Posts Tagged ‘tea party’

Apparently, the FBI thought Its A Wonderful Life was communist propaganda because it portrayed bankers and the wealthy negatively.

The memo is pretty funny, but it missed an important point: Red Ryder would be a great codeword for the operation to put some nuclear armed subs off of Long Island.

On a more serious note, I would point out that bankers seem to be quite good at discrediting themselves without Soviet assistance. The best bit:

[redacted] related that if he made this picture portraying the banker, he would have shown this individual to have been following the rules as laid down by the State Bank Examiner in connection with making loans. Further, [redacted] stated that the scene wouldn’t have “suffered at all” in portraying the banker as a man who was protecting funds put in his care by private individuals and adhering to the rules governing the loan of that money rather than portraying the part as it was shown. In summary, [redacted] stated that it was not necessary to make the banker such a mean character and “I would never have done it that way.”

If we were to make movie today portraying bankers as fine upstanding gentlemen who followed all laws and whose primary interest was in protecting the funds in their care, it would be laughable.

At any rate, lest you think the Tea Party is on to something new, this shows us that screaming communist at anyone who says something mean about a wealthy person is a long, proud tradition.
In Soviet Russia, eye shoots out you!

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The tea party blames teachers unions, freedom of speech, scantily clad girls, gay marriage, and porn. Now NRO is blaming the fact that there were no big strong men (or even some built 12 year olds) around to save all the “helplessly passive” womenfolk. These are some truly disgusting people. What the fuck is wrong with them? They’re making McArdle look downright reasonable.

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This is part 2 of my thoughts on the GOP platform. Part 1 is here

The second part of the GOP platform is entitled We The People: A Restoration of Constitutional Government. It opens:

In the spirit of the Constitution, we consider discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion, creed, disability, or national origin unacceptable and immoral.
Discrimination based on sexual orientation, however, is fair game. In fact, the rest of this particular plank makes clear that the GOP doesn’t actually believe a word of that. They start out early, appealing to racist fears that Barack Obama is going to impose Sharia Law, or the black people equivalent of it, or something like that. I don’t the hell know, they wrote this, not me:
As a matter of principle, we oppose the creation of any new race-based governments within the United States.
So there you go. Now let’s start the fun:
A serious threat to our country’s constitutional order, perhaps even more dangerous than presidential malfeasance, is an activist judiciary, in which some judges usurp the powers reserved to other branches of government. A blatant example has been the court-ordered redefinition of marriage in several States. This is more than a matter of warring legal concepts and ideals. It is an assault on the foundations of our society, challenging the institution which, for thousands of years in virtually every civilization, has been entrusted with the rearing of children and the transmission of cultural values.
Wow! Hear that, gay people? Your marriages constitute an existential threat to our society. Pretty impressive. Do I need to point out that the definition of marriage has changed many, many times? That it has not existed in its present form “for thousands of years in virtually every civilization”?
We reaffirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
 Of course you do.
The Republican Party, born in opposition to the denial of liberty, stands for the rights of individuals, families, faith communities, institutions – and of the States which are their instruments of self government.
…how do you square this with the above? You just can’t.
I’m going to skip the bit about the preserving the electoral college and preventing voter fraud because really it just boils down to “Voter ID is KICKASS!”
Now, on to the first amendment! This section makes me want to scream and throw things, its truly astounding. They open by quoting Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, citing it as evidence that religious belief should be used as the foundation of public policy! But in that document, Jefferson acknowledges:
that our civil rights have no dependance on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry
Jefferson further acknowledges:
that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous falacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own
Jefferson is concerned here that “the civil magistrate” (ie the government) will extend his religious opinions into policy, thus forcing them on others. He argued for precisely the opposite of this platform! He would later write, in a letter to the Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut:
“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.
And so originates the phrase. After using Jefferson as an excuse to talk about how awesome the Boy Scouts are for their gay bashing, the GOP gives us this:

We condemn the hate campaigns, threats of violence, and vandalism by proponents of same-sex marriage against advocates of traditional marriage and call for a federal investigation into attempts to deny religious believers their civil rights.

In what way does allowing a gay couple to marry violate the rights of “advocates of traditional marriage”? They would still be allowed to marry traditionally. They would remain married. Nothing at all would change! Thomas Jefferson, who I will continue to quote as this plank seems entirely based on an absurd twisting of his views, stated:

But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

This is directly applicable. A gay marriage has exactly zero impact on any other marriage! Not allowing the gay couple to marry, however, does actively deny them their rights. This is just purely an alternate reality. It is the most asshole-ish statement I have yet seen in a prepared document so far during this election. It reeks of bigotry, fear, resentment, and hatred. It has no place in this country, and certainly not in it’s government.

Moving right along, the GOP mentions briefly the fourth ammendment:

Affirming “the right of the people to be secure in their houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,” we support pending legislation to prevent unwarranted or unreasonable governmental intrusion through the use of aerial surveillance or flyovers on U.S. soil, with the exception of patrolling our national borders. All security measures and police actions should be viewed through the lens of the Fourth Amendment; for if we trade liberty for security, we shall have neither.

This I very much agree with. I truly hope they actually believe it! If so, they could show that by proposing repeal of the PATRIOT act. I suppose I shouldn’t hold my breath. I also agree with the proposal, in the section on the fifth amendment, that seeks to ensure adequate compensation in the case that private property is taken “for a compelling public use”. I should state that I know very little about this issue, but I can foresee the devil being in the details as to what constitutes “compelling”.

Next, while discussing a constitutional amendment to define life as beginning at conception (and hence banning all abortions), they state:

We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.

But recall just a few pages earlier, and quoted above:

A serious threat to our country’s constitutional order, perhaps even more dangerous than presidential malfeasance, is an activist judiciary

So keep this in mind. An “activist judiciary” only refers to judges with whom you disagree. Speaking of activist judges:

The symbol of our constitutional unity, to which we all pledge allegiance, is the flag of the United States of America. By whatever legislative method is most feasible, Old Glory should be given legal protection against desecration. We condemn decisions by activist judges to deny children the opportunity to say the Pledge of Allegiance in its entirety, including “Under God,” in public schools and encourage States to promote the pledge.

So flag burning, which I would argue constitutes free speech, should be outlawed. How does that square with the section on freedom of speech?

we oppose governmental censorship of speech through the so-called Fairness Doctrine or by government enforcement of speech codes, free speech zones, or other forms of “political correctness” on campus.

How can you simultaneously oppose the “enforcement of political correctness” and support the banning of flag burning? This is just yet another example, much like the activist judges, of a principle applied only to those things with which the GOP agrees.

The GOP professes a reverence for the constitution and for the founding fathers. And yet, when it comes time to demonstrate those things, they fail utterly. They apply the constitution only in situations where it supports their views, and freely disregard it when it is no longer convenient. To show their reverence for the founders, they twist their words into the polar opposite of their originally intended meaning.

This platform isn’t a responsible set of governing philosophies and policy proposals, its a Christianist manifesto.

That’s all for Part 2. Energy, Agriculture, and The Environment is up next. Maybe tomorrow.

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Voter ID

If you are someone who believes we should have a government and that the government should do things (which is to say, basically everyone) then the way you evaluate a policy should always start with one question. Do we need any policy for this particular problem? If yes, then we can get into questions of a proposed solution’s efficacy, constitutionality, costs, consequences, etc. But all that is meaningless if we answer no to the first question. A liberal and a libertarian, for example, will probably answer it very differently, but I think everyone agrees that you should ask it.

All of this is a long way of saying that the PA voter ID law fails the first test. There is simply not a problem with people committing in-person voter fraud. The law’s architects admit this directly. Forget the details, we just simply don’t need this or any other policy in response to in-person voter fraud because it just doesn’t happen.

We should call this law what it is: an attempt by a republican legislature to make it more difficult for some likely democratic voters to vote in order to influence the outcome of the election. The law’s architects have admitted that directly, too. The press seems unwilling to point any of this out. Why?

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I’m no stranger to really dumb things appearing on my Facebook feed which make a mockery of anyone trying to engage in actual, rational, substantive debate about politics and current events. Usually I let them pass, but today for some reason I feel compelled to engage. So here we go!

First, we start out with a (obviously false) story:

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama’s socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no… one would be rich, a great equalizer.
The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama’s plan”. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A…. (substituting grades for dollars – something closer to home and more readily understood by all).
After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little..
The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. It could not be any simpler than that.

Well, everything else aside, all those students deserve to fail economics if they believe that Obama’s policies will lead to a uniformly universal level of wealth. Seriously. The professor should probably not be teaching anyone either, if he really thinks Obama is a socialist. He really isn’t. If you don’t believe me, ask a socialist! But this is where the fun begins. We finish with 5 of the greatest sentences we will ever read, apparently:

Remember, there IS a test coming up. The 2012 elections.

These are possibly the 5 best sentences you’ll ever read and all applicable to this experiment:
1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

OK, so let’s bust out the scotch and just take these one at a time.

  1. Well I suppose that’s true enough. Luckily no one is trying to do that! Obama has lowered taxes. True, he has proposed increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans by letting the top level “Bush tax cuts” expire, but even this will increase taxes by a whopping 3 – 5%, and remember that were talking about marginal rates. This only applies to traditional income, by the way. Capital gains taxes will remain at their historically low levels. So if this modest increase, back to the Clinton-era tax rates (when the economy was so awful!) constitutes “legislating the wealthy out of prosperity” then we should seriously examine our definition of prosperity.
  2. This is just plainly not true. Economics is not a zero sum game. If this were true, what of “creating wealth”?
  3. Again, economics is not zero sum. If this were true, what about the bank bailouts? It turns out the government is really good at giving people free money! I presume that we’re referring to the idea that things like food stamps are just “stolen” out of the pockets of hardworking Americans by the ravenous poor, so lets assume for a minute that statement number 3 is in fact true. Now, lets assume that an employee of a bailed out bank gets a one million dollar bonus with his bailout funds. Not an outrageous assumption. Because the government can’t give someone anything it didn’t take from someone else, we’ll assume that it took that million from a foodstamp recipient. The average benefit is $4.40 per day. Thus, the government would have to take almost 623 years worth of benefits from that person to fund that bonus! That sounds way more egregious to me.
  4. OK. I think this means that you can’t increase (multiply) wealth by decreasing (dividing) it. Actually, I agree! Perhaps we should keep that in mind when we talk about austerity! Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney may want to call their offices.
  5. There just really isn’t a significant group that thinks they don’t have to work because everyone else will just take care of them. I’m sure you can point to an example or two, but that’s anecdotal, not a real chunk of the population. Like I mentioned previously, SNAP benefits average less than five dollars per day. Who needs to work when you have that! Conversely, there are folks who make more in an hour than I do in a year. Their work is clearly paying off! If they actually decided to never do anything again because their taxes may go up by a couple percent, they would be leaving a whole hell of a lot of money on the table, and would be epicly stupid.

As a final point, if we continue the story’s theme of substituting grades and money and accept the statement that the 2012 election is a test, then the only way to pass is to be rich. OK, actually that one may make sense…

Ranting over. I’ll get back to the real world now. I feel like I wasted time by writing this. Or even thinking about it. Ah, well.

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That a southern man don’t need him ’round anyhow:

I’m beginning to wonder if it would have been best had the South won the Civil War. Our Founding Fathers’ concept of limited government is dead.

People having healthcare kills freedom! People being slaves, on the other hand, is totally awesome.

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Correction, make that 15 governors (only 14 Republicans, to be fair) that would deny healthcare to millions of people for short term political gain. Its disgusting. 

Note that I don’t actually believe the governors will opt out in the end, I think the politics of that move would be too toxic, and by the time it would come down to it (Jan 1, 2014) the current healthcare obsession will have passed. And so they will very quietly opt in. But the fact they are willing to play games with millions of lives is reprehensible.

And for those of you who think that those denied coverage are just a bunch of lazy welfare cheats who need to get a damn job, read this. An excerpt, describing someone’s attempt to apply for government assistance: 

“I didn’t wear my best clothes, but I wore a light blouse and jeans, and I guess I was just a little too dressed up,” she recalls. “Because the woman just looked at me and said, ‘Are you in a crisis? Your application says you’re in a crisis.’ I said, ‘I’m living in a van and I don’t have a job. I have a little bit of money, but it’s going to go fast.’ The woman said, ‘You have $500. You’re not in a crisis if you have $500.’ She said anything more than $50 was too much.”

If Adkins had filled her tank with gas, done her laundry, eaten a meal, and paid her car insurance and phone bills, it would have used up half of everything she had. But emergency food stamps, she was told, are not for imminent emergencies; they’re for emergencies already in progress. You can’t get them if you can make it through the next week – you have to be down to the last few meals you can afford.

“The money’s for my phone, it’s for gas, it’s for my bills,” Adkins said.

“Why are you in a crisis,” the woman asked, “when you have a phone bill?”

“I need the phone so I can get a job. You can’t look for a job without a phone.”

“Why do you have bills?” the woman asked. “I thought you didn’t have a place to live.”

“I live in my van,” Adkins said. “I have insurance.”

“You have a 2007 van,” the woman said. “I think you need to sell that.”

“Please, I need a break,” Adkins said. “I need some help. I need to take a shower.”

“Why didn’t you have a shower?”

“I live in a van.”

The woman told Adkins to come back when she really needed help.

Even the piece of mind offered by a simple statement that you will be covered if something else goes wrong is better than nothing, and a hell of a lot better than the contempt and derision these people face from their elected officials. 

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