Friday, February 4, 2011



Rep Paul "Privatize Social Security" Ryan

Rep Michele "Crazy" Bachmann

President Obama wants to have the individual tax code simplified.
"Over the years, a parade of lobbyists has rigged the tax code to benefit particular companies and industries. Those with accountants or lawyers to work the system can end up paying no taxes at all," the president said.
"So tonight, I'm asking Democrats and Republicans to simplify the system. Get rid of the loopholes. Level the playing field. And use the savings to lower the corporate tax rate for the first time in 25 years -- without adding to our deficit...
...In fact, the best thing we could do on taxes for all Americans is to simplify the individual tax code. (Applause). This will be a tough job, but members of both parties have expressed an interest in doing this, and I am prepared to join them. (Applause)."
To that effect Republican Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has introduced legislation to abolish the Internal Revenue Code leaving the IRS with nothing to do.
Well in the past when attempts to correct the burdensome tax code that the country is forced to deal with by Congress, Congress eventually steps back in and surreptitiously reintroduces what they have already amended. And Representative Goodlatte does not state what he would replace the tax code with.
I agree with the President in spirit. The tax code should be simpler and fairer for all Americans. We shall see.
The President wants to simplify the federal government.
"We live and do business in the Information Age, but the last major reorganization of the government happened in the age of black-and-white TV. There are 12 different agencies that deal with exports. There are at least five different agencies that deal with housing policy. Then there's my favorite example: The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they're in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them when they're in saltwater. (Laughter.) I hear it gets even more complicated once they're smoked. (Laughter and applause)."
However President Obama did not say precisely how this was going to be done, especially when a freeze on domestic spending is (supposedly) in place. My guess is that this is just more BS, and nothing substantial will be done to make the federal government more efficient and responsive. We shall see.
"Because you deserve to know exactly how and where your tax dollars are being spent, you'll be able to go to a website and get that information for the very first time in history." Of course we will. "Because you deserve to know when your elected officials are meeting with lobbyists, I ask Congress to do what the White House has already done -- put that information online." Of course they will. And when the President states that the White House has been transparent with regard to lobbyists that's not exactly true. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) had to sue the Obama administration to open up the White house visitor logs after the administration tried to keep them secret. And still, that's visitors and may not effectively identify those with lobbying concerns. The President might be referring to the Executive Branch's voluntary disclosures about visitors concerning certain issues, which is hardly an entrenched policy that any citizen can look up on the Internet.
"And because the American people deserve to know that special interests aren't larding up legislation with pet projects, both parties in Congress should know this: If a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it. I will veto it. (Applause)." Oh man, how many times have we heard this before? Quite a few, most recently by Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush. This remark of the President's really upset Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. "I don't think that's helpful. I think it's a lot of pretty talk and it's only giving the president more power," he said. "He's got enough power already."
Many in Congress feel it is their job to address spending issues in their districts and states for individual projects. I don't disagree with that. It's just a matter of how much and the actual need of said projects.
Now on to Iraq. For a while when listening to the SOTU address I was wondering if Obama had forgotten we're still involved in two military conflicts overseas, and that our soldiers are still fighting and dying on foreign lands. The mainstream media sure has.
Anyway, all Barack had to say about Iraq is that the job is done (what was the job again?) and he is going to finish bringing all our soldiers home. I'm waiting.
Of course we still have that great big embassy in Baghdad, the largest embassy in the world, so we'll still have a presence in that country, the State Department, and those who will continue to protect them. Because after all of the work we've done bombs are still going off, and people are still dying.
The President promised to take the fight to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. We will protect ourselves here at home and continue to fight them abroad, and still begin to bring our troops home beginning this July.
Well that's good. But why are we sending 36,000 more troops there this year? 28,900 of them before July. We're starting to bring them home in that month while sending more in? WTF?
"In Pakistan, Al Qaeda's leadership is under more pressure than at any point since 2001. Their leaders and operatives are being removed from the battlefield. Their safe havens are shrinking. And we've sent a message from the Afghan border to the Arabian Peninsula to all parts of the globe: We will not relent, we will not waver, and we will defeat you. (Applause)."
Sounds good I guess, considering we're not supposed to be in Pakistan to begin with, and that it was Al Qaeda's strategy to draw the United States into a long protracted expensive military engagement to bankrupt America.
Have they succeeded dear readers? I leave that up to you to decide.
"We do big things," the President said. Maybe as far as foreign affairs is concerned, we should tone it down for a while.
This also bothers me: "Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love. (Applause). And with that change, I call on all our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiters and ROTC."
Apparently the federal government and the military belive that since they are in the process of repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," they can have free reign in recruiting on campuses.
But why do they need to? If we're leaving both Iraq and Afghanistan why do we still need to recruit in our colleges? I understand the necessity of maintaining a working military, but during the promised upcoming time of peace, the army, navy, air force, and marines should need less personnel, and should be able to retain a great deal more of our servicemen and women if we're truly not at war with anyone. And I've always been against recruiters being allowed on college grounds. Students are there to learn, not be persuaded to go get themselves raped and killed in conflicts that were unnecessary to begin with.
If this nation was to go to war, as George W. Bush surely wanted it to, then the draft should have been reinstated. Then the country would have constantly been reminded we were at war, and that war would have ended years ago.
No mention of Global Warming or climate change was made during the SOTU, despite the extreme weather conditions that have recently ravaged the mid west and east coast most likely due to increased ocean temperatures that drive massive snow storms in winter. This "omission," is another validation of the Republican position on climate change, which is the most irresponsible one that I can imagine.
Representative Paul Ryan (R - WI), was selected, if you can call it that, to present the Republican response to the President's address to the nation, a somewhat thankless job, considering recent efforts (i.e., Bobby Jindal). By looking at his picture above he looks like a fine, responsible young man. Someone you can trust, maybe buy a used car from.
Don't count on it. Ryan is best known for a controversial budget plan brimming with politically unpopular ideas like gradually turning Medicare into a voucher program, curbing Social Security benefits and allowing younger workers to divert Social Security taxes into private accounts. He says such tough steps are needed, given intractable budget deficits that threaten America's prosperity. Most of his fellow members of the GOP have tried to distance themselves from his Draconian ideas.
Well these were his main points:
He (by "he" I mean the Republicans) wants to restrain spending. Yeah, so does everybody.
We're being crushed by debt. Not true, and why weren't you concerned about this when Bush was in office?
He was against the failed stimulus. The Republicans never refer to "the stimulus." They always say "the failed stimulus." Well, are we in a depression? No. Did the stimulus create jobs? Yes it did, despite what the Republicans and Rush Limbaugh says:
"The White House says the multiyear $814 billion stimulus program passed by Congress in 2009 boosted employment by 2.5 million to 3.6 million jobs and raised the nation's annual economic output by almost $400 billion. A recent study by two prominent economists generally agrees, crediting the pump-priming with averting "what could have been called Great Depression 2.0." USA Today 8-30-10.
He's against the health care reform laws, and lied about costs going up and patients losing coverage. All of that has been thoroughly debunked here:,_debunked
Oh yes, he wants to get rid of health care reform, but offers vague, cost effective something or other to replace it with. Thank you Republicans. You guys had eight years with Bush to do something about health care. You did nothing.
He maintains that the country's founding fathers are clearly behind the Republicans. Really? Apparently they've gone back in time and asked them.
He says the government is trying to do too much, as opposed to the Republicans doing nothing but helping their big business buddies, and the Tea Baggers, who have to be told what they want.
He maintains that if we continue on our current path we'll all die. I don't think I believe that.
He rightly decrys austerity measures governments are taking in Europe, while proposing them here.
If we just do whatever the Republicans want everything will be peachy. I don't think I believe that either. Just the opposite in fact.
And of course Barack Obama is the main problem, is the devil in human form, so on, and so on.
Certifiably insane Congressperson Michele Backmann (R-MN) took it upon herself to make her own response to the SOTU speaking for the Tea Bagger movement. I don't know who put her in charge of the Tea Baggers, or elected her as their spokesperson, but there she was, and CNN took it upon themselves to offer her some legitimacy by airing it.
Michele's message was pretty much the same as Ryan's, just crazier. She made a bunch of misleading statements about how the President was leading the economy, warnings about the national debt (she admitted the debt was high under Bush, but has just exploded under President Obama. Well putting the two overseas military conflicts our country is currently engaged in on the books rather than hiding them like Bush did, might possibly have added to the debt numbers. And spending to keep the country out of a depression may have added to the debt as well (TARP, the billion dollar loans to those banks that are deemed "too big to fail," was made under Bush, not Obama. That may have added to the numbers as well).
She also made some characteristic claims like alleging that the administration "may put 16,500 IRS agents in charge of policing President Obama's health care bill." I don't think I believe that either.
She also insists that Obama is "telling us which light bulbs to buy." (Dallas-based American Lighting Association, a trade group whose director of engineering and technology, Terry McGowan, said in an Email that it's a stretch to say federal laws are telling us what light bulbs to buy. "Federal law is requiring that household light bulbs be made more efficient in steps over time as a nationwide energy-saving measure. It's like saying that new cars will have to deliver more miles/gallon. Maybe some people would say that's mandating what kind of car to buy, but that's an interpretation -- especially if many cars on the market can meet the miles/gallon requirement," McGowan said).
For you, dear Michele, you could probably use the help.

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