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Archive for the ‘I Own My Vote’ Category

Results are in:

al Jazeera reported:

[WASHINGTON — Fox News’ prime-time GOP presidential debate on Thursday was a huge success for the broadcaster, with initial ratings showing that an astonishing 16 percent of U.S. households tuned in. But the event may have been less beneficial to the Republican Party, which hoped, after its chaotic 2012 primaries, to select a presidential nominee in a more orderly, less divisive and less damaging fashion.]

Whether that 16% really represents 16% of 115,610,216 US census counted households or 16% of FOX News total reported 87,058,000 household viewers, its a very poor showing for providing voter information.

The rest is all smoke and mirrors; he said-she said, and storytelling by the media.

We will have wait a little longer to see, of all the strings being pulled, which puppet “Big Brother” will finally present for the bow and roses.

 

 

 

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I’m spending an inordinate amount of time in the “Asphodel Meadows”, so I haven’t posted. Hopefully, I’ll find my way out soon. However, I just had to say this regarding an email I received today—

POLITICO Breaking News
————————————————-

President Barack Obama declared that a “transformation” is taking hold in Egypt as reports said President Hosni Mubarak was on the verge of stepping down. “We are witnessing history unfold,” Obama said. “The people of Egypt are calling for change.”

“America will continue to do everything we can to support an orderly and genuine transition to democracy in Egypt,” he added.

For more information…  http://www.politico.com

First, if there was a buzzword fuzzy employed in the 2008 election, that got my goat, it was the word “Transformation” used by Senator Kerry in the context of describing President Obama’s then active candidacy for President.

So I suppose it’s only appropriate that I should be equally annoyed with Politico’s reported use of the word now.

As we know, when transformation occurs, it can mean there has only been a change in form or appearance, rather than the third larger meaning of change in character. Secondly, transformation is not necessarily good or better, and can be worse; that kind of valuation comes later.

I now hate this word and the generational mythology it encompasses. Gone are the days of the cartoon “Transformers” where change is heroic and the battle is bad versus good.

Second, when Politico reported above that they were quoting Obama in a “genuine transition to democracy”, I wondered about that pronouncement on President Mubarak’s government and his subsequent refusal to step down. In the past Mubarak has espoused democratic principles. At this moment in time, it would be pretty insensitive of the USA to state that his government is not in any way, democratic, even if there is a genuine need for change.

As it turns out, Politico was summarizing or editorializing or something; HERE is the press release from the WH. It’s much more nuanced and neutral.

Are Politico’s quoted statements in the press release video that I can’t load on dial-up? I don’t know.  However, they don’t sound like something HRC’s Dept. of State would have prepared or reviewed. It does seem like the DOS and the Prez would be coordinating closely on the subject of Egypt affairs. Even if it is time for change, words matter.

 

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Update – If you want to study the 1986 tax code a little more throughly than that provided in the named link below, try Cornell’s LII / Legal Information Institute’s look at the 1986 tax code HERE, or the IRS page HERE.

Seriously, if the Democrats want any hope of passing Democratic measures and want the public to clearly understand who is representing what, NOW NOW NOW is the time to introduce single item measures. Such action reduces the possibility of hidden pork barrel type additions, and allows adequate time for reflection on the measures both from Congress and from the public. It simplifies all kinds of things, like paper use, reenactment and modifications.  Clear, up and down votes on single measures is THE WAY TO REENGAGE PUBLIC SYMPATHY by showing clearly how the battle is being fought and who is on what side.

Consider the example of our current legislation entitled H.R. 4853 or the “Middle Class Relief Act of 2010” a prime example of negotiation gone wrong.

H.R 4853 is currently an 18-page pdf document. It’s fairly straightforward, however, someone who was familiar with the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, tax code prior to the BushCo era interventions should read it and give us advice. While it substitutes 25% for 28% and 28% for 31% in two tax brackets, for example, it doesn’t’ specify what the brackets are. So, it appears these could be movable. Take a look on the last page of the 2009 Tax Tables HERE ,to see where this might apply.

It discusses rates on capital gains and dividends, but makes no comment on funds derived from 401Ks, or IRAs and pensions. Since this is where most regular folk have actually invested, I think again a review of the 1986 tax code by someone familiar with it, would be helpful.

Update – it appears that funds derived from capital gains and dividends, withdrawn from 401K’s etc, would  continue to be taxed at the taxpayer’s current or retirement rate, rather than some lesser tax as is proposed and has been done for non sheltered capital gains and dividends.  The problem with this set up, as I see it is, pension fund holders cannot as easily opt out and speculative earnings are driven by others outside that can dip in and out. The pension fund canard that suggests the retiree comes out ahead because they withdraw at a lower tax rate simply doesn’t hold for most people. Folks can easily wind up with say a 21-25% percent taxable rate on their withdrawals, while those who just bought and sold stocks pay a 15% or proposed 20% rate.

Its’ truly distressing that in a year when Social Security has to go begging, and the housing market has tanked, the small business proportion of the bill allows for an increase of the phase-out expensing of depreciable assets from $200,000 to $500,000, cost of living adjustments, and rounding of limitations by the $1000s, and $10,000’s.

A little lollipop for the Republicans is at the end of it, wherein it states that the ALT extension is effective in 2010, or anytime after December 31, 2009.

I encourage folks to read the below related bills for a better understanding of how unemployment insurance has anything to do with airplanes and airports. A hint, if  you are a 99er you are screwed and  about to enter the realm of the invisible. If you make it a year however, you might be eligible for Obamacare.

H.R 4853 entrains thirteen different related bills. They are:

H.RES.1745, “Providing for consideration of the Senate amendment to the bill (H.R. 4853) to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend the funding and expenditure authority of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, to amend title 49, United States Code, to extend authorizations for the airport improvement program, and for other purposes, and providing for consideration of motions to suspend the rules.”

H.R.1512, the “Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2009”.  It already became public law re: 111-12.

H.R.3607, the “Fiscal Year 2010 Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act”. It already became public law re” 111-69.

H.R.4217, the “Fiscal Year 2010 Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act, Part II”. It became public law re 111-116.

H.R.4915, the “Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010”.  Referred to the Senate Finance Committee-meaning, I guess, since it’s still in committee, it can’t be voted on. So, I don’t know how it was supposed to be included in today’s vote.

H.R.4957, the “Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010”. It already became public law re: 111-153.

H.R.5147, the “Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2010”. It already became public law re: 111-161.

H.R.5611, the “Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2010, Part II”. It apparently already became public law.  (See 111-972.)

H.R.5900, the “Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010”. It already became public law re: 111-216.

H.R.6190, the “Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2010, Part III”. It already became public law re: 111-249.

H.R.6467, the “Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010”.

H.R.6473, the  “Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2010, Part IV”. It was received in the Senate on 12/2/10.

S.3187, the “Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010”. It was returned to the Senate re: H. Res. 1653.

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On this one, I agree with the Prez. Pass the Disclose Act tomorrow, otherwise known as the “Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act, S.3628,(correction) see file “getdoc.cgi“! Don’t let this Supreme Court Decision stand. Corporations should not have personhood, or the right to donate money without disclosure to elections. It was bad enough last election WITH disclosure.

The White House Blog

President Obama on Citizens United: “Imagine the Power This Will Give Special Interests Over Politicians”

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 26, 2010 at 03:07 PM EDT

With a Senate vote tomorrow on legislation to undo some of the damage from the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, the President laid out the stakes in no uncertain terms:

Monday A vote to oppose these reforms is nothing less than a vote to allow corporate and special interest takeovers of our elections. It is damaging to our democracy. It is precisely what led a Republican President named Theodore Roosevelt to tackle this issue a century ago.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/07/26/president-obama-citizens-united-imagine-power-will-give-special-interests-over-polit

As pre-announced last month, Hayward’s head is going to be put on the plate for the BP Gulf debacle. If you will pardon the Cold War chuckle, they are sending him HERE in Siberia. Well not quite, the headquarters of TNK-BP was changed to the British Virgin Islands in 2006. However, if he takes the penitent’s job, I see no reason to believe that he will fail to visit the Irtyish River once or twice. TNK-BP announced in January they were aiming to double production. Hayward sounds like just the guy they need. Who needs a river anyway?

BP’s Hayward to Leave as CEO; Russia Job in Works

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=11249030

Look at that, China doen’t want to  be left out of the story either!

In counterpoint to our health plans, Japan’s keep producing this:

Japan women’s life expectancy world longest for 25th straight year

Posted : Mon, 26 Jul 2010 10:04:50 GMT

By : dpa

Tokyo – Japanese women held the world’s longest life expectancy for the 25th year in row in 2009, with their average life-span hitting a record high of 86.44 years, the government said Monday.

Japanese men’s life expectancy also posted a record high of 79.59 years, but they dropped to fifth in the world from fourth in 2008, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare said in a report.

The extension was attributed to improved treatment of major causes of death among Japanese – cancer, strokes, pneumonia and cardiac disorders.

“If an influenza epidemic does not break out, the life expectancy (of Japanese people) is likely to extend further,” a ministry official was quoted by Kyodo News as saying.

In the men’s list, Qatar topped the men’s list at 81.0 years, followed by Hong Kong at 79.8 years, and Iceland and Switzerland at 79.7 years.

As for women, Japan was followed by Hong Kong at 86.1 years, and France at 84.5 years.

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/news/336496,longest-25th-straight-year.html

As adjunct to a recent comment about the lack of alternatives in political parties over at the Confluence last night, this news arrives from the Denver Post.  Just in case you didn’t know, there is frustration among Repubs as well as Dems. Upsetting TeaPartiers, Tom Tancredo has decided to openly declare his right wing intentions by running for the American Constitution Party. Frankly I like this kind of transparency; Tancredo hasn’t changed, he’s just come out of the closet.

Tancredo will run for governor as American Constitution Party candidate

By Karen Crummy, Denver Post Staff Writer

POSTED: 07/26/2010 08:48:17 AM MDT

UPDATED: 07/26/2010 11:49:11 AM MDT

Tom Tancredo (Denver Post | 2008 file)

[Former Congressman Tom Tancredo is in the race for Colorado governor, he said this morning. “I will officially announce at noon that I will seek the nomination of the constitution party,” Tancredo told the Post….]

http://blogs.denverpost.com/thespot/2010/07/26/tancredo-will-run-for-governor-as-american-constitution-party-candidate/12382/

In case you don’ think they are serious, take a look a t the Wiki link and see how many positions they are seeking in the 2010 election. A few can become a voting block pretty quickly.

At the same time, some over at the Black Agenda are advocating ending the sheep stroll for the Democratic party and going Black, Red And Green.

Black American Politics in the 21st Century: Is It Time For A New Plan?

Wed, 07/14/2010 – 09:28 — Bruce A. Dixon

[We all love and respect our ancestor and freedom fighter Frederick Douglass. But in the 21st century, nobody is trying to imitate his haircut or wear his 19th century clothes. So why is 21st century black America still stuck with Frederick Douglass’s political strategy, 140 years later? And how’s that old stuff working out for us, anyway?…]

http://www.blackagendareport.com/?q=content/black-american-politics-21st-century-it-time-new-plan

The Green Party has their own list, and want you to support their local candidates.

Keep a repugnant law on the books, just so the very arrogant and powerful can play God. Then, when the international community calls you on the carpet, blame them and the defenders of the victims.

We have our own problems with the death penalty here in the USA, but for this kind of torture even the Humane Society would have your ass in jail and the key thrown away.

Just who gets to throw these stones anyway? You gotta wonder what it does to the throwers as well. It’s government sponsored Milgrams, only with real consequences:

Attorney of Iranian Condemend(sic. Condemned) to Be Stoned Faces Arrest

Edward Yeranian | Cairo

26 July 2010

Iran has reportedly issued an arrest warrant for the attorney of Sakineh Ashtiani, whose stoning sentence has enraged many in the West.  Iranian authorities apparently detained the wife and brother-in-law of attorney Mohammed Mostafaei, when they were unable to locate him

http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/Attorney-of-Iranian-Condemend-to-Be-Stoned-Faces-Arrest-99249949.html

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Update – Hubby was kind enough to print up a few examples of what is going on. See one below. When he put them to pdf, the second column normally on the right of my screen slid down to a separate page, so it looks a little different. However these were taken today July 12th, and so are still on my website. When the viewing with the right hand column in place, the text of my blog is a little smaller and ads are even larger. Google  appears to be placing ads on the basis of  some kind of text tagging.  Thus baby formula was inserted on a blog about kittens, that was intended to be a counterpoint to death in the Gulf.  A shoe ad was attached to the recent Oakland disturbance after the conviction where shoes were stolen. Imagine if I blog about a few politicians what might happen!!

Update – Perhaps many of you already know about these ads, but I have been on WP since 2008 and never saw one of these ads before. Find a comment HERE from Matt, clear back in 2006, discussing the ads and how we won’t see them. It’s anyone’s guess what our sites have supported. At the very least, should we decide to forgo the ad blocks, we ought to be able to see what they are. Matt says in his blog that they got very little feedback when they began the ads. How can we provide feedback to WP if we can’t see the ads?

Update – Bobbie informs me that the cost to keep the ads off my blog is $29.95 a year, not a month.

Update -I just logged out and still did not see the ads on MY computer, so I am pretty peeved right now.

Today I happened to be look at my blog site in my husband’s computer. I was stunned to see Google ads at the bottom my page. I had no idea my puny blog was worthy of that kind of consideration.

I immediately went in search of answers and found this one (Let me know if this link drops. I have a pdf.) from Bobbie Newman.

Bobbie thought that being signed out of  WP makes the Google ad visible. Since Hubby doesn’t have a WordPress account, he isn’t signed in, so this might be true. However, I have been signed out before and failed to notice the ads, so I don’t know for sure if this is the case. I wonder though, how many of us WP bloggers have them and don’t even see each others, because we have a WP account.

I OBJECT to these ads, because:

1) To turn them off requires that we pay WP $29.95 a month.

2) I have no control over the ads that display on my page.

3) I am unable to see them from my computer.

4) The formating is terrible and is bigger than almost anything else on my page.

Honestly, I would have considered the $30 bucks a month, but I don’t like the way this has been handled, so now instead, I will have to consider whether I will continue a blog here. The political ads are coming. I have already seen a Google ad denigrating Barbara Boxer on a web site I would not expect. I hated the way Sodahead and Newsmax banner ads were utilized during the election. It appears Google (And WordPress.) will do the same.

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The continuing saga of H.R. 3590.

Members of the Senate have now submitted 150 amendments to H.R. 3590, including approved S.AMDT.2786, which changed the name of the bill to the PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL AMERICANS, and substituted the health care text for that of the original bill involving homeownership. As you may recall that amendment was approved on November 21st when the motion for cloture was agreed to.

Since that time the following additional five amendments have been approved, one amended amendment has been approved and one has been tabled:

S.AMDT.2791 – Mikulski Amdt. 2791 As Amended (by AMDT.2808.); To clarify provisions relating to first dollar coverage for preventive services for women.

S.AMDT.2826 – Bennet Amdt. No. 2826; To protect and improve guaranteed Medicare benefits.

S.AMDT.2870 – Whitehouse Amdt. No. 2870; To promote fiscal responsibility by protecting the Social Security surplus and CLASS program savings in this Act.

S.AMDT. 2899 – Stabenow Amdt. No. 2899; To ensure that there is no reduction or elimination of any benefits guaranteed by law to participants in Medicare Advantage plans.

S.AMDT.2926  – Kerry Amdt No. 2926; To protect home health benefits.

S.AMDT.2939 – Pryor Amdt. No. 2939; To require the Secretary to provide information regarding enrollee satisfaction with qualified health plans offered through an Exchange through the Internet portal.

And one motion to successful tabling of an amendment S.AMDT.2963 – Motion to Table Nelson Amdt. No. 2962; to prohibit the use of Federal funds for abortions.

On the other side, the following five amendments have been rejected and 4 motions have been rejected:

S.AMDT.2836 – Murkowski Amdt. No. 2836; To ensure patients receive doctor recommendations for preventive health services, including mammograms and cervical cancer screening, without interference from government or insurance company bureaucrats.

S.AMDT.2901 – Thune Amdt. No. 2901; To eliminate new entitlement programs and limit the government control over the health care of American families.

S.AMDT.2905 – Lincoln Amdt. No. 2905; To modify the limit on excessive remuneration paid by certain health insurance providers to set the limit at the same levels as the salary of the President of the United States.

S.AMDT.2927 – Ensign Amdt. No. 2927; Relative to limitation on amount of attorneys contingency fees.

S.AMDT.2942 – Gregg Amdt. No. 2942; To prevent Medicare from being raided for new entitlements and to use Medicare savings to save Medicare.

McCain Motion to Commit H.R. 3590 to the Committee on Finance; Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009.

Hatch Motion to Commit H.R. 3590 to the Committee on Finance; Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009

Johanns Motion to Commit to the Committee on Finance; Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009

McCain Motion to Commit H.R. 3590 to the Committee on Finance; Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009.

As you can see, with only twelve amendments dispensed out of one hundred and fifty, the battle and debate for our national health care is not done. It seems a little unrealistic for Reid to say they will be done by the Holiday Break- but hey, he’s the expert.

Senator Boxer’s successful push to get the “Nelson Abortion” abortion tabled , was tremendous. It might take some of the pressure off. HERE is the vote:

Grouped By Vote Position
YEAs —54
Akaka (D-HI)Baucus (D-MT)

Begich (D-AK)

Bennet (D-CO)

Bingaman (D-NM)

Boxer (D-CA)

Brown (D-OH)

Burris (D-IL)

Cantwell (D-WA)

Cardin (D-MD)

Carper (D-DE)

Collins (R-ME)

Dodd (D-CT)

Durbin (D-IL)

Feingold (D-WI)

Feinstein (D-CA)

Franken (D-MN)

Gillibrand (D-NY)

Hagan (D-NC)Harkin (D-IA)

Inouye (D-HI)

Johnson (D-SD)

Kerry (D-MA)

Kirk (D-MA)

Klobuchar (D-MN)

Kohl (D-WI)

Landrieu (D-LA)

Lautenberg (D-NJ)

Leahy (D-VT)

Levin (D-MI)

Lieberman (ID-CT)

Lincoln (D-AR)

McCaskill (D-MO)

Menendez (D-NJ)

Merkley (D-OR)

Mikulski (D-MD)

Murray (D-WA)Nelson (D-FL)

Reed (D-RI)

Reid (D-NV)

Rockefeller (D-WV)

Sanders (I-VT)

Schumer (D-NY)

Shaheen (D-NH)

Snowe (R-ME)

Specter (D-PA)

Stabenow (D-MI)

Tester (D-MT)

Udall (D-CO)

Udall (D-NM)

Warner (D-VA)

Webb (D-VA)

Whitehouse (D-RI)

Wyden (D-OR)

NAYs —45
Alexander (R-TN)Barrasso (R-WY)

Bayh (D-IN)

Bennett (R-UT)

Bond (R-MO)

Brownback (R-KS)

Bunning (R-KY)

Burr (R-NC)

Casey (D-PA)

Chambliss (R-GA)

Coburn (R-OK)

Cochran (R-MS)

Conrad (D-ND)

Corker (R-TN)

Cornyn (R-TX)

Crapo (R-ID)DeMint (R-SC)

Dorgan (D-ND)

Ensign (R-NV)

Enzi (R-WY)

Graham (R-SC)

Grassley (R-IA)

Gregg (R-NH)

Hatch (R-UT)

Hutchison (R-TX)

Inhofe (R-OK)

Isakson (R-GA)

Johanns (R-NE)

Kaufman (D-DE)

Kyl (R-AZ)

LeMieux (R-FL)Lugar (R-IN)

McCain (R-AZ)

McConnell (R-KY)

Murkowski (R-AK)

Nelson (D-NE)

Pryor (D-AR)

Risch (R-ID)

Roberts (R-KS)

Sessions (R-AL)

Shelby (R-AL)

Thune (R-SD)

Vitter (R-LA)

Voinovich (R-OH)

Wicker (R-MS)

Not Voting – 1
Byrd (D-WV)

If you want to know more go HERE.

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Link over to the Confluence HERE. They caught it as Senator Boxer was able to effectuate  tabling the  Nelson Amendment on abortion. I’ll have more later.

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