewpoint of the Administration and their supporters, if there is to be any use of taxes to subsidize health coverage in any way, Oregon's Healthy Kid's Program is exactly what they want to see at the state level."

    The Bush administration supports Measure 50! Crazy huh?

    This is another example of Dean's muddled thinking. The Bush Administration may support Oregon's Healthy Kids' Program, but it takes one hell of a stretch of imagination or another piece of Ann Coulter-type nonsense to conclude that the Bush Administration would be on the opposite side of an issue from Big Tobacco. Big Tobacco is opposed to Measure 50. Big Tobacco is a big contributor to the Republican party. The Bush Administration, if it is aware of Measure 50, will automatically oppose this measure since Big Tobacco as prominent members of Bush's base - the have mores - are opposed to it. Can you figure that one out, Dean? Or, are you too busy trying to unplug another piece of Ann Coulter-style drivel?

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Bill,

    I was joking. But my sarcasm is really "immature."

  • (Show?)

    According to the OCPP piece from April the bulk of those actually gaining income from M50 would be healthcare professionals.

    Oh, come on, are you serious?

    Yeah, if we fund a bunch of people getting health care, then yes - the money will go to health care professionals. But in exchange, a whole lot of otherwise uninsured children are going to health care!

    Duh.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    So I wouldn't expect you to get it. But wow, you're all still coming back. My devoted readers.

  • (Show?)

    Kari, look at the comment I was responding to. The assertion wasn't about how many kids would get coverage but rather was that the poor would financially benefit. I was simply pointing out that the bulk of them are hardly likely to see any financial benefit directly or indirectly. The benefit would be for the 80% of Oregonians who won't be funding healthcare for kids.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    People who smoke are going to pay for this tax. Let's be very clear about that, Kevin, because you and all your tobacco buddies keep insisting that the poor are paying for this tax. It's true that smokers trend more toward the lower-income bracket, but it's false and misleading to say that proponents of this measure are taxing the poor. We're taxing a segment of the population whose addiction costs our health care system $11 per pack of cigarettes purchased. There's a good reason why smoking impacts the cost of health insurance. Why your premiums are higher if you smoke. In purely economic terms smokers are a burden on our health care costs.

    Now, anticipating the name-calling crowd, smokers are the victims and individually do not constitute burdens. However, some, and maybe many, of them will quit smoking as a result of this tax passing. This tax will cut down on the number of smokers and that is the only reason Big Tobacco is opposing it. They don't give a damn about our constitution or exploitation of the poor--because they exploit the poor and children--or any other silly argument they're making here.

  • (Show?)

    Dean, I'm no friend or fan of Big Tobacco. How they come out is irrelevant to the economic impact on the poor. Smokers more than merely "trend" toward the lower income bracket. Smokers are heavily dominated by the poor and near-poor. Furthermore the data appears to indicate that raising taxes causes a disproportionate percentage of wealthier smokers to quit then it does poor smokers - further concentrating smokers among the lowest economic brackets.

    While it's true that smokers are a burden on our healthcare costs, it's also true that poor people in general are an economic burden on many and diverse costs that you and I have to bear. That smoking is one of those costs is hardly surprising. Nor is smoking the only self-destructive habit pervasive among the poor by any stretch of the imagination.

    Obesity, another "issue" with the lower economic brackets, surpassed smoking as the number one health epidemic a couple years ago and the two continue to trend in opposite directions - smoking trending downward and obesity trending upwards.

    The simple fact of the matter is that taxing tobacco products is not only regressive but tobacco products pose a decreasing societal cost on into the future... The very self same future which M50 is supposed to be about fixing.

    Oregonians, particularly progressive Oregonians, can do much better than M50's funding scheme.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Where are your numbers Kevin? What are the studies? Smokers contribute heavily to the high cost of health insurance. Even when you factor in this little 85 cent tax per pack of cigarettes, we're still not asking them to pick up the $11 tab per pack of cigarettes that we pay for every time they buy a pack of smokes.

    Kevin. Who are you? What is your track record of liberal activism. Pony up buddy, 'cause I think your a fake, just like Reading.

  • (Show?)
    My devoted readers.

    And here I thought I was just a semi-regular reader of Blue Oregon.

    This tax will cut down on the number of smokers and that is the only reason Big Tobacco is opposing it.

    The tobacco companies are opposing it because they don't want any reduction in revenue. But as I've pointed out before, the reduction in smoking consumption anticipated by this tax is only three to five percent, with an annual decrease of about two percent in subsequent years. That's the crux of that Tobacco Free Kids quote about a stable source of revenue.

    If the amount of the tax was greater, then the number of smokers would be reduced even more. But that would mean a different source of revenue would need to be found for funding children's health. Instead of seriously attempting to reduce consumption, the state has calibrated the tax to try to milk smokers for revenue.

    If you'd bothered to look at the report I referenced, Dean, you'd have seen that the number of smokers expected to quit as a result of M50 is all of 15,400 adults, with about 30,000 kids who are alive today expected to not start. Those are good things, but according to the DHS, in 2005, there were a half a million adult smokers in the state. Rather than address the problem of smoking for those 485,000 Oregonians, this legislation just uses them as a piggy bank. If the state was serious about getting them off tobacco, it would jack the tax up a lot higher.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    I was joking. But my sarcasm is really "immature."

    Sarcasm has been considered for many years to be the lowest form of wit. Or, do you employ it when you feel you have to shoot from the lip but are incapable of saying something intelligent on such short notice? It is damn near impossible to distinguish between your attempts to make a logical statement and your sarcasm. May I suggest that in the future you give some indication as to what you intend to have taken seriously and what is frivolous?

    So I wouldn't expect you to get it. But wow, you're all still coming back. My devoted readers.

    The above is from Dean who accused others of a sense of superiority despite considering all others who disagree with him to be some form of political low-lives. You flatter yourself, Dean. I and, probably, others are fascinated by the way you have dug yourself into a hole and are curious to see how much deeper you will go. You have been called on statements made by you that were flat wrong and unjustified but haven't had the integrity to admit to being wrong. You either come back with some off-the-wall remark, claim "sarcasm" or fail to acknowledge without the decency of an apology the error you have committed. Watching you dig your hole is like watching a train approach a car stuck on a railroad track.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Wow, Bill, you managed to use analogy to compare two completely different analogies to one another. It was like comparing apples to oranges. They got along like cats and dogs. Sorry, but I'm a little slow on the up-tick.I guess when you get to the bottom of the hole you're digging you collide with the center of the earth and there's a loud noise and shattered glass and screaming? A train hitting a stuck car? Are you more worried about the car or the train? Cause if I'm the car, I'd be more worried about the train. Or maybe you just like to watch car/train accidents for the thrill of it.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Wow, Bill, you managed to use analogy to compare two completely different analogies to one another. It was like comparing apples to oranges. They got along like cats and dogs. Sorry, but I'm a little slow on the up-tick.I guess when you get to the bottom of the hole you're digging you collide with the center of the earth and there's a loud noise and shattered glass and screaming? A train hitting a stuck car? Are you more worried about the car or the train? Cause if I'm the car, I'd be more worried about the train. Or maybe you just like to watch car/train accidents for the thrill of it.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    You know what, Bill? I think I and the "others" who you think are watching me dig a hole into a train wreck are actually just here to see how many more laughs you're good for. I really like you, Bill. Just so you know, buddy.

  • (Show?)
    Where are your numbers Kevin? What are the studies?

    Knock yourself out. Most are linked from that piece. The rest (as with those) are at your fingertips via Google.

    Pony up buddy, 'cause I think your a fake, just like Reading.

    "When the argument is lost slander becomes the tool of the loser" - Socrates.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    I wrote: "Watching you dig your hole is like watching a train approach a car stuck on a railroad track."

    Dean wrote: "Wow, Bill, you managed to use analogy to compare two completely different analogies to one another. It was like comparing apples to oranges."

    Another sloppy shot from the lip, Dean. Saying something resembles another is different from comparing two items that differ from each other.

    Dean wrote: "Sorry, but I'm a little slow on the up-tick."

    I agree. Trouble is, Dean, your propensity to comment is ahead of your ability to understand what you read.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Kevin,

    You didn't answer the question. You sound like a bleeding heart liberal, but you won't say who you are. You fire shots from behind a pseudonym. I don't think you care about the poor or have ever cared about the poor. You sound like you do, just like all those tobacco advertisements that feature actors who pretend to care about Oregon. I think your an actor, acting like a liberal who actually gives a damn about the door. Prove me wrong. Don't quote Socrates.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Prove me wrong. Don't quote Socrates.

    Dean, you've been proved wrong time and time again, but every time you crawl into your denial mode.

    How about a quote from the venerable Dr. Johnson? "Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful."

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Really Bill? How can I crawl while I'm digging a hole? So I'm digging a hole and crawling at the same time? Although my crawling and digging a hole bothers you, you've got admit I'm pretty talented.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    I'm waiting on your answer, Kevin.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    Well according to these statistics, Kevin, tobacco taxes reduce the number of smokers and thus save lives. You can pull up any statistics you want, at the end of the day a "no" vote gives Big Tobacco exactly what they want. Fewer children will get hooked to this addiction. It's ridiculous that anyone need look any further for reason to vote for this measure.

  • (Show?)
    Well according to these statistics, Kevin, tobacco taxes reduce the number of smokers and thus save lives.

    Only 15,000 out of 500,000 adult smokers will quit as a result of the $.84 tax, according to the same organization's statistics as I mentioned above. The size of the tax is calculated to not cut too far into adult consumption.

    M50's creating a new, stable revenue stream for the state. Once it's in place, the state will have no more incentive to reduce smoking rates than the tobacco companies do.

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    If only one smoker quits as a result of this tax it's a victory. Did you say 15,000? That's fantastic. And you know it won't be more because you have a crystal ball that predicts everything exactly as it will happen.

  • (Show?)
    If only one smoker quits as a result of this tax it's a victory.

    Sure, and if only one Iraqi was freed from Saddam's tyranny, the war was worth it. Who cares what else happens?

  • Dean Powers (unverified)
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    That is a fantastic analogy. The victims in my case are paying 85 cents more for their cigarettes; the victims in your example are being blown to smithereens.

  • (Show?)

    The victims in my analogy are at risk of dying of lung cancer or emphysema or cardiovascular disease -- among other things -- because the state isn't raising the tax high enough to seriously impact the number of adult smokers. 15,000 out of 500,000. That's the predicted reduction in adult smokers from Tobacco Free Kids. That leaves 485,000 adult smokers at risk of tobacco-related death.

  • beatstreet (unverified)
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    so why not save 15,000 people from lung cancer. you seem to be saying that if it can't be 500,000 then nobody should be saved.

  • (Show?)
    so why not save 15,000 people from lung cancer. you seem to be saying that if it can't be 500,000 then nobody should be saved.

    No, I'm saying that if the amount of the tobacco tax was higher, then the number of smokers would be cut by more than 3%. If the tax was raised by $2 or $3 per pack, then number of smokers would go down by an even greater number. But the state wouldn't make as much money.

    The tax is pegged at $.84 so that the number of smokers doesn't go down significantly, in order that the remaining smokers -- 97% of the current total -- will provide funding for state programs.

  • Gene Gene (unverified)
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    "Even if this bill fails, it will teach us a valuable lesson: our neighbors, hiding behind their shuttered windows, can be monsters."

    <h2>BOO!</h2>
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