Posts Tagged ‘Economy’

The Top 8 Dumbest Things about the Republican Party

May 1, 2009

This feature is part one of a two-part series centered on the two major political parties in the United States.  For The 8 Dumbest Things about the Democratic Party, click here.

Is the Republican party going to be ok?

Is the Republican party going to be ok?

8.  Republicans believe that The War on Drugs can be solved if we throw everyone into prison.

Republicans get to take credit for the first recorded usage of the term “War on Drugs.”  It was used by Richard Nixon in 1969 as a way to fire up the base of the party against the counter-culture hippies that despised the Vietnam War.

Thanks to the War on Drugs, our prisons are overfilled.  The cost is so high to run some of these prisons that they have to be sold to private companies.  The legislature of California actually considered selling San Quentin prison this year because of the terrible financial shape that the state is in.

And drug cartels love the illegality of drugs more than Republicans do.  Drug demand in the United States will continue and the cartels increasingly find clever ways of evading the DEA.  In fact, cartels are now building semi-submergable vessels that can avoid RADAR and infra-red in Costa Rica.  They pack these boats with up to seven tons of cocaine and park it on a deserted beach in the United States. If they can get seven tons of cocaine to the coast of the United States without being detected, they can get seven tons of anything into our country.

Legalize drugs.  Pull the rug out from under the black market.  Levy taxes on the drugs and use that money to educate kids and help addicts get help.  This is exactly what happened during prohibition.  Legalizing drugs will help to stop the violence and the kidnappings in Mexico and in the southwest.

7.  Republicans demonize higher education.

From discounting professors in their “ivory towers” to laughing in the face of modern economic theory, Republicans love to rally their base on the premise of their shared mediocrity.  Ann Coulter believes that American teachers are “inculcating students in the precepts of the Socialist Party of America—as understood by retarded people.” (link)

There are intellectuals in the party, but you’ll find few conservatives that know them by name.  For every David Brooks, there is a Carrie Prejean.  For every George Will, there is a Joe the Plumber.

This isn’t to say that there are plenty of idiots in the Democratic Party as well.  The difference is that Janeane Garafalo doesn’t get microphone time at the Democratic Convention, while Joe the Plumber, a moron, is viewed as some everyman harbinger of truth in the Republican Party.  The problem with this outlook is that it eventually permeates into the politicians themselves.  The Palin phenomenon.  A folksy former sportscaster that bounced around from college to college without any sense of history or moder political theory is voted into the governorship of Alaska.  Same thing happened with Michelle Bachmann.

The hard right tarnishes the image of the Republican Party just like the Taliban tarnishes the image of Islam.

6.  Republicans believe that corporations are more trustworthy than the government.

Let’s get this out of the way quickly.  The government has done some shitty thingsBut they have also done plenty of good things.   Let’s look at the current financial crisis as a microcosm for the shittyness of government versus the shittyness of corporations.

The government allowed for corporations to create the derivatives market as well as offer subprime mortgages to people that couldn’t afford them.  That’s shitty.

The corporations took these allowances and had a field day.  Not only did they offer subprimes to the people that couldn’t pay them, but they bundled the mortgages into a security and bet on the outcome of the security.

Johnny thinks Group A of subprime mortgage holders will only pay back 40% of the loan while Philp believes that Group A will pay back 80%.  Johnny decides to bet $32,000 on the outcome even though he only has $1,000 in the bank.  Philip bets $28,000 even though he only has $900.  Group A only pays back 40%.  Johnny wins.  Now how the fuck is Philip supposed to pay him?

5.  Republicans believe that the government doesn’t belong in your pocketbook, but it does belong in your ovaries and in your bedroom.

It seems that every time the Republican party is asked about fiscal policy, the only two words on their lips are “tax cuts.”  We’re in a war?  We Need Tax Relief.  We’re in an economic booming period?  More tax cuts.  We’re in a recession?  Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts.

People used to be offended if one was yellow and one was dark brown.

People used to be offended if one was yellow and one was dark brown.

Republicans believe that the best judge for whether you should carry your child is the federal government.  In fact, they believe that your Church should have no say in the matter.  They believe that a marriage between gay people somehow infringe on their rights.  There are going to be gay people that your children are going to be exposed to whether they are allowed to marry or not.  What difference does a certificate matter to you?

4.  Republicans believe that the Second Amendment of the Constitution is the only important one.

Not a peep came from the Republican party when George W. Bush all but suspended the Fourth Amendment with the warrantless wiretapping program.  Hell, even after he left office and we discovered that John Yoo had readied an additional memo that would have limited the First Amendment, there was no significant backlash at the Drudge Report and Red State.

But when anyone says that you probably shouldn’t be able to carry an assault weapon capable of shooting 30 times in 10 seconds, Republicans go apeshit.

Here is my compromise.  You can buy any gun you want.  However, that gun is only allowed to fire three bullets before you reload.  Gun manufacturers must make it so that a reload takes more than thirty seconds.  Military and police guns do not have to follow these regulations.

Many Republicans will say that that inhibits their ability to protect their family in case the government comes to get them.  But that’s idiotic.  The government has nuclear weapons, genius.  If they want a police state, then they’re going to get one.  Until then, three shots is all you get.

3.  Republicans say they reject big government when they are out of power, but balloon government when they are in power.

I don’t know how much longer Republicans will fall for this nonsense.  During the reigns of Reagan, Bush, and W. Bush, government grew on a massive scale.  Hell, George W. Bush added the entire Department of Homeland Security.  Government spending went through the roof with all three GOP presidents.  None of them ever balanced a budget or saw a surplus.

fiscal-conservative

It wasn’t until Bill Clinton balanced the budget late in his second term that many Americans finally realized that “fiscal responsiblity” did not belong on the Republican party platform.  Of course, the minute W took office, he squandared the surplus by adding significant tax cuts for the wealthy.  Most republicans don’t realize that the government has to PAY for tax cuts.  It is a signficant loss in revenue.  I’ll allow you to argue supply-side economic theory when a Republican balances the budget.  Until then, Bill Clinton’s “socialistic” 3% tax hike for wealthy people balanced it just fine.

2.  Republicans have shitty sources.

I don’t give a damn what some politician “believes” about global warming or Evolution.  If I want to hear about global warming, I’ll talk to chemists, geologists, and climatologists.  If I want to hear about Evolution, I’ll talk to a biological anthropologist or primatologist. There is no “big science” lobby.  These people do not get paid anywhere close to the bullshit experts from the oil lobbying firms.  They are scientists whose reputation is contingent upon their adherence to the scientific method.

Many, many scientists would like nothing more than to disprove global warming or Evolution.  They would be instant celebrities in the scientific world and they would be written about in textbooks for centuries.    But that doesn’t happen.

1. The people that vote for Republicans

On April 15, 2009 an estimated 189,000 people across the United States participated in Tax Day Tea Parties.  While simultaneously calling for an increase in defense spending, tea partiers were enraged at the 3% increase in taxes for people who make over a quarter of a million dollars a year.  Only 5% of working families in the United States will see a tax hike.

But don’t tell that to the teabaggers.

Sure, you get freedom of speech.  You just dont get to dictate policy when your guys lost.

Sure, you get freedom of speech. You just don't get to dictate policy when your guys lost.

If you asked them, taxes were through the roof on everything.  Even though the protests were sponsored by Fox News as well as two of the biggest lobbying firms in Washington, the majority of tea-party goers swallowed the kool-aid that this was a grassroots movement.

To be fair, the most vocal people on Fox and CPAC do not represent Republican voters collectively.  After all, the most moderate candidate in the Republican primaries John McCain won the 2008 Presidential nomination.  I suppose the proof of where the party is headed won’t be known until 2012.  If a Jindal, Palin, Romney, or Gingrich is selected, then they’re going in the wrong direction.  But if Jon Huntsman Jr.  is able to secure the nod, we may see a more reasonable, more intelligent Republican party.

All that and I didn’t even mention getting us into crazy wars, justifying torture, and the annual gay sex scandals.

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List of Democratic Senators that are in the back pocket of the banking industry

April 30, 2009

I call on Americans everywhere to raise holy war on the following Democrats.  After their “Nay” votes on the banking reform bill Thursday, it is clear that they have been heavily influenced by lobbyists in Washington D.C.   Here is the list:

  • Max Baucus (MT)
  • Robert Byrd (WV)
  • Tom Carper (DE)
  • Jon Tester (MT)
  • Mary Landrieu (LA)
  • Ben Nelson (NE)
  • Blanche Lincoln (AR)
  • Arlen Specter (PA)
  • Michael Bennett (CO)
  • Tim Johnson (SD)
  • Byron Dorgan (ND)

    Primary opponents as well as a middle finger should be readied for all of these Senators.

    Fuckers.

    Fuckers.

    The bill on the floor would have saved millions of homeowners from foreclosure by renegotiating their home loans.  A powerful lobbyist group called the Mortgage Bankers Association ended up winning in the end.  Bankers celebrated the defeat of the bill.

    Earlier in the week, when the vote looked grim, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin made headlines by saying that “the banking industry owns this place.”

    I don’t understand the pressure from the banks.  If these houses go into foreclosure, they will not get their money back anyway.  In fact, the entire housing market will continue to fall and they will lose even more mortgages in the long run.  Get ready for more foreclosure signs.  Once again, Washington proves who they really represent.

    Of course, Republican Senators voted with the banks.

    The full story, along with how much money each Senator received from banks for favorable treatment, is available here.

    Holy Shit: Michelle Bachmann does something reasonable

    April 29, 2009

    During her time in the United States House of Representatives Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) has been a laughing stock.  From calling on a violent revolution in the streets to blaming Democrats for swine flu, Bachmann has pushed the limit on reasonable thought.

    Put the coke down.

    Put the coke down.

    But hold all insanity queries until tomorrow because Bachmann has temporarily regained intelligence.  Bachmann, along with Alan Grayson (D-FL), Ron Paul (R-TX), Walter Jones (R-NC), Peter Defazio (D-OR) and Corrine Brown (D-FL) signed a letter today encouraging more transparency in the activities of the Federal Reserve.

    Here is the full letter:

    Dear Chairman Spratt,

    As you meet with fellow conferees to reconcile the House- and Senate-passed budget resolutions, we urge you to adopt the Senate provision regarding the Deficit Neutral Reserve Fund for Increased Transparency at the Federal Reserve in the final version of the resolution. This language calls for the Federal Reserve to identify banks and other financial institutions that have received more than $2.2 trillion in taxpayer-backed loans and other financial assistance since March 24, 2008.

    Under Chairman Bernanke, the central banking system has opened a range of extraordinary funding facilities that are providing additional credit to banks, large financial institutions, and primary brokers, as well as guaranteeing commercial paper. All of this activity is happening in secret, with the Federal Reserve disbursing money and credit to the large financial institutions that have put our credit markets and economy at risk. The Federal Reserve has resisted FOIA requests, and will not make public even the terms of payment for the contractors it is using to run these extraordinary programs.

    At the very least, Congress and the public should have knowledge about which banks are receiving taxpayer money, what they are doing with the money, and the credit risk taxpayers are taking on through the Federal Reserve. The Senate language encourages such transparency, allowing for audits and public disclosure of secret loans and financial assistance from the Federal Reserve to these large institutions.

    We urge you to include the Senate language in the final Budget Resolution.

    The Federal Budget today passed the House of Representatives without a single Republican vote.  How’s that for bipartisanship?

    RWP Rating: Real Fucking Weird

    Treasury to covertly nationalize troubled banks?

    April 20, 2009

    A big damn smile may have just crossed Paul Krugman’s fuzzy face.  After weeks of lamenting the poor decisions of the Obama Treasury Department, new information from the New York Times suggests that the money used to shore up the banking giants during the bailout may soon be converted to common stocks.

    Fuzzy Wuzzy.

    Fuzzy Wuzzy.

    The effect of such an action is consequential for anyone tired of giving free public money to private banks.  Essentially, this course will nationalize several of the banks because the United States government (taxpayers) will become the majority shareholder.   Apparently, the U.S. government has already arranged this type of relationship with Citibank.

    Before this decision was made, a great number of tax dollars were given to the troubled banks without any strings attached.  Instead of buying up all the troubled assets (securities that can be difficult to value) of each bank, we would get common stock in the company.

    This could be good news and could be bad.  If the stock price absolutely tanks (which the government could actually be anticipating), then the tax payers could end up suffering.  However, as a majority shareholder, the government will be on the board of directors for the company and will be able to influence decisions that are made regarding our investments.  We already know that the troubled assets are next to worthless, so if we can get a decent deal with the stock conversion plan, we may end up getting a lot of our money back.

    When the credit lines open up again, we can expect the United States government to sell taxpayer shares in each bank.  Hell, we could even make money on this.

    Expect this to be a rallying cry for the “Obama = Socialist” crowd.  But it’s a hell of a lot better than handing your federal taxes to the nearest AIG executive and expecting nothing in return.

    RWP Rating: Bizarre

    Full Story: New York Times

    Lazy conservatives hold Tea Party on Second Life

    April 16, 2009

    These motherfuckers really aren’t used to protesting.  After 8 years of quietly attempting to defend their vote for the worst President in the modern era, conservatives are only slowly regaining their ability to defy authority.   In this spirit, hundreds of conservatives virtually gathered on Second Life and held their own Tax Day Tea Party.

    Fraud Paine!

    Fraud Paine!

    Baby steps?  More like fetus steps with this one.   Check out all the pictures on Wonkette.

    RWP Rating: Strange

    Full Story: Wonkette

    Craziest Photos from Tax Day Tea Parties

    April 15, 2009

    Digg It!

    Like the videos, I’ll keep adding more as I find them.  What the hell are they protesting?  It seems to be a smorgasbord of right wing ideas that have been rejected by the electorate.  Check out videos as well.

    Special Thanks to HuffPo, Wonkette, PolioGazette, The Washington Independent, etc.

    Jim Cramer sees jump in stock market, declares Depression over

    April 4, 2009

    Fuck you Jim Cramer.  A blip in the stock market just means that we may have found a way out of this clusterfuck.  Did we close down the derivatives market?  Surely we at least made subprime lending illegal, right?  Did we assign value to the toxic assets?  How about forbid 30 to 1 leverage?  Or criminalize naked default swaps?  No?  We haven’t?  Then shut the fuck up.

    How long before you have to apologize for this?

    I ate a ham sandwich for lunch.

    I ate a ham sandwich for lunch.

    RWP Rating: Unusual

    Full Story: Business and Media Institute

    The Top 8 Dumbest Things about the Democratic Party

    April 3, 2009

    This feature is part one of a two-part series centered on the two major political parties in the United States.  The 8 Dumbest Things about the Republican Party is available here.

    Without further ado, let’s whip this donkey into shape.

    Me, checking on the health of the Democratic Party

    Me, checking on the health of the Democratic Party

    8.  Democrats feel guilty about everything.

    To these Democrats, the tragedy of Darfur is the fault of the global imperialism of American companies, gang members just need a stern talking-to, and all military personell are brainwashed by the overlords of the Military Industrial Complex.  All cultural practices are permissible as long as they do not include hunting and fishing in the United States.  Female circumcision and honor killings are morally sound as long as no white people are doing it.

    7.  Democrats believe we should save every endangered species on the planet.

    Recently, Barack Obama became the fourth president that has committed to saving the Spotted Owl in Oregon.  And while many environmentalist organizations applaud his effort, we also need to realize that species go extinct all the time.  Not only that, but where are we going to put all the windmills that will be needed to secure our energy future?  If we can preserve parks, then that’s great.  But democrats seem to think we can save every species on Earth while still securing the energy needed to run their hybrid Prius.

    Blue boobies

    Blue boobies.

    6.  Democrats believe that they have a monopoly on rational thought.

    Rethuglicans.  You see it in the comment sections every single day on The Huffington Post.  Everything the Republicans suggest is immediately wrong and stupid.  These Democrats can’t actually explain the alternate Republican budget proposal, nor can they tell you why global warming is occurring, they just know that if you question any of it, then you’re an idiot.

    I’m not questioning the science of global warming.  However, scientists still haven’t even fully grasped what gravity is, much less the intricacies of the warming planet.  Both sides need to question and both sides need to listen to one another.

    5.  Democrats believe we can win the War on Drugs by educating the American public.

    “Who wants to learn how to use recreational drugs?” Ms. Snodgrass asks her fourth grade class.  “Well, today we are going to learn that you can get high from inhaling the fumes from the rubber cement that I keep in my desk.  But that it’s very bad for you health and you should never, ever do it.”

    You know what else parents tell kids?  That candy will rot their teeth and that television will turn their brains to mush.  Guess what?  It doesn’t work.  Kids love candy and TV and when they get older, they may develop a penchant for stogies and hash.  Some people, in life, will become drug abusers.  It’s time we let people have a little responsibility to do what they want with their life.

    I D.A.R.E. you to do these drugs.

    I D.A.R.E. you to do these drugs.

    4.  Democrats exploit blue collar workers.

    This is most aggravating during any kind of Democratic primary.  They would have you believe that all Democratic politicians came from nothing and then magically became successful politicians.  Let’s take John Edwards for example.  Edwards almost said the phrase “son of a mill worker” more than John Kerry mentioned his service in Vietnam during the 2004 elections.  Just because your dad was a blue collar worker, doesn’t mean you are “of the people.”  It just means that you had to sink to chasing ambulances in order to buy your first mansion.

    Fast forward to 2009.  Democrats control the House, the Senate, and the Presidency.  They are losing the message war on the Employee Free Choice Act, and they are doing it by not strongly objecting to the lies that surround the bill.  Claire McCaskill said in early March that she does not believe that they have the 60 votes that they will need.  If they grew a pair and told everyone in the country that the EFCA does not get rid of secret elections, then I think we could actually get somewhere with it.  I just have a funny feeling that there are a few Democratic Senators that do not want the bill to pass because…


    3.  Democrats pretend to avoid special interest groups in Washington.

    Barack Obama made several early campaign promises of being free from the strings of lobbyists.  Within weeks he passed a law that made it illegal for lobbyists to receive starring roles in the Presidential Cabinet…and then he broke the law 48 hours later.

    During the campaign, Obama claimed that he didn’t take any money from oil companies or from Washington lobbyists.  The first claim is misleading and the second is only half true.  It has been illegal for candidates to take any money directly from corporations since 1907, but Obama did take about $213,000 from oil company workers and their spouses.  It is true that Obama did not take any money from Federally Registered Lobbyists, but he did take money from people who work at lobbying firms, as well as their spouses.  (Source: FactCheck.org)

    A group of Republicans or Democrats protests the other partys politician.

    A group of Republicans or Democrats protests the other party's politicians.

    2.  Democrats whine about everything and are afraid to do what they say.

    When Democrats are out of power, they pound their chests for the rights of the little guy, for immediate withdrawal from Iraq, and against corporate cronyism in the Republican party.  But when they get into power, things change.  All of the sudden, several members of Congress are rethinking their position on the Employee Free Choice Act.  All of the sudden, we can’t leave Iraq until 2011.  All of the sudden, the CEOs have to stay because they are the only people on the planet that can save us from the economic clusterfuck.

    1.  The people who vote for the Democrats.

    This one hurts.  And I, just like you, have cringed when I walk into the voting booth.  But we’ve got to accept responsibility for the shitty politicians that we’ve given ourselves.

    My main problem with the electorate at large is that they view politicians as blank canvases on which they can project their personal ideals.  A successful politician need only offend the least number of people in order to win an election.  When was the last time you vote For someone more than you voted Against the opposition?

    Pundits in the media hurt the electorate more than we can bear.  By smearing 24-hour gossip-athons into our collective face, the media actually convinces us that we do care about the wolves in Alaska, or the pastors in Chicago, or the knocked up teenage daughter.  But if we lived next to the Palins/Obamas/McCains/Bidens it wouldn’t be an issue.  We’ve glorified our politicians right out of their basic humanity.

    But I’d hate to leave you on a downer…

    Let me tell you a story about a different kind of Democrat.  Harry Braun ran for President of the United States in 2004.  Braun had big ideas for America, which included building a fleet of 1 million windships.

    Two windships

    Two windships

    This may sound like batshit loony tunes Daily-Show-ready material right now.  But let Braun explain his idea:

    The Windship systems were developed by William Heronemus, an engineering professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Heronemus graduated from both the U.S. Naval Academy and MIT, and then served as a naval engineer and architect until his retirement in 1965. Note the tugboat at the base of the Windship that is delivering the crew that will live and work in the submerged spherical hulls. Given that each Windship will have a crew of approximately 10 people, the one million windships that will make the U.S. energy independent of all fossil and nuclear fuels will employ 10 million people in high-quality jobs. The hulls will also contain the electrolytic hydrogen production systems that will make hydrogen from the seawater with the electricity generated by the mast of wind turbines. (Braunforpresident.com)

    I like it.  It’s radical and I actually believe him.  It may cost a couple trillion dollars to construct the windships, but at least he is facing the energy crisis head-on.  Imagine the freedom of not having to rely on the whim of the Saudis in order to heat your home and put gas in your car.  We wouldn’t have to ruin our mountain landscapes with mine waste and we sure as shit wouldn’t have to fight in a war for resources.  Our energy plan would be completely sustainable into the foreseeable future.

    The media quickly dismissed Braun as a “fringe” candidate.  Maybe it’s just me, but he’s speaking more sanity than I’ve heard from a politician in a long time.

    -JL

    Lovable strippers to be Co-CEOs of Bank of America

    April 1, 2009

    Randi Newton and Katie Haverton, former Wall Streeters by day and strippers by night, have accepted President Obama’s request to act as Co-CEOs of the troubled Bank of America.  Kenneth Lewis will step down, receiving a $28 million golden parachute.

    Barb Wire was tough, but fair.

    Barb Wire was tough, but fair.

    Newton and Haverton know the Wall Street game well.  “I have experience as a financial analyst at Morgan Stanley,” Newton reads from her resumé, “And I’ve got a shitload of street cred.”  Newton contends that Bank of America has become troubled because they lost vision of the people on the ground.  “I think they need to listen to more hip hop,” Newton says.  “I learned a lot by the songs they used to play at Rick’s Cabaret.”

    Former real estate agent Katie Haverton will focus primarily on the company’s troubled CDO market.  “In my heyday, I sold a buttload of subprime mortgages.  I know how they work and what we can do, to get people to pay them.”  Haverton remains closely knit with the security staff Flash Dancers, the club she used to dance at in Midtown.  “I don’t think the police or the state needs to get involved with these mortgages.  If the people can’t pay them, I know who to call.”

    Newton still remains loyal to her club, but won’t have time to strip anymore.  “I’ve got a lot of work on my plate now,” she says.  But when asked if she will ever dance again, Newton remains steadfast, “There will be reunion shows.  Don’t mark your calendars quite yet, but you’ll be seeing these titties again before the next election.”

    RWP Rating: Crazy!

    Source: Midtown Harlot

    Quick Link: Pat Robertson says executive pay at AIG is “bullshit”

    April 1, 2009

    Reverend Pat Robertson of the 700 Club had some choice words for AIG executives this morning on his show.   A reporter from The Science Monitor contacted Robertson at his mansion later in the day and asked him to clarify his remarks.  “God says it harder for a rich man to get to heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.  What these people did, well, it’s bullshit!”

    RWP Rating: Crazy!

    Full Story: The Science Monitor