Artificial Intelligence.

In an age of political irony, the committee assignment for Rep. Michele Bachmann stands out. Believe it or not, she is a proud member of the House Intelligence Committee!

Clearly, GOP leaders have no understanding of the word’s meaning. As I’m sure you know, intelligence is defined as “the ability to learn facts and skills and apply them, especially when this ability is highly developed.” It may also be defined as “information about secret plans or activities, especially those of foreign governments, the armed forces, business competitors, or criminals.”

Do either of those definitions have any obvious relationship to Bachmann? Seriously?

In all her years in office, Bachmann has displayed no aptitude for learning. She has demonstrated no understanding of history, our Founders, our Constitution or any other aspect of government. Neither has she demonstrated an ability to keep her lack of knowledge secret. Honestly, the woman can’t keep her mouth shut!

For example, Bachmann says that we are now living in the end of times. She’s not only a believer in Biblical Armageddon. From her politics, one might rightly conclude that she’s trying to rush to the end by defunding the federal government, defaulting on government loans, denying the science of climate change, fighting against gun safety, pushing for more fracking and oil drilling, and denying equal rights for all Americans.

However, if you listen to her long enough, you find that she admits to having no mind of her own. Like Sarah Palin, she claims that God tells her what to do. How sacrilegious is that!? She would have us believe that God would consistently tell her to say and do the wrong thing?

I find that offensive!

As a child, I was told that God is omniscient and omnipotent. Bachmann? Not so much. That leaves only two possible explanations for Bachmann’s failures. Either God doesn’t really speak to Bachmann. Or he has one heck of a sense of humor!

Another Debt Ceiling Debacle?

Teapublicans are always fond of relating government budgets to your household budget. It’s a lousy analogy. But let’s use it for the purposes of the debt ceiling debate.

Imagine if your family, concerned about its spending and debt, had a meeting and decided that you no longer wanted to pay any debts above…let’s say, $10,000.  And let’s say that your family couldn’t agree on spending cuts. For example, the father just doesn’t want to stop collecting expensive guns and driving luxury cars, the mother doesn’t want to give up health insurance and the 401K, and the kids don’t want to give up school and food.  So your family agrees to stop paying the mortgage, the utilities and the credit card companies.

What do you think would happen?

The mortgage company would foreclose on your home, the utilities would cut off electricity, water and gas, and the credit card companies would cut off any new purchases in addition to adding large penalties and interest to your outstanding balance.  Moreover, your family would be unable to borrow money from anyone else. And, if someone else was willing to risk loaning your family money, it would be at exhorbitant interest rates.

Does that sound like something you want to intentionally do to your family? No? Then why would you want to do that to your country?

What we have is a Republican Party that doesn’t want to give up the world’s most lavish military budget or tax cuts and welfare for our largest corporations. The Democratic Party doesn’t want to give up Social Security, Medicare, and access to health care and food stamps for the working poor. And the Tea Party parasites don’t want to spend anything because they don’t like the government anyway.

During the 2012 presidential election, we had a national debate about the direction of our nation and its budget. On these issues, the voters overwhelmingly supported the Democratic Party.  The results of that election should direct the conversation about government spending. Most important, there should be a conversation with all parties sitting down together and having an adult conversation about our nation’s future.

Unfortunately, the Tea Party parasites don’t want to do that, and the gutless Republican leaders are kowtowing to them.

Recess Is The Appropriate Term For A Congressional Break.

Exhausted by the 86 days members of the US House of Representatives have worked this year, the House is now taking a 5-week recess – a term that aptly describes the childish behavior of this Republican-controlled legislative body.

After all, Republican congressional representatives continue to throw a tantrum over Obamacare, having voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act 40 times.

By comparison, the current session of Congress has passed just 15 bills that have become law. Six of those were necessary to fix seriously flawed laws. Three were reauthorizations of previous laws. Two were disaster relief bills. One was an appropriations bill. And two were commemorative bills.

Whew! I’m exhausted just writing about it. No wonder they need a break for recess. After all, all work and no play…

And Congress is not through. When they come back to work September 9th, they will have to gut it out for another 39 days before the end of the year in order to claim their $174,000 salaries. Of course, there is additional compensation. How else would you find someone to take such an unrewarding job? Members of Congress are eligible for pensions (the average annual pension was $35,952 in 2006) and healthcare benefits, plus annual allowances for office expenses, staff, mail, and travel between their home districts and Washington, DC.

Interestingly, beginning in 2014, members of Congress will have to give up their executive healthcare plans. The only coverage available to them will be that offered through the Health Insurance Exchange created by Obamacare.

Could that be the real reason Republicans continue to vote to repeal Obamacare?

Ummm…You Can’t Record What You Don’t See.

Some members of Congress are now demanding that the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) release data for the number of migrants who are turned back before crossing the border illegally and the number who evaded the Border Patrol and thus were able to successfully enter the U.S. illegally.

Say what?

Am I the only one who sees the flaw in this logic? How exactly is the DHS to accurately determine that information? One might as well ask how many stars haven’t yet been discovered. Sure, we know how many UFO sightings have been reported, but how many didn’t we see? How many Sasquatches haven’t been seen?

DHS and the Border Patrol report the number of apprehensions by agents. In addition, ICE (Immigration and Customs Service) reports the number of deportations. But it’s extremely unlikely that they would be able to accurately track the number of migrants who are discouraged from crossing the border upon seeing Border Patrol agents. And it would be impossible to track the number of migrants who cross the border unseen by agents.

As for those spotted, but elude capture, it would be possible to cite a number. But many are likely captured by other agents and law enforcement personnel. So what is the purpose of collecting the data?

We now have more than 17,600 border patrol agents assigned to the 1,954 miles of border with Mexico. That’s more than 9 agents per mile! And the Senate Immigtation Reform bill calls for adding 20,000 more!

Apprehensions of illegal immigrants are at an all-time high. Deportations are at an all-time high. Illegal immigration is now at net zero. Yet, Congressional Teapublicans accuse former Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, of engaging in a cover-up for failing to report the number of “turn-backs” and the number of “got-aways.” They claim this information is needed in order to determine whether or not the border is secure before voting on Immigration Reform.

Here’s an idea. Since Congress spends less than 3 days a week at work, they have plenty of time to go to the border and collect the data themselves.

Here We Go Again. Another Debt Crisis!

In 2011, Speaker John Boehner and his GOP cronies nearly sent the US economy into a death spiral by refusing to raise the debt ceiling unless President Obama agreed to severe budget cuts. When the president and other Democrats tried to negotiate a common sense agreement that would not lead to a double dip recession, there was a lengthy stand off. The markets were so shaken that US government bonds were downgraded for the first time in history and large parts of our economy came to a standstill.

The GOP tantrum and resulting hit to our economy was completely unnecessary. President Obama was already in the process of cutting the deficit at a faster rate than any previous president in US history! Indeed, in June, we had a monthly budget surplus for the first time in years. And for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, the deficit will be the lowest since the financial calamity of 2008 – nearly half the previous year’s deficit.

If President Obama is allowed to continue his policies, we will almost certainly see a full recovery of the US economy and the growth will lead to even less spending and more tax revenue as Middle Americans’ get better jobs and their salaries grow.

But that would expose the fraudulent economic policies of Boehner and his fellow Guardians Of Privilege. And they simply can’t allow that. So, once again, they’re threatening to take our economy hostage. Boehner says that he plans to adhere to the so-called Boehner Rule, demanding one dollar in spending cuts for every dollar increase in the debt ceiling.

This is nothing less than economic suicide for the United States!

The debt ceiling is an arbitrary limit that has no affect on the deficit. It merely limits the Secretary of Treasury’s ability to pay outstanding debts. Failing to raise the debt ceiling in order to pay our debts would turn the US into a nation of deadbeats. It would damage our reputation internationally, and it might well lead to an exodus of investments in US bonds, making it more difficult and costly to fund our national debt; a debt largely created by Republicans.

Even dragging out negotiations over the debt ceiling, as in 2011, will lead to serious consequences. It will make employers and investors nervous enough to hold onto their money. That will lead to a market sell-off and increased unemployment. That, in turn, will lead to increased federal spending and decreased revenues. And that will lead to increased deficits and increased debt…exactly the opposite of what Boehner and his fellow nitwits claim to want!

Similarly, the effect of President Obama agreeing to significant budget cuts on top of those already imposed by sequestration will also severely harm our economy. If you doubt that, just look at what has happened as the result of Europe’s austerity measures.

According to the GAO (Government Accounting Office), the 2011 debt ceiling crisis raised the borrowing costs for the government by $1.3 billion in 2011 and an estimated $18.9 billion over 10 years. And, in case you’ve already forgotten the pain it caused, the debt crisis also caused the Dow Jones Industrial Average to fall 2,000 points in just two months. It damaged our economic recovery. Worse, it cost many people their jobs and negatively affected millions of lives.

By all means, Mr. Boehner, let’s do that again!

Scandalrama!

As the Teapublican House, led by witch-hunter-in-chief, Darrell Issa, looks under every rug and in every nook and cranny for dirt on Fast & Furious, Benghazi, Tea Party applications for non-profit status, the NSA, and anything else that can be used as a hammer against the Obama administration, the real work of Congress languishes.

The House still has not resolved the federal budget and the debt ceiling. It has not yet brought sanity to the nonsensical sequester cuts. It has not proposed a single bill to create jobs and lower unemployment. It has not proposed a bill to rebuild and modernize our infrastructure. It has not yet passed a bill to reduce or eliminate the waiting time for veterans’ benefits. It has not yet passed an immigration bill.

The House has not considered tax reform to eliminate loopholes that would prevent multinational corporations to stash cash in offshore tax havens. It has not passed a bill to end the senseless gun violence. It has not passed a bill to close loopholes in background checks or to control the straw buyers who provide guns to gangs and drug cartels. It hasn’t even proposed a solution for climate change caused by increasing CO2 emissions.

Teapublican congressional representatives have largely ignored all substantive issues. Instead, they have focused on trumped-up “scandals,” the repeal of “Obamacare” and a myriad of restrictive social issues all revolving around women’s vaginas. As always, they seem fascinated by the “evils” of sexual orientation and the rights of the unborn.

Meanwhile, they ignore the rights and the needs of the already living.