Tipping Point

May 31, 2011 by  
Filed under Humor

Yesterday I went to Walmart and demanded that they give me a cartload of merchandise for free. This demand was not well-received, so I didn’t get to the second part of my plan which would have involved criticizing the job performance of the people who were giving me free stuff.

Okay, I didn’t really go to Walmart and demand free stuff. You probably knew that because it sounded ridiculous on face value. We all understand that no entity can survive for long if it gives away its resources while asking nothing in return. And this leads me to my point: In the United States, 51% of adults pay zero federal income tax, and yet they have the right to vote. That’s the very definition of a system that can’t last.

I’m not sure where the tipping point is. So far, the power of the non-tax-paying majority has been blunted by the influence of political parties and the misdirection of the media. If the majority ever figures out that they can legally confiscate the wealth of the minority, tax rates will double overnight. My best guess is that the United States will go into a death spiral at about the point that 55% of adults pay no federal income taxes. We’ll probably get to that point as baby boomers continue to retire in large numbers.

The minimum requirement for a war is that everyone has to understand which side they are on. Paying zero federal income taxes draws a dangerously clear line. As soon as someone influential (Limbaugh, Beck, Palin, etc.) coins a catchy name for the non-tax-paying majority, everyone will automatically know which side they are on. That’s when the United States will unravel.

My recommendation for putting a safeguard on the state of the union is that every adult citizen should pay federal income taxes, even if it is just one dollar per year. For the benefit of the country, it is important to blur the line between rich and poor. By analogy, no one cares that senior citizens get discounted movie tickets, but it would be an issue if the tickets were totally free. Every theater would be clogged with senior citizens and the theater owners would go broke. There’s a huge psychological and practical difference between discounted prices and free.

I realize that taxing the poor produces little income. That’s not the point. What matters is that everyone understands we’re ultimately on the same side. I think our system of government needs that. The poor obviously pay a variety of other governmental taxes, and that probably helps blur the lines. But it can’t be healthy that the people who have the power to control the federal government’s budget don’t have any responsibility for funding it.

[Note: The best way to quote me out of context is something along the lines of “Cartoonist recommends increasing taxes on the poor!”]

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Sarah Palin, Donald Trump Meet In New York City

May 31, 2011 by  
Filed under Videos

NEW YORK — Sarah Palin and Donald Trump exchanged words of admiration Tuesday after a brief meeting at the real estate magnate’s penthouse in a Manhattan skyscraper bearing his name.

Palin, the former Republican vice presidential nominee, said she and Trump shared similar ideas for improving the U.S. economy, while Trump called Palin a “terrific woman and a terrific friend” who he hoped would seek the GOP presidential nomination.

The meeting, part political parley and part reality TV show, capped the third day of Palin’s bus trip through historic sites along the East Coast. Palin has said she is considering joining the field of Republican candidates vying to challenge President Barack Obama next year.

Earlier, Palin, her husband, Todd, and several family members toured sites in Pennsylvania, including the Gettysburg Civil War battlefield and Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.

Trump, the multimillionaire host of “Celebrity Apprentice” who mused about a presidential bid himself before dropping out of the running earlier this month, made headlines painting the U.S. as a country in decline. He criticized China for unfair trade practices and said the U.S. under Obama had become a “laughingstock” to the rest of the world.

Palin apparently heeded those words, saying she and Trump shared a similar world view.

“What do we have in common? Our love for this country, a desire to see our economy put back on the right track,” Palin told reporters after a 15-minute meeting with Trump outside the Trump Tower, where he owns a three-floor penthouse.

“To have a balanced trade arrangement with other countries across this world so Americans can have our jobs, our industries, our manufacturing again. And exploiting responsibly our natural resources. We can do that again if we make good decisions,” Palin said.

Trump demurred when asked if he would support a Palin presidential candidacy.

“She didn’t ask me for that. She came up as friends,” Trump said. “She’s a great woman, a terrific woman and a terrific friend. I’d love her to run.”

Palin added, “We both agree that competition is good and the more folks in that primary, the better.”

After the meeting, Trump and his wife, Melania, rode in a stretch limousine with Palin, her parents and youngest daughter, Piper, to have dinner at a pizza restaurant in Times Square. The Palins planned to visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty Wednesday morning.


Europe’s Debate Over Greek Crisis ‘Very Chaotic,’ Official Says

May 31, 2011 by  
Filed under Capitol Hill, Money

BRUSSELS (AP) — European officials are locked in a heated debate over whether – and how – to give more aid to debt-ridden Greece just as a much-delayed examination of the country’s finances draws to a close.

Experts from the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund will likely conclude their review of Greece’s accounts and austerity program over the next 24 to 48 hours, a European official said Tuesday.

Their report is set to show huge funding gaps in Greece’s budget over the next two years, despite 110 billion euro ($157 billion) in rescue loans granted only a year ago. It will also spell out new austerity measures and detail plans to privatize public real estate and corporate assets as the Greek government struggles to hit deficit targets set out in the bailout program.

In parallel to the review carried out in Athens, European governments and financial institutions are wrangling over different proposals that would make potential new loans to the struggling country more secure.

So far there is no consensus among eurozone countries on whether to give Greece new aid and how, the official said, despite increased pressure in recent days from the European Commission, the ECB and other financial leaders.

“It’s really very chaotic,” a second European official said of the talks between representatives from eurozone finance ministries, the ECB and the EU. “There are loads of proposals but all proposals are opposed by some.”

Both officials were speaking on condition of anonymity because discussions were still ongoing.

Many of the richer countries in the 17-nation eurozone are frustrated with Greece’s slow implementation of the economic reforms and some euro50 billion in privatizations that were supposed to help its economy grow again and cut down a national debt of some 150 percent of economic output. They want assurances that they will get their money back as their own taxpayers are unhappy with what they see as undeserved help for less disciplined countries.

The ministry representatives, who will meet again Wednesday in Vienna, are discussing potential “technical assistance” for Greece in tax collection and the privatization program, the two officials said. Such international involvement in the internal financial affairs of a eurozone country would constitute an unprecedented intervention likely to face strong opposition within Greece.

On top of that, some countries have pushed for Greece to provide collateral for any further loans which could be cashed in if the government fails to repay the aid.

Earlier this month, European policymakers also raised the possibility of asking private creditors like banks and investment funds to give Greece more time to repay its bonds, but such a move has been strictly opposed by the ECB.

ECB officials have warned that even such a “soft restructuring” or “reprofiling” could be seen by investors as a default, triggering panic on financial markets similar that seen after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Despite those concerns, the two officials said that asking private investors to extend the maturities of the bonds they hold was still on the table.

Any final agreement on new aid will depend on which of the countries and institutions will give in eventually and would have to be hammered out by finance ministers in June, one of the officials said. In addition to a scheduled get-together on June 20, there is a “strong likelihood” of a special meeting the week before that, he added.

Eurozone governments expect Greece to come up with new measures that will help it cut its deficit to the 3 percent of economic output allowed under EU rules by 2014. Last year, it posted a deficit of 10.5 percent and at the current rate the EU estimates it will have a funding shortfall of some 9.5 percent this year, 2 percentage points above target.

Any new aid would not relieve Greece from implementing the painful and unpopular austerity and reform measures but only give it more breathing space by keeping it out of international debt markets for a little longer.

Greece was supposed to raise some euro27 billion next year and a similar amount in 2013 to start covering some of its bills again, but with interest rates for 10-year bonds above 16 percent that prospect now seems unrealistic.

WATCH a segment on the Greek debt crisis.

Read more: Debt, Bailout, European Officials, European Union, Cebt Crisis, Ecb, Athens, European Central Bank, The International Monetary Fund, Austerity, Euro, Greece, Business News

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Jalees Rehman, M.D.: Sharing Three Cups of Tea With the Tea Party

May 31, 2011 by  
Filed under Humor

The rise of the Tea Party is a political phenomenon that is quite remarkable and continues to play an important role in American politics. Liberals and progressives unfortunately often mock the Tea Party and its patriotic members, without making the necessary efforts to understand the political and intellectual assets of the Tea Party. One of the most under-appreciated assets is the tremendous foreign policy potential that resides within the Tea Party. At a time when the United States is considering how to best disengage from the Afghanistan war, it is imperative that Americans recognize the important role that members of the Tea Party could play in future negotiations with the Taliban.

The reason why the Tea Party may be best suited to act as mediators in the Afghanistan war is that the Tea Party and the Taliban share three core sets of values:

  1. A shared support for the right of each individual to bear arms
  2. A shared loathing for the federal government and federal taxes
  3. A shared desire to promote traditional values and to reject any ideas that appear to be progressive, liberal, left-wing, socialist or communist.

With this in mind, Tea Party members and the Taliban will likely find some common ground and perhaps even consider initiating joint political ventures. Finding a name for a Tea Party-Taliban joint venture may be challenging, but two names come to mind: “The Chai Party” would replace the word “Tea” with its Persian counterpart “Chai” and thus preserve the “Tea Party” heritage, while showing great respect for Afghani culture. Furthermore, the name “The Chai Party” may also help broaden its public support in the United States. It could perhaps attract progressive, liberal, left-wing, socialist or communist Americans. After all, these groups of people tend to be the ones that sit in coffee shops, wearing berets and engaging in pseudo-intellectual discussions, while sipping their chai-spiced lattes.

An even more appealing name for a Tea Party-Taliban joint venture would be “The T-Ban Party.” Such a clever wording would replace “Tea” with the letter “T” and also highlight the profound respect that the Tea Party has for African-American culture by alluding to Mr. T. Importantly, it would preserve the “-ban” from Taliban, which makes sense, since “banning” ideas is what the Taliban are best at.

Once the Tea Party and the Taliban recognize their common values and agree on a name for a joint organization, they could help negotiate an end to the dreadful Afghanistan war. It is high time, that the American government realizes how wrong it is to marginalize the Tea Party and instead tries to harness the foreign policy potential of the Tea Party.

Read more: Religion, Right-Wing, Comedy, Islam, Muslim, Tea Party, Satire, Tea, Extremism, Taliban, Humor, Afghanistan, Diplomacy, Conservatives, Comedy News

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LeBron Buzzer Beater: Heat Star Sinks 3-Pointer To End 3rd Quarter (VIDEO)

May 31, 2011 by  

When LeBron gets hot, he’s impossible to stop. In Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the two-time MVP turned it on in the second half with some long-range jumpers and ferocious dunks.

James nailed three 3-pointers in the third quarter, including a wild buzzer-beater with Dallas’ Shawn Marion defending him. With time running out, James dribbled to his right and swished a running fadeaway over the Mavericks forward. The shot gave the Heat a four-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

LeBron finished with 24 points and nine rebounds, leading the Heat to a 92-84 win over the Mavericks. Scroll down to watch the highlight.

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More on LeBron James

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Do Birth Control Pills Containing Drospirenone Raise Blood Clot Risk? FDA Orders Safety Review

May 31, 2011 by  
Filed under Health News

The FDA informs that new data regarding birth control pills containing drospirenone are being evaluated to determine what the risk of blood clots is. Drospirenone is a synthetic progestin – a female sex hormone. Birth control pills usually contain either progestin or estrogen – they prevent ovulation, among other things to avert pregnancy. The molecular formula of drospirenone is C24H30O3…
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House rejects proposal to raise debt ceiling

May 31, 2011 by  

With an August deadline looming, the House overwhelmingly refused Tuesday to raise the legal limit on government borrowing, setting the stage for a long, sweaty summer of haggling over the shape of the largest debt-reduction package in at least two decades.

Not a single GOP lawmaker voted for the measure to raise the limit on the national debt from $14.3 trillion to $16.7 trillion — a sum sufficient to cover the government’s bills through the end of next year. Republican leaders said their troops would reject any increase without a plan to sharply curtail spending and, thus, future borrowing.

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Senate GOP To Obama: No Commerce Nominee Without Trade Deals

May 31, 2011 by  

WASHINGTON –- President Barack Obama is heading for a partisan showdown over trade policy with his new Commerce Secretary nominee.

Obama announced Tuesday that he is tapping John Bryson as Commerce Secretary to replace Gary Locke, who is transitioning to his new post as U.S. Ambassador to China. During brief remarks at the White House, Obama hailed Bryson, the former chairman and CEO of California power company Edison International, as “a fierce proponent of alternative energy” and touted him as someone who understands the need to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil “virtually better than anybody.”

But Bryson is about to get hit by crossfire coming from Senate Republicans, who have vowed to block any trade-related nominee to force action on stalled free trade deals.

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More on 112th Congress

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Colgan Just Can’t Give It Up

May 31, 2011 by  
Filed under Total Nonsense

State Sen. Chuck Colgan has decided to run for a 10th 4-year term.  For someone who once said that he wasn’t Strom Thurmond, people must be starting to wonder as he will be 89 at the end of another term. Fortunately, he did side with Senate GOPers on a few key issues last session giving [...]
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Alarming Video: Socialists Explain How They Worked With Muslim Brotherhood & Islamic Extremists in the Mid-East Revolutions to Unite Arab World Against USA, Britain & Israel

May 31, 2011 by  
Filed under Idiot Ideas, Total Nonsense

Scary stuff, via The Blaze, that appears to show much of what “nutty” Glen Beck has been saying could be true: “Socialists explain how they worked with Muslim Brotherhood & Islamic Extremists in the Middle East revolutions to unite Arab world against USA, Britain & Israel”:

While I have little reason to doubt that much of what Beck has been saying about these socialist/Marxist links to unions and Islamists may be true, especially given what we’re seeing in the video and in the ‘related’ links below, one should never underestimate the intentions and efforts of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups to turn around and bite the hand that fed it. In the Middle East the Arab Spring is likely as much about Islam as it is about democracy. As a commenter at The Blaze points out – remember “The Scorpion and the Toad”:

The scorpion, in the course of a long journey, encounters a river. The scorpion cannot swim and so he is momentarily stymied until he spies the toad, on the opposite river bank. “Toad!” the scorpion calls out, “will you please let me ride on your back to the other side of the river because, you see, I cannot swim.” “No way,” replied the toad, “if I let you ride on my back you will sting me!” To which the scorpion replied, “But if I am riding on your back and I sting you then we will both die because I cannot swim.” After thinking on it for a moment or two the toad agrees, swims over to the opposite bank of the river where the scorpion jumps onto his back and he turns to swim to the other side. When the toad, with the scorpion riding on his back, gets to the middle of the river, the scorpion stings him. “Scorpion!” Exclaimed the toad, “Why did you sting me? Now we both die.”

“Because it is in my nature.” Was the scorpion’s response.

Related (hat tip – Nice Deb):

The New York Times: U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings
Maidhc O Cathail: The Junk Bond “Teflon Guy” Behind Egypt’s Nonviolent Revolution
Truth is Treason: Global “Revolution” Plotters Backed, Financed by US State Dept, George Soros, CANVAS

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