Monday, September 27, 2010

Stonekettle Station’s Guide to The GOP Pledge To America

I know.

You’ve been trying to wrap your heads around the new GOP Pledge to America, haven’t you?

But you’re just not having much luck.

It’s hard, isn’t it?

Of course it is, you drink coffee not tea and have more than two brain cells clicking together.

Do not be disheartened, gentle reader. As a public service, Stonekettle Station provides the following handy guide to the GOP’s Contract On America, Part II: Boehner, It Came From Behind!

Given some of the comments and email I’ve received lately, it’s obvious to me that not all of you have been keeping up on your GOP terminology.  American politics are complicated during the best of times, and no more so than this year when the bullshit factor is running about 9.8, you people really need to do your homework. The Pledge contains some highly technical terms specific to the conservative agenda and it can be more than a bit daunting – especially for you non-Americans, what with your substandard socialist educations and all – and you’re going to get left behind if you don’t stay current.

So, let us begin with a definition of terms.  The following is a list of some of the common words and phrases used in, or in relation to, the Pledge to America. These terms are difficult to understand, they sound like English, but in actuality are a complex republican dialect (called Rovelish) that means something completely different from the Webster’s definition. To use the guide, whenever you see or hear the term or phrase in question, simply apply the Stonekettle Station substitute.

Take the following example:

House Minority Leader John Boehner defended the GOP’s Pledge to America on Fox News Sunday, saying that the pledge is intended as a starting point and that a more systemic process will follow. Boehner said, "Let's not get to the potential solutions. Let's make sure Americans understand how big the problem is. Then, we can begin to talk about possible solutions and then work ourselves into those solutions that are doable."

Read the above quote again and this time substitute “We don’t actually have a plan, we just want to get elected” for the underlined phrase.

See? It reads much more clearly when written in plain English and the meaning doesn’t change at all. Simple.

The following is a list of commonly misunderstood conservative terms and phrases. Examples are provided where necessary for additionally clarity:


TEA Party – replace with:  Tools, Fools, Dupes, Dorks, Dicks, Saps, Schmucks, Suckers, or collectively “Cannon Fodder.”  Example: The TEA Party, because only in America would people living on either Social Security or making minimum wage be out in the streets angrily demanding tax breaks for millionaires.

The American People – replace with: “conservatives.” State Rep Pete Sessions (R-TX) speaking about the GOP Pledge to America, said that "it recognizes that it is past time for the Majority in Congress to halt its reckless agenda and put the power back into the hands of the American people." (related) The American People Have Spoken – “the check cleared.”

Fiscal Responsibility – replace with: “buy more stealth bombers.” WisePolitics Headline: Pledge to America, Republican Party Plan focuses on fiscal responsibility.

Common Sense Solutions – “wave a magic wand.”

Liberals: see socialists

Socialists: see communists

Communists: see fascists

Fascists: see Hitler

Hitler: see liberals

Entrepreneurial – “Halliburton.”

Self Appointed Elites – “People to whom we lost the last election.”

Newt – a cold slimy toad-like amphibian with a toxic skin

Now that you’re familiar with the basic terms, let’s take a look at key portions of the Pledge itself, amplifying information provided in blue.

The Preamble

America is more than a country in fact, if elected this November, the first thing we will do is officially change America’s name to: America, What A Country! America is an idea, an idea that free people can govern themselves as long as they do what we say, that government's powers are derived from the consent of the governed (wait, I thought they were governing themselves, Newt, didn’t you proofread this thing?), that each of us is endowed (heh, heh, we said “endowed”) by their Creator with the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (unless they’re gay, or Muslim, or Latino, or poor). America is the belief that any man or woman can, given economic, political, and religious liberty and huge honkin tax breaks, advance themselves, their families, and the common good (common good? Sounds like Socialism. Damn it, Newt WTF?). America is an inspiration to those who yearn to be free as long as they don’t try to actually come here and have the ability and the dignity to determine their own destiny (be careful, or we’ll dignify your country with some air dropped inspiration too). Whenever the agenda of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to institute a new governing agenda and set a different course - i.e. whenever a Democrat is President, it’s OK to advocate armed rebellion, patriotism, secession, and open revolt. Whenever a Republican is President, those things should be referred to as “treason.” These first principles were proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence which is the same as the Constitution, enshrined in the Constitution which is the same as the bible, and have endured through hard sacrifice and commitment by generations of Americans and by Americans, we mean Conservatives, and by sacrifice we mean Huge Honkin Tax Breaks. In a self-governing society, the only bulwark against the power of the state is the consent of the governed like the last time we had the Majority, and regarding the policies of the current government, the governed do not consent like the last time we had the Majority. An arrogant and out-of-touch government of self-appointed elites makes decisions, issues mandates, and enacts laws without accepting or requesting the input of the many like the last time we had the Majority.

Some highlights from the text:

Permanently Stop All Job-Killing Tax Hikes which is why we filibustered the Small Business bill: We will help the economy by permanently stopping all tax increases thus increasing the national debt by $13 Trillion, currently scheduled to take effect January 1,2011. That means protecting middle-class families by killing programs they depend on, seniors worried about their retirement  because we’ll be handing Social Security over to our friends in the banking industry, and the entrepreneurs Halliburton and family-owned business like Exxon and AIG on which we depend to create jobs in America. (Wait, hold it a sec. Wait, just a minute here. If we win in November, just say, we won’t actually take over until January.  The Bush Tax Cuts expire when?  Hmmm. Republicans aren’t good at any math that’s not in the Bible, but it would appear that this promise is complete and total bullshit that we’ve already failed on. Fuck it, nobody will notice. Brilliant, John. Thanks, Newt, they don’t called me The Boner for nothing).

Repeal Job-Killing Small Business Mandates (That’s actually what it’s called, the Job-Killing Mandate, but you have to say it with ominous music in the background Dum Dum Da Dum): One of the most controversial mandates of the Democrats' government takeover of health care requires small businesses to report to the Internal Revenue Service any purchases that run more than $600 – ok, it doesn’t actually say that, that was just some bullshit we made up back when we were trying to keep the Healthcare Reform Bill from passing but it sounds good. This 1099 reporting mandate is so overbearing that the IRS ombudsman has determined that the agency is ill-equipped to handle all the resulting paperwork… except of course that the IRS has completely refuted this (this morning, again actually) and stated that it is fully equipped to handle it when business actually start paying the taxes they are supposed to be paying in the first place. We will repeal this job-killing debt reducing small business mandate.

End TARP Once And For All: Americans are rightly outraged at the bailouts of businesses and entities that force responsible taxpayers to subsidize irresponsible behavior by our friends on Wall Street who were bailed out by TARP – a program that we really hope nobody remembers was actually signed into law by George W. Bush. We will cancel the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), a move that would save taxpayers roughly $16 billion – except of course that TARP is almost completely paid off now, with interest, and in fact cancelling the program would actually cost taxpayers because see the money has already been paid out. Cancelling the program would only serve to forgive the recipient’s debt and leave the taxpayer holding the bag. But never mind that! TARP is due to be terminated before the next Congress is even seated – so, in order to keep this promise, we have to do basically nothing. Whooo! That’s right, oh yeah, that’s right (do the Boner dance, Newt! Thrust with your hips!)

Purchase Health Insurance Across State Lines:Americans residing in a state with expensive health insurance plans are locked into those plans and do not currently have an opportunity to choose a lower cost option that best meets their needs . We will allow individuals to buy health care coverage outside of the state in which they live, this of course being totally at odds with that whole “States Rights” thing we’ve been going on about for the last two years, but it’s not like the mouth breathing dolts who vote for us are actually going to notice. They probably also won’t notice this provision is already in the current Law, you know, Obamacare. Basically what we’re promising here is to repeal the law and then replace it with exact same thing. Ta Da!

And as long as we’re talking about healthcare, Ensure Access For Patients With Pre-Existing Conditions: Health care should be accessible for all, regardless of pre-existing conditions or past illnesses (Holy hell, are you sure we should be saying shit like this, Newt?). We will expand state high-risk pools, reinsurance programs and reduce the cost of coverage (why does this sound so familiar?). We will make it illegal for an insurance company to deny coverage to someone with prior coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition, eliminate annual and lifetime spending caps, and prevent insurers from dropping your coverage just because you get sick (Damn, I could swear I’ve heard this somewhere before). We will incentivize (incentiwhatis? Did Sarah make that word up too?) states to develop innovative programs that lower premiums and reduce the number of uninsured Americans (Eureka! I’ve got it, this is the exact same provision that’s in Obamacare right now. So, once again, we’d be repealing the law in order to replace it with the exact same thing) and we hope you can see why we fought so hard against Obamacare now. Looking out for you, America!

Read The Bill:  We will ensure that bills are debated and discussed in the public square by publishing the text online for at least three days before coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives. No more hiding legislative language from the minority party, opponents, and the public. Legislation should be understood by all interested parties before it is voted on just exactly as the Obama Administration does right now, only they publish the bill far in advance of three days. In point of fact, all three versions of the health care bill were published more than three months in advance of the vote.  Hey! As a matter of fact, the text of all bills up for debate are actually posted on the Library of Congress website and updated daily. Woohoo, basically all we’re promising is what we do right now!

Pass Clean Troop Funding Bills: When asked to provide our troops with the resources they need, we will do so without delay just like we did when we sent them to war without armored transport, body armor, or well fuck it, you get the idea. We’ll buy a couple extra yellow ribbon magnets to atone for our sins, that’s almost the same as providing actual funding to the VA, right? That means no more troop funding bills held up by unrelated policy changes but so we’re clear the current troop funding bill we’re holding up right now and that we tacked a bunch of shit onto is totally different, totally different, or extraneous domestic spending and pork-barrel projects. (Did that sound sincere? It sounded sincere to me. Look at me, when I say “Pass clean troop funding bills” do my eyes shift back and forth like a weasel with a stigmatism? Damn it).

We will fight efforts to use a national crisis for political gain now that the 9/11 anniversary is past and we all got our speeches in. Wait, isn’t that exactly what this Pledge is? Newt? Newt? Hello?

And lastly, there’s this beauty:

Advance Legislative Issues One at a Time: We will end the practice of packaging unpopular bills with "must-pass" legislation to circumvent the will of the American people whom we respect and would never lie to. Instead, we will advance major legislation one issue at a time, one at time, yes one at a time. To begin the process of implementing a new governing agenda that honors our Constitution and reflects the will of the people, we call on the leadership of the 111th Congress to bring these reforms and policies to an immediate vote.Whoops, look at that! We couldn’t even make it to the end of the Pledge before we tripped over our own nonsense. Heh heh. Move along, folks, nothing to see here.


There’s a definition I left off the list above. Did you spot it?


Pledge To America -  replace with “bullshitting gullible morons.”


This pledge isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, and I’ve heard republican promises before – when I was heading into Iraq, and when I was leaving.

Of course, I’m one of the lucky ones, I’m still alive.

Six thousand of my comrades in arms aren’t – that’s what GOP promises got them.


  1. Wow, what a crock of shit. I don't think you could make stuff up this funny.

    What's funnier than this, actually, is trying to explain to folks that "Obamacare" is actually the Republican plan that was offered to counter Clinton's health care proposal of the 90s. Offered by the people crying against it (and then offering up the exact same thing as an alternative).

    They are definitely placing themselves in a position to be easy heroes, if they get their majority. "Look, we did all that we said we were going to do! (By doing absolutely nothing, because Obama and the Dems already did it all. Over our "patriotic" objection.)

  2. I disagree with you on the small business tax bit, but quite like the rest.

    The problem with the tax code change is that it dramatically alters the purpose of a 1099: instead of being used for earned income (I send one to my contractors at the end of the year, if I had any), it is now to be used for purchases of goods and equipment as well.

    If I purchase more than $600 of anything from a single vendor in a year, I will be required to send a 1099 to that vendor.

    If the business buys a new computer, I will be required to send a 1099 to Dell.

    I will be required to send a 1099 to my silk wholesaler.

    I don't have many other suppliers that get up to $600 a year, but I will have to start tracking carefully what I buy from whom. And getting EINs - now I will have to contact Dell, silk wholesaler, etc, and ask them for their tax ID numbers.

    It likely moves my accounting from something I can do myself to something I will have to pay someone for. My profit margin isn't big enough for that, so I will probably go out of business.

    But that's okay, since I'm not creating any jobs.

    You'll have to do the same, I imagine. Need any equipment? How much do you spend on wood a year?

  3. @ Phiala

    I do hear you and it would be a pain, although only Dell would need a 1099 from me for 2010.

    However, it is information that can probably be gotten via Quicken fairly painlessly and you can be sure will be a feature in 2011.

    I also understand why it is needed, as lots of people don't bother reporting income from hobby business or payments in cash.

  4. But it doesn't help with people not reporting hobby income. If I didn't report hobby income, I wouldn't be sending out 1099s either.

    And it's not *my* income that I'm tracking. Instead, I have to send in forms on my suppliers so that the IRS can see if my suppliers are reporting *their* income correctly.

  5. Phiala, yes, I'm familiar with the 1099 for small business/home business/hobby income. And I do pay taxes on mine. And it's a pain.

    That said, what the Pledge to America is promising is that it's OK to just not pay a portion of your taxes as required by law - simply because they don't like the President. And yet, 90% of the document is bitching about the debt. The "solutions" contained in the Pledge are about as effective as wishing on magic beans - and are, in point of fact, mutually exclusive objectives. You can't reduce taxes AND the debt at the same time. It is simply not possible unless they are willing to give up, oh, say, the DOD completely.

    I agree that filling out a 1099 for every purchase over $600 is onerous, but it's only required in certain transactions, not all - these people trying to make it sound like you have to fill out an IRS form every time you fill up your tank or buy a stick of gum and that's simply not true and is not the intention of the law.

    With that said, section 9006 does need modification - for clarity if nothing else (for example, if you're buy something via a process that already reports taxable transactions, i.e. any place with a modern register system, you don't need to submit a 1099) and Congress has attempted to do just that, on July 30 and as recently as August 3 - want to guess who held the bill up and didn't let it come to a vote?

  6. But Jim, while I agree that your translation makes more sense, if they'd said all that there would have been less room in the brochure for pictures of cowboys, Jim, cowboys, and what's more American than the cowboy, or the politician dressed like a cowboy while he's on the campaign trail or posed on a horse for a photo op?

    Your anti-cowboy agenda reveals you are nothing more than one of those pansy socialists sticking out your pinkie finger while you drink your latte and bitch about something you heard on the NPR.

    The only thing more American than cowboys is the American flag and the only thing more American than the American flag is a cowboy wearing a shirt made from an American flag, which is why we need to relocate the capitol to Nashville and let country-western singers take over the government. When that finally happens, we'll all be singing in the streets... singing sad songs about how we now remember what our mamas told us before we started drinking too much and our wives left us, but singing nonetheless.

  7. Somebody has had way too many energy drinks this morning.

  8. Thank you for that spot-on Pledge translation. Now that I've cleaned my cookie off the screen, maybe I can comment! (yeah, yeah, don't eat whilest reading SKS, I know)

    See, since we all know even this Pledge is a rehash of Newt's earlier Contract, it annoys me that these rabid Republicans can't even have an original thought! But no matter how much they recycle the same old dreck, it is still not fit be used. Yech.

    I've mentioned before I have the misfortune to live in the state that spawned Newt. I've even had to use all my manners the time or two I've met him. Jim, do the Boner dance, Newt! Thrust with your hips! is one of the scariest things I've ever read. You'd understand if you'd met his Newtishness after a road race resplendant in his jogging shorts, sweatpants, sweatshirt, sweatbands on head & wrists. The thought of that thrusting is too terrifying!

    I have to stop, the image is too much.

  9. Pledge to America, same shit, shiny new wrapper.

  10. The only thing more American than cowboys is the American flag and the only thing more American than the American flag is a cowboy wearing a shirt made from an American flag

    So they think, but according to the United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1 — The Flag:

    "The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free."

    Hear that? No festooning.

    rambi -- what John Rambo was known as after his conversion to Judaism.

  11. Yeah, I second that, no festooning.

  12. Hey, I served for 20 years and I always said I'd fight and die if necessary for your right to festoon.


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