Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
McCain pulled an Obama and walked out on stage a day early to be seen with Miss VP. Missing from the wardrobe was the all important flag lapel pin which the Republicans have deemed necessary in order to prove you don't hate America.
What were the speeches about? Well, just take the speeches from 2004 and replace 9/11 with POW and you have them all. As for Sarah Palin's all you need to do is listen to all the Republican talking points from any Fox News show. She repeated them all. Don't expect anything original, much less honest, from the Republican party, they ran out of ideas after Lincoln.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Why mention what's happening at the Grand Old Pedophile's Klan rally since it's not related to Kansas? Well because fascism doesn't remain locked inside a border and pro-McCain Kansas would welcome jackbooted thugs breaking down doors to hunt for imaginary enemies of the state.
I looked at the list of items they considered to be terrorist tools and I have plenty. I have empty bottles, because I recycle and bottles go into the recycle bin. I have paint because I plan on repainting the bedroom. I have an axe and machete because I needed to cut limbs from the huge ice storm a couple years back. I have nails and screws because of home repair needs. I have gasoline because I run a lawnmower. I have a computer, I'm using it right now to tell you how much of a threat to America that I am. Yes, these are some of the items mentioned on search warrants by the Republican Brownshirts that raided homes of people using their First Amendment right to peacefully assemble.
I went to Denver the week before the convention and there was a noticable police absence. Denver didn't need to resort to a police state and, despite that, they managed to prevent an assassination attempt on future President Barack Obama by White supremicist Republicans (who naturally don't face charges, unlike the guy who said he didn't like Cheney's policies).
Thankfully Wichita has never gotten as bad as Minneapolis. Sure, I've been harassed by police for carrying signs that bore some message protesting Cheney,Bush and/or Tiahrt. I've been stalked and videotaped by the local police for the "crime" a speaking out against war criminals but I have yet to get my door knocked down by police. However allowing fascism to spread happens through negligence and by supporting fascists for office. It's no surprise which political party has spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on protecting America from Americans. It's no surprise which party turned spy satellites on it's people or formed a privatized spy program, or funds Blackwater to kill people in New Orleans who simply wanted to survive a flood. John McCain, Todd Tiahrt, and the other Republican goons have expressed their contempt for the American people and they can't wait to fulfill Prescott Bush's dream of a fascist America.
Protect America, elect a Democrat.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Graffiti is a problem in my neighborhood with annoying tagging on street signs, houses, and fences. In an effort to combat graffiti on utility poles a local artist was enlisted to paint a mural of Jesus Christ on one of the poles. The Wichita Police Department, while on the public dole, aided in this process although the entire event was claimed to be free of taxpayer support. Not like that is really necessary since the Council approved of a religious theme despite numerous court ruling prohibiting the endorsement of religion by a government body.
Not only is the act a violation of the First Amendment to the Federal Constitution prohibiting promotion of religion, it is a violation of the 7th Amendment to the Kansas Bill of Rights which clearly states: nor shall any person be compelled to attend or support any form of worship; nor shall any control of or interference with the rights of conscience be permitted, nor any preference be given by law to any religious establishment or mode of worship.
So where does one go to complain about a crime committed by the local government and the police department? I've contacted the Freedom From Religion Foundation and plan on contacting the American Civil Liberties Union with the hope of establishing a lawsuit which will sue for the removal of the government endorsed religious graffiti. The city should have been aware that such a blatant disregard for the Constitutions would result in a costly lawsuit, but seeing that they are more than happy to toss taxpayer money away to movie theaters, arenas and private airline companies, I doubt they really care.
Freedom From Religion Foundation
American Civil Liberties Union
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Then Bush was appointed to office despite losing the popular and electoral vote. Not to fear, we had economic conservatives like Tiahrt, Brownback and Roberts ready to undue the "tax and spend" liberals who were destroying the economy. Well, if you take Greenspan's view destroying the economy means budget surpluses, higher wages and low unemployment.
Eight years later Bush promises to leave us with nearly an $800 billion budget deficit taking the national debt over $10 trillion dollars. Yup, Bush and the economic conservatives managed to create a larger debt than Bush Sr. and Reagan combined.
Tax and spend liberals got replaced with borrow and spend conservatives. Our nation's infrastructure falls apart and the conservatives solution is to privatize the commons. Need road repair? Simple, sell your roads to Spain and pay a toll the moment you step out of your driveway. Why have a public water system that has provided clean, inexpensive water? Simply sell it through a no-bid contract to a company that donates heavily to the Republican party and have your rates increase as CEOs skim 20% off the top for profits. Folks like McCain demand we privatize social security although he doesn't advocate that position ever since the stock market went back to 2000 levels (you know, when Clinton left office and Bush took over).
So what does Tiahrt propose to turn back his years of economic failure? Nothing new, the usual, tax cuts, removing tariffs, and keeping consumers from suing businesses that taint their products with toxins. Just the same crap that Republicans have been pushing that helped us get into this problem.
Huge tax cuts for the rich and corporations have only put more tax burden on the working people. To deal with tax shortfalls the country borrows more money from Saudi Arabia and China so we can pay back that money with interest. Tiahrt wants to cut more taxes and borrow more so we can have larger budget deficits.
Tiahrt wants to reduce trade barriers so we can send more jobs overseas. Tariffs keep jobs in America, but Tiahrt wants to tax labor rather than tax consumption. Does it make sense that a tv in America should cost as much as one made in China? Nope. Increasing tariffs means imported electronics will cost the same as ones made in America but your purchase of an American television will mean the money and jobs stay in America. As it is if we make a car in America and send it to China we pay a 20% tariff. But if a car is made in China and sent to America they pay a 2% tariff. No wonder so many jobs are sent overseas, but Tiahrt wants more of that.
And lastly, Tiahrt's call to end "frivolous lawsuits". One example of a frivolous lawsuit is the people in Alaska whose lives were ruined by Exxon's massive oil spill. They fought for years in court, all the way to the Supreme Court for compensation. Some people didn't even live that long to see the culmination. The end result was the Supreme Court reduced the damages Exxon had to pay to the equivalent of a couple weeks profit, $507 million. When Tiahrt refers to justices "legislating from the bench" he solely means those justices who decide in the favor of the people, not the corporations.
Senator Betts offers real solutions to deal with the economic problems. Increase regulations to prevent things like the banking disasters (Tiahrt voted for the deregulation which led to the problem), increase barriers to protect American jobs which will also bring in more revenue to reduce the deficit, and eliminate the cost Iraq occupation which Tiahrt supports.
Republicans like Tiahrt have made being a fiscal conservative more like a child who inherits his grandparents mansion and millions of dollars to simply blow the money on liquor and whores and never once maintain the upkeep of the mansion, leaving that to his own grandkids.
No, the best thing is to be called an economic liberal since it leads to prosperity. Since Tiahrt is a Christian and constantly reminds everyone of that fact let's turn to his Bible and what it says about liberals:
"The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful. For the vile person will speak villainy, and his heart will work iniquity, to practice hypocrisy, and to utter error against the Lord, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail. The instruments of the churl are evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speak right. But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand." (Isaiah 32:5-8 KJV)
Well, yeah, the Bible certainly says Tiahrt isn't a liberal.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Giroux, a Catholic and mother of nine receiving public assistance, has made a small name for herself in the reich-wing nuttery of the anti-abortion movement. She accused Abraham Foxman, of the Anti-Defamation League of hate crimes for not absolutely loving Mel Gibson's snuff film about an Aryan Jesus. On an episode of the comedy show Scarborough Country Jennifer said it's too bad that the Jews killed Christ but we can't do anything about it now. That suffered a rebuke from Rabbi Shmuley Boteach,
"What bothers me, Jennifer, is that you‘re an ignorant peasant who doesn‘t even know Christian text, for God‘s sake.
What the New Testament said is that the high priest, who was a Sadducee, who was an agent of Rome, who worked directly for Pontius Pilate, had a problem with Jesus and reported him to Pilate and had him killed. "
Jennifer responded by condemning him to Hell for not being a Christian.
More nuttery ensues as on Jennifer's organization's website she asks for the Catholic Church to refuse the Communion to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius for her support of reproductive freedom. The Catholic Church is opposed to contraception and abortion even in cases where the woman would be killed as in a tubal pregnancy. However, there is no similar condemnation for Phill Kline who supports the death penalty which is in violation of the Church's position. This clearly indicates that Jennifer is using religion to advance her political ambitions rather than simply being a follower of the church.
Why should any of this be an issue? After all, Kline is going to get his ass handed to him in the election. I'm just saying it's nice to see what sort of people Kline surrounds himself with and expose the agenda of the far reich in Kansas politics.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Let's look at the basic facts and show why Tiahrt has no solutions. First off America provides 2% of the global reserves for oil. America also consumes 25% of the world's oil production. Unless Tiahrt can produce a long enough straw to suck Saudi Arabia's milkshake we will never produce enough oil to get us off of foreign oil nor will our meager reserves have an affect on the global market price for oil. However, given that we consume so much if we were to reduce our consumption then that would have a grander and more immediate affect.
When you figure that 70% of our oil consumption goes towards transportation the smartest thing to do would be to increase fuel efficiency in our automobiles. When it comes to leadership on reducing our consumption by increased fuel efficiency Tiahrt has failed us. He has continually voted against higher CAFE standards. All the while when Republicans were in the majority in Congress higher CAFE standards were voted down. It wasn't until Democrats took the majority in Congress was there a minor increase in the standards but even those were watered down in order to get a majority vote in the Senate where there are only 49 Democrats. When higher standards were proposed in the Clinton administration the Republicans responded by passing measures to block any higher standards. This is the leadership Republicans like Senator McCain, Roberts and Rep. Tiahrt have shown over the years. They kept us in this mess and it will take Democratic leadership to fix the problems Republicans caused, yet again.
Right now the oil companies are sitting on numerous approved drilling permits that they have refused to exploit. More land is set aside for drilling than has been set aside for wind and solar combined. Companies like Exxon have been sitting on permits in the Alaskan North Slope for over 30 years and when Alaska tried to get the unused leases back Exxon sued.
The entire purpose for the oil companies wanting more leases is to generate claims of higher reserves which increases their company's stock value. Currently oil companies are using their excess profits for stock buy back programs which increases the value of the stock. The largest shareholders in companies like Exxon are the Board of Directors so they are just making themselves richer while you pay more at the tank. The secondary effect of hogging up more leases is it prevents independent wildcatters from getting in on the action. When the large companies can dominate the supply they have more control over the price. Have you ever heard of a company complaining it had too much money and just lowered prices out of charity?
Drilling in ANWR will reduce gas prices by a penny per gallon once that oil hits the market. It's expected to hit the market in about 10 years so drilling in ANWR isn't an immediate solution, it isn't a solution at all. Tiahrt promises it will result in cheaper gas, then again, the oil from Iraq was supposed to be $20 a barrel now since we invaded.
The quickest solution is to increase efficiency. Improved aerodynamics, low rolling resistance tires, carbon fiber bodies, integrated battery assistance, plug in hybrids, all electric cars, these are all technologies that we currently have that can reduce oil demand. Just like America rapidly transformed its economy to deal with the fascist threat so too can America convert to a more efficient economy.
Tiahrt has proven his failure in leadership. He has continually voted against higher fuel efficiency standards, he has voted against financing research into alternative energy, and he stands beside Bush while he threatens oil producing nations with war thereby causing commodity traders to increase the price of oil on Wall Street. Given his record of failure the best alternative is to support Donald Betts, who, along with Senator Obama, have a plan to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and truly lower gas prices.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Phil Kline, who is running for District Attorney of Johnson County, is going to have a difficult time maintaining his seat. He was appointed to the position following a massive defeat for state Attorney General at the hands of Paul Morrison. Kline barely won the majority vote of Johnson County Republican precinct members because many level headed Republicans (i.e. those who didn't vote for Kline) found him abhorrent, ineffective and plain looney based upon his record as Grand Inquistor of the state of Kansas.
As a result of his difficult bid for office the criminal terrorist group Operation Rescue has once again thrown their support behind him. Previously, in order to maintain their tax-exempt status, they hid behind a PAC called Kansans For Truth in Politics which was staffed solely by Operation Rescue members. However, since losing their tax-exempt activity by illegally campaigning for pResident Bush against President elect John Kerry, they have been more forthcoming with their political agenda.
Operation Rescue wants Kline to finish his persecution of Planned Parenthood which he had started while Attorney General. Much like their case against Doctor George Tiller (who underwent a wasteful taxpayer paid grand jury trial) there is no evidence to prosecute Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is suing Kline for Kline's misuse of private patient medical records which he took home after being voted out of his Attorney General position.
I highly doubt Kline will keep his seat following this next election. Being backed by a criminal terrorist organization isn't going to help matters. When one is trying to be portrayed as the pinnacle of law and order and sides with a criminal group then the message is effectively lost.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Slattery, a moderate Democrat, is Roberts challenger and polls have him running close to Roberts. Perhaps Brewer ought to be a little more mindful to the party that helped him get into office by helping his fellow Democrat to unseat Roberts. Or is Brewer going the Lieberman route and turning his back on his party and going to announce he's an "independent" now?
Thursday, July 10, 2008
The Wichita government, all converts to Republican supply side economics, figures it can create demand for a product simply by creating it. It is bound to be as successful as Soviet shoe manufacturers that manufacture only one size of shoe. The government has approved the $6 million dollar interest free loan (which will eventually cost the taxpayers over $7 million) to Bill Warren to invest more in his failing Old Town movie theater.
The belief by the government is that if there is a theater in Old Town then people will flock to Old Town. Never mind the fact that the Old Town theater is more expensive and there are numerous other theaters around town that don't offer the milieu of drunks. It is expected that simply having a supply of a product will instantly provide a demand. If that Reagan economic policy works then we can create a horse and buggy manufacturing empire and draw in millions of dollars.
The fiasco that is the taxpayer financed private theater follows on the heels of a similar disaster, the taxpayer financed arena which won't be too far away from Warren's theater. The arena is also expected to create demand simply by being there. The leaders in our government believe that people will be willing to spend money at the arena then follow with spending money at a theater then spend some more money at local eateries.
Perhaps someone failed to tell our elected officials that America is going through a recession right now. America has an unemployment rate of 10-12% and inflation in double digits. Companies like Starbucks, which appeals to luxury spending, is closing 600 stores, and auto manufacturers are closing down development of SUVs and trucks in favor of more economical cars. This is a sign people are being more thrifty with their spending. If people can't spend four dollars on a carmel macchiatto, then they aren't going to spend $8 on a ticket to watch Home Alone 12: The Retirement Years, nor are they going to spend $50 on seeing some cookie cutter teen idol.
However the Wichita government has this grand plan that their multi-million dollar investments into entertainment are going to pay off big time. Let's add to the problem that the government of Sedgwick County is planning on raising the sales tax in order to give a property tax break to companies and those people living in McMansions they can't afford to live in. They know the people are willing to pay an extra 1% in sales tax after we paid it to pay for the arena. So now that movie or arena ticket is going to cost a little bit more, further discouraging people from attending these venues.
Kiss that corporate welfare goodbye, you won't be making anything back from your investment. The only ones profiting are those picking up their welfare checks that you worked hard to put into their hands.
So maybe I was wrong, there is a good analogy about Nero fiddling while Rome burns. Our elected officials won't be playing a fiddle while our economy burns, they may just take in a movie.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
As a co-sponsor of H.R. 5740, a bipartisan bill that provided the base concepts for the expanded educational coverage, I am very pleased these benefits were included in the GI Bill expansion. And unlike previous versions of the provision, these much-deserved GI benefits are not linked to a tax increase on small businesses.
Helping veterans more quickly integrate into the private sector following a tour of duty is something we should all support.One problem, Tiahrt originally voted against the bill.
The bill, the creation of Democratic Senator Jim Webb expanding GI Bill benefits to help veterans deal with the rising costs of a college education. The bill would retroactively benefit those veterans who served at the beginning of the illegal Iraqi occupation. Tiahrt opposed the bill because it would require a 1/2% tax on those earning more than $50,000. Tiahrt figured the veterans weren't worth it and that people shouldn't be taxed to pay for a war. The revised version which Tiahrt support just takes the funding out of the general war fund, for which we are still taxed for but it will simply mean more deficit spending so we get to pay for the education benefits plus the interest on the money we borrow from the Chinese.
Back when the bill was called H.R. 2702 Tiahrt voted against it. If Tiahrt believes what he says, that we should support veterans with educational benefits, then why did he vote against such benefits and later support them? It's obvious. The bill was so overwhelmingly popular and would have passed whether or not he voted against it he might as well jump on the backwagon and take credit for something he opposed. Tiahrt doesn't want to look like someone who hates veterans right before an election. Trust that Tiahrt will vote against veterans the day following a successful re-election.
Tiahrt takes the 4th District voters for suckers. Then again, McCain is pulling out the same tricks claiming he supported the bill he opposed all along.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
The Bush regime and his talking heads argued that they didn't have the time to bother with a warrant because they were fighting terrorism. Never mind that the current law allows the government agency to get a warrant after the wiretap has begun, but the NSA got the telecoms to spy before 9/11, the very act we'd think they were trying to prevent. The only reason not to get a court order is because they had no legal justification to spy on people, like Nixon having his staff break into the Democratic offices in the Watergate Hotel.
Well it appears Boyda and Moore decided to stand with the Republicans to excuse Bush's illegal behavior and grant him executive powers not permitted by the Constitution. They claimed giving Bush everything he wants is a "compromise". The only thing compromised are Democratic values and the Constitution.
There can be no defense that such broad powers are needed for national security. Since Bush has been appointed to office vegans, peace groups, anarchist bookstores, environmental groups, Quakers and Democrats have been spied on merely for political reasons. Are we to trust the Bush regime with these new powers and to believe they used them for honorable purposes in the past? Boyda and Moore seem to think so.
It's sad that in an election year some Democrats want to run as if they are a Republican. If a voter has a choice between a Republican and a Republican they tend to vote Republican. If a Democrat thinks voting like a Republican is necessary to keep their seat in Congress then I'd prefer they lose it for doing what's right rather than keep it and mock the letter 'D' that comes after their name.
For his part Democratic candidate for President Barak Obama is hinting that he'll sell out the Constitution as well. He says he'll work to strip the telecom immunity from the bill but if he's not successful I'd like to see a filibuster like Senator Dodd did last time FISA came up for a vote. I was planning on making a donation to his campaign, but if Obama votes for immunity then I'll just forward it to the ACLU if he decides to vote in Bush's favor.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Sadly the City of Wichita has approved of the idea of giving a corporate welfare handout to multi-millionaire Bill Warren. A $6 million interest free loan to reward Bill for poorly running his business. In an article in the Wichita Eagle John Rayburn repeated what I mentioned in the previous post which should be common sense to anyone on the City Council,
1) Corporate welfare to Gander Mountain which has a history of losing money without taxpayer support
2) Corporate weflare to Airtran despite a history of airline companies losing money
3) Corporate weflare to construction companies, etc to build an unnecessary arena in the middle of the city exactly where a new arena would be a bad idea and drive business away from other businesses in the area.
4) Corporate welfare for Lowe's and other companies by destroying the wetlands in Western Wichita and putting Wichita at higher risk for flooding, then using taxpayer dollars to create an artificial, and therefore worthless, wetlands elsewhere.
Remember this the next time the city complains about budget shortfalls and a need to increase taxes. I'm sure they'll create some claim for needing to raise taxes for the common good when the end result is sending the money into the hands of the wealthy.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
He's done pretty well. Recently he opened up a new theater in Oklahoma. The guy is pretty wealthy having dominated their theater market in Wichita with his gaudy theaters and underpaid employees. However his theater in downtown Wichita, located in the Old Town area isn't doing to well so he's asking for a handout.
Taxpayers paid $4 million to upgrade the Old Town district to create an attractive venue for locals. I believe the old Coleman factory was located in the place that was torn down and redeveloped into a small park surrounded by restaurants and small shops. A new parking garage was built and Bill Warren was granted this premo spot.
But Bill is whining that he's not making enough to pay off his debts so he wants a $6 million dollar loan, interest free for the first five years then granted the ultra low interest rate of 1.25% after. He also wants parking fees to be reduced which will cost the city $7,500 in lost revenue.
So why is this a bad deal? Simple. With that sort of interest rate Bill never needs to pay back the loan. He can simply put the money into an offshore account with a higher interest rate and pocket the earnings from the interest. After the first five years he can keep on making money even when he is paying off the interest to the city. He won't have to drop a single dime into his theaters for upgrades as the interest will more than make up for the loss of revenue at the theater.
Bill gets richer at taxpayer expense. That's how the rich get richer and you get poorer. If Bill can't run the theater then let the city foreclose on it and turn it into a casino. That'll bring in the cash and casino jobs pay a lot better than crappy minimum wage theater jobs.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Kansas Republicans are still pushing for two heavily polluting coal plants and the coal lobbyists are spending like mad to bribe Republicans to remain loyal. Down in Texas one man invested two billion dollars in a huge windfarm that will generate hundreds of new jobs and fill Texas coffers with revenue from clean energy. Kansas could follow by investing heavily in wind and exporting that clean energy while not reaping any negative effects from pollution. However we are infected with men who lack vision.
Roberts is up for re-election and is being challenged by Jim Slattery who supports clean energy and investing in Kansas.
I just received a lovely form letter from Roberts explaining his justification for voting against Kansas' interests:
My record shows that I support incentives for renewable energy production. However, late last year the tax package accompanying the Energy Independence and Security Act used tax increases on other energy industries to pay for the wind and solar energy incentives. I disagreed with that particular offset. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee with jurisdiction over tax policy, I will continue to work to support tax credits for renewable energy production with appropriate offsets.
Well that's lovely, he supported the extension before voting against it. That's like telling your wife for her anniversary that he fully supported getting her flowers until he found out that he'd have to pay for them. But rest assured dear that in the future I will seriously consider your desire for flowers.
Can we blame Roberts for selling out Kansas? After all, the investments would have been paid for by taxing the top five oil companies. Exxon-Mobil made $41 billion in profits therefore they desperately needed the tax breaks. Sounds like Roberts had no problem giving Exxon flowers.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
However he looks a lot different in person:
Is it that he doesn't want the public to know what a person looks like after their soul has been sucked out by serving corporate interests over the interests of the people?
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Here is the section I was referring to:
"Part III: Other Domestic Source Requirements - (Sec. 826)Exempts from Buy American requirements procurements: (1) outside the United States in support of contingency operations; (2) for which other than competitive procedures have been approved which relate to unusual and compelling urgency of need; and (3) of waste and byproducts of cotton and wool fiber for use in the production of propellants and explosives.
(Sec. 828) Provides a Buy American requirement exception with respect to ball and roller bearings prepared for use in foreign products."The definition of a contingency operation from the free dictionary:
A military operation that is either designated by the Secretary of Defense as a contingency operation or becomes a contingency operation as a matter of law (10 United States code (USC) 101[a]). It is a military operation that: a. is designated by the Secretary of Defense as an operation in which members of the Armed Forces are or may become involved in military actions, operations, or hostilities against an enemy of the United States or against an opposing force; or b. is created by definition of law. Under 10 USC 101 (a)(13)(B), a contingency operation exists if a military operation results in the (1) callup to (or retention on) active duty of members of the uniformed Services under certain enumerated statutes (10 USC Sections 688, 12301(a), 12302, 12304, 12305, 12406, or 331-335); and (2) the callup to (or retention on) active duty of members of the uniformed Services under other (non-enumerated) statutes during war or national emergency declared by the President or Congress.
Therefore what Harms is ignoring is the stated exemption that the military can buy materials from outside the United States if those materials may be used in military operations. The only exception is ball bearings. Boeing doesn't just provide ball bearings, but if that's what Harms intended then yes, Tiahrt did vote to protect that huge ball bearing industry in Wichita.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
In fact the Republicans have no problem when taxpayer funds have to be used for Bush's fundraising event for Nick Jordan. Hundreds of police are being stationed throughout the town to protect President Bush from seeing any uprising of free speech.
The Republicans are in a bind having lost three seats to Democrats in heavily Republican districts. They believe Kansas, once a solidly Republican state, is going to lose more seats to Democrats. As a result there have been a rash of fundraisers. Karl Rove came out before his latest call to testify before Congress about his crimes, Senator Bob Dole came over because he probably left something in Kansas and came by to pick it up before leaving to North Carolina, and now Bush plans on using the power of his 28% approval rating to get support for Jordan.
Jordan needs all the money from rich people he can get, otherwise he might have to run on his record. He supports unending war in Iraq (as long as he doesn't have to serve), no health care for children, no money for public education, higher gas taxes and pulling the red carpet out for oil and coal companies.
Judging by Jordan's FEC filings a lot of his contributors have maxed out their contribution limit. If he doesn't find more supporters he'll have to go the McCain route and pretend to have supporters, even if they are wearing pro-Obama shirts.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Tiahrt would like to claim a past voting record where he has aided farmers. For instance, he brags about getting funding for an ethanol plant (he uses this as a sign he's pro-environment), and he says how great it is that crops are turned into ethanol and we should develop more ethanol to get off of foreign oil. However, he had voted against a measure to develop more ethanol. Tiahrt's career is often like this, he'll claim to support something for the people then vote against those interests, like when he voted to outsource tanker jobs from Wichita to France.
So what did this farm bill do that Tiahrt objected to? He claims the bill cuts crop insurance by $6 billion, and cuts $300 million in subsidies to farmers. The bill was $18 billion larger than the last one and it included earmarks for the salmon industry in California.
Okay, that's the reason Tiahrt gave. So let's see if he is justified and let's look at the real reasons he voted against the farm bill.
First, the salmon program. The salmon industry in California and up the river in Oregon and Washington is suffering. The salmon is nearly extinct in that region and the fish provide thousands of jobs. People in that region harvest fish like people harvest wheat in Kansas. It's essentially a farming job as it produces food for the people. Tiahrt, being such a champion of farmers should support that. In fact, the reason the salmon industry is suffering is because of a Republican decision to divert water from the salmon streams to agriculture. Unlike a bad year for apples should the salmon go bad one year there may not be any left the next year, that's why it's called extinction. The reason to kill off the salmon was chartered by Karl Rove, merely for political reasons to get votes for a Republican candidate, the earmark is needed to correct the mistakes made by the Republicans. So Tiahrt's party is to blame for the cost, not Pelosi.
Did you notice Tiahrt didn't complain about the earmark that gives tax breaks to breeders of thoroughbred horses? It's probably because Senate Minority Leader and Republican Mitch McConnell asked for it. I eat salmon, not horses. Makes you wonder what Burger King is serving in Kentucky.
Tiahrt's criticism of the crop insurance plan is odd since it is a slight improvement over the previous version. Mark Bohner from the Iowa Farm Bureau praises the new standard, "I think our biggest safety net that our farmers have is the federal crop insurance and I think that's probably one thing that we wanted to make sure that got kept in the farm bill."
The insurance program does shift more cost for insurance from the taxpayer to the farmer but when it came to children's health care Tiahrt was in favor of kids paying for their own insurance, not the taxpayer. So I don't know where Tiahrt is going with this, is he now advocating socialized insurance? But perhaps Tiahrt is failing to notice that crop insurance coverage was expanded to cover commodities that hadn't previously been covered. So under the new rules farmers can actually get insurance where they previously had none. Also, billions is being set aside for full disaster relief so even uninsured farmers will get covered in the case of a federally declared disaster. Previously it a farmer lost his crop and his home only those commodities covered would get relief but the farmer would still be homeless, the new bill covers the entire farm. I'd call that taking care of the farmer as opposed to just the crop.
Now for the subsidies. True, subsidies were cut, but only to corporate farms and those making millions of dollars. Under the old policy if a farmer made $2.5 million or more they'd still receive a crop subsidy. Subsidies are intended to help out struggling farmers, not rich corporations. Here we see where Tiahrt's interests truly lie. Agribusiness is a huge donor to the Tiahrt campaign and he's working to protect those subsidies like he did for the oil companies. The new bill limits subsidies to single farmers who make less than $750,000, and cuts subsidies to corporations that hide ownership of farms help under shell corporations.
Now here's other things Tiahrt hates about the bill but doesn't want to mention because they are popular programs. Funding for organic research and education is increased to $78 million. Also, much of the funding goes towards aid for the poor in the form of food assistance. Tiahrt claims to be a champion of the family but turns a blind eye to those starving (and I thought he just didn't want poor children to have health care).
So we see the real reason why Tiahrt voted against the bill. As usual he was just protecting the interests of corporations and the rich while the poor and middle class in America are ignored when they have to cope with rising food prices.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
It was previously revealed on this blog that Tiahrt initially voted to allow the Air Force tanker deal to be outsourced to France. Lacking any independent thought Tiahrt never figured that someone as self-righteous as himself would have jobs in his district outsourced to France. Since the proverbial sh*t has hit the fan Tiahrt figures he'll cover his arse with a lot of grandstanding and a new piece of legislation requiring 85% of the components for the new tankers to be built in America.
Hold on Tiahrt, this smacks of regulation. The same kind of regulation that you claim costs jobs and limits open competition which you have championed.
Back in Oct. 7th, 2004 Tiahrt complained about subsidies provided by the Bush regime to Airbus:
"Twelve years later it is clear that this aid particularly launch assistance, has done tremendous harm to fair and open competition in the large aircraft marketplace."
Never mind Tiahrt has always backed subsidies for the oil and defense companies, but now he wants legislation that provides specific aid to domestic airline companies, namely Boeing, that destroys the concept of fair and open competition which he claims to fight for.
With Tiahrt you'd think you never know what you'll get but here's a simple formula. If a company gives thousands of dollars in bribes, or as Tiahrt's friend Jack Abramoff likes to call them, lobbyist dollars, then he's in favor of socialism and regulation. If you don't donate money to Tiahrt he's in favor of the free market (no taxpayer money for you) and deregulation (no governmental protection for you). So when Tiahrt says he's fighting for you just follow the money and find out who 'you' really happens to be.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Tanker Todd is still harping about the failed tanker deal. I don't think I ever heard him pretending to work so hard for the people. Sure, he worked hard when he voted to deny education benefits to veterans, and for denying health insurance to poor children. He's surpassed those efforts trying to get the Air Force tanker deal back to Boeing that was outsourced to France thanks to McCain's lobbyist run campaign staff.
Just yesterday it was reported Tiahrt actually wrote, or rather had one of his more eloquent staffers, write some letter about the tankers, blah, cheese eating, blah, whatever.
What's the big deal Todd? After all, you voted to permit outsourcing of the tankers in the first place. HR 1588 was approved by every Republican except Ron Paul. Back then you had no problem with those Boeing jobs going to Airbus. Your pals Brownback, Roberts and McCain had no problem either. Why didn't you have the vision to forsee that outsourcing American jobs would cost American jobs?
Thanks to you maybe some veterans returning home from their seventh tour in Iraq won't be able to get a job at Boeing. I suppose they could go to college and get a job in some other field but you are opposed to that too since you voted against increasing funding for the GI Bill so veterans can pay for the rising costs of college.
Maybe Todd does have vision. After all Todd did work in 2005 to send manufacturing jobs to France, and France does have extremely affordable college education, as well as universal health care, his way of governance is to make America so awful and France so appealing so we all want to move there. If only I had the taxpayer financed travel expenses like Todd has, perhaps I could.
Friday, May 16, 2008
To show their gratitude for Rove finding Wichita's money more important than responding to Congressional subpoenas many of the town's rich took time off from their weekday morning golf game to congratulate themselves on how they got a bunch of saps to sacrifice their lives in Iraq in order to open up new oil markets and fleece the taxpayers with huge military contracts.
No word on what was actually conducted inside the walls of the 20th Century Center as the press was not permitted to enter. Dion Lefler, of the Wichita Eagle, tried to gain entry by paying but he was denied. One can only surmise that the purpose was to prevent the public from knowing about their self-serving agenda of destroying the economy as a justification to cut social programs.
Recently Republicans have been using Rove's strategy in special elections in heavily Republican districts in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Illinois. The end result was three straight Democratic victories. The Republican party realizes that it will have a tough race in the 4th District of Kansas given Tiahrt's continued failure on the tanker deal, his latest gaff of voting against Mother's Day, and his desire to piss off the 200 Airbus employees in Wichita. I could go on about Tiahrt's failures but I'll save that for another day. However, Rove's strategy of upsetting the local media isn't going to aid in the Republican efforts any.
It must tell you something that later that day I went to Senator Roberts office and Rep. Tiahrt's office (both in the same building). Robert's office was well staffed with a kindly lady greeting you at the front desk. Tiahrt's office had the lights turned off, nobody at the front desk and a sign informing you to ring the bell for assistance. I'm guessing they don't get many visitors.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
The older plan is to destroy the wetlands in Maize in order to create a strip mall with a Lowe's department stores and expand the number of chain restaurants and cell phone stores in the area. In order to help the developers out the city will spend $1.7 million to create a new wetlands is a place that remains undisclosed.
The wetlands that is currently is place is a home for copious amounts of wildlife that will lose their habitat due to unnecessary urban sprawl. The land serves as a means of flood control and a natural means of water filtration. It's in the best interest of the developers to destroy the land because it's owned by the taxpayers (that means it's cheap) and if a flood isn't prevented then the developers get bailed out by the taxpayers and get brand new contracts to rebuild in an area that will be constantly threatened by floods. A new "wetlands" will probably be nothing more than a gravel pit on old farmland but I can't be sure because the city and developers have no plan for a new wetlands, just empty promises.
The other plan to screw the taxpayers is to increase the sales tax. Wichita just got their sales tax reduced after having it increased by 1% in order to build an unneeded arena in downtown Wichita. Naturally there were many promises made that the new arena would create jobs, increase tourism, bring in additional revenue, blah, blah, blah. Who is going to drive from Oklahoma City or Kansas City to see events in Wichita when those other cities are much bigger draws? Sure, the RV shows in Wichita are simply amazing. Arena jobs are low paying and part-time and fully dependent on those who want to shell out $30 to see Elmo on Ice. As for bringing in more tax revenue that's hogwash. People are on a budget. If they have $30 to spend when they go out they'll go to the arena and nowhere else. Previously they would have gone somewhere else but they won't suddenly start doubling their budget just because an arena is around unless the plan was for money to magically appear.
Anyway, that tax is over so the City Council thinks we are conditioned to accept a tax to replace it. The guise is that it is intended to prevent an increase in property tax. This is bollocks. Property taxes won't increase because property values are declining in this Bush economy. The sales tax is needed to replace lost revenues, it's just an extra tax, not a substitute tax. It is also a means to shift more tax burden upon the poor who are less likely to own property. Those with huge McMansions are seeing their mortgages increase and want tax relief so they can fill up their Hummers. So let's stick the poor saps that don't have political influence and live in apartments. The cost of living in a house will go down but the cost of living in apartments will go up because we won't see any decrease in rent.
No surprise the majority of people on the City Council are Republican. They work extra hard to find anyway to increase the amount of corporate welfare for the few (subsidies for AirTran and Gander Mountain) and pay for it with taxes on the many. It's corporatism folks, and that's how Mussolini defined fascism.
Friday, May 9, 2008
The resolution which, prior to the counted vote, was passed unanimously. It simply said that the bill was, "Celebrating the role of mothers in the United States and supporting the goals and ideals of Mother's Day."
The vote comes just after revelations were made involving Republican family values Representative Vito Fossella loves families so much he has a second one that he keeps hidden. Fossella, who was arrested for drunk driving after breaking tables in a D.C. bar called his mistress to help bail him out. The mistress is also the mother of his three year old daughter. Fossella's wife didn't know about the affair and the child and she wasn't very pleased when she refused to be near him during a press conference. Needless to say Fossella wasn't able to vote against Mother's Day.
So why does Tiahrt hate his mom? Nobody may ever know, but he sure does sound angry.
Tiahrt commented on his website that he fully supports Mother's Day and was proud to vote in favor of it.
"Earlier this week I had the privilege of voting for the Mother’s Day resolution, H.Res.1113, that passed the House by a vote of 412-0. I was pleased to show my support for the estimated 82 million moms in the United States who make contributions toward building strong families, thriving communities, and ultimately a strong Nation."
Tiahrt clearly can't keep his flip-flops organized.
Monday, May 5, 2008
The movie, condemned by the Anti-Defamation League for it's historical revisionism, condemned by scientists for it's bad science, condemned by people who prefer good movies, and even condemned by Yoko Ono because the movie had to take time to insult her late husband, has appeared to shriveled up into another failure of religious propaganda.
It's first weekend saw sales on nearly $3 million after a huge nationwide publicity tour. The film was publicized by the same folks who brought us the Jesus snuff film by Mel Gibson. The show toured churches and towns with free showings in an effort to spread some word of mouth. The film showed in PZ Myers town but, despite PZ being in the movie, refused to allow him entry (but failed to notice Dr. Dawkins who got to realize how not to waste two hours of your life). Sales dropped in half the following weekend and are now down to practically nothing. All this despite the Expelled blog having a quote by PZ about how popular this movie is going to be,
"It's (EXPELLED) going to appeal strongly to the religious, the paranoid, the conspiracy theorists, and the ignorant –– which means they're going to draw in about 90% of the American market."
The concept of the movie is that evolution is bad. Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection apparently led to the Holocaust because nobody hated Jews before Darwin. Hitler, who practiced genocide, a form of artificial selection, happened to have Darwin's books rounded up and burned. But somehow he was a big fan of Darwin despite not even mentioning him or his work in Mein Kampf and gave top billing to God.
Also mentioned in the movie is how creationists (the movie likes to call them intelligent design advocates) are being persecuted in universities. Creationists demand tenure and are denied. Clearly this is persecution because if a creationist wants something it's persecution to deny it to them. Never mind tenure is a rigorous process and the promotion is based upon your academic work but creationists expect special treatment in regards to their handicap towards reality. This too, is the fault of Darwin somehow.
Naturally no scientific evidence is given in favor of creationism. That would be expecting creationists to actually do science. Regardless of their lack of science we are expected to give them equal billing to read the Bible alongside tens of thousands of peer reviewed research establishing the fact of evolution.
I suppose next they'll demand as many theaters as Iron Man is getting. You know Iron Man, a scientist develops a suit of armor so he can go around battling creationists. That's what scientists do, don't they Stein?
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Wichita GOP invites Karl Rove to town for a fundraiser. Rove to lecture on how to steal an election and avoid subpoenas.
Phill Kline unethically takes women's medical records home with him after he is ousted from the Attorney General seat. Kline is at a loss to explain strange stains that weren't on the records when they left the AG office.
"...the European company that was given the contract along with Northrop Grumman, does business with Iran, Venezuela and Russia."
Yes, international companies tend to do business with other countries. Take Halliburton for instance. When VP selected Dick Cheney was (actually still is) on the board of Halliburton that company did business with Iran when America had an embargo against the country. The company also did business with Venezuela and Russia but the Republicans didn't have a problem with that. Other companies that do business with these countries, Coca-Cola, GE, Conoco-Phillips, and many oil companies.
Never mind the fact that these countries are our allies. Iran aided us against the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Cold War is over and Russia is our ally, and despite a U.S. back coup against the twice elected President Venezuela is still our ally and was willing to give cheap heating oil to America's poor while Bush was allowing our own people to freeze in the winter. Why shouldn't we do business with our allies? I don't know. Naturally China wasn't mentioned.
EADS contends that it is legal to sell to Iran because it is not an American company and does not have to follow the Iran weapons embargo. However, with Iran a leader of state-sponsored terrorism and a growing threat, this sort of association should make Americans uncomfortable.
Actually it shouldn't. Since EADS is a French company they don't need to abide by American embargos. Nor do they have to abide by Bush's declarations that the Iranian military is a terrorist group thereby making Iran a sponsor of terrorism. Iran hasn't invaded a country in over 200 years but we are supposed to fear them simply because our government tells us too? The same government, that, until 2007 was selling spare F-14 parts to the Iranian military? I suppose we shouldn't be doing business with the Pentagon if the Pentagon is one of those companies on your list doing business with Iran.
According to a commentary in National Review by David N. Bossie, EADS sold cargo and patrol planes to the Hugo Chavez regime in Venezuela. When the United States formally objected, EADS tried to circumvent our law by stripping the American-built components from the aircraft.
Wage, we don't have a trade embargo against Venezuela, neither does France. As a big advocate of "Free Trade" why are you insisting America not do business with other countries? America has had no problem doing business with Venezuela, in fact, the vast majority of their airlines are American made. I suppose you are saying we shouldn't sell them parts for those planes. That would cost America more manufacturing jobs, like those in Wichita. Isn't that what you are complaining that the Pentagon deal with EADS is doing?
EADS, the parent of French planemaker Airbus, receives billions in illegal subsidies from European governments. It makes no sense that the U.S. government is now doing business with the very entity it is challenging for violating WTO rules.
Funny that you'd mention WTO rules. WTO rules forbids subsidies on produce. Kansas receives a whole lot of farm subsidies and exports those subsidized products to places like Mexico. Mexico, in turn, has a lot of displaced farmers who can't compete with cheap American corn therefore immigrate to America looking for work. Republicans pretend whine about illegal immigrants who they like because they are a source of cheap labor and the meat packing industries in Kansas love to hire them.
It is counterproductive to send 35 billion precious American tax dollars to a company that has not been loyal to the American military or to the world cause of individual freedom and liberty.
This has to be the dumbest comment of them all. EADS is building planes for the military, that makes them as loyal as Boeing. Wagle was trying to hint at the fact that it's a French company and France is supposed to fall under the curtain of American empire and do whatever we say. France aides us in Afghanistan but opposed to illegal occupation of Iraq like the vast majority of Americans do as well as the rest of the world. This is the same France that liberated us from the British in the American Revolution, the same France that fought with us in two world wars, and the same France that recently elected a conservative Prime Minister whose anti-immigrant rhetoric is on par with the Republican party. But Wagle has a narrow view of things. It's probably due to a lack of education about current events and history. Wagle is just another mindless Republican drone that follows the play book and keeps getting put into office by fellow mindless drones. She ends with this:
All Americans should be outraged and should join our congressional delegation in protesting this decision.
Really Wagle, we should act the way our government tells us to act? How about get rid of the program all together? How about a lovely program paying Boeing to build giant windmills to put throughout Kansas so we can become an exporter of clean energy, rather than an exporter of military aircraft that reign death upon civilians throughout the world? Nah, that would take leadership and creative thinking. It's best you stay where you are at, in your comfortable chair of ignorance and self-delusion.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Embolden to the military industrial complex Tiahrt had been pushing for a multi-billion dollar deal to provide corporate welfare to Boeing to build refueling tankers for the Air Force. It's Tiahrt's way of saying thank-you for ditching Wichita and selling much of their manufacturing to Canadian company Spirit Aerosystems.
McCain, on the other hand, had joined with Republican senators Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts to pass legislation allowing foreign companies to be granted military construction contracts. McCain has no love affair for the Air Force but does have a love affair with Airbus and employs some of their lobbyists on his campaign staff. So it's no surprise McCain worked hard to secure a big contract for Airbus over Boeing.
Well Tiahrt is just plain outraged. Boeing donates a lot to the Tiahrt campaign and expects results. So now Tiahrt is playing to populist and claiming to fight for jobs in Wichita. But does he really feel that way?
Back in 2005 Tiahrt opposed trade tariffs which are in place to protect American jobs. By implementing a tariff on something, say like, aircraft, building an airplane in somewhere like France would be more expensive because of the tariff. Therefore American and foreign companies would be motivated to build the planes in America thereby avoiding the tariff. But Tiahrt had this to say about tariffs:
"As we reduce barriers, American small businesses will prosper and workers will benefit with higher-quality, higher-paying jobs."
Good job Tiahrt, always thinking ahead.
Well Tiahrt goes further on his blog and argues that it's cheaper to build the planes in America. One thing he cites is that if the planes are built elsewhere then we lose corporate tax revenue. Well, that's true. As mentioned in Senator Byron Dorgan's book, Take This Job and Ship It, corporations pay a lower tax rate for profit made overseas. Tax breaks like these were supported by, you guessed it, Todd Tiahrt. The same Tiahrt who supported Bush's tax plan which lowered corporate income taxes (and I'm assuming he supports McCain's plan to lower them even further).
So it doesn't appear that losing corporate tax revenue is a big concern for Tiahrt. As mentioned in a previous story about removing tax breaks for oil companies, Tiahrt views corporate taxes as merely creating higher prices for the consumer. If it was up to Tiahrt corporations wouldn't be taxed.
Perhaps Tiahrt is admitting his conservative Republican fiscal policies are hurting us. Somehow I doubt he can put two and two together.
Friday, May 2, 2008
Some would have thought this love affair would go on forever but there is a jealous third party, the American people. For some reason to tightwad elitist Americans, who don't share the down home values of "I have nine houses" John McCain, are upset that they are paying gas that, in Wichita, is currently at $3.44 a gallon.
So those nasty elitist Democrats are looking at the top five oil companies, that made a combined $123 billion last year, don't really need the government handout of $18 billion.
Tiahrt should agree. After all, Tiahrt's a Republican and we all know that Republicans are some "pull yourself up by your bootstraps, don't accept a welfare check" Republican. Exxon-Mobile should work hard for it's money just like "fly in my personal jet" McCain who had to work hard at sleeping with a rich beer heiress while his own wife was crippled from an accident. Alas, I digress. Tiahrt's all about independence and fiscal responsibility right?
During this latest attempt by Democrats to invest in it's nation's energy infrastructure by weening us off foreign oil Tiahrt said no, "Any tax increase that Congress imposes on the oil companies would only be paid for by consumers through boosted prices at the gas pump."
Perhaps he has a point. The oil companies are scrounging. If they lose the tax breaks then their $123 billion profit would have been only $105 billion. $18 billion, after all, is more than the NASA budget for 2008. NASA the folks that gave us kidney dialysis machines, CAT scanners, cordless power tools and freeze dried ice cream. Exxon sells a billion dollars of oil a day, but I guess we need that money to give a good paycheck to Exxon CEO Lee Raymond a $400 million a year salary. That's $6,000 an hour, he must work really hard personally pissing out that oil.
But would removing those tax breaks actually cause an increase in the price of gas (Tiahrt must not be aware that with them we still see gas prices go up 100% in a couple years)? The answer is no. Here's how the system works in a nutshell.
OPEC determines how much oil is going to be produced and sets a base price for the market. Irregardless of supply or demand they tell us what they want to sell at and you don't have a choice. They sell to market speculators, the commodity traders on Wall Street. Thanks to deregulation in the 90s there is no oversight and they can manipulate the price regardless of what the supply/demand is. The oil is bought by the companies who have to refine the oil into gasoline. In order to reduce supply they shut down refineries thereby increasing the price of gas. Then it's sent out to the gas stations who mark up the price for their own profit, but also have to jack up the price because these places take credit cards and they have to get their percentage whether or not you actually use a credit card.
So every bit of the way someone increases the price. The tax breaks are a way to guarantee the oil companies maintain a profit. They were implemented back when oil was $35 a barrel when Saddam Hussein was flooding the market with cheap oil to piss off American and OPEC. The Republicans dealt with the cheap oil problem by illegally invading Iraq, so don't expect them to solve the problem of expensive oil, it's what they wanted all along.