Stupidity and Shell Games

I have a couple things I want to write about tonight, so here they are.

Thought #1

Since when are partisan rants and name-calling a serious danger to democracy?

In a blunt caution to political friend and foe, President Barack Obama said Saturday that partisan rants and name-calling under the guise of legitimate discourse pose a serious danger to America’s democracy, and may incite “extreme elements” to violence.

Why didn’t then Senator Barack Obama say the same thing when Democrats were making partisan rants toward then President George W. Bush? Why didn’t he make this statement when people were calling President Bush names and comparing him to Hitler?

Since the days of the Vietnam War, the phrase “dissent is the highest form of patriotism” has been a clarion call for the liberal left, except when it applies to one of their own.

Legitimate discourse often includes partisan rants and name-calling. Read your history book (unless it’s already been re-written, then find an older copy and check that one).

This discourse does not pose any more danger to “America’s democracy” than burning an American flag or marching in a protest to support illegal immigration.

This discourse does not incite “extreme elements” to violence any more than those who burnt President Bush in effigy or those who march in support of gay rights.

The truth is, every issue has their “extreme elements” on both sides, and those elements could be incited to violence by any number of issues. To issue a blanket statement that all legitimate discourse may incite violence is stupid.

Speaking of stupid, America is not a democracy, it’s a republic.

Thought #2

Did you hear the news? GM repaid their loan in full!

Today, General Motors is announcing that it has made a payment of $5.8 billion to the U.S. Treasury and Export Development Canada. We’re paying back—in full, with interest, years ahead of schedule—loans made to help fund the new GM

Not!

GM received $49.5 billion in TARP funds, so how is repaying $5.8 billion “paying the loan in full”?

The majority of the funds delivered to GM came in the form of a 60.8% equity stake in the company, the remainder was handed over in the form of a low interest (7%) loan. Together, the U.S. and Canadian governments own 72.5% of GM.

GM lost money again this quarter. They haven’t even broken even, so how did they repay that “loan” anyway?

This is where it gets good. $13.4 billion of the TARP funds were placed into a working capital escrow account. The company used money from that escrow account to repay the loan.

Yes people, GM used money from the TARP funds (which is our money) to repay the total amount they owed from the loan (also our money). They paid us back with our own money.

Are you wondering why they even bothered to pay us back with our own money?

It’s simple, really. They repaid the $5.8 billion (at 7%) so they could apply for and receive a load from the Department of Energy in the amount of $10 billion, at 5% interest.

The only question remaining, is which shell is our money hiding under now? Can you find it?

 
That’s right people, our money is still hiding under the same shell. They never moved it.

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The Rebirth Of Restrospective Hypocrisy

This may be old news to some people, but I thought it would be interested to point out something I find quite striking about Nanny State Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her minions running the U.S. House of Representatives.

Here we are, more than three years after Nancy Pelosi took control of the U.S. House of Representatives and she’s accomplished nothing, unless you count the fact that she has proven to the American people that she and the people who support her are nothing more than hypocrites with no intention of doing what’s right for America.

Let’s look at a report titled, Broken Promises: The Death of Deliberative Democracy (PDF).

Despite their vows to open up the rules process and restore deliberative democracy to the House chamber … they used closed and highly restrictive rules to prevent Members from offering amendments that would have provoked real debate and forced Members to go on the record on real issues.

We’ve all seen how Speaker Pelosi runs the House. There is no room for debate, discussions are usually conducted behind closed doors, legislation is voted on before it’s even printed, and Republicans are not allowed to offer amendments.

But wait. This report wasn’t written by House Republicans. It seems that Democrats had issues with Republican House leadership back in 2006, as stated in this “Congressional Report on the Unprecedented Erosion of the Democratic Process in the 108th Congress”.

Back in 2006 the Democrats were upset because they thought Republicans were using closed and restrictive rules to prevent members from offering amendments and participating in real debate. Ironic, isn’t it? Isn’t that one of the very complaints that has been made against Nanny State Nancy since she took control in 2006?

Do you remember November 16, 2006 when then Speaker-Elect Nancy Pelosi said,

This leadership team will create the most honest, most open, and most ethical Congress in history

I guess it all depends on what your definitions of honest, open, and ethical are, huh?

In that same report, Democrats had some recommendations for Republicans.

  • Open up the process by allowing debate and votes on more serious amendments.
  • Allow more bills to be considered under open rules.
  • Spend more time on major, substantive legislation and less time on suspension bills.
  • Bring back regular order…
  • Give Members three days to read conference reports.

Wow, they wrote the report and they made the recommendations, yet they are 0 for 5 when it comes to carrying out even one of those recommendations since they’ve been in control of the House. It’s been three years, you’d think they might have implemented at least one of their own recommendations before now.

According to their own report,

The purpose of the House Rules is to balance the majority’s right to pass legislation in a timely way with the minority’s right to offer amendments and to otherwise participate in the deliberative process.

But now that they are in control, I guess those silly House Rules really don’t matter to the Democrats do they? The more you read the report, the more hypocritical the Democratic House leaders appears to be. Although I didn’t think they could appear any more hypocritical that they already were.

The most basic measure of how a majority is managing the House is the percentage of special rules it approves for an open debate and amendment process versus the number of times it considers legislation under a closed process.

That one is especially ironic since they are currently negotiating one of the largest and life-changing bills in our nation’s history, yet Republicans are being locked out of that process and many others.

On the other hand, a majority interested in jamming legislation through the process with as little deliberation as possible uses highly restrictive and closed rules to make sure that Members with “conflicting opinions” have little or no opportunity to bring those opinions to the House floor for debate and votes.

After reading through the entire 147 page report I realized something. The report was not a critical report on the leadership under Republicans. It had nothing to do with the way Republicans were treating Democrats in the House, it had nothing to do with “making things right” for anyone.

That’s not how Nanny State Nancy and her minions operate. As long as they can point out one instance where Republicans might have “done it first” (even if it’s not entirely true), they feel their actions are justified and legitimized when their own honesty and ethics are questioned.

You could say that Nancy Pelosi is the national poster child for hypocrisy, but then again, it turns out that report was nothing more than the final draft of the “Democratic Playbook” for running the U.S. House of Representatives and they were just biding their time.

Indoctrination, Taxation, Representation And Annihilation

With all the rain we’ve had around here lately, I haven’t had much time to focus on some of the news from the past two days. My mind is swimming with thoughts about some things I have read tonight and I need to get them off my chest.

Thought #1

What the hell is this about?

We’re teaching kids to praise President Obama? Since when do we indoctrinate children by teaching them to honor the President in an organized chant? Pathetic, really.

Thought #2

Joe Biden is right. While discussing the upcoming 2010 elections and the 35 House seats that are currently held by Democrats in traditionally Republican districts, he said,

If they take them back, this the end of the road for what Barack and I are trying to do

Like I said, he’s right.

Thought #3

Jimmy Carter says that former President Bush and his administration may have been involved in a 2002 coup attempt against Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.

I think there is no doubt that in 2002, the United States had at the very least full knowledge about the coup, and could even have been directly involved

Personally, I think that’s better than President Obama and his administration’s attempts to stifle democracy in Honduras. I’m not going to go into it all in this post, but a simple search on Google will give you plenty of information to learn that President Obama has personally condemned the rise of democracy in Honduras.

I don’t think we need to be messing around in either country, but interfering in the name of democracy rather than stifling it sounds better to me any day.

Thought #4

Fining people for not carrying health insurance is wrong. Such fines collected by the IRS are nothing more than taxes. So much about the health care bills in the House and the Senate are wrong. When things are this wrong, they cannot be “negotiated” they must be re-written.

Thought #5

Former President Jimmy Carter sure thinks he’s an expert on the Middle East, doesn’t he? It’s hard to imagine that someone who was apparently so instrumental in brokering peace between Egypt and Israel can be so wrong about peace between Israel and the rest of their neighbors.

I’m no expert, but I do know a few things. Hamas wants nothing less than the complete annihilation of Israel. Hezbollah wants nothing less than the complete annihilation of Israel. Nothing Israel has done in the past, is doing now, or shall do in the future will change either of those facts. So, it’s quite a surprise to read the following:

Former President Jimmy Carter says Israel must stop building settlements in Palestine for there to be peace in the Middle East.

In order for there to peace in the Middle East, Hamas and Hezbollah need to stop sending homicide bombers into Israel, they need to stop threatening Israel, and Hamas as well as Hezbollah need to be annihilated. Only then, will there be a chance for peace in the Middle East.

Thought #6

The voters of Georgia’s Fourth Congressional District may have thought they had sane representation when Hank Johnson won the seat, but it’s clear that Georgia #4 has some sort of Cynthia McKinney syndrome that could take years to purge.

Rep. Hank Johnson is standing by his comments that Rep. Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” outburst at President Obama “instigated more racist sentiment” and could lead to a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan.

Johnson, a Georgia Democrat, wrote in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Monday that he doesn’t think that most of Obama’s opponents are motivated by racism, but that he believes Wilson’s comments “winked at a racist element” and that there is a small but “racially motivated fringe” among those who disapprove of the president and his policies.

Ridiculous.