Monday, November 09, 2015

Any tax reform will find favor with Americans if it provides relief to the working poor and families with children.

Ben Carson, a candidate for the Republican nomination for President, has changed his ideas about the annual income tax.

He now states he favors a Flat Tax. What else is new for a rhetorical Republican? But, he now states his Flat Tax would be 15 percent with all deductions and loop holes removed. He originally stated 10 percent with closing of loop holes and removal of deductions.

That means as a young person coming out of an Associate Program as a nurse, would have at approximately $30,000 or more per year. The federal income tax under Ben Carson's 15 percent would be $4500 per year. That is a lot of money. Add to that state income tax, state unemployment and/or temporary disability tax, add on SSI and Medicare and what is left from an the salary of an ambitious student?

Ben Carson also states, even with the 15 percent federal income tax that leave the current government funding short by $800 billion. That is the difference between an expected federal budget of $3.5 Trillion and the amount the Carson Flat Tax would bring in. That doesn't even touch the national debt.

Now, let's say President Obama's plan for Community Colleges removes tuition, there is still a debt for loans to pay all the other costs. So, a newly graduated and newly employed American will have student loans to pay along with their tax burden.

One of the reasons student loans are under attack is because students don't have a chance to save part of their income in order to purchase a home. So, in contrast to Donald Trump's tax plan, Dr. Carson has no empathy for the low income and working poor. Donald Trump wants to provide a zero federal income tax up to and including $50,000.

The difference between the Carson Flat Tax and that of Donald Trump is a lot of money for the lower income American. In the case of $50,000 income that is an increase to their take home pay of $7500 annually. That is a new car payment and a savings account for the purchase of a home.

There is no doubt the working American would prefer not to be taxed until they break into a strong salary over $50,000.  The Trump tax plan provides a breather for the poor and lower middle class. It will provide a better quality of life for Americans, including toys for the kids if they have or start a family.

One of the criticisms by Pope Francis at the World Meeting of Families of the American financial pressure on young people, is that they postpone marriage and the start of a family because of the amount of money they have to save for the wedding. When is that going to change so young people don't just live together, but, actually get married for a perfect match they have found? Living together is not a relationship recognized by the Catholic Church. At the best there is a decision of Palimony by the American legal system if they split up.

We have to ask ourselves what pressures are Americans under that prevents them to live honestly within their religious practices. The government, society and private enterprise should not be working against them. Today they are and that has to change.

While on the subject of the oppression of the poor and low income Americans, there is this: 

The political right wing wants to end abortions. Really?

The FACTS to end abortions lies in the ability of a woman to secure contraception. Poor and low income women often can't afford contraception.

The highest numbers of abortions are among the poor and low income women. Now, who was it exactly that wants to end abortions?

Unintended pregnancy (click here) rates have increased among poor women while they have declined among higher-income women.

Source: Finer LB and Zolna MR, Unintended pregnancy in the United States: incidence and disparities, 2006, Contraception, 2011, 84(5):478–485.

Scott Allen has been confirmed by US Senate to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Scott Allen, (click here) Nominee for United States Director , European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Scott Allen is a private investor and former investment banker in Bethesda, Maryland.  Previously, Mr. Allen served as a Managing Director of Credit & Rates at J.P. Morgan Securities LTD in London from 2001 to 2004.  Prior to J.P. Morgan, he worked at Chase Manhattan Securities LTD in London as a Senior Sales Manager from 1992 to 1999 and as a Managing Director from 1999 to 2000.  Mr. Allen was Vice President of Manufacturers Hanover Corporation in Tokyo, Japan from 1986 to 1992 after serving as an Assistant Vice President in the Sovereign Risk Group at Manufacturers Hanover in New York City from 1982 to 1986.  Mr. Allen received a B.A. from Sophia University and a M.S. from Georgetown University. 

He is also on the Board of Directors of "The Advocacy Project." (click here)

The Advocacy Project (click here) was created in 1998 when a group of friends was commissioned to produce daily reports from the Rome Conference, called to draft the statute for an International Criminal Court. We were contracted by the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC), which had lobbied long and hard for a more forceful response to the horrors of war. Our team was led by Iain Guest, an experienced journalist and former UN official....

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (click here)

The EBRD's capital base (click here)

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is owned by 64 shareholder countries and organisations.

When each country or organisation became a shareholder - in many cases at the point of the Bank's establishment in the early 1990s - they made a contribution to an overall capital base.

Additional contributions as well as commitments - in the form of callable credit guarantees - have also been made in the period since the Bank's founding, contributing to its very strong capital base, which in turn has led to its robust credit ratings.

That capital base allows the EBRD to raise funds which ultimately form the investment in projects.

Grateful tribute to American Agri-Women

American Agri-Women (click here)  is the nation’s largest coalition of farm, ranch and agribusiness women with more than 50 state, commodity and agribusiness affiliate organizations throughout the country. AAW members have been advocating for agriculture since 1974 and are now celebrating their 40th anniversary. 

Defense Appropriation Bills have been vetoed because OUR SOLDIERS do not believe in corruption.

Close Gitmo!

The idea a terrorist in Gitmo is too dangerous to relocate to Fort Leavenworth is nonsense. Complete nonsense.

There are other terrorists already in and among the communities of the USA. The terrorists from the Feb. 26, 1993 attack on the World Trade Tower.

Ramzi Yousef, Mohammad Salemeh, Yousef, Ismoil, Mahmud Abouhalima, Nidal A. Ayyad, Abdul Rahman Yasin and Ahmad Ajaj were successfully tried and jailed until their death within the sovereign boundaries of the USA.

I am insulted as an American for any Senator to make the statements our country is not secure enough on our mainland to imprison any person. The USA is perfectly capable of trying and imprisoning for the length of their natural life any terrorist that commits crimes against this country.

Gitmo is an insult to this country and needs to be closed. I find it more than interesting that it is the Republican Party that quakes in their shoes at the thought of a terrorist being near their state and/or their communities.

US Fire Service needs to be fully funded.

According to the Senate panel on Wildfire Threats and Impacts there is wildlife loss because of the loss of wildlife habitat.

The wildlife that is lost directly contributes to a contraction of the USA economy. Hunting of elk and deer alone has an economy of $11 million per year in the US. While that is not billions there are also losses of wildlife and it's habitat because of the lack of funding of the Land and Water Conservation Act. 

These monies are not a matter of frivolous activities. This is not about tree hugging. This is about protecting land that is beautiful and contributes to the country's economy. 

The fire fighting budget should be a separate consideration when they are megafires. The medgafires take funding away from other activities of the US Forest Service and the habit loss, hence, wildlife loss becomes common place resulting in an impact on the USA economy. Also in consideration are the States. They collect fees to act on their own lands that are not federal to protect the economy attached to those State lands. When the federal government does not act to protect habitat and wildlife it impacts the state lands as well. 

I doubt seriously anyone in the USA cannot identify with the fact drought is a profound problem that complicates wildfires in the USA. Protecting US land and water is vital to the full spectrum of activities to stem the further danger of more land and habitat loss.

This is a far better reporting:

...Hunting in America (click here) is big business, generating more than $67 billion in economic output and more than one million jobs in the United States. The vast majority of Americans embrace hunting lock, stock and barrel for its social, cultural and conservation contributions...

There needs to be far better forest restoration in the USA. The lands and water being discussed today ie only a small percentage of the tragedy. The forests provide a great deal of value to those lands. Besides the hunting, fishing and economic benefits from the forests there are also aesthetic values.

Currently, the US Forest Service incorporates logging into the forest management plans. When the US Forest Service is not able to address the restoration of our national forests because the fire fighting removes most of their budget that means there will be far less to log year after year of fire losses.

For legislators not familiar with the VALUE of forests to our economy the issues are frivolous and make for excellent political fodder. It is wrong to consider our forests as nothing more than liberal expenditures in the federal budget. These forests provide for a great deal of value to our country and society than 'just a liberal, tree hugging thing.'

There needs to be a separate fund and organization within the US Forest Service to exclusively fight fires. There needs to be complete funding of the US Forest Service, including additional funding for the next three years to make up for losses in past budgets. The US Forest Service has to catch up on forest restoration. The USA Forest Service has many partners that can come on board to assist in more aggressive forest restoration.

This is an emergency. There is not enough funding to create a separate fire fighting agency within the US Forest Service. There is not enough funding to return forests to their prior standing. This is not an option. If funding does come forward there will be more and more adverse outcomes to these lands and the to the communities who enjoy these lands.

There were many homes and building lost this past fire season. That increases costs to insurance companies. The more healthy a forest is managed the far less possibility of fire. Forests with a moist forest floor will fight off any sparks that might occur out of lightning. Proper management will save our lands, increase moisture on the forest floors to end fires before they start and protect communities from housing loss. 

Last but not least are watersheds. The watersheds to the country begin in places where there are forests. The watersheds require forests for soil conservation and an effective filter to the water that falls within the forests. Proper management and restoration of the forests protect our watersheds. Where there are parched and disappearing forests because of fire there is a watershed stressed to provide sufficient water to communities. 

There are many reasons for forests to be returned to the lands of the country. The Congressional Acts that support these forests need to be fully funded without question and quickly.  

While many wildfires (click here) cause little damage to the land and pose few threats to fish, wildlife and people downstream, some fires create situations that require special efforts to prevent further problems after the fire. Loss of vegetation exposes soil to erosion; runoff may increase and cause flooding, sediments may move downstream and damage houses or fill reservoirs, and put endangered species and community water supplies at risk. The Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) program addresses these situations with the goal of protecting life, property, water quality, and deteriorated ecosystems from further damage after the fire is out....

What will it take to bring about the funding for organizational changes and restoration activities, the complete loss of wildlife and dead lands that add to the heat within the troposphere over the USA contributing to greater heating of the entire troposphere.. Yes, the decisions regarding restoration of forest systems are directly related to slowing and ending the climate crisis. How can the USA ask Brazil to do more to protect it's tropical rainforests if the USA doesn't even care for it's own forests?

Is democracy under seige by Daesh?

Philip Hammond is correct in the generous offer for Great Britain to accept 20 thousand of the most vulnerable migrants from Syria. Great Britain does not have the square inches to accept vast numbers of migrants into the country. But, Great Britain does have resources enough to provide care to the worst of the migrants. 

Phillip Hammond is also correct there needs to be a plan for the migrants to return home as it is possible. The right of return has to exist in Syria including religious freedom without fear of violence.

Democracy is a focus of extremists as a place of power that will ultimately harm existing democracies. I think the laws that govern democracies have to be strong enough to survive "Freedom of Speech" and the demands of extremists to effect change.

01 Jun 2015
By Tim Stanley 

...With the Tories accused of acting like 'Nazis', (click here) the Left-wing campaign against the Government's reform agenda is distorted and hyperbolic.......1. The ECHR has tried legislating from the bench. There’s nothing unusual in that: the US Supreme Court does it all the time. But because the US Supreme Court judges are appointed by the US President and confirmed by the Senate, they at least have a symbiotic relationship with American democracy. Not so the ECHR which is appointed by a European assembly. Hence when ECHR judges try to tell the UK that it should give prisoners the vote, this is undemocratic and a serious affront to British sovereignty.... 

The re-examintion of human rights policies is bringing the criticism that soldiers will have greater rights to simply kill with impunity. We have already seen that with the George W. Bush administration and their withdrawal from the Geneva Conventions.

No one will tell me the "W" administration had not decided long before they took office to resign from the Geneva Conventions. They most certainly did. There is the idea vastly popular in the Republican Party the USA stands alone in the global view of governance as above any convention it has signed. The Republican Party does not recognize the United Nations as a valuable institution to promote peace. So, let's get that straight. If there needs to be an examination of the soldier as an instrument of death with impunity, it has already happened and it needs to be well documented and brought before the international community for judgement and decision making.

The Nuremberg Trials were suppose to set the standard for global governance. It isn't. As of the invasion into Iraq in 2003 the international community had a circumstance that stood in defiance of humanity. 

So, now exists Daesh. It is a genocidal militia that governs by fear and kills at it's pleasure. Now, Daesh is identifying democracies as weak governance that they can conquer by sheer numbers alone encouraging sympathizers to turn against their own government and kill at will. 

Daesh is a charismatic movement centered on destroying sovereignty and creating a global jihad that will deliver their particular brand of worship to al Baghdadi. For decades those interested in human rights in identifying the vulnerability of any human life to power have worked diligently and in transparency to bring violations of human rights to the world. For decades governments have been working toward the ideals of human rights. It is a standard that effects every aspect of global governance including trade and economy. "Special Status" is decided to countries that have overcome many human rights issues. Now, according to Daesh all that is suppose to be conquered and turned into a global blood bath.

Communists decide their governance of their sovereignty all the time. Each communist country does that in different paradigms. China prefers five year plans and those plans work for China.  It is time for democracies in the world to decide where their vulnerabilities exist and where human rights turns into a nightmare. The definition of sovereignty demands that examination by the governments of such vulnerability to citizens that exist like sitting ducks to such a charismatic movement.

I remind, Daesh governs by NUMBERS of people willing to kill for al Baghdadi. If Baghdadi is successful and every democracy is turned into a paradise for him to exploit, the communists won't have a chance either. Nukes anyone?