Dec 31, 2010

Republican move to repeal Obama health care just a show

Incoming republican House Leader John Boehner has pledged to make his first order of business the repeal of the health care reform law passed last year by the 111th Congress. But the move is strictly symbolic.

In a recent statement, Rep John Boehner reaffirmed his pledge to bring ups a vote in the House to repeal ‘Obamacare,’ the controversial health care bill that President Obama and the democratically controlled Congress passed in the last session. 

While Boehner will be able to bring the measure up for a vote with his new republican majority, there is virtually no chance that the bill will pass, so the effort is more for show than anything else.

If the repeal of ‘Obamacare’ passes the House, it will move on to the Senate, where Majority Leader, Democrat Harry Reid is not likely to let the Senate vote on the measure. And even if somehow the Senate did pass the measure, President Obama would still have to sign it, which is also not likely to happen.

Republicans are aware of the fact that their efforts to repeal the health care from law has virtually no chance of passing, but will likely go through the motions as a symbolic gesture.

The GOP will likely continue to blame health care reform for everything from unemployment to global warming, in hopes of manipulation the minds of voters so they can win the White House in 2012. 

Misrepresenting Obama’s health care reform was a successful ploy during the year-long debate over the bill. However, since the bill passed, Americans have realized that it not only did not include any ‘death panels’ as republicans claimed, many are enjoying the advantages of the bill, like the end to exclusions for pre-existing conditions.
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Dec 30, 2010

White House bans topless photos of Obama

Vacationing in Hawaii, President Obama has taken to the beach for swimming and snorkeling with First Lady, Michelle and their daughters, Malia and Sasha.

While the time away from Washington is welcome, the telephoto lenses of photographers are not, especially if they are pointed at a topless President Obama in his swimming trunks.

After winning the 2008 presidential election several photos of the shirtless Obama surfaced with headlines like one in the New York Post that included the words ‘Hawaiian Hunk.'

According to the New York Times, after the photos were published, Obama told reporters, "I'm not going to let you guys take a picture of me with my shirt off.''

In an effort to end further commentary on his physique, President Obama remains camera shy when wearing his swimming attire.

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Looking beyond the political revolution of 2010

If ever there was a year of political upheaval it was 2010. The Tea Party steamed into Washington with newly elected Kentucky Senator Rand Paul at the helm. The arch conservative is a political rogue who seems ready to rattle the foundation of the GOP, and he just may give Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a few lessons on how far right the Republican Party can be pushed.

However, changes in the political environment go farther than Rand Paul. In the battle of ideologies, President Obama has been as much a victim of the GOP filibuster as the American public. But it doesn’t have to be that way and when America got a taste of what a productive Congress looks like, they liked what they saw.

In the last weeks of the Lame Duck Congress, years worth of legislative hopefuls were pushed through the republican blockade with blazing speed. In just one day, America saw the repeal of DADT, the START treaty and a bill that would provide health care for the heroes of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Clearly, people are happy when something gets done in Washington, even if it is not an exact fit with their party’s platform.
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Dec 29, 2010

Why people don’t like Sarah Palin as much as they used to

After losing her republican bid for Vice President on the 2008 ticket with Arizona Senator John McCain, Sarah Palin became a household name. Her popularity soared for two years. But now her public support is beginning to wane.
There are a lot of theories as to why, but the one that appears to be holding the most credibility is that as the public as gotten to know her better, they like her less.

In a recent CNN poll, just 49% of republicans said they would support Palin is she ran for president in 2010. However two years ago, that number was 70%.

Death and Taxes Magazine said the three main reasons for the Palin decline are: 

1.   “She is an idiot.”
2.   “Her show sucks.”
3.   Liberals and independents hate her so much, conservatives have kind of given up supporting her.”

In her new reality television show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska, the former beauty queen-turned politician shot and killed a moose. That did not sit well with many viewers.

Whether or not Palin’s moose-killing antics are hurting her in the political polls is unclear. But lately it seems, there is something about Sarah that is just not working for some folks.

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Dec 25, 2010

Obama hesitates to call polar bears endangered species

Pressure from corporate polluters may be causing the Obama Administration to keep from changing the protection status of polar bears form threatened to endangered.

“A change from threatened to endangered status “would have profound consequences,” said Richard Ranger, senior policy advisor for the American Petroleum Institute, a lead litigant on the industry side,” according to The Los Angeles Times.

Climate change is at the heart of the debate over the fate of the polar bear. The ice sheets they call home are rapidly shrinking, and with them go the polar bear’s ability to hunt and breed.

If polar bears were declared an endangered species, the companies responsible for polluting the environment and increasing greenhouse gases would be forced by law to comply with stiffer regulations. That would cost them money, which in turn, may cut their profits.

According to The LA Times, “There is a pronounced push-back from industry because they rightly see that they will have to modify or mitigate their activities to comply with the laws,” said Andrew Wetzler, director of the Land and Wildlife program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the groups suing to change the polar bear’s status to endangered.”

The battle over greenhouse gasses and climate change is about more than preserving animals like the polar bear; it’s about corporate profits versus anything that stands in their way. In this case, that includes the polar bear.

It’s difficult to image a world without polar bears. They have been an icon of the arctic and featured in children's stories for centuries. If they lose this battle, the next generation may only know them as another animal that went extinct. And when a child asks, ‘what happened to the polar bears?’ the only answer we will be able to give them is, we let them die because we didn’t have the political strength to save them.

Dec 23, 2010

Analysis: Obama vs the Republicans

For the past two years the American people have been virtual bystanders in the legislative process of their representative government. Republicans in the minority have been blocking every hint of forward progress that has come across the Senate floor in an effort to make President Obama ‘a one term president,’ according to republican leader Mitch McConnell.

But after making a deal with leadership on tax cuts for the rich, the gridlock that had been strangling Congress for the past two years suddenly stopped, much to the surprise of the country. In a single day, DADT, the military ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the US military, the START nuclear arms treaty with Russia, and health for 9/11 first responders, became law. The Obama victories made the outgoing 111th Congress the most productive body of lawmakers in nearly one hundred years.

The American people finally got what they have wanted for a long time. They got their lawmakers to accomplish what the majority of them wanted. If the 112th Congress follows this path they may well win the White House in 2012. If they go back to spending their energy blocking progress, voters may regret giving the GOP control of the House and take it back with a vengeance in the next election.

The republican rebellion against Mitch McConnell surfaced in the defection of a his party on the 9/11 health care bill. An MSNBC text poll said republicans were ‘shamed’ into supporting the continued care of rescuers of the September 11 attacks. Perhaps they were. Will they also be shamed into continuing to help the unemployed?

What Americans took away from the most inspiring success of lawmakers in generations was the power of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and the fulfillment of President Obama’s campaign promises. 

On the republican side, actions since the 2010 elections have been just the opposite. They campaigned on the promise of getting the deficit under control and their first major action since the election added $800 billion in borrowed money to the deficit in the form of tax cuts to just 2% of the wealthiest segment of the population.

Republicans may believe that if they had held the entire county hostage on behalf of a select few before the November 2 mid-term elections, the outcome would have been very different.

Regardless of political party, it appears that the residents of Capital Hill base their decisions on little more than whether or not it will win them the next election. That is not how the Constitution was designed, but it is one of the ways today’s politicians manipulate it.

Dec 20, 2010

GOP blocking heath care for 9-11 rescue workers


If all Americans had health care we would not need a separate bill for the rescuers that have become ill from working at ground zero after the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center. But that is what republicans in the United States Senate are blocking now; healths care for the heroes of September 11th.

The most celebrated heroes of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks were New York City firefighters. During the months that followed 9-11, television audiences throughout the world watched funeral after funeral as New York firefighters buried their brothers who lost their lives under the rubble of the Twin Towers. They never questioned their duty when it called. And the US Senate should not question the need to provide health care for them as they struggle for their lives now.

Those who have no trouble remembering the dead from 9-11 need to remind republicans in the Senate who are blocking the 9-11 bill, that cutting off health care for our firefighter veterans is as unpatriotic as defending tax cuts for the rich, while American children go to bed hungry.

Mortgage Strategic Defaults On The Rise

Americans have changed their attitudes about paying their mortgages. In a new survey, real estate giant Willow found that almost half of all American homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages are now ready to walk away from their homes. The new numbers are up from previous surveys, from 41% to 48%.

For some underwater homeowners, the depressed housing market makes it virtually impossible to recover their lost value in the near future. In some cases, there is so much more owned on the home than it’s worth, recovering losses exceeds their lifetime.

Banks helped by TARP funds are posting record profits since the housing market collapse and robo-signers have made the foreclosure process faster and more profitable. Banks and mortgage loan servicing companies make money on penalties and fees added to delinquent loans. Sales from foreclosed homes also add cash to the balance sheet of banks.

Dec 19, 2010

Scientists find evidence of serious damage from BP oil spill

The oil BP tried to hide with nearly 2 million gallons of chemical dispersant has been discovered in thick layers on the sea floor in the Gulf of Mexico. The area of contamination covers several thousand square miles and scientists from the University of South Florida say the environmental damage is “significant.” All the marine life in the settled oil was dead, according to the scientists who saw the damage from research vessels.

The disruption to the food chain could be significant. Scientists may not know the full extent of the damage for months, if not years. Fish and other marine life that depended on the worms and other microorganisms to survive may also die if they are unable to find other food sources.

Biomarkers are tests that confirm the origin of spilled oil through a chemical signature. University of South Florida oceanographer David Hollander said in an interview that “he and colleagues have just completed tests showing that the chemical profile of oil they found in Gulf sediment matches that from the blown-out BP well,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Hollander said, “The chemical signatures are identical.”

Throughout the Deepwater Horizon disaster, numerous scientists and whistle blowers warned of the dangers of BP’s excessive use of dispersant on the massive oil spill. They claimed that sinking the oil rather than removing it from the surface was little more than a ploy by BP to hide the size of the spill, which in turn, would lower the amount of money the company would have to pay for environmental damage.

The Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20, 2010 and the subsequent oil spill is reported to have poured 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The flame-engulfed rig sank into five thousand feet of water two days later.

Eleven men died in the explosion the night of the disaster. On June 23rd, the US Coast Guard confirmed the death of two members of the cleanup crew who had been overcome by exposure to BP’s chemical dispersant. BP and the EPA claimed that the dispersant Corexit, was ‘as harmless as dish soap.’
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For Lovers of Creatures Great and Small: How do you say Goodbye?

When you were born with a heart destined to be shared with an animal, you were given both a gift and a curse. The gift is the joy to love and be loved without speaking a single word: To understand each other’s feelings with a single glance; to sense each other’s contentment with a single touch, and to know each other’s pain on the day you must part. The curse is the choice only you can make at the end of your best friend’s life. How do you say goodbye?

When you think about the years that have passed and realize that the one who stayed with you through them all is the one who must go; how do you say goodbye?

When all you can remember are the nights your world seemed to be coming to an end and a gentle nudge from a familiar furry face made it all seem okay. You remember getting lost in those moments of innocent love and you knew you would treasure them always. How do you say goodbye when you think of those nights? How do you surrender the truest love you’ve ever known when Death knocks on the door?

You struggle and plead and pray. But you know Death is going to win in the end, and you hate him because he robs you of your love. So you steal the last few moments; the last few strokes on the head. You savor the feel of his soft fur under your palm. He’s warm and innocent. He gazes at you with those trusting eyes. You tell him that you love him and it’s the first moment you know that he doesn’t understand.

You feel like a traitor. He gave you comfort when no one else could and now your heart breaks because you don’t know how to give it back. You remember all his love and you don’t know how to say goodbye. You want another day; another night; just one more moment.

But Death is waiting. And He’s so cruel. You hate him.

The one you love hurts. Not so badly that he can’t bare it, but you can’t bare it, because you know what’s coming. You’ve seen it before. The pain. The struggle. The deterioration. You love him too much to let him feel that even for a moment. You want to spare him that because you love him so much.

What a task – to chose the moment you surrender to Death.

Your pain is deeper than his. You question the moment. Perhaps I’m being selfish, you say to yourself. I haven’t given him enough time to fight for his own life. Then you see those eyes. You know they don’t understand. Something’s not right, they say. But I still love you. And your heart breaks.

The choice is yours. That horrible heart-wrenching choice. Do you wait until he is so weak that there is no choice? Or do you give him over to Death with dignity, before the Robber can take him piece by piece?

He looks at you with those trusting eyes. He doesn’t understand. No matter what you do, you know he still trusts you and that just makes it harder.

You hug him and tell him you love him and you cry. Then you pick him up and put him in the car to drive him to the Gate of Death. You don’t want to say goodbye.

You sign the form. The needle appears. You kiss him and cry as he slips away. Suddenly you change your mind. You want him back. But it’s too late.

You hate Death because he won. The Love Stealer has taken him and your heart shouts at God, Why? Why did you let Death win?

You caress his limp body one last time and take a lock of fur before he’s taken away. In a single moment your heart was broken and it will never be the same again.

You wonder if you’ll really ever see him again. If his soul will be resurrected with yours. Will you ever again feel him nuzzle your cheek? That incredible sense of comfort that no one else could ever give you? Will you ever feel it again? You wonder. Then you cry and you ask God when He will make the pain in your heart stop. And you wonder how He will ever fill the hole Death left there. You shake your fist at the Heavens and beg an answer to the question, why?

You know time will heal your heart, but never completely. Because you know that when that needle stopped his heart it took a piece of yours with it.

The nights are too long. There’s no comfort next to your pillow. No more purring. No more nuzzling. No more soft body to snuggle in those quiet moments you shared with no one else.

There’s guilt. An empty ache. You still question the choice.

The pain and the tears subside but the night is still too quiet without that gentle breath of love that soothed you to sleep for a lifetime that would always seem too short. And you can never really say goodbye.

In loving memory of Tralayne Ruggles
May 3, 1986 – March 9, 2000

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Dec 18, 2010

Sunken oil from BP spill forms deadly blankets in Gulf waters

Fears of scientists over the BP oil spill are becoming evidenced in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Contamination from sunken oil is covering patches of the sea floor like black toxic blankets, smothering the ecosystem and threatening its delicate balance.

Sediment around the site of the BP blowout is showing high levels of toxins, according to data sited in the Wall Street Journal. “There is no practical way to clean up the spilled oil that has settled deep in the Gulf, officials said.”

During the height of the disaster, BP’s unprecedented use of nearly 2 million gallons of chemical dispersant came under fire from the EPA and scientific community, and in early May, just two weeks after the April 20, 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon that took eleven lives and marked the beginning of the disaster, the EPA ordered BP to stop using the dispersant for fear of long term environmental damage and risks to human health.

In June, under suspicion of a media blackout on the gushing Macondo well, the EPA did a sudden reversal on the dangers of the dispersant, issuing a report that claimed BP’s chemical was as harmless as ‘dish soap.”

The EPA turnaround, say whistleblowers, came in the form of pressure from the Obama Administration and BP officials concerned about the falling stock price of the oil giant.

By June 11th, 71 oil spill cleanup workers had been hospitalized in Louisiana, due to exposure to vapors from the toxic dispersant. On June 23rd, the US Coast Guard confirmed the death of two members of the cleanup crew.

Dec 16, 2010

High unemployment may be a permanent part of the new American economy

The bank bailouts of 2008 changed more than the foundation of American finance. The rules of capitalism were thrown out, along with the law of survival of the fittest.  In its wake, the bailed out banks are not only posting record profits, they are hording trillions of dollars in cash. What they are not doing with that cash is making loans and hiring people. Furthermore, the federal TARP loans intended to stabilize the deflation of the housing market have not kept banks from finding ways to profit from to continuing foreclosures with robo-signers and loan servicing agents.

One of the possibilities not being debated in the economic formulas is the concept that a metamorphosis of the American economy is taking place. The collapse of the US financial markets made the banks stronger and more powerful. And as long as they control the money, America is at their mercy.

The fundamental principles of job creation have been changing during the past 20 years. As more jobs have been shipped overseas where labor is cheaper, conditions for US workers has declined. In the 1960’s wagers were lower, but less money bought more goods. Today, an average worker earning $10 an hour can barely keep food on the table and a roof over their head.

According to The National Bureau of Economic Research, “The recession ended in June 2009, 18 months after it began in December 2007.” If that is the case then unemployment rates hovering at the 10% mark are here to stay, perhaps for longer than anyone is ready to admit.


Dec 15, 2010

Earmarks ingrained in Washington mentality

It appears that no matter what American voters say, Washington politicians refuse to change their overspending ways.

“A $1.2 trillion bill, released on Tuesday, includes more than 6,000 earmarks totaling $8 billion, an amount that many lawmakers decried as an irresponsible binge following a midterm election in which many voters demanded that the government cut spending,” according to the Washington Post.

Republicans and democrats alike are guilty of refusing to let go of their pet projects. Bringing the pork home to their personal districts continues to remain more important than the overall health of the nation. 

In the face of republican campaign promises to cut spending and get the federal deficit under control, there is little evidence to support claims that they are prepared to back up those promises with action.

Earmarks are part of the budget and lawmakers claim that where the money is spent does not affect overall expenditures. However, if the earmarks were reduced or eliminated, that money could be more wisely redirected toward deficit reduction.

It is widely accepted by both lawmakers and economists that the United States is carrying an unsustainable amount of debt that cannot be paid off with broken campaign promises.

Dec 13, 2010

Obama tax cut compromise: The ‘best deal’ is still a bad deal for America

When political pundits talk about President Obama’s tax cut compromise and say ‘this is the best deal we’re going to get,’ one has to wonder what the worst deal would look like. As it stands now the republican strong-arm tactics against President Obama and the Lame Duck Congress will add $900 billion to the deficit, most of which will be caused by an extension of the Bush tax cuts for a handful of millionaires and billionaires.

While the GOP is on the brink of declaring victory for the wealthy, the rest of America remains unemployed, underemployed, in foreclosure or without a shred of hope from the shrinking safety net the GOP seems bent on tearing away from the bottom up.
According to The Nation, “It's the standard bribery model of legislating that has come to characterize Washington in the era of oligarchy: if you want to put food on the table of the unemployed, you must lavishly wine and dine the CEOs and bankers who laid them off.”
The republicans won control of the House in the 2010 elections with the promise of being the party that would take the federal budget deficit seriously and take steps to reduce it. That promise does not appear to apply to tax cuts for the wealthy. 

Breaking gridlock: How about term limits for all Washington lawmakers?

Ric Keller's Term Limtits pledge.

America has term limits for the office of the president, governors and a plethora of local offices. However, the Congress and Senate have escaped the boundaries of term limits. The ability to spend a literal lifetime in the US Senate and Congress may be at the heart of the recent legislative paralysis that has crippled the US government. If all politicians knew they were out after two terms, perhaps they would spend less time electioneering and more time governing.

Fighting among lawmakers in Washington has produced frustration for the electorate and both the democratic and republican parties.  Moreover, infighting has bought the legislative process to a screeching halt. Jockeying for position on powerful committees has kept senior members of the House and Senate focused on reelection for control of key committees, because that is where the true power lies.

Now take the same picture and remove career politicians. For one thing, lobbyists would have to change their strategy. It would cost them a lot more money to fund an unknown candidate, every two years for Congress and six years for the Senate. With new lawmakers being part of the rule instead of the exception, deeply entrenched power-brokers would be forced to give up their powerful seats on everything from the Armed Services 
Committee, to budget and commerce committees. And the list goes on.

The advantage to voters is not only faster changes in a notoriously slow legislative body, but it may put a dent in the corruption process.

Change is what Americans vote for when the country is heading down the wrong path. However, change brings false hope when elections merely exchange one well funded career politician for another with little more than a different name or party label.

While not the ultimate solution, term limits for every elected office in the Unites States would take America a long way toward weeding out career politicians who have grown too comfortable in their deep seats of power. It would also bring American government closer to the design of the country’s founders.


Dec 11, 2010

The self-destruction of the United States may be closer than you think

Six World Trade Center, (US Customs House) New...

It is easy to get tied up in the moment of American politics, but what is happening in Washington today is a symptom of something much worse. America is on an unsustainable path that will lead to her inevitable destruction; not in a hundred years or a thousand years, but in our lifetime.

Political infighting has paralyzed the United States at a time when action is critical. 
However, the disease that is eating away at America's democracy began long before the republicans declared war on President Obama.

In a hair-raising article in The Nation called The Decline and Fall of the American Empire, University of Wisconsin History Professor, Alfred W. McCoy chronicles several grave scenarios for America’s trajectory.  While there are variables in any speculation, there is no mistaking the notion that on her current path, the future for America does not look bright.

There was a time not so long ago, when America was the leader in technology, production and innovation.  Each generation after World War II did better economically and educationally than the one before. However, in the 1980’s, our national priorities began to shift and the United States began her decline.  Complacency replaced inventiveness.

Americans focused on little more than buying cheap imported products, blinded themselves to the actions of their government, as they began handing over the keys to the country’s future to whatever corporate lobbyist contributed the most money to a campaign.

Corruption has infiltrated our democracy so profoundly, it is no longer able to function. Now, the suffocation of democracy is threatening the position of the United States in the global community.

“Today, three main threats exist to America’s dominant position in the global economy: loss of economic clout thanks to a shrinking share of world trade, the decline of American technological innovation, and the end of the dollar's privileged status as the global reserve currency,” according to The Nation.
 By 2008, the United States had already fallen to number three in global merchandise exports, with just 11% of them compared to 12% for China and 16% for the European Union.  There is no reason to believe that this trend will reverse itself.”
Washington power-brokers have lost the ability to look any further than the next election. Blind by their own ambition, they are sweeping the masses aside and selling-out the nation’s future to special interest groups and financing it with foreign debt.

Everything has a beginning and an end.

The infighting in Washington that has paralyzed America can only hasten the inevitable self-destruction of what was once a thriving world power. Mired in runaway unemployment and the sinking value of our homes, expecting a recovery while lawmakers wage war on each other, is an unreasonable expectation.

The United States is on a path to self-destruction and the end may be closer than you think.

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Dec 10, 2010

Obama considers fight against republican supply side economics with tax loophole reform

Barack Obama speech "Fighting for Health ...

Today on Morning Joe, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell said, “Remember what supply-side economics is. It is the promise that by cutting taxes, the treasury is going to collect more revenue because the economy will be so wildly stimulated by cutting taxes...But by cutting these taxes the treasury is going to collect less money.”

Mr. O’Donnell’s remarks may be the most honest, realistic words ever spoken about tax cut policy. According to the New York Times, "he tax benefits will flow most heavily to the highest earners, just as the original cuts did when they were passed in 2001 and 2003. At least a quarter of the tax savings will go to the wealthiest 1 percent of the population."

A UPI report said there is no evidence that shows supply side economics trickles down to anyone. Additional reports on MSNBC support that data. Essentially, when the wealthy get money they save it, when the middle class and poor get money they spend it. Therefore, the basis for the republican argument that tax cuts for the rich will create jobs has no substance. The republican tax deal will force and additional $900 billion dollars in debt on 100% of the American people, yet it will benefit only 2%.

At a recent press conference, President Obama said that the battle over the deficit and tax policy is a long term endeavor.  According to the New York Times, the Obama Administration is considering an overhaul of allowable tax deductions that would raise revenue by closing loopholes. “The objective is to rid the code of its complex buildup of deductions, credits and exemptions, thereby broadening the base of taxes collected and allowing for lower rates.”

How far President Obama will get with an uncooperative republican leadership is unclear. However if lawmakers on both side of the isle are committed to reducing the deficit, the logical place to begin is to reform the tax code.

Image via Wikipedia
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GOP tax cut plan: Redistribution of wealth to the rich?

Bush tax cuts vs Obama tax cuts

Throughout the current recession, those hurt the least have been the super rich. They are also the primary beneficiaries of the GOP tax cut deal with President Obama.

If America had a budget surplus the tax package might not be facing opposition. However, with the balance sheet nearly $14 trillion on the red, the United States budget deficit is at the center of this debate.

The Bush tax cuts, as all tax code manipulation, are a form of redistribution of wealth. Whether the discounts go to the rich or poor does not change the mechanics. The portion of the Obama tax bill compromise that applies to the rich will cost taxpayers $420 billion. Since the wealthy will be paying less, (percentage-wise) it is essentially a subsidy from the middle class and poor into the pockets of the rich.

Consensus among democrats and the American public according to a recent CBS News poll, says on the republican tax cut deal is not what the electorate wants; it’s bad for the country, will not create jobs, and will add more to the deficit than it’s worth.
Republicans have been conspicuously silent on the simplest solution to the tax cut debate, which is to pass the bill without the portion that applies to the top tax brackets.

The GOP refusal to cooperate has been called a form of hostage taking by opponents to the bill, including President Obama. Political commentators have hotly debated the pros and cons of the legislation, but few have called the bill what it actually is; a redistribution of wealth that favors multi-millionaires.

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell said, “Remember what supply-side economics is. It is the promise that by cutting taxes, the treasury is going to collect more revenue because the economy will be so wildly stimulated by cutting taxes...But by cutting these taxes the treasury is going to collect less money…”

Mr. O’Donnell’s remarks are probably the most honest, realistic words ever spoken about  tax cut policy.

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Dec 9, 2010

Pressure against Bush tax cuts for wealthy gaining support on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 16:  Sen. Bernie Sanders...

President Obama’s tax cut deal with republican leaders has riled democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill. While democrats like Vermont Congressman Peter Welch have been publically vocal on their objections to the budget-busting compromise, Republicans have remained silent on the plan which will add $900 billion to the federal deficit.

“The deal to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for two years includes a bevy of additional credits and deductions that will reduce the burden on nearly all households. But the tax benefits will flow most heavily to the highest earners, just as the original cuts did when they were passed in 2001 and 2003. At least a quarter of the tax savings will go to the wealthiest 1 percent of the population,” according to the New York Times.

Independent Senator Bernie Sanders told MSNBC that the GOP tax plan will not create jobs and republicans will use the debt added to the federal deficit as an excuse to go after Social Security and Medicare.

"For a Democratic president, Democratic House, Democratic Senate, to be following the Bush economic philosophy of tax breaks for millionaires, billionaires is absolutely wrong public policy, absolutely wrong politically, and I gotta tell you, I will do whatever I can to see that 60 votes are not acquired to pass this legislation.”

Sanders added, "Millionaires and billionaires do not need huge tax deductions, that's the simple truth," according to the Huffington Post.  "If we're serious about creating jobs in this country, which should be our main priority, that's the worst way to do it. Much better to take that money, invest in our roads, bridges, railroad systems, infrastructure -- you create jobs doing that."

Welch and Sanders are bringing attention to the flaws of the republican deal to extend the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy to the American people in hopes of applying public pressure to defeat the legislation.

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Dec 8, 2010

Musician Sting calls American politicians unpatriotic

Sting, Drammenshallen, Norway, November 21st 1985Image via Wikipedia

The political gamesmanship that has been going on in Washington, D.C. has not gone unnoticed by foreign born celebrities in the United States. In an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, the legendary singer, songwriter Sting was asked what he thought about America’s latest battles between democrat and republican politicians. Sting said, “I think it’s unpatriotic.”

Sting was also disappointed in the lack of progress being made regarding climate change and environmental protection.  In 2009, Sting joined forces with Prince Charles in an effort to stop the destruction of the world’s rain forests. Sting told the Independent UK , “Thirty years ago I wrote ‘Message in a Bottle’. Today I’m joining forces with the Prince of Wales and many others  to send an SOS to the world.”

Sting may not be alone in his belief that American politicians are unpatriotic. US citizens on both sides of the aisle are not pleased with recent maneuvering by lawmakers to extend the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.  President Obama compared the republican insistence on including the top 2% for tax breaks like “negotiating with hostage takers.”

Due to the ‘unpatriotic… hostage taking’ of the American public by republicans to assure discounts for the wealthy, the tax package will add $900 billion to the United States federal deficit.

MSNBC Morning Joe Video on Obama tax cut compromise:

You make also like: The Bush tax cuts explained

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Dec 7, 2010

Obama taking heat from democrats on Bush tax cuts for wealthy

President Obama is feeling the heat for taking a compromise deal from republicans that extend the Bush tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not happy with the deal and the democratic base is outraged by the Obama surrender.

Bloomberg reports Rep. Nancy Pelosi, “criticized the elements of the plan demanded by Republicans, including extending the top tax rates and the estate tax, while stopping short of saying she’ll urge House Democrats to reject the deal.” She added, “Republicans have held the middle class hostage for provisions that benefit only the wealthiest 3 percent, do not create jobs, and add tens of billions of dollars to the deficit.”

In a statement on Monday, President Obama expressed his concern over fears that if he did not go along with the all-or-nothing republican proposal that all of the tax cuts would have expired at the end of this year and that would unfairly punish the struggling middle class with a tax hike.

President Obama called the compromise the only way to avoid “collateral damage for political warfare here in Washington,” and expressed his displeasure with Republicans for forcing his hand “regardless of the cost of impact on the deficit,” he said in televised remarks.

The extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy will put an extra $104,000 into the pockets of millionaires and add $800 billion to the federal deficit, according to reports.

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Fallout from Obama tax cut deal rattles democrats, breaks GOP promises to reduce deficit

Critics on the democratic side have had a lot to say about President Obama’s decision to give in to republican demands and extend the Bush tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.

The compromise bill seems like a one sided deal to democrats. Republicans held their ground and got exactly what they wanted, despite the fact that the electorate did not agree. According to recent polls, less than 40% support extending the Bush tax cuts to the top 2%.  Additionally, the millionaire tax cuts will add some $450 billion to America’s debt, which will have to be borrowed from the Chinese and other creditors.

Political pundits agree, the high end tax breaks will not create jobs as republicans pledged, and it raises the deficit, which is an issue the GOP campaigned against. The Bush tax cuts will put an extra $104,000 per year into the pockets of those with incomes of 1 million dollars.

The compromise deal has not yet been finalized, but few expect Lame Duck democrats to attempt to block Obama’s agreement with republican lawmakers.