Saturday, February 14, 2009

Stimulus – No Transparency equals Democrats Lying or A Recipe for Republican Revival

Photo from AP Photo by J. Scott Applewhite from

Transparency in Government, the much touted “change” that Obama supporters heartily cheered about, appears to have disappeared in light of excuses regarding “a need to act fast” (or: Chicken Little: “The Sky is Falling”). A downloadable copy of the bill that was in the House is still available on-line, yet the Senate Version, to which Pelosi promised to give a 48 hour public window (transparency), is not yet online, and was not online in time for the late, Friday the 13th, Senate Vote. What this means, in plain English, is that the Senators who voted for that Act, had no clue as to the contents. There was insufficient time to read the bill - and those Partisan Democrats who signed off on this Act, did so blindly.

Regardless of a string of broken promises in less than two months of the new administration, the Stimulus appeared to be a panic driven act, that greedy and ideological legislatures, taking advantage of the hue and cry a nervous and apparently inept White House (not the public), added untold sums of debt through the addition of pet projects that, for all intents and purposes, could have been shelved for a later date, until the economy stabilized. What prompted the addition of pet programs and projects having nothing at all to do with stimulating the economy, rather creating bigger government (37 new bureaucracies at last count), is anyone’s guess, but, with those legislatures that live and die by the polls, it is a good bet that had they not acted now to add their favorites, they may not get another chance.

An outline of what this “Act” contains, is available at The G.O.P. House, however, this is an incomplete list due to last minute add-on’s that took place in the Senate – the details however, are bone-chilling to anyone who has ever balanced a checkbook, or had to use fiscal restraint in order to: fill a gas tank, pay the mortgage or buy groceries (average working Americans). These line items (from the G.O.P. House link above) are noted as Questionable or Non-Stimulative Spending; and include some worthy programs, however, those are questionable only due to timing, and the others are outright waste.

Questionable or Non-Stimulative Spending:
• $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
• $2 billion for the Neighborhood Stabilization Fund, providing funds to organizations such as ACORN, which has been accused of practicing unlawful voter registration in recent elections
• $10 million for the inspection of canals in urban areas
• $100 million for grants to small shipyards
• $198 million to authorize payments to certain Filipino veterans from WWII
• $300 million for the Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program
• $2 billion to support the manufacturing of advanced vehicle batteries
• $1 billion for Community Development Block Grants
• $1.3 billion for Amtrak, including $450 million for a new rail security grant program not included in either the House-passed or the Senate-passed bills
• $300 million for federal procurement of plug-in and fuel efficient vehicles
• $8 billion for a High Speed Passenger Rail Program, after the House did not include any funding for the program and the Senate included $2 billion, which will fund at least one project from Las Vegas to Los Angeles
• $15 million for historic preservation at historically black colleges and universities
• $170 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to research the causes, effects, and ways to mitigate climate change
• $200 million for Americorps and other paid "volunteerism" programs
• $400 million for NASA to accelerate climate research missions
• $5.5 billion for federal buildings (GSA), including $4.5 billion to convert federal buildings into "high-performance green buildings" and $450 million for a new headquarters for the Department of Homeland Security.
• $210 million for a new grant program to modify and upgrade local fire stations
• $142 million for the Coast Guard to alter or remove 4 obstructive bridges
• $25 million for the Smithsonian Institution for maintenance backlogs
• $1 billion for expenses in conjunction with the 2010 decennial census
• $650 million for Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupons
• $1 billion for a Prevention and Wellness Fund, which can be used for sexually transmitted disease (STD) education and prevention programs at the CDC
• $500 million to replace a 30-year old computer system at the Social Security Administration
• $500 million for a health professions training program-funding which an earlier committee report said were allocated because "a key component of attaining universal health care reform will be ensuring the supply of primary care providers."

On February 4th, Rasmussen polls reported that a mere 37% of the general public supported the Stimulus Bill, subsequent emergency polling by White House media source CBS showed a conveniently sharp increase in support for the Bill. Which begs the question: “Did CBS confine its demographics to Congress?”

Should the general public’s feelings regarding this lack of transparency, pushed through on a Friday night, massive spending boondoggle, be in line with Rasmussen, then the haste with which those ideologues voted is clear. They hope that their constituents’ will either forget they voted “Yea”, or that somehow, this will work in time to save their Senate and Congressional behinds. The clock is ticking. What is most amusing is the headlines accusing the Republicans of not cooperating on the Stimulus – giving Republicans in every Congressional district possible ammunition in 2010. It will, at the very least, be difficult for those in the dog house with their constituents to explain how on earth George Bush prevented them from voting “No”. Many may not care a whit, counting on the time-tested voting blocks of African-American’s, Hispanics and Catholics to carry them blindly to another term – that said, there have been some recent changes over at the G.O.P. that may change minds, specifically in those demographics that are considered “owned” by the D.N.C. (See aggressive new R.N.C. Chair Michael Steele, who happens to be Catholic (a much sought after large voting block), African-American, and a technology savvy and likable guy.

In other words, the press and those Democrats in the Congress and Legislature who blindly followed Pelosi and Reid down that yellow-brick road laden with ideological, partisan future debt will play a hand in the fastest turn-around of a party’s fortunes in modern history. The public is aware, and even the proposed Fairness Doctrine, will not keep those suffering in the trenches (taxpayers) from voting. One has to remember that when Reagan clocked Carter (Massachusetts voted for Reagan twice), it was without: talk radio or Fox News – it was word of mouth and disgust with the Democrats out-of-control spending and a weakening economy (never mind those foreign policy debacles) that brought changes to the nation, first the White House and then both houses.

This Massachusetts Conservative understands that history has a funny way of repeating itself, and fully expects a very interesting and competitive 2010 election. The season has begun in the Bay State, with names already floated to replace Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D): Scott Brown, Brad Jones, Karyn Polito, Michael Sullivan, Lou Evangelidis, and Bruce Tarr .

Given the fact that Massachusetts does tend to vote when over-taxed, (50 plus percent of the electorate are “unenrolled”) any one of the aforementioned would be able to give Patrick the boot in 2010. This trend may go towards the Senate and Congressional seats that will be up for re-election in 2010, including Ted Kennedy’s – the newly elected Mass. G.O.P. chair Jennifer Nassour, is of like mind with the Party Chair, Michael Steele, who, upon gaining the Party Chair, made the statement that his “friends in the North east” will no longer be abandoned. At that time, neither Steele, nor Nassour had the benefit of the press branding Republicans as anti-stimulus and the subsequent distrust of the bill by those that vote, on both sides of the aisle. This current administration may go so far as to change many once-safe “Blue” states – “Red”.

To read the last version available (House version) as of 7:47 am on Valentine’s Day 2009: visit: The Library of Congress which will give you a link to download the last version directly from the Congressional Printing office. The PDF is 1400 plus pages long, and, when one cuts through the “legalese”, the sheer amounts devoted to non-stimulating projects, boggles the mind. In addition, it was hinted at that this version, was not final, and that more was added behind closed doors (hence, no public notice and an inability of a Senator, even had it been Clark Kent, to read through the pages in time to make an informed decision for their constituents.

Image from: Patriot from

Hero of the Week: Rep. John Boehner (YouTube Video of his House Speech 2/13/09)

Friday, February 13, 2009

G.O.P. – Ramps Up To Rock the World Wide Web

With the burgeoning importance of the world-wide web, including social networking sites, as tools for political parties – the Democrats are generally known to be tech savvy; using websites like Face Book and MySpace to reach younger constituents to get out the vote, or support policy. The use of the web and compatible technology (SMS) was critical to the campaign of Barack Obama, and the ability to raise funds and awareness though the web played a significant role in his election. (Including a little help from his friends at Google) - What was touted in the press, of course, was the superior use of the web by the Obama Campaign, however, tech savvy Republican’s using any means possible, including sms, and twitter, managed to hold sway in the Capital in a protest over Speaker Pelosi’s childish vacation maneuver to avoid hearings on critical energy bills – House Republicans managed to get their message out – using the web – and the Speaker ultimately returned to put the House in Session.

The G.O.P. House has now unveiled the new, an easy to navigate, fast loading, portal for G.O.P. legislators and their constituents. With the election of Michael Steele, the RNC website is growing some legs, all in time for the 2010 elections. How important is the web to Republicans? The new Massachusetts Party Chair, Jennifer Nassour, through the use of the web, is putting a face on the Massachusetts Republican Party – Ms. Nassour is using Face Book and Twitter, and plans a revamp of the State GOP site. She also uses the media to her advantage, with her name appearing in articles regarding state budget issues. Why is this important? Equal time – to get in front of the voters – the 12 million registered republicans understand that the Party has a chair, and it won’t hurt that news form the G.O.P. is now reaching the 51% of the electorate in the state that decides each election (the “unenrolleds”). With Steele promising his friends in the Northeast some much needed attention for the national party, a tech savvy State GOP chair, and a populous that has grown weary of the new administration before the first 100 days, 2010 may see a shift in house seats in the Bay State (including the Governor’s office).

The more political consumers are allowed to interact with their legislatures and state or national party's through every available means, the better that candidate or party will fare. The G.O.P. is turning the corner on technology – now the question is – will the Democrats be able to meet or exceed their constituent’s expectations, or will those moderate Democrats find it much easier to connect with a G.O.P. candidate or legislator?

You Tube Introduction to New GOP.Gov below.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Stimulus - Great American Shakedown

The latest version of the Stimulus (otherwise known as: the American Recover and Reinvestment Act of 2009) is available for download here at the United States Government Printing Office . (This is before the House today). It is suggested that anyone remotely interested in the future of this nation read the 1434 page document (skip the strikeouts); the Stimulus, in current form, reads more like a continuation of current programs and repair and improvements to government institutions (75,000,000 to the Smithsonian) – big spending, bigger government. There is tax relief beginning on page 1082: a temporary increase in the earned income tax credit, disaster relief for Midwestern states in worked into the American Opportunity Tax Credit (increase in Hope) – which, when one reads through the bill, it is apparent that “add-ons” are included in a variety of categories.

The tax credit to middle class families has been bartered down, from a $1000 per family tax cut to a $800 tax cut (amounting to an additional $13 a week), which will stimulate the economy how? The Republicans had a notion that putting money into the pockets of the people might better serve the nation, as consumers push the economy – it is a simple, time-tested method. The Stimulus, as it stands now, in its final version before the House, may take the programs under the Carter administration to new heights, allowing the economic period from 1977-1979 to appear robust! Obviously it is hoped that this “Stimulus” will offer some relief to those who are fueling the government (taxpayers), however, the likelihood is slim - someone has to pay for this - and the most logical choice is the average working class American. Individual tax burdens for this stimulus package can be calculated here:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mass. Gas Tax Increase - Loopy Proposals by Gov. Deval Patrick

Massachusetts “Hope and Change” Governor, Deval Patrick, looking for ways to get out from under an increasing state deficit (includes continuing work on the infamous Big Dig) is suggesting, among other things, a rise in the State Gas Tax. Massachusetts consumers currently pay 23.5 cents per gallon of gas; the additional .27 cent per gallon hike would give residents the distinction of paying the highest state gas taxes in the nation. (There is also a proposed increase in the Federal Gas Tax by the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission.) Support for the increase in the State gas tax is split along party lines, with Democrat Legislators defending the Governor, and Republican legislators defending their constituents.

In an interview on WGBH, Boston (video on site here), Jennifer Nassour, State GOP Party Chairperson, weighed in on the proposed gas tax noting that there were other avenues such as reform promised by the Governor. She went on to point out several areas where the Governor may have reduced spending including not hiring a personal assistant for his wife.

Other proposals being touted by the Governor include: applying the state’s “sin tax” to candy and soda, charging tolls at the borders of Vermont and Connecticut, and a personal favorite: placing a computer chip in inspection stickers which would charge Massachusetts drivers for every mile they drive. (Open road tolling or Electronic Toll Collection). Repeat: every mile driven. Loopy may not be a strong enough word to describe this idea.

It goes without saying, that he exodus of residents from the state, which will cause the Commonwealth to lose two congressional seats, will continue should the Governor continue his tax and spend policy (sound familiar?). Duval Patrick is up for re-election in 2010 and should be cognizant of the fact that the electorate of Massachusetts is not overwhelming Democrat, contrary to popular think, the State’s electorate is overwhelming independent (50 plus percent of the registered voters). History may once again repeat itself, with the Governor being thrown overboard, instead of the tea.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Pork and Stimulus – Mixing Opposing Economic Realities

The Stimulus Bill now in the Senate bears some resemblance to the version passed by the House, except it has increased in taxpayer liability by approximately 65 Billion Dollars – they are still working on it. The bill, which has received weakening support from the American Public, is laden with extra “programs”, otherwise known as “pork”. The final version is expected to be passed today, however, this mixed bag of tax credits (loosely based), infrastructure spending and a hodgepodge of “special state projects”, is putting our grandchildren into debt. There is also some question as to the packages ability to create jobs – There will, no doubt, be jobs created on the federal level, but it is unclear if any jobs will trickle down to the private sector, which remains bogged down in a credit crunch. What to expect? Political fall-out for the party in power should the stimulus fail to work and work fast – regardless of how many times President Obama stresses that it will take years to recover, the reality of a 7.6% jobless rate with no end in sight is making those who are on the receiving end feel a little less confident. What else? No-one knows for sure – there are divergent studies from a variety of economists – it is not an exact science.

The President will speak to the nation this evening in his first press conference, slated for a 7:00 pm Eastern Time slot. in usual partisan style, the press, along with the President are pointing fingers at those pesky Republicans who are finally doing their jobs. The article here at the Austin Statesman is true to form. The problem that the press and the President face is not the Republican Party, rather their constituents who, in the past few weeks, have grown leery of adding billions of dollars to an already over-extended deficit. If, and only, if, the stimulus can be modeled in such a way as to remove all unnecessary programs, will the people fall into line, otherwise, those Republicans who are now supporting the stimulus in its present form will be subject to the same backlash as their Democrat counterparts.

Amazon Picks

Massachusetts Conservative Feminist - Degrees of Moderation and Sanity Headline Animator

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Map

Contact Me:

Your Name
Your Email Address