Rob Douglas: Not as free, but still brave

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This Independence Day, Americans are feeling less free than they have in years. Meanwhile, here in the Yampa Valley, we have a shining example of why the United States is still the home of the brave.

This week, Gallup released results from a question they’ve asked Americans for the last seven years: “In this country, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your freedom to choose what you do with your life?”

Rob Douglas

Rob Douglas' column appears Fridays in the Steamboat Today. He can be reached at rdouglas@SteamboatToday.com.

Find more columns by Douglas here.

Here’s what Gallup learned.

“Fewer Americans are satisfied with the freedom to choose what they do with their lives compared with seven years ago — dropping 12 percentage points from 91 percent in 2006 to 79 percent in 2013. In that same period, the percentage of Americans dissatisfied with the freedom to choose what they do with their lives more than doubled, from 9 percent to 21 percent.”

Additionally, Gallup found that the U.S. is falling behind other countries when it comes to the perception of freedom.

“Gallup asks people in more than 120 countries each year whether they are satisfied or dissatisfied with the freedom to choose what they do with their lives. In 2006, the U.S. ranked among the highest in the world for people reporting satisfaction with their level of freedom. After seven years and a 12-point decline, the U.S. no longer makes the top quartile worldwide.

“Of the countries where Gallup asked residents about satisfaction with their freedom in 2006 and 2013 (108 in total), only 10 countries had declines as large or larger than the decrease seen in the U.S.”

The U.S. has fallen to 36th on the list of countries polled. For comparison, the top 10 countries in descending order are: New Zealand, Australia, Cambodia, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, Austria, Netherlands, Uzbekistan, Canada and Iceland.

After explaining why Americans’ declining perception of freedom must be about more than the still troubled economy, Gallup advances another possible explanation: government corruption.

“Gallup asks an additional question worldwide about whether people believe corruption is widespread throughout their government. This item is related to perceptions of freedom at the national level.

“Among Americans, perceptions of widespread corruption in their government have been generally increasing over the past seven years.”

In 2006, 59 percent of U.S. residents answered “yes” when asked, “Is corruption widespread throughout the government in this country, or not?” By 2013, 79 percent answered in the affirmative, leading Gallup to note:

“Perceived widespread corruption in the U.S. government could be on the rise for several reasons, including the significant media attention on issues such as the IRS targeting of conservative groups and the National Security Agency leaks. Americans not only feel that the U.S. government is performing poorly, as demonstrated by record-low congressional approval ratings, but they also report that the U.S. government itself is one of the biggest problems facing the country today.”

In another poll, Gallup determined, “At this point, Americans place much greater faith in the military and the police than in any of the three branches of government.”

That brings us to a shining example of bravery here in the valley — Maddie Ruppel.

As the Steamboat Today reported this week, Steamboat Springs High School graduate Maddie Ruppel entered the United States Military Academy at West Point on Wednesday as a cadet. Once Ruppel successfully completes four years of rigorous academic, military and physical training, she will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army and will serve at least five years on active duty.

While Routt County is home to many talented young Americans who are preparing to be leaders in their chosen professions, Ruppel is truly exceptional. After all, in addition to West Point, she was accepted at two other military academies — a tremendous accomplishment. Combine Ruppel’s proven determination and intelligence with the courage it takes to serve in the military, and you have the makings of a brave young woman with the potential to be a leader of her generation.

With the world as dangerous as it has ever been, this Fourth of July, let’s give thanks for young Americans, like Ruppel, who willingly choose to serve in the armed forces and protect the freedom that is the birthright of our nation.

Godspeed, Maddie.

To reach Rob Douglas, email rdouglas@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @RobDouglas3

Comments

Dan Shores 5 months, 2 weeks ago

This young lady is to be congratulated, this is quite an achievement and she should be very proud. I wonder why people think they are less free. This is curious especially since we seem to have more freedom, such as smoking pot here in Colorado, gays being able to marry in some states and everyone now having access to health insurance even with a pre-existing condition. Also curious Rob why you chose not to mention that the IRS was targeting liberal groups as well as conservative groups.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Hey Dan S. Something we agree on. Congrats to Maddie Ruppel on her achievement. As for the rest of your post, not so much. Let's see, some folks are no longer able to choose their existing health plan, NSA snooping, muslim extremists on the move - ISIS, Iran closer to nuclear weapons, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants pouring across the border, current president appears to be over reaching a bit on his legal use of executive orders at least according to legal scholar, lawyer and liberal Jonathan Turley ( I would encourage all to read attached article) and the SCOTUS which voted 9 - 0 that President violated the separation of powers with his appointees. Gosh darn it, I wonder too why people may feel less free.

Here is a brief snippet of the article attached with an intro from Jonathan Turley Below is my column in the Sunday Washington Post on separation of powers — authored with United States Senator Ron Johnson (R, Wis.). As the piece states, Johnson and I come from sharply different political perspectives, though the most surprising aspect of this collaboration is that he is a Packers fan and I am a Bears fan. We decided to write a piece together to try to seek a nonpartisan response to the rapidly expanding executive power in our system — and the corresponding decline of legislative power. We have been discussing this worrisome shift within our system and the lack of any collective institutional identity, let alone action, from members. We thought, if we could show the common ground in these concerns, it might encourage other members to reach across the aisle in the interests of their institution.

Ron Johnson, a Republican, represents Wisconsin in the Senate. Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University.

"The controversy over President Obama’s decision to exchange five high-ranking Taliban leaders for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl last month focused largely on the price paid. There was less focus on Obama ignoring a federal law that required him to notify Congress 30 days in advance of releasing detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Laws such as this have been enacted to allow vital oversight of actions of such consequence. If this were an isolated instance, it could be dismissed. It is not.

After announcing that he intended to act unilaterally in the face of congressional opposition, Obama ordered the non-enforcement of various laws — including numerous changes to the Affordable Care Act — moved hundreds of millions of dollars away from the purposes for which Congress approved the spending and claimed sweeping authority to act without judicial or legislative controls."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/restore-balancing-among-the-branches-of-government-in-washington/2014/06/27/81440022-f49d-11e3-b633-0de077c9f768_story.html

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mark hartless 5 months, 2 weeks ago

In the early 1600's the Dutch purchased Manhattan from indians for about $24 worth of tinkling trinkets and shiny beads. The indians were master negotiators compared to todays "progressives" who would trade their very lives for bread and circuses

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” -CS Lewis

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mark hartless 5 months, 2 weeks ago

“At this point, Americans place much greater faith in the military and the police than in any of the three branches of government.”

Wonder who Gallup thinks commands the military and police forces?

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Scott Wedel 5 months, 2 weeks ago

As for less free, the issue is obviously the NSA and TSA.

TSA has no fly list which a court recently finally held must allow people to learn why they are on the list and provide a clear method for being removed from the list. The airport screening is well known to just be a big show to convince the public that flying is safe that has so many weaknesses that it is not hard to slip a weapon through. The biggest reason that flying is safer now is that the passengers now react strongly to any threat. The days of passengers doing nothing and letting the authorities deal with hijackers is over.

And Edward Snowden collected so much information showing the NSA is spying on Americans. Yesterday there was a Washington Post article in which they went through 150,000 documents of captured information and they calculated that NSA is spying on 9 Americans for every 1 valid target. That NSA followed a target to a chat room and then started spying on the 38 other people there. And so on.

Possibly worst of all, NSA is caught lying again. NSA said Snowden did not have access to raw intelligence and yet he has 150,000 such documents. So not only is NSA collecting so much data on Americans, they have so little control over it that they cannot even know what their defector stole or was able to access. So obviously, NSA employees are able to abuse the system.

And in the so bizarre it is almost funny news, Germany captured a spy with info on their government investigation into the NSA's activities and how to protect their information. Germany arrested the person thinking he was passing the info to the Russians. But the spy said that he was working the Americans and apparently has evidence of that!

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Dan Kuechenmeister 5 months, 2 weeks ago

"Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose." My best guess is the middle and less than middle class as they are being squeezed by higher, food, energy, health care and education costs are not all that concerned about "smoking pot here in Colorado, gays being able to marry in some states". Feel good stories for sure for those who benefit. If your income is stagnant to dropping (inflation adjusted median household income in the US is less then it was in 1996) while your basic "necessity" costs are rising there is more then likely a tendency to feel less "free". If you have to juggle 2 or more jobs to purchase your basic necessities then you may feel less "free". 15.2% of adults 18 - 29 are out of work. While last Friday's jobs report showed a total increase of 288,000 jobs, the number of involuntary part time workers increased by 275,000. My guess is those who have been forced into part time jobs feel less "free". Sorry to be such a debbie downer but you "just can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear."

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jerry carlton 5 months, 2 weeks ago

People were free to kill each other in Obama/Emanuel land [Chicago]. 9 shootings resulting in death over the 4th of July. The good news is murders are down in Chicago this year. Hard to decide if Obama did a worse job "organizing" Chicago or running this country. I voted for Obama the first time. I was not that stupid the second time. Maybe i actually got smarter after 4 years of being lied to and I could even remember that I was being lied to.

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john bailey 5 months, 1 week ago

glad you saw the light , Jerry , as with the rest of em they'll see it too , and none too soon , hopefully

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Dan Shores 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Dan K. I get your point about people having less money feeling less free. I guess freedom means different things to different people. For instance, prior to the civil war, southerners were very upset at the prospect of losing their freedom to own slaves. They believed it was their constitutional right. Personally, I don't care if the NSA spies on me. I don't feel less free. I would feel less free if it became more difficult to vote, not less free if it was more difficult to buy a gun. Freedom means different things to different people.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Hey Dan S. Something else we agree on. "I guess freedom means different things to different people."

I assume you have a drivers license so how will it ever become "more difficult" for you to vote? Hey Dan S. How are those laws in Chicago that make it "more difficult to buy a gun" working out?

May 28, 2014 CHICAGO — Mayor Rahm Emanuel outlined a plan on Wednesday to make Chicago’s gun laws, already some of the strictest in the country, even tougher.

And this past weekend in Chicago CHICAGO — At least 14 people were killed and dozens more wounded in Chicago over the holiday weekend

And from Rob's article "In 2006, 59 percent of U.S. residents answered “yes” when asked, “Is corruption widespread throughout the government in this country, or not?” By 2013, 79 percent answered in the affirmative," Do you believe the Democratic party bears any responsibility for that increase of 20% or is it all Bush's fault?

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Dan Kuechenmeister 5 months, 2 weeks ago

More freedom. Costco has apparently decided to pull D'Souza's book "America" from it's stores. Gee, I wonder why people would feel less free.

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mark hartless 5 months, 2 weeks ago

I don't think freedom means anything to progressives. Perhaps the word Dan S. ought to use is "comfort". They seem to be really keen on that.

Other peoples God-given rights mean little or nothing to progressives compared to importance of their own comfort. (both physical and psycological)

Curiously, they are able to be quite flexible in their own standards of what makes them comfortable from one day to the next. The Patriot Act and NSA wiretapping used to make them quite uncomfortable... not now.

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Dan Shores 5 months, 1 week ago

Dan K., it's all Obama's fault of course. Everything is Obama's fault, you know that. Mark, of what God given rights are you referring to here?

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john bailey 5 months, 1 week ago

yep , and pretty much the idiots who he convinced to vote him into office , twice ,Dan S. sad really..... ain't it...most transparent admin ? right ?

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mark hartless 5 months, 1 week ago

All of 'em.

There is hardly a right enumerated in the US Constitution that progressives have not abdicated; sold for a lousy mess of porridge, some tinkling beads, empty promises of "security" which is itself impossible apart from the retention of these individual rights.

Even worse, they seem increasingly willing to exchange them without even getting any commitments whatsoever, apart from some abstract and laughable promise of "change".

There was a time when people didn't need to ask "what God-given rights?". People much wiser than most today put it this way: "...we hold these truths to be self evident (meaning any idiot ought to recognize them without being told or taught) that... men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights..."

But I guess once you kill God you also kill His endowment to mankind, no??

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Dan Kuechenmeister 5 months, 1 week ago

Dan S. Please, I beg you. Where in my posts have I said it's all Obama's fault. Anybody, is it me or is Dan S now a mind reader.

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Dan Shores 5 months, 1 week ago

Mark, I have no idea what you are talking about. I personally don't feel less free, or that any of my rights have been taken away, but that's just me. Perhaps you can tell us what rights you believe you had, but have lost or have been taken away, in recent times. I believe that was one of the focuses of Mr. Doulglas' column.

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jerry carlton 5 months, 1 week ago

Dan Shores The right to have health care insurance or not. The right to have high capacity magazines or not and I do not own a rifle that would take high capacity magazines.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 5 months, 1 week ago

Dan S, The current administration while promising to be the most transparent in history is anything but. You however are quite transparent. You spin your liberal talking points and when anybody calls you out you accuse anybody who does so of being a bigot, a racist. You have told me that I believe it is All Obama's fault. And then you hide behind your spin that you only want to discuss the article involved. I have asked you to show me how I have said it is all Obama's fault. But you don't. Why am I not surprised. So my challenge to you is you either prove your accusation that I think it is all Obama's fault or you cease and desist in accusing those you disagree with of saying things they didn't say. Come out from your hiding place and man up. Hey, why didn't our senator, Udall, refuse a photo op with Obama. Does that make him a racist.

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mark hartless 5 months, 1 week ago

"Mark, I have no idea what you are talking about."

Don't feel bad, Dan. Way smarter people than you have trouble with the Constitution. Why, just last week a group of 9 people who are highly informed about the constitution, and half of whom sympathise with your beloved president (I believe they are called The Supreme Court), had to rebuke the president for trashing the Constitution.

And if your beloved president, as a supposed "constitutional scholar", can blatently run afowl of basic Constitutional law, then it stands to reason that a Constitutional neophyte such as yourself might have trouble.

You needn't feel alone. Just like you and your "Constitutional Scholar" president, most progressives can't find any Constitutional roadblocks to their utopia... mostly for the same reason that a bank robber can't find the police station...

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Dan Shores 5 months, 1 week ago

Jerry, no one is forced to have health insurance. If you don't buy it you pay a tax. Or in my case, I am exempt from the tax because the cheapest policy available to me here in Routt County would cost more than ten percent of my income. And don't forget, the individual mandate was not the President's choice, it was the republican plan and the only method that could be passed. Dan K., so I just want to be clear and on the record here, so you are agreeing with me that it is not all Obama's fault, is that what you are saying? Because if that is indeed what you are saying, it would mean that you are again agreeing with me, and that is kind of scary. So why don't you "man up," as you say, and tell the truth. I'm not hiding behind anything, just trying to stay on topic. As I've said, any one of you can seek me out at any time if you want a face to face and get into an insult fest and see how it works out for you. As for this forum, I prefer to remain respectful of others views, even though I may strongly disagree, and try to understand the points being made. Lastly, Mark, I still haven't heard you say what particular freedoms that you, personally, have lost. Jerry did mention high capacity magazines, but I'm not sure that it was ever a right to possess them and as I said, everyone still has the right to not have health insurance if they so choose. In addition, many have gained the right to purchase health insurance, which I see as a plus. I understand from Rob's article that there is in general, a feeling that freedoms are being lost. My question again is, exactly which freedoms are actually being lost and what is the reason that people in general feel that their freedoms are being taken away? In my "libby" view, I don't feel like I have lost any freedoms, and in fact, feel like have gained a few, like access to health insurance.

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john bailey 5 months, 1 week ago

yawn... where do you work again ? I can't seem to find you in the realtor ads.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 5 months, 1 week ago

Ah Dan S. I think the Byrds penned a song which applies to you. To everything spin, spin, spin. I am patiently waiting for you to show me where I stated it is all OBama's fault. Of course you call out Mark H for not answering your question while refusing to answer mine. I think there is a term for that. I can help you out with a specific example of why some one may not feel as free. A person has a health insurance plan that they liked, doctors they liked, clinics they liked. Then the ACA says oops, so sorry you can't have the health care plan you liked, the doctors that know your health issues, the clinics that you are comfortable with. Now, luckily for you that did not happen, but for those that experienced it they may not feel as "free" as they used to. Maybe that will help you " try to understand the points being made." Maybe it will help you be "to remain respectful of others views,"

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Scott Glynn 5 months, 1 week ago

It's too bad that this forum, like so many before it and so many after, has lost sight of a very important topic. This young lady, whom I have enormous respect for, has made a conscious decision to serve the citizens of the United States in one of the most selfless ways possible. And do it with integrity, pride, and a selflessness that cannot be measured. Perhaps one day placing herself in harms way to protect the land that offers us so much opportunity. The maturity, drive, commitment, and initiative that this cadet has shown, since a Freshman in High School, to achieve her goals proves that there are great leaders among us. Conservative, liberal, moderate, whatever your tilt is in this political game, please don't lose sight of the fact that we are still able to mentor, mold, and encourage our young people to help return this country to the greatness that it has the capability of. Only when we stop trying, do we lose.

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john bailey 5 months, 1 week ago

exactly the point ,Scott , and it appears that the current occupant of the White house has done exactly that , stopped trying , well except for the constant campaigning thing....."encourage our young people to help return this country to the greatness that it has the capability of" now how do they do that if most feel entitled to everything with out working for it. that is the mind set of our current leadership....worst president ever......

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Dan Shores 5 months, 1 week ago

John you can find me if you want. I'm ready for you buddy, any time!

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Michael Bird 5 months, 1 week ago

Dan S Prior to ACA, you had access to guaranteed issue Cover Colorado health plan. It excluded only pregnant women and those with renal kidney failure.To protect the plan, pregnant women were excluded otherwise they could join and then cancel right after the baby's birth creating a huge financial deficit - i.e. pay a little and have the plan pay a lot leaving all other members to make up the difference with higher premiums. If you were a self-employed businessman, you had access to a guaranteed issue group health plan ( a group is one or more). through Humana, United Healthcare, etc.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 5 months, 1 week ago

Is it me or does it appear Dan S is a bit lonely and looking for some one to play with. In the past 24 hours he has invited both John Bailey and I to come find him. Now come on Dan, once upon a time you said didn't want to meet with a group of posters in this forum because we weren't "like" you. Now you are inviting us to come find you. So which is it. Color me confused, er make that amused. And yes Scott G as I said early on In this string PROPS to Maddie.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 5 months, 1 week ago

Oh yea Dan S still waiting for your proof that I said it's all Obama's fault which you accused me of

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Dan Shores 5 months, 1 week ago

Dan K., glad to know that you don't blame Obama for everything. This is good news. My invitation is directed toward John B. in an effort to get him to stop insulting me personally on this forum, in direct violation of the Pilot policy against ad hominem attacks. It obviously is not working, so I shall be contacting the Pilot directly. Michael, we've been down the ACA road before and this is totally off topic but here goes again. Yes, coverage was always available via Cover Colorado. Problem was it was not affordable by any stretch of the imagination. My premium estimate was over $1,200 per month just for me. The letter A in ACA stands for affordable. With the ACA, my premiums would now be around $600 per month here in Routt County and around $300 per month in Denver. Premiums here in Routt County are still not affordable, due to the high cost of medical care here in Routt County, and for me over 10% of my income, and therefore I am not subject to the tax for not having insurance. The individual mandate was not the President's choice but was the republican choice and the only option that could be passed in congress. Remember, the President doesn't make law, the congress does, the President sets policy. The President preferred the public option which would have forced private insurers to compete with the less expensive government insurance plans. The problem with exceedingly high premiums for everyone, before the ACA, was that a greater and greater percentage of income was going toward insurance premiums, leaving less money for other spending and thereby dragging down the economy. In addition, poor people were using emergency rooms as their GP office and driving up our hospital costs even further, and people with pre-existing conditions were being excluded and facing financial ruin if they became sick with a serious illness. This has been an issue for many, many years, long before Obama became President. It's just that Obama finally did something about it. I hope this brief explanation helps.

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john bailey 5 months, 1 week ago

so , Dan , your one of the cowards that complained about Steve M. , correct ?

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Dan Shores 5 months, 1 week ago

No , not correct, also not a coward as you will find out, but I am complaining about your continued personal attacks on me.

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bill schurman 5 months, 1 week ago

All personal attacks should be removed from the comments. They serve no purpose in a civilized discussion of the issues raised in Rob's op/ed piece.

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mark hartless 5 months, 1 week ago

Dan,

Rarely do I write to convince folks with your mindset. I know it rarely happens.

Mostly I write because I believe there are others reading these words who's minds are not as made up. Who's hearts are not as hardened. Maybe they might actually want to know the truth apart from a pollitical agenda.

Here are some real ways that America has lost freedoms:

1. Inflation. Since money is freedom, having one's purchasing power diluted is probably THE most insidious way a government robs it's people. Since the American electorate (folks like you) are also culpable by empowering said government, they are responsible for generational theft. Americans have lost more wealth, security AND freedom to inflation than most will ever know. "Your silver has become dross, Your drink diluted with water." Isiah 1:22 America's coins are counterfiet, Dan. It's wine is watered down.

2. Anyone who says he loves his kids and votes to load them with insurmountable debt is a LIAR. Debt is another way we have lost freedom. "The borrower is servant to the lender."-Proverbs 22:7. We are broke, Dan. That is a loss of freedom.

3. Border. You are a realtor, I believe you said. Can you imagine someone trying to convey a piece of real property without a platt that clearly dilineated the property lines? I can't. Would you consider your own property as valuable today if, beginning last night anybody from anywhere could just show up on your property and camp, have a cookout, open your fridge and drink your beer? Of course you would not. How much would such a property be worth on the open market? ZERO, Dan. You know this.

I could go on about lost freedoms such as the freedom of association, security in personal effects, criminalizing thoughts (hate) crimes, being executed without a trial (it happens so much the term for it is being "droned", etc, etc.

If you would be honest with yourself and put aside your pollitical ideaology and humbly ask God for the understanding, you might see the truth.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 5 months, 1 week ago

Dan S. So you said "remember, the President doesn't make law, the congress does, the President sets policy"? I guess it's all in what your definition is of "make law". Now best I recollect the ACA was signed into LAW on March 23, 2010 by President Obama and the Supreme Court accepted the ACA as LAW.He has since changed the implementation of said LAW many times by executive order. So it begs the question, is the President making law? Please note for the record I did not intend this as an ad hominem attack.

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Dan Shores 5 months, 1 week ago

Thank you Bill, it's nice to hear a voice of reason. John will be dealt with.

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mark hartless 5 months, 1 week ago

That's what Bill is alright... "a voice of reason".

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Brian Kotowski 5 months, 1 week ago

Dan Shores has, in this forum, indicted a contributor here for his “paranoid delusional madness.” He offered this advice to another: “Well little man, why don't you try and find some big girl panties to put on and grow up.” Calls another a “dimwit minion fool.” Fond of labeling anyone to the right of Nancy Pelosi a “tea bagger.” It is presently impossible to quote another of Mr. Shores' rants, wherein he asserted another forum member's fondness for homosexual anal sex – that little gem was nuked by the Pilot as a policy violation. But Mr. Shores is foursquare against "continued personal attacks", dontchya know.

So get with the program, people. Ignore the raging hypocrisy and respect his authoratah!

There is another, simpler alternative: don't feed the trolls.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 5 months, 1 week ago

O come on now Brian. Are sure you are describing the same person that said this in this string of posts "As for this forum, I prefer to remain respectful of others views, even though I may strongly disagree, and try to understand the points being made." Guffaw, guffaw. There is a word that describes a person that says one thing and then does the opposite but then I don't dare engage in ad hominem personal attacks. Kind of like the old playground. "Sticks and stones can break my bones but names can never hurt me.

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Dan Shores 5 months, 1 week ago

John B. I want you to understand something, I have absolutely no desire to communicate with you in any manner. You have continued to flagrantly disregarded the Pilot's rules of conduct with regard to personal attacks. Your earlier post was removed and your last personal attack has been tagged for removal. You will be receiving a call from the assistant editor regarding your behavior and I suspect that if you continue your personal attacks, your privilege to comment will be revoked. As far as a threat goes, you will need to define what you mean by threat before I can answer that question. Brian and Dan K., you are correct that I got dragged in to the school yard insult fest a while back and I have since apologized and vowed never again to get dragged down that road. It is childish, demeaning, disrespectful, accomplishes absolutely nothing and has no place in this or any other forum. So if my apology isn't enough, and if you haven't noticed that since I publicly apologized a while back, I have been very careful to avoid personal attacks, even though I admit that it is not always easy, there is nothing else that I can say. Actions speak louder than words and actions are what really matters, not your refusal to let go of the past. I am also quite surprised that none of you seem to mind at all, or object to the fact that John B. continues his personal attacks on me even though you are well aware that this is a direct violation of the Pilot's policy and you are apparently shocked that I would respond in kind in the past. Talk about hypocrisy. Please be aware that you are not going to silence my voice. I can totally understand that you all on the right are extremely frustrated and angry that the American people are not on your side, and it must be very frustrating to be confronted with facts that don't line up with your ideology, but it does no good to take it out in the form of personal attacks. It just makes your argument look even weaker. The place to take out your frustration is in the voting booth.

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john bailey 5 months, 1 week ago

looks like someones panties are still in a bunch ? Dan I will look forward to the call. the beatings will continue till moral improves.....catchy phrase huh ? ~;0) I don't think anyone is trying to silence you, just knocking and calling you out on your thought process is good enough , and your responses are worth the chuckle, that's why so many from the left are calling BS on the idiot in chief , there was that a personal insult ? yes of no...I'm confused !

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mark hartless 5 months, 1 week ago

Please tell us, Dan, what are some of those "facts that don't line up with..[conservative]. ideaology", because the "fact" demonstrable throuthout history, it that it is the "progressive" ideaology which most often fails to align with facts.

That numerous people (even a majority) believe something does not make it a "fact". It merely shows the degree of saturation of naivete throughout the populace.

Everybody on Earth used to KNOW that it was flat...

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Dan Shores 5 months, 1 week ago

Mark, throughout our history progressive ideals have always won out in the end. They are always met with much opposition at the outset, but as time goes on, they become accepted and highly valued institutions. A war was even fought over abolition it was so unpopular. I bet there are a few who comment here who don't realize that the civil war was about the abolition of slavery. I bet some would have even fought for the south! You know, it's a states rights issue. Some who even today proclaim that Cliven Bundy isn't a racist because they found two African Americans who say he isn't. Never mind his racist comments about today's negro never having learned to pick cotton and how they were better off living on plantations with their gardens and chickens. Then there is social security and medicare, the civil rights act and the voter rights act. All of these were highly unpopular at the outset, but became highly valued institutions and part of the very fabric of American society today. Same thing with the ACA. Now I am pretty sure that you are not in favor of social security or medicare and you have every right to your opinions, but the majority of Americans value these programs and that's just how we roll, majority wins.

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mark hartless 5 months, 1 week ago

Dan,

Let's say you owned a ranch.

Let's say you borrowed $$$ each year to make up for the fact that the ranching operation was not quite financially sustainable.

Nevertheless you still paid your ranch hands well.

Furthermore, you, purchased a new tractor and hay equipment every 3 years from the local John Deere dealer, a new pickup annually and a new Suburban for the misses every year or two from the local car dealer.

Let's say you also built a couple new buildings every year or so and bought all that material at the local lumber yard.

Let's say you also paid the high tuition to put your4 kids in an expensive private school.

You also donated to several local charaties, gave generously to your church and spent much of your time volunteering with needy children and the poor.

On top of all that let's say you often hosted extravagant parties for many of your neighbors and friends.

Doesn't it stand to reason that you would be fairly popular with your neighbors, the private school administrators, the car and tractor dealer, the lumber yard employees, the charaties, your pastor, your ranch hands, and your wife?

You would also be quite popular with one other person you do a lot of business with... your local banker. In fact I'd say he likes you most of all!

Don't you think with an annual loan of $100,000 or $200,000 or $500,000 which was drawn against the ranch your daddy left you, that you could keep up the pretense of prosperity for quite a long time, Dan?

How do you think America keeps it's "ranch" open right now, Dan??

17 trillion in debt, that;'s how.

If we were solvent I'd say progressivism is working and I'd throw in the towell and join you, but we are bankrupt, Dan. Don't you get that? Most of what you are defending is all a big ponzi scheme.

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Brian Kotowski 5 months, 1 week ago

An analogy which perfectly lays out the roadmap to the largest ever municipal bankruptcy in Detroit. Identical to the roadmap leading Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain down the same path. It's no more complicated than 5th-grade arithmetic, really. But for those on the left, math is hard.

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mark hartless 5 months, 1 week ago

That's right, Brian. Detriot is nothing more than a basket full of progressive eggs that finally hatched.

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jerry carlton 5 months, 1 week ago

Dan Shores spends money for real estate ads at the pilot so he is part of the club. I f I get banned, I will spend less time typing and more time laughing.

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john bailey 5 months, 1 week ago

um question , do I leave out, in my impending phone call the points brought up by Mr. Kotowski about this poster or is saying your sorry absolve you of all past transgressions? and why is it only the assistant editor ? I would like to talk to the big kahuna herself I have other items that need discussed ...... big Mo connections you know.....um no jerry there are no ads by Dan......but we can laugh anyway.....

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mark hartless 5 months, 1 week ago

I really wish you guys could have thicker skin. I don't think lobbing insults at the editors is productive either.

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Brian Kotowski 5 months, 1 week ago

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss, but by an order of magnitude. And every bit as hypocritical as our resident hall monitor. Unlike the hall monitor though, bossman has the authority to confiscate, borrow, and spend other people's money without ever considering consequences.

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Dan Shores 5 months, 1 week ago

The ability to comment here is a privilege, not a right. The privilege is granted by the pilot, just like driving privileges are granted by the state. If you refuse to obey the traffic laws, your driving privileges can and will be revoked. The same holds true for the pilot. So good luck with your meeting John, I suspect It will be like telling the judge that there shouldn't be any traffic laws, therefore, you should be able to drive any speed you want and not obey any laws. Good luck with that. I have a question for this right wing posse that you all seem to have formed. So to you all, it is perfectly acceptable for John to personally insult me, but if I were to respond in kind, I would be the one who is out of line. And you call me a hypocrite. John calls me a coward and a bigot, yet he levels personal attacks against me from the safety of his keyboard and is afraid to face me in person, like a man. What do you call that? He says that it is OK and a good idea to have pre-concieved notions about, and hold prejudices toward someone because of the state they were born in. What is you name for that? You say that you are not trying to silence my voice. Then what is the purpose of the personal insults and your apparent group condoning of this behavior? If it is not an attempt to silence my voice and the voice of anyone else who disagrees with your views, then what is the reason for personal insults? What is wrong with debating based on the merits of ones position instead of insulting those with opposing views? I really don't get it. Dan K. calls me a bigot and claims to not hold any bigoted views or prejudices himself, but he defends Cliven Bundy and says that Mr. Bundy is not a racist. Dan's reasoning is because I don't know Mr. Bundy personally, and that two African Americans came forward and stated that Mr. Bundy is not a racist, then there should be some doubt and that I am wrong and a bigot because I referred to Mr. Bundy as a racist. Dan K. has no explanation for and failed to even mention Mr. Bundys obvious and blatant racist statements that he made to the media. So what do you all call that. I have asked many times for the name calling and personal insults to stop, but I am still criticized for past indiscretions, which I have apologized for. John B. has indicated that he intends to continue his attacks on me, "the beatings," as he calls them and I haven't heard one word from any of you objecting to John's behavior. So what is your name for that? As I said, I understand your anger and frustration that your ideological views are not shared by most Americans, and demographically speaking, your problems are only going to get worse. Your group behavior here is quite typical of todays right wing, and one of the reason that right wing ideology, and the republican party, are so unpopular today.

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Jeff Kibler 5 months, 1 week ago

"... throughout our history progressive ideals have always won out in the end." If progressive ideals consist of things like LBJ's War on Poverty or the Community Reinvestment Act, I beg to differ.

Then, "All of these were highly unpopular at the outset, but became highly valued institutions and part of the very fabric of American society today. Same thing with the ACA."

Some complain that they can't afford health insurance whilst simultaneously praising the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (As if that isn't the oxymoron of the century.)

I'm not picking solely on progressives, or whatever re-branding label they choose this year. Plenty of dumb ideas emanate from the other side of the aisle.

If that is perceived as a personal attack, so be it. I refuse to be a chronic victim.

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john bailey 5 months, 1 week ago

I see we have more dribble from the left who claims they are under attack , if its true about what is said about you how is that an insult ? only in your silly world , grow a pair or get thicker skin.....

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Jeff Kibler 5 months, 1 week ago

Oops, never mind.I was trying to give a John a gold star for tact and diplomacy. /sarc
For the resident HTML experts, how do you render color on this forum?
font color=#FFD700 doesn't work.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 5 months, 1 week ago

Ah Dear old Mr. Shores once again you tell lies about me.

I do not recall having defended Mr. Bundy's racist views and why you Mr. Shores would say that is beyond the pale. You claim that you ware above the fray and then you have the gall to say that about me. You have labeled me as right wing, as libertarian and now I am apparently a part of some "right wing posse". Come on Mr. Shores which is it schizophrenia or am I triplets. Have I quoted statements of yours and then added a definition of bigotry, yep and I will do it again if appropriate. You seem to think you can say any thing you want in this forum and no one should challenge you. Maybe it is you who wants to shut down others rights to free speech. I got no dog in the hunt between you and John B. You have insulted him as he has insulted you. Seems like a fair fight to me. I don't recall any folks who tend to support your view point calling you out and suggesting you stop. Is it possible you have brought this on yourself. I am not a fan of it and had you never participated you might have my sympathy. I have no interest in "trying to silence" your voice. I rather enjoy your left wing rants. You talk about shutting down your speech. That is the job of the left not the right. Condi Rice at Rutgers, Ayaan Hirsi Ali at Brandeis, Michael Mann suing Mark Steyn, NYC police commissioner at Brown and I could go on. Personally, I could not care less if you want to continue your lies about me in this forum. You have your first amendment right.

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john bailey 5 months ago

i'll take "triplets " for 400 , Alex.....~;0)

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rhys jones 5 months, 1 week ago

I have stayed out of this thread from Day 1, because it was argumentative to begin with, obviously spawning the above discourse in a self-serving way, it's always good to keep 'em talking... that, and if I feel any less free, it's my own damn fault, I being my own worst enemy; the whole world is out there, for the taking, to those smart enough to not keep shooting themselves in the foot.

I do find it entertaining how this has degenerated into a pissing contest of veiled threats, lotta paper tigers in here. Dan S -- I have met John B, and though our politics may vary, I would call him a friend, we can see past our differences... and I would think twice before taking a swing at him. I might suggest some humor, and/or thicker skin; although our politics might align more closely than you and your adversaries here, you don't represent us well, in your paranoid ravings.

Speaking of swinging -- I might suggest the return of a past pastime -- Fight Night -- they held it at the Sheraton. There were weight matches, and grudge matches, fighters wore gloves, it was controlled, nobody got killed. I'll give away 30 lbs without a glance, past that it's discretion, unless I really don't like you. I'll tell you to watch out for my left, but you still won't see it. :-) Let's rumble!!

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Jeff Kibler 5 months, 1 week ago

Rhys, I assume you're speaking of swinging metaphorically. If not, I'd pay $20 to see you up there, especially after your partoking crazily before the fight.

Rhys, are you aware that this this country has a shortage of STEM workers? Per you comments, you are a STEM worker. Of course, this country has no shortage of STEM workers. We have disparate greedy billionaires, left and right, begging for more H1B visas. Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Murdoch can't fill seats with Americans. They import H1B's thus depressing and displacing Americans.

Read this OP/ED NY Times piece: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/11/opinion/sheldon-adelson-warren-buffett-and-bill-gates-on-immigration-reform.html?_r=0

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rhys jones 5 months, 1 week ago

Jeff -- You'd PAY?? That puts a whole new light on things. Ain't seen this Dan S feller, but I'd take on Big John for twenty bucks!! (John -- let's make it look good, then I'll take a dive, and we'll meet at Carl's later, I'll buy ya a beer).

There is no doubt science and tech are where it's at -- everybody wants to be a movie star, but there's only so much of that work. MY BA in Communications was largely a waste of time and GI Bill, except it landed me in this town. I continue to pay for some errors in judgment in decades past -- one huge Texas firm was gonna start me at $80K+ doing database stuff, 'til they did a little sniffing, thankfully keeping me out of hot Dallas... my employers must be a little more tolerant... fortunately those exist, and hacking continues to reap rewards, though my own endeavor wilts on the vine.

Stay in school, kids, study math and science, you'll go far!!

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Jeff Kibler 5 months, 1 week ago

Yeah, I don't blame you. Database programming sucks the big one. Almost as fun as writing reports. Then again:

If you know C, and the Holy Trinity of basic web page design (Javascript, CSS and HTML) you might have a future.

Learn C++, classes, inheritance and the Standard Template Library. If you have no clue what I'm talking about, you may not be a STEM worker. Or you just might be a redneck.

I'll hire you in a New York minute if you have Qt expertise.

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rhys jones 5 months, 1 week ago

The thing that always kicked my ass in C was the damn indirection operators -- are we talking an address, or the contents at that address -- it can get quite confusing -- one reason I prefer PHP for my simple apps. Classes, inheritance, scope, no big deal. CSS, JavaScript, HTML -- just the dressing, for the bride. Cosmetics.

Don't know Qt, but I can learn it in about 20 minutes.

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Brian Kotowski 5 months, 1 week ago

Mr. Hall Monitor's sniveling boils down to nothing more than an infantile attempt to control the discussion by excluding those with whom he disagrees. It is a favored tactic of cowards everywhere: divert attention from the substance of a debate by vilifying the participants to that debate. Once, while speculating about another member's eagerness to be sodomized, Mr. Hall Monitor hilariously ridiculed that member's "feddish" (a "feddish" invented from whole cloth by Mr. Hall Monitor). I pointed out the faux pas by comparing Mr. Hall Monitor to Dan Quayle. Stop the presses - clearly, a vile Pesonal Attack!! Not the sexual insinuation, of course, but that anyone would dare compare someone who can't spell to someone who can't spell. Oh, the whining and sniveling that ensued! It matters not what you say or how you say it; it shall, in one fashion or another, be classified as a Personal Attack. Because that's how a malfeasant hypocrite rolls.

And now we come to this: one of the worst violators of Reader Submitted Content Policy has summoned the hypocrisy, gall, and idiocy to lecture the rest of us about the Reader Submitted Content Policy. Almost as amusing as it is asinine.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 5 months, 1 week ago

One small victory for freedom. Costco has reversed their decision and will put Dinesh D'Souza's book back on their shelves.

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mark hartless 5 months, 1 week ago

People who see his movie and read his book are already convinced.

You think you could pay Dan S. enough money to sit through that film? I don't.

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mark hartless 5 months, 1 week ago

The victory, if any, is that now that I see them for what they really are, I and hopefullymany other people like me will NEVER shop at Costco again.

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john bailey 5 months, 1 week ago

ah , what a refreshing feeling to get a small glimpse of how the system works here on the blog. after a few pleasant email exchanges with the big Kahuna herself , I see a new light. you see they seem to let the thing flow along and let the posters take care of themselves, that is until one gets reported , you see I have no intention of reporting anyone for any reason if you can't take the heat you throw at each other well, tuff turkey as the ol man used to say to me. it must take a weak and spineless individual to resort to such an act. truly feel sorry for these kind of individuals but then that's just me. oh great news on the Dinesh situation , the land of the free and the home of the brave.......

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Brian Kotowski 5 months, 1 week ago

Have to give him credit, though. Mr. Hall Monitor did assure us that "John will be dealt with." Evidently, that translates to calling his mommy and having a good cry. Color me underwhelmed.

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Dan Shores 5 months ago

What a shame, the RWP is being forced to act like civilized adults and play by the rules. You all are a really fine example of the right wing, got your own special definitions for the English language, don't need no rules, don't need no taxes, don't need no government. Just let everybody grab their guns and go out an shoot each other like the good old days of the wild west. What a concept.

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Ken Mauldin 5 months ago

It used to be that liberals were twenty-somethings that lacked meaningful life experience and the maturity that comes with success. Now, we have the perennial man-child class telling us all how we should live our lives in a more enlightened way. What a concept.

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Dan Shores 5 months ago

Also quite interesting to me that the RWP considers being rude, crude, disrespectful and insulting to be an asset and proper behavior. This really says a lot about the current state of the right wing and just another in a long list of reasons why right wing ideology and behavior is so unpopular with most Americans. The Pilot is unable to read each and every post and be on the look out for those who abuse the privilege of commenting. I am happy however to assume the role of "Hall Monitor", as I am being called, to assist the Pilot in making sure that commenters do not make personal attacks on one another, as stated in the "rules", and that they behave like civilized members of society.

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mark hartless 5 months ago

Dan is all about the rules; a real "law and order" kind'a guy. No lawless "wild west" antics on his watch.

Perhaps he should call someone at the pilot and report his president. According to the Supreme Court he has been breakin quite a few.

While you're at it, Dan, you might want to turn them on to the IRS, the Justice Dept, the NSA, etc.

After all, we can't allow rule-breaking and, unlike those lawless conservatives, progressives are all about following ALL those rules...

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mark hartless 5 months ago

Relax, folks. Dan has it all under control>

Our border is secure, our nation is well funded, our kids are smarter and more well-behaved than ever, those killings in liberal utopias like Chicago are probably more "right wing lies". Nobody is watching you from a drone, listening to your phone calls, reading your e-mails. If they were Dan would see to it that they were reported promptly.

Nobody at the Federal Reserve is "lying" to you about the value of your currency. If prices are up it is olny because those "evil, greedy capitalists" are jacking prices just because they can "get away with it".

Report them Dan! Send out your jack-booted friends to squash this dishinesty!

Tolerate NO distortion, Dan! That's the spirit.

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mark hartless 5 months ago

Dan,

You ever gonna get back to us on how inflation, debt and a lack of a border makes Americans more free??

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john bailey 5 months ago

I know what RWNJ and LWNJ means , anyone care to offer up what RWP means ?

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jerry carlton 5 months ago

Right wing party or right wing politics? Dan, I said earlier that you buy real estate ads in the Pilot. Some one told me I was wrong. Would you care to confirm or deny this? I have been looking for another ad but have not spotted one. If I was wrong, I apologize. If I was right, it would be an interesting revelation about your relationship with the Pilot.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 5 months ago

John, I think RWP is Right Wing Posse. Dan S has new group to mock. He thinks anybody that disagrees with him is out to shut him down thus the right wing posse

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