Thursday, April 30, 2009

GOP just doesn't get it.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. "
~Ben Franklin: February 17, 1775, as published in Memoirs of the life and writings of Benjamin Franklin (1818).

An earlier variant by Franklin in Poor Richard's Almanack (1738): "Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power."

According to this story, the GOP is not going to be reinventing itself. It is returning to an issue that is still closely tied to George W. Bush, the President with the lowest ratings in a century.

"House Republican leader
John Boehner released a lengthy Web video Thursday suggesting Democrats are not keeping Americans safe...The campaign-style video, created by a Boehner aide in his Capitol office, begins with the question, "What are Democrats doing to keep America safe?"
Then, with ominous music in the background, it splices sound bites from news reports and Republicans talking about the dangers of President Obama's decision to close Guantanamo Bay and to release Bush-era memos about harsh interrogation techniques.
The video's climax races through images of Obama hugging the Saudi king, shaking hands with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and ends with an image of the Pentagon burning on September 11, 2001, followed by a final question: "Do you feel safer?"

"Is it any wonder that voters and senators alike are running away in droves from the Republican Party? Looks like they have taken a page from the discredited Rove/Bush/Cheney playbook. This ad is nothing more than a pathetic attempt to play up the politics of fear and smear," said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's spokeswoman, Katie Grant, said, "Republicans are once again resorting to fear tactics because they have no new ideas or constructive policies to offer. The American people have already rejected their politics of fear, and this will be no different."

A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll earlier in April suggested Americans do not agree with Republicans that Obama is making them less safe.
When asked whether the president's actions increased chances of a terrorist attack in the United States, 26 percent said yes and 72 percent said no."

I'm sorry, Republican party, but I have to agree with the poll. This is not what you need to be doing to make a "comeback." There are many, many issues you could face off with Obama and the Democrats and win a majority of opinion again. This isn't one of them.

Using 9/11 images to gain power is despicable. You've used it to fear-monger us for eight years and I'm sick of it-as is most of the US. Get it together. Really. WWRD. What would Reagan do? I doubt he'd have a part of this.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

George W. Bush, Nixon, whatever.

Thanks to Truthdig for this one.

It seems we are living out history repeated. In my last post, I discussed the parallels between President FDR violating the US Constitution after Pearl Harbor, finding many, many parallels to President George W. Bush's Constitutional Violations.

Here's another parallel: Richard Nixon's Watergate and George W. Bush's Waterboarding.

From the Truthdig article (link above): "While the Watergate scandal was unfolding, widespread evidence was mounting of illegal government activity, including domestic spying and the infiltration and disruption of legal political groups, mostly anti-war groups, in a broad-based, secret government crackdown on dissent. In response, the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations With Respect to Intelligence Activities was formed. It came to be known as the Church Committee, named after its chairman, Idaho Democratic Sen. Frank Church. The Church Committee documented and exposed extraordinary activities on the CIA and FBI, such as CIA efforts to assassinate foreign leaders, and the FBI’s COINTELPRO (counterintelligence) program, which extensively spied on prominent leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

It is not only the practices that are similar, but the people. Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr., general counsel to the Church Committee, noted two people who were active in the Ford White House and attempted to block the committee’s work: “Rumsfeld and then [Dick] Cheney were people who felt that nothing should be known about these secret operations, and there should be as much disruption as possible.”

From wikipedia's watergate entry:

When Nixon's tapes regarding these activities were subpoenaed, Nixon refused, citing the principle of executive privilege, and ordered Cox, via Attorney General Richardson, to drop his subpoena. When Cox wouldn't, he had him fired.

While Nixon continued to refuse to turn over actual tapes, he did agree to release edited transcripts of a large number of them; Nixon cited the fact that any audio pertinent to national security information could be redacted from the released tapes.

The tapes largely confirmed Dean's account and caused further embarrassment when a crucial, 18½ minute portion of one tape, which had never been out of White House custody, was found to have been erased. The White House blamed this on Nixon's secretary, Rose Mary Woods, who said she had accidentally erased the tape by pushing the wrong foot pedal on her tape player while answering the phone. However, as photos splashed all over the press showed, it was unlikely for Woods to answer the phone and keep her foot on the pedal. Later forensic analysis determined that the gap had been erased in several segments — at least five, and perhaps as many as nine[19]—refuting the "accidental erasure" explanation.

During the investigation of the abuses at Guantanamo and the "enhanced interrogation"(Truthdig):

Amrit Singh, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the Pentagon’s photos “provide visual proof that prisoner abuse by U.S. personnel was not aberrational but widespread, reaching far beyond the walls of Abu Ghraib. Their disclosure is critical for helping the public understand the scope and scale of prisoner abuse as well as for holding senior officials accountable for authorizing or permitting such abuse.” The ACLU also won a ruling to obtain documents relating to the CIA’s destruction of 92 videotapes of harsh interrogations. The tapes are gone, supposedly, but notes about the content of the tapes remain, and a federal judge has ordered their release.

Seems like Justice needs to be dealt, once again, to a President from the Republican Party.

Also, anyone saying that releasing these memos and photos "harms" the nation: when watergate came out, did the US get "harmed" from the truth coming out?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

1942 = 2003

In 1942, on February 19th, Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which declared that all people of Japanese ancestry were excluded from the entire Pacific coast, including all of California and most of Oregon and Washington, except for those in internment camps. Over 110,000 Japanese immigrants and their US Citizen children were put in housing facilities called "War Relocation Camps" in response to Japan attacking the US at Pearl Harbor. 62% were American Citizens.

Presidential Proclamations 2525, 2526 and 2527 were issued designating Japanese, German and Italian nationals as enemy aliens.

In 1944, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the exclusion orders.

FBI director J. Edgar Hoover opposed the internment of Japanese Americans. Refuting General DeWitt's reports of disloyalty on the part of Japanese Americans, Hoover sent a memo to Attorney General Francis Biddle in which he wrote about Japanese American disloyalty, "Every complaint in this regard has been investigated, but in no case has any information been obtained which would substantiate the allegation."

Ignoring this, Roosevelt used "military necessity" as justification, because of the threat that Japanese spies could be present and no one would know because they could blend in with those of Japanese descent.

Those in support of this policy argued that nothing like Pearl Harbor happened again. The Japanese were not able to attack any US targets afterwards, and thus these policies "kept America safe" from the Japanese threat.

Years later, in 1988, Ronald Reagan signed legislation which apologized for the internment on behalf of the U.S. government. The legislation stated that government actions were based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership."

In 2003, President George W. Bush, with the help of legal memorandum drafted by John Yoo and Jay S. Bybee, assistant attorney general and legal counsel to George W. Bush, authorized the use of waterboarding on terrorism suspects and "enemy combatants." Other memos authorized the President to disregard much of the US Constitution and its amendments in his "war on terror" after terrorists attacked New York City and blew up the World Trade Center. These memos even authorized the suspension of civil liberties, including warrants, search and seizure, wiretaps, free speech, habeas corpus, the right to a trial, cruel and unusual punishment, and others, for US Citizens if suspected of terrorism.

On November 13, 2001, President Bush issued a Presidential Military Order: "Detention, Treatment, and Trial of Certain Non-Citizens in the War Against Terrorism."

In 2006, Congress upheld that the President could deny habeas corpus to those held as suspects of terrorism, under the Military Commissions Act.

In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled in Boumediene v. Bush, that the Military Commissions Act could not remove the right for Guantanamo captives to access the US Federal Court system.

Supporters of Bush, the John Yoo/Bybee memos, and the policy of waterboarding, argue that military necessity is justification enough to violate the human rights of prisoners accused or suspected of terrorism. They argue that nothing like 9/11 has happened since, and that these policies "kept America safe" from the terrorist threat.

In 2009, President Barack Obama signed an executive order shutting down Guantanamo Bay and granting detainees access to the Justice system. Among other words, this was lauded as progress to reverse government policies based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership."

Friday, April 24, 2009

George W. Bush on torture.

"Torture anywhere is an affront to human dignity everywhere... I call on all governments to join with the United States and the community of law-abiding nations in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture."~George W. Bush, June 2003

This goes with the below post.

We impeached Clinton for lying. Huh.

Another reason I'm no longer a Republican.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Waterboarding=Torture. A question.

This is a question for those in favor of waterboarding and/or torture for accused terrorists/enemy combatants/whatever. Specifically BluePitBull, The Red Head, Rivka, and others who have posted here and elsewhere in favor of this. How can you support this? Honestly, I want to know. Especially in light of the evidence below:

1. In 1947 we convicted a Japanese Officer for waterboarding, convicting him of torture in a war crimes tribunal.

2. Congress said its illegal. See the Congressional Ban on Torture.

3. We are a signator of the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which means we agreed to be subject to the explicit prohibition on torture under any condition. This was affirmed by Saadi v. Italy in which the European Court of Human Rights, on February 28, 2008, upheld the absolute nature of the torture ban by ruling that international law permits no exceptions to it.The treaty states "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture".

4. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in February 2008 that local considerations do not negate the absolute torture prohibition under international law.

5. John McCain said waterboarding is torture.

6. Waterboarding did not lead to any new information, nor any plots thwarted. It only confirmed one that had already been thwarted. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and the Library Tower plot was thwarted in 2002. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was captured in Rawalpindi, Pakistan on March 1, 2003. He was waterboarded 183 times and then confessed to the plot that had already been thwarted.

Basically, since 1947 the US and the World agreed that waterboarding was torture and also a war crime. In 2001 through 2008 George W. Bush decided that international law and domestic precedent did not apply to him and had two laywers draw up secret legal loopholes to try and make it legal. And now conservatives are defending him.

In light of all the above, how can we legally, and morally, justify this?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Torture: A Crime that Requires a Verdict

Borrowed from sojourners:

Torture: A Crime that Requires a Verdict

by Jimmy McCarty 04-17-2009

Dear President Obama,
Thank you for making the four memos approving of and describing the torture done to children of God in our name public even though many pleaded for you not to. Thank you for letting me know that my tax dollars were used to torture those carrying God’s image. I have known we made helpless people think they were drowning for a while now, but now I know we kept some awake for almost two weeks straight. Now I know we put collars around the necks of defenseless people and slammed their heads into walls. And now I know we put people in boxes so small they couldn’t move and put insects in those boxes the prisoners thought could seriously injure them with no way of escape.

We cannot know what we need to repent of without knowing what sins we have committed. Thank you for letting me know. Now I pray that we as a nation ask for God’s forgiveness for what we, because of our fear and complacency, allowed to happen in our name and work to ensure it never happens again.

Thank you also for vowing that we will never do this again. As a Christian I know God declares these actions completely sinful. There is no theological or ethical justification for torturing another human being. In doing so we demonstrated that we place our faith not in God, or some abstract notion of justice or liberty, but in violence and power. These foundations will not sustain us. Those who live by the sword die by it, and I am now afraid that we have lived by torture so long that we will also die by torture. We must never torture again, and we must work to make amends for the sins we have already committed.

I am not in complete agreement with what you have said, however. You have said no one will be held accountable for the acts of torture because they were approved by the justice department. While I understand the premise of your reasoning, I think it is wrong.

Perhaps those interrogators who physically administered the acts of torture were following orders, but those who gave them were not. They made a decision to pervert justice. Those in the know have not apologized for their conduct or admitted it was wrong; in fact they have vehemently defended it. What they did was illegal according to multiple international treaties and laws. We have prosecuted people from other nations for doing the exact same things we did. We cannot sweep this under the rug. While it may be deemed unnecessary, or impractical, to prosecute all involved from the top down, someone must be held responsible. Those officials that perverted our previously agreed upon notions of justice must be held responsible.

There must be an independent commission of inquiry into the actions of the Bush administration. Everyone, from former President Bush and former Vice-president Dick Cheney down to the justice department, who made the decisions to approve of torture must be brought before the American public and be held responsible. It is the only way the rest of the world will believe we have discarded these evil methods and know we are no longer a nation that tortures. Not to do so is to be complicit in the cover-up of the ways we have sinned and the perpetuation of that reputation of us throughout the world.

It is a sad day in American history. May God have mercy on us.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Barack Dubya Obama

Same sh*t, different piles.

Okay, so remember how during Obama's campaign he got people like me to vote for him because he criticized George W. Bush's domestic spying surveillance program and said he'd end it?

Well, I do. That's a huge reason I voted for him. I was tired of Bush's trampling over our Constitution and treating us as terrorism suspects.

Remember when Obama's campaign website said that "The Problem" is described in part as the Bush administration having "invoked a legal tool known as the 'state secrets' privilege more than any other previous administration to get cases thrown out of civil court"?

I do.

In February, President Obama's Justice Department quietly argued in a San Francisco court that it was maintaining the same position as President Bush's Justice Department on a case involving detainees trying to sue a private company for its role in their (allegedly) extraordinary renditions.

This time the issue was the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program, and whether courts would be able to assess its constitutionality in a case called Jewel v. NSA, where the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is challenging the NSA surveillance by suing on behalf of AT&T customers whose records may or may not have been caught up in the NSA "dragnet."
Last Friday, while President Obama traversed throughout Europe, his Justice Department sought to have Jewel v. NSA dismissed because "the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction with respect to plaintiffs’ statutory claims against the United States because Congress has not waived sovereign immunity" and "because information necessary to litigate plaintiffs’ claims is properly subject to and excluded from use in this case by the state secrets privilege and related statutory privileges."

Argued the Justice Department: Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair "has once again demonstrated that the disclosure of the information implicated by this case, which concerns how the United States seeks to detect and prevent terrorist attacks, would cause exceptionally grave harm to national security."

"President Obama promised the American people a new era of transparency, accountability, and respect for civil liberties," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "But with the Obama Justice Department continuing the Bush administration's cover-up of the National Security Agency's dragnet surveillance of millions of Americans, and insisting that the much-publicized warrantless wiretapping program is still a 'secret' that cannot be reviewed by the courts, it feels like deja vu all over again."

Exactly. Deja vu. French for WTF Obama? You are alienating those who voted for you. You know, the ones tired of Bush and his policies. But you are continuing them? Wow.

"beyond even the outrageously broad 'state secrets' privilege invented by the Bush administration and now embraced fully by the Obama administration, the Obama DOJ has now invented a brand new claim of government immunity, one which literally asserts that the U.S. Government is free to intercept all of your communications (calls, emails and the like) and -- even if what they're doing is blatantly illegal and they know it's illegal -- you are barred from suing them unless they 'willfully disclose' to the public what they have learned...

"Everything for which Bush critics excoriated the Bush DOJ -- using an absurdly broad rendition of 'state secrets' to block entire lawsuits from proceeding even where they allege radical lawbreaking by the President and inventing new claims of absolute legal immunity -- are now things the Obama DOJ has left no doubt it intends to embrace itself..."

Obama, you are going to lose your base. People like me. The majority of Americans voted for you because we opposed these policies. Do you think we'll vote for you again if you continue them?

Get it together, man.

Monday, April 13, 2009


In honor of Pasadena Closet Conservative.

State Rep. Betty Brown, R-Terrell, told the Texas Legislature that voters of Asian descent should look at changing their names to names easier to pronouce by other Americans.

“Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it’s a rather difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?” Brown said.
Brown later told Ko: “Can’t you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for you and the people who are poll workers if you could adopt a name just for identification purposes that’s easier for Americans to deal with?”

Now, Rep. Brown did not mean this to be mean-spirited. She was trying to give a suggestion on how voters could identify themselves easier at the polls. But this suggestion, while not meaning to be harmful, is ridiculous. Once again, the GOP rears its ignorant head and spouts off without thinking about the ramifications. Many of these Asian-Americans have been here for generations and are just as "American" as State Rep Brown and others with last names like "Jones" or "Smith."

So thank you, GOP, for reminding us once again of your irrelevancy and ignorance.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

We are not a "Christian" Nation

Recently there has been quite the discussion and controversy regarding President Obama's recent speech in Turkey, where he said:

"I’ve said before that one of the great strengths of the United States is – although as I mentioned we have a very large Christian population – we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation, or a Jewish nation, or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values."

This is just reiteration of what he said while running for President:

"Whatever we once were, we're no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers. We should acknowledge this and realize that when we're formulating policies from the state house to the Senate floor to the White House, we've got to work to translate our reasoning into values that are accessible to every one of our citizens, not just members of our own faith community."

Now, many Christians are in an uproar about this, saying "but we are the majority!"

This is like saying "We are a caucasian nation because caucasians are the majority."

Wouldn't make it true. We are a nation that contains caucasians, and african americans, and native americans, and hispanics... Just because a majority is present doesn't make it the definition of the country.

Further, an article at Sojourners own Jim Wallis' blog puts this into perspective. I'll repost an abridged version of the article:

Monday, in his address to the Turkish Parlaiment, President Obama made a statement guaranteed to spark controversy. “America is not a Christian nation.” Like clockwork, conservatives voiced their complaint. Though it is clear that people have vastly different interpretations of what the founding fathers intended for the religiosity of America, from a theological standpoint, we cannot assert that America is a Christian nation.

How much more offended should we have been if President Obama did declare America to be a Christian nation? Would we really want our faith and our savior associated with a country that gave birth to a trashy restaurant that objectifies women {Hooters}, or worse, a country that legalized slavery for 200 years and now has a wide gap between the rich and the poor? No. But at the same time we cannot deny that our country has done many great things under the influence of Christianity, such as the abolition of slavery, the passage of civil rights legislation, and the creation of PEPFAR.
America is not a Christian nation, but there are followers of Christ within the country pushing the government and the nation to do the will of God. The only state, nation, principality, or country that can call itself a Christian “nation” is the kingdom of God fully ushered in by the second coming of Christ.

America is not a Christian nation because no nation is a Christian nation.

Further, from a political standpoint, we aren't a Christian nation either.

Here's what I mean:

Saudi Arabia is a Muslim State. From wikipedia:

The central institution of the Saudi Arabian government is the Saudi monarchy. The Basic Law of Government adopted in 1992 declared that Saudi Arabia is a monarchy ruled by the sons and grandsons of the first king, Abd Al Aziz Al Saud. It also claims that the Qur'an is the constitution of the country, which is governed on the basis of the Sharia (Islamic Law).

In the US, the Constitution is not based on the Bible. If it were, we would have some major problems if we were to go with the prevailing interpretations of the New Testament. Women not able to lead (or speak in church), having to wear head coverings, be required by law to submit to their husbands. Being illegal to swear. I could go on. The point is, we are not a Christian State.

But our Constitution is based on freedom to choose. In fact, from the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

We are not a "Christian" nation. We are a nation that contains Christians, but we also contain Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists, and Deists.


So here's where I show my conservative roots.

I'm Pro-Life.

Yes, that's right, I'm anti-choice. Anti-abortion.

I believe life begins at conception, and should be protected at implantation as much as possible.

Women have a choice. To not have sex. To try something called birth control.

To say, "its not fair that men don't have to carry the baby..." blah blah blah. Its not fair. Its nature. Tough. There's always adoption.

But Pro-Life goes beyond just abortion.

The consistent life ethic, or seamless garment, or even total pro-life standpoint is about supporting life from birth to death.

That's why I'm also against torture and rendition. And unjust wars.

From wikipedia's consistent life ethic entry:

This viewpoint was especially emphasized by Pope John Paul II in his encyclical, 'Evangelicum Vitae' (1995). In it he emphasized the value and inviolability of human life. In the United States, several organizations have promoted the "consistent ethic of life" approach, including both Catholic groups (e.g., the National Conference of Catholic Bishops), and broader coalitions, such as Consistent Life, founded in 1987 as the Seamless Garment Network. The ethic and its organizational expressions are difficult to define in terms of the conventional U.S. political spectrum, since those who subscribe to the ethic are often at odds with both the right wing over capital punishment, war, and economic issues, as well as the left wing over abortion, embryo-destructive research, and euthanasia.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

More of the Constitution trampled upon by Bush's Legacy.

This is taken from a truthdig article. You can read the entire thing here.

Here are the highlights:

U.S. federal agents were preparing to arrest Youssef Megahed in Tampa, Fla. Just three days earlier, on Friday, a jury in a U.S. federal district court had acquitted him of charges of illegally transporting explosives and possession of an explosive device.

Megahed, acquitted by a jury of his peers, thought he was secure, back with his family. He was enrolled in his final course at the University of South Florida that would allow him to receive his college degree. Then the nightmare he had just escaped returned. His father told me: “Yesterday around noon, I took my son to buy something from Wal-Mart ... when we received a call from our lawyer that we must meet him immediately ... when we got to the parking lot, we found ourselves surrounded by more than seven people. They dress in normal clothes without any badges, without any IDs, surrounded us and give me a paper.

“And they told me, ‘Sign this.’ ‘Sign this for what?’ I ask him. They told me, ‘We are going to take your son ... to deport him.’”

Megahed is being held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for a deportation proceeding. The charges are the same ones from which he was completely acquitted. In August 2007, Megahed and a fellow USF student took a road trip to see the Carolinas. When pulled over for speeding, police found something in the trunk that they described as explosives. Megahed’s co-defendant, Ahmed Mohamed, said they were homemade fireworks.

Prosecutors pointed to an online video by Mohamed, said to show how to convert a toy into an explosives detonator. Facing 30 years behind bars, Mohamed took a plea agreement and is now serving 15 years. Megahed pled not guilty, and the federal jury in his trial agreed with his defense: He was an unwitting passenger and completely innocent of any wrongdoing.
That’s where ICE comes in. Despite being cleared of the charges in the federal criminal case, it turns out that people can still be arrested and deported based on the same charges. The U.S. Constitution protects people from “double jeopardy,” being charged twice with the same offense. But in the murky world of immigrant detention, it turns out that double jeopardy is perfectly legal.

Ahmed Bedier, the president of the Tampa Human Rights Council and co-host of “True Talk,” a global-affairs show focusing on Muslims and Muslim Americans on Tampa community radio station WMNF, criticizes the pervasive and persistent attacks on the U.S. Muslim community by the federal government, singling out the Joint Terrorism Task Forces, or JTTFs. The JTTFs, Bedier says, “include not only federal FBI agents, but also postal inspectors, IRS agents, deputized local police officers and sheriff’s deputies, any type of law enforcement,” and when one agency fails to take down an individual, another agency steps in. “It’s like an octopus,” he says.

Wow. I'm floored. This is entirely ridiculous. First the wiretapping and PATRIOT act. Guantanamo Bay. Then the John Yoo Memos. Now this? C'mon!! Wake up, people! This is George W. Bush's legacy. This is the Republicans' legacy. While they whine about the first lady returning the Queen of England's hug, they silently take away all that we hold dear.

Double Jeopardy. Habeas Corpus. Free Speech. Warrants. Due Process. All sacrificed to the "war on terror." We sure won that.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Republican's Budget.

The GOP finally released their full alternative budget proposal yesterday.

If you want to download the entire thing, click here.

I'll admit, some of the budget points make some sense. They talk about ending the bailouts. I can live with that.

They shows graphs showing that both their budget deficits and the national public debt would go way down with this budget as compared to Obama's. But how?????

By freezing all government spending. (except for defense spending, this they would increase by $50 billion).

Gutting medicare.

Repealing all stimulus bills.

They then give all these impressive figures about how the deficit spending is $100 billion less than Obama's, and how the Public Debt will be less in 10 years with their budget than with Obama's. How will this be done?

By going into they go into Fantasy Land.

They want to make Bush's tax cuts on those that make over $150,000 a year permanent. A cut from 39% to 35%.

They continue.

They would add to the Bush tax cuts.

The wealthy (those that make over $150,000 a year) would get an additional 10% off, to 25%.

Corporation's tax rates would go down to 25% instead of 35% (current) and 39% (Obama's).

Suspends capital gains taxes.

The middle classes taxes? Stays the same.

But how does this bring down the deficit spending and public debt????

It doesn't.

Oh wait, I forgot a crucial part of their budget.

The tax cuts down to 25% are optional. Yes. They assume that the wealthy and corporations won't take them up on the 10% decrease in the taxes, that they'll voluntarily pay taxes at 35%. All of their figures assume the 35% rate. If they gave those tax cuts to those that carry the tax burden, their deficit spending should SKYROCKET, followed closely by a skyrocketting public debt, much higher than Obama's.

Looks like the Republicans fail again.


This budget was so ridiculous that, although no house republican voted for the Dems' budget, the Repubs lost this battle in the house 293-137, with 38 of their own voting against it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Republican's April Fool's Joke On Us...

...the GOP gives us a budget with no numbers. Just more criticisms of President Obama.

If you want to read it, click here. You'll have to change the downloaded 10 page document to a .pdf to read it. I did. Its ridiculous. Yet again, we're waiting for a real proposal and some real ideas from the GOP. Yet again, they haven't delivered.

Here are some highlights (thanks to politiFact for giving this synopsis):

• Spending: The Republican plan says the Obama budget spends too much and is "reckless." The Republicans say they would undo wasteful spending from recent legislation such as the economic stimulus bill and the omnibus spending bill for this year. But they don't specify what programs or how much. The Republican plan also says it would "cut overall nondefense spending by reforming or eliminating a host of wasteful programs deemed ineffective by various government entities." So what programs and how much? The plan doesn't say.

• Lowering taxes and creating jobs: In a rare moment of specificity, the Republican plan says it would rewrite the tax code so that people making up to $100,000 would be taxed at a marginal rate of 10 percent and everyone above that would be taxed 25 percent. Fair enough. So how much would that cost? The plan doesn't say. It offers a few other tax-cutting ideas — tax deductions for businesses and an overall vow to keep the Bush tax cuts — but again there are no estimates about the impact on revenues.

• Controlling debt: The Republican plan says it will control debt by ending spending on bailouts for Wall Street. For a savings of ... hmm, doesn't say. The plan also opposes runaway inflation and promotes keeping the cost of living low for families and entrepreneurs. Sounds great! What that means for the federal budget, we couldn't tell you.

Now, we should note that the Republican document has some numbers in it. But they're numbers about Obama's budget, used to illustrate the party's complaints, under labels like "Future Debt Burden" and "Expanding the Size of Government."
What the Republican plan lacks is the numbers that really matter, numbers that would show how much the Republicans propose to spend on various parts of government.
There are many pressing questions in the public debate that an alternative budget could answer. For example, if we're going want to cut wasteful spending, what programs should be cut? Also, what will cutting taxes do to deficit projections in years to come? But the Republican plan doesn't provide any answers.


The Republicans have released the actual budget today. Guess what it rides on: tax cuts for the rich. Again. Because that sure worked for the last eight years.

I'll post some more after I finish reading the actual budget. I'm guessing I'll have more than enough material to make fun of for my next post.