Monday, October 11, 2010

The insanity of tax breaks for millionaires

I keep hearing the TEA Party screaming that the reason they want Democrats out of office is because they’re all about big government and spending the taxpayer’s money. What they don’t seem to get is that last month our government shed nearly 160,000 jobs. The government now employs fewer people than it did during the Bush administration.

Republicans claim that lower taxes would foster more economic growth and more jobs but if you look at the last six years of the Bush presidency when taxes were near a century low you’ll find that zero net new private sector jobs were created. The remedy for this they claim is even lower taxes. Doesn’t this remind you of the famous remark “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”?

After WWII, the event which compelled massive deficit spending that finally brought this country out of the Great Depression, the U.S. was much deeper in debt than we are today. Through wise management by Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower who invested in education via the G.I. Bill and infrastructure like the interstate highway system our country became prosperous once again and the standard of living for rich and poor alike improved immensely.

The Republican argument that cutting government spending will help create jobs is kind of like a doctor telling you that the solution to your anorexia is to go on a diet.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Review of the Republican Party of Texas platform for 2010

Free Speech for the Clergy – We urge change of the Internal Revenue Code to allow a religious organization to address issues without fear of losing its tax-exempt status. We call for repeal of requirements that religious organizations send government any personal information about their contributors.

Why do they only call for changing the rules for tax-exempt status for religious organizations and not other non-profits? Why not for environmental groups and civil rights groups as well?

The Rights of a Sovereign People – The Republican Party of Texas supports the historic concept, established by our nations’ (sic) founders, of limited civil government jurisdiction under the natural laws of God, and repudiates the humanistic doctrine that the state is sovereign over the affairs of men, the family and the church.

Sounds like the Taliban to me.

Homosexuality – We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.”

There’s so much here I don’t know where to start. How do you even begin to argue with stupid? Being gay is equivalent to being Typhoid Mary and a home wrecking hussy too if you believe these folks. Oh and George Washington hated gays too.

Texas Sodomy Statutes – We oppose the legalization of sodomy. We demand that Congress exercise its authority granted by the U.S. Constitution to withhold jurisdiction from the federal courts from cases involving sodomy.

Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) – We oppose this act through which the federal government would coerce religious business owners and employees to violate their own beliefs and principles by affirming what they consider to be sinful and sexually immoral behavior.

We oppose the repeal of the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Republicans are in favor of privacy except in your bedroom and want to be able to fire you if they don’t like who you’re sleeping with.

Judicial Restraint – We urge Congress to adopt the Constitutional Restoration Act and support the principle of judicial restraint, which requires judges to interpret and apply rather than make the law. We support judges who strictly interpret the law based on its original intent. We oppose judges who assume for themselves legislative powers.

A strict reading of this would cause them to dump Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia as well as Samuel Alito from the Supreme Court as they’ve voted to override Congress more often than anyone else on the court. But don’t expect the Republicans to accept that fact.

Remedies to Activist Judiciary – We call Congress and the President to use their constitutional powers to restrain activist judges. We urge Congress to adopt the Judicial Conduct Act of 2005 and remove judges who abuse their authority. Further, we urge Congress to withhold Supreme Court jurisdiction in cases involving abortion, religious freedom, and the Bill of Rights.

Now the Republicans want to prevent the Supreme Court from weighing in on cases related to constitutional amendments but apparently they forgot that it was the Supreme Court that overruled many state and local gun control laws.

Protecting Union Member’s Dues – We support legislation requiring labor unions to obtain consent of the union member before that member’s dues can be used for political purposes.

Gee, how nice that they want to protect the poor guy who gets $16 an hour because he’s a union electrician from having is $10 monthly dues used to elect legislators that will protect his 40 hour work week and sick pay. How about supporting legislation to protect shareholder dividends against use for political purposes?

Voter Registration – We support restoring integrity to the voter registration rolls and to reducing voter fraud. We support repeal of all Motor Voter laws; re–registering voters every four years; requiring photo ID of all registrants; proof of residency and citizenship, along with voter registration application; retention of the 30-day registration deadline; and requiring that a list of certified deaths be provided to the county clerk in order that the names of deceased voters be removed from the list of registered voters.

Of course if these clowns were to manage to repeal the 14th Amendment like some of their senators are pushing for I’d have a tough time offering proof of citizenship because my birth certificate wouldn’t be good enough.

Campaign Finance Reform – We urge immediate repeal of the McCain-Feingold Act.

Great now that the regulations have already been weakened let’s throw them out altogether. While we’re at it let’s also deregulate lobbying and make it legal to offer cash for legislation as well. Why do we need all those pesky ethics rules anyway? After all so what if Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay were using money to buy votes.


Ten Commandments – We oppose any governmental action to restrict, prohibit, or remove public display of the Decalogue or other religious symbols.

So exactly where in the U.S. did Moses come off the mountain with the Ten Commandments?

Pledge of Allegiance – We support adoption of the Pledge Protection Act. We also demand that the National Motto “In God We Trust” and National Anthem be protected from legislative and judicial attack.

Yeah and Christmas is under attack too, Bill O’Reilly said so. Don’t these people have more important things to worry about like putting people back to work or making sure there are enough teachers to properly educate all our kids?

American English – We support adoption of American English as the official language of Texas and of the United States.

English is fast becoming the lingua franca across the world, are they worried that we’ll suddenly start speaking Chinese or something?

Flag Desecration – Any form of desecration of the American Flag is an act of disregard for our nation and its people and penalties should be established for such.

So the First Amendment, that Constitution thingy, doesn’t apply to speech when directed at a symbol of our government. But I thought the Republicans were all about the Constitution and Freedom of Speech. If you can’t desecrate a flag or speak out against the government what then is freedom of speech. Even in China it’s OK to complain about your mother-in-law.

Symbols of American Heritage – We call upon governmental entities to protect all symbols of our American heritage from being altered in any way.

So does that mean we should go back to only 13 stars on the flag or just that if Puerto Rico becomes a state we don’t add a 51st star?

Social Security - We support an immediate and orderly transition to a system of private pensions based on the concept of individual retirement accounts, and gradually phasing out the Social Security tax.

Oh that’s wonderful, this way when seniors are fully invested in the stock market and we have another crash they can all end up on the street or the soup kitchen.

ObamaCare – We urge the Congress to defund, repeal, and reject the national healthcare takeover, also known as “ObamaCare” or any similar legislation.

Sorry folks there is no such thing as Obamacare I can find a bill by that name in THOMAS anywhere and we didn’t even get the Public Option let alone Single Payer so I don’t know what the heck their carping about.

Americans with Disabilities Act – We support amendment of the Americans with Disabilities Act to exclude from its definition those persons with infectious diseases, substance addiction, learning disabilities, behavior disorders, homosexual practices and mental stress, thereby reducing abuse of the Act.

Since when did being gay qualify you has disabled? How is having a learning disability not something that should be covered by the American’s with Disabilities Act? Tuberculosis is infectious so if you have it and are severely impaired by it Republicans don’t want you to qualify as disabled, what is that about?

Immunizations - All adult citizens should have the legal right to conscientiously choose which vaccines are administered to themselves or their minor children without penalty for refusing a vaccine. We oppose any effort by any authority to mandate such vaccines or any medical database that would contain personal records of citizens without their consent.

Only if those who aren’t immunized have to wear a big red N so we’ll know who to stay away from. There’s big whooping cough outbreak in California because so many people won’t get immunized for it.

Classroom Discipline –We recommend that local school boards and classroom teachers be given more authority to deal with disciplinary problems. We urge the Legislature, Governor, Commissioner of Education and State Board of Education to remind administrators and school boards that corporal punishment is effective and legal in Texas.

Nobody spanks my kid but me and I don’t do that.

Controversial Theories – Realizing that conflict and debate is a proven learning tool in classrooms, we support objective teaching and equal treatment of all sides of scientific theories, including evolution, Intelligent Design, global warming, political philosophies, and others. We believe theories of life origins and environmental theories should be taught as challengeable scientific theory subject to change as new data is produced, not scientific law. Teachers and students should be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these theories openly and without fear of retribution or discrimination of any kind.

Just what I want, some snot nosed 10 year old arguing with the science teacher that the earth is only 6,000 years old and that god put the dinosaur fossils there to trick us.

Funding via Bond Elections – We support active participation by registered voters and abhor taxing authorities’ attempts to obtain approval for bonds by selective scheduling of elections’ polling locations to minimize voter turnout. Hence, we support a requirement that at least 25% of registered voters must turn out and vote in order for a financial
obligation to be placed on the entire citizenry.

Sorry folks but if they’re too lazy to get out and vote against the bond then they should just have to suck it up.

Parental School Choice – We encourage the Governor and the Texas Legislature to enact child-centered school funding options – which fund the student, not schools or districts – to allow maximum freedom of choice in public, private or parochial education for all children. As a prerequisite, we urge passage of a constitutional amendment
prohibiting imposition of state regulations on private and parochial schools.

Now the cat's out of the bag, what they're really after is the end of public education so if you're born poor you can stay that way because only the wealthy can afford an education.

Sex Education – We recognize parental responsibility and authority regarding sex education. We support policies that mandate parental notification and consent before any sex education program is presented to their child. Parents must be given an opportunity to review the material prior to giving their consent. We oppose any sex education other than
abstinence until heterosexual marriage.

Yeah, and that’s worked so well for Texas where we have had the policy for a decade and now have about the highest rate of teen pregnancies and repeat teen pregnancies in the nation. Isn’t repeating the same thing over and over while expecting a different result the definition of insanity?

School Health Care – We urge legislators to prohibit reproductive health care services, including counseling, referrals, and distribution of condoms and contraception through public schools.

I’ve got it, why don’t we just stick our heads in the sand?

We strongly support recent SBOE actions in areas of science and social studies ...

Traditional Principles in Education – We support school subjects with emphasis on Judeo-Christian principles (including the Ten Commandments) upon which America was founded and which form the basis of America’s legal, political and economic systems. We support curricula that are heavily weighted on original founding documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and Founders’ writings.

That’s funny but I see no reference to god or religion in the Constitution other than to exclude them from government. “…no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” See also the First Amendment discussion below.

Safeguarding Our Religious Liberties – We affirm that the public acknowledgement of God is undeniable in our history and is vital to our freedom, prosperity and strength. We pledge our influence toward a return to the original intent of the First Amendment and toward dispelling the myth of separation of church and state. We urge the Legislature to increase the ability of faith-based institutions and other organizations to assist the needy and to reduce regulation of such organizations.

First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” What part of this is not clear? These folks should study a little more history before opening their mouths, every nation in Europe was once a Christian nation whose leader was confirmed by the Pope or some other high level cleric and look at Europe now. Hardly anyone goes to church any more in Europe and those that do are usually elderly. Mixing god and government hasn’t worked out so well over there. Oh and most of them have universal health care too.

Repeal of Fee Award Act – We support repeal of the Civil Rights Attorneys’ Fee Awards Act, which allows for payment of attorneys’ fees to sue the government and to suppress freedom of religion.

Do these idiots realize that this legislation also allows claims over voting rights and discrimination or is that exactly what they want to eliminate without saying it? Could be crazy like a fox.

Capital Punishment – Properly applied capital punishment is legitimate, is an effective deterrent, and should be swift and unencumbered.

And it worked out so well for Todd Cameron Willingham who was executed for killing his three daughters even though he didn’t. Perhaps these folks have spent too much time with computers and think that everything comes with an Undo button. In addition no responsible Criminologist will ever suggest that jail or execution is a deterrent, they will tell you that criminals never think they’ll get caught so punishment does not enter the equation.

Government Services – We support privatization of government services when beneficial to the taxpayer.

Because Gov. Perry’s outsourcing of Medicaid enrollment to a company with all their call centers out of the U.S. worked out so well. Now we have a backlog of 2-3 months of people who have tried to enroll but can’t get help because the paperwork hasn’t been processed.

Funding Special Interest Organizations – We oppose any government support of special interest organizations, such as ACORN and the ACLU.

The ACLU doesn’t now nor has it ever received government support. As to ACORN or any group like it not receiving government support, that would apply to religious groups as well but in another section the Republican platform calls for more funding of religious charities. My oh my, what a contradiction or is it just groups that don’t agree with them that they don’t like? If any organizations should be defunded it should be KBR and Halliburton who have killed our troops due to cheap, sloppy construction of showers in war zones that electrocuted our service members. While we’re at it how about defunding Blackwater/Xe and other mercenary operations that are funded by but not controlled by our government which is why they are bribing the Taliban to not attack their convoys. We should have our own troops performing those functions but that would mean a draft and the public wouldn’t stand for that so we’d have to get out and we can’t have that!

Welfare Reform – Texas should continue to reduce the number of welfare recipients by enacting tough welfare reforms; denying benefits to illegal aliens, and encouraging partnerships with faith based institutions, community and business organizations to assist individuals in need.

Wait just a minute, first you say no funding for special interest organizations then you say fund churches, which is it? The best way to cut welfare recipients is to make sure all kids get a good education and have an opportunity to get a job that pays better than poverty wages. The first step on that path requires that kids in poor families get enough to eat, adequate medical care, after school attention and schools that are funded as well as those in wealthy areas.

Federal Tax Reform – We recommend a national sales tax (which does not include a Value Added Tax) to replace all other Federal taxes once the I.R.S. is abolished and the Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is repealed. However, until such time that the income tax is abolished, we support deductions for private and home schooling, home
mortgages, and sales taxes.

By howdy, we’re all for the Constitution except for the parts we don’t like and the way all them experts interpret stuff like “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

Frivolous Lawsuits – We support further reform to discourage frivolous lawsuits. We oppose the abusive use of class action lawsuits.

Beep, beep, beep, red herring alert. There is no such crisis of frivolous lawsuits. In fact most “frivolous” law suits are filed by none other than big corporations not individuals seeking redress for wrongs done them.

Right-to-Work – We oppose the Employee Free Choice Act (Card Check) and any action that eliminates the secret ballot. Every worker should have freedom to work in their preferred job without being forced to join or pay dues to any organization. Our Right-to-Work Law has provided this freedom and a good climate for industrial expansion, higher employment, and a stable management-labor relationship. We encourage adoption of a National Right-to-Work Act.

Workers’ Compensation – We urge the Legislature to resist making Workers’ Compensation mandatory for all Texas employers.

Minimum Wage – We believe the Minimum Wage Law should be repealed.

Yes indeed, peonage is so American and the 1890’s was a wonderful time to live if you weren’t a Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Rockefeller or other robber baron. Texas has the highest percentage of low wage jobs in the country, so of course we don’t need no stinkin’ unions. Not only that but if a worker gets hurt on the job it’s obviously their own fault so why should anyone else be held accountable. Oh and unlike the RPT platform nowhere in the EFCA does it say anything about eliminating a secret ballot, all card check does is provide an alternative to an election so that companies don't get to delay the election for years while they intimidate workers.

Cuba – We support the continuation of the embargo against Cuba until democracy is restored. We call for the release of all political prisoners currently being held by the Castro regime. We support political asylum for all refugees fleeing political oppression in Cuba.

The embargo has worked so well that Fidel is still around after 50 years so I must again ask, isn’t repeating the same thing over and over the definition of insanity?

South America – We support the adoption of the Colombian Free Trade Agreement and closer political relations with Colombia who has emerged from decades of war with the drug cartels and FARC with an open democratic government and free market economy. We support efforts to strengthen democratic institutions in the region and resist the authoritarian socialist regimes of Venezuela and Bolivia.

Hugo Chavez was democratically elected and re-elected, just because you don’t like him doesn’t mean you get to say he wasn’t. Evo Morales was democratically elected having received a higher percentage of votes than George W. Bush and St. Ronnie. Apparently Republicans only like elected leaders if they kowtow to the U.S.

United Nations – We believe it is in the best interest of the citizens of the United States that we immediately rescind our membership in, as well as all financial and military contributions to, the United Nations.

Oh yes, isolationism worked so well prior to WWII.

We agree on some things:

Campaign Contributions – We support full disclosure of the amounts and sources of any campaign contributions to political candidates, whether contributed by individuals, political action committees, or other entities.

Except that all their Congressman voted against the DISCLOSE Act that would make this idea law.

Conflicts of Interest – We support all legislation prohibiting influencing or voting of any elected official or appointee where a conflict of interest exists. No such official should represent paying clients before a state agency.

Lobbying Limitation – We support legislation to prohibit former officials and government employees from lobbying for a foreign government and/or any business for five years after leaving public service. We support legislation to prevent lobbying by any organization receiving federal grants except that relating to its tax status.

Legislative Accountability – We support rules requiring that all votes on bills cast in the Texas House and Senate be record votes freely available to the electorate.

Sudan – We urge censure of the Sudanese government for supporting atrocities against ethnic minorities in Darfur.