Posts tagged ‘Politics’

September 9, 2013

Marco Rubio STUNS With Syria, Blasts Obamacare, Angles For 2016

Joe Scarborough appeared on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show to offer his reaction the Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote approving military force in Syria today, zeroing in on Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s decision to vote against the resolution. Scarborough called Rubio’s vote “absolutely stunning.”

Scarborough went on the say that the formerly “neo-conservative” Rubio’s thinking appears to be steered by the actions of his more tea party-aligned colleagues Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). ‘I really thought that he would take the classic Reagan position, that he would speak out as a friend of Israel.’”* The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down.

March 24, 2013

Fox Lies again? Is anyone even surprised… but you gotta check this one out!

Remember when conservative comedian and Fox News contributor Steven Crowder was punched in the face by a union activist outside a Michigan protest? Crowder made a big deal about it, even going so far as to challenge the protester to a “legal, sanctioned mixed martial arts bout.” Then came the unsurprising revelation that the video was misleadingly edited to make Crowder look like an innocent, if obnoxious, victim.”*

Fox News contributor Steven Crowder played himself off as a victim beaten mercilessly by “union thugs” in Michigan a few months back. Then why didn’t he want charges pressed? After police intervened and saw the un-edited, raw tape they decided…Crowder has no case. What happened in the latest Fox Fail?

March 3, 2013

Poll: Americans Agree with Democrats on Almost Every Issue

A new Pew Research poll shows that Americans mostly agree with Democrats on a majority of political issues, and meanwhile President Obama’s approval rating is climbing, while Republican approval is dropping.

December 28, 2012

The Never-ending Fiscal Cliff Negotiations for Dummies (Updated)

The Never-ending Fiscal Cliff negotiations

President Obama has cut his trip to Hawaii short to meet with congressional leaders in hopes of a last-minute effort to avoid the upcoming “fiscal cliff”.

The Fiscal Cliff Explained

“Fiscal cliff” is the popular shorthand term used to describe the conundrum that the U.S. government will face at the end of 2012, when the terms of the Budget Control Act of 2011 are scheduled to go into effect.

Among the laws set to change at midnight on December 31, 2012, are the end of last year’s temporary payroll tax cuts (resulting in a 2% tax increase for workers), the end of certain tax breaks for businesses, shifts in the alternative minimum tax that would take a larger bite, a rollback of the “Bush tax cuts” from 2001-2003, and the beginning of taxes related to President Obama’s health care law. At the same time, the spending cuts agreed upon as part of the debt ceiling deal of 2011 will begin to go into effect. According to Barron’s, over 1,000 government programs – including the defense budget and Medicare are in line for “deep, automatic cuts.”

In dealing with the fiscal cliff, U.S. lawmakers have a choice among three options, none of which are particularly attractive:

  • They can let the current policy scheduled for the beginning of 2013 – which features a number of tax increases and spending cuts that are expected to weigh heavily on growth and possibly drive the economy back into a recession – go into effect. The plus side: the deficit, as a percentage of GDP, would be cut in half.
  • They can cancel some or all of the scheduled tax increases and spending cuts, which would add to the deficit and increase the odds that the United States could face a crisis similar to that which is occurring in Europe. The flip side of this, of course, is that the United States’ debt will continue to grow.
  • They could take a middle course, opting for an approach that would address the budget issues to a limited extent, but that would have a more modest impact on growth.

Can a Compromise be Reached?

The oncoming fiscal cliff is a concern for investors since the highly partisan nature of the current political environment could make a compromise difficult to reach. This problem isn’t new, after all: lawmakers have had over a year to address this issue, but Congress – mired in political gridlock – has largely put off the search for a solution rather than seeking to solve the problem directly. In general, Republicans want to cut spending and avoid raising taxes, while Democrats are looking for a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. Although both parties want to avoid the fiscal cliff, compromise is seen as being difficult to achieve – particularly in an election year. Currently, it appears that a meaningful deal won’t be reached until after the December 31 deadline.

The most likely outcome is another set of stop-gap measures that would delay a more permanent policy change. Still, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that if Congress takes the middle ground – extending the Bush-era tax cuts but cancelling the automatic spending cuts – the result, in the short term, would be modest growth but no major economic hit.

Possible Effects of the Fiscal Cliff

If the current laws slated for 2013 went into effect permanently, the impact on the economy would be dramatic. While the combination of higher taxes and spending cuts would reduce the deficit by an estimated $560 billion, the CBO also estimates that the policy would reduce gross domestic product (GDP) by four percentage points in 2013, sending the economy into a recession (i.e., negative growth). At the same time, it predicts unemployment would rise by almost a full percentage point, with a loss of about two million jobs.

A Wall St. Journal article from May 16, 2012 estimates the following impact in dollar terms: “In all, according to an analysis by J.P. Morgan economist Michael Feroli, $280 billion would be pulled out of the economy by the sunsetting of the Bush tax cuts; $125 billion from the expiration of the Obama payroll-tax holiday; $40 billion from the expiration of emergency unemployment benefits; and $98 billion from Budget Control Act spending cuts. In all, the tax increases and spending cuts make up about 3.5% of GDP, with the Bush tax cuts making up about half of that, according to the J.P. Morgan report.” Amid an already-fragile recovery and elevated unemployment, the economy is not in a position to avoid this type of shock.

The Term “Cliff” is Misleading

It’s important to keep in mind that while the term “cliff” indicates an immediate disaster at the beginning of 2013, this isn’t a binary (two-outcome) event that will end in either a full solution or a total failure on December 31. There are two important reasons why this is the case:

1) If all of the laws went into effect as scheduled and stayed in effect, the result would undoubtedly be a return to recession. However, Congress continues to work toward a deal that will alleviate the effects in some form.

2) Even if the deal does not occur before December 31, as appears likely, Congress can – and almost certainly will – act to change the scheduled laws retroactively to January 1 after the deadline.

At the same time, even a “solution” isn’t necessarily positive, since a compromise will likely involve higher taxes or reduced spending in some form – both of which would help reduce the debt, but would be negative for economic growth.

With this as background, it’s important to keep in mind that the concept of “going over the cliff” is largely a media creation, since even a failure to reach a deal by December 31 doesn’t mean that a recession and financial market crash would necessarily occur.

(Source – About.com)

December 26, 2012

The MexiMorman War: Mitt Romney’s Family vs The Mexican Drug Cartels

I came across an interesting documentary about how the cartels of Juarez, Mexico, are at war with a group of Mormons, some of whom are related to Mitt Romney.  Although this may sound sensational and heroic, keep in mind, that violence, corruption and murder has not been committed by the Drug Cartels alone.  Vice films went there to document the conflict, meet Romney’s Mexican Mormon family, and find out more about how US policy is impacting the war on drugs.

April 15, 2012

George Bush: ‘I wish they weren’t called the Bush tax cuts’

“Former President George W. Bush made a rare public appearance Tuesday morning, expressing regret that his name is attached to one of the largest tax cuts in U.S. history. According to Forbes, Bush spoke at his Institute Conference on Taxes and Economic Growth in New York City, claiming his continued support for lower taxes before delivering a surprising statement. “I wish they weren’t called the ‘Bush tax cuts,’” he said. “If they’re called some other body’s tax cuts, they’re probably less likely to be raised”…”.*  The Raw Story

March 11, 2012

Official: US Troop Opened Fire on Afghans

A U.S. service member walked out of his base in southern Afghanistan before dawn Sunday and started shooting Afghan civilians, Afghan and NATO officials said. There were widely varying reports of casualties.

March 6, 2012

Republican hopefuls line-up to woo Israel

Going into Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich all had strong words of support for Israel on the question of Iran’s nuclear program at the AIPAC conference in Washington.

February 28, 2012

Rick Santorum… Still Living In The Dark Ages

Rick Santorum has managed to go longer than any other GOP candidate without any serious media scrutiny, mostly because until a few weeks ago, nobody thought that he was a serious contender. But now that he’s the latest front-runner in the GOP race, stories are beginning to surface about his backwards, hateful beliefs. This is a man who wants to take away all of the social gains made by women over the last 100 years. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

December 8, 2011

Putin: ‘People have a right to protest, Clinton should look at OccupyUS’

Vladimir Putin has called for the opposition to open dialogue saying they have every right to hold rallies – if they are held within the law. But the Prime Minister also pointed to signs of foreign influence in Russia’s political life – calling that unacceptable.

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