Saturday, February 07, 2009

Micahel Steele's Weekly Republican Address

Dear Rod,

I hope you'll take a moment to review RNC Chairman Michael Steele's weekly Republican address. Thank you for your continued support.

Click here to download the mp3 audio.Click here to watch the video.


"This is Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Democrats have controlled both branches of government for less than a month. And you have to wonder if all that power has gone to their heads.

"For the last two weeks, they've been trying to force a massive spending bill through Congress under the guise of economic relief.

"All of us -- Republicans and Democrats -- agree the government must act to kick-start the American economy. American families are doing their best to balance their own budgets and pay their mortgages.

"The fastest way to help those families is by letting them keep more of the money they earn. Individual empowerment: that's how you stimulate the economy.

"But the Democrats have a different philosophy. Instead of leaving money in the family checkbook, they want to send it to Washington, run it through a slow and inefficient government, and hope that does some good.

"When families keep the money, they spend it, save it, or invest it. And the private sector economy benefits when families and businesses buy consumer goods or invest it for the future. But when Washington spends the money, some of it may flow into the economy, but all too often, much gets wasted.

"Democrats in Congress want a one-trillion dollar spending bill. You've heard about the pork-barrel programs they want to fund... 45 million dollars for ATV trails and removal of fish passage barriers is one that caught my eye. Exactly what is a fish passage barrier and why does it cost 45 million dollars to stimulate the economy with it?

"That's why Republicans in the House voted against uncontrolled spending. This is not a bragging point, but rather a statement that at least Republicans would stand with the American taxpayer.

"But voting 'no' is not enough... and Republicans have offered innovative ideas to help struggling families and small businesses. We've offered plans to spark job creation and investment through lower taxes, to stop the taxation of unemployment benefits, and to help Americans keep their jobs and their homes.

"The comprehensive Republican plan would lower taxes for all working American families. If you're married, the first 16,750 dollars you make this year will be taxed at ten percent. Why don't we cut that rate in half to give instant buying power to every working American family?
"Good ideas... lots of them... all left out of this plan by the Democrats in Congress.

"Republicans stand ready to work with reasonable Democrats to do what is right for America.

"But it will take more than bipartisan words from the President. It will require fair-minded action from Democrats in Congress.

"Thanks for listening."

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The Michael Phelps' Bong Hits

“Does embattled Michael Phelps Deserve a break for his indiscretions?” is the headline of an article on the Op-ed page of the Tennessean. That is also the type of question being asked on talk shows and by pundits across America. I think it is the wrong question. The question we should be asking is, “Isn’t it time to end the hypocrisy of pot prohibition?”

Olympic Swimmer Phelps got caught smoking dope. Some pundits are saying it is a teachable moment to explain to your kids that all people are flawed. Others are saying he is young and deserves a break for doing something stupid.

Was it stupid for Michael Phelps to smoke dope? Was it a forgivable indiscretion? What is the lesson? He was stupid. He was not stupid because there is anything inherently wrong with smoking a little dope but he was stupid because he risked million of dollars in earnings from product endorsements. He was stupid because he thought he was partying with friends. He was stupid because he failed to realize that he is a celebrity and cannot do what normal people do.

The lesson is that you should not get caught. The lesson is that if you do get caught you have to act like you did something wrong and ask for forgiveness.

I know the response of many to this argument is that marijuana is illegal and he should respect the law. Actually, I think a little disrespect of the law can be healthy thing. Many otherwise respectable people drank booze during prohibition. If everyone had respected the law we would still have prohibition. When the national speed limit was 55, many of us continued to drive 70. Many of the sex practices that people routinely engage in were once illegal in many of the states. It was once illegal for two unmarried people to have sex. Oral sex was illegal. Sex between people of different races was illegal. Should we have all respected the law? Sometimes the law is not worthy of respect because it is a stupid law. If everyone obeys the law it doesn’t get changed.

After getting caught Phelps had this to say: “I engaged in behaviour which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment. I’m 23 years old and despite the successes I’ve had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again.”

It is unfortunate but this is the kind of groveling, hypocritical, self-serving statement one has to make if they get caught. I wish he would have said this: “I smoked a little dope at a party and don’t regret it. I regret getting caught. I regret that an activity which is relatively harmless is illegal. I am a successful athlete and enjoy a little pot from time to time. I hope that this incidents helps to dispel the myth that dope smoking is only for losers and slackers. I regret that society considers this incident newsworthy or inappropriate.”

Like Michael Phelps, William F. Buckley, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Sarah Palin and tens of millions of other Americans, I have "tried" marijuana. Unlike Buckley I tried it more than once. Unlike Bill Clinton, I did inhale. Unlike Sarah Palin, I did enjoy it. It is OK to admit that you did it at some point in the past, just don’t admit or get caught doing it in the present. I suspect that a lot of people who hold important jobs and are accomplished and responsible routinely smoke a little dope. But, they cannot say, "yeah, I like to get stoned every once in a while." They may say that in their youth they "tried" the drug, but they do not admit to currently using it. Such bullshit! Such hypocrisy.

Marijuana is a harmless drug. It is absolutely ridiculous that society continues to ruin lives and waste millions of dollars arresting and jailing people for engaging in such a harmless activity. If we had more marijuana and less alcohol the world would be a better place. Maybe, if marijuana was legal, more people would choose to get high rather than drunk. The worst thing you can say about marijuana is that it makes people have a stupid grin on their face and think that Oreo cookies are the best thing they ever tasted. People stoned on marijuana are not prone to domestic violence or barroom brawls. Stoned people find life amusing and, by and large, are easygoing and peaceful. Marijuana may be a net plus for society.

Millions of Americans routinely engage in the harmless activity of smoking pot but yet have to lie about it. Making millions of people be liars and hypocrites is the least of the things wrong with our drug policy. People really do get a police record or go to jail or lose their jobs or their scholarship or lose child visitation rights because of using marijuana.

Isn’t it time to end the hypocrisy of pot prohibition?

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Friday, February 06, 2009

Remembering Ronald Reagan

February 6, 1911-June 5, 2004

Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on this day in 1911 in Tamico, Illinois. Along with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan was one of the best Presidents of the United States. He was responsible for changing the course of world history by defeating Communism and ending the cold war. Under his leadership, the Communist march toward world domination was reversed and Communist governments began to crumble and millions of enslaved people were freed. Communism was placed on the ash heap of history and discredited. The collision course that was leading toward a nuclear war and annihilation of much of the world was averted.

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Dear Senator, Please Vote "no" on the Stimulas Bill

Write you Senator. It is fast and easy. Follow this link: Dear Senator ...

Below is my letter, slightly modified from the draft on the Citizens Aganist Goverment Waste website.

The stimulas bill may be rammed through any day. Time is short. Please, if you have not written your Senator, do it.

Feb 6, 2009
Senator Lamar Alexander
Constitution Avenue and 1st Street, NE
Washington, DC 20510-4206

Dear Senator Alexander,

I am writing to express my opposition to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (S.1) and urge you to vote against thisso-called "economic stimulus" bill.

I am very concerned about the protectionist provision in this bill which I fear could trigger a trade war and turn the enconomic downturn into a full-blown long-term world-wide depression.

Adding $900 billion in government spending to the $1.2 trillion federal deficit already projected for this year will only pile additional debt onto the shoulders of my children and grandchildren.

This massive government spending spree will not stimulate economic growth. In fact, your own nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has concluded that more than half of the hundreds of billions of dollars ininfrastructure spending contained in the bill will not take place for more than two years -- long after economists predict, and we all hope, the current recession will have ended.

I urge you instead to create more incentives and opportunities forprivate-sector jobs and growth by cutting government spending and enacting across-the-board tax cuts for individuals and businesses. If passed as currently proposed, I fear this borrow-and-spend"stimulus" bill will waste record amounts of tax dollars,provide virtually no benefit to the economy, and only add to our nation's soaring liabilities. Please vote NO on S.1.

Mr. Rod Williams
street address
Nashville, TN 37203-5512

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Obama on 'Buy American' collision course?

By Tom Curry, National affairs writer,

President Barack Obama has signaled opposition to “Buy American” provisions in economic stimulus legislation now before Congress, a decision that could put him on a collision course with congressional Democrats and labor unions. (Read about the protectionist provisions in both the House and Senate version of the stimulus bill, the threat this poses and the impact of Obama’s criticism: Obama on ‘Buy American’ ….)

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Obama Condemns “Buy American"

Just now, President Obama said the “buy American” provision did not belong in the stimulus bill. This Republican gives him an enthusiastic, “Way to go!”
He said such provisions were dangerous and could lead to a trade war. This is great news. Thank God he spoke up before the Democrats rammed though this disaster of a spending bill and turned an economic downturn into a full-blown, long-lasting depression. I just heard this on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer. More details to follow

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Getting Stimulated

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‘This simpler, targeted plan gets at the root of the problem, which is housing’

Washington, DC, Tuesday, February 3, 2009, from the Office of Senator Mitch McConnell

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday regarding a bipartisan path forward to fix the housing problem and put more money in the pocket of the taxpayer:

Evidently the President met with Congressional Democrats last night. And it’s my hope that he took the opportunity to impress upon them the urgency of passing an economic stimulus bill that works. I think it’s safe to say that the version House Democrats approved last week would not.

Most of the infrastructure projects it includes wouldn’t impact the economy for at least a year. Permanent spending would expand by more than $200 billion. And, as just about everybody knows by now, the House bill was loaded with wasteful spending.

Unfortunately, the version Senate Democrats put together isn’t a whole lot better. President Obama said 75% of the bill’s discretionary projects should be paid for within two years. Yet more than half of this spending in the Senate version wouldn’t be spent for another two years.

President Obama said 40% of the bill should be tax relief. Yet less than a third of the spending in the Senate version would go to tax relief. And, like the House bill, the spending portion in the Senate version is simply way too big. If you include the interest payments, the total cost of the Senate Democrat bill is nearly $1.3 trillion. So I can’t imagine President Obama is terribly pleased with the proposals Democrats in the House or the Senate have put forward. And I’m hoping he convinced them last night that it’s time to put together a bill that gives an immediate jolt to the economy and creates jobs now.

President Obama has acknowledged that Senate Republicans have a number of good ideas that he’d like to incorporate into the final bill. So has the Senior Senator from New York. Republicans will be pursuing those ideas this week — and how they’d help President Obama achieve his goals for the stimulus bill.

Republicans think we can send the President a simpler, more targeted stimulus bill that gets right at the root of our current economic troubles, and which doesn’t waste money that we don’t have on projects that don’t create jobs now.

Most people recognize that housing is at the root of the current economic downturn. So we should fix this problem before we do anything else. Republicans believe that one way to do that is to provide government-backed, 30-year fixed mortgages at approximately 4% to any credit-worthy borrower, reducing monthly mortgage payments and increasing demand for homes. According to this proposal, the average family would see its monthly mortgage payment drop by over $400 a month, which comes out to over $5,000 a year. Over the life of a 30-year loan, that’s a savings of over $150,000.

Next, in order to get money into the economy quickly, Republicans propose that we cut income tax rates for working Americans right away. The federal government imposes a 10% tax on married couples for income up to $16,700. By cutting that rate in half, we’d put about $500 into the pocket of every working family and give an immediate jolt to the economy. Income between $16,700 and $67,900 is taxed at 15%. Republicans would cut that rate to 10%, putting another $1,100 into the pockets of working couples. And single filers would get similar rate reductions. In other words, everyone who works and pays income tax would see an immediate increase in pay. This simpler, targeted plan gets at the root of the problem, which is housing. And it puts money in people’s pockets immediately.

President Obama asked Congress to put together a bill without wasteful spending that creates jobs now. Republicans have better ideas for doing both. We look forward to having the chance to explain those ideas this week to the American people and to be able to vote on them.


I do not think Republicans are simply being obstructionist in opposing the Democratic proposal. The Democratic super spending proposal is simply a bad bill. The Republican proposal is a more effective and immediate approach to stimulating the economy.

I think we need a stimulus bill but not the one that is proposed by Democratic leaders. Republicans cannot get everything they want of course, but if Obama wants bi-partisan support for a stimulus bill and a better bill, he needs to ask Democrats to meet Republicans half way. Unless the proposed stimulas bill is greatly revamped, Republicans should stay united and hang tough. If Democrats do not want to compromise, then let them ram though a partisan Democratic bill without Republican support.

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Monday, February 02, 2009

Please Don't "Buy Ameican"

The only thing missing in turning this economic downturn into a full-blown worldwide depression is a good dose of protectionism and a massive trade war. Unfortunately it looks like it is on the way. In casual conversation, in chat groups, blogs, and in songs on country radio the “buy American” sentiment is expressed. Both grassroots liberals and conservatives are calling for requirements that money appropriated in the stimulus bill be restricted to projects that only use only American made products in their spending projects. Protectionist sentiment seems to be growing by leaps and bounds.

If the Democratic super spending bill really was a good economic stimulus bill and was devoid of all the pet projects and pork in the bill, it would still be a bad bill because of the “buy American” provisions in the bill. The last thing we need is a trade war. If we mandate “buy American” we can expect other countries to retaliate. If we stop buying Chinese goods the Chinese very well may decide to stop buying our debt.

Almost all historians agree that a major cause of the Great Depression was protectionism and the trade wars. The Depression began in 1929 with the stock market crash. The depth of the depression however did not occur until 1932. In 1930 Congress passed the Smoot Hawley Tariff Act, which raised tariffs on over 20,000 imported goods. This act was thought to be a job creation bill, the reasoning being that if we did not purchase all of those goods from foreign countries that Americans would be put to work producing those goods. As soon as the bill was passed foreign countries began boycotting American goods and passing retaliatory tariffs on imports. American farmers could no longer export their goods. We did not pull out of the depression until 1939 with the outbreak of World War II.

In addition to causing other countries to retaliate against American goods, “buy American” also creates other inefficiencies that cause job losses. Writing in an op-ed piece in the New York Times, Douglas Irwin offers an example to demonstrate why this is so:

In rebuilding the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in the 1990s, the California transit authority complied with state rules mandating the use of domestic steel unless it was at least 25 percent more expensive than imported steel. A domestic bid came in at 23 percent above the foreign bid, and so the more expensive American steel had to be used. Because of the large amount of steel used in the project, California taxpayers had to pay a whopping $400 million more for the bridge. While this is a windfall for a lucky steel company, steel production is capital intensive, and the rule makes less money available for other construction projects that can employ many more workers. (If We Buy American, No One Else Will)
I know it sounds patriotic and rational to “buy American.” It is not. The world is much more interdependent now than it was in 1930. If we start a massive trade war, it is guaranteed to push us into a full-blown Depression that may last for a very long time. I hope that the wiser heads in Congress and the Obama administration resist the growing public demand for protectionism. Please don’t get caught up in the “buy American” feeding frenzy. It is economic suicide.

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Smoking and Economic Stimulas

The Democratic $819 billion super spending bill mislabeled as an economic stimulus bill contains $75 million for smoking-cessation programs. Could someone explain to me how funding smoking cessation programs belong in an economic stimulus bill? I am not opposed to people quitting smoking. Smoking is bad for your health, so stop it. I am not so sure it is a proper roll of the federal government however to fund programs that help people quit smoking. Even if that is a proper federal government roll how does that stimulate the economy? If people quit smoking wouldn’t that actually depress the economy?

Here in Nashville a year or so ago, they banned smoking in most bars. People who like dim lights, thick smoke, and loud, loud music quit going to bars and some fine honkytonks closed in Music City. That smoking ban was detrimental to the local economy.

What would be the economic impact if a lot of people quit smoking? First of all, retail would suffer. With retail hurting already, the loss of the revenue generated from people not buying cigarettes may be the additional loss that moves some stores from profitable to not profitable. If fewer people smoke we could see the closing of more 7-11’s. And if fewer people smoke, we could see layoffs in Winston-Salem North Carolina and other cities were they manufacture the cigarettes. And of course the cigarettes have to be transported, so we will see a hit in the trucking industry. The hardest hit sector will be the farmers who grow tobacco.

Health care is already suffering. In these hard times people are putting off selective surgeries and people are losing their health insurance. Are fewer sick people really good for the health care industry?

We all know how much trouble social security is in. Social security is not a retirement program of course, but is similar to welfare in that today’s workers transfer income to today’s social security recipients. If people live longer that will make social security even worse off and today’s workers will have to be taxed at a higher rate to pay the social security of all the old folks on the dole. If you tax current workers more, that will depress the economy. If fewer people are dying from smoking related diseases that means that there will be that much more strain on social security and a worse economy.

Another economic impact is that state governments benefits from receiving tax revenue from the sale of tobacco. Some states have specific programs, such as children’s health programs, tied directly to revenue from tobacco sales. If less money is flowing into government coffers, then there is less money for government to spend. Less government revenue and highway construction projects are delayed. Some specific programs tied to tobacco revenue will have to be shut down and employees will be laid off.

In a job creation economic stimulus bill shouldn’t we actually be encouraging people to smoke?

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

How Condoms Stimulate the Economy

Before it was stripped form the $845 Billion “stimulus bill,” the bill contained hundreds of millions of dollars to expand family planning services. Of course the stimulus bill is really a Christmas Tree bill and contains funds for smoking cessation and all kinds of pork and any thing some Democrat thought might be a good idea. House speaker Nancy Pelosi staunchly defended the family planning provision of the bill. I never did understand how the family planning provision would stimulate the economy and create jobs until I came across this post in a chat group that explains it.

If there's one thing that can jump start an ailing economy, it's FREE RUBBERS!

Think about it. You lost your job. They've foreclosed on your home. You have nothing left in your pockets but a couple bucks and a handful of condoms. So you go downtown and pick up a 2-dollar whore to help you forget your troubles. The hooker gives your money to her pimp, who uses it to buy some bling at the pawn shop. The pawnbroker spends his money on some more expensive hookers, who are freelancing to pay their tuition at Berkeley. Their Gender Studies professym makes a downpayment on a new hybrid car. The car dealership buys more hybrids from the manufacturer to meet the rising demand. Autoworkers get a little extra in their paychecks. Once you subtract taxes and union dues, they have just enough left to go downtown a pick up a 2-dollar whore. The Cycle begins anew.

Now I understand it. I traced this post back to a blog called Blame Bush. To see the full post follow this link: Republicans Hate Sex.

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