Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

I watched the entire Tea-Party / Republican debate (Link to video of the debate). I wish I had taken notes so I could write-up the dumbest statements made by each candidate. It was a lot of jingoistic nonsense, self-contradictory positions, infighting, and delusional stuff about radically cutting taxes. It has renewed my disgust of Republicans, much more than I had expected it would.

I think one of the lows was hearing a candidate say that tax-incentives (for example, to encourage alternative energies like solar and wind, which would help the US gain energy independence) were really just “corporate tax loopholes” and tax loopholes needed to be closed (you know, because everybody hates corporate tax loopholes), then he went on to talk about the importance of US energy independence. Presumably, the candidate thinks that US oil can provide all the energy the country needs and it will last forever.

The reality is that the US has proven oil reserves of 21 billion barrels (source) and “Services under the U.S. Department of the Interior estimate the total volume of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil in the United States to be roughly 134 billion barrels.” (source). U.S. oil consumption is 21 million barrels per day (source), which works out to 7.6 billion barrels of oil consumed per year. In other words: if the US uses only US produced oil, we’ll be out of proven reserves in 3 years, which is before that candidate is even done with their first term! Assuming we could tap into all the presumably undiscovered oil (and it will take more than 3 years to bring it on line), we’ll be out of oil in 17 years.

Herman Cain’s dumbest statement was his 9/9/9 plan. He wants a 9% Federal Sales Tax, 9% Federal income (flat) tax, and 9% corporate tax. In other words: raise taxes on the poor, reduce taxes on the rich, reduce taxes on corporations, and dramatically cut the tax money coming into the federal government. It would radically reduce income tax to much lower levels than it’s been anytime in the last 80 years.

Michelle Bachmann complained about HPV vaccines and the next day made statements about the HPV vaccine causing mental retardation. She also championed the fact that she fought against raising the debt ceiling (that’s retarded), saying that congress gave Obama a $2.5 trillion dollar blank check (apparently, she doesn’t understand that “$2.5 trillion” and “blank check” are mutually exclusive).

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Fun Fact About Taxes

The top income tax bracket in the United States is currently 35%.

Make a guess over how many years, within the past 80 years, the tax rate was below 35% and how many years it was more than twice the current rate.

Since 1932, there were only 5 years when the top income tax bracket has been below 35%. (Those years were 1988-1992, when the numbers ranged between 28% and 31%.)
Since 1932, there were 45 years when the top income tax bracket was double or more the current rate. (Between 1936 and 1980, the top income tax bracket ranged between 70% and 94%.)
(Source for tax information)

Another fun fact: The US debt, as a percentage of GDP, was lowest in 1980 (when Reagan first took office) than any other time in the last 80 years. Under Reagan and Bush Sr., the US debt to GDP ratio doubled, reversing a 35 year trend of declining national debt.


When the tax rate of the highest tax bracket is compared to the GDP-to-debt ratio, the trend is clear: in periods where the tax percentages were highest, the national debt decreased, and in periods where taxes were lowest (i.e. mostly under Republican presidents, but also under Obama) the national debt increased.

Oh, but Obama is a socialist for wanting tax rates higher than 35%, even though 35% is historically very, very low. And the “Taxed Enough Already” party appeared now, in this period of US history??

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According to a new poll, the Tea Party has lower approval ratings than Atheists. It’s well known that an atheist can’t win the US presidency, so I guess this means that the tea-party candidates might as well throw in the towel right now.

One of their more surprising findings, Campbell concedes, (and one drawing national attention) is that the tea party drew a lower approval rating than Muslims and atheists. That put the tea party below 23 other entries–including Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, Republicans and Democrats–that the professors included on their survey of “a representative sample of 3,000 Americans.”

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In politics, they say, “Don’t answer the question that was asked. Answer the question you wish they asked.”

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In May, ThinkProgress reported that Kentucky approved a $43 million tax break for Ark Encounter, a Bible-themed amusement park that religious organizations are building outside Williamstown. Now the state is giving the creationist project another kickback in the form of a 75 percent property tax discount over the next 30 years. (Source)

Website of “Ark Encounter”: http://arkencounter.com/, which seems to be an extension to the Answers In Genesis’ Creation Museum.

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Rick Perry, the current governor of Texas, is going to run for president in 2012. No doubt, a lot of evangelicals will flock to him because he seems to be a “man of God” and “we need men of God in the White House”. (See also: FOX News “Five Reasons Why I Believe Texas Governor Rick Perry Will Be Our President In 2013”)

Rick Perry’s Prayer Rally and Fast [via Cynical-C]

On a related note, here’s a clip from the “Way of the Master Radio” (which is the show with Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort, but a third guy named Todd Friel seems to be the one in this clip) doing a relatively good piece on the psychology of faith healings, speaking in tongues, etc. I really didn’t know that their show would be coming down against the faith healers. I grew up in the ‘faith healing, speaking in tongues, slain in the spirit’ type of churches, and I eventually started to recognize that nobody ever seemed to ever get truly healed, despite the big show at church.

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“the only problem talking about Sarah Palin is that she works here and it’s like a co-worker. And if I say something bad and I see her in the hallway I feel really awkward and wrong. So I just kind of say, ‘That was a good job.'” – Greg Gutfeld of FOX News

And now…

“Two Fox News Channel analysts said Thursday they were joking when they spoke on the air about going easy on fellow Fox employee Sarah Palin.” (Source)

I see two possible options:
(1) The first statement was very, very funny. Go back and read it again, I was rolling on the floor.
(2) It’s against the FOX News commandments to ever suggest that they are biased, even if it’s as obvious as Pinocchio’s gigantic nose. (It’s might burst the bubble of FOX News viewers who are involved in deep self-delusion.)

To be fair, I know that O’Reilly has come down on Sarah Palin as being an idiot. I have a feeling that FOX News can’t muzzle O’Reilly, short of kicking him off the network entirely, which they won’t do.

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One of the bulletpoints from Standard and Poor’s report about downgrading the US credit rating from AAA to AA:

“We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act.”


In other words: the republican and tea-party’s demands for no new taxes is hurting the US credit rating.

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Interesting Fact of the Day

For about four months in 1942-1943, Franklin D. Roosevelt set the highest tax bracket at 100% for any money earned over $25,000/year (about 1/3rd of a million dollars in inflation-adjusted dollars).

It was eventually repealed by congress. (Source)

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[Via Unreasonable Faith] I fully approve of pointing out the schizophrenia of the Republicans regarding Ayn Rand and Christianity. This will, no doubt, make a few Tea Party activists’ heads explode.

Admittedly, one way around this is for a conservative simply say that Ayn Rand was right on economics, not religion, but Jesus was right on religion. It would be harder to wiggle out of the issue, though, if they pointed out Jesus and Ayn Rand’s diametrically opposed positions on wealth and charity. Jesus said things like:

“If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:21)

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

Whereas, Ayn Rand makes personal greed the highest virtue, and has a dismal view of altruism.

(See, my childhood knowledge of Christianity is still useful.)

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