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President Barack Obama, appearing genuinely pleased to be back in the Big Sky state, talked health care Friday with an enthusiastic crowd at a Bozeman airport hanger, fielding a variety of questions from local residents and stressing the importance of creating a system that protects consumers from insurance company abuses. "TV loves a ruckus," Obama said, in reference to the combative town hall meetings that have played out on cable news in recent weeks. "But what you haven't seen are the many constructive meetings going on across the country, people coming together to have a constructive discussion and asks questions. That reflects a lot more than what we're seeing on TV." There were no confrontations or disruptions among the crowd of about 1,500, with the great majority appearing to be strong supporters of the president.

In Montana, Obama Talks Health Care With Enthusiastic Crowd

President Barack Obama, appearing genuinely pleased to be back in the Big Sky state, talked health care Friday with an enthusiastic crowd at a Bozeman airport hanger, fielding a variety of questions from local residents and stressing the importance of creating a system that protects consumers from insurance company abuses.

“TV loves a ruckus,” Obama said, in reference to the combative town hall meetings that have played out on cable news in recent weeks. “But what you haven’t seen are the many constructive meetings going on across the country, people coming together to have a constructive discussion and asks questions. That reflects a lot more than what we’re seeing on TV.”

The Bozeman Town Hall meeting focused especially on curbing insurance company practices such as finding excuses to cut people off when they get sick, denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, or imposing caps on total benefits. Under the reform proposals being discussed, those practices would be prohibited, Obama said.

Obama asserted that there was agreement on about 80% of the components of a health care reform package, and referred multiple times to the work that Sen. Max Baucus – seated on the stage along with Sen. Jon Tester and Governor Brian Schweitzer – was doing on the legislation. Baucus has come under fire from Democrats on the left for what they consider an overly compromising approach to the issue, but he received clear support from Obama on Friday.

There were no confrontations or disruptions among the crowd of about 1,300, with the great majority appearing to be strong supporters of the president. Displaying his extraordinary rhetorical skills and lucid grasp of the issues, Obama repeatedly drew applause from the crowd as he urged people to reject scare tactics, “fight against the fear,” and to – drawing a note from his campaign – join him in changing the system.

Demonstrators, including opponents of health care reform, opponents of Obama in general, and supporters of a “single-payer” health care system, were camped out at the airport entrance, a good half-mile from the airport hanger. It was difficult to judge the scale of the demonstrations, but there did not appear to be any serious hostilities.

Obama and the First Family arrived on schedule at about 12:30 on Air Force One, the presidential 747. They were greeted on the tarmac by Schweitzer, Baucus, Tester and the mayor of Bozeman, Kaaren Jacobson, and got inside just before a big thunderstorm dumped noisy rain on the hanger roof. Obama quipped that Michelle and the girls were off to a whitewater rafting trip, though it’s unclear if the weather disrupted those plans. (It also remained unclear exactly where the President was going after the Bozeman meeting, though Yellowstone Park was the next official stop on the itinerary.)

Entering the hall, Obama grinned broadly and said “Hello, Montana,” and then added “I’m excited to be back in Montana.” He thanked Baucus, who he said was “working tirelessly to make sure we get a fair deal.” Obama was introduced by a Bozeman woman named Katie Gibson, who recounted her long struggles with health insurance that paralleled her long struggle with cancer.

Obama fielded about eight questions in the hour-plus appearance, including two from people who were unfriendly to his program. One older man, noting that he was an NRA member, asserted that “you can’t pay for” the program that was under discussion. Obama responded that about two-thirds of the estimated $80 billion to $90 billion a year in costs would be recovered by savings from changing some of the payment structures in Medicare to create better incentives for medical providers to be efficient. The other third, he said, would be paid for by raising taxes on people “like me” who make more than $250,000 a year.

Another questioner, Mark Montgomery, an insurance agent, asked why the President was “vilifying” the insurance industry. Obama noted in response that the reform proposals overall aimed to work with insurance companies, as opposed to a single-payer system that would essentially eliminate the health insurance industry altogether.

Obama also sought to tie health reform to the broader economic recovery effort, noting the ways in which Montana had benefited from recovery spending and calling health care reform “one of the key pillars of this new foundation” for the American economy.

Update, 8/15: The President and his family stayed the night at the Summit Hotel in Big Sky, according to several sources. Michelle and Sasha and Malia did indeed go whitewater rafting on the Gallatin River, and reportedly had a great time despite the marginal weather. And President Obama did do a little fly fishing – one source said it was at a ranch near Belgrade owned by Ben and Penelope Pierce.

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  1. No one cares about health care anyway. Why would anyone want Obama to run their health care when he’s never shown a BIRTH CERTIFICATE! How come only Republicans know this is a nation of LAWS and the REPUBLIC will not stand with a foreigner taking over the WHITE house! Vote Republican in 2010 as if your life depended on it. It probably does!

  2. Great news. Obama is a class act and a real leader. I fully support the health care plan and the public option. This country can begin competing again globally when our families are secure in their health.

  3. “…only Republicans know this is a nation of laws…”

    Wow, hardest I’ve laughed all week!

  4. Richard Hogenson

    I watched the town hall on KBZK. I thought that the President did a wonderful job. I’m hoping that the health care reform passes. My wife and I don’t have health insurance and we would like to have some but we looked up and it would cost over 300 a month.

  5. decent countries provide for the well being of it’s citizens. nobody deserves to be pauperized simply because they get sick. nobody should lose their house because they need surgery to stay alive.

    the republicans are being barbaric, ignorant and dishonest with america by this tactic. it will come back to haunt them in the next election.

    we will pass new health care reform because the people of america demand that america join the decent countries of the world who take care of their citizens, regardless of means.

    only tyrants would argue that the poor and the middle class do not deserve the same decent health care available to the wealthy. america was not founded to provide only wealthy people with the right to pursue happiness. it is in my dna to vehemently fight for the right of the working poor and the middle class to claim that right.

  6. Good News !

    A staff writer at The New Yorker and some experts have examined Medicare data from the successful hospitals of 10 regions, and they have found evidence that more effective, lower-cost care is possible.

    Please be ‘sure’ to visit for credible evidences !

    Some have followed the Mayo model with salaried doctors employed, Other regions, too, have found ways to protect patients against the pursuit of revenues over patient.
    And a cardiac surgeon of them said they had adopted electronic systems, examined the data and found that a shocking portion of tests were almost certainly unnecessary, possibly harmful.

    According to analysis, their quality scores are well above average. Yet they spend more than $1,500 (16 percent) less per Medicare patient than the national average and have a slower real annual growth rate (3 percent versus 3.5 percent nationwide).

    Surprisingly, 16 % of about $550 billion (the total of medicare cost per year) is around $88 billion per year, except for Medicaid (total cost of around $500 billion per year), medicare ‘alone’ can save $880 billion over the next decade.

    In addition, under the reform package, along with the already allocated $583 billion, the wastes involving so called “doughnut hole” , the unnecessary subsidies for insurers, abuse, exorbitant costs by the tragic ER visits etc are weeded out, the concern over revenue (below) might be a thing of the past.

    (( Net Medicare and Medicaid savings of $465 billion + the $583 billion revenue package = $1048 billion – the previously estimated $1.042 trillion cost of reform = $6 billion surplus – $245 billion (the 10-year cost of adjusting Medicare reimbursement rates so physicians don’t face big annual pay cuts) = the estimated deficit of $239 billion ))

    In modernized society, the business lacking IT system is unthinkable just like pre-electricity period, nevertheless, the last thing to expect is happening now in the sector requiring the best accuracy in respect to dealing with human lives. Apparently the errors by no e-medical records have spawned the crushing lawsuits (Medical malpractice lawsuits cost at least $150 billion per year), and these costs have led to the unnecessary tests, treatments, even more profits so far. And in different parts of the U.S., patients get two to three times as much care for the same disease, with the same result.

    Thank You !

  7. Our Blabbermouths have evidence that Ms. Marcy is responsible for the following fate of the following files on Barack Obama.

    “Obama University of Chicago scholarly articles – Microfilmed and lost – Obama lectured at top school known for voluminous scholarly publishing from 1992 until 2004. Sarah Galer, news editor at the Law School and Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, “President Obama wrote ‘Dreams from My Father’ while at the law school but did not produce any scholarly articles as far as I know. .. Obama Passport – Microfilmed and lost – Including copies of applications, birth date, basic biographical information, records of passport renewal, and citizenship information .. Obama Medical records – Six paragraph note from his physician summarizing 21 years of doctor visits, health information but supporting documentation microfilmed and lost .. Obama files and schedules of his years as an Illinois state senator from 1997 to 2004 – Microfilmed and lost .. Obama’s client list from during his time in private practice with the Chicago law firm of Davis, Miner, Barnhill and Gallard. Illinois State Bar Association records .. Obama baptism records – Microfilmed and lost – together with Obama/Dunham marriage license. Obama/Dunham divorce documents Soetoro/Dunham marriage license. Adoption records. Birth certificate .. Obama’s Indonesian passport – Microfilmed and lost. Obama’s long-form birth certificate information, showing hospital of his birth, attending physician and other details to confirm his citizenship status – Microfilmed and lost.”

  8. At least nobody with evidence against him has committed suicide yet.

  9. Friend of Big Sky

    Everyone in the U.S. has health care – the difference between being uninsured and not having health care are two different issues. If we want the government to provide universal health insurance that is one topic.

    Then we need to look at the separation between Care administration and Care delivery. I am all in favor of focusing for 2009 on passing legislation to improve Care administration and in 2010 tackling care delivery. but by lumping all this together into one gigantic hairball of a bill, we are going to have major mistakes that will take years to fix.

    in addition, i want to see people receive benefits for keeping themselves fit. if you are in better shape than me, you should pay less for your insurance at the same age. that is something that is missing from the current bills being sponsored in the house and senate.

  10. The left would prefer that people had no choices. Their way is best and best for you. End of discussion. And that is where the discussion begins that is not compliant, not scripted by Rahm him self. And when people go off script, the media has to describe that as violent or with any of many words that indicate some sort of Robert’s Rules of Order mayhem soon to break out into open warfare. So lame. Having listened to, watched, as the Left was shouting down people ALL during the Bush admin., the hypocrites are legion from Soros himself to the angst ridden undergraduates in hemp soled shoes.

    When did it become wrong to object to the ramming through of hugely expensive public policy that has yet to be vetted by the fiscal bean counters? Why do these 1000 page and more bills that mandate drastic changes to how this country operates need to be passed before legislators, their staff, and a whole passel of people outside of government, not insiders, get to read and understand all the ramifications of this proposed legislation?

    There will be winners and losers, just like there is every time this country makes sweeping change. I sure as hell would like to know if I am a winner or a loser in the deal. Not enough information has come my way, yet, to garner my approval.

    From a Non-Palin viewpoint, in the empirical knowledge sphere of things, Rep. Blumenhauer of Oregon, who inserted into ObamaCare the every 5 years discussion with your physician about end of life decisions, you do know he was in the Oregon Democrat majority that passed the assisted suicide bill for Oregonians. It is disingenuous to say that his contribution to health care legislation being guidance on how and when to end your life is innocent and intended to provide a mechanism for paying doctors who give that advice. He would have all Americans able to off themselves with a doctor’s help, and have Uncle Sam pay for it. Help them kids in China.

    The left would/does want, old people checking out sooner as a medical savings. It is their answer to the old saw about the preponderance of medical expense in your life is in the last six months of it. There is a lot of information buried in that old saw. Like all the heroics on accident victims. Like all the drugs and procedures to deaden pain for terminally ill. The people in comas on ventilators and stomach tubes. Get rid of those folks, early on, and you can save a pile of dough. That discussion is the elephant in the room, and will have to be addressed, but at great political risk…..and the people who have been down the sure death trail, and then made the miraculous comebacks, the unbelievable recoveries, the Lance Armstrong deals, give hope to all, and that hope comes with a huge, huge medical price tag.

    So, the crucifixion of Palin, weekly, for having little of the sophistication needed to bark with the big dogs, has more truth to it than the deniers claim. I happen to think that no matter who says what about the issue, it still has to be on the table for discussion PRIOR to passing any big time medical and health care insurance reform. The Congress has to discuss and pass on how much end of life care will Government pay for. Can you live on Uncle Sam’s dime for a decade hooked up to a ventilator and a feeding tube, brain dead until the janitor accidently dislodges the electrical cord? That question has to be answered. Responsible health care discussions have to have an answer to that issue. And since this country can’t discuss religion, that cannot be a part of the answer. We have to separate the State from the Church on that decision. If the Church wants more, they can pay for it. It is, after all, tax forgiven money.

  11. Geck – the NRA is looked at as kind of goofy these days. People aren;t as friendly because of their NRA opposition to wildlands, which most hunters support.

  12. Friend of Big Sky;

    You bring up some interesting points however I am not sure I am in agreement. While it is theoretically true that “Everyone in the U.S. has health care”, I would argue that the difference between your health care and some of our fellow Montanan’s is vast, as is the ability to pay the out of pocket expenses.

    Health care like most other things is dependent on access yes, but also your ability to absorb the cost for care. Medical bills/illness account for the majority of personal bankruptcy’s in this country. (Tim Blixith withstanding…)

    If you are too wealthy to qualify for aid, and yet to poor to pay for quality medical care your chances of dying increase. Most of America falls into this category… and as with most things it helps to be rich.

    While I agree those who are “Fit” should get some benefit for being so, how are we as a nation going to tackle the ethical and moral realities of “A bad spin on the wheel of fortune”?

    Being “fit” assumes you are not living in Libby, MT.
    Being “fit” assumes you can afford the time for exercise and the higher cost of healthy food.
    “Being fit” means access to stores other than convenience stores.

    With all sincerity I ask; what are you defining as “Care administration”? Health insurance reform?

  13. 1. “not so fast” my ass. I’m counting from the mid 20th century when universal health care was shot down by right wing idiots the first time. It’s been over 60 years folks. 2. If your going to make stuff up about Obama not being an American citizen, you need to do better. How about He’s from another solar system come to take over the earth by stealing your guns and euthanizing the human race? How about throwing in a little white supremacist Christianity like Black people are black because on orders from God they bear the mark of Cain? We need something more spectacular and outlandish than a phony birth certificate story.

  14. Friend of Big Sky

    JAO – good comments.

    People who are wealthy are always going to be able to afford things, healthcare, houses, cars, education, etc that other folks can’t. the key for the healthcare systems is to provide a meaningful level of care to everyone for the lowest possible price and in the most efficient way.

    I doubt that any system that is going to exist will satisfy everyone equally. But if we could do a few things we should be able to make some progress.

    1. Insurance should cross state lines

    2. Malpractice suits should be capped against some actuarial standard.

    3. On the Fitness side – you have to start with education. Take some of the costs being proposed and create education programs and incentives for being Fit. What if every person, starting at age 25, received $1000 per year if their body mass index was within 10% of the AMA’s standard? You raised the issue of folks losing the health lottery because of bad genes, etc…I don’t think we can fix everything in this bill and so those folks have to be dealt with on an exception basis. But we have proven quite successful at pricing insurance for Autos based on performance, and quite successful at taxing Alcohol and Tobacco. If you follow the National Park model proposed by Terry Anderson and the folks at PERC years ago, and kept all the funds raised through these taxes in the area of eating and health focused on education and incentives, within 10 years – success!

    Recent studies have shown the biggest factor in fitness is how much we control our diet. So education and incentives need to be created to focus on that. Exercise is actually not as important as that.

    On the Care Administration – example is in California where they have 30,000 full time staff shuffling the healtcare paperwork. Thats about $2B just in receiving and shuffling paperwork…in this day and age that is pathetic!

    If we look around hard enough we can find the savings to make all sorts of interesting changes. but that is not what our leadership is focused on.

  15. mickey garcia,

    your comments are asinine. contribute positively here maybe by giving up your internet connnection.

  16. FRIEND OF BIG SKY: Everything you say is very valid. The need has been stated. The course has been stated. The costs have yet to be validated.

    I have a pair of pronghorn Danner boots, with slick soles from use. I need a new pair. $150+…but they are getting the soles sanded smooth, and a Vibram sole glued on them at the boot shop. $60.

    What I want, and what I need, and what my budget allows. That is health care in the U.S. That is the national decision. The people without have all to gain, nothing to lose, and not cost to pay. The rainmakers will be tapped to pay for it, and the rains will fall less every year. Global warming is not the issue. America is beginning to eat its seed corn through the tax system once again. The economic doldrums pre and post WWII are about to be upon us.

    The Democrats sold us a Ponzi with social security (as late as 1970, it was still 3.14% for you and the same for the employer, on the first $3000 of annual wages. I remember that having year round work in the logging business meant that your employees all had made the max by August and after that, the boss got a windfall profit of 3.14% on the rest of the year. Wages ran about 60% of job cost at the time. It did make a difference. That is but a faint memory.

    If this country is suddenly open the door to all for instant access to medical care, we do have to know that there is no infrastructure to carry that load. Not enough doctors, PAs, NPs, RNs, and medical staff to carry that load. Not enough beds, not enough boots on the ground. There will be rationing. Only the rationing will be by first come, first served, or some non discriminatory method. Those with money will immediately go offshore to get aid, and doctors will follow. I can see a destination medical state on some tropical island. Or some emerging third world nation. Knowing that right now, the top 5% of students in India are greater in number than students, total, in the U.S., I would guess India will become the medical center of the world because they need the income.

    The US has no means to upgrade and expand its medical education system in time to meet the expectations of medical care access to all comers with someone paying the bill. Price controls will limit supply and quality. That is how it works. That is how it always works. This “cash for clunkers” medical deal will be just like the auto dealer deal right now. First, they are not getting paid timely by the Feds. There is an upcoming cash flow problem for the dealers. Second, they are running out of cars that meet the standards, while not coming close to running out of people wanting to upgrade in emissions, mileage, and quality with the subsidy. The people have responded, as you would guess, but the “clunker” is not the traded in car, but the government and its mechanism to provide what they promised. That will true, also, for health reform or universal medical care, whatever you chose to call it.

    If I were to believe that Uncle Obama could deliver on the promise, I would be a supporter. I know Obama and his administration cannot deliver what they promise, as we are right now seeing with their dismal response to the “clunkers” deal, and the situation where the dealers are running out of money because the Obama Admin is not able to pay timely. Anyone. Anyone who contracts with the US Govt knows that you have to have a line of credit (almost impossible to obtain in today’s banking structure, even after taxpayer bailouts in billions) to pay the bills for six months. So you have to add interest on borrowed money to the cost of working for government. And you have to have access to that money. Receivables financing, inventory financing, all are in very, very short supply. Small businesses close daily due to their inability to secure short term financing to have sufficient inventory replacements, to pay help, all the usual reasons to smooth out the ups and downs with a line of credit. Some use credit cards, and now those are being withdrawn or closed out by banks. It is a dire situation in American small business, which auto dealers are a part of. If you add medicine, we will be all the more broke as a nation. Hospitals close weekly in California, mainly because the state and Federal governments are so slow in paying, and the banks no longer carry them until payments arrive. Sad deal

    So, I guess it is “show me the money” before I can fully appreciate the attempts to add patients to the care system. And when the system is full, and there are more patients than care givers, show me the doctors. Show me the nurses. Show me the examination rooms. The OR facilities. The beds.

  17. One thing laid out clearly and succinctly would decrease the cost of health care dramtically, and that is tort reform. However our lawyer president has already said that is off the table, and all of the lawyers in congress are not going to stand for it either.
    There simply will be no doctors to care for people as they cut their income and increase their load, but sure nuff the trial lawyers will keep their shot at becoming millionaires.
    Any plan they come up with needs to be laid out clearly and easy to read and no need to interpret what they really mean. That isn’t happening.

  18. reduce the cost dramatically right out of the gate by not covering illegal aliens.

  19. It would cost one hell of a lot less if we just funded health insurance for those who don’t have it than to force this socialized medicine on most of us. I say ‘most of us’ because you know there will be a two-tiered system: one for the elite and one for the rest of us.

  20. I was happy to see a representative crowd and questions at the town hall (I watched in entirety on TV). I feared the imported birthers and teabaggers et. al. might embarass us.

    The town hall was very impressive. The majority know we can’t afford to continue on the current track supporting an insatiable and ineffective medical industrial complex. I left with the impression that something good will come of this, even if congress is too cowardly to bring us a world class health care system.

    If the insurance industry feels vilified, maybe it’s because they have a (not very evident) conscience — hopefully a conscience with a tinge of shame.

  21. Karen nails it. And that is why the protests. The protest whine from the liberal media, the liberal pundits, is so disingenuous. The Left invented the civil disobedience deal. Lionized it. Promoted it. Wallowed in it. Lived it. Now that some with views other than their express their outrage, they become the violent oppressors of the public process. Evidently the media has Historical Alzheimers, the disease where you forget where you come from, but have gin clear short term memory. Woodstock was not about obeying the law, nor was it a celebration of obeying the law. It was about rebellion, about social distrust of anyone “over thirty.” So now a bunch of old fat farts and fartettes are whining about someone who shouted down someone else. That was de rigueur in the ’60s. And the ’70s. And the ’80s. And then those people got rich, fat, and now “want a civil dialogue.” Gee. How things change.

    I particularly like the Palin Death Panel denial part. The “end of life discussion” is personal. Having the State involved in that process is dangerous. It is the decision to not kick start a failing heart. It is the decision to abort a deformed fetus. It is the decision to go to a hospital where someone can change shitty shorts and leaky tubes, and all the niceties of dying, or staying at home, hoping you there is a process to have someone clean up your mess, deodorize your house. You will die. How much a part of the timing do you want Uncle Sam to be involved with? It is expensive to hang on too long. But the issue is who gets to make the decision to pull the plug? And under whose influence? It ain’t like taking the drivers test, SATs. It is not filling out a warranty letter. Just how much say do you want the entity paying the bills to have in how you wander off into eternity? That is a real issue. That is not some right wing Christian wacko deal. It is a real issue. And, if the left does not think it is a real issue, where then, is the moral high ground they think they occupy on the the universal health care issue? Abortion on one end, and euthanasia on the other, and a government minded life in between? Is that the deal?

    The American public needs time to digest all that the 1000 plus pages have hidden in them. We need patience. We need to be informed, to have a say, and to end up with a piece of legislation with all the bugs possible worked out of it. This “Rahm”ing it down the throats, like Zeke’s cod liver oil, is not good public policy. It is arrogant. And there is a segment of America, in all parties, that is tired of the arrogance of our leadership, our legislators, and our administrators through the Administrative Rules process. Slow down, you’re going too fast….I want to make my morning last….

  22. “. . . because you know there will be a two-tiered system: one for the elite and one for the rest of us.”

    This is a very amusing quote. We certainly have many tiers now. Very few are in the top tier because only the rich are eligible. It seems the anti-reform crowd are stoked with an infinite cache of such fantasy and irony.

  23. The top tier is UAW union benefits. GM, Chrysler could no longer pay for them, and the UAW is the beneficiary of the bailout, and the take over of the auto industry in the US and Canada, by their Governments, is nothing more than a reward for union votes. Thus, the taxpayers continuing to support an insurance and benefit package that makes American made cars not affordable to consumers, to the car builders, to the world, is a keg of nails and most of the boards in the economic coffin we will soon see.

    Next comes the Education Establishment. NEA. Their entitlement package, plus their wages, ( a half years of work, 1300 hour contracted work year, for a full year’s pay) puts them in the next best tier. The reason is takes a quarter million dollars or more per class room to teach 24 kids is the wage, payroll tax, and benefit package for a half time job paying full time wages. I could hire, off the street, a qualified, passionate, concerned teacher corps with no benefits for $250 a classroom day, as contractors, which is allowed for retired teachers, the triple dippers, right now. (Oregon’s school year is down to 180 days or less—that would be $45,000 for a teacher for the year) The governments don’t have to pay the benefits to retired personnel, so they contract them back for $300 or more a day, and it is a bargain because there is no payroll over-ride to pay, no retirement to fund, no health insurance to pay. They already have that in retirement. That situation ought to be illegal, because it is taking hundreds of thousands of jobs from the unemployed right now. today. At all levels of government including the Federal. No health insurance problems with this tier. Just a part of the rape of the taxpayer by the government employee unions.

    The next tier is the rest of Union America. Enough said. One does wonder if the universal health access deal (which everyone has right now in law—just show up at the ER and they are under a Federal mandate to serve you) is about Government control of pricing. We have been there before. Creative accounting, patient diversions, under the table money, and what we get is a nation of crooks. By example, I suppose that is what we deserve from a like Congess. After all, being a bankrupt felon does not keep you from being a member of Congress.

    The fourth tier will be people who have enough money to pay for all the health care they need. Why, look at Michael Jackson. He had an anesthesiologist on his payroll to put him to sleep and to wake him up, all with extraordinary drugs. He had personal health care. And he still ended up toes up under ground at an early age. But the truly wealthy will get health care they want because they will be able to buy it.

    The fifth tier is working class America NOT in a union or working for Government. These people are that thin blue collar line that is holding at bay the economic pressures of the world of cheap offshore labor. To keep the US from becoming a third world nation (with our border and immigration policies, maybe we are now and don’t know it yet), these people labor and consume, and they are the ones with high deductible health insurance if they have it at all. They are pulling the wagon that includes unions, government, and the wealthy, and they are getting tired. They have just lost most of the economic gains their class had achieved since world war two, including substantial inheritances from the WWII parent generation. Education, once affordable past high school, is now only available to high scoring students and jocks of either sex. The rest have to pay at now unaffordable rates. They can’t pay enough in taxes, and then in tuition, to fund the full wally health insurance, wages and benefits of the academics, and the government work force that supports their academic efforts in keeping the campus warmed, maintained and mowed. What was once an opportunity in America is no longer possible for that class.

    And the rest don’t have insurance, and all the above have to give more in all that they do to pay for the ER visits of the no insurance class. That one sixth of America who got here too late to prosper, forgot to go to school when it was available, tried to make it the easy way and ended up looking past barred windows, got taken to the cleaners by stock brokers, real estate agents, and the American banking system, and those that find it a lot easier to do nothing but whine when they raise their heads from the food trough, from the housing, from the free education, from the free health care and charities. And we must not forget the ones that work hard at third world jobs who came here from third world nations that have no jobs.

    So we know that taxing health insurance benefits in the union contract is not going to happen. The Democrats are spineless. We know that there will be an effort to tax the one percent of Americans who make serious money, and we will discover exactly how mobile capital really is. There will be a place in the world that will welcome profits and tax them a teeny bit and be damned happy to have the money. We know that Oregon is extending health care to 85,000 children sans health insurance by taxing hospitals and insurance companies. You do wonder how that all works with non-profit insurance companies and hospitals.

    So, no matter what you do, where you work, you will know that Union America is not going to pay a dime into this health care deal. They have it already. And they will not pay one dime to help the rest garner health insurance. If they get a savings from the deal, they will keep it. They are, after all, the meat of the Democrat voting bloc, and have that protection in Congress, from the Administration. It will never be a fair process. It will never get enough from the wealthy because they will move their money elsewhere. And as usual, the burden will be on a select segment of the American workforce that pays for everything else. Only that peccary of Baby Boomers moving through the demographic gut of the Entitlement Anaconda is followed by a much smaller working class, number of producers. We are going to have Phil Gramm’s wagon, full of old farts, with fewer and fewer young people to pull it.

    In the end, Sarah Palin is right, spot on. Only she doesn’t see that it will be the young, the ones who see the hopelessness of their lot of having to support a huge population of old farts, who will hunt us a night with dogs. Pay a bounty for old fart scalps. Put an escalator across the globally warmed Bering Sea to the ice cap that runs one way, and load it with old timers. They are not going to have a choice. Of course, we lost because Chinese culture revers having a son, a grandson, because he will support them in old age. All the yuppies with no kids abdicated to the Chinese.

    Will the US become West China, or East China? How will they denote our North American roots? I guess since the Pacific Coast is the Eastern Pacific to geographers, we will be East China.

  24. I just shelled out $96 today for a goddamn two-ounce bottle of prescription nasal spray. When President Obama says he is working towards health care REFORM, I’m listening.

    I don’t claim to have a clear understanding of the issue, or know all the answers like some other commenters seem to, but I’m not very confident that this administration’s efforts and negotiations are going to be able to put a dent in the greed and avarice of Big Pharm and the insurance industry.

    One thing I do know is that the majority of bankruptcy claims today are driven by the inability to pay off medical debts. How’s that boat collection coming, Dr. Beeper?

  25. JSBZN: “This is a very amusing quote. We certainly have many tiers now. Very few are in the top tier because only the rich are eligible. It seems the anti-reform crowd are stoked with an infinite cache of such fantasy and irony.”

    We still have the freedom to have whatever health care AND insurance we want. We also have the freedom NOT to have insurance.

    I opted out of my employer’s insurance and bought far better health insurance on my own. I’m not rich. In fact I’m considered at the bottom of middle class. But I chose to buy that particular insurance because it fits my family’s needs better.

    To pay for it I made choices. We buy all our clothing at second hand stores. We don’t eat out. We don’t go on vacations. I do most of the routine home and car repairs myself. My children do not have any electronic toys, and we get only basic tv cable.

    We still have choices in this country, but we won’t have any choices with Obama’s plan. It will be foisted on us. And who do you think will pay for it?

  26. No choices with Universal health insurance is nonsense. In all the industrialized democracies that have Universal Health Care, you can choose your physician and buy supplemental insurance if you wish. Additionally no one is bankrupted by medical bills and none of those countries are about to discard their Universal health care system.

  27. 92% of Canadians would recommend their doctor to friends and family. 66% of Canadians have had their doctor for over five years and 85% of Canadians have a regular doctor. Infant mortality is lower in Canada than the U.S. Canadians live longer than Americans and are less likely to die of Cardiovascular disease than Americans. Canada spends 25 hundred dollars per year per person less than the U.S. on health care.

  28. “10 Surprising Facts about American Health Care”

    Fact No. 1: Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.

    Fact No. 2: Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians.

    Fact No. 3: Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries.

    Fact No. 4: Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians.

    Fact No. 5: Lower income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians.

    Fact No. 6: Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the U.K.

    Fact No. 7: People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed.

    Fact No. 8: Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians.

    Fact No. 9: Americans have much better access to important new technologies like medical imaging than patients in Canada or the U.K

    Fact No. 10: Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations.

  29. Whatever source floats your boat.

    The bottom line for me is to keep my freedom of choice, a freedom I won’t have with a single payer plan.

  30. In 1995 Taiwan, as is their custom, revamped their health care system after analyzing the health care systems of the industrial democracies. Taiwan choose a single payer, universal system. About 12 years later, Taiwan is spending about 6% of GDP on Health Care and incurring about 2% administrative costs out of total health care costs. It turns out that Government spending of 6% GDP is actually 2% short of actual costs. But even 8% of GDP is only half of what the U.S. spends for health care which is 16% of GDP. The Taiwanese can choose to see a specialist without plan approval unlike many plans in the U.S.

  31. Move to Taiwan.

  32. America, Love it or Leave it! Nice attitude, Airhead!

  33. Unfortunatly the true progressives may have to align with the Fox news munching religous right to stop Obama and Baucus. This “HC Reform” is just a show….if there is no public option…it is just gvtnmt help and subsidy to the insurance industry.

    the wedge had been driven the corporatists have pitted us against each other

    we lose

  34. Thank you, President Obama, for coming to Montana. The fact you chose a state that voted for the other guy shows your courage and class. Your speech and answers to questions at the Belgrade Town Hall meeting showed your intellect and the depth of your commitment to reforming our broken health care system. There are a lot of naysayers out there, here and elsewhere, but I hope you and the Congress push forward and do the right thing–whatever that may be!

  35. The following countries have some type of publicly sponsored universal health care: Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China Cuba, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Taiwan. In some of the less developed countries coverage is only rudimentary but most of systems in developed countries are doing well. Obviously a communist/socialist plot to take over world health care and then Euthanize the human race.

  36. And just as obviously the U.S. is so superior that it has nothing to learn from some of these other countries. Except, who are all those poor Americans flocking to free clinics when they can find them just like they live in a third world country?

  37. I never thought I’d live to see the day when people would defend insurance companies, and hold them up as an examples of anything good.

  38. They’re not people; they’re rightwingers, republicans and such. Don’t stigmatize humans because of them.

  39. Friend of Big Sky

    why is it so easy for us to dismiss the arguments of a group because they disagree with us? and to call them non-human is just small minded.

    the reality is that many intelligent people are concerned about how we are going to continue to pay for all the programs that our government is undertaking. it doesn’t mean that anyone is right or wrong, but it is a legitimate question to ask how the American people feel about paying for the proposed health care reforms.

    Insurance companies only exist within the framework of laws and markets that have been created for them. don’t blame the companies – if you want to enact change, hold your elected officials accountable. if you can get them to stop feeding at the trough long enough to pay attention to us as individuals, all the nonsensical spending may actually cease.

  40. real mike,,,, that was a real nice comment,,, very intelligent,,,, do us a favor and drop your internet connection

  41. I received the following from a Bozman resident:

    This was sent to me by a friend in Bozeman , MT who was there.
    Why do we tolerate this?

    Hello All,

    By now you have probably heard that President Obama came to Montana last Friday. However, there are many things that the major news has not covered. I feel that since Bill and I live here and we were at the airport on Friday I should share some facts with you. Whatever you decide to do with the information is up to you. If you chose to share this email with others I do ask that you DELETE my email address before you forward this on.

    On Wednesday, August 5th it was announced locally that the President would be coming here. There are many groups here that are against his healthcare and huge spending so those groups began talking and deciding on what they were going to do. The White House would not release ANY details other than the date.

    On about Tuesday Bill found out that they would be holding the “Town Hall” at the airport. (This is only because Bill knows EVERYONE at the airport) Our airport is actually located outside of Belgrade (tiny town) in a very remote location. Nothing is around there. They chose to use a hangar that is the most remotely located hangar. You could not pick a more remote location, and you can not get to it easily. It is totally secluded from the public.

    FYI: We have many areas in Belgrade and Bozeman which could have held a large amount of folks with sufficient parking. (gymnasiums/auditoriums). All of which have chairs and tables, and would not have to be SHIPPED IN!! $$$$$

    During the week, cargo by the TONS was being shipped in constantly. Airport employees could not believe how it just kept coming. Though it was our President coming several expressed how excessive it was, especially during a recession. $$$$$

    Late Tuesday/early Wednesday the 12th, they said that tickets would be handed out on Thursday 9am at two locations and the president would be arriving around 12:30 Friday.

    Thursday morning about 600 tickets were passed out. However, 1500 were printed at a Local printing shop per White House request. Hmmmm……900 tickets just DISAPPEARED.

    This same morning someone called into the radio from the local UPS branch and said that THOUSANDS of Dollars of Lobster were shipped in for Obama. Montana has some of the best beef in the nation!!! And it would have been really wonderful to help out the local economy. Anyone heard of the Recession?? Just think…with all of the traveling the White House is doing. $$$$$ One can only imagine what else we are paying for.

    On Friday Bill and I got out to the airport about 10:45am. The groups that wanted to protest Obama’s spending and healthcare had gotten a permit to protest and that area was roped off. But that was not to be. A large bus carrying SEIU (Service Employees International Union) members drove up onto the area (illegal)and unloaded right there. It was quite a commotion and there were specifically 2 SEIU men trying to make trouble and start a fight. Police did get involved and arrested the one man but they said they did not have the manpower to remove the SEIU crowd.

    The SEIU crowd was very organized and young. About 99% were under the age of 30 and they were not locals! They had bullhorns and PROFESSIONALLY made signs. Some even wore preprinted T-shirts. Oh, and Planned Parenthood folks were with them…..professing abortion rights with their T-shirts and preprinted signs. (BTW, all these folks did have a permit to protest in ANOTHER area)

    Those against healthcare/spending moved away from the SEIU crowd to avoid confrontation. They were orderly and respectful. Even though SEIU kept coming over and walking through, continuing to be very intimidating and aggressive at the direction of the one SEIU man.

    So we had Montana folks from ALL OVER the state with their homemade signs and their DOGS with homemade signs. We had cowboys, nurses, doctors you name it. There was even a guy from Texas who had been driving through. He found out about the occasion, went to the store, made a sign, and came to protest.

    If you are wondering about the press…..Well, all of the major networks were over by that remote hangar I mentioned. They were conveniently parked on the other side of the buildings FAR away. None of these crowds were even visible to them. I have my doubts that they knew anything about the crowds.

    We did have some local news media around us from this state and Idaho . Speaking of the local media…they were invited. However, all questions were to be turned into the White House in advance of the event. Wouldn’t want anyone to have to think off the top of their head.

    It was very obvious that it was meant to be totally controlled by the White House. Everything was orchestrated down to the last detail to make it appear that Montana is just crazy for Obama and government healthcare. Even those people that talked about their insurance woes……..the White House called our local HRDC (Human Resource and Development Committee) and asked for names. Then the White House asked those folks to come. Smoke and mirrors…EVERYTHING was staged!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am very dismayed about what I learned about our current White House. The amount of control and manipulation was unbelievable. I felt I was not living in the United States of America , more like theUSSR !! I was physically nauseous. Bill and I have been around when Presidents or Heads of State visit. It has NEVER been like this. I am truly very frightened for our country. America needs your prayers and your voices. If you care about our country please get involved. Know the issues. And let Congress hear your voices again and again!! If they are willing to put forth so much effort to BULLY a small town one can only imagine what is going on in Washington DC . Scary!!

  42. Sounds like one of the locals who never changes her TV dial from the station bringing the fair and balanced news to Bozeman.

  43. Gee, Horst, it is a real pain to have facts posted isn’t it? People should just believe what “the One” says they should.

  44. Too many of our citizens worry about how much health care costs; while not enough of us worry about how much we spend on colonial wars.

  45. I read New West, but this is the first, and probably last time I would comment. I was inside the hanger at the airport for the President’s Town Hall meeting. It is not very hard to find, for crying out loud, it’s just off Airport Road. The tickets were open to anyone that wanted to stand in line early either in Bozeman or Belgrade. Some tickets were reserved for VIPs, around 200 at most. I was a volunteer that helped with answering questions to the President, I held a mike. The questioners were chosen at random.
    As far as this event being controlled by the White House, of course it was, because of the need for security for the President of the United States, especially considering a large contingency of Americans bearing posters that consider President Obama to be the same as Hitler. (Possibly those people could attend a high school history class and learn something about WWII and the Third Reich.)
    I was proud of Montanans that were very polite, asked the President very pointed and tough questions; it was a thrill to be there at an historic occassion. As far as the other information thatLJ Martin posted about the event; it was mostly hearsay.

  46. To L.J. Martin: I completely believe your report of Obama’s visit to Bozeman. I watched the whole thing on T.V. and wondered why not much was taking place besides the same old stuff. I was very surprised at the response by the crowd at the fellows’ mention of the NRA. Very unusual for Montana. After searching the net, I found “one” reporter on a political newsletter who reported on the crowd outside in the rain. He reported that five, (thats 5) bus loads of Acorn was bused in to intimidate the Montanaians. We figured the number of Acorn was around 300 while the number of honest people protesting the event was close to 1000, according to the reporter. Also he mentioned that after the meeting or at sometime, Senator Baucus waded into the group, got them quieted down and listened to the people. If this is correct my respect for the Senator rose tremendously, not like the cowards who didn’t even have town meetings in other states. Later I read where Senator Baucus and Obama are not ‘buddies’ which also is good.
    L.J. Martin, I want to thank you for writting as your account of this meeting substantiated this lone reporters reporting. I am going to take you up on your offer of sending your letter on to those that are still wondering what happened.
    Our son drove through Bozeman a couple of days before the meeting, stopped to gas up, and was told that the whole area was locked down when Obama came. Roads, airports, etc. locked off and from what you related it was. Also I heard that the tickets with the exception of a few were given out before the time given to the public. Definetly the meetings are frauds….
    Write your Senators and Congressman or loose your country. The health bill and just about all of the bills so far ARE UNCONSTITUTIONAL and I think its time Congress reads it without spinning it, but as it was meant by our Forefathers.

  47. I don’t usually get into the back and forth here, but I can say, as someone who lives in Montana and covered the event and spends lots of time covering lots of things in Montana, the “letter” above from LJ is dishonest nonsense, intended to mislead. The location was a perfectly logical location, Bozeman was not locked down for 2 days, and the protesters from both sides appeared to be equally well-financed and organized.

    To say that the event was “staged” is silly, of course it was staged, by definition, as Lynea noted. I’m certainly glad the President has good security. Lots of people got tickets by standing in line, and there is nothing to indicate that the questions Obama took were not random. Anyone who was in the room would have been dully impressed with the president, even if you disagree with him.

    Nothing wrong with disagreement. But the disinformation campaign being waged by those who hate Obama for whatever reason is shameful. Yea, he’s just like Hitler! Unbelievable. I’m sure LJ has some really authoritative sources on things like lobsters being flow in. What a crock. Cindy, if you bothered to think it through, you’d see that nothing in LJ’s post is “substantiated.” No names, no named sources, nothing. Just one partisans estimate of the crowd size and whose posters were more “professional.”

    This is a news website, we trade in real information and informed opinion, we invest resources in reporting on what is actually happening. Yes, new organizations don’t cover as real events things that exist only in the imaginations of Obama-haters! If you’ve got something to contribute, great. But take the smear campaign somewhere else. I’m sure you can find plenty of haters to agree with you.

  48. Y’all need to read the first sentence of my submission. I am in Houston, and was not in Bozeman. I got the letter as posted from a friend, and posted it for what it’s worth. On the other side of that same coin, I was at a number of Tea Parties and saw how the press treated those, consequently I have no reason to doubt the veracity of the letter I received. None the less, be careful of slaying the messenger.

  49. I do want to add that since when in this country is finding fault with our political process a “smear campaign” and finding fault with the process of the administration label one as an “Obama-hater?”

  50. I’m sorry for not really taking note of the first sentence, I do appreciate your posting your friends’ letter, as it does substantiate the reporters’ report on the Townhall meeting and what took place outside. What was reported otherwise is not my Montana, the state I grew up in, know well and those who have lived here for years, like myself. Thank you for posting the letter.

  51. Cindy, there were lots of reporters covering both the protests and the meeting, though it was not really possible for the same reporter to cover both. I also don’t see the name/publication/ anything else about this supposed reporter whose reporting is supposedly corraborated by the supposed letter above. So you watched it on TV and don’t believe that what reporters who were there reported, because it doesn’t match your perception of “your” Montana. In other words, you believe what you want to believe without regard for what people who took the time and trouble to *report* on the event actually report. That’s fine, just don’t pretend that it’s anything other than what it is, i.e. your personal, pre-conceived opinion unaltered by actual facts and events.

    Believe it or not, there are lots of people in Montana who like Obama! They went to the Town Hall meeting. Why is that so hard to believe?

    I’m particularly offended by the ridiculous assertion that reporters questions had to be submitted to the White House in advance. What infuriates me about this whole thing is that there were hundreds of reporters there, myself included, but people who don’t like Obama prefer to discredit the reporters rather than accept something they don’t like. i.e. that Obama has a lot of support in Montana.

  52. LJ: “Why do we tolerate this.”

    Tolerate what? The President campaigning for his program?

    “It’s like the USSR.” Huh? No President has visited Montana in decades so any comparison is made-up.

    Fake stories about lobsters, fake stories about chairs being shipped in, fake stories about the agenda being kept secret, fake stories about the White House vetting press questions, fake stories about how tickets were distributed…and all from an anonymous chain letter, the origin of which is itself almost certainly fake. To me that’s a smear campaign, not “finding fault with our political process.”

  53. “If you chose to share this email with others I do ask that you DELETE my email address before you forward this on.”

    Nothing like having a backbone when spreading your own version of what passes as “the truth”.

    Got this same tripe in my email from the local far right wing supporter who once told me that “he didn’t have time to verify whether what he received was true or not.”

    What a crowd of droolers!!

  54. Mr. Weber. We can tell you are an Obama supporter by your comments here. You were there. Did you see buses of people from outside the community brought in? Were you, like geck who commented on 8-14-09, actually from the community? Or were you just there reporting? If we do a search on you will we find that you are, perhaps, a Democrat? Your article, which has sparked so many spirited comments, seems very favorable to Obama. I mean, please, railing on Cindy because she said reporters’ questions had to be cleared in advance. Yes, you are a reporter. Did you get to ask a question? Was your question uncensored? Or did you just attend as a blogger? You automatically dismiss the contents of the letter which, yes, is sweeping the internet. It is supposedly written by a person who lives in the area. You dismiss this letter with contempt and then accuse others of dismissing what is reported by the main stream media with contempt. sigh…

  55. This trip cost the American taxpayer huge amounts of money when one considers that the entourage consists of family, extended family, friends, acquaintances and the top of the line accomodations and tidbits for them. The rest of us cannot attend training or other professional meetings and write off the cost for our families, and whoever we want to take along, attend for a couple of hours a day and play the rest of the time.
    It is time to require detailed accounting of every single taxpayer dollar spent by our public officials. The same would hold true for “non-profits”, who have billions in assets, maybe trillions that the rest of us are forced to support. Individuals have to make out more complicated tax forms than the 990 they make out.

  56. What malicious nonsense.

  57. Thank you L Lou, Prichett said it very well. I pray for our country every day.
    This is the most charismatic president I can think of, especially when speaking, but he seems at times like he does not like the USA, and seems determined to change us into a third world country. Shutting down our energy production will do exactly that. Energy is the key to our survival to say nothing of our lifestyle. He obviously feels energy is key for other countries, thus billions to Brazil to drill, and off shore to boot. If it is bad, why do that, if it is good, why are Americans prevented from drilling off our shores?

  58. L. Lou, you fail to see the very simple, very important differences between what a reporter does and what your anonymous emailer does.

    I was there, I put my name on what I write, and I have numerous, real sources for my information, both named and unnamed. That’s true of most professional journalists. The letter above, let’s see, was posted anonymously, has no identification of the origin, relies on vague anonymous sources for its allegations (that’s three layers of anonymity), and contains numerous statements that are not only not proven with any evidence or sourcing of any kind, but are actually demonstrably false.

    If people want to believe cowardly and dishonest crap like that I guess that’s their right, but please don’t insult me and my profession by comparing it to actual journalism. My livelihood and that of my staff depends on the quality of our reporting and writing. Circulating anonymous slander/ propoganda is a completely different kind of activity.

    And, yes, I am a fan of Obama, no secret to any reader of my stuff. That doesn’t mean I can be a good/ fair/ responsible reporter.

  59. Jonathon: Explain the last sentence, please.

  60. I missed that entirely bearbait! LOL

  61. weber,,,

    what was anonymous? the email was from mr prichett who worked for p and g for 36 years.

    true journalism is objective, unbiased, fair, and skeptical. not a cheerleading session.

    proofreading is also necessary????

  62. Friend of Big Sky

    What is interesting to me is how easily we are distracted from the real debate. Everyone is commenting on the event and not the TOPIC!

    The events, town halls, who-said-what debates are distractions. The real meat of the issue is whether or not the plan(s) being proposed in Congress and the White House will truly improve health care of all Americans, and whether we can afford it!

    The Congressional Budget Office will release new numbers today that the US deficit over the next decade will reach 9 TRILLION dollars. The White House had said 7 TRILLION, but is now in agreement with the CBO numbers.

    Ladies and Gentlemen – we cannot afford this deficit, especially since it still is based on GDP growth numbers and employment figures that are very unlikely to be met.

    This is on top of the fact that social security payments are now going to start declining, and nearly every major pension plan in the U.S. in under funded.

    The healthcare bill is being couched as something we need to do because of the moral imperative of providing healthcare to everyone – EVERYONE HAS HEALTHCARE – what they don’t have is universal health insurance or insurance that gives them the mobility to move around the U.S. and follow the jobs.

    I go back to the point that we should be focused on improving the efficiency of the healthcare administration systems, and leave the delivery to another cycle. the Govt is going to overreach and we will wind up with lousy results.

  63. First off, I agree with Big Sky Gary that the point here should be the issues, not the event.

    As to the comments above, the re-print of the alleged letter that Cindy offers identifies is as coming from Susan Citizen Wells, obviously not a real name. Who is Pritchard? I’ve never seen that name. This remains an unauthenticated piece of anonymous, anti-Obama propaganda that, unfortunately, people don’t bother to distinguish from ACTUAL NEWS REPORTS.

    As to the legitimate question of fairness, i guess I had an unfortunate typo in my last comment! What I meant to say was: “And, yes, I am a fan of Obama, no secret to any reader of my stuff. That doesn’t mean I can’t be a good/ fair/ responsible reporter.”

    Everyone has their opinions. They can be more or less informed opinions. As a journalist, my job is to find things out and write about them in a way that’s interesting and accessible. It’s normal to form opinions when you are doing the job of reporting, how could you not? To what degree those opinions figure into what you report depends on how relevant they are to the story at hand. Frankly I don’t think my opinions about Obama matter very much, and we don’t cover Presidential politics directly except when it’s specifically related to the Rocky Mountain West.

    If you don’t like my reporting you can certainly find plenty of other reporting on the Obama visit. However, an anonymous letter by a rabid partisan that’s full of provably false statements does not constitute reporting.

    Cindy, in case you hadn’t noticed, Montana has a Democratic Governor, two Democratic Senators, one Democratics statehouse and Democrats in just about every statewide office. Pretty blue for a red state.

  64. Todd, Air Force One is a 747 which probably holds 300 or so in it’s configuration though I’m not certain of the details. Then there is a press plane which follows the president and probably has 100-150 people and is paid for by the media organizations. There were 3 or maybe 4 Marine Blackhawk helicopters on the security detail, and I think they are transported between locations by a C-130, which I presume also carries presidential armored limo etc. Whether there were other planes I don’t know.

    This does not differ much from the travel detail of any recent president. If it did, you could be confident that all those reporters on the press plane would be more than happy to write about it.

  65. I understood he had a lot of family traveling with him in addition to all of the official people, and thought they probably fly on different planes. Sounded like an awful lot of people for 1 or 2 planes.

  66. We were visited by a young fellow who went with his family to Belgrade to be a part of the group who is against the health bill. He told about the buses driving in, pushing out those that were against the bill from the designated are and they were partially hidden behind a building making them not to visiable to the news media. However they were able to talk to a few of them and were told they had been recruited off of Craig’s list and were paid by ACORN to demonstrate against those who were against the bill.
    I personally don’t care if you don’t believe me, believe what you want, however the truth will come out if one looks for it. Its always the first untruth that is believed and the hardest to overcome with the truth, but with God’s help it will be done.

  67. You were told that by the brother-in-law of the lady who does yourdaughter-in-law’s nails–right Cindy?

  68. Horst do you write down all of the nasty things you can think of to use against those who happen to disagree with you? Cindy was pretty clear that the young man she quoted was at the ariport. You also seem to use s**ual inuendo to show how you disrespect other’s right to have an opinion different than yours.

  69. Clearly, todd, you have read what I have posted carefully and can see right through me.