Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Donald Signifying

Donald Trump has at least accomplished one remarkable thing: He has finally got Charles M. Blow, who writes a statistics heavy, rather staid column for the New York Times, to, well blow a gasket. After Trump's most recent inanities, Blow finally could not cleave to  his Walter Cronkite esque reserve and impartiality any longer. Blow finally had to observe the accusations Obama is not American born (which 45% of Republicans believe) , is not a Christian (which 46% of Republicans believe) simply will never be proved or disproved because it is a matter of faith, i.e., religion among Republicans. It is something they want to believe, really have to believe because "Faith in 400 years of cemented assumptions about the character and capacity of the American Negro," depend on not believing an American Black, born in this country, could not possibly be as erudite and smart as Obama.

In point of fact, I noticed the same thing working in the inner city in Washington, DC, where American Blacks, who often had blue eyes, not uncommonly had very close to blond hair and certainly looked very little like the Nigerians and Liberians and  Rwandans I met there. 

The other thing about the African Blacks, just off the boat, so to speak is they had no doubts about their own intelligence, and they spoke with me, a white man, very differently from African Americans who had been born in Georgia or South Carolina--the African Africans had no difficulty making eye contact, used multi syllabic words, sentences with difference cadences and clauses. In short, if I closed my eyes, I wouldn't know I was talking to a Black person, although I would be charmed by some of the accents. 

To put it bluntly, my impression was these Black people from Africa, who had been taught in colonial schools or Nigerian post colonial schools, had never been taught they were stupid or suspect.  They did not act as if they were being interrogated by a cop who was trying to catch them in a lie.

From the point of view of a white guy, they were a pleasure to deal with. Very engaging, funny, extremely bright.

Very different from the Blacks from Georgia, the Carolinas and Mississippi, who met my eye only occasionally, who shrugged off every question and answered in monosyllables and who acted as if the less they said the better. No good could come of saying anything to me. After all, I was just some white doctor. What good would I do them?

These American born Southern Blacks had grown up with the comments like those of the chairman of the local Republican party in Virginia, David Bartholomew, who apparently sent a message to the Virginia welfare office saying his dog deserved a welfare check because he had all the usual qualifications: "He's black, unemployed, lazy, can't speak English and has no clue who his Daddy is."

That's the Republican line, really, in essence. Those who need welfare, who are wrecking our state budgets with their demands on state treasuries are unworthy and undeserving.

This line goes way back. Even in the 1890's the conservative line was any man in America who wanted to be rich, could be. All that is required is hard work and a willingness to risk and to sacrifice. Of course, taking the risk works better if your daddy is a real estate magnate, so if you fail, you do not starve and your family is not thrown out on the street.

So, as Donald Trump and today's conservatives see it, it is just as conservatives saw it before the dawn of the 20th century: Those who are poor are lazy and ill bred and deserve to be poor. Those who are rich are hard working and deserve to be rich. America is a country were you get what you deserve.

And Obama does not deserve to be President, and he certainly did not deserve to be admitted to an Ivy League school because he got in on Affirmative action, not like Donald Trump, who got in because his daddy was rich and was expected to make Penn very happy. with a large contribution in cold hard cash.  And President Obama, Donald Trump says, did not deserve to get into Harvard Law, because, Donald says, "I heard" Obama did not get very good grades at Columbia. 

That's what the Donald learned in his two years in the Ivy League. You substantiate a point by saying, "I heard that was true." Obviously, an expensive Ivy League education was not lost on Donald. 

I do wonder about that magna cum laude thing Obama managed to achieve at Harvard. What does Donald hear about that? Does Harvard give out magna cum laude awards by Affirmative Action? 

Did Donald's father not buy the Donald a magna cum laude?

What I'd like to hear about is how they pump Donald up like a Michelin tire man?

And who told him he could do such a fine Mussolini impression? 

All Donald needs is the funny hat with the tassel.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mr. Trump Instructs

Isn't it peculiar how often people criticize others for failings they, on some level,  perceive in themselves?

Donald Trump somehow knows he is a fat rich kid who had everything in the world handed to him which could be handed to him--wealth, expensive schools, celebrity, but in many ways he never earned the respect a rigorous mind, a lean body, a subversive sense of humor could accrue.

Having been a pugnacious behavior problem in school, his rich Daddy shipped him off to the New York Military academy to straighten him out. That's the story. Donald was bright enough, just too assertive and high spirited.

Or read another way, Donald was so slow witted even his Daddy could not buy him a place at Andover or Exeter or Groton, so Donald wound up at the school for wayward boys where you didn't have to be all that bright. From there to a respectable school, Fordham, but not the Ivy League. That's a bit of a flag, because Ivy League admissions in the 1960's while highly competitive were still very much available to the sons of real estate magnates who just might donate a building or more to the campus. One way to read this story is Donald had to demonstrate to the University of Pennsylvania he could behave himself well enough to be allowed on campus, and then Penn could be happy enough to accept Donald's father's largess.

So now Donald, who claims he was an excellent student, is attacking Obama for having had everything handed to him because he was black. (And Donald would know a thing or two about having everything handed to him.) That stokes the fury of the blue collar Republican Resentfuls, who think the only reason they are not living in McMansions and driving Mercedes Benz automobiles is all the good jobs were given to the undeserving Affirmative Action blacks who got the best schools and from that the best jobs.

The attack on Obama serves both purposes: It says Donald is deserving and Obama is not. And it fits right into the Resentful Republican narrative.

There is a wonderful scene from the movie "Do The Right Thing," where two old black men are sitting in an alley with their liquor in brown paper bags, looking at the Korean owner of a grocery store just across the street, and one says to the other, "Lookit that. Them Koreans only been here in this country, what? A few years. And they got that business up and going and everyone in the neighborhood buys their groceries there. And we been here since they brought us over in the ships three hundred years ago. What's wrong with that?"

And the other says, "You mean, what's wrong with us?"

This is not an exact quote, but that's the way I remember the scene.

And it's a very poignant scene which really bites. But the honesty of the man who can look at where he is in life and take responsibility for his own failings is enobling.

When Donald Trump looks across the street at a black man who had nothing but disadvantage and is now President of the United States, he cannot stand what that says about himself.

Of course, if Donald Trump were actually bright enough, he'd realize it doesn't matter whether Obama is magna cum laude or whether Trump's college grade point average was worse or better than Obama's.  What matters is where  they are now, intellectuallly.

You have only to read the two Obama books and then take one look at Trump, who looks as if he's been inflated like a Macy's Thanksgiving balloon, with that dead animal on his head he calls hair and know the difference.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

When Democrats Whimp Out

We had sometime ressembling a Town Hall meeting recently, at the Methodist Church on Lafayette Road and four reasonably hardy Republican delegates to the NH House of Delegates attended, along with a lady whose name I did not get, who identified herself as a Democratic delegate and a man, a delegate from Portsmouth, also a Democrat.

The agenda was the New Hampshire budget and the Republicans said, as they always do, the only way to approach any government problem is to cut "Spending."  They were, as they tend to be, a little vague (a lot vague, actually) about exactly what spending, but you got the idea they are against government spending, which is always BAD and they are against taxes, which are always BAD.

And someone from the audience said he didn't think taxes on the rich who can afford to pay more are so BAD.

That's when the really most depressing moment of the night occured: The Democrat lady started mewling about how if we raise taxes on the rich, the rich might just get up and move out of state. It was one of those, "Wah, wah, wah," moments, where she got all trembly lipped about how Daddy might just get mad and move away if we did anything as offensive as asking him to pay more taxes.

And I wanted to leap up and shout, "And where is he going to move to? One of those many states that don't have taxes?"

And I thought, this lady calls herself a Democrat and yet she's bought into the whole Republican rant about not taxing the rich because they are our Daddy, who dribble down all the goodies to us poor folk, as long as we behave ourselves.

And this morning I saw Eric Cantor on TV saying the same thing--we have big trouble in this country and it's all about high taxes and we've cut to solve all our problems by cutting taxes for the rich.

Yesterday, I saw Rand Paul say Medicare and Social Security are unconstitutional because the Founding Fathers did not specifically mention these programs by name in the constitution and apart from a clause about raising taxes and providing for the general welfare, the constitution doesn't give specific permission for those programs, so ipso facto they have got to be unconsittuional and illegal.

And I keep thinking:  If the Republicans are this bizarre and the Democrats are beginning to sound just like them, where are we?

At least Paul Krugman seems to remain sane.  But he says he doesn't want to run for office because then he would be on the line to actually do something.

So there you have it: Patriots come sing the national anthem and praise Ronald Reagan and the trickle down religion and where is our great nation headed?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dirty Money

Okay, maybe I'm obsessing about this cigarette tax debate, but it does somehow keep pullulating up whenever discussion turns to budgets and Republicans get all sanctimonius about their ideology, which is all the time now. (Republicans feel they are not only entitled to their own opinion but to their own facts--their numbers always seem to add up in a way which says we have to spend less and they aruge the tax-and-spend Democrats really are tax-and-spend because they are afflicted with spendng mania disorder.)

But I digress.

So, the basic Republican argument is, we cannot invent new taxes (e.g. a state income tax as a rider to the federal income tax) because taxes are BAD, and we cannot raise taxes, even on the undertaxed rich, because raising taxes is BAD, but what we can do is look at things like the cigarette tax and figure out how we can generate more money from it.

So the obvious way is to help sell cigarettes and to promulgate more profit from cigarettes.  The purpose of the tax is to raise money. No discussion of the good or ill done by cigarettes is relevant.

I have argued, this is Dirty Money. It is money made on the inevitable suffering induced by cigarette addiction.

But in the nascent years of the twentieth century this concept of "Dirty Money" was examined by George Bernard Shaw in his wonderful play, Major Barbara. Shaw's argument was in a capitalist society, which is highly integrated there can be no such thing as "Clean Money."  The man who makes his living selling bombs and bullets spends his money at the local baker, the local theatre, the local political group--everyone is supported by the income from the bullets and bombs.  The bomb maker, Undershaft, has a strong willed, independent daughter who is an officer in the Salvation Army and she is appalled the Salvation Army would accept money from her father, from the sale of weapons which kill and maim. Shaw argues she should be happy to get the money out of the Devil's hands in into the hands of God.

This argument has been a keystone of terrorists, like the 9/11 terrorists who flew the airplanes into the World Trade Center: There are no innocents in America. The entire nation is making money by exploiting the poorer nations and using that money to support Israel over the Palestinian's. It is America's economic power which is the head of the snake--which was the symbolism of choosing the center of world trade in New York as the primary target. The money buys political power, and that's why the Capitol, the White House and the Pentagon were also on the target list, presumably.

Nobody can know, of course, what the terrorists' thinking was. We don't even know who "They" are. But, you certainly hear this line of thinking in the Osama Bin Laden tapes and elsewhere.

But back to cigarettes in New Hampshire.  If there is no such thing as Clean Money, then there is no such thing as Dirty Money. We are all swimming in the same water.

But cigarette taxes are a little different, because there is also the principle the power to tax is the power to destroy. And there is the principle that people make calculations based on cost. And if we make cigarettes expensive enough, we will see some people give up smoking and this, empirically seems to be true. So if you use a tax to influence behavior, not primarily to raise money--and, in fact, the profits from that tax were supposed to be delivered to programs to end smoking--then that is a little different from simply profiting from making bombs, and doing nothing by taxing the bomb maker into making or selling fewer bombs.

On the other hand, I would argue that this Republican line of utilitarian, practical approach to the use of harmful products is actually a very interesting idea and the Republican delegates by arguing against the idea of Dirty Money, have done a very real service to the idea of what the government can and ought to do in governance.

If there is no Dirty Money and no Clean Money, what then is the argument against legalizing and taxing heroin, cocaine and marajuana?  We could sell it at prices which would undercut what any street hopper could offer--which is easy because the street price is several multiples of the price of production, put it in package stores where buyer could be registered, monitored and given clean non HIV infected needles and turn a crime into a public health problem and save real money on policing and on health expenditures and make a little money for the treasury in the process?

We might apply the same thing to legalizing, regulating, taxing prostitution, and we could be sure these professional ladies are licensed, HIV tested, given health care and turned into tax paying citizens, hopefully unionized.

So, all in all, I think the Republicans, by arguing we ought not be worried about the moral costs of a cigarette tax have opened up a really wonderful opportunity to think anew about separating government from the world of ought to be.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Moral Compass

Okay, okay. I have heard from my Republican delegates who say  I have refused to hear them on this cigarette tax thing.

All they are saying, they say, is selling cigarettes is legal and if we want to live within our means in the state of New Hampshire, we have to generate what income we can and one very legitimate way of doing this is by taxing commerce, legal commerce. 

If you object to taxing cigarettes, they say, then make them illegal. 

I have tried to tease out an analysis of this argument, elsewhere, but allow me to set forth the argument as simply as I can, because apparently my Republican colleagues get lost in the complexities:
1/ Cigarettes:  Bad
2/ Government: Good,(or wants to be good.)
3/ Ipso Facto, therefore it follows: Government should not promote selling cigarettes. That is-- Bad.

Is there a problem with seeking a good end (balanced budget) through bad means (trying to figure out how we can sell cigarettes in the most profitable way)?

Yes, there is a problem with this. You can put on your most reasonable face, and use your most reasonable voice, and you still have a problem.

If you want to reach the good end (balanced budget), try good means (fair tax, i.e., tax paid by people who won't miss the money so much.)

What is a fair tax? 

Well, let's look at the current tax burden on the citizens of New Hampshire: The richest 10% pay about 2% of their income in taxes; the poorest 20% pay 8% of their income in taxes.


Rich guy, not hurt by taxes: Good.
 Poor guy getting hurt by taxes: Bad.

On Being Nice in New Hampshire Politics

I moved to New Hampshire just as the 2008 Presidential campaign was heating up and I found myself standing on the corner of Route 27 and Route 1, across from The Old Salt, holding an Obama sign.  I thought it might be a way to meet the local inhabitants, a way to  help me learn more about my new state.  Standing next to me was a very trim and proper looking lady in her Talbot's jacket and skirt, every hair in place.

She said, "New Hampshire Republicans are not like Republicans you see on the national news."
"Oh?"  I replied brightly.
"They are Republicans, but they are not assholes."
"Oh," I said, looking at her more closely. This state was home, I realized, to some rather exotic fauna.
Just then a car drove by and a young man in a worn Carhart jacket leaned out of the window and shouted, "Nigger lover!"
"Well," she said, "He's probably not from here.".

One thing about New Hampshire which is different from the more rough and tumble urban places is the amount of energy expended in New Hampshire being Nice.

I noticed this as soon as I moved in to Hampton. Neighbors, even those in the construction trade, my policeman neighbor  typically use no profanity, at least not in the neighborhood, and not just when children were present--they just do not use much profanity, which is one reason I was so shocked to hear the word "Asshole," from that prim and proper Hampton Obama sign holder.

I find myself having to censor my own speech , accustomed as I was to sprinkling my speech with the four letter words so commonly used where I came from. This was not easy, as these had become part of the rhythm of speech and part of the everyday humor. But local New Hampshire speech is different from what you hear on The Wire.

I'm not sure why this is, but it does seem true. At first, I conjectured you have people living in a small town and they see each other every weekend at the Hardware store, the dump, the breakfast place at Depot Square, at Hagans and The Old Salt, at the beach, so they take care not to offend their neighbors.  I

In the suburban metropolitan areas I hail from, you could go weeks without running into anyone you knew. Even your neighbors were not a daily presence. When your neighbor gets up at 4 AM to commute to work and is not back until after dark, and then is off to his kid's soccer games on the weekends, you just don't connect. But here in New Hampshire, you see your neighbors frequently, around town.

At least, that was my hypothesis.

Turns out, Hampton is actualy a big enough small town this is not really true. There are neighborhoods in Hampton I don't pass through for months at a time, and there is no town square, beyond maybe North Beach, where you see people on a regular basis.

So I don't know how to explain the importance of avoiding profanity, of the relentless pleasantness of this town.

It is just a feature of life here, even when the delegates to the state assembly visit a meeting held to listen to their constituents about the current budget wrangling in Concord.

This niceness takes the form of silence when the delegate gets up and makes a speech and he asserts what  the last election meant was Republicans were sent to Concord to cut taxes. 

Members of the audience are expected to sit and to listen politely as ten or fifteen minutes pass while this contention goes unchallenged, and as the Republican delegate says  things like Democrats are tax and spend people, whereas Republicans are responsible about not spending money the state doesn't have.

The unsaid part of his speech--that New Hampshire doesn't have the money only because Republicans choose not to raise the money--goes unchallenged, as the members of the audience sit quietly and listen.

Not having been raised in New Hampshire, I do not have that sort of self control. I could not contain myself and eventually shouted out something like, "In your dreams," when the Republican claimed he knew the voters had sent him to Concord to cut taxes because he had "Counted the votes."

Of course, what I wanted to say was:  You have no idea what that vote said; you only know what you wanted it to mean.  People make good livings trying to study the meaning of voting outcomes and never really know.

But if you can just keep talking and what you say is the only thing said, then even reasonably skeptical people begin to accept what you say, because it is unchallenged. It becomes conventional wisdome, no matter how absurd.

There are lots of examples of this through history: In the South, where I was raised, you heard Negros were happy as slaves. You heard they were happy not being able to eat in restaurants with whites because they felt more at home among their own. You were told they had to use separate bathrooms because they could not be hygenic. You were told if a Negro swam in the community swimming pool, you had to drain that pool because the first thing a Negro did was urinate in the water. You heard all kinds of things and polite people did not stand up and shout down the smiling purveyor of those "truths."

And nothing changed in the South, until people became more concerned about righting wrongs than about being polite.

Maybe New Hampshire can learn something from that experience.

Or maybe it's just a different culture up here.

I don't know. I'm just a dumb Democrat.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

When Big Brother Doesn't Care

The Republican delegate to the New Hampshire House of Delegates got me thinking: When questioned about his plan to try to adjust the cigarette tax to maximize tax profits from the sales of cigarettes, he said, well, they are legal. If you don't like the idea, then you have to, logically, make cigarettes illegal.

He had been talking about was how could we make cigaretes more attractive, so our neighbors would buy more cigarettes, or actually would spend more money on cigarettes--he was indifferent to how much they smoked, as long as they delivered more money to New Hampshire. If he could make more money selling fewer cigarettes, he was happy; if he made more money by increasing smoking and selling more cigarettes, that was okay, too.

As far as he was concerned, it's all about the money.

But he was speaking as a public servant, a representative of the people of Hampton, New Hampshire. And he was saying, we don't care whether or not we are encouraging the people of Massachusetts and New Hampshire to smoke more, all we care about is balancing the state budget.

He struck an especially reasonable tone when he said, "Look, we get them to come here to buy the cigarettes and they buy liquor and food and they spend all sorts of things."

Reasonable, right? He doesn't care what we are drawing them in with, as long as we draw them in.

I didn't ask him about maybe opening some brothels--that ought to really attract the big spenders.

I suppose these arguments swril around the opening of casinos. (But at least gambling is thought to be a harmless addiction for most people.)

On the other hand, once upon a time, the government was supposed to be concerned about the health and welfare of the citizens.

So when did our government stop caring about things like health, and only care about not having to raise taxes?

I think the answer is: When we put Republicans in charge of our government.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Small Town New Hampshire Democracy in Action

So, tonight the Hampton Democrats invited the New Hampshire delgates to Concord to speak about the budget at a meeting in Hampton.

First a guy from a non profit, non partisan group outlined where New Hampshire gets its income on both the local (town) and state level.  What surprised me was how much comes from a tax on business and most of that is not on profits from business but from property owned by business. Then there is the cigarette tax (more on that later) and then some from tax on gasoline and sundry other places. The tax code is surprisingly heavy on things which exempt the wealthy and hit the modest income folks--taxes on gasoline cost the poor a greater percentage of their income.

Then he talked about where the spending goes--mostly health and human services and state services like police and highways and a big chunk on education.

Then one of the Republicans got up and said the difference between the two parties was the Democrats decide what they want to do and then decide how to raise taxes to do it and the Republicans look at what we have coming in from taxes and rather than raise taxes decide how to live within the income they have.

Of course, during the original presentation it was clear that only one state in the union (South Dakota) asks less of its citizens in terms of taxes.  New Hampshire citizens pay big property taxes, and while the rich tend to have more and bigger property, there is a whole class of people who are not rich whose property values keep rising while their incomes fall--the retired. 

During the question period various members of the audience suggested dozens of other taxes which could be used to raise income for the state, including a state rider on the federal income tax which would simply be one to three percent of your federal income tax. If your income is low enough to pay little or no federal income tax, you pay little or no state income tax. And, unlike the property tax which hits retired people with paid off homes hardest, the income tax would hardly touch this group. As someone said, "The Tea Party types are always screaming about big government. Well, I'm not afraid of big government; I'm afraid of bad government."

All of this fell on deaf Republican ears, of course. No, no, no they said, there is simply no way to raise new taxes in the state of New Hampshire and even if you could raise money for the state, it could not be transfered back to the towns. Apparently, this inability to send money to the towns and relieve taxpayers of heavy property tax burden is an eleventh commandment which was inscribed on the stones handed to Moses, but it chipped off in transit down the mountain, and found only later on Mount Washington.

What was really disturbing was not what the Republicans said, which was pretty much what Republicans always say. That was pretty well demolished by a Democratic delegate from Portsmouth, who rose to say, "You know, we are not really an impoverished state with no or low sources of income. We choose to be impoverished."

And having seen the way the tax structure hits the middle and low income people hardest (who pay about 8% of their income in taxes)  and leaves the millionaires paying only  2% of their income in taxes, you can see why the rich love New Hampshire and love the New Hampshire Republican party.

But what was most disturbing about the evening were the comments from a Democratic delegate who said, "You know the Republicans did win the election and they won because they promised to cut taxes."  Which was news to me. When I think of clear messages from the voters, I recall voters saying, on TV, they want the government to keep their hands off health care, most especially Medicare. That's how smart and coherent voters are.That's how much we can know what the voters have said. 

This lady Democrat had apparently some version of the Stockholm syndrome--that syndrome where the kidnapped captive comes to love and identify with her captors. During a discussion about the possibility of levying a capital gains tax she suggested rich people might move out of the state of New Hampshire if such a tax were imposed. The guy from the non profit responded that had been studied and basically nobody moves out of a state for that sort of reason. They move to be near family, to escape the cold or because they just cannot stand listening to the drivel coming from New Hampshire Republicans. (He didn't really say that last thing. I just sort of wanted him to.)

Then there was another fun part, when the Republican defended the whole lowering of the tobacco tax in an effort to entice Massachusetts smokers across the border to buy their cancer inducing cigarettes right here in friendly New Hampshire.  This brought questions from the audience about the reasons for the cigarette tax in the first place and did we really think it a good idea to sell our neighbors cancer? "Well, they come across the border to buy our liquor," he said and sat back as if he had just been made vice president of the bank, which for a Republican is likely next to being admitted through the pearly gates.

That same delegate asserted that as long as cigarettes are legal to sell in New Hampshire, there was no reason not to encourage their sale by lowering taxes and reaping the benefits of increased volume of cigarette sales. He actually shrugged when he said this. "If you don't want to sell cigarettes, then make them illegal,"  he said. This has the same ring of logic George W. Bush used to flaunt when he said, "If you are going to lower taxes, you have to lower taxes for those who pay them," by which he meant, the rich. Because, lowering the taxes of the middle class and not lowering them for the rich, was somehow not really lowering taxes. And if you are not determined to jump into bed with cigarette makers, then you should make cigarettes, illegal, otherwise, join the parade and profit.

The Republican Party, party of false choices.

For me, though, the highlight of the evening was one Republican delegate saying he didn't listen to voters who became unpleasant. And if you wanted to get to him with your opinion, you should not write or email because he didn't have time to read those things and they were all form letters anyway.  When one of the members of the audience said, "But I thought that's what tonight was all about, you're coming hear to hear from the citizens," the Republican said, "Well, I guess so." 

And then someone, I think it was the Democratic moderator, said something about how we could disagree without being disagreeable and how everyone had been spirited but respectful.

Of course, I heard the Republican delegates refer to the  "Democrat Party" more than once. Which is to say, the Republicans do not have to show the common courtesy of calling a man by the name he uses himself; they can turn a name into a pejorative, as George Wallace use to do by calling Negros, "Nigras,"  and that's just something Democrats are just supposed to turn the other cheek to, in order to maintain civility. 

One of the Republicans said something to the effect of how we could all disagree but we should remain agreeable.  And I thought, well, that must work for you. If you are the factory owner who is firing all the workers trying to unionize, you can do that in a pleasant way and demand they remain civil. Or, if you are a governor of Wisconsin, you can disband and destroy a union, with a smile and insist those ex state employees smile sweetly. 

Nice place if you can find it.

But isn't that always the way? Republicans bully and get their way and Democrats just say, "Thank you sir, may I have another?"