Thursday, May 7, 2009

Who or What is Today's GOP?

Good Morning Readers! I want to talk about the strange goings-on in the GOP today, using Senator Arlen Specter and Rush Limbaugh as tools for our discussion. Let's just assume Specter is really a Republican. :)

I think they are very good examples of two very different, yet equally retarded, approaches to an evolving GOP electorate. Both represent a certain inertia within the party - neither seems to understand how to handle the changes going on around them.

Let's start with Rush Limbaugh, who we all know is known for his rude, insane remarks. It seems poignant he was caught this week being particularly insane while speaking to the Heritage Foundation. He joined the GOP leadership - and Justice Clarence Thomas - to JOKE about the recession. He spoke about how there is no recession if you want to work and make money - like him. He was more insensitive and insane than ever.

Incredibly, Limbaugh joked about the recession despite knowing that his fat paycheck is a big reason why his distribution partner Clear Channel - who pays almost all of his $400 million plus contract - had to layoff over 12% of its workforce. That's about 12,000 ditto-fed Americans. Most of the people in that audience knew it too, yet they still laughed and applauded. This type of GOP arrogance is outrageous! Limbaugh and his Heritage Foundation audience deserve scorn from the American people. Let's be honest, they are SCUM!

So, I want to use Limbaugh to represent one large segment of today's GOP. To me, he represents today's DEAF and DUMB Republicans. They may be numerous and vocal, but they are deaf and dumb by and large. They ignore the problems of today. They disregard claims that Americans are suffering. Take for example how Congressman Eric Cantor had to rename his "listening tour" this week a "teaching tour" after Limbaugh demanded it. Despite years of damage in their wake, this group of Republicans look to teach, or propagandize, not listen.

They also have many eccentricities. This is the crazy right that picks and chooses scientific evidence the way they pick and choose morality from the bible. This is part that says America is center-right, when all evidence suggests America is center-left. This is the part that sees tea-bagging as a movement, Sarah Palin as intelligent, hate speech as tough speech, dogs as cats and up as down. There's another way to describe this group, and that is the ends always justify the means. They are DEAF and DUMB, and capable of great damage. Oh yea, and Rush Limbaugh is their leader.

Now on to Arlen Specter. This week proves the man is a Republican. He may now be a Democrat, but he's still a Republican. So, what group does Specter represent? To me, they are the GREEDY SHEEP. They stay silent and avoid morality fights, while quietly fighting for power and wealth. George Bush disguised himself as a DEAF and DUMB Republican, but in reality he was a GREEDY SHEEP - or maybe a weird mixture.

They're the low-tax, leave-me-alone Republicans. They only want money and power, and morality is just a tool to manipulate the masses. In truth, this group doesn't give a rat's ass about the American people, or America. Gays, abortion, flag lapel pins and the like are nothing but wedge issues, to be used as blunt instruments to create division. They play chess with their power, and the American people are simply pawns in their game.

Interestingly, I think Barack Obama understands this group, and may beat them at their own game, but we'll have to wait and see.

They are "sheep" because they enjoy following a strong leader, or despot, as long as he or she leads them to money and power. As long as the Party waves the flag, keeps taxes low and projects power they're happy. Arlen Specter fits perfectly in this mode. His principles are all about money and power. He's a great example of a fiscally conservative, non-empathetic Republican. They're the your-on-your-own Republicans. Individualism and power at ALL COST!

The GREEDY SHEEP are also having trouble adapting to the changing electorate. I think Specter underestimated the importance of change in America today. I think the voters of Pennsylvania are more interested in new ideas and solutions than one old greedy sheep dog. Arlen Specter-like Republicans may be adapting slightly faster than Rush Limbaugh-like Republicans, but it's hard to see the difference. You might as well watch the grass grow.

Thursday's Political Rant - Michael


Infidel753 said...

Don't underestimate the appeal of small-government, strongly-nationalist conservatism. True, they've royally blown their credibility in that area with Bush's borrow-and-spend explosion and his lunges into invasion of privacy, but if they can ever convince the voters they're back on the wagon (and get the Christian Right nutters to shut up), they're likely to become a real electoral threat again.

Although only 21% of Americans self-identify as Republicans, 35% self-identify as conservatives. That gap of 14% is probably made up of leave-me-alone types who can't stomach the party just now because of all the gay-bashing and creationism and Limbaugh's regurgutations. They're a significant potential swing vote.

Infidel753 said...

Actually I'm curious where you got that graphic from.

by Michael Boh said...

I agree Infidel. I do not want to go so far as to suggest that "small government conservatives" are out-of-power forever - whether it's Republicans or Libertarians, but I do think the movement is conflicted and confused. I will admit - of course - I don't want them to succeed. I consider them politically dishonest.

Their "small government" crap is nothing but a smoke-screen. It harms millions of people (millions of Americans dying without health care means nothing to them). I stick by my "deaf and dumb" and "greedy sheep" categories, for it illustrates their basic motives. Most "conservatives" are movitated by and believe in only a few simple things: themselves, their God (sort of), and what government can do to help them (socialize the losses). Helping government (progressive policies) and other people (taxes) means nothing to them. They're selfish and regressive.

I think the rest of us (Democrats) believe government should help maintain a healthier society. The rest of us see how low taxes (future debt), small government (dangerous deregulation), and a strong defense (at the cost of all other concerns) can also be harmful if allowed to over-power the greater good. We're the Americans who understand that we now live in a more complicated, co-dependent world. We seek to solve the real problems of today. We understand that government can help - it's also the only organization big enough for the job. So, I do hope they remain conflicted and confused. It would help the greater good. Thx. MB

by Michael Boh said...

PS - Where I get most of my graphics - I just do a Google search and click on images. My search words that time were "GOP 2.0." To be honest, I was amazed there was a graphic for it. :)

Anonymous said...

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama sent Congress a detailed budget Thursday boasting of cutting or killing 121 federal programs in a belt-tightening he likened to that of most Americans in difficult times. But the trims amounted to a tiny fraction of the new spending he wants, and some have already been nixed by allies on Capitol Hill.

Obama said his cuts would amount to $17 billion — in a budget totaling well over $3 trillion for the fiscal year that begins in October. He's estimating the government's red ink will still be about $1.2 trillion, down only slightly from this year's all-time record.

Republicans scoffed that Obama's cuts were not nearly enough. "They appear to be a diversionary tactic — an effort to change the subject away from the unprecedented debt this budget heaps on future generations," said House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio.

On the other hand, some of Obama's proposed trims are recycled from George W. Bush's hit list and won't be popular with some Democrats. For instance, he proposed ending a $400 million-a-year program that pays states and counties for keeping illegal immigrants in their jails — a Bush idea rejected previously by the Democratic-controlled Congress.

The president defended proposed cuts that he portrayed as a mix of some "more painful than others."

"In Washington, I guess that's considered trivial. Outside of Washington, that's still considered a lot of money," he said. "But these savings, large and small, add up."

If there was a theme to Obama's cuts and spending initiatives, it was to continue to provide generous increases to domestic programs that had been squeezed during the eight years of the Bush administration while reviving oft-rejected Bush-era proposals to cut programs that critics say have outlived their usefulness but still have important support on Capitol Hill.

"What we're trying to do is reorient government activity toward things that work," said White House Budget Director Peter Orszag.

Obama proposed:

• Ending $26 billion in oil and gas industry tax breaks, which he called "unjustifiable loopholes" in the tax system that other industries do not get.

• Slashing almost in half a benefits program for the families of slain police and safety officers from $110 million to $60 million.

• Eliminating federal support for a $35 million-a-year radio-based marine navigation system rendered obsolete by the satellite-based Global Positioning System.

• Doing away with a $142 million program to help states pay to clean up abandoned mines.

• Abolishing an Education Department attache's post in Paris, at a savings of $632,000 per year.

He called for a $3 increase in per-segment air fare taxes starting in 2012, which would raise the maximum fee from $5 to $11 per trip as a way to finance airport security screenings

In over 1,500 pages, Obama sought to flesh out the bare-bones budget outline he submitted in February shortly after taking office. Both the House and Senate last week approved a $3.4 trillion budget blueprint reflecting most of Obama's priorities and clearing the way for new spending on health care, energy and education. More details are due from the White House next week.

On the spending side, Obama's new details emphasized substantial increases for his domestic priorities.

He proposed:

• Plowing $2 billion more into merit-based teacher pay to help failing schools turn around. He would spend $370 million on a successor to the Reading First literacy program, a key element of Bush's No Child Left Behind law.

• Spending an additional $584 million for pandemic flu efforts, on top of the $1.5 billion in emergency money for 2009 that he asked Congress for in the wake of the swine flu outbreak.

• Increasing child nutrition programs by $1 billion, partly to pay for a 20 percent increase in the number of food inspectors.

• Setting up a $1 billion program to develop or rehabilitate housing for the poor.

Obama proposed more money for the Labor Department to hire about 1,000 new employees, including 670 new investigators and other staffers to enforce safety, health, minimum wage, overtime and other laws.

"We'll begin to restore worker protection programs after years of decline," said Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

The relatively modest scope of Obama's proposed cuts — amounting to about one half of one percent of spending — led to a sometimes contentious briefing with White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.

"I've said this before, and I'll say it again: $17 billion is a lot of money to people in America. I understand that it might not be to some people in this town, but that's probably why we're sitting on a $12 trillion American Express bill," Gibbs said, referring to the $10.7 trillion national debt.

Jared Bernstein, Vice President Joe Biden's top economic aide, said in an interview that the value of the budget cuts goes beyond their monetary value. "We need to take that kind of close look, that kind of scrutiny, of all the government spending that we're doing," he said.

Fellow Democrats may well reject some of those revisions, including Obama's proposal to stop paying states and counties that keep illegal immigrants in their jails. He also proposed doing away with Even Start, a $66 million program to promote child literacy that the administration argues is not as effective as other early-childhood education programs like Head Start.

Bush had sought to end both programs — only to be rebuffed by the Democratic Congress.

Lawmakers from the potent California, New York and Florida delegations are sure to fight the proposed elimination of the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, the one that helps states house illegal immigrants in jails.

"None of this will be easy," Obama said, facing cameras at the White House with Orszag standing behind him.

Stanley Collender, a former congressional budget expert, said that $17 billion in cuts was significant in these recessionary times when increased spending is deemed to be more justified than usual. Furthermore, Obama had used the cuts to offset some of his proposed spending increases.

That was a nod to fiscally conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats, said Collender, now with Qorvis Communications, a Washington consulting firm.

"Are the cuts enough to balance the budget? No, of course not. But that wasn't the point," he said.

Despite redoubling its efforts to portray itself as tough on waste and spending, the administration and Congress have taken the nation on a steady course of higher federal spending. In rapid succession has come passage of a $787 billion economic recovery bill, a $410 billion omnibus appropriations bill and Congress' $3.4 trillion budget for next year, which calls for increases of almost 10 percent over current funding for non-defense agency budgets.

Even as Obama spoke, a key House panel was adding about $12 billion to his war-spending request.

Many items in the budget are about more than money.

It affirms the administration's prohibition on so-called warrantless wiretapping — the Bush administration electronic surveillance program.

And it would provide $197 million to find an alternative to the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste project in Nevada, another setback to the nuclear power industry from the administration — but a welcome gesture to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has long sought to block the project 90 miles from Las Vegas.

Obama said that Americans are tightening their belts in difficult times and want to know if Washington "is prepared to act with the same sense of responsibility."

"I believe we can and must do exactly that," Obama said.

Obama is claiming savings from eliminating a host of accounts typically earmarked by members of Congress such as a $10 million West Virginia highway project obtained by Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., and $15 million obtained by Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., for diesel emissions reduction grants.

In fact, some of the cuts, like terminating production of C-17 cargo aircraft and phasing out direct payments to farmers with sales exceeding $500,000 annually, have already been rejected by Obama's allies in Congress.

About half the budget savings would come from an effort by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to curb military programs, including ending production of the F-22 fighter and killing a much-maligned replacement helicopter fleet for the president that's way over budget.


Anonymous said...

WASHINGTON – Ten of the nation's largest financial firms need to raise $75 billion more to withstand the losses that would come with a deeper recession, the government said Thursday in a report card that found the banking system viable but still vulnerable.

The Federal Reserve, issuing the long-awaited results of its "stress tests" for banks, found nine of the firms are stable enough that they need no additional capital.

Among the 10 banks that need to raise more capital, Bank of America Corp. needs by far the most — $33.9 billion. Wells Fargo & Co. needs $13.7 billion, GMAC LLC $11.5 billion, Citigroup Inc. $5.5 billion and Morgan Stanley $1.8 billion.

The banks will have until June 8 to develop a plan and have it approved by their regulators. If they can't raise the money on their own, the government said it's prepared to dip further into its bailout fund.

The stress tests are a big part of the Obama administration's plan to fortify the financial system in the wake of last fall's credit crisis. As home prices fell and foreclosures increased, banks took huge hits on mortgages and mortgage-related securities they were holding.

Last fall, the government approved $700 billion to bail out banks and embarked on a series of historic government rescues, including the takeovers of mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and insurer American International Group Inc.

The government hopes the stress tests will restore investors' confidence that not all banks are weak, and that even those that are can be strengthened. They have said none of the banks will be allowed to fail.

The five other firms found to need more of a capital cushion are all regional banks — Regions Financial Corp. of Birmingham, Ala.; SunTrust Banks Inc. of Atlanta; KeyCorp of Cleveland; Fifth Third Bancorp of Cincinnati; and PNC Financial Services Group Inc. of Pittsburgh.

Among the banks that the government did not ask to raise more capital were JPMorgan Chase & Co., brokerage house Goldman Sachs Group Inc., insurer MetLife Inc. and credit card companies Capital One Financial Corp. and American Express Co.

Together, the 19 firms that took the test hold two-thirds of the assets and half the loans in the U.S. banking system.

Some of the firms that need more capital were quick to announce strategies for how to get it. Wells Fargo & Co. and Morgan Stanley announced they were selling stock, and Citigroup Inc. said it would convert preferred shares — a form of debt — into common stock.

The tests found that if the recession were to worsen, losses at the 19 stress-tested firms during 2009 and 2010 could total $600 billion. Of those losses, $185.5 billion would be from mortgages, $82.4 billion from credit card loans and $53 billion from commercial real estate loans — the loans on banks' books that analysts say are now most vulnerable to default.

"Looking at the big picture, you can say that things aren't so bad for the financial industry as a whole," said Kevin Logan, chief U.S. economist at Dresdner Kleinwort.

But Logan said attracting fresh capital will be a challenge for banks that need it.

"The banking industry is not going to make a lot of money going forward, and that's a dilemma for keeping banks solvent and getting them lending," he said.

Large and regional bank stocks mostly rallied in after-hours trading as investors showed relief over the results. Bank of America Corp. rose 9.2 percent to $14.75, while JPMorgan Chase & Co. gained 1.5 percent to $35.77. Fifth Third Bancorp advanced 23.4 percent to $6.60, while Boston's State Street Corp. jumped to $40.90, a gain of 8.1 percent.

The government's unprecedented decision to publicly release bank exams has led some critics to question whether the findings are credible. Some said regulators seemed so intent on sustaining public confidence in the banks that the results would have to find the banks basically healthy, even if some need to raise more capital.

Jaidev Iyer, a former risk management chief at Citigroup, said regulators are playing to public expectations, which could put the government in the role of creating "winners and losers." Because the government has said it won't let any firm fold, taxpayers may wind up on the hook.

"If there is in fact no appetite to let losers fail, then the real losers are the market at large, the government and the taxpayers," Iyer said.

In the tests, the Fed put banks through a scenario that imagines the recession would worsen: that joblessness would hit 10.3 percent next year and house prices would fall more than 22 percent.

Some analysts have questioned whether the tests were rigorous enough. For example, economists expect the jobless rate to approach or exceed 10 percent by year's end — and to go higher next year — even if the recession doesn't worsen.

A steeper downturn would make it harder for consumers and businesses to repay loans, which would cause banks' assets to lose value. The government is forcing the banks to keep their capital reserves up so they can keep lending even if the economic picture darkens.

The tests measured bank reserves based on what's known as common equity, the value of a company's common stock and profits. Some of the banks have big enough reserves by traditional measures but fall short by this narrower standard.

"It's not really stressful, so how could it be a stress test?" said Simon Johnson, a former chief economist with the International Monetary Fund and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "This makes it seem like we're not having a financial crisis at all."

Johnson said some bank executives have told him they already are losing more money on commercial real estate loans than the tests estimated even under the harsher economic scenario.

The stock market has cheered the results, he said, because the message is that the government will continue supporting the banks no matter what it costs.

Another criticism of the stress tests is that they did not address a key problem confronting banks: The troubled mortgage assets on their books are making it hard for them to resume normal lending.

Banks that need capital have several options. Some would be able to close the gap by converting the government's debt into common stock.

"These tests will help ensure that banks have a sufficient capital cushion to continue lending in a more adverse economic scenario," said Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. "They will provide the transparency necessary for individuals and markets to judge the strength of the banking system."

Describing the purpose of the tests, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said at a news conference with Geithner, "This is to make sure banks have enough capital to offset the losses we know are coming in the next couple of years."


Anonymous said...

Yep you got it right Boh, Limbaugh is insane a man who is making millions of dollars while a weasel like yourself is making? Nothing off of this fucking blog of yours...go figure

Infidel753 said...

You know, Michael, this gizmo does have a comment moderation feature.....If Ms. Onymous wants to keep doing the irrelevant-mega-cut-and-paste thing, she really should get her own blog instead of using yours as toilet paper.....

Anonymous said...

by Michael Boh said...

I know Infidel, and I've come very close to resetting it a few times due to the Anons of this world, but I haven't done it yet. I guess he/she/it hasn't pissed me off that much yet. I will admit he/she/it is getting close. Let's just say that it's an option. :)

Oh, Anon, I will delete your CRAP if you don't write it personally. I don't want you posting CRAP on here. Stick to the subject.

As to your latter more personal, rude comment Anon, I do fine in life. I don't need to make money off this blog. I don't write this blog for money or attention, but to encourage people to work together to create a better world. I'm sure you don't even understand that kind of positive energy. You're pretty much a negative, lost cause.

Oh yes, and Limbaugh is a disgusting, greedy swine-like creature who deserves his lonely, selfish lifestyle. I'm sure his Florida mansion and golden taps make him very happy for now, but will they always? If he never evolves to appreciate more than just greedy, materialistic pursuits than he's pretty much a lost cause. He will probably die a fat, greedy, lonely, terrified scrooge of a man. Not unlike most selfish right-wingers.

Btw, before you accuse me of being a jealous, Democrat-welfare-hippie who survives on government handouts, I'M NOT asshole! I don't need to make money from this blog because I do just fine. I live in Beverly Hills 90210 and have a very comfortable, happy life. Oh yes, and before you accuse me of being blue state elitist, I'M NOT! I put my money and back into helping create a better community. That's what good Democrats do. So keep your GOP bullshit cliches to yourself - they don't work on most of us.

How about you my cowardly anonymous friend? I would bet that success and charity are foreign to your nature. Instead of just admiring success like in Limbaugh and other greedy Republicans, why not try to achieve it? My advice is to start by changing your negative nature. It comes across highly toxic. Who knows, perhaps good things would follow.

Jesus spoke a lot about sharing. Why not try it, you may like it! It's good for the soul. It helps to become a Democrat and care for others instead of just your money and your STUFF. You would also be wise to look for new role models. The Limbaughs and Hannitys of this world lie to you and everybody. They don't give a damn about anybody but themselves - they USE people like you as pawns in their game. WAKE UP! Stop acting like a fool. MB

by Michael Boh said...

Hello Readers - Anon posted another BS non-personal comment that I was forced to delete. As I said earlier, I was getting near my limit. I changed the settings so that anonymous "people" cannot comment. I'm sorry, but he/she/it doesn't respect our wishes to refrain from posting CRAP! I hope you continue to visit and read our more productive debates. :) Thanks - Michael

Infidel753 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Infidel753 said...

Ms. Onymous: Yep you got it right Boh, Limbaugh is insane a man who is making millions of dollars.....

It has always been possible to get rich by spouting nonsense that large numbers of dim-witted people find fascinating. Look at Erich von Däniken and Deepak Chopra and the people who write all that drivel about the Bermuda Triangle. Limbaugh is really engaged in a similar form of hucksterism.

Michael: Limbaugh.....will probably die a fat, greedy, lonely, terrified scrooge of a man.

I'd always pictured him as eventually getting so bloated that he suffers gravitational collapse and becomes a black hole.....

ghostrider6265 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Infidel753 said...

With all due respect, I still think comment moderation is a better solution. Anybody can create an account with whatever name they choose in about two minutes, and be back to posting cut-and-pasted slabs of stale crud in your comments section without being "anonymous". I never get that kind of stuff on my blog because people know that if they violate the comments policy (no insults, threats, profanity, or irrelevance), their bleatings just won't appear, even momentarily. I don't mind anonymous people as long as they've got something worthwhile to say.

But -- your blog, your turf, your rules.

ghostrider6265 said...

THIS MESSAGE HAS BEEN APPROVED BY THE GHOSTRYDER..........Is Obama following the British Labor Party's playbook from the 60s on how they "saved" the British auto industry. What happened to Austin, Austin Healey, Morris, Wolseley, Riley, MG, Triumph & Hillman? They were all rolled into BMC - British Motor Cars, the government owned national auto mfg, which then died a slow death burning up untold millions of £.
If it were not for Margaret Thatcher who stopped the unions, Britain would have gone to the dogs.

by Michael Boh said...

Infidel - I still think it was a good suggestion and a good change. At least we get to see if all the inane posts are from Ghostrider6265 or if we're burdened by multiple extremists. Btw GR6265, I'll still delete your crap if you become too much of a nuisance. We never did anything to you, so I see no reason why you should resort to harrassing the visitors of this blog. Have a good day - Michael