Thursday, July 31, 2008

Where are the fiscal conservatives?

Remember the good ol' days of peace and prosperity under President Clinton and President-elect Gore? The left America with a budget surplus which eventually got passed onto governor Bush. The national debt was $5 trillion and the tide of wasteful supply-side economics was being turned back after 12 years of disaster economics.

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

Tax exempt anti-abortion group endorses Kline

Jennifer Giroux is managing Phill Kline's campaign. Giroux is the President of Women Influencing the Nation (WIN, get it?), a reich-wing hate group that Democrats, the ACLU and those who don't believe in Christmas are responsible for creating tsunamis that kill thousands of people. It has recently been reported by the Kansas City Star that an act of honesty hit the Kline campaign and appeals for funds were sent out on WIN letterhead admitting that Kline is merely an employ of the anti-abortion groups. On Kline's campaign website, "Stand with truth" they claim it is all a big conspiracy by the Kansas City Star to smear Kline or something. I have trouble wading through BS sometimes so I didn't pay much attention. Anywho, WIN joins Operation Rescue in endorsing Kline anti-abortion inquisition. Operation Rescue previously lost their tax exempt status after allegedly campaigning against President John Kerry and engaging in money laundering.

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

Tiahrt presents a gusher of oil ignorance

Todd Tiahrt's efforts to convince us that drilling for more domestic oil will decrease gasoline costs will be more successful if he sports a moustache and speaks in a silly accent ala Daniel Day Lewis. The Wichita Eagle today ran a great article pointing out Tiahrt's argument for more drilling and how Tiahrt is completely owned by the oil companies, he largest campaign donor.

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

Criminal Group Endorses Kline

The criminal terrorist organization Operation Rescue West (self-proclaimed Operation Rescue despite no ties to the founder Randall Terry) has shamelessly plugged their support for the re-election of Phil Kline for District Attorney.

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

Democrat to raise funds for Republican

In my previous post one reader took issue with my claiming members of the city council and the mayor were Republican for supporting Reagan supply-side economics with spending $7 million in corporate welfare for an unnecessary theater. As it turns out, "Democratic" mayor Carl Brewer is attending a fundraiser for rubber stamp Senator Pat Roberts (R-torture).

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

Nero and the Wichita government

What do Nero and the Wichita government have in common? It has nothing to do with musical instruments but more with a bread and circus form of government. Nero was a lousy leader. To make up for his incompetence he relied heavily on financing entertainment with taxpayer dollars to the point that Rome's coffers dried up. The Wichita government hopes to follow in his lead by entertaining the city of Wichita to the point of economic ruin.

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.