Home Depot Co-Founder Ken Langone’s Blistering WSJ Oped

In case you haven’t read this epic Obama smack-down yet, (it came out yesterday), I’ll get you started:

Although I was glad that you answered a question of mine at the Sept. 20 town-hall meeting you hosted in Washington, D.C., Mr. President, I must say that the event seemed more like a lecture than a dialogue. For more than two years the country has listened to your sharp rhetoric about how American businesses are short-changing workers, fleecing customers, cheating borrowers, and generally “driving the economy into a ditch,” to borrow your oft-repeated phrase.

My question to you was why, during a time when investment and dynamism are so critical to our country, was it necessary to vilify the very people who deliver that growth? Instead of offering a straight answer, you informed me that I was part of a “reckless” group that had made “bad decisions” and now required your guidance, if only I’d stop “resisting” it.

I’m sure that kind of argument draws cheers from the partisan faithful. But to my ears it sounded patronizing. Of course, one of the chief conceits of centralized economic planning is that the planners know better than everybody else.

But there’s a much deeper problem than whether I am personally irked or not. Your insistence that your policies are necessary and beneficial to business is utterly at odds with what you and your administration are saying elsewhere. You pick a fight with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, accusing it of using foreign money to influence congressional elections, something the chamber adamantly denies. Your U.S. attorney in New York, Preet Bahrara, compares investment firms to Mexican drug cartels and says he wants the power to wiretap Wall Street when he sees fit. And you drew guffaws of approving laughter with your car-wreck metaphor, recently telling a crowd that those who differ with your approach are “standing up on the road, sipping a Slurpee” while you are “shoving” and “sweating” to fix the broken-down jalopy of state.

That short-sighted wavering—between condescending encouragement one day and hostile disparagement the next—creates uncertainty that, as any investor could tell you, causes economic paralysis. That’s because no one can tell what to expect next.

Okay, that’s all I can post, here  – read the rest at the WSJ.

The reason  Obama is perceived to be wavering all over the map is because he’s a different man to different audiences. He adjusts his persona to whatever audience he’s speaking to, or whatever agenda he’s pushing that day. His true political philosophy, of course, can’t be openly disclosed to the masses.

Hat tip: Gateway Pundit

Which reminds me…

America’s Survival “Unmasking the Progressives” National Conference

Location: First Amendment Lounge

“Unmasking the Progressives” National Conference

The public policy group, America’s Survival, Inc. (ASI), announces a pre-Halloween special: a national conference on “Unmasking the Progressives.” The free once-in-a-lifetime event will cover the politically incorrect topic of “Marxism in America.” The all-day event will be held on Thursday, October 21, at the National Press Club, First Amendment Lounge, 529 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20045, from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. The conference is sponsored and hosted by ASI and its president, veteran journalist Cliff Kincaid.

Topics and speakers will include:

• Bringing Terrorists to Justice by Larry Grathwohl, former FBI informant in the Weather Underground.

• Paul Kengor on his new book, Dupes, and Obama’s communist mentor.

• Inside a Weather Underground bomb factory, a video interview with former FBI agent Max Noel, who investigated Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

• Anti-communist researcher Trevor Loudon, who broke the Frank Marshall Davis and Van Jones stories.

• The “Bad History” of Communist “historian” Howard Zinn.
• The just-released FBI file of gay rights founder and Communist Party member Harry Hay.

Contact info at the site if you’d care to attend.

See also:

So what’s the Tides’ first tendency? As befits a bunch of Marxist whackjobs, it’s to silence free speech. Not sue Beck for libel, I suppose, because they’d get laughed out of court. But to intimidate Beck’s advertisers in order to squelch his message.
Linked by Michelle Malkin, Doug Ross, and Pirates Cove, thanks!

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46 thoughts on “Home Depot Co-Founder Ken Langone’s Blistering WSJ Oped

  1. A perfectly-worded and in-tune description of the Obama hypocrisy by Langone.

    Obama’s chameleon-like persona is wearing mighty thin. The more the public hears his lame (“D/R”) analogies, the more turned-off they become. Even his faithful African-American (92%) constituency is becoming tired of being talked down to. To wit, one only needs remind himself of Jesse Jackson’s infamous diatribe caught on open mic referring to the reverend’s desire to perform groin-al surgery on the “messiah of condescension”.

    NEW POST: “BAD” OBAMA
    http://heir2freedom.blogspot.com/2010/10/bad-obama.html

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  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Home Depot Co-Founder Ken Langone’s Blistering WSJ Oped « Nice Deb -- Topsy.com

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  4. Unfortunately there is not a shred of factual information in mr Langone’s diatribe. Nor does he try to support any of his allegations with quotations or regulatory citations. Home Depot still offers stock options as compensation for employees and is currently under investigation for accounting for these stock options at lower than actual value. Perhaps that is the source of some of Mr. Langone’s angst.
    Obama has accused Republican elected officials, not business owners, of driving the economy into a ditch. The part about short-changing workers? Fleecing customers? Cheating borrowers? He cites no quotations, …and this is either a wild distortion or a pure figment of Langone’s imagination.

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  5. To Nicedeb,

    I just want to say, though we clearly don’t agree on some issues, I appreciate your tolerance of me.

    You do answer my questions, and you allow my comments a place, even though I know you don’t agree.

    For that thank you.

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  6. the fact is, his claims are not true – citations or not. I can find absolutely no evidence of ‘onerous regulatory controls’ on the home improvement retail industry nor any evidence of rules curtailing the offering of stock options as employee incentives. While it may not be s.o.p. to offer citations, shouldn’t the op-ed at least contain some truth?

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  7. I can find absolutely no evidence of ‘onerous regulatory controls’ on the home improvement retail industry

    Perhaps you should read the article with a little more precision. He said that “onerous regulatory controls” had been “advocated,” not that they were in place, and not that they were specifically directed toward the home improvement retail industry. You can find a somewhat dated review of regulatory concerns here.

    Similarly, the stock option regulations he talks about are hypothetical, not existing.

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  8. The article you pointed me too discusses the costs of government regulation in general and to the general public. The op-ed piece refers to some mythical regulatory practices that would have seemingly prevented Home Depot from becoming the monolith it has become. You say the stock option regulations he talks about are hypothetical – isn’t that the same thing I said? They do not exist. Yet he insists that had these mythical stock option regulations been in place in 1979 there would be no Home Depot.
    As far as the reference to the fact that “obamacare” will cost retail business money – we live in a democracy and the majority who voted to elect Obama president did so in part because of his promise of a national health care system. Democracy – sometimes you don’t always get what you want but what the majority wants. Unlike previous elected officials who promised this and did not deliver, Obama made good on his promise and the legislative branch said yes as well – what does that tell you?

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  9. No, the majority did not vote for him because they wanted “nationalized” health care. Maybe some wanted health care reform, but it was never a top priority for the majority. A lot of people who voted for him were bamboozled, which is why he’s already lost 25% of his voters.

    And when people saw the undemocratic way they pushed the bill through, they recoiled. That, and the onerous regulations are why we saw a majority did not wanting it to pass, and a majority now wanting to see it repealed. “Democracy” is not supposed to work that way.

    Yet he insists that had these mythical stock option regulations been in place in 1979 there would be no Home Depot.

    He was mentioning policies that create uncertainty in the private sector, which have discouraging effect on entrepreneurs. There’s nothing “mythical” about it.

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  10. I disagree. Health care reform was one of his top campaign promises. There are many middle and lower middle class workers who do not have any form of health insurance because they cannot afford it. In a nation as rich as ours, that is deplorable.
    Congress could have voted down the health care initiative, they did not. How you can conclude from that that the majority does not want the initiative, I do not know.
    There is absolutely no policy in the private sector regarding stock options. In light of what has transpired over the past three years, some regulation on Wall Street and ‘investment bankers’ like Mr. Langone obviously something that should have been addressed effectively decades before Obama took office.

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  11. Health care reform was one of his top campaign promises

    Health care reform – not the mangled monstrosity that was passed.

    Congress could have voted down the health care initiative, they did not. How you can conclude from that that the majority does not want the initiative, I do not know.

    Where were you during the lead up to the health care vote? Were you paying attention, at all?

    After a year of lies, bribes, and threats, the Dems’ only option to pass the bill using the parliamentary tactics known as the Slaughter rule, and reconciliation, (not meant for legislation like ObamaCare). They passed a bill which amounts to the government taking over 1/6 of the economy with 0 Republican votes and many Dems defecting, and with a clear majority of the public against it.

    Again, that’s not how Democracy is supposed to work, and that’s why it will be repealed.

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  12. we live in a democracy and the majority who voted to elect Obama president did so in part because of his promise of a national health care system. Democracy – sometimes you don’t always get what you want but what the majority wants.

    No, we live in a republic, not a democracy. This was something that the Constitutional Convention was very deliberate about. If you have any doubt, I suggest you get a copy of the Federalist Papers and read ot straight from Madison and Hamilton.

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  13. “No, we live in a republic, not a democracy.”

    Can you please explain the difference between a republic and a representative democracy? Personally I don’t think there is a difference.

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  14. Can you please explain the difference between a republic and a representative democracy? Personally I don’t think there is a difference.

    Republics do not have an heriditary head of state or a monarch. Representative democracies can.
    See Britain, Great, and Canada

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  15. Yet he insists that had these mythical stock option regulations been in place in 1979 there would be no Home Depot.

    Ummm…are you following this at all? He said that if policies that were being advocated were in place back in 1979, he couldn’t have gotten Home Depot off the ground. He didn’t say that these policies exist – his point was that the administration was letting its hostility toward business carry its future policies in a direction that was stifling to entrepreneurship.

    In other words, you’ve been arguing against something he never said. That’s called a “strawman argument,” dear.

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  16. There are many middle and lower middle class workers who do not have any form of health insurance because they cannot afford it. In a nation as rich as ours, that is deplorable.

    And this, unfortunately, is as deep as liberals care to delve. There are “many.” Turns out that it’s not nearly as many as has been claimed – in fact only about a fifth of the people without health insurance don’t have it because they can’t afford it. So the entire Obamacare package was created under false pretenses.

    Of course, this is old news to those who are honest and serious about thinking about health care reform.

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  17. Neither did he give the specifics of the ‘advocated’ policies. I’m sorry, I’m a very literal person. If you are going to reference a policy or a regulation in a scathing piece such as this one and hope to persuade me; you are going to have to be more specific than that. This piece is just a rant by a wall street investor and it resonates with those who dislike Obama.
    The fact is he has done the things he said he would do in his campaign. He made promises and he kept them. Whether one agrees with his actions or not, I believe kept promises are quite unusual in politics in general and in Washington in particular.

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  18. <This piece is just a rant by a wall street investor and it resonates with those who dislike Obama.

    The piece was an op-ed, though not by a “wall street investor.” He stated his opinion, and it did indeed resonate with many of us who feel under siege by this administration. You don’t care for his opinion. That’s not a surprise. Just don’t go putting words in his mouth to try to shore up the validity of your opinion.

    The fact is he has done the things he said he would do in his campaign.

    The fact is that he has based his policies on poor analysis and half-truths. From the Stimulus to energy to health care, his policies have been guaranteed to fail at everything but wasting money. It has been amateur hour since the Inauguration, which is what we predicted based on his resume.

    And why should his doing the things he said he would do make us happy? His agenda is awful and unaffordable. We have been dumbstruck that people like you could possibly believe that all of these wonderful benefits could be provided without catastrophic effects on the economy.

    It’s like the health care polls. In polls of Americans asking whether they wanted universal health care, over 70% said “Yes.” But when asked if they wanted it if they also had to pay for it, only 30% said “yes.” You have to ask yourself how the people who said “yes” the first time could possibly have not understood that it would come with a price. Those are the people who voted for Obama.

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  19. The piece was an op-ed, though not by a “wall street investor.”

    From Mr. Langone’s webpage:
    “Ken Langone, investment banker and co-founder of Home Depot, is a billionaire business American success story.”

    And of course, Obama is an amateur and all of those who voted for him ignorant and uneducated. Only he isn’t and we are not. Obama is ending most of our involvement in Iraq – as promised. Perhaps the estimated $8M per day spent in Iraq on the ‘war that wasn’t” can help pay for national health care here at home? The same people who give endless dissertations on Obama’s pathetic policies and the ignorance of those who put him in office (a majority of the country BTW) never seem to remember the billions of dollars and thousands of lives lost in a war that served absolutely no purpose whatsoever.

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  20. @nicedeb: I find Obama to be a politician who made campaign promises and then, once elected, remembered those promises. He assumed people elected him because of the things he said he would accomplish and therefore, set out to accomplish those things. I appreciate his actions as President; I appreciate anyone who does what they say they will do – it is so very rare.
    However, I do not know the man as an individual. Therefore my response to your question would be; I don’t’ know him personally and cannot comment. I would like to think so, but then I would have liked to believed that about his predecessor or the one before that and both of them proved by their actions to be less than honest.

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  21. The piece was an op-ed, though not by a “wall street investor.”

    Even aside from the fact that he’s writing as an entrepreneur, there’s a significant difference between an investment banker and a wall street investor. But you wouldn’t appreciate that, would you.

    Only he isn’t and we are not.

    There you go. Bald statements are the last refuge of those who refuse to do research.

    in a war that served absolutely no purpose whatsoever.

    Now I know you’re an idiot. Geopoliitics much? Didn’t think so. Take your pitiful little act down the road, honey, we’ve seen hundreds of your ilk here. And none of them have ever said anything to contravene the road of decay that President Obama and shallow people like yourself seem to be wed to. Thanks for that.

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  22. Missy. That was a non answer. And it was an easy yes or no question, one that I can answer easily – no, Obama is not an honest individual (person, politician, citizen, candidate, President, whatevah). He lies constantly because that’s what Marxists have to do to keep fooling people like you.

    I could point to any number of posts in the blogosphere that tabulate his lies, like Jim Geraghty at NRO:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot/4701/long-post-complete-list-obama-statement-expiration-dates

    I kept a list for months in 2008 when it became obvious (to those paying attention) that we were dealing with a spectacularly dishonest broker.

    All politicians lie, you say. No they don’t actually. Some actually have standards. Many, sometimes fudge a little, some play fast and loose with the facts occasionally. Some lie to protect themselves from scandal, or sometimes one will say something that turns out to be wrong…but I’ve never seen a anyone come anywhere close to Obama’s deplorable disregard, even contempt for the truth, and that includes Bill and Hillary, who are also pathological liars.

    To not see this, one has to be willfully blind, woefully uninformed.

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  23. I’ll grant you that Mr. Langone was writing as an entreprenuer. One whose own business practices from the 80’s right through until today are often less than ethical but that is a story for another day. Whatever title you choose to assign him as he writes this op ed piece, his diatribe is just that – a rant. He can point to no proposed regulation on either the retail industry or the issuance of stock options as incentives and frankly no one here has done so either.
    Your reference to ‘geopolitics’ is random and makes no sense. My point was that some of the waste from the previous administration can be used to pay for the national health care plan.
    Do you know how much opulent, wasteful spending there is in the military? As an suditor, I have personal knowledge of such waste. Trust me when I tell you that there is money to be found even without the wrongful waste of taxpayer money in Iraq.
    As has always been the case, the latent anger and hostility which motivates those on the right ultimately resorts to name calling and derision. The assumption is, I think, that those who argue for this administration are poor, ignorant and easily intimidated.

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  24. @nicedeb – My answer was not a nonanswer or a political dodge. I do not choose to express opinions, or hold them for that matter, about the character of people I do not know personally. I did not say ‘all politicians are liars’. What I said was that it is unusual for them to make such a mighty effort to follow through on campaign promises.
    I am quite sure that if you took sound bits of things I said two years ago and compared them with things I say now, you may find areas that appear questionable. In fact, in this age of false media and quotes completely out of context, Jesus Christ himself could be presented as a man of questionable character.
    This is why I do not make assessments based on quotes or press. Show me actions, cite specific legislation or policy – anything less is just gossip.

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  25. Whatever title you choose to assign him as he writes this op ed piece, his diatribe is just that – a rant. He can point to no proposed regulation on either the retail industry or the issuance of stock options as incentives and frankly no one here has done so either.

    Of course, an op-ed piece is NOT a white paper, nor a meticulously sourced presentation providing chapter and verse on the subject being addressed, and op-eds never have been. While it serves as a convenient criticism for you to blather on about here, it does seem a somewhat curious objection for someone who casually tosses out an unsubstantiated smear such as “I’ll grant you that Mr. Langone was writing as an entreprenuer. One whose own business practices from the 80′s right through until today are often less than ethical but that is a story for another day. ” Inconsistent much?

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  26. Blather? Seriously?

    The difference is my comment is not published in the WSJ. If I were using my millions as validity for access to a public forum, I would feel compelled to write more accurately knowing that my ‘opinions’ would be called into question.

    When was the last time you were in a home depot? Have you reviewed their financial statements or followed their progress and monitored business practices. As an accountant who started my career at HomeQuarter Warehouse, I have followed “Agent Orange” meticulously throughout the years.

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  27. He can point to no proposed regulation on either the retail industry or the issuance of stock options as incentives and frankly no one here has done so either.

    Not my job, ‘cuz I don’t really care. It was the judgment of an experienced investor/entrepeneur that the administration is pursuing policies that are not business friendly. That’s all you can read into it – it’s not a detailed, footnoted analysis of administration policies.

    Are his claims true? Certainly the regulatory claims are. The minimum wage hike alone is enough to justify his statement. There are also a number of proposals to change aspects of accounting and taxation of stock options – I’m not sure which ones troubled the author.

    My point was that some of the waste from the previous administration can be used to pay for the national health care plan.

    And my point is that you have no idea why we were in Iraq, and what good it did. So you are completely unqualified to blither about it being a “waste.”

    Do you know how much opulent, wasteful spending there is in the military? As an suditor, I have personal knowledge of such waste.

    As a former military officer and long-time member of the DoD R&D community, I certainly do have an idea how much wasteful spending there is. But much of that waste is unavoidable – it’s caused by unrealistic requirements documents, errant technical decisions, changing priorities, etc. Same sorts of waste you find in any government agency, though the DoD is more closely monitored than most. But the bottom line is this: eliminating waste in the DoD cannot come close to paying for the cost of national health insurance.

    As has always been the case, the latent anger and hostility which motivates those on the right

    Hahahaha!! Bigot away, dear.

    …ultimately resorts to name calling and derision.

    I was patient throughout your misquoting and misinterpreting of the article, and I was perfectly civil until you started spewing nonsense about Iraq. At that point it became apparent that you were just another liberal pinhead. If that term upsets you, blame the hundreds of your inane predecessors who have come through here and worn my patience this thin.

    When was the last time you were in a home depot?

    ??? What does that have to do with anything? The answer is that I go twice a week, but that’s completely irrelevant.

    As an accountant who started my career at HomeQuarter Warehouse, I have followed “Agent Orange” meticulously throughout the years.

    Sounds like you have some personal issues.

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  28. “eliminating waste in the DoD cannot come close to paying for the cost of national health insurance.”

    How specifically would you know this?

    “Hahahaha!! Bigot away, dear.”
    Identifying irrationally angry behavior does not make me a bigot. Per Websters: Bigot: a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.
    I think that would include name calling, don’t you? The fact that you resort to calling someone a pinhead is a definitive indication of hostility unrelated to the argument at hand. Especially so since obviously no viewpoint was ever converted by calling someone a derogatory name.

    As for “Agent Orange” that was an insider term used in the HQ corporate offices. We never referred to Home Depot by name.

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  29. So is the implication that you can tell me a justifiable reason for our presence in Iraq? Please enlighten me : }

    Not an implication: a statement of fact. But I have neither the time nor inclination to bother educating you, and I don’t want to allow this thread to get that far off topic. It’s the typical liberal troll tactic: start losing the argument, so change the subject. Pretty soon we’ll be back at “Bush stole the election.” That’s where it always ends up with you guys.

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  30. I’m sorry but you are wrong. My suggestion is sincere. I thought Iraq was a bad idea in 2003 and I never waivered. If you, retired military, could enlighten me – perhaps with knowledge I dont’ have, I would listen.

    My husband is a retired Marine Corp officer. We have had this discussion many times. He is absolutely not a ‘liberal pinhead’, however, he will at least grudgingly admit that in hindsight, Iraq was a mistake. I give him credit for that.

    Despite your perception, I am not simply ‘blindly following’. I do the research, I know there have been mistakes in this administration.

    It bothers me, however, when there are people who excuse or blatantly disregard mistakes made in previous administrations. Mistakes the effects of which have not just magically disappeared with a change of personnel in the Whitehouse – Iraq, The Community Reinvestment Act, etc. These are not partisan issues, nor were they caused by the current administration.

    Obama is human and will make mistakes – my philosophy is to support the administration as much as possible especially when the actions to date seem sincere and in keeping with promises made previously.

    The fact is that the savings from the decrease of troops in Iraq will save us approximately $8M daily. Surely some of that can be more useful in funding domestic policies. That is not a slam against the right.

    Designing a national health care plan is a monumentous task and there are definitely risks to those of us who are comfortable with the coverage we have. But there are many working poor who cannot afford insurance coverage and yet make too much money to qualify for medicaid. Surely there is a way to provide adequate medical coverage for those people in a nation as wealthy as ours.

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  31. How specifically would you know this?

    By looking at the numbers of course. If you looked at the numbers, you wouldn’t be making such silly claims. Assume that we leave the ~100 million people in Medicaid/SChip and Medicare where they are. Then assume that you can insure another 200 million people by eliminating waste in the DoD to the tune of 25% of the DoD budget. Your insurance funds available per person would be $850/year.

    Compare that to next year’s budget for Medicaid ($265 billion), which will cover about 50 million people. That’s about $5000/yr, and doesn’t include the States’ contributions. You’re not even close to paying for it.

    Identifying irrationally angry behavior does not make me a bigot

    But painting an entire group of people with your little pop psychology pejoratives certainly does.

    The fact that you resort to calling someone a pinhead is a definitive indication of hostility unrelated to the argument at hand.

    Nyoop. It’s a definitive indication that I’m fed up you in particular. From the first moment you visited this blog you made a fool of yourself. Next time read the article before you spout off.

    As for “Agent Orange” that was an insider term used in the HQ corporate offices. We never referred to Home Depot by name.

    This does indeed seem to be really personal for you. Were you mauled by Home Depot as a child? Did they kill your family forcing you to seek out martial arts training for 20 years so that you could take your vengeance?

    Guess I’ll let you have the last word: I don’t want to get between you and your white whale.

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  32. Your entire post is inflammatory. Obviously you are more interested in attacking me than discussing the issues. I will not persue this ‘discussion’ further.

    No more inflammatory than it was when you started your train of commenting for days, the only difference being that you “lost” a democracy that never existed, revealed that you have a personal grudge against the Op-ed author, beclowned youeself with the implication that an Op-ed should be resourced and cited, and failed to do the math set forth in your talking points.

    I don’t blame you for feeling burned, but when you douse yourself with gasoline and then run toward the fire, the blame lies with you, not the other way around.

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  33. Simply a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw great design. “Individuals may form communities, but it is institutions alone that can create a nation.” by Benjamin Disraeli.

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  34. A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment.
    I think that you should publish more about this topic, it may not
    be a taboo matter but typically people do not speak about such issues.
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    Like

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