Tuesday, December 1, 2009

GOP and Govt Powers, Misquote it Baby, Stimulus Thoughts, Transparency or Obstructionism, and Pacifism Problems

Quick Hits for December 1, 2009

Ok, November was a slow month for various reasons, but the pace has been furious on our Twitter. Time to have a busy December:

* I am hearing pacifists on the left calling for extreme views of pulling out of Afghanistan, all foreign military bases, nationalizing the defense industries, and closing most domestic bases. All I can tell them is that they hurt the cause of the left just as much as the "birthers" hurt the cause of the right with these utopian pacifist views that have zero grounding in any pragmatic view of reality. I would love nothing more than to wish for "world peace" and have it happen, but that just isn't reality.

America needs a strong military, but that should not justify excursions like Iraq that were wrong from the start, or having a military presence in almost 200 countries, or covertly overthrowing governments around the globe, or numerous other acts. However, we do need our military, we must not forget that, though its budget is currently little more than a Neocon Welfare Program and Kickback Fund. Over $640 billion a year is way past any sensible defense budget.

* I have to admit I find it curious to see Senators like John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) talk about being worried about health care powers of government, but they also pushed some of the Patriot Act powers into DHS which essentially put in place the "camps" that the right is so worried about (yeah, it is a GOP power put in place, Democrats have no intentions of using them that I have ever read, but it makes you wonder why the GOP put it in place in the first place, doesn't it?). Maybe Senator Cornyn should worry about Presidential powers under Republican Presidents more instead of advocating a strong presidency under GW, and a weak presidency under a Democrat. Make up your mind Senator.

* Will the right ever fully get that they are shooting themselves in the foot with their credibility issues far more than their "philosophy" (I use the term loosely here because Reagan, George Will, etc. conservatives absolutely had one, but today's conservatives seem focused on power at all costs not some philosophy on how to run a nation). While Ann Coulter's books are often mocked for misquoting sources whenever you backtrack her footnotes (yes, I have done it on Lexis, would be amusing if it wasn't so pathetic), apparently Sarah Palin is setting a new standard of misquoting as the Huffington Post pointed out. Apparently, Palin attempted to quote UCLA basketball coach John Wooden to justify drilling for oil but instead altered the context and the quote of Native American activist John Wooden Legs, but neither ever advocated "Drill Baby Drill" as a philosophy and both probably rejected such a view. Apparently, her fact checkers never caught her gross misquote and distortion of context. Yeah, yeah, that is exactly what I want in a President . John McCain's saddest part of his legacy: Introduced the U.S. to Sarah Palin.

* It is interesting to listen to Republicans bash the stimulus package as a failure, but there are a few things that should be considered:

1. Some Republican Governors refused stimulus funds causing them to not be spent, limiting their impact. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy, refuse the funds and then shout about the failure of the funds that they refused. It sounds like the friend you offer money to, they insist they couldn't take it, then blame you for not giving them money to all of your friends as a sign of how bad you are. Sound familiar?

2. Most of the stimulus funds have not been spent so far. The Congressional Budget Office indicates only about $100 billion of the $787 billion have actually been spent so far (further indicating that this years deficit was almost exclusively GW's!), creating between 600,000 and 1.6 million jobs (which doesn't account for jobs that would have been lost). That means almost $700 billion has yet to be spent and have an impact.

3. Some Republican states would be in dire straits for their budgets if it was not for the federal stimulus dollars, like Texas who would have exhausted their reserves and have no budget answers for shortfalls other than raising taxes or cutting their already limited services. Remember, the GOP voted against it, and Rick Perry still insists they rejected the money that they took to stave off raising taxes.

* Apparently, all the GOP calls for "transparency" that are unprecedented, turning this Democratic Congressional and White House leadership into the most transparent in U.S. history, the GOP has decided that transparency isn't a big deal after all when the standard was flipped to have them post all of their amendments to bills online. Apparently, it was all about obstructionism and preventing Americans from getting health care, not really any concern about transparency. Who would have guessed?

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