Monthly Archives: December 2011

United States Awarded “Most Charitable Nation”

It is the season of giving, and the United States is in the holiday spirit. Amid all the commercialization of the holidays, the emphasis on toys, candy, and food, and the children who look forward to this time all year long the United States still remembers the old adage that “it is better to give than to receive”. America was polled, in a recent worldwide survey, as the most charitable nation on Earth. Amid all the political turmoil, financial trouble, Occupy protests, and interclass back biting we somehow find a way to be decent people. The truth is that this is still the greatest country on Earth, no matter what the news will tell you; and it is not even close. You would never guess this if you did not live in the country; the news (all news channels are guilty of this) portrays America as a violent, selfish, corrupt, stubborn, and uninvolved nation. The truth is absolutely the opposite. Read the rest of this entry

Payroll Tax Extension

$160 billion. To the government this is spare change, it amounts to roughly a mere 1.1% of the deficit the government has built. To American citizens, $160 billion means an extra $1000 for most families. That is how much money the new pay roll tax cut President Obama and the Congress have been bickering over for the better part of a month will save Americans. Most agree that the cut needs to be extended, though not all believe so. Predictably, the conflict has been over how to pay for the tax cut. Even more predictably, Democrats argue that the tax needs to be paid for by implementing a surtax on those making over $1 million; Republicans abhor this idea, arguing that spending cuts can be implemented to offset the revenue loss. The deadline for the extension is New Year’s Eve, when the current tax cut expires. If no deal is reached the payroll tax will increase 2% to the normal level of 6.2%. This week the Senate, unable to forge a deal to extend the cut into next year, passed a two month extension of the current cuts, giving them time to have a holiday recess and be able to continue the debate when they return, in hopes of passing a real extension for the entire year of 2012. The House voted on the Senate two month extension yesterday, and it was defeated in a partisan vote; Republicans against the short term extension and Democrats for it. This was surprising to many considering the right wing hatred of taxes. It was widely believed, particularly by Democrats, that House Speaker John Boehner (Rep, OH) was intentionally delaying a vote on the two month extension because he was aware that many republicans supported the bill and that a vote would lead to it passing. The House Republicans claim they want to create a long term deal before the deadline and not “kick the can” another 60 days. Read the rest of this entry

Constitutional rights and terrorism

Do terrorists deserve the protection which the citizens of the United States enjoy due to our constitutional rights? That question spawned an in intriguing debate in congress this week, as the senate passed a $662 billion defense bill. In itself the bill cuts defense spending by $43 billion from last year, as well as falling cutting $27 billion from the amount requested by President Obama for defense. The peculiar thing about this bill is not that it cut defense spending by six and a half percent, but that it attempted to address the matter of detaining and holding terrorists, and failed to do so. The question at the core of the debate was how to handle terrorists arrested on U.S. soil, and particularly those who are citizens. Can they be held indefinitely? Should the arrest and detention be handled by law enforcement, or the military? Do they deserve the right to an attorney and a criminal trial? All of these questions came up, and none were answered by this election wary senate. Read the rest of this entry

Judge Rejects Settlement Between SEC and Citigroup

Wall Street does not run America; the citizens of this great nation are adamant about that belief and they took to the streets this fall to demonstrate their insistence. Judge Jed Rakoff, a New York district Judge has thrown out the settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the government entity tasked with ensuring Wall Street does not break financial laws and regulations, and Citigroup, one of the largest banking corporations in the world. Rakoff was clear and blunt, stating that he sided with the American people, not the big banks.

“In much of the world, propaganda reigns, and truth is confined to secretive, fearful whispers,” said Judge Rakoff. “Even in our nation, apologists for suppressing or obscuring the truth may always be found. But the SEC, of all agencies, has a duty, inherent in its statutory mission, to see that the truth emerges; and if it fails to do so, this court must not, in the name of deference or convenience, grant judicial enforcement to the agency’s contrivances.” Read the rest of this entry

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