Republicans Continue to Fall Back In It

 Congress, Economy, Featured, Politics, Presidency  Comments Off on Republicans Continue to Fall Back In It
Feb 052009

photo21_elephant.jpgAs in “Shit and fall back in it.” The Republican plans were completely repudiated in the last election, they are scrambling to try to dress up the brand, and their only solution is to try and obstruct an economic recovery. It seems they went off to their big annual meeting, and applauded each other because every one of the Republicans in Congress voted No on the economic stimulus package.

Obama had given in way more than he should have, and that concerns me. On the other hand, it allows Democrats, if the plan works, to call out the Republicans on it. I suspect that, despite their public show, many of them are sweating behind the scenes. Probably, like Rush Limbaugh, hoping upon hope that Obama will fail.

What a great spokesperson and leader of the Republican Guard Rush is. His answer to current economic situation…let’s hope Obama fails (so we can fall into a depression of unheard of proportions), so we can try to get our majority back in government. What is unfortunate, a lot of people continue to believe the drivel.

The Republicans, claiming the only solution is to cut taxes, have come out with their own proposal, and guess what, Greg Sargent’s, The Plum Line Blog, is reporting that it’s been determined the Republican proposal will actually raise taxes on a number of people.

In 2008, 4.2 million Americans had to pay the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). The Republican proposal would lower marginal tax rates for individuals, but would not reduce AMT rates. Current law requires you to pay the greater of the two rates, so many of those receiving this lower marginal rate would now be held liable for the AMT.

So they’re off to a great start.

Now they’re moaning because of language in the bill that prohibits use of the stimulus funds from being used for religious purposes. According to an article in

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) told the Christian Broadcasting Network, “Democrats are looking for every opportunity to purge faith and prayer from the public square. This will empower the ACLU with ambiguous laws that create liability for schools, universities, and student organizations. This is an attack on people of faith and I don’t think Americans will stand for it.” His spokesman, Wesley Denton, went even further, saying, “[A]ny school that gets funds to upgrade a student center or building where Bible studies or religious meetings may be held will be slapped with a lawsuit. This bill declares a war on prayer at college campuses in this country.”

In the Senate version, the language that has DeMint’s panties all in a wad is:

No funds awarded under this section may be used for… modernization, renovation, or repair of facilities (i) used for sectarian instruction, religious worship, or a school or department of divinity; or (ii) in which a substantial portion of the functions of the facilities are subsumed in a religious mission.

Turns out that this sort of language is actually absolutely standard, as has been point out to Faux News. The language doesn’t prohibit funds from going to religious schools; it just means they can’t use it on any of their facilities that are use primarily for religious purposes. Nor would it mean that public schools would have to keep things like Bible studies out of any buildings renovated with stimulus funding. This isn’t some secret, either — it’s legal principle dating back decades.

So, when your job vanishes, thank the Republicans for having no plan except to stall anything the Democrats want to do. Obama bares some responsibility too. He played this stupid “bipartianship game” and allowed the GOP to take control of the message.

Dec 292008

Inauguration of President-Elect Obama For those of you living under a rock, President Elect Obama has invited Rick Warren, from the Saddleback Mega-Church, to deliver the invocation at Obama’s inauguration. Gay rights and other activists groups have strenuously objected, and Obama and his aides have made any number of statements defending the choice with the tired old line of how the Obama campaign has always been about “uniting people” and showing how “we can disagree without being disagreeable,” and blah, blah, blah. (That’s the part of the message Rick Warren needs to get, not his critics.)

Warren’s supporters are up in arms claiming that it’s “the gays” who are being intolerant and showing hatred. Even some politically naive gay activists keep saying to let it go, and keep our powder dry for the important issues. Of course, these would be the same activists who led the strategy that cost gay people their rights in ballot issue after ballot issue over the past several years.

So let me be clear in my response. In the case of claims by the Warren supporters (including you Obama), they are correct. I am being intolerant and am applying the standard applied by Warren and his supporters to love the sinner and hate the sin. I believe that the sin of hate and bigotry, most especially when used for monetary gain, should never ever be tolerated. I guess that fits the definition of intolerance, so I am guilty as charged.

Jesus gave us the two most important commandments, and one was to love your neighbor as yourself. Rick Warren has not done that, and has worked aggressively to deny equal rights to gay people, and been dishonest in how he’s gone about it. Warren has compared homosexuality to incests and beastiality to be sure to arouse the gay sex “ick” factor. He has lied about the tradition of marriage in a video he taped in support of California’s Prop 8. Warren said, “We should not let 2 percent of the population determine to change a definition of marriage” — that definition being one man and one woman for life, of course, as he states moments earlier in the video — “that has been supported by every single culture and every single religion for 5,000 years.”

Of course, none of that is true. The fact is that different cultures have supported different definitions of marriage which have included polygamy (see Mormons for the most recent example of this one), marriages involving children, forced/arranged marriages (still practiced widely today), and marriages for dowry. To even hint that Warren’s definition of the “Ozzie and Harriet” norm to which is referring has obtained, only and everwhere, for five millenia is a bold-faced lie, and Warren knows it to be a lie.

Sure, Warren invited Obama to visit his church, but even then he was less than honest. Warren spent an inordinate amount of time on the social hot buttons of abortion and gay rights instead of the promised attendtion on poverty and social justice. Oh, and let’s not forget he promised that McCain would not hear the questions in advance. We now know that too was a lie.

The day after Obama’s appearance, Warren compared abortion to the Holocaust when he said to Beliefnet that an antiabortion voter backing a pro-choice candidate would be like a Holocaust survivor voting for a Holocaust denier. Continue reading »

Nov 102008

Last Tuesday night/Wednesday morning was certainly a bittersweet time. As I’ve said before, I’m not one of the millions of Obama-maniacs, but I was glad he won. I think America will soon be in far better hands than she is now. I was even more pleased to see a good number of hateful and bigoted Republicans kicked to curb, and their nasty campaign rhetoric repudiated. Obviously though, the passage of the three anti-marriage amendments was a great disappointment.

Obama's First Press Conference as President ElectThe Big Picture

Obama was clearly the winner, and it seems he did it with a tightly run and disciplined campaign. One of the heartening parts of his campaign was that it was funded to a record-breaking level by millions of smaller donations from everyday people. They relied on thousands of volunteers, and brought an untold number of new and younger people into the political system. And I don’t mean just newly registered voters, but more important, people who made an investment of themselves into the campaign. I think that is critical in trying to restore democracy to this country. However, it means those millions have a vested interest in his success. That cuts both ways. It means he should get support, but people will expect results.

Certainly both sides ran attack ads. That is to be expected, but I found Obama’s to be a lot fewer and a lot less nasty. The McCain just went out of their way to be disrespectful to Obama, and hateful in the messages they were putting out. I saw nothing but negative ads from the McCain campaign. At various times throughout the campaign, especially from the end of September during the economic collapse and through the election, McCain gave off a very real attitude of panic and foundering. It was clear that he and his campaign were struggling to find a voice. Obama seemed to remain calm, decisive and above it all…in short, he came off as more Presidential, and I think the voters perceived that.

What Was Different

I believe there was also something of a perfect storm of events and changes in the world that made this election different. Many of these were things the Republicans could not, or didn’t, account for. In the end, I think they make our democracy stronger.  Continue reading »

Social Security and The Economy

 Election, Politics  Comments Off on Social Security and The Economy
Sep 192008

I seem to recall that George Bush was all in favor of privatizing Social Security and having us all put all of our retirement funds in the stock market. I have a 401K at work. Unfortunately the company doesn’t contribute to it, but that’s not what this post is about. I checked yesterday, and my annual rate of return on it so far this year is -24%. (Yes, that’s a minus…negative in front of it.) So where would people be who depend solely on Social Security if their accounts had suddenly taken a 24% hit.

Mr. Reformer, John McCain, voted three times with Bush to privatize Social Security, and has repeatedly stated he supports privatization. I’m glad to see the Obama Campaign calling him out on it.