Friday, June 5, 2009

A hate campaign against Walgreens: another propaganda victory for the Markell administration

So now we have kavips, Nancy Willing, perhaps even the folks at Delawareliberal all up in arms and apparently willing to throw down to support a Walgreens boycott. You could do half measures, but visiting kavips will give you the whole program.

We are asking all to sacrifice. Many out there lost jobs and have no choice but to sacrifice. And we have a company that will not take a 2% reduction in the payment of medicaid benefits?

Well, FUCK THEM. FUCK THEM WHERE IT HURTS. They are getting 0 dollars of my money, and my money is going directly to their competitor…

Any legislator who dares walk in to a Happy Harry’s had better pray no one inside has a camera phone. Because their picture will be posted on this site for eternity.

Any political officials who dare do the same, had better think twice before venturing through those doors. We cannot afford to let some spineless or forgetful official represent our constituent’s interests.

I am calling on Jack Markell and Matt Denn to step up to the plate and issue a directive that NO STATE BUSINESS will be conducted through any Happy Harry’s establishment. All of that must now go to Rite Aid.

I’m calling upon John Kowalko and House Speaker Gilligan to demand that no business and request that no citizen of this great state, the first state of this nation to ratify the Constitution that made this awesome nation possible, walk through those doors.

I’m calling upon hero Karen Peterson, to demand that Walgreens rescind their order or that punitive legislation directed solely towards that one company, will be passed by both houses before this July 1st deadline…

With all due respect: I call bullshit.

For some rationality, quoth Liberalgeek:

I just want to see real cuts from the places where there is this mythical waste and fraud. I sat in a meeting with Jack and 150 others at one of his soften-the-blow meetings. One of the things that he stated was that he wanted to make smart cuts. precision cuts in areas that would have little or no impact. Perhaps I am conflating this with waste and fraud but it seems to fit.

All I have seen is regressive cuts.
8% from ALL state employees
2% in healthcare from State employees
Cuts in Medicaid payments
Freezing of ladder raises (esp teachers)

And yet we see no movement on reversing any of these in lieu of a cut of a redundant office or overstaffed fiefdom. I get the whole “partial year budget” problem that Markell faces as a new Gov. But I want to see movement on these things. All I am seeing is a continuation of a crappy Minner habit.

Here's what Governor Markell has done to the State of Delaware:

1) He has successfully (in PR terms) argued that he didn't have enough time or sufficient detailed knowledge of the State budget to make the smart, targeted budget cuts that he wrote a f**king book about, even though he was State Treasurer for eight damn years. Yeah, and I bet he didn't know that chemical plans in Delaware pollute the f**king ground water, either.

2) He has proposed and vigorously defended across-the-board salary and benefits cuts that will drive a significant portion of State employees (remember that the State government is Delaware's largest employer) onto State assistance, because pretty much the entire lower quartile of State employees will now qualify for food stamps. Gee, Jack, wonder what this will do to next year's tax revenues.

3) When some legislators balked at sports betting, he threatened to make even deeper pay cuts for State employees if they didn't pass it; he also turned around and burned the unions that got him elected despite the wishes of the Democratic Party machinery.

4) By declaring every employee essential (albeit at reduced rates), he has point-blank refused to examine the State government for unnecessary positions.

5) Now, when he presents private businesses with a take it or leave it reimbursement change, he has turned loose the full propaganda machine of the State to demonize them for (a) attempting to bargain with the State exactly as--guess who?--Al Levin has always managed to do; and (b) accused Walgreens of screwing the poorest citizens of the State for refusing to accept a reimbursement schedule that may cause the company to lose money every time it fills a brand-name prescription.

Notice the neat bait-and-switch here: it's now not the State government (which unilaterally controls the reimbursements) nor the pharmaceutical companies (who we have been told for the longest time are fixing the prices) at fault, but the retailer who has to sell to the one after buying from the other who is suddenly the bad guy.

No, Walgreens is not a perfect company; it has been nailed in other States for sailing as close to the wind as possible--even shading over. But what do you expect, when States can arbitrarily changes reimbursement rates?

This whole idea of a boycott is, I would guess, exactly what the Markell administration is looking for in order to shift attention away from the abyssmal job it has done mismanaging the budget crisis.

Notice, please, that the timing is not accidental. The State has forced this issue three weeks ahead of the deadline for the General Assembly delivering a budget, as a massive distraction tactic.

And look at all the people falling for it.

Great work, Jack.

You've learned the lesson of modern Democratic politics well: when you got nothing, demonize the folks who don't agree with you.


Mark H said...

Steve, as usual, an excellent post. Although I'm still probably going to boycott Walgreens, I do this with the idea somewhere in my head that I may be boycotting the wrong side here.
Walgreens makes for a good villain here, as even if they are not the villains in this case, they probably have done enough villainy in the past to warrant some of this attention.
I'm amazed that Markell has escaped his past few months without a lot of flack coming his way.
Makes me wonder who the next villain will be...

downwithabsolutes said...

I wonder if the Mark H commenting is the same Mark H who had the single-issue pro-Carney blog last year. Any anti-Jack rhetoric from him is worth its weight in complete sh**.

downwithabsolutes said...

Previous comment aside, this is a great post, Steve. I'm in the middle on this, leaning towards Walgreens. I do question their math a little bit and I'm sure they're stretching it just a bit in claiming it would cost more than what Medicaid would pay, but this is their choice. Completely their choice.

Mark H said...

No...That's another Mark...I'm the Mark that's losing 8% of my pay :)

Brian Shields said...

Markell has taken the standard budget scare tactic approach. Freak everyone out over 8% so they will be happy with 5% instead of being honest.

Minner did the same thing with the education budget cuts last year.

The medicaid cuts are another scare tactic and Walgreens called their bluff.

LiberalGeek is right. Noone wants to cut the real fat. Instead they are going on a fad diet to meet a deadline.

Nancy Willing said...

I feel no sympathy for Walgreens nor particularly for Narkell. No matter where Steve imagines to throw in my sentiments, they remain my sentiments.

The big corporate pharmy wars were waged these last decades here in Delaware with the consequential rendering of precious realty into popcycle day-glow colors and drive through lanes --landscape conquests.

One near conquest was (pre-HappyHarry) Walgreens attempt to bulldoze a quarter of the Aiken's Tavern Historic District in Glasgow (circa 2004).

Walgreen's piggish, tone deaf stance (via the face of their Delaware representative, Shawn Tucker, IIRC) created enough public pushback that Walgreens backed out but not before the development lobby --led by Pam Scott-- knew it had to sue the upstart preservationists to silence this group. They did. It did --for all intents and purposes.

Levin's Happy Harry's expansion was a calculated gamble --a takeover prep so that one of the bites at Levin's line would be tasty enough and he'd sell. It was the plan. It worked. That's how to avail one's self of a corporate expansion war. Eat or be eaten.

Big Pharmy wars...Huge Can't FAIL Conglomerates...

yeah, so now we do have a choice of whom to use because of the ridiculous number of them. I say why choose Walgreens?

Walgreens grew so powerful by employing the ruthless tactics of war --as all corporates do. They can suffer from them as well. [Not that I don't appreciate the parallel to Markell's administration tactics.]

Shirley Vandever said...

I'm heading out to Walgreens to do some shopping.

You're right, Steve. It's bullshit.

Anonymous said...

What a dishonest post.

This is all you could muster when it came to wlagreen:

No, Walgreens is not a perfect company; it has been nailed in other States for sailing as close to the wind as possible...



Steve Newton said...

Let's see, Jason, which is more hypocrtical:

Walgreens acts like a megacorp, or Al Levine sells out a rapacious megacorp, knowing what they are, then takes his toys into state government, and criticizes them for doing exactly the same kinds of things they were doing when he sold them?

Jack Markell, allowing a press release saying Walgreens is screwing the poorest Delaware citizens when that's exactly what he's doing to the poorest State workers?

Or you, choosing to completely ignore the Markell administration's persistent use of demonization of the State employee unions, of the racinos, of Walgreens or virtually anybody unwilling to accept his ridiculous budget proposal without demure.

Face it, little guy: you have now officially sold out to become a shill for the Markell administration, and you support them no matter what they do. That's OK I guess--if you lack any conscience.

Anonymous said...

Pure bullshit as usual from Steve "I'm a Republican except on gays" Newton.

DL was the first to push Kowalko's counter proposal, and is still the loudest voice calling for Franchise Fee Cap increase.

Get your fact straight Doctor.


R said...

The pharmacies belong to Jason and kavips and friends, and they want their piece of the action, just like a good mob does.

You don't own your business; they just let you run it until you do something they don't like. Because despite what he says, kavips is not asking anyone to sacrifice, he's fucking telling them to, goddammit. "Asking" means that the answer "no" is acceptable. If it's not, you were never asking.

Anonymous said...

Boo hoo.

Cry me a river. I'm not surprised that someone posting on Dr. Steve's blog thinks corporations need their rapacious greed to be 100% unfettered by government oversight.

It has worked great so far, right?


R said...

I'm not surprised that someone posting on Dr. Steve's blog thinks corporations need their rapacious greed to be 100% unfettered by government oversight.

It has worked great so far, right?

As you note, this isn't your blog. As such, nonsensical comments with zero connection with reality or context like yours mean nothing. We function rationally around here. We don't giggle, nod, hoot, holler, and clap when you say "Corporation bad!"

If you have no clue what this means, and I'm sure you don't, then tell me which corporation in question has operated 100% unfettered by government oversight.

Bring your A-game here, or stay over on your blog where reality doesn't matter. Or get laughed at for being a fool. I have no problem if you choose the third option, but I won't give you credit as anything but a fool if that's the path you choose.

And notice that at no point was I wrong, or told that I was wrong. You cannibals are not asking anything at all. You're demanding it. Your best response? "Look, something shiny!"

Anonymous said...

so Jason, you will be cool when Markel comes to you and "asks" you to print all of Delaware's tax forms at a special price... say 84%of the cost of the ink and paper, period. nothing for overhead or labor or even gross reciepts tax.