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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Charm Offensive?

The media has termed the president’s recent outreach to republicans and as being a charm offensive tactic. The president is supposed to be all smiles as he listens attentively to the GOP concerns. Last night, Lawrence O’Donnell said that the president received a standing ovation from the Republican wing when he entered the house chamber and received the same as he was leaving. That’s good, those gestures offsets the warning of not getting too close to the president because it might hurt their chances of reelection. Doe we really have that many small mined hateful voters in America?

Last week, the house voted to defund ACORN even though it has been out of business for three years. The GOP also renewed their sights on repealing Obamacare, and are currently taking steps to ensure that the work provisions in the welfare program are strengthened; even though they were never weakened. The other day, Born2Bme enlightened me of their motives. I couldn’t understand why we were revisiting the issues of the 2008 and 2012 election. The house GOP is on a permanent reelection campaign, so they must constantly feed the red meat to their base. As I was watching a TV host explain the "free phone for votes" hyperbole being used as an Obama political strategy,  I decided to do a little fact checking. I was wrong because I didn’t think such a program existed, but I was right because it wasn’t an Obama “phones for votes” program. This is how Forbes magazine (no liberal rag) explained the program “The federal program wasn’t started by President Obama. It dates back to 1996, as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The Act did a number of things, including increasing internet access to doctors and patients in rural hospitals (for consults with specialists); subsidizing internet and phone coverage for schools and libraries and providing free or subsidized coverage for families who can’t afford it so that they have links to emergency and government services. The Act was not taxpayer funded… exactly. Taxpayers do pay for coverage but not via federal income taxes. Instead, the Act “mandated the creation of the universal service fund (USF) into which all telecommunications providers are required to contribute a percentage of their interstate and international end-user telecommunications revenues.” So that little fee on your phone bill labeled USF? That’s what you’re paying for.”

As we go back and forth on what will and won’t get done, I can see the wheels turning on both sides, so we might get a small bargain but the differences are too huge to be reconciled in one or two legislative sessions. Paul Ryan and the GOP thinks that since they presented their plan to balance the budget in ten-years, the president should use the same parameters to counter their proposal. I’m glad that the president said that balancing the budget is not a priority but the path to bringing down the cost curve of the debt is. Republicans in the house and the senate are open to tax reform by eliminating tax loopholes but they differ on what to do with the savings. The GOP wants to cut tax rates with the savings but that’s just like moving around the deck chairs on the Titanic to keep it from sinking. They don’t mind eliminating the loopholes that the wealthy receive because they give it back to them in a form of a tax cut. The democrats want to use those savings to further reduce the deficit. The deficit is coming down on its own with the newly enacted tax revenues, so the democrats aren’t that keen on trading tax increases for a big entitlement reform package.

And yet we have another local yokel, Mike Beeson, who wrote a letter titled “Victoria doesn’t need federal grant money.” The writer takes a local teeny weenie solar project and compares it to the problems with our nations alternative fuels in a “drill baby drill” fashion. I don’t think anyone expected the grant to produce the next solar boom and besides energy experts all agree that solar will certainly be part of the mix as we continue our path to get off fossil fuels and our dependency on foreign oil. The writer doesn’t mention the tax incentives the oil companies receive nor does he mention their tax shelters in the Cayman Islands which are designed specifically to legally avoid U.S. tax.

Yesterday my trusty iPad broke so I'm going to Houston Saturday to hopefully get it repaired. While  I'm there I think I'll go to Costco and get me a jumbo bag of popcorn to enjoy as I watch the CPAC circus this weekend . I'm taping the whole event because I don't want to miss a word...:-)


Mike said...

This a bit off subject but it goes to a broader point of “things are not always as they appear to be.”

I’ve always thought that the manufactures controlled the strings of the NRA but it’s the other way around according to this article from Bloomberg..
I found this interesting:

“According to a new BloombergBusinessweek article, the relationship between the country’s most visible gun rights advocacy organization and the industry itself is more complex than commonly understood. In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December, for instance, executives from major U.S gun makers contacted the NRA, looking for help handling the public-relations crisis.

“[T]he NRA reassured nervous gun company reps that they could stand down, according to people familiar with the situation,” reporter Paul Barrett wrote in the article published on Thursday. “[NRA chief Wayne] LaPierre would handle it.”
Gun companies have given millions of dollars to the NRA over the years, but according to Barrett, the NRA maintains quite a bit of power over its donors:
Gun companies defer to the NRA for two main reasons: First, there’s intimidation. The lobby group has incited potentially ruinous consumer boycotts against firearm makers that fail to follow the NRA line with sufficient zeal. Second, regardless of some executives’ concerns about civil discourse, gun companies benefit financially from the NRA’s hype. Alarms about imminent gun confiscation—an NRA staple, despite its implausibility—reliably send firearm owners back to retail counters.

The NRA started the gun confiscation scare and the sheep followed.

Edith Ann said...

Did you watch Rachel Maddow last night? She was talking about how the election issues are surfacing again. I was dozing off, but remember what I heard was good.

Interesting article about the NRA and the gun folks. I have $10.00 that says that at least 51% of the ammo shortage is because the manufacturers were told to slow production...just a thought.

Mike said...

Yes,I watched it. I thought that it was it was about study that proved that minorities suffered from voter suppression more than white voters. Duh!

Don't know about the ammo shortage but I remember when Alton tried to blame Obama for it in a blog. I remember looking it up and found this out in 2007:

"Troops training for and fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are firing more than 1 billion bullets a year, contributing to ammunition shortages hitting police departments nationwide and preventing some officers from training with the weapons they carry on patrol.

An Associated Press review of dozens of police and sheriff's departments found that many are struggling with delays of as long as a year for both handgun and rifle ammunition. And the shortages are resulting in prices as much as double what departments were paying just a year ago.

A hard thing to prove without the purchase orders and invoices.