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Monthly Archives: July 2011

Who Made the Debt, Again?

At last – a clear answer to “Who made this mess.”

It was Bush, and the Bush Tax cuts for the wealthy. Republicans trashed America’s economy, and conservative policies have been a disaster since Raygun.

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How the Deficit Got This Big

With President Obama and Republican leaders calling for cutting the budget by trillions over the next 10 years, it is worth asking how we got here — from healthy surpluses at the end of the Clinton era, and the promise of future surpluses, to nine straight years of deficits, including the $1.3 trillion shortfall in 2010. The answer is largely the Bush-era tax cuts, war spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, and recessions.

Despite what antigovernment conservatives say, non-defense discretionary spending on areas like foreign aid, education and food safety was not a driving factor in creating the deficits. In fact, such spending, accounting for only 15 percent of the budget, has been basically flat as a share of the economy for decades. Cutting it simply will not fill the deficit hole….

First, the Bush tax cuts have had a huge damaging effect. If all of them expired as scheduled at the end of 2012, future deficits would be cut by about half, to sustainable levels. Second, a healthy budget requires a healthy economy; recessions wreak havoc by reducing tax revenue. Government has to spur demand and create jobs in a deep downturn, even though doing so worsens the deficit in the short run. Third, spending cuts alone will not close the gap. The chronic revenue shortfalls from serial tax cuts are simply too deep to fill with spending cuts alone. Taxes have to go up.

 

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Who owns America?

Hint… It’s not China.

This one from Business Insider – and summarized by CNN (I put together the little pie chart)

Who owns America? Hint: It’s not China

Our friends at Business Insider know this, and put those two principles to work today in this excellent and highly informative little slideshow, made even more timely by the ongoing talks in Washington, D.C. aimed at staving off a U.S. debt default.
Here’s the big idea:
Many people — politicians and pundits alike — prattle on that China and, to a lesser extent Japan, own most of America’s $14.3 trillion in government debt.
But there’s one little problem with that conventional wisdom: it’s just not true. While the Chinese, Japanese and plenty of other foreigners own substantial amounts, it’s really Americans who hold most of America’s debt.
Here’s a quick and fascinating breakdown by total amount held and percentage of total U.S. debt, according to Business Insider:

  1. Hong Kong: $121.9 billion (0.9 percent)
  2. Caribbean banking centers: $148.3 (1 percent)
  3. Taiwan: $153.4 billion (1.1 percent)
  4. Brazil: $211.4 billion (1.5 percent)
  5. Oil exporting countries: $229.8 billion (1.6 percent)
  6. Mutual funds: $300.5 billion (2 percent)
  7. Commercial banks: $301.8 billion (2.1 percent)
  8. State, local and federal retirement funds: $320.9 billion (2.2 percent)
  9. Money market mutual funds: $337.7 billion (2.4 percent)
  10. United Kingdom: $346.5 billion (2.4 percent)
  11. Private pension funds: $504.7 billion (3.5 percent)
  12. State and local governments: $506.1 billion (3.5 percent)
  13. Japan: $912.4 billion (6.4 percent)
  14. U.S. households: $959.4 billion (6.6 percent)
  15. China: $1.16 trillion (8 percent)
  16. The U.S. Treasury: $1.63 trillion (11.3 percent)
  17. Social Security trust fund: $2.67 trillion (19 percent)

So America owes foreigners about $4.5 trillion in debt. But America owes America $9.8 trillion.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2011 in Great American Rip-Off, News

 

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The New Jim Crow – Ben Jealous Hammers New Voter ID Laws

Part of the Republican strategy to defeating President Obama in 2012 – is to reduce the number of black and brown voters.

The last time this strategy was successful was in 2004, when black precincts were denied the number of voting machines required to handle the traffic in Ohio. And we won’t get into the voter role purges of 2000 assisting in the illegitimate presidency of George Bush.

NAACP head likens voter ID measures to Jim Crow

The head of the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights group on Monday condemned state laws requiring photo identification of voters as an attempt to disenfranchise minorities through some “of the last existing legal pillars of Jim Crow.”

NAACP President Benjamin Jealous said a wave of newly enacted photo-ID requirements stemmed from what he saw as “the worst and most racist elements” in conservative Tea Party groups that have immersed themselves in state politics since the 2010 elections.

He compared photo ID laws to poll taxes and other past restrictions — since struck down by the courts — designed to keep blacks from voting in the segregated Deep South. And he said the latest measures were part of a racial backlash against the 2008 election of President Barack Obama.

“Our voting rights are under attack because a few years ago, we had a great breakthrough in this country,” Jealous said in a speech at the 102nd annual NAACP convention, held in Los Angeles. “We broke the color line at the White House.”

He said the NAACP would mount education campaigns aimed at preventing minorities and the poor from being disenfranchised.

Supporters of photo ID laws, backed mainly by Republican legislators and governors, say they are aimed at thwarting election fraud and are no more discriminatory than requiring IDs for cashing a check or making credit-card purchases.

 

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Take Back the Land

Recently departed Jazz Musician Gill Scott Heron’s seminal piece was a song called “Winter in America”. I think Gill Scott saw the destruction of the American Dream years before it reached the crisis point.

Something is really, really wrong here – and other than a few intrepid groups like “Take Back the Land” – there doesn’t seem to be anyone in power doing a damn thing about it.

The right wing in this country is spending a lot of time defending the banks, the major corporations, and the rich by foisting one Trojan Horse issue after another upon the public airwaves.

A $15 a year tax break isn’t going to save you from being foreclosed on your house.

Protesters ‘Liberate’ Foreclosed Homes

protesters foreclosuresWhen Virginia Henry bought her boarded-up and abandoned Rochester, N.Y., home in December 2007, she saw potential where others were blind to it. The house, a short sale, became her home to live in and care for, she said. She plopped down her $20,000 and filed her paperwork for a loan program that would pay the balance — $43,000 — to rehabilitate the property.

But what followed was a series of unanswered calls and letters to Bank of America, Henry says, eventually culminating in her arrest Friday for a charge of trespassing on her own front lawn. The arrest, like much of this story, is the source of a dispute. Henry asserts police officers shoved her to the ground during the arrest, police claim she fainted from the intense heat. She has a court date for the trespassing charge July 28.

The facts of the short sale are also at issue. The bank has told Henry that the short sale never closed and that the house at 5 Appleton St. — with all her worldly possessions trapped inside — is no longer hers. A Bank of America spokeswoman, Jumana Bauwens, said she would investigate the claims.

“This is my home,” Henry told AOL Real Estate in a phone interview after the arrest. “How can I be trespassing in my own home?”

Protesters Step In
Read the rest of this entry »

 

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New Soul Songstress Amy Winehouse Dead

Been a long tragic struggle. I think most people are guessing that the drugs finally won…

Amy Winehouse Dead: Singer Found Dead At London Home

Troubled, Grammy-winning singer Amy Winehouse has been found dead in her North London home, Sky News is reporting. The Daily Mail reports that police have confirmed the passing.

In a statement, the London Metropolitan Police said, “Police were called by London Ambulance Service to an address in Camden Square NW1 shortly before 16.05hrs today, Saturday 23 July, following reports of a woman found deceased. On arrival officers found the body of a 27-year-old female who was pronounced dead at the scene. Enquiries continue into the circumstances of the death. At this early stage it is being treated as unexplained.”

suspected drug overdose took the life of the singer, Nick Buckley of the Sunday Mirror tweeted.

She’s battled drug addiction for years, having most recently checked back into rehabilitation in May.

Winehouse entered treatment in late 2007 for drug problems, including admitted heroin use.

Earlier in the day, Tim Gatt of Sky News tweeted a statement from her manager saying that she was canceling upcoming performances, writing, “Amy Winehouse is withdrawing from all scheduled performances. Everyone involved wishes to do everything they can to help her return to her best and she will be given as long as it takes for this to happen.”

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2011 in Music, From Way Back When to Now

 

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Women Lose Baby in Subway Brawl

This is why I say the US policy should be to keep the illegal immigrants…

And deport the morons.

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2011 in Nawwwwww!, You Know It's Bad When...

 

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Death Toll in Norway Now 87

This one appears at the moment to be a case of domestic terrorism. And early identification of the suspect has him as a a member of right wing extremist group.

PHOTO: An aerial view of Utoya Island

Utoya Island. Site of a Youth Group Camp Attacked By Domestic Terrorist Killing 80, Mostly Teenagers

Norway Terror Attacks Toll Upped to 87: Norwegian Man Arrested

At least 80 people were killed in a shooting at a youth camp on the Norwegian island of Utoya the second of two attacks blamed on a Norwegian suspect authorities have not identified, police said.

Police confirmed that they had arrested a Norwegian man for the attack on a summer youth camp, and that they believed the same man was responsible for the bombing in central Oslo several hours earlier that claimed at least seven lives.

The 80 dead at the camp was a dramatic increase over an earlier police report that at least 10 had died at the youth camp. Police director Oystein Maeland told reporters many more victims were discovered between the two reports, according to The Associated Press.

Anders Behring Breivik, age 32, a self-described nationalist opposed to Islam and to a multi-cultural society.

With the arrest of a lone Norwegian in the twin bomb and shooting attacks today, officials have all but ruled out any connection to international terrorism.

“We have one person in custody and he will be charged in connection with what has happened,” said Justice Minister Knut Storberget during a Friday evening press conference. “We know that he is Norwegian. That is what we know. I don’t think it’s right from my position to go into details about him.”

TV2, Norway’s largest broadcaster, later identified the suspect as Anders Behring Breivik, 32, describing him as a member of “right-wing extremist groups in eastern Norway.” Norwegian police would not confirm the identity of the suspect.

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2011 in Domestic terrorism, News

 

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