Meet the New Toady, Same as the Old

Charles Wales, of Cranston, makes the argument that they were, indeed, the bad old days back before public-sector unionization:

Yes, they were indeed bad times: Elected and many non-elected persons held sway over municipal departments. Favors, assignments and promotions were granted, often without the smallest indication that merit was considered. Lackeys, sycophants and toadies were the winners from the lowest worker up to department heads. City departments had become the playthings of those ranging from the very prominent to shadowy figures patrolling in the political background.

My fellow non-union Rhode Islanders may wonder, upon reading that passage, what has really changed. Well, obviously, what’s changed is that unions are now integrated with that corrupt spoils system. Remember Mayor Laffey’s battles over the crossing guard union? His run-in with the fire fighters? And let’s not limit ourselves to Cranston, especially when we’ve got the Iannazzi-Ruggerio connection so fresh in our minds.
If the situation was as Wales describes it, one could argue that having employees who weren’t part of the spoils system helped to permeate government with whistle blowers on the taxpayers and voters’ side. Now it’s possible to collectively buy them off… “possible” being used, here, in exclusion of the question of whether the local society can afford to support the system in perpetuity.

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dave
dave
10 years ago

Every union thug letter says the same thing – SCREW YOU, PAY ME.
This whining bullsh$% is nothing but a warning to his fellow brothers that they better start to hurt people if anyone, ANYONE, questions their pay and benefits.

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

This still happens. My wife used to have a non-union state job and was often asked who she knew in order to get the job. It starts out being insulting and then it’s just sad.

michael
michael
10 years ago

People who know nothing about what happens on the inside of union day to day operations sound really stupid when making comments based on headline grabbing news reports.
But that is fine. considering the huge turnout at the tax day rally most people see it for what it is and steer clear of people who make statements like these:
“Every union thug letter says the same thing – SCREW YOU, PAY ME.
This whining bullsh$% is nothing but a warning to his fellow brothers that they better start to hurt people if anyone, ANYONE, questions their pay and benefits.”
The reality is far different from what you choose to propagate. Sure there are problems, but there are problems with The United States too, we just have to work them out, it takes time.

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

“But that is fine. considering the huge turnout at the tax day rally most people see it for what it is and steer clear”
Let’s call it what it was, a Tea Party Rally. Look at Andrew’s pictures with all the yellow flags flying. This wasn’t about tax day it was about the Tea Party and a chance for them to gather.
It’s frustrating that so many groups on both sides of the spectrum always seem to gravitate toward the fringe and if you’re not as big of a believer as they are, you don’t fit.
It would be nice if there was a clear-thinking and understanding group that was actually willing to discuss the issues and find workable solutions that make sense.

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

There is such a group, Patrick. In Rhode Island it is called the RI Tea Party.
What part of fiscal responsibility, government accountability to the citizens, and a return to America’s original values and principles as set out in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution do you have a problem with? These are the only elements of the RI Tea Party’s mission statement.
Don’t be suckered by the Leftist lie that the Tea Party is made up of a (strangely contradictory) assortment of Nazis and anarchists. The Tea Party is entirely focused on its mission as described above, and is actively engaged in finding practical solutions.
Eighty years of increasing “Progressive” domination of government have proven that government “solutions” are anything but, and are usually counterproductive on a scale that dwarfs their originally advertised but impossible benefits. Don’t confuse the propaganda with the results.

michael
michael
10 years ago

The leaders of the RI Tea Party have made it abundantly clear that they are an anti-union organization, much to their detriment.
Too bad, too, I believe in what their original purpose is. I simply won’t support people whose ultimate goal is to destroy something I firmly believe in.

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

Michael, where did you see that “leaders of the RI Tea Party have made it abundantly clear that they are an anti-union organization”? Did they actually say that? If so, can you find the quote? Or is that the impression you have from viewing the situation through your partisan editorial lens?
I have never seen a press release or heard a statement by the RI Tea Party that was anti-union. As I understand it, the RI Tea is not against unions at all; but it is against the corrupt use of government to give unions monopolistic power. For example, the closed-shop rule, paycheck garnishment of union dues, and binding arbitration are all laws in this state that unfairly favor unions versus employers and taxpayers. If these were repealed, there would be a level playing field for negotiation with fair incentives and downsides for both parties that would encourage win-win solutions.
But that isn’t anti-union.

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

Bob, that may be what you believe, but it’s not the whole story. I’ve been to some local meetings and you hear the extremists and I see the signs and I saw the sea of yellow flags at that rally. Why so many yellow flags instead of red, white and blue? One reason, it’s more about them and the people there, and like we often say about the left, it’s about the 60-something year olds being able to re-live their youth when they were able to protest things at the drop of a hat.
It’s about Colleen going on the air with Matt Allen that day and saying this is a “war” that she’s fighting. I was completely insulted by that. War is war. She’s engaged in a debate, not a war. People die in wars. People come back maimed from wars. This is not a war and I hate it when people overdramatize what they’re doing and call it a war. That’s what I mean how it’s become about the people involved and not the original mission.
Like I said, I wish there was a way for us to meet somewhere in the middle that makes sense and go easy on the rhetoric. Let the other side look foolish with that stuff. Instead, the TP’s leadership involves themselves in the same.

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

The Gadsden flag was a genuine emblem of the United States during the Revolution, so it is not unpatriotic. I am surprised that you take the figurative use of “war” so literally.
One of the frustrations of being a genuine, open-door, grassroots group is that some fringe types show up at meetings. But they do not represent the vast majority of Tea Party members. RI Tea Party members continue to do important behind-the-scenes work lobbying in the GA on behalf of the taxpayers, educating voters on the issues, and engaging town councils and school committees on issues of fiscal responsibility.
If you want to be part of the solution, contributing your energy to the Tea Party would be a productive way to do it. No other organization in the state is as focused or active in representing the citizens’ interests.

michael
michael
10 years ago

“Michael, where did you see that “leaders of the RI Tea Party have made it abundantly clear that they are an anti-union organization”? Did they actually say that? If so, can you find the quote? Or is that the impression you have from viewing the situation through your partisan editorial lens?”
Yes, Bob, they actually did say that. “Mad Mom, or Cathleen Connely or whatever her name is has been on local talk shows a number of times, or other people from the Tea Party, and they can hardly contain their contempt for labor unions and social services. Their message is distasteful to the majority of Rhode Isanders, as evidenced by the lousy turnout at the State House. Helen Glover, who admittedly is not part of the leadershop of the tea Party, but a normally pretty good spokesperson for them said on the air “It is the Tea Party, or the unions.” Paraphrased, but the message was clear.
And incidentally, my partisan editorial lens as coming from a very wide angle. I own a business, sent kids to college, belong to a union, pay taxes and deeply care about the future of RI and the US.

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

Bob, I know exactly what the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag is, and currently it represents the Tea Party. It may not be unpatriotic, but there were a great many more of those flags than stars and stripes and I don’t remember seeing any RI flags.
That’s my main point, the group has basically become more about the group than about their goals. I think this is in part the reason for such a small turnout, in spite of Helen, Matt and John the Journalist telling everyone about it over and over again.
And as for the “war” comment, words have meaning. If they don’t, then why bother. If you can’t see through my point of her hyperbole and rhetoric, then I don’t think we’ll be able to agree on any part of this. And that’s ok.

bella
bella
10 years ago

Speaking of John the Journalist, I can think of one reason why he no-showed.
I read a Patch story two weeks ago about the salon group’s powwow, and some of them expressived misgivings about having DePetro in the room. Given that the Journalist is a raging homophobe, and that this is a profession with a slightly higher than average number of gays in it…
Was the salon folks’ impressive turnout on the Statehouse steps the product of a deal with rally organizers to keep DePetro off the podium? I just found it hard to believe a guy who’s done more to promote the Tea Party than anyone was not participating.

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

Sorry Michael, but your impression of things you didn’t actually hear the Tea Party leaders say doesn’t count. If you can’t point to quotes that support your accusation, nobody can logically believe you. You editorially hear what you want to hear about the unions and whatever else you do in life is overshadowed by that.
Dan I think that either you are posturing or you are criticizing the Tea Party to cover for your own failure to take action in the figurative “war” against the cancer of Progressivism/Marxism/Liberal Fascism. It’s a shame, because you would be valuable to the effort.

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

Bob, I think you meant me not Dan, but I’m certainly not posturing. I have no reason to. To posture means that you want people to notice you and appreciate you. I’m not like many in the Tea Party. I’m happy to work behind the scenes as I’ve been doing for many years now in RI and I was happy to finally be involved with a winning campaign back in November in whatever miniscule help I was able to offer the candidate.
So go ahead and keep having fun with your new toy, I’ll stick to trying to advocate in favor of what I agree with in my own way.

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

Patrick, do what you want. But giving in to prejudice and spreading the Left’s smears about the Tea Party only makes you look like their tool – er, toy.

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

Bob, that’s clearly your problem that you can’t see things very clearly. You’re in deep. I understand, most people new to this stuff are that way. I saw them come to the meetings all the time. All full of p*ss and vinegar ready to fight. Then after a few rounds, they get tired. I’ve seen it, it’s ok. But to think that I’m a tool of the left and believe what they’re saying, that’s foolish. I am capable of my own thoughts and that’s all I’ve offered here. Maybe some of them are true but because of the messenger, you have blinders on. I can’t help much with that.
If I were to say that you are merely following the teachings of Rush and Beck and are just their tool, would that be fair? Or have you had a single original thought yourself? Of course you have, and so do I. But I disagree with your group so you lash out with the similar kind of statements you reserve for Phil, Russ, OTL. I guess I’ll just have to be a big boy and take it.

mangeek
mangeek
10 years ago

“These are the only elements of the RI Tea Party’s mission statement.”
True, but the message when you’re ‘in the mix’ at a meeting or in a crowd definitely has a strong social-right and straight anti-tax/anti-spending taste to it.
I was excited by the tea party when the idea first percolated, and I think RI’s TP has been much more moderate than other parts of the nation. Still, I couldn’t care less about my tax rate being 11% vs. 9%, I’d rather have a balanced budget than a few hundred bucks in my pocket. I get the impression that MOST Tea Partiers would be happy kicking the debt can down to me, if it meant they could cut their taxes today.
Want to do something good for business in Rhode Island? Implement a statewide public-option basic health care system that anyone can buy into (but ONLY as individuals), and push hard to carefully control costs. Take the burden of dealing with health care off of employers, and watch the jobs roll in. Also, you could probably get a state waiver from Obamacare for it.

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

Patrick, precise use of language is important. I didn’t call you a tool, I said that spreading the Left’s smears about the Tea Party makes you look like one. I said it that way precisely because I believe that you are not one.
As to your inference that I am “in deep” under the sway of some cultish figure or somehow new to the political process, well you don’t know me so I’ll just chalk it up to your lack of firsthand knowledge of the facts. Perhaps some day we’ll get a chance to rectify that.
It is clear that the Tea Party has to do a much better job of communicating its identity, message and agenda to the public.

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

“It is clear that the Tea Party has to do a much better job of communicating its identity, message and agenda to the public.”
Now we are in 100% agreement.
Also, with regard to the “big tent”, when you have the radicals come in and start screaming at a local town in Rhode Island Tea Party meeting that Obama wasn’t born here, Chuck Shumer is a crook, Pelosi is a baby-killing freakshow, and the leadership at those meetings does nothing about it, it really looks like the group advocates and agrees with those positions. Unfortunately, it is the crazies that you get that will define the group, especially as we’ve both agreed, the group has done a poor job of defining itself.

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

But Mangeek, how can I believe that your public-option healthcare system will be any more effective or low-cost than the government’s proven failures of Medicare, Medicaid, and welfare have been? What would make it different this time?
Because if it isn’t fundamentally different, it is making the spending problem worse, not better.
I do agree with decoupling medical insurance from employment, however. The best way to do that would be to give the individual the same tax deductibility for medical insurance that the employer currently gets. Put a cap on it to prevent outrageous “prepaid service plans” from being fully deductible. This makes the individual an empowered consumer of medical services, and free competition is always the best way to maximize quality and minimize cost.

mangeek
mangeek
10 years ago

Bob, it would take more than just giving consumers the money to get better/cheaper healthcare. We need hospitals to compete on price and quality, we need neighborhood walk-in centers that beat the hospitals’ prices, we might even need to reform the entire way we train medical personnel. Handing consumers the check and letting them fend for themselves only works if they can be educated purchasers, how else can they ‘maximize utility’?
“Because if it isn’t fundamentally different, it is making the spending problem worse, not better.”
I agree, which is why I would only advocate for a system that WAS fundamentally different. Instead of flat co-pays, I’d make the public option cover a variable -portion- of health care expenses, so people have ‘skin in the game’ when they choose treatments. A $160 visit to the doctor might cost you $16, the $400 specialist appointment would cost you $40, and a $3,000 MRI might cost $300. Everything would be digital, linked to your state ID, and backed by ONE database instead of discrete sets of records at different doctors. The overall goal would be to lower the total amount of the GDP going to healthcare, and free employees from having to manage that aspect of things. Those two things would dramatically improve the economy, more than any tax cut could.
Meh. I can dream.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

bella-this is why I can’t take you seriously.Do you think Depetro has any influence on real conservatives?

Justin Katz
Justin Katz
10 years ago

Mangeek,
You can dream, but don’t expect anybody else to mistake fantasies for real solutions. Consider:

Implement a statewide public-option basic health care system that anyone can buy into (but ONLY as individuals), and push hard to carefully control costs.

Really? “Push hard”? Because that’s working out so well already? We have to construct public systems based on human nature, not on the wish that forces of corruption wouldn’t complicate matters at the ballot box. Which leads to this:

We need hospitals to compete on price and quality, we need neighborhood walk-in centers that beat the hospitals’ prices

So we’re going to funnel healthcare through a single-payer public system, whereby the government bureaucracy makes critical decisions, and we’re going to trust that small walk-in clinics are going to out-lobby the big hospitals? Right. And…

Instead of flat co-pays, I’d make the public option cover a variable -portion- of health care expenses, so people have ‘skin in the game’ when they choose treatments.

In other words, those government bureaucrats would pick treatments that they prefer and create financial incentive to choose them… because we can surely trust that the bureaucrats’ decisions will be both free of outside influence and universally applicable so as to best suit the needs of every individual seeking treatment?
Look, I understand that your inclinations are liberal, but this is the problem with modern liberalism whether financial, medical, or social: you will never design a system that thwarts human nature unless that system squelches human nature by violating people’s rights, and by giving government that power, you’re creating huge incentive for the powerful to get a hand on the lever.

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

Mangeek, the kind of price-fixing you suggest has never worked in human history, and there is nothing that suggests your sliding copay system would be any different. Particularly if it’s part of a government-designed, centrally planned system.
And the idea that everyone has all of their medical records stored in a single government database is the stuff of science-fiction horror. Your idea would have all of the Founders spinning like dental drills in their graves.
And just how would it be better than an entirely private enterprise system with tax deductibility at the individual level? Because the advantage would have to be really compelling to induce people to give up that much of their freedom.

Justin Katz
Justin Katz
10 years ago

Mangeek,
You can dream, but don’t expect anybody else to mistake fantasies for real solutions. Consider:

Implement a statewide public-option basic health care system that anyone can buy into (but ONLY as individuals), and push hard to carefully control costs.

Really? “Push hard”? Because that’s working out so well already? We have to construct public systems based on human nature, not on the wish that forces of corruption wouldn’t complicate matters at the ballot box. Which leads to this:

We need hospitals to compete on price and quality, we need neighborhood walk-in centers that beat the hospitals’ prices

So we’re going to funnel healthcare through a single-payer public system, whereby the government bureaucracy makes critical decisions, and we’re going to trust that small walk-in clinics are going to out-lobby the big hospitals? Right. And…

Instead of flat co-pays, I’d make the public option cover a variable -portion- of health care expenses, so people have ‘skin in the game’ when they choose treatments.

In other words, those government bureaucrats would pick treatments that they prefer and create financial incentive to choose them… because we can surely trust that the bureaucrats’ decisions will be both free of outside influence and universally applicable so as to best suit the needs of every individual seeking treatment?
Look, I understand that your inclinations are liberal, but this is the problem with modern liberalism whether financial, medical, or social: you will never design a system that thwarts human nature unless that system squelches human nature by violating people’s rights, and by giving government that power, you’re creating huge incentive for the powerful to get a hand on the lever.

ANTHONY
ANTHONY
10 years ago

“Still, I couldn’t care less about my tax rate being 11% vs. 9%, I’d rather have a balanced budget than a few hundred bucks in my pocket. I get the impression that MOST Tea Partiers would be happy kicking the debt can down to me, if it meant they could cut their taxes today.”
REALLY Mangeek? You’d rather give MORE of your hard earned money to an irresponsible government than keep it yourself? Then why don’t you just write a check for that extra amount and send it along to the IRS or the State of Rhode Island? I’m sure they will put it to good use just like they have done all these years….oh wait…we are running a huge deficit aren’t we.How did we get here? Right..we just have to give more money to the govt. to fix it. I’m a proud member of the Fort Worth,TX. Tea party. No kooks here just patriots trying to do the right thing. Try it you may like it.

emt
emt
10 years ago

Still, I couldn’t care less about my tax rate being 11% vs. 9%, I’d rather have a balanced budget than a few hundred bucks in my pocket.
I refuse to accept that you’re so niave as to think that taxes raised to “balance the budget” will actually be used for anything other than to expand the size and scope of Rhode Island’s government.
Give liberals more money and they WILL spend it. They don’t know how to do anything else.

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

Let me try to stem the tide for mangeek a little as he and I have had conversations about this and he can correct me if I’m misstating his case.
It seems he left out one part of his statement. He has told me that he doesn’t mind going from 9% to 11% *if the return on that money is kick ass*. Yeah, “if”. He agrees that the ROI today is absolutely garbage. Sewage. I think he agrees that for what we get today, we should pay less. But, would you pay 2% more if you felt you were getting value for your money. Well-maintained roads, good schools, low-crime, efficient DMV, etc? I think lots of people would pay for quality and value. Right now, we’re paying for garbage. For a governor to act like a 14 year old girl banished to her room and making youtube videos to defend a budget that he’s already agreed is DOA.
I think that’s the part of his statement that mangeek forgot to include.

mangeek
mangeek
10 years ago

Thanks, Patrick. I also think my health care idea was misunderstood. By ‘variable portion’, I meant that the amount the government and consumer paid would (obviously) total to the cost the provider charged. The government wouldn’t set prices, they would pay, say, 90% of costs, and the consumer would pay the remainder. You COULD change that number to encourage healthy behaviors (the variable part), so smokers would end up having to pay 20% of costs related to the diseases most commonly associated with smoking, or alcoholics would get little-to-no coverage for liver transplants, etc. Basically, it would smooth-out the costs of expensive treatments among the population, but still require people to take ownership in decisions about spending. Consumers today fall into three categories: 1. Well-insured folks. They have Cadillac plans, and are incentivized to spend the most that they can on health care, since their costs stay at ‘zero’, but they can get whatever they want from the system. 2. Poorly-insured, but insured. They’re incentivized by high-deductible plans to avoid ‘basic upkeep’ and preventative care, but as soon as the sh*t hits the fan, they act just like #1, they switch to wanting to spend the most that they can. 3. The uninsured. The uninsured are discouraged from consuming any kind of care, but once they need it, they either still don’t get it, or they get it and push the costs back onto the rest of us. They actually act a lot like #2, but they’re not ‘covered’, so high medical costs often end up with them losing homes or falling into ‘disability’ so they can partake of the social safety net. “You’d rather give MORE of your hard earned money to an irresponsible government than keep it yourself?” No, I’d rather not. I think Patrick sums up my… Read more »

skippy
skippy
10 years ago

maybe these actuarys who according to some union pro advocates messed up their future pensions have insurance and like the 75 million missing from the landfil they can sue to retrieve some of the money…BUT in no way did anyone as a resident of RI owe or approve of paying you anything..good luck. this state has no law giving you any rights as a worker ask anyone who did not join your clubs. you seve at the pleasure of the employer.

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