Posts Tagged ‘democrats

18
Jun
09

SCARLET H (Hypocrisy) UPDATE – Repubs Vote No on War Funding

Scarlet H - Repubs - War fundingI’m starting a new series entitled “Scarlet H Update” about political hypocrisy, as I described in my last blog. I’m sure it will be a regular series, because now that there’s a Democrat in the White House, we’re sure to routinely witness Repubs again and again do the same things they chastised Democrats about while Bush was ruining the world.

I’ll probably have to start another series “Spineless Dems – WTF?!” and we might have an installment of that tomorrow.

In case you didn’t happen to read yesterday’s post in which I discuss the all-too-common combination of Republicans, adultery, and hypocrisy, the Scarlet H will now be applied to those who criticize one and then do the exact same thing down the line. It’s elementary, but you see, our politicians simply cannot stop themselves from issuing the almighty condemnation for actions they themselves pursue. While I would say this is a bipartisan problem, the majority of Scarlet H award winners are Rebubs for too many reasons to go into at this juncture.

Today, we focus on war funding.

Remember this little gem from the campaign trail in which Cindy McCain attacked Obama for voting against a war funding bill – which her husband had done earlier as well (I could only find a video of the ridiculousness enmeshed in a Hardball clip, but it’s at the beginning, so you don’t have to watch all the commentary if you don’t want to):

Cindy’s speech mimicked many attacks the Republicans have launched against Democrats should a leftie ever, ever decide to vote against a war fuding bill. Why would they do such a thing? You see extraneous funding are always attached to bills that guaranteed to pass – like a military funding bill. This is how many projects receive money. I’m not saying it is right. I’m saying this is how it is – whether a Democrat or Republican has been in the White House.

Well, it just so happens that a war funding bill has come across the laps of our Washington legislators – complete with the typical extraneous funding requests and guess what? The VAST majority of House Republicans voted against the lastest war funding bill June 16.

As Politico (whose piece I linked to above) points out:

In 2005, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) ripped Democrats who opposed the supplemental request, calling their position “immoral.” When war funding came up again in 2006, Cole took to the floor to say, “I would ask members to remember this is a vote about our willingness to support our servicemen and women and not about other policy issues.”

He voted no on the war funding Tuesday.

Even McCain said he is leaning against voting for the bill – I wonder who his wife would support on the campaign trail now.

The fact of the matter is that Republicans have railed against Democrats repeatedly, consistently in recent years when Democrats voted against war funding bills for the exact same reason Republicans are turning their backs on this piece of legislation.

In a flood of vitriol, Republicans hurdled accusations claiming the Democrats did not care for the troops, hated America, weren’t patriotic every time they Dems something stripped from a war funding bill.

Now Republicans are committing an act they had, as recently as the last presidential campaign, called a grievous sin.

There’s no honor, no dignity in politicizing the troops, which the Republicans do repeatedly when it serves their purpose. Then, to turn tail when the White House is blue, is a true bottom-feeder low. Despicable from all angles.

And don’t write any comments criticizing the legislation. I’m not defending the legislation. War funding bills have always had these tag-along items and only now are yellow-bellied Republicans standing against such legislation. Shameful.

And that’s why, today, Republicans get the H.

And talk about double standard, why isn’t Fox reporting on the lack of Republicans supporting the bill?

28
May
09

Can I Get a Decent Democrat Senator?

I don’t give a shit what anyone says about MSNBC; yesterday’s programming was priceless to a political junkie like myself.

First off, Chris Matthews unleashed the freaking 4th degree on Senator (gag) Roland Burris – who tried to convince an incredulous Hardball host that he was “placating,” or lying, to Blagojevich’s brother when he said he would try to raise money for the governor. The transcript of the phone conversation between the governor’s bro and the political big boy wannabee is priceless and you can read it here. It’s a hoot of pathetic proportions.

Let me paraphrase it for you:

Rod Blasumovabitch’s brother: I’m not a bullshitter, give us money.

Roland Blatant Weasel Burris: Hey, hey, I been meanin’ to talk to you because I want to raise money for ya, but I really want that senate seat. So, ya know, pony up, bitch. Senate seat, senate seat, senate seat.

Rod Blasumovabitch’s brother: Yer a loser, but whatever, just right us a check and yeah, whatever.

Burris is a retard. His defense is that he was bullshitting Blago’s brother. The only problem is that that implies Burris was reactionary during the discussion, which is false. Blago’s brother called to ask if Burris could fundraise and the entire rest of the conversation is led by Burris trying to figure out how to pay for the senate seat without getting caught. It’d be funny if that unsneaky bastard weren’t sitting in one of the highest offices in the land.

Can’t wait til 2010 for Burris to be out on his arse.

Then, then, on the Ed Show, which I hardly ever watch (and which has a terrible title), Joe Sestak (aka, Admiral Sestak, aka the highest ranking former military officer to serve in the U.S. Congress Sestak) announced that he would challenge newly Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter in the primary for his seat in 2010 (pending a Sestak family discussion and agreement, blah, blah, blah).

Joe said he didn’t necessarily think that Washington’s decision to anoint Spector the next Democratic nominee in the Pennsylvania senate seat might not fly with citizens of the state. I agree. Kick Spector out – he ain’t no Democrat. He’s just a desperate politician tryingfinagle a couple more years onto his career. Have you seen him? He’s like 102 years-old. It’s time of the bag of bones to go.

So, good luck, Sestak! This Texan with absolutely no influence in the outcome of your ambitions wishes you all the best! (Unless, that is, it emerges that you fathered some illegitimate child with an underage prosititute. But, I’m sure that won’t happen.)

We need some better Democrats in the Senate – I won’t even get into Reid, Dodd and Feinstein. We have some good apples, but really, most of them are simply politicians with their hands in the corporate cookie jar.

So, in the name of worthless, irrelevant, ineffective Dems, TERM LIMITS!!!

30
Apr
09

Specter’s Move a Reflection of Ugly Realities

MOTIVATIONS OF THE CONGRESSPERSON

I’ve said many a time and I’ll say it again: Congresspeople make decisions under the influence of one, two, or both motivations: either to achieve reelection or to land a cushy job once they have left office. This is why they have ceded all their decision-making powers to the

Ill take Jowls for 200, Alex.

I'll take "Jowls" for 200, Alex.

corporations that fund their reelection campaigns.

Specter’s turncoatitude is merely a reflection of this reality. Was his decision just a fulfillment of megalomaniacal goals? Yes, but he is no different than any of his colleagues. This will again lead me to raise the call for congressional term limits (though it would be nice to see them apply to the Supreme Court as well), which would limit the strata of ambition congress people may climb.

Specter wishes to remain in congress? Well, that’s just plucky for him. However, and feel free to correct me, I’m sure Pennsylvania has a multitude of qualified and capable candidates for Senate. And seeing as how Specter has enjoyed, what?, 30 years as Senator, isn’t about time for some new blood, fresh talent? As far as I’m concerned, seniority is overrated and Specter is acting more like a geriatric toddler than elder statesman.

SPECTER SQUEEZED OUT BY THE ELEPHANTS

And do you think Specter will deliver votes to the Democrats now that his head pokes out the ass of a donkey? Not bloody likely.

The center of the country has now headed back toward its previous center. Under the political climate of the last eight years, Nixon would have looked like a liberal and all the right wingers were claiming this is a center-right country. A shortsightedly inept commentary  – especially seeing as how the independents and moderates are now naturally waving blue flags because all the right wingers want to legislate our uteri and keep men from kissing each other because baby jesus doesn’t like it. The logical and rational no longer have a place in the GOP Circus Freak Show.

Specter is still a moderate, and his votes will reflect that. Now that the Repubs have no room for moderates, Specter is by design a Democrat and a natural illustration of this recent political shift of quite monstrous proportions.

ELEPHANTS BECOME OSTRICHES: ALL IS GRAND WHEN YOUR HEAD’S IN THE SAND (god, i am so awesome with the rhyming)

Academically and as a voter, I am not amused to witness the decaying of the Republican Party. I used to consider myself among its ranks and I’m acquainted with quite the few logical, Republican in-the-knows. Many are finding themselves more comfortable inside the confines of the Libertarian parameters now – and that’s extraordinarily fun for me to watch as a liberal. But the fracturing of the GOP is a symptom of how fringey, how cultish, how clinically insane a great many of my fellow Americans are. And that’s sad.

This Grand Party has a great cancer and it is the refusal of honest self-analysis. A reasonably-minded fellow could easily diagnose the cause of the Republican death spiral: its limited ideology fewer and fewer Americans share.

repubs-head-in-sandBut Republicans don’t see it that way. “Specter’s out? Good riddance! McCain lost? Hated him anyway!” Tom Delay, and what a specimen he is, graced Hardball with his presence today and said (now don’t drink anything at this moment because you might spit it out all over your keyboard) that the real problem with the Republican Party right now is NOT a failure of principles, it is a failure to communicate them. Mm-hmmm…Mkay…I hear that….Excuse me while I choke on the eyes that have rolled into the back of my head.

You see, the Republicans erroneously believe that simply because Bush was a big spender, deficit creator, Americans are fleeing the Right. Well, let’s take a tally: he was “strong” on defense (in the worst kind of way), he kept the government small in terms of regulation, he was as conservative on social issues as a president of booblical proportions can get, AND he lowered taxes (for the wealthy, who – by the way – doubled their wealth under Bushie Two Shoes while the rest of everyone watched their 401ks erode faster than Specter’s party loyalty).

Except for the whole spending thing, W. was a bona fide, ideological, stick-in-the ass, card-carrying member of the old white guy Gto-theOto-theP. Americans didn’t just reject his spending in this last election, they rejected all those other inherently flawed tenets of the Republican foundation.

The problem with Republicans is their principle. Their principle allows them no logical solution to offer for the dramatically diseased state of our health care system. And they only adhere to their principle of small government when it suits their purposes – which is many times not the case, such as farm bills and subsidies (ahem, fructose corn syrup). Then their “small government” banner drives us into the economic ditch through lack of regulation and their adherence to abstinence-only education translates into more teenage pregnancy with no government assistance after these babies have been pushed to have babies.

Republican principle and ideology is a failure of decision-making, of study, of analysis and of progress. It doesn’t work. The last eight years proved so. Specter’s defection is merely a symptom of this reality.

And now the Repubs are just sitting on their hands, praying to their precious baby jesus that Obama fails. Because only in Obama’s failure and the subsequent harm to this country could Republicans find their strength again. And from this atheist-leaning agnostic’s mouth: God help us if that happens!

16
Feb
09

Stimulus Debate Revealing Republicans To Be Out Of Touch Crackheads – But What’s New?

The ugly last few weeks of stimulus debate among our nation’s leadership has left one thing clear: Congress has essentially become a douchey, senior-citizen version of The Real World mixed with Laguna Beach. Seriously. We basically a geriatric high school with bitches galore  and those lame duck leaders have abdicated any sense of responsibility to the American citizen as they are solely focused on the next election – which is especially true in the case of the Republicans.

Anyone who has taken Psych 101 (me) has likely been watching with jaws on the floor the Right Wing Parade of crackhead after crackhead. Singular focus on electoral demographics has allowed them to form some insane force field of failed ideology divorcing almost the entire Republican leadership from reality. To repeat the words of John Judis in The New Republic, “Congressional Republicans either don’t know any economics or are willing to put the country at risk to advance their own party’s fortune.” I’d go with both.

In case you’ve been under a rock, here’s the deal, pickle. The country is hemorrhaging jobs – almost 5 million Americans are collecting unemployment benefits, which doesn’t include all the unemployed who are not collecting benefits, nor those who are underemployed because their hours have been cut. Temporary jobs – an indicator of economic health – have all but dried up. The wealth of the average American family is now less than it was in 2001. And the second wave of mortgage defaults is starting to hit the country, because option ARMS are beginning to hit their due dates for interest rate increases. AND, and – the country’s top intelligence officer says the global economic crisis poses a greater threat to U.S. stability than terrorism.

You got it? Good.

Now, what are the crackhead Republicans suggesting will fix this crisis? It they spend most of their whining about the lack bipartisanship (which is odd considering Bush only met with Dems 3 times during his administration and Limbaugh equates talking to Dems to talking to snakes…), hoping the president fails, attempting to obstruct any potential solution to the problem and creating fun, new, misleading terms like “generational theft.” Would you expect any different from a group of people who values the opinions of the likes of Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, Joe the Plumber, and Rush Limbaugh? Right.

Somehow, you’d think right wing leaders smart enough to reach national office would be able to acknowledge the reality of the situation and choose to address these issues with realistic proposals instead of ideology proven to not only fail, but worsen the country’s economic troubles. You’d be wrong. Repub leaders have decided – as though they live in bizarro world – that if they oppose the stimulus and the stimulus fails, they can ride it all the way to victory in 2010. How wonderful of them to lift their collective, wrinkled middle finger to the lower 95 percent of America’s economic class.

And just to appear as though someone told them if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the what? Problem!, they are attempting to present a few weak ass proposals of their own: corporate tax cuts, more tax cuts for the wealthy, and payroll tax cuts.

Let’s address these “ideas.” First of all, government spending stimulates the economy much faster than tax cuts. Remember how much tax cuts for the wealthy helped over the last 8 years? The wealth was hoarded at the top and did not trickle down. The top 400 wealthiest Americans doubled their wealth, the poverty class grew while the middle shrunk drastically and jobs dried up.

Next, let’s take a look at corporate taxes. Republicans love to wave their hands in the air, shouting about America’s record corporate tax cuts. As they well know, because of the myriad of loopholes in tax legislation, the majority of U.S. corporations do not pay federal taxes. Therefore, lessening the tax burden on businesses that don’t pay taxes anyway will have zippo improvements on the economy. Are you paying attention Hatch? McConnell? Cantor? Boehner? Or your heads too far up your ass to hear me?

And lastly, payroll taxes are a good idea – but not by themselves. As with the stimulus checks Bush sent out last year, Americans are saving or paying down debt with any extra buck that comes their way – not shopping. Without consumers spending, businesses cannot stay afloat, retain employees and no reduction in payroll taxes will reverse that trend.

Which leave job creation as the strongest ladder out of this quagmire. Yet, Republicans, cuddled in their failed ideology and refusing to acknowledge data, evidence and reason started harping on every little non-roads related portion of the stimulus bill. Condom distribution, for example, was one of their main target. Yet, condom makers, condom packagers, and companies who ship the condoms will be stimulated. I could answer in much the same way with every “earmark” the Republicans attacked with unhelpful rhetoric, like “porkulus.”

Paul Begala had a good idea in his address to South Carolina Gov. Sanford, who opposes the stimulus, “If Republican politicians are so deeply opposed to President Obama’s economic recovery plan, they should refuse to take the money. After all, if you think all that federal spending is damaging, there are easy ways to reduce it: Don’t take federal money.” We’ll see how many uneducated poor – or, as I like to call them, Limbaugh listeners – turn out to vote for Repubs in 2010 in the areas where they looked to corporate tax cuts to help them out of the economic rut.

Bush proved what a detriment it is to cloak decision-making in political ideology alone. Data, information, logic, evidence must be understood and solutions cannot simply stand on theory – especially after the data show that theory has already failed. It is a desperate shame Republican leadership only cares about election returns and refuses to learn the lessons of the past. It seems so elementary and yet they fail to grasp the most simplest of realities. I’m sure  Republicans willing to work with Democrats, like Crist, Snowe, Spector, Collins, and all the  mayors who are seeing the jobs dry up right before their eyes will probably do okay the next election go ’round.

But with each new report about massive layoffs – that are weekly now – most Republicans will find that the only thing they know how to do, obstruct, will begin to sour among those feeling the pinch. Which is everybody. The Right wingers thought they were getting a little traction by throwing mud in Obama’s eye – but reality is hard to overcome and the Republicans have no solutions to our national problems, no helpful manners, and are making no improvements. To say they are a party of the past is putting it kindly. And I’m hoping all their bitchy congress people fail out come the end of this term.

29
Jan
09

No Repubs in House Vote for Stimulus

It’s funny when Rush Limbaugh said the Republicans are expected to bend over and grab their ankles for Obama. That’s exactly what the Democrats did for Bush. And I’m all for the Republicans presenting a reasonable opposition to a stimulus package with a lot of government spending. It drives debate and discussion and after 8 years with a federal government that shat out one bad policy after another, it’s good to see both parties sitting across the table from one another.

But not one Republican in the House voted for the stimulus package. And Obama made some concessions for the Republicans. Some family planning spending was taken out. Tax cuts were strengthened – despite numerous data indicating that infrastructure spending strengthens the economy much more quickly than tax cuts.

And yet not one Repub said Yea. The Republicans didn’t give an inch, not a millimeter. They demanded their way as if the majority of the American people voted to support them. I don’t know, perhaps they were all smoking crack together on Nov. 4. At least that would be a logical explanation for their current behavior.

So, now we’re looking at a future in which the Democrats give a bit to appease the constipated blowhards on the right – something the Repubs never did for the Dems did during the failed Bush Era – and Republicans still withhold every ounce of support. Obama will extend the olive branch again and again and make concessions and the Republicans will bat it away like the immature dittoheads they are.

How many concessions will Obama give before he finally says, if you are not willing to cooperate in the most minute manner, I will stop asking for your opinion entirely? Obama is not a small man, so I doubt he will never say these words that would make my inner child gleeful.

I prize common sense decisions and reason and it goes without saying that to do the same thing over and over expecting different results in an exercise in insanity. We tried it the Republican way for eight years. Bush met with the Democrats only three times during his administration. Obama has already met with the Republicans twice. If that doesn’t tell you who has more character and is a better decision-maker, then we likely disagree about much, much more.

The Repubs had their chance and failed immeasurably. They are now the party of yesterday. On the wrong side of history, as Obama says. Dying off. Rush looks like he could keel over any minute – then the Repubs would have to get some actual leadership. It doesn’t surprise me that the party would try to stay relevant by being obstructionists. They’ve been doing it the last two years.

As they are now, Republicans are shameful and harmful and pitiful, broken and soon-to-be-forgotten. And I am so thankful I am not one of them. I doubt they will change, put down the crack pipe and join the rest of us acknowledging and responding to reality. I have hope that the younger generation of Republicans are not the brittle crackers of a ruinous ideology the current leadership reveals themselves to be.

18
Nov
08

Lieberman Keeps His Chairmanship

Jerkass

Jerkass

What a fuckin’ fucker. I know, I know, the Dems need his vote and don’t want to cut their nose off to spite their face when they’re about to have an unprecedented power while our nation faces turbulent waters now and in the foreseeable future.

But he’s such a dick. It doesn’t bother me that he supported John McCain. Not a bit. What pissed my shit off is when he played politics with our troops lives by trying to introduce legislation in the Senate, along with Sen. Graham, saying that the surge was a success. It’s well documented now that the reduction in violence in Iraq had many causes, the surge being a minor one. Forcing an Obama yay or nay on that issue would have swayed voters, which is what Lieberman was hoping.

He also questioned Obama’s patriotism, trying to fear-monger a success for McCain out of the electorate.

“In my opinion, the choice could not be more clear: between one candidate, John McCain, who’s had experience, been tested in war and tried in peace, another candidate who has not,’’ Mr. Lieberman said. “Between one candidate, John McCain, who has always put the country first, worked across party lines to get things done, and one candidate who has not. Between one candidate who’s a talker, and the other candidate who’s the leader America needs as our next president.”

If Lieberman disagreed with Obama on the issues, he is obligated to say so and I support him voicing his honest opinions. But saying McCain puts country first and Obama does not was petty and partisan. I might add that Lieberman made these comments when he probably still felt he had a shot at the VP slot. He discovered, with the rest of us, that McCain does not put country first when he chose a running mate wholly unqualified to be president.

Lieberman undoubtedly mollified many of his senatorial colleagues when he expressed today that, during the heat of the campaign, he issued statement he wishes he had not.

To little, too late for me and how disappointing to watch the Dems bend over for a schmuck like Lieberman.

Connecticut, for the love of christ, vote Lieberman out in 2012. I know that’s a long time from now – and I once again have to express my extreme support for term limits – but get rid of this putz. Sure, we Texans send our fair share of knuckle-draggers over to D.C. as well, but I’m doing what I can to improve our representation. I beg of you do so as well.

Leibermanmustgo!

03
Nov
08

I’m Voting For Barack Obama

Surprise of the century, I know!

While I had been considering Nader in order to support the multi-party system, he is a unfortunately a write-in candidate here in Texas – forcing me to question the immediate efficacy of such a vote. All candidates on my sample ballot are Repub, Dem or Libertarian, so it seems the major parties here in Texas are succeeding in keeping our political choices as narrow as possible. A shame for democracy, really.

Nader’s write-in status, however, did not itself determine my vote.

The widespread efforts of Republican voter suppression did. Republicans across the nation try to have hundreds of thousands of names purged from voter lists, fight efforts to increase early voting availability (salute to Charlie Crist, middle finger to Georgia’s secretary of state) and fund disinformation campaigns to confuse and intimidate potential voters. Our saving grace this year is that the secretaries of state in Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada and (thank christ) Ohio are Democrat. Sorry, bitches, no Katherine Harris replay here.

Almost all voter suppression efforts originate in the nasty little minds of Republicans, who have shown election after election that they hold winning of higher import than democracy. How ridiculously wretched that Bush claims is presidential clarion call is to spread democracy when he has helped his party be an agent of democracy poisoning.

The Right likes to flail their hands in the air screaming Voter Fraud. Yet, even if quite a few false registrations were turned in, it would be an unlikely realization that those registrations would result in actual votes. Republicans – who know this – would prefer to dump thousands upon thousands of legitimate voters in order to prevent a few false votes from occurring. It is a charade. A pathetic, dishonorable, horrific charade given the historic fight to provide us with such a freedom.

I find it harder and harder to relate to the Republican Party as a whole and my respect for the organization has plummeted since my days as a freshman member of the College Republicans.

So, I’m voting for Obama – for all the regular reasons: I agree with many of his policies, I believe he would be infinitely better as president than McCain, I would rather cut off my little toe than see Sarah Palin so close to the presidency, I want to help protect civil liberties and have the utmost concern for the next three Supreme Court appointees, I believe Obama to be an extremely thoughtful man, my consideration as a voter is not just for myself, but my fellow Americans and fellow citizens of the world, Obama would be of much greater benefit to the environment, etc., etc., etc.

But, I’m also voting for Obama as a big FUCK YOU to the Republican Party. As long as they are party who practices widespread voter suppression, as long as they are a party who views fair democracy as an obstacle, as long as they are the party who would rather steal elections than win them outright and smile at the freedom those before us have earned, I will vote against them. I will raise my voice against them. I will fight them every election.

Unfortunately, Texas will send their electoral delegates to support McCain. I’m sure all of you heard that a fourth of Texans still believe Obama is a Muslim – so that gives you an idea of the political education of our fine citizenry. As of this late date, the GOP is running Jeremiah Write ads every few minutes calling Obama too radical and too risky. I’m glad they’ve decided to waste their money in this media market since they’re basically (sadly) preaching to the choir here.

So, I will vote Obama and hope he can fulfill much of what he has promised. And I’m not simply talking universal health care. I’m talking competence and consideration and even-handedness. It will be so difficult for him to achieve many of his lofty ambitions in the face of the massive destruction left by Bush and Cheney militarily, economically, in the area of checks and balances and widespread corruption at the Executive Branch.

I believe Obama will take it home tomorrow night and the majority of us can collectively breathe a sigh of relief and lift a finally-steady hand holding a glass of champagne in celebration. But I’m looking past tomorrow and at the next four years and I’m cautiously optimistic. While the Republican death squads will emerge from their mire within seconds of an Obama victory – this time the majority of the country and overwhelming numbers of global neighbors are supporting him, watching him and simply hoping.

Here we go. Just breathe. And vote. And then breathe. It’s time.

14
Oct
08

Why “Drill, Baby, Drill” Chanters are Idiots

I’m sure most of you who watched the Republican National Convention saw the goobers in hardhats and safety vests which said, “Drill, baby, drill!” Their captain, Rush Limbaugh said June 18,

They’re (Democrats) going to oppose the economic growth of the country. They’re going to oppose your prosperity. They’re going to oppose all of that by standing in the way of this.

They’ve (Democrats) got their talking points and they’re lying through their teeth about it.

Bill Nelson of Florida, one of, ahem, my senators, is out there saying that, (paraphrasing) “Hey, the federal government’s already leased a whole bunch of land to the big oil companies; they’re not even using it.”  It’s such a smoke screen, the number of years left on these leases is very few, and the whole thing is a lie anyway.  I have the figures to prove it.

Entrepreneurs of all stripes, all sizes, create business of all sizes. They’re a wide range. And who is it that always sets out to punish them and destroy them?  Liberals, the American left! Absolutely right, Brian. I could read your lips in there.  Good going.  What does Obama want?  Barack Obama wants you to suffer.  Barack Obama wants higher prices on fuel. right now.  Barack Obama wants a windfall profits tax. right now.  Barack Obama wants to raise your income taxes, by the way, right now.  He wants to raise capital gains taxes, right now.  He wants to raise Social Security taxes, right now.  Obama wants you to suffer.  The Democrat Party wants you in pain.  They want you angry, and they are willing to block any remedy to this problem in order to keep you suffering and in pain and angry.  Obama wants prices up, he wants your income down, and he wants taxes up, ladies and gentlemen.

I know, he’s a crackpot. I recommend reading the whole transcript because it’s incredibly laughable. Let me continue. Here’s Sarah Palin during the VP Debate,

The chant is “drill, baby, drill.” And that’s what we hear all across this country in our rallies because people are so hungry for those domestic sources of energy to be tapped into.

Barack Obama and Senator Biden, you’ve said no to everything in trying to find a domestic solution to the energy crisis that we’re in.

If that’s not enough to make you want to sprinkle cyanide on your cheerios, country singer Aaron Tippin has a new hit, “Drill here, drill now,” you can listen to here. I’m posting the second verse:

Every time a foreign tanker pulls up to our shore
They got us over a barrel while they bleed us a little more
And think how much it costs just to bring it all that way
And how many American jobs that’d make if we were drillin’ in the USA
Oh and God forbid if our oily friends should decide to cut us off
We’d be standin’ around with our britches down now listen to me ya’ll

Perhaps Aaron’s legendary tight pants have seized up blood flow to his brain.

What I’m trying to say is that all these calls for offshore drilling and energy independence have made it clear there’s a drought of information on the Right. I’ve decided to rectify the situation by gathering what we informed people call FACTS to help explain the error in this argument – which many Democrats are perpetuating as well. It’s almost criminal.

So, I beg of you – educate yourself. Even if you don’t want to read my lengthy presentation of reality and possibility, conduct your own research of the effects of increased offshore drilling, the possibility it will lower gas prices, and the addition to jobs and U.S. prominence alternative energy technology will provide.

Here’s my crack at it. It’s long, but it’s worth it. Jesuschrist, it’s worth it.

The clamors for energy independence only surfaced following the rise in gasoline/petrol prices. Because gas prices are largely determined by the decision made by OPEC regarding production levels, Americans are under the incorrect impression that drilling for more hydrocarbon off our shores will provide energy independence and lower gas prices.

OFFSHORE DRILLING ≠ ENERGY INDEPENDENCE ≠ LOW GASOLINE/PETROL PRICES

The American people are uninformed, which is nothing new, and their politicians are doing nothing to correct this problem because they are whores for campaign contributions, which lead them to feed the corporatocracy that is pimping America by trading money for favorable legislation. The oil & gas lobby is one of the biggest john of them all. According to the Federal Election Commission Sept. 2, 2008, and reported by the Center for Responsive Politics, campaign contributions for the 2008 election cycle totalled $22,543,340. Republicans were the most successful streetwalkers, receiving 75 percent of these contributions, while Democrats only garnered 25. Apparently, it’s hard out here for a pimp Democrat.

Because Americans don’t understand the realities of domestic hydrocarbon production, 67 percent answered in the affirmative to the RasmussenReports poll question, “In order to reduce the price of gas, should drilling be allowed in offshore oil wells off the coasts of California, Florida, and other states?” According to the survey, the results of which were released June 17, 64 percent of voters “believe it is at least somewhat likely that gas prices will go down if offshore oil drilling is allowed.” Now, I’m sure you know embittered former pollster for the Clintons, Dick Morris runs RasmussenReports and is now a sweetheart of the Right – which is why they quoted this survey endlessly.

The false assumption is that offshore drilling will lead to energy independence which will lead to lower gasoline prices.

Wrong.

U.S. WOULDN’T OWN OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS ONCE IT IS DRILLED

As Cenk Uygur correctly pointed out of the Huffpo, the United States government does not own all the hydrocarbon that is produced within its borders. The company that is awarded the contract to drill owns the oil or gas and may decide to sell their unrefined product to whomever they like and will likely do so to whoever is the highest bidder, be they India, China, etc. Simply because the U.S. government decides to open leases off Florida, California and ANWR does not automatically assume the U.S. markets will be the recipient of those energy resources.

Secondly, the U.S. refineries are operating near capacity. According to the latest numbers provided by U.S. Department of Energy for July 2008, U.S. refining operable capacity was 17,610,000 barrels per day. Of that capacity, U.S. refineries produced 17,464,000 barrels per day. The last major refinery built in the U.S. began operations in 1976. This is partially due to strict standards set by the EPA and the high cost of such an endeavor, but also NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard), an acronym describing a residential opposition to nearby industrial building. People want to use the oil and gas, they just don’t want to be near the production of their precious energy. With my family from in and around Lake Charles, I can see why.

The point is that politicians – Dems and Repubs alike – encourage the drill, baby, drillers; they just forget to mention that even if we increase offshore drilling, we do not have the refining capacity to ensure those energy reserves serve the American market. Sure, we can loosen environmental standards and attempt to rush the establishment of some refining infrastructure before oil companies bring that offshore hydrocarbon online. But visit Lake Charles for a weekend and decide if you want those big daddies in your backyard or if you would rather just drive less, switch to fluorescent light bulbs and inflate your tires.

U.S. ENERGY COMPANIES WILL CONTINUE TO KEEP PRICES AS HIGH AS THEY CAN

Americans are also assuming that oil and gas companies, in all their benevolence, would flood the American market with hydrocarbon to allow gasoline prices to decrease. Not gonna happen. FOR EXAMPLE, PLS’ ProspectCentre reported Oct. 1, 2008 that Chesapeake Energy, the largest producer of natural gas in the U.S., will “reduce it drilling capex (17%) through year-end 2010 by ~$3.2 billion in response to recent price collapse that has driven gas prices down (~50% since July 1)…Of the capex reduction through 2010, $1.9 billion is associated with reduced drilling activity.” WHAT??? you ask. Gas prices are over $1 more than when Hurricane Katrina hit. My car cost $12.50 to fill up eight years ago and now requires $40. And Chesapeake Energy is reducing drilling because energy prices are falling. Yes, Chesapeake produces natural gas, which is different than gasoline – but prices of energy originating from hydrocarbon sources are closely related.

Translation: Chesapeake Energy is decreasing their drilling of natural gas in order to reduce supply, despite typical ravenous demand of Americans for energy, which will help keep prices high. Politicians have given Americans the idea that American oil and gas (natural gas) companies are operating at capacity and we need to open more leases to bring more energy online in American markets. False. Major companies in the United States are right now decreasing domestic energy production because prices have fallen, causing these companies what they see as budgetary constraints.

The interesting tidbit about Chesapeake’s maneuver is that they’ve done it before. BNET Sept. 27, 2006: “Effective October 1, 2006, the company plans to temporarily shut-in approximately 100 million cubic feet (mmcf) per day of net natural gas production (approximately 125-150 mmcf per day gross) in various areas of operations in the southwestern U.S. until natural gas prices recover from recently depressed levels.” What has happened since the end of 2006? Prices have risen! How surprising! Of course, I’m not suggesting Chesapeake’s activities alone have caused gasoline prices to increase, but I’m giving you an idea of how the oil and gas industry responds to any decrease in gasoline prices.

You see – and this is very important – even if oil and gas were produced as much as possible within American borders and even if refineries were built to handle the capacity of oil and gas sucked out of the ground, oil companies would keep production low. Why? Why? you ask. I will tell you.

The oil companies have discovered that Americans have a high pain tolerance when it comes to energy prices. Americans will let gasoline reach $4.00 a gallon before really pulling back. They will never allow gasoline prices – profits – to fall back to the yesteryear of cheap gas and easy energy. No matter how available or plentiful that energy is domestically, the companies will manipulate the market to keep prices high. Oh, they’ll give us a load of “reduced supply” mishegoss, but make no mistake – they only have eyes for profits. Right now, according to PLS, XTO, EOG and Petrohawk “may watch Chesapeake’s stock to determine if they should follow the same plan.”

The main point is that even if all our hydrocarbon energy supply originates within U.S. borders, prices will remain in the nose-bleeds. Them’s the brakes. Yes, we are currently experiencing a reduction in prices, but it won’t last.

DON’T FORGET ABOUT REFINING

Now let’s assume that we do open all our oil and natural gas reserves to quell demands for more resources. We throw open every lease available off various coasts and in protected wildlife preserves and give them to the exploration and production companies like letting a fat kid loose in a candy store. We would have to assume that demand would remain the same or decrease in order to bring gasoline prices down.

Just one thing. Remember that last refinery that was built in 1976? Yeah, American consumption of energy has increased 25 percent since it was built. If prices are cheap, our consumption will not decrease unless there is a national mandate Americans understand is necessary to preserve our environment and the health of our children. With demand high, prices will remain so as well.

Because American oil and gas demand will always rise above domestic supply – especially with cheap prices – we will never be energy independent as long as our main source of energy is hydrocarbon. Our demand will always outpace domestic supply. Can’t say it enough.

If we do throw open all the leases possible and build refineries to service the American market as much as possible, we will end up polluting the shit out this country. Perhaps this wouldn’t be such a big deal if the only pollution we had to deal with was only that which we create ourselves. It’s not. Pollution from China has already started having worldwide effects – especially in California, where emissions regulations for local industries will have to be sharply curbed to deal with the fallout from China’s production boom.

“GREEN REFINERIES”? SURELY, YOU JEST.

No, I don’t, Willis. There have been recent movements toward establishing “green refineries” – if there is such a thing. Arizona Clean Fuels Yuma fought for seven years and finally received a permit to build a 150,000 barrels-per-day refinery that it says will operate within strict environmental regulations. Hyperion Resources, based in Dallas, is planning an environmentally sound refinery that will turn Canadian crude into low-sulfur gasoline and diesel at a rate of 400,000 barrels per day. According to a Reuters article describing the project, it often takes five years before companies receive the required permits for construction, which can often lead to investors jumping ship.

And if that wasn’t enough to whet your appetite for green gas, Hunton Energy of Houston has proposed the first green refinery on the Texas coast, shooting for a 340,000 barrels-per-day facility to convert Canadian bitumen crude into clean-burning jet fuel and diesel. According to the Houston Chronicle, “Its defining feature is the integration of a gasification facility, which would capture most of the plant’s carbon emissions before they reach the atmosphere.” It will be interesting to see whether this refinery – in ten years, if the project succeeds – will live up to its “green” claims.

There is, however, no definition for “green” and its subjectiveness has allowed it to be used as a major selling tool by energy companies who tend to be colorblind when it comes to the environment. In this case, “green” refers to reduced emissions by the refineries. It does not mean “zero emissions” as such as thing is currently impossible.

Obviously, the greenest refinery will likely do more detriment than wind and solar combined. Although one has to take into account the energy needed to produce a wind turbine, transport it and set up the massive thing (I see them in parts on 18-wheelers all over the highways here in north Texas). How long would a windmill have to generate energy before justifying its very existence? Just a question.

CLEAN COAL, JUMBO SHRIMP, PRETTY UGLY

Still, the term “green refinery” calls to mind another potential oxymoron: “clean coal.” Politicians say it all the time and the term even enjoyed a bit of attention during the recent Vice Presidential Debates. Jeff Biggers of The Washington Post has taken notice as well. He writes in a scathing opinion piece of the coal industry and its treatment by the Bush administration, “Clean coal: Never was there an oxymoron more insidious, or more dangerous to our public health. Invoked as often by the Democratic presidential candidates as by the Republicans and by liberals and conservatives alike, this slogan has blindsided any meaningful progress toward a sustainable energy policy.”

“Clean coal” is referring to reduced emissions from coal-firing plants and efforts are underway around the world to find the means to reduce the environmentally detrimental affects of this energy source. The release of carbon dioxide into the air is one of the biggest offenses of coal use and scientists are trying to discover new means to deal with this greenhouse gas, included rerouting it under ground. Capturing the CO2 is a top priority in “clean coal” technology. According to National Geographic News, however, technologist Gordon Couch, with the International Energy Agency’s Clean Coal Centre in London, says zero-emissions coal power is a realistic goal – though years away.

“NUKULAR” ENERGY

John McCain likes to repeat that nuclear energy is just fine because he served on a Navy ship powered by nuclear energy and all Senator Obama needs to do is talk to one of our sailors serving a nuclear-powered vessel (yeah, because they’re experts) to learn the benefits of this energy. But nuclear plants are some of the most dangerous sources of energy – the fact that Chernobyl and Three Mile Island are household terms is a large indicator of public concern regarding this energy option.

Nuclear waste is an even larger concern. And since no real long-term solution has been found regarding the storage of nuclear waste, it is irresponsible for politicians to tout this as an option for energy independence. Nuclear waste is also tremendously costly to store – the Department of Energy has said the controversial proposed storage facility at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain would cost $96.2 billion to build and operate. France is repeatedly used as a positive example of the use of nuclear energy. However, France reprocesses its nuclear waste – which is banned in the United States due to proliferation risks – and still has leftovers, which it stocks in hopes that, perhaps in 100 years scientists will have found away to eliminate the toxicity of the waste. Bonne chance.

SUSTAINABLE ENERGY…HEAD OUT OF THE ASS

Geothermal Plant in California

Even with the environmental benefits of nuclear energy, the question still looming is the cost-benefit ratio of investing such an enormous amount of funds into a technology that is detrimental in the long-term, rather than positive alternatives: biomass, geothermal, wind, solar, tidal, hydrogen.

Powerful lobbyists, greedy politicians and corporate executives have convinced the more uninformed Americans, including Palin – who chanted, “Drill, baby drill. Mine, baby, mine,” on the stump – that we must turn to domestic oil, gas and coal to increase energy independence, which will bring down gas prices.

I don’t just disagree with them, I have shown that they are wrong. They are incorrect. And almost every source I have provided in this blog is available on the internet.

So, why does the truth not out? Why do Democrats participate in this charade as well? Bucks, dollars, contributions. The building of the United Corporatocracy of America. The oil and gas industry has been the 12th largest campaign contributor to John McCain’s quest for the presidency, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Had we focused our surplus budget and American acumen for technological development on alternative energy sources back in the 1990’s instead of cheap housing developments, we might already be energy independent. Perhaps Detroit wouldn’t be in the economic doldrums. Perhaps we might not be transferring all of our wealth to “countries who do not have our best interests at heart.” But, then ExxonMobil and ConocoPhilips and many other oil & gas companies wouldn’t be receiving record profits this year. Without their political involvement, Halliburton probably wouldn’t have received a number of sweet, no-bid contracts in Iraq from the Bush administration.

Instead, we’re left with “shoulda, woulda, couldas” dangling in front of our rose-colored glasses to the past.

To make matters almost unpalatable, the Right continues to dupe many of its followers – legendary anti-intellectuals, consistent swallowers of Fox News Propaganda who disdain facts, truth, research, reality and education – into believing offshore drilling will produce energy independence and lower gas prices. It won’t. It will only make the same white men richer year after year and worsen our environmental contributions.

RENEWABLE ENERGY IS BEST CHANCE FOR U.S. TO RETAIN GLOBAL PROMINENCE

Renewable alternative energy is our chance to regain and retain our primary position on the world stage. Global citizens are hungry and demanding alternative power and the U.S. has every opportunity to develop it, deliver it, and benefit from it. Like Obama said, renewable resources can give the U.S. the same economic positioning as the computer. Renewable energy technologies could be a major cultivator of domestic jobs and prop the U.S. up again as a major supplier to global market demands.

U.S. domination is subsiding, our economy is not growing as fast as other countries and we are losing our hegemonic status. Instead of tackling this development head on through education and technology, the idiotic dipshits of the Right are attacking our science classes, trying to shrink budgets for math education and calling for the same failed energy policies that will cripple our best chance to retain American greatness.

Republicans are selling our future to win elections now and their mindless followers are not only heading toward that cliff, they want to drag us over the edge with them. It is shameful and embarrassing and hopefully only a footnote in our country’s history. “Drill, baby, drill” is not the answer. It is “Dead Man Walking” for the U.S. economy and perhaps if these people knew exactly what they were proposing, they wouldn’t be trying to doom our country’s attempts to lead the world into the next technological era.

Let me be clear. I am not opposed to increased offshore drilling or increasing refining capacity. I am opposed to presenting it as a method for attaining energy independence and lowering gasoline prices. Such an assertion is untrue and only increase the falsehoods with which many voters make their decisions at the polls. It is harmful to democracy and it is harmful to the economic future and sustainability of this country. We must refocus our priorities to renewable and sustainable energy sources.

UPDATE 10.15.08. FYI, beeyotches, Time (as I spotted on Think Progress) is reporting that despite Sarah Palin’s calls for energy independence, she herself has supported efforts to send domestic hydrocarbon to more-profitable foreign markets.

According to Time, “Palin personally intervened in April, 2007, but her concerns were strictly local. She asked DOE to condition its approval on guarantees that gas needed in Alaska not be diverted to the better-paying foreign venues — a position she held until this past January, when the producers reached separate agreement with the state to meet its needs.

At no time did Palin or her government cite the desire to preserve Alaskan gas for the lower 48 states. The Sempra terminal began operations just four months after Palin announced unconditional support for the Marathon and ConocoPhillips request and a month before DOE approved their plans to export gas to Asia.”

Will the hypocrisy never end???

30
Sep
08

Blogging About the Bailout From the Netherworlds of Anti-Obama Territory

I was on the road all day yesterday driving from Houston to Pensacola to visit my parental types with my sister. Besides all the damn convoys of electricity and tree-trimming trucks heading back home after helping get Houston power back up following Hurricane Ike (my sister says thank you) driving in the left lane trying to give me an aneurysm, the ride went pretty well. All I’m saying is that I don’t know what South Texas and South Louisiana did to make baby jesus mad. Who knew hurricanes were such a useful tool of divine justice?

As I’m playing Highway Commando and trying to make good time, we get a call that the House voted against the bailout. Against the bailout! We immediately turned my new XM radio (which rocks hard) to the news stations – which was fun because the first thing we heard was Boehner and his fellow boners blaming Pelosi for the failure of Republicans to vote for the bailout package. Apparently, Pelosi gave some partisan speech, which pissed off quite a few of the Repubs so much, they forgot their vote would affect the entire U.S. economy and that of the rest of the world and decided to use their vote for political gamesmanship and spit in Pelosi’s glossy eye with a “Nay.” What word am I thinking of? It’s another word for donkeys… Oh, yeah – Jackasses!!

Who gives a shit about people’s retirement packages? Who gives a shit about companies being able to meet payroll? Mortgages, car loans, grocery bills…who cares, who cares, who cares? The American people have been fed a lot of baloney about the free market and American capitalism and decided to call their representatives, instructing them NOT to vote for the bailout. And the House reps actually claim they listened to these people – these people who have not one iota of understanding about how the markets work and what a catastrophe it will be if the bailout fails and allows the markets to wallow, freezing credit and large portion of the exchange of monies. Even my Republican family – who is watching the retirement upon which they currently live head toward the drain – was astounded at the stratospheric stupidity of these politicians.

Just real quick – the House Repubs are LYING when they said they’re voting no because of their constituents. They’re voting no because of lobbyists. As we speak, K Street is in a tizzy over golden parachutes and regulation and anything that might redistribute wealth in this country and is threatening all those little Congresspeople up for reelection. Three words: constituents my ass. Don’t insult me. I’m mean, I’m a blogger, for chrissakes.

I don’t think this current situation is altogether a bad thing.

Pick your jaw up off the ground and take a breath.

First of all, the level of education of the American public in the areas of economics, finance, credit, etc. has increased immensely. If we have to feel pain now so that our entire country operates with a few more smarts and a tad more responsibility, it is worth it. The people of this country have been told that their monthly income should not determine their standard of living. Credit was the answer to everything, and was easy to access, encouraging every Tom, Dick, Harriet, Rumor, Tallulah and Scout to spend those george washingtons without any attention to budgets and saving. Economic retards, as it were. I used to be one. These are my people.

Well, I’ve moved on – slapped in the face by a low FICO score, and it’s time for the American people to do so as well. Hopefully, this economic crisis will move us in that direction.

So, have a margarita, a mojito, a martini, a miller lite or whatever it takes to get your blood pressure down; then save money, diversify your investments, purchase cars and homes  beneath the amount you are approved for, stop trying to keep up with the Joneses, learn the language of finance and grow old, fat and happy (well, not fat).

That’s silver lining numero uno. The next, OBVIOUSLY, is the political fallout.

How fun! How tickling! How fucking hysterical!

The Democrats are about to take over the majority of the House and the Senate and get the Executive branch. And what happens? The House Repubs group together to collectively shoot themselves in the foot and take McCain down with them. Well, yeee-fucking–haw! I didn’t think this election season could get better AFTER McCain’s fake suspension, but I was gloriously mistaken. If I wasn’t in my parents’ Republican household, I’d be cranking up all the angry liberal commentary on the boob tube I could and just enjoy watching the conservative avalanche. God, it’s like Festivus came early this year. I don’t have anything else on my wishlist.

And it only gets better. The icing this week will be the Biden-Palin debate. Even if Palin does well – and I hope she does – Biden will be drowning our little sassy Republican VP candidate in facts, names, dates, details of overseas trips. And I love Gwen Ifill. Seriously, I think we would be friends in real life.

Ultimate conclusion 09.30.08: Keep yer panties on, because the economy will do much better under Obama than McCain – so get out there and make sure your vote is on the right side of future prosperity.

And wish me well as I try to keep my angry, foul liberal mouth in check just a little bit. Because my mom (who is not crazy conversative) still hits. Backhands, to be more specific. (As my sister will testify.)

22
Sep
08

Arguing With Republicans. Is It Worth It?

Or does it just make you want to sign up for a lobotomy? I thought so.

I’ve decided to explore this topic after my sister and her two boys spent last week up here in Fort Worth following the loss of power to their home in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. My sister is not as outspoken as I and lives on a street full of hardcore, lifelong Republicans as is common in Houston. Sucks to be her. Furthermore, she and I are headed for a family visit next week during which we will masochistically immerse ourselves in a cesspool of diehard, Fox News-watching (and believing) Republicans who fly the Confederate flag on Robert E. Lee’s birthday.

Just today I was asked if I’d heard the rumor that Biden was going to bow out of the race just before the VP debate for “health” reasons and Hillary was going to step in as Obama’s new running mate. I can only presume that garbage was aired on Fox because these people do not obtain information from any other source. Perhaps Rush Limbaugh permeated their commons sense barrier as well, but I cannot know for sure. In any case, pro-Republican media sources are just one long circle-jerk, so it doesn’t really matter where they get their information (see comments below). It all goes back to Satan in the long run.

Intellectual debate is one of the highlights of my life. I loved living in Austin for just that reason. No matter which bar you entered, the scene was ripe for spicy discussion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the leading causes of war or the pros and cons of limited government. Agreeing and disagreeing had nothing to do with the shared enjoyment of testing and rehashing arguments as round after round was purchased into the wee hours. I rarely saw my sparring partners again, but those conversations stay with me.

In Fort Worth, of course, the vast majority of people here are Conservative Republicans who pride themselves on their bumper stickers indicating which pricey christian private school they send their children. I’m in a FreeThinkers group and love the conversation there – though we tend to agree with each other most of the time. But living in Fort Worth does at times make me yearn for the ubiquitous open-mindedness of Austin’s citizens and bar patrons.

Living in a town like this or on my sister’s street in Houston constantly begs the question of appropriateness  of political debate. I’m outspoken and have little need for the approval of others, but also don’t have very tight relationships with my neighbors. When my sister’s neighbor across the street exclaimed, “Democrats suck!”, it was clear that arguing with the person would be unproductive and even less enjoyable. So why even threaten a relationship with a good neighbor, however politically bassackward they may be? It’s a question that will last through the ages.

In a previous blog, I discussed that our unwillingness to insert politics in “polite” conversation inhibits progress and stymies debate which is essential to a healthy democracy. We look to intellectual debate to be worthwhile, fulfill us, get our blood pumping, have fun, learn new things and test our acquired knowledge – not to wear us down, leave us worn and ragged and hopeless.

So, when is arguing with Republicans worth it? Here’s my hypothesis:

Arguing with Republicans is always worth it if they’re informed. Most of the Republicans I know are fairly well-informed, though most of them are also not regular church goers. I don’t know if that has anything to do with it, I just thought I’d put that out there. And while arguing with uninformed Republicans is akin to taking candy from a baby, it’s about as productive and fun as preparing for a triathlon by playing golf. I leave those discussions thinking, “What a dumbass!” rather than, “Oooh, that’s something to think about” or “That was fun” or “I shouldn’t drink so much if I’m going to have to recall shit from my AP History class.”

Arguing with Republicans is worth it if they use curse words in their every day vernacular rather than just when they’re angry. People who do not ever use curse words generally have some form of a stick up their ass. These people are not fun to be around in any event, let alone in a political arena. Even my own mother says “Shit!” every now and then. Those who can roll with the punches, play loosey-goosey and see the value in sarcasm are always worthy of a place in the forbidden world of political debate.

The previous rule applies to Republicans who drink alcohol and especially if they smoke weed. If they are a teetotaler, chances are they are wound pretty friggin tight and could erupt like Mount Vesuvius at any moment. Any real debate with these people should be left to the TV screen, no doubt peppered by the teetotaler’s spittle after images of nudity or Obama surging in the polls are projected.

Fiscal Repubilicans are always worth arguing with much more than Conservative Republicans. In theory, many of the fiscal Republican tenets make sense; they simply do not work in reality. Trickle-down wealth, lack of regulation, free market, etc. They sound good. They just don’t work. The problem with Conservative Republicans, however, is that they are one issue voters. Abortion in particular. For example, last week Ben Stein was on Larry King sternly criticizing the manner with which Republicans have handled this economy and are handling this specific economic crisis. After Robert Reich suggested he support Obama for just those reasons, Stein said, “No, it would not solve my problem with right to life, I’m afraid.”

One issue voters, mainly evangelicals, are the worst. They are uninformed and do what they’re told regardless of the consequences. There is no depth to their thought process and their leaders are unethical and unaccountable. I will not shy from an argument with these yahoos, but I also do not expect any positive result from these conversations. Most of the time, I have to present the flaws in christianity first because it is christianity that serves as the foundation for these people’s close-mindedness.

In general, if the Republican is cool and doesn’t take a quality discussion on the issues personally – you have the green light. If you’re like me and have no problem discussing politics with any schmo – even the racist ones – have at it! Enjoy it and remember that the discussion is what is important, not dominating, not winning or convincing. Simply having the discussion is productive. Especially if it’s over a good beer. I would avoid getting loud and redfaced – which can be hard after a few libations – but some of my best friends are knowledgable, fun Republicans and I wouldn’t have them any other way.

17
Sep
08

Are You Scared, Democrats? You Should Be.

Not because I think we’re going to lose, but because fear is such a good motivator. Which is why the Repubs use it so frequently to win elections.

This crazy Palin bubble is pretty much mid-burst and the wall street avalanche is sending the polls back towards Obama. It’s still close, however, and it will be up to the elections. I haven’t stopped thinking Obama will win – especially because all the polls are so jacked up whether it’s due to the fact that their samples do not actually represent registered, likely voters or that the media focuses on national polls instead of swing states and swing counties.

The ability of the Repubs to steal the election through voter caging, like they’re doing up in Michigan right now, push polling, lying, etc., however, does scare me.

Democrats and lefty-leaning Independents need to be scared. This will motivate them to ensure their registration is valid, wait in those long lines at the nursing home to vote, and throw out the erroneous notion that politics is not part of polite conversation. We’re so motivated in this house, we’re going to throw a tail-gating party outside our local elementary school where the booths are set up and enjoy libations into the early morning hours of November 5 as the results finish rolling in. A few people in our little rag-tag FreeThinkers group are taking November 6 off so we can ring the future just right.

Confidence is fine – and a bit necessary keeping the blood pressure down while watching videos of McCAin telling the ladies at The View that Palin did not accept earmarks and there are no lies in their ads. But, we have to keep in mind that the McShithead IS a good debater. Americans are not informed and vote largely based on little more than aesthetics. Racism is alive and well in the good ol’ U.S. of A. And nothing less than the Supreme Court and our civil liberties, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and death of McLying-Shithead, leaving Palin free to appoint her pastor as foreign secretary are at stake.

This recent jump in the polls by team McDementia should serve as a warning to us all. This is not your typical election. This is the apocolypse of political elections. This is Platoon and we are Charlie Sheen. Yes, Charlie Sheen.

Be scared, be very scared. And then vote your asses off.

15
Sep
08

Common-Sense Regulation is a Good Policy

Republican philosophies colliding with reality: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and, now, Lehman Brothers.

You hear it all the time from fiscal conservatives: limited government, free market, no corporate regulation. It sounds good. Hey, if these policies actually worked, I’d be all for them. Why would anyone want an unnecessarily large government? They wouldn’t. So, it’s time to acknowledge that Republican policies, when put into practice, do not materialize in a healthy economy. Today is Black Monday, but there will be many more black days to follow because of the George W. Bush economic policies (which McDumbass will continue).

The Nation, a leftie publication, offers a brief, but good synopsis of the evolution that lead to our current economic shitstorm. It’s an informative read, even if you hate italics:

The housing bubble was the result of the Ponzi-scheme antics of those other financial entities: commercial banks, stockbrokers and hedge funds, which were allowed in a GOP-deregulated market to get into the “swap” business. Through the rampant reselling of loans, the obligation to collect on a loan was divorced from the act of selling it in the first place, so who cared if the recipient of the loan was not at all qualified or the appraisal of the property value was inflated, as long as the paper was traded away, or insured, before the moment of foreclosure?

As with any Ponzi scheme, the perps, who included the legislators as well as the bankers who exploited the loopholes they provided, expected to bail long before the bubble burst. The role of the legislators, Republican-led but with far too many Democratic running dogs, was critical to the success of the scam.

The mortgage swaps distancing the originator of the loan from the ultimate collector were made legal only as a result of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which former Senator Phil Gramm, R-Texas, pushed through Congress just hours before the 2000 Christmas recess. Gramm, until recently co-chair of the McCain campaign, also had co-authored the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which became law in 1999 with President Bill Clinton’s signature. That gem, which Gramm had pushed for years with massive financial industry lobbying, destroyed the Depression-era barrier to the merger of stockbrokers, banks and insurance companies. Those two acts effectively ended significant regulation of the financial community, and no wonder we have witnessed an even more rapid and severe meltdown in housing values than during the Great Depression.

Not surprisingly, Gramm was rewarded for his service upon retirement as a senator and as head of the Senate Banking Committee with a top position at the Swiss-based UBS bank, which is close to drowning in the subprime mortgage nightmare he helped create. These folks have no shame, as was evidenced when the senator’s wife, Wendy, was named a director of Enron, whose roiling of the energy market had been made possible only through yet another provision of Gramm’s Commodity Futures Modernization Act.

Appropriate regulation is key to a healthy business sector that benefits the entire country, not just just the peeps running the show. Even the Democrats won’t tell you that because they are in big-business pockets as well and uninformed Americans have been duped into thinking that regulation inhibits growth. Not so, as proven by the fact that our economy grows more per capita under Democratic presidents.

Republican candidates and fiscal conservatives repeat the myth of trickle-down economics and oppose regulation, increasing the minimum wage and essentially “looking out for the little guy.” What they don’t share is that unregulated corporations collude, allow greed to motivate business decisions, lack transparency and horde wealth at the top, giving CEO’s outragous wages while the same companies’ bottom-level workers cannot even afford health insurance. These policies increase the wealth gap and weaken the middle-class.

Regulation needs to stop being a bad word. Common sense regulation protects the U.S. economy and Americans themselves. It is not bad for a corporation to profit. It is bad for a corporation to profit at the expense of employees and consumers.

04
Sep
08

Reaction to Night 3 of the Repub Convention

So much to say! This is a long blog, so I bolded the main topics of each paragraph in case you just want to scan quickly.

It all kicked off well-enough with NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell having to give an update during the CONVOCATION. She was smack in the middle of the Alaska delegation and the people right behind her kept shooting her dirty looks over her shoulder. It was a hoot!

The main theme of the night was that the Republican ticket is offering Washington Outsiders to “shake things up!” Now, if I remember correctly – and I do – George Walker Bush ran as an outsider in 2000. The Republican “outsider” claim is nothing new, nothing original and their record of “outsiders” wrecked this country, but the people in those seats lapped it up like it was mother’s milk.

Meg Whitman

The first speaker I watched was Meg Whitman, former CEO of Ebay, and she was pretty good. We’ll have to expect more from her as a major contender for the California governorship. One of her lines that didn’t pass the smell test was that the Republicans are going to lower taxes on businesses. I have no doubt that they will – my objection lies in the fact that the Government Accountability Office released a report August 12 that said that two-thirds of U.S. Corporations paid NO federal taxes from 1998 to 2005.

See, Meg is talking about this Republican myth of trickle-down wealth. If you give all the rich people and big corporations tax breaks and cuts and benefits and loopholes and subsidies, they’ll create jobs and spread the wealth. They won’t horde it and use their power to keep minimum wage low or prey on those habitating the lower economic echelons. Well, we’ve had one of these trickle-down Republicans in office for eight years now and what has happened? The wealth gap has grown. The Developed-nation benefits like wages that rise with inflation, housing prices, health care and necessary prescription drugs are beyond a large percentage of Americans’ means. In my humble opinion, they can take their trickle-down bullshit and shove it.

Carly Fiorina then spoke and kept chanting, “I know John McCain,” in a way that made me think, “Eeeewww.”

Mitt Romney

Romney lit into a stream of hypocrisy (no surprise considering the 180 he did from when he was running as governor in Mass. to when he ran as pres.) about the east coast elites.” That probably made everyone in the audience do a double-take. He’s banking on Americans having short memories (and McCain losing so he can run in 2012). Then he spoke about how offering Guantanamo detainees Constitutional rights and siding with teachers’ unions was “liberal.” Isn’t it funny when doing the right, moral, ethical thing is LIBERAL? The Right have really sold their souls to Beelzebub. Maybe Romney can be his VP.

Mitt Romney almost made me vomit when he said, “Let’s keep Al Gore’s private jet on the ground.” And, what? Romney flies commercial? Yeah, and I don’t have dirty mouth. Whatever.

Rudy Giuliani

Now, Giuliani tried to appeal to those voters who still feel torn. Who are these people?? We have two extremely different candidates and I just want to meet one of these swing voters and ask what it takes to put them over the edge.. I also want to meet these people the media keeps saying “are just tuning in.” WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? I really want to know. Anyway…

Attacking the media was a large chunk of Giuliani’s speech, which is a typical tactic of the Right when they can’t win on actual campaign and election issues. The media attacks play well on talk radio and in the netherworlds in which the likes of Ann Coulter dwells. Doesn’t win elections.

But the screen behind Giuliani that was playing slide shows for the audience in the center kept changing colors and during the close-ups, it started to make me feel like I was on a bad acid trip. He laughed at Obama’s credential as a “community organizer” which stunned me a little bit (but prepped me for Palin’s speech) but urban voters aren’t Repubs anyway. All the rich Repubs just guffawed, as you’d expect.

He did have a pretty good zinger about Obama voting 100 (out of over 4,000 votes) “present” while an Illinois state senator. The line went something like: I didn’t know about this vote “present.” You don’t get that vote when you’re mayor. He delivered it flawlessly.

Then came one of the best moments of the night when I saw some guy sporting a shirt that said: More Cowbell, Less Obama. If you’re any kind of “Saturday Night Live” or Will Farrell fan, that’s some funny shite. However, Cindy McCain was sporting some god-awful green shower curtain as a dress. Whoever is her stylist needs to be waterboarded!

Sarah Palin

Now, Sarah Palin was somethin’ else. I give it to her, I really do. If this race was to be decided on speech delivery, she’d take the whole cake, hands down. She made Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina and Joe Lieberman look like wilting flowers. Biden himself couldn’t hold a candle to her. If they don’t win the election and the Repubs make her a scapegoat (which I don’t think they will and, if they do, the Religious Right will protect her) she could easily make a living as comedian. It took her a second to get her timing in relation to crowd cheers down, but once that was set she was off and running. She couldn’t have done a better job. If I wasn’t an informed voter and thinker, I’d say, Sign me Up! I’m buying what you’re selling!

Now let’s talk about what she actually SAID. While there was no policy in her speech, she did open with the fact that a special-needs child provokes special love and special-needs parents will have an advocate in the White House. I just wonder how she will advocate for them. She’s against stem-cell research. Her policy stances will make it harder for special-needs parents to find insurance and funding for their child. She wouldn’t advocate raising the minimum wage and the vast majority of special-needs parents are not well-off. LOTS of questions there for those special-needs parents she’s courting.

She also said that when they get into office, they want to “leave this world (or country or something) better than when they found it.” Which is really funny because the Repubs do not allot any subsidies for alternative energy developers the way they do for oil & gas and coal companies. Their policies are not green. They fight relentlessly to keep many animals off the endangered-species list. Their polices lead innumerable middle-class families to fall below the poverty line. So, how, in what way would they leave this country better? Especially because their predecessor Bush is leaving not only this country, but the world much, much worse than how he found it. So, that line really made my bullshit detector go off, as it did when she spoke about integrity and good convictions. Apparently, she hasn’t been paying attention the last eight years.

Sarcasm, Condescension

Sure, the speech was sarcastic and condescending and smug and petty and divisive with no mention of policy promises or real issues. But it was a damn good speech. She came out swinging and landed plenty of well-placed blows; she eclipsed Biden – who is the king of sarcasm. And I love sarcasm – I think it’s a wonderful tool to make a point – it’s the language I speak. Sure, my reaction to her community organizer put downs was “Back the fuck up, bitch!” But otherwise, I thought the speech and her delivery were stellar.

The problem is that she could run into the Ann Richards Factor. Remember the whole “Poor George. It’s not his fault. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth” line. As a Texan, I have it tatooed on my hippocampus. But Ann Richards lost. Sarcasm without substance is short-lived and the debates are coming up. So, good job Sarah – when you’re coming down off this high remember to learn how your ticket actually stands on the issues. Because, as any reasonable person knows (aside from Rick Davis), this election is about the issues.

Old Man McCain

Did you see when McCain came out after Palin’s speech and her whole family was on stage and he said, “Don’t you think we made the right choice?!” meaning Palin and he had to actually turn 360 degrees because he forgot on which of his sides she was standing? That was friggin’ hysterical. We rewound it and watched it a few times.

Also, when McCain was standing with the Palin family, he hugged Sarah once or twice but he only really talked to her husband. You can tell he’s not that comfortable with Sarah – perhaps women in general – and relates to her husband more. Very telling. And now he has a VP that outshines him and makes him look like a doddering old fool. Good luck reading that teleprompter tonight!

Overall

They milked McCain’s POW experience for all it was worth again last night, but the main theme was borrowed from every Republican convention in recent memory. The Repubs are the party of outsiders and they’re going to go in and shake up Washington. Now the ridonkulousness of this is obvious. The Repubs control the White House and have controlled the White House 20 of the last 28 years. The Republicans controlled congress from 1994 to 2006 and rubber-stamped Bush’s destruction of this country. This “do-nothing” Democratic congress has only done “nothing” because the Republicans have launched an all-out assault on the legislative process, led by Tom Coburn, by obstructing any effort by the Democrats to accomplish anything. Because if the Republicans aren’t in charge, ruining everything – they’re going to at least make sure the Democrats can’t fix things.

So, the “Republicans are outsiders” argument is crap and everyone knows it. Why are most congresspeople under investigation or in prison Republicans?! And, let me say that after all this time, if you can’t figure that out – you deserve a world where McCain and Palin lead the executive branch. I just kept looking at that small sea of Republicans and thought, you gave us George W. Bush, you delivered the most freedom-limiting, corrupt administration in history and you think you deserve to win this election? You have brought this country to its knees and you still think you have the best candidate when he agrees with everything Bush has done, yet acknowledges we are worse off than we were four years ago? It’s like the Republicans are just one big club of crack smokers!

While the Republicans kept using the same old, false lie “Democrats just want to tax you and control you” over and over again, they forgot to mention that Obama’s economic policy lowers taxes for over 85 percent of Americans. The Repubs want to wage wars, lower taxes for the rich, and cede power to the corporations. That’s the one word they kept forgetting to mention: Corporatocracy. They wail about Democrats wanting to tell people what to do (while saying You Can’t Have an Abortion, You Can’t Get Married, I’m Going to Tap Your Conversations Without a Warrant, You Can’t Do Embryonic Stem Cell Research), they forgot to say how they’ll trade our right to privacy for corporate donations, they’ll help corporations collude and create monopolies and continue to rape the American people through their nontransparent predatory practices.

The Religious Right wants to run our lives and cage us and bring the Constitution in line with the Bible – yet claim it’s the Democrats that want to tell Americans what to do. Empty rhetoric that clearly has no bearing on reality. It makes me ill.

And, lastly (promise), the Religious Right Wing Republican Cult was in tip-top form for Sarah, with many state delegations even wearing the same outfit. It was cute. It reminded me of North Korea – you know, those big music programs with 100,000 dancers and gymnasts perfectly in step. Republicans fall in line. They do what they’re told. Their church leaders say: look the other way while I molest your children and spend your hard-earned money extravagantly. Go vote Republican, so I can continue to illegally receive tax breaks while endorsing candidates and supporting political parties. Go change government so I can control the rest of the country like I do you. Go out and spread the abomination that is this religion.

I tell you what, Sarah Palin heralded the re-introduction of the Culture Wars and made it clear that the Republican Party is no longer just about Lower Taxes and the Entrepreneurial spirit (false). They’re about theocracy and control and unConstitutional endeavors. Democrats, Independents, freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and everybody else better start paying attention. We could lose the Supreme Court. You think Eminent Domain is bad? Just wait. The new Gestapo will make George Bush look like a freedom-fighter.

If you appreciate your civil liberties and the Bill of Rights – you had better start actively protecting them because we have a strong ticket that wants to take them all away. And they will if we give them an inch. And I’m not being sarcastic.

click here to read a good blog by jane smiley on huffpo

gloria steinem reacts to palin’s speech

Huffpo: …an Obama aide told the Huffington Post that the campaign has raised $8 million since her (Sarah Palin’s) speech last night “from over 130,000 donors – on pace to hit $10 million by the time John McCain hits the stage tonight…McCain campaign says it has raised $1 million.

11
Jul
08

Did Obama Just Lose My Vote?

This is serious. I’ve been saying for quite a while that Obama has not yet earned my vote and I am quite happy voting for Nader to help strengthen efforts toward a multi-party system. However, I voted for Obama in the primary here in Texas and was excited to vote for the first viable African-American candidate in the U.S.

Also, this is the most important election in years, if for no other reason than the necessity to populate the Supreme Court with judges who will protect civil liberties unlike those Bush has appointed or McCain would appoint.

While I have continuously lambasted the lack of character Hillary Clinton and her husband have shown during the primary season, I would not say I have been sipping “Obama Kool-Aid.” I understand that his “Change We Can Believe In” slogan is only as effective as his ability – to put it simply – to get things done. And politicians have to work together to accomplish progress. (Unless you’re President Bush, in which case you use the 9/11 attacks and existence of terrorism to scare Americans and politicians alike into marching behind your efforts to make the U.S. more of an authoritarian regime than ever before. Ugh, the thought makes it difficult to keep my coffee and chocolate granola cereal down.)

Obama is a politician first. With a degree in Government, I never lose sight of this. While Democrats fall in love (and Republicans fall in line) we must not forget that politicians must operate within the existing confines of the Washington Dance. This will inevitably lead to widespread disapointment with Obama, when he’s president, because he simply cannot please everyone and will have to compromise in order to accomplish certain goals. A president must make decisions when no option is the right one. It’s a hard gig – the hardest one in the world; I thoroughly recognize this.

However, much of my free time this week has been spent trolling the internet for a reasonable justification for Obama’s approval of the new FISA Act of 2008. Of course, I already have my fair share of underlying bitterness because the Democrats have performed disgracefully since taking control of the Congress. They are inexplicably banner ankle-grabbers again and again despite Bush’s record disapproval ratings. Yes, they do not want to seem weak on national security, but they are greatly underestimating the American people’s desire to have their civil liberties protected in this era of heightened danger.

Congressional members have far more concern with the length of their federal careers than casting the appropriate vote – rendering them impotent in the areas of war profiteering (Diane Feinstein’s husband is a defense contractor and why she still enjoys support in California, I have no idea. BTW, she vote AYE on FISA as well), criminal activity at the executive level (erasing emails, Karl Rove and Harriet Miers refusing to testify, Valerie Plame, fixing EPA reports and much, much more), reforming health care and national energy policy, policing unfair lending practices and allowing the establishment of a credit industry that works against the American people, not for them. It inexplicable that Congress has utterly failed to inhibit Bush’s harmful activities when the majority of Americans do not favor his policies in the slightest. It is frustrating and goddamned ridiculous.

So, Obama is Change personified, right?

Apparently, not so. Yes, I have read his blog on The Huffington Post regarding his FISA vote, which proffered no substantial logic for his approval of the bill. A few gems from the piece are:

Given the choice between voting for an improved yet imperfect bill, and losing important surveillance tools, I’ve chosen to support the current compromise. I do so with the firm intention — once I’m sworn in as president — to have my Attorney General conduct a comprehensive review of all our surveillance programs, and to make further recommendations on any steps needed to preserve civil liberties and to prevent executive branch abuse in the future.

Democracy cannot exist without strong differences. And going forward, some of you may decide that my FISA position is a deal breaker. That’s ok. But I think it is worth pointing out that our agreement on the vast majority of issues that matter outweighs the differences we may have.

The problem with our agreement on the vast majority of issues is that his vote on the FISA bill illustrates his inherent weakness and willingness to compromise when no comprise is needed simply to prove (which he fails to do with this vote) that he is strong on national security. This “aye” was unnecessary, dangerous, wrong, hurtful and potentially, yes, a deal breaker. Especially when assessing the guts of the bill, along with those who voted against it. On The Huffpo website, David Bromwich provides a very concise, yet in-depth look at the governmental powers granted with this legislation. I strongly recommend reading the blog and the readers’ comments below.

Among the senators who opposed the vote are Biden, Boxer, Dodd, Clinton, Byrd, Durbin, Feingold, Harkin, Kerry, Leahy, Reid and Levin.

The bottom line is that political agreements with a candidate are moot if the candidate does not have the political strength or fortitude to operate in accordance with that agreement.

Of course, Obama’s folding on FISA was a political calculation – that’s practically consensus. And I wish he could offer an honest defense of his vote; but, alas, this theater of election season would lead any such candor to damage the candidate.

Obama will be elected president barring any unforeseen, intensely damaging and highly unlikely circumstances. Though the media portrays the presidential race as close – it is a facade. McCain’s chances of succeeding in November, in my opinion, are around 1 in 5. Incumbent parties do not win when the economy is in the tank – mentally or not (and it’s not mental, Phil, when milk, bread, cereal, gas and all other necessities are more and more expensive and the dollar is weaker and weaker). McCain is not galvanizing and voter trust of most election issues points toward Obama. I wish Obama the best and will be hopeful as he takes his oath of office.

Furthermore, I applaud Obama’s willingness to work across the aisle and understand there will be areas in which he will break with Liberals. Support of faith-based community initiatives, for one (and this coming from an agnostic).

The FISA Act, however, is so detrimental to democracy itself, my respect for not just Obama himself, but the very idea of Obama has been irreparably damaged. I would encourage hardcore Obama supporters to keep this particular vote of his in mind when daydreaming of the days to come as he takes on the heavy mantle of President of the United States of America. Perfection at this level does not exist and any romance with a candidate will certainly abate over time.

I would never cast a vote for McFlip-Flop, nor would I ever stay home and waste a voting opportunity. Also, I am a thorough, complete supporter of a multi-party system. While I wanted to vote for Obama – and was excited to vote for him – my decision was not cast in stone. It still is not cemented. However, the odds I would pull the lever in support of him this November are greatly diminished. Truthfully, I am ever more looking in Nader’s direction.

If Obama’s political contributions continue to decline, I encourage him to address his FISA ’08 support with increased seriousness. This is no small issue for those of us who follow politics and government activity.

This weekend, I plan on purchasing Obama’s two books and will begin reading them with a large grain of salt. Perhaps this will allow me some insight behind this recent mind-boggling decision of his.

As of this point, Obama is not Hope and he is not Change We Can Believe In. He is merely Better Than Bush, but isn’t everybody else?




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