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No Extension for Unemployment, and Still No Tax Breaks for Middle Class (11-19-10)

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I intended to go into a long post today, but I wisely forgot my notes at work. So, I will do my best to remember what I can. And the rest, I will make up as I go along.

So, I want to first start with something that was just passed. Or, not passed, for that matter. Yesterday, Congress had a vote for unemployment benefits. People who have been unemployed from the failing economy are often called 99ers. This is because their unemployment benefits run for 99 weeks. It didn’t pass. Republicans feared it would add too much burden to the debt. The extension was for only 3 months more.

During the last week of November, the first wave of 99ers are set to lose their benefits. Now, before I go any further, let me explain. My first thought with this a while back was, ‘Wow! 99 weeks of unemployment. That’s crazy to be on it that long, and why should they get it any longer than that.” But the fact of the matter is, this isn’t a handful of people. This is entire states that have been hit by the recession. Hard. Think Michigan, and the auto industry.

There are people who may not be college educated. Most are older. They know a trade, and they do it well. But because of cut backs, and often outsourcing, their livelihood has been ripped out from under them. They do not know anything else. And to find a job in a failing industry; Well, it’s difficult. Next to impossible.

So, until the economy turns around, these people are stuck. Please allow me to throw some figures at you:

Unemployment gives $310/week. That’s hardly livable.

The unemployment rate right now is 9%. Allow me to refer back to an older post of mine when I say, in a strong economy, the unemployment rate should be around 5%. This allows for competition.

Never in 75 years, when the unemployment rate was this high, have we cut unemployment benefits.

The cost for 1 year for unemployment benefits is around $65 billion. This is money that will keep shelter over the heads of Americans, food on the plates of families, and clothes on their backs.

(http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/801-economy/129829-house-democrats-introduce-bill-to-extend-unemployment-benefits-for-three-months)

Well, yesterday, the Now for the disheartening facts.

Just after Thanksgiving, 800,000 people will lose their unemployment benefits.

By the end of the year, over 2 million people will be without any benefits or a paycheck.

If you think things are bad now, they are only going to get worse. And the rational behind blocking the bill, because of the debt, is absolutely absurd. First off, Tea Party members are crying over earmarks, which only makes up 1/2 of 1% of the debt, and cut benefits to millions of Americans. But in the meantime, the Republican party will rally for the upper 2% to get their tax breaks. This will add 750 Billion dollars to the already burning debt. The small cost that it would take to provide the unemployed with additional benefits is a drop in the bucket compared.

The fact of the matter is, we have 2 un-fianaced wars. We have for over 10 years now. Trickle down theory is just that, a theory. It’s not proven. The fact of the matter is, it is the 98% of Americans that are the spenders. They spend near every last dollar they earn. That is what gets the economy rolling.

(Note: I hate the term “lower.” We are not the lower class. We are the ex-middle class that has been waged in war for the past 10 years, and near destroyed. However, when 90% of the wealth in America is controlled by the top 2%, then what else can you call us. That’s all we are to them. Peasants.)

That being said, the lower 98% are the ones that spawn the economy. There would be no tax hike under the new policy for us. But the upper 2% would see a tax increase of 3% on anything made above $250,000. Now, many think this is unreasonable. Under the trickle down theory, these millionaires will reinvest into their companies, spur new jobs, which will put more people working, which will help the economy. It all sounds good on paper, but that’s where it ends. In reality, the money sits in their bank accounts, and never gets any further. Instead of using the money to reinvest in America (so to speak), they are using the money to send jobs to China or Mexico.

However, if you raise the taxes on the top 2%, here’s what happens. They look for ways to get tax breaks. One way to do this, is to hide the money into your company. You buy new equipment, hire new employees, etc. All of this is a write off. That will lower their taxes down to a rate that they are paying now. In the process, middle class Americans have more spending money, have more jobs, have higher wages. That is what makes a strong economy. Take a look at past trends. How was the economy under Reagan? Bush, Sr? Clinton? Bush, Jr.?

The fact of the matter is, Trickle Down was instituted and theorized by an Actor. Somebody who made his living on deceiving the public to the truth. He did it to pad the wallets of the wealthy, and to do it at the cost of the “lower” 98%. They are basing their entire economic philosophy off of a man who had Alzheimer’s. I’m sorry, that isn’t somebody that I would trust with my personal finances.

Here is my suggestion for Democrats. Let the Bush tax breaks expire. All of them. Then rewrite the bill. When the vote comes up, let the Republicans expose themselves and show who they are really looking out for. Because they will not try to help the “lower” 98% by any means. They would rather allow all taxes go up, than to see only the “lower” 98% go down. If they truly cared for the average American, this wouldn’t be an issue, and they wouldn’t be willing to sabotage the bill to protect us.

Personally, I would rather see my taxes go up, and be put to good use (infrastructure, reducing the debt, community programs, etc) than to see this country raped anymore by the careless spending, with no means of financing.

Written by aversas

19/11/2010 at 9:12 PM

President Obama is starting to disappoint me (11-10-10)

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Okay, let me start by saying that I have not yet lost confidence in President Obama.  That being said, there is some criticism of him in this article.  Being a Democrat, leftist, progressive, liberal…whatever you want to call me, does not mean that I am ever bowing at the feet of fellow Democrats.  I will stand up for my beliefs until I die.  And when I see something wrong, I am not afraid to call it out.

On November 2, 2010, when the Republicans took control of the House, President Obama immediately said that he was willing to work with Republicans to get work done.  My first response was, “Okay, show that you are making an honest effort, so when the cards fall, it goes squarely on the Republicans.”  However, when he starts to compromise his very own party, then the problems start.

Let’s start in India.  He brought home 54,000 jobs.  Great.  But they still exported millions of jobs from the US via India.  (To be fair, along with China, Mexico, Canada, Indonesia…)  When he announced his trade deals, I was elated.  In fact, so much so, that I wrote a blog about it.  But later that day, President Obama did his typical gaff, and went back on his word.

“We shouldn’t be thinking that it’s just a one-way street,” Obama said today in a joint news conference with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. “I want both the citizens in the United States and citizens in India to understand the benefits of commercial ties between the two countries…I think that the pattern that you’re going to see is that U.S. companies are creating jobs in the United States with technologies where we’ve got a lead…Indian businesses are then going to take those technologies and apply them in India to grow Indian businesses as well. And that’s going to be a win-win for both.” (http://content.usatoday.com/communities/theoval/post/2010/11/obama-stereotypes-shadow-us-indian-trade-relations/1)

Excuse me, President Obama?  The last I heard, India was in the business of stealing our jobs.  Maybe not all call center jobs, that is indeed a stereotype, but to say that that isn’t their business.  That isn’t how they are getting their jobs.

And to say that it is a two way street?  I think somebody needs to inform President Obama that India has a strong “Anti-Stealing” policy against their corporations.  In other words, it’s 100% legal for jobs to be imported into India, but it is illegal for jobs to be exported out of India.  If that isn’t the definition of a one-way street, I’m not sure what is.

So, continuing onward with President Obama’s flickering commitment to his own party.  Let me remind you again of his commitment to reach across party lines and compromise with the Republicans.  The incoming Republicans set up a “bi-partison” committee to see how they can work on the tax breaks for all.

First off, tax breaks for everybody doesn’t work.  This idea that the top 2% are “job creators,” and without a tax cut, they wouldn’t be able to survive, is a joke.  The past 10 years, they had their tax break, and they shipped jobs out of the country at record rates, cutting more jobs than ever in America.  This trickle down theory is just that, a theory.  But the fact is that the bottom 98% are the spenders.  But in a continuing effort to get that top 2%, along with the rest of the 98%, budget cuts have to be made.  After all, this money has to come from somewhere.

So, how would they generate the money?

Option 1.  Remove the top 2%, raise their taxes 3% (on everything OVER $250,000), and give the taxes to the spenders, the “lower” 98%.  Oh, but that’s off the table because this “bi-partison” committee wants to make everybody happy, despite the problems it has cost in the past.

Option 2.  Cut the budget for the military.  A $5 million dollar hammer?  A $50,000 toilet seat?  There is a lot of excess fat in the military that can be cut.  Let’s not forget the two over-extended operations we are currently involved with.  And the biggest expenditure by the military?  That’s reserved for US bases.  As of 2002, the number of US bases in the world was 845,441, covering more than 30 million acres of land. (http://www.nonviolenceworks.com/usmilitaryglobal.pdf).  And that number is going to continue to increase as we continue to expand our influence around the globe.  As any history major will tell you about the Roman empire, it was doomed when it began to over-reach its boundaries.

Option 3.  Cut Social Security benefits, and raise the age of retirement even higher.  Heck, France rebelled when they raised the age from 60-62, and American’s don’t seem to care that right now, their retirement age is 67.  Let’s see if we can boost it up to 68.  Yeah, try and get a job when you are 68, if you are still alive.  What happened to working hard, and retiring to enjoy the golden ages.  That’s long gone. And after all, the Tea Party wants Social Security gone, so this is a good first step.

And while were at it, we can generate a lot of money if we just get rid of the tax break for people with a mortgage.  You know, the one that allows us to write off what we paid in interest.  That’s just what the housing market needs.  The final stake into the heart.  Not to mention the countless Americans that are already hurting. (http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/debt-commission-mulls-social-security-benefits-cuts-tax/story?id=12111270)

Well, which seems to make the most sense to you?  I’ll give you a moment to review them all.  Ready for the answer that the bi-partison committee came up with?

Answer:  OPTION 3!

That’s right, America.  This is what is going to happen, all to give that top 2% their tax break.  Is it worth it to you?  Not me!  But, in President Obama’s ever political reaching arm, he want’s a compromise, and is open to the idea of giving the top 2% what they want.  It’s absolutely absurd.  And while it is unlikely to pass in congress, here’s the deal.  With Citizens United, and the endless amount of money that will be flowing into the Republican Party, say goodbye to any chance of a majority or presidency in the future, and that means all of these plans are very likely to arise again, and pass.

Still think politics don’t affect your life?  Remember that when you are 75, working your 40/hrs a week, and can’t make ends meet because any and all tax breaks for you are gone, and the rich now have 85% of all the money.  Don’t think it can happen?  Continue sitting back and doing nothing.

Oh, yes, one final thing on how the two parties are working together.  While the Democrats are promising to work with Republicans, Republicans are promising hundreds of hearings, and repeal of any and all bills passed in the past two years.  That’s progress?  And where they would fail, say for example, repealing the health care reform act, they are promising to defund it.  If they Right is able to cut funding for the Health Care Reform, they effectively go around executive orders, and are able to pass their agenda anyway.

To quote Mitch McConnell, “…[we] will be more than happy to work with President Obama on issues they agree on as long as the president is willing to ‘come back to the center’.”  So in other words, we’ll work with President Obama, as long as he agrees with us. (http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/heather/mitch-mcconnell-well-work-president-obama-).

I’m not even going to get into the fact that he has went back on his word for repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, giving tax breaks to companies that keep jobs here and raise taxes on those who ship out, not even trying to get a single payer option on the health care bill…but I could.

You go President Obama.  Continue to compromise.  But remember, as you said, it should be a two way street.  But apparently, you don’t know the definition.  And the only thing being compromised, is your chances for reelection is 2012.

Looking back at the election (11-4-10)

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I haven’t wrote for a few days.  I was in a small state of shock over what happened across the country.  But I have been paying a lot of attention to get a better understanding.  Looking back, I realize a few things.  Some of what you hear is a stretch, while others are flat out lies.  Here is my take on it all.

First off, this was not a referendum on the past two years.  This was a referendum on jobs and the economy.  Had they of been in a better state, I really believe that we would not be here today.  People are angry and upset.  They are angry that more wasn’t done faster.  They are angry that they are still losing their homes.  They are angry that they are losing their jobs.  But, to say that every policy of the past 2 years needs to be reversed in order to make people happy.  That’s just redundant, a waste of time, and that is the one thing we don’t have much of if we want to recover.

Second, I hear a lot of spin that the Tea Party is the new force.  They are the ones that dominated, and it shows that America is siding with them.  Again, a lie.  A boldface lie.  The only victor was Rand Paul.  Here is a short list of the rest:

Meg Whitman, spent $160+million of her own money in California.  What happened?  She lost to Democrat Jerry Brown.  Meg Whitman spent six times what Jerry Brown did, roughly $50 a vote, and still couldn’t manage a win.  May I add, she spent $160 million for a job that pays est. $200,000/year.  Is this really somebody they wanted to manage their finances anyway? (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/11/steve-lopez-meg-whitman-spent-50-for-each-vote-she-got-is-that-an-outrageous-extravagance.html)

Christina O’Donnell.  Lost to Chris Coons in Deleware.  We all know who she is.  We all knew she had no chance.  Any campaign that has to start their first ad with “I am not a witch,” is doomed from the beginning.  It’s been fun seeing you, though, Christine, and I’m sure you’ll have your own show on Fox soon enough.  But, don’t tell her she didn’t win; she doesn’t see it like that! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nbi_Ahlf-HA)

Sharron Angle.  It turns out the only person less popular in Nevada than Harry Reid, is Sharon Angle.  Turns out, her celebration was a bit too early.  What can I say?  When you refuse to talk the media, and say you will discuss your platform after you are elected, again, you set your self up for failure before you even get out of the gate. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/us-politics/8108200/Midterms-2010-Sharron-Angles-victory-party-falls-flat.html)

And the last one I will discuss in a bit more detail…

Alaska.  Ah, Alaska.  Home of people such as Sarah Palin and, well, Polar Bears.  The Russian flag set early for Sarah this year.  Palin, the de facto head of the Tea Party, couldn’t even help get her own endorsed candidate, Joe Miller, elected.

The Republican party really screwed up on this one.  First, they drop their endorsement of Republican incumbent Lisa Murkowski to support Tea Party candidate Joe Miller.  But, unlike in other states, Lisa refused to accept this.  She decided to run a long shot write-in candidacy.  Not since Strom Thurmond in 1954 had a candidate won a Senate seat as a write in.  Well, in the year that anything could happen, it did.

Lisa Murkowski has officially won the Alaskan Senate seat, leaving yet another Tea Party backed candidate in the cold (so to speak).

(http://www.nationalpost.com/news/Alaska+rival+rebuke+curdles+Palin+Party+triumph/3779206/story.html)

As can be seen, this year had nothing to do with the Tea Party.  In fact, their “revolution” went out without so much as a fizzle.  The list continues.  There were some wins, true, and they shouldn’t be ignored.  But again I present, I think it was more an anti-incumbent movement, than a Tea Party movement.

I learned something else this election season.  Washington is broken.  Everybody grunt and moan, and get it out.  I hate it as much as you do.  So, allow me to rephrase.  The politics of Washington is broken.  The two party system simply no longer works.  America has become too diverse for this black and white political atmosphere.  In fact, I would argue that the party system needs to be eliminated completely.

At first, this may sound like a radical ideal.  But, picture for me for a moment.  No longer backing a candidate simply because he or she is a Democrat or Republican.  Now, in this New World, we back candidates for where they stand on issues.  Who best reflects our ideals.  This would mean paying attention to what is going on.  Not just cheering for whoever everybody else seems to be at that very moment.  It would be radical.  But it would also be revolutionary.

Our political system would never be the same after this.  Perhaps many of the candidates would meet on some issues, not just what their party tells them to.  And when in government, they would actually work with each other, and continually move the country forward.  Always evolving.  Instead of this system of: You put this in. Now I will remove it.  Repeat.  How effective is that?  Well, if you don’t know the answer, take a look at what’s been going on the past two years, and unfortunately, forward to the next two.

The demolition of the political system is a relatively new idea.  Our founding fathers believed that a two party, idealistic system, would be the demise of our country.  I will admit, this isn’t my own idea.  I just strongly agree with it.  When I first heard it, I was taken aback.  Then I started thinking about it.  And the more I did, the more it made sense.  Contemplate it for a while.  See how the idea rests with you.  I bet you start to see the light in the idea as well.

Written by aversas

04/11/2010 at 7:51 PM

Restoring Sanity and/or Fear Rally (10-30-10)

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Today, Steven Cobert and Jon Stewart had their joint rallies.  Some in the media saw it as a publicity stunt, and just a way for them to get ratings.  I saw it as something different.

I tuned into it a little late, right around when Ozzy Osbourne was on stage.  The crowd was enormous.  The ability for these two to have people back them at an event like this was unbelievable.  This put Glen Beck’s rally (where it wore a bullet proof vest) to shame!  And the message was quite different.

For these two being in the media, they sure did drop a bomb on them.  They exposed their fear tactics, and told it like it was.  The best quote I heard was, “We are in hard times, not end times.”  If you watch any of the news channels (especially cable), you would think that this was the end of the world.  It’s a cheap tactic that works, and it instates fear in the people who buy into it.

While Steven played the devils advocate, and played the part of the fear mongering media, Jon Stewart played the voice of reason.  His message was quite powerful.  A lot of the jokes fell flat though.  But, I think, the reason they tried to be “funny,” was because the issue they were addressing was so serious.  They were able to get it across, despite the lame jokes.

They had major stars at the rally.  Singers like Ozzy Osbourne, The OJs, R2D2 (who assaulted Jon Stewart on the way out!).  Meanwhile, in West Virginia, Sara Palin managed to get Ted Nugent.  There’s a shining example of politics and peace, huh.  A man who owns more land than God, and more guns than our military.

The message was clear.  It wasn’t so much political, and vote for Democrats, as I though it was going to be.  And it wasn’t a strict comedy show, as many thought it would be.  Instead, it was simply to promote unity (and there had to of been close to a 200,000 people there, it was crazy!), to promote the awareness of fear tactics, and to just have a good time in a time where it is hard to.  The rally is a shining example of what could be achieved when we just work together.

Let me address this now.  On the few occasions I have watched Steven Colbert, I wasn’t amused.  The only time I really enjoyed one of his performances was at the Bush Correspondents Dinner a few years back.  Other than that, he doesn’t do it for me.  But Jon Stewart is a different kind of breed.

Jon Stewart’s show is smart and funny.  He has to have the best researchers in the business.  This was CLEAR when the Republicans came out with their “Pledge to America”, and he showed that every “new” issue, and tagged it to a past interview, and showed that none of it was new.  Here is the video: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-september-23-2010/postcards-from-the-pledge

If you watch his show, you will get more, and better, information and news than anywhere else.  I have a lot of respect for him.  More than I can say about anybody else out there right now.

So if you can, try to find clips of the keynote from the Rally today.  It’s decent.  Especially after Colbert steps off the stage.  Also watch the clips they had of the fear tactics that the media uses.  It will be eye opening if you don’t realize this already.

Written by aversas

30/10/2010 at 6:35 PM

First Post

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This is my first post for my blog.  My name is Salvatore Aversa, I’m 24 years old, and I am a leftist.  Politics and current events are my passion.  Just to give you an idea where I hope to go with this.  I will report the top stories that I feel are important.  I will post links and videos, and give you my personal commentary.  Some may be NSFW, but only because of ads, language, or violence.  I will never post any kind of pornography.  All posts will be posted by individual dates.  So, if you’d like to check back through out the day, there should be more posted constantly.

Being that this is a politically charged blog, and there will be bias and opinion mixed into my posts.  You may not always agree with me, and that is great!  I personally enjoy open conversations.  Don’t be afraid to speak up if you think I am wrong on a topic, or have something to add.  Just remember, treat everybody here with respect, and you will receive it in return.

You may contact me at AversaS@me.com anytime with any questions or comments.  I am new to this, so it should get better as we go along this journey together.

Written by aversas

27/10/2010 at 8:47 PM