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Member since: Thu Dec 30, 2004, 03:05 PM
Number of posts: 15,741

Journal Archives

What Everone Needs to Know About Obama's Costly Corporate Tax Cut, and How to Fix It:

As we work to get Obama re-elected, let's also put pressure our Rep's to fix this latest tax decrease on corporations which will increase the burden on the rest of us.


From the NYT:

"An analysis in November from Congress’s nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, which was requested by House Democrats, reported that even if every corporate tax break were scrapped, the 35 percent corporate rate could not be reduced below 28 percent without adding to deficits. Republicans disputed that, citing a group of relatively obscure tax breaks that the Congressional analysts did not count.

Even so, the administration and Congress would have a political and mathematical challenge in eliminating or reducing tax breaks enough to lower corporate rates as they propose to do without adding to deficits. Underscoring the difficulty, just two popular tax breaks — for accelerated depreciation of businesses’ capital investments and write-offs of research and experimentation costs — account for the bulk of the revenue the government foregoes to benefit corporations.

Not only are those two provisions unlikely to be repealed; the Obama administration and both parties in Congress also support making a separate research credit permanent.
" http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/22/business/economy/obama-offers-to-cut-corporate-tax-rate-to-28.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

So, Obama has proposed a straight up tax cut to the very same corporations that are corrupting our democracy and outsourcing our jobs.

How to make sure this doesn't happen: We must make sure that any proposal is vetted and scored by the Joint Committee on Taxation and the OMB. Any proposal that does not come out with a net tax gain must be scrapped, seems to me.

How Bradley Manning was Upholding, not Breaking, the Law; The Nuremberg Principals:

In a nutshell, exposing war crimes is not a crime, it is a duty:

Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nüremberg Tribunal and in the Judgment of the Tribunal, 1950.

Principle I

Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefor and liable to punishment.

Principle II

The fact that internal law does not impose a penalty for an act which constitutes a crime under international law does not relieve the person who committed the act from responsibility under international law.

Principle III

The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible Government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law.

Principle IV

The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.

Principle V

Any person charged with a crime under international law has the right to a fair trial on the facts and law.

Principle VI

The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:

(a) Crimes against peace:
(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).

(b) War crimes:
Violations of the laws or customs of war include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave-labour or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.

(c) Crimes against humanity:
Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connexion with any crime against peace or any war crime.

Principle VII

Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law.

LINK: http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/full/390

The documents Manning released (if true) simply show a pattern and practice of criminal behavior. It was and is every soldiers duty to expose these crimes, IMHO.

DOJ Urges Supreme Court to Halt Warrantless Eavesdropping Challenge - WIRED

The Obama administration is urging the Supreme Court to halt a legal challenge weighing the constitutionality of a once-secret warrantless surveillance program targeting Americans’ communications that Congress eventually legalized in 2008.

The FISA Amendments Act, (.pdf) the subject of the lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and others, allows the government to electronically eavesdrop on Americans’ phone calls and e-mails without a probable-cause warrant so long as one of the parties to the communication is outside the United States, and is suspected of a link to terrorism.

The administration is asking the Supreme Court to review an appellate decision that said the nearly 4-year-old lawsuit could move forward. The government said the ACLU and a host of other groups don’t have the legal standing to bring the case because they have no evidence they or their overseas clients are being targeted.

The groups appealed to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that they often work with overseas dissidents who might be targets of the National Security Agency program. Instead of speaking with those people on the phone or through e-mails, the groups asserted that they have had to make expensive overseas trips in a bid to maintain attorney-client confidentiality. The plaintiffs, some of them journalists, also claim the 2008 legislation chills their speech, and violates their Fourth Amendment privacy rights.

MORE: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/02/scotus-fisa-amendments/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wired%2Findex+%28Wired%3A+Index+3+%28Top+Stories+2%29%29

Pepper-sprayed students file lawsuit against UC Davis - Sac Bee

"A lawsuit has been filed in federal court against UC Davis over the pepper-spraying of protesting students by police on Nov. 18.

Nineteen students have brought the suit that says that the university used excessive force to break up the demonstration. The Occupy UC Davis students were sprayed as they sat on the ground.

The suit said that the actions by police that day, which were broadcast around the world, had a chilling effect on free speech.

Among those named as defendants are University of California, Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, various UC Davis officials, the campus police chief and a police officer."

Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/crime/archives/2012/02/pepper-sprayed-students-filed-lawsuit-against-uc-davis.html#storylink=cpy

If you haven't seen the video that went viral after the incident, it's here:

In Europe, spending cuts fail to ease debt burdens - AP

"WASHINGTON (AP) -- Europe has endured the pain of layoffs, wage cuts and tax increases designed to bring government debt under control. So where's the gain?

Far from falling, debt burdens are rising fastest in European countries that have enacted the most draconian austerity programs, according to The Associated Press' Global Economy Tracker, which monitors the performance of 30 major economies.

The numbers back up what many analysts say: Austerity isn't just painful. It can be counterproductive and even make a country's debt load grow.

Many fear the cutbacks will cause Europe to sink into a self-defeating spiral: Higher debt leads to harsher austerity, growing social instability and deeper economic problems. Governments could find it even harder to pay their bills."



Which could be construed to mean - cutting Govt. and social programs will not decrease our debt. That should be off the table.

So it seems to me, if we want to decrease our debt, we need to increase taxes on those that have the wealth. Increasing taxes on the working class just stunts the economy since the workers have less to spend. Taxing the wealthiest parties stagnant stacks of billions will reintroduce those monies into the system.

Historically, it works, that's what our grandfathers did - closing the loopholes and imposing a 1950's style 91% tax rate on those that can afford it would be a great place to start, IMHO. Taxing existing wealth as in Norway, would be another.

That, and expanding our tax base by bringing our jobs back by exiting the costly trade agreements, and ending the endless wars.

At least, that's what I'm thinking...

New Harvard Study: Medical bills make up half of bankruptcies /Study finds most filers had insurance


BOSTON — Costly illnesses trigger about half of all personal bankruptcies, and most of those who go bankrupt because of medical problems have health insurance, according to findings from a Harvard University study to be released Wednesday.

Researchers from Harvard’s law and medical schools said the findings underscore the inadequacy of many private insurance plans that offer worst-case catastrophic coverage, but little financial security for less severe illnesses.

“Unless you’re Bill Gates, you’re just one serious illness away from bankruptcy,” said Dr. David Himmelstein, the study’s lead author and an associate professor of medicine. “Most of the medically bankrupt were average Americans who happened to get sick.”

Most were insured
Most of those seeking court protection from creditors had health insurance, with more than three-quarters reporting they had coverage at the start of the illness that triggered bankruptcy.


We really need to revisit healthcare as soon as we re-elect the President. Public option minimum. Medicare for all better.

Great pic of Bill and Hillary floating around Reddit

Foreclosure abuse rampant across U.S., experts say - Reuters

The audit of almost 400 foreclosures in San Francisco found that 84 percent of them appeared to be illegal, according to the study released by the California city on Wednesday.

"The audit in San Francisco is the most detailed and comprehensive that has been done - but it's likely those numbers are comparable nationally," Diane Thompson, an attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, told Reuters.

John O'Brien, the register of deeds for Essex County in northwestern Massachusetts, conducted an audit of loans issued in 2010 and found 75 percent of the assignments to be invalid and a further 9 percent questionable.

One of the major problems that has emerged in the foreclosure crisis is that it is far from clear that many lenders foreclosing on properties actually own the loans and have the right to take action against them. In many cases during the housing bubble that burst in 2008, original mortgages were repackaged and sold to so many investors that it is now unclear who actually holds the loans


Foxconn Increases Wages, Raises Pay By 16-25% For Chinese Workers - TechCrunch

"The company just released a statement indicating pay raises for Chinese workers just before the Fair Trade Association is set to interview employees about life at Foxconn.

The base pay of junior level worker in Shenzhen is now at 1,800 yuan ($290) per month and, if the worker passes a technical examination, it will be raised to 2,200 yuan. Three years ago the base pay was just 900 yuan per month."


Leak Offers Glimpse of Campaign Against Climate Science - NYT

Leaked documents suggest that an organization known for attacking climate science is planning a new push to undermine the teaching of global warming in public schools, the latest indication that climate change is becoming a part of the nation’s culture wars.

Heartland’s latest idea, the documents say, is a plan to create a curriculum for public schools intended to cast doubt on mainstream climate science and budgeted at $200,000 this year. The curriculum would claim, for instance, that “whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy.”

It is in fact not a scientific controversy. The vast majority of climate scientists say that emissions generated by humans are changing the climate and putting the planet at long-term risk, although they are uncertain about the exact magnitude of that risk. Whether and how to rein in emissions of greenhouse gases has become a major political controversy in the United States, however.

The National Center for Science Education, a group that has had notable success in fighting for accurate teaching of evolution in the public schools, has recently added climate change to its agenda in response to pleas from teachers who say they feel pressure to water down the science.

LINK: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/16/science/earth/in-heartland-institute-leak-a-plan-to-discredit-climate-teaching.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1
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