Our politics are divided. They have been for a long time. And while I know that division makes it difficult to listen to Americans with whom we disagree, thatís what we need to do today.
I recognize that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has become a core tenet of the Republican Party. Still, I hope that our Senators, many of whom I know well, step back and measure whatís really at stake, and consider that the rationale for action, on health care or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did.
We didnít fight for the Affordable Care Act for more than a year in the public square for any personal or political gain Ė we fought for it because we knew it would save lives, prevent financial misery, and ultimately set this country we love on a better, healthier course.
Nor did we fight for it alone. Thousands upon thousands of Americans, including Republicans, threw themselves into that collective effort, not for political reasons, but for intensely personal ones Ė a sick child, a parent lost to cancer, the memory of medical bills that threatened to derail their dreams.
And you made a difference. For the first time, more than ninety percent of Americans know the security of health insurance. Health care costs, while still rising, have been rising at the slowest pace in fifty years. Women canít be charged more for their insurance, young adults can stay on their parentsí plan until they turn 26, contraceptive care and preventive care are now free. Paying more, or being denied insurance altogether due to a preexisting condition Ė we made that a thing of the past.
We did these things together. So many of you made that change possible.
At the same time, I was careful to say again and again that while the Affordable Care Act represented a significant step forward for America, it was not perfect, nor could it be the end of our efforts Ė and that if Republicans could put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost, I would gladly and publicly support it.
That remains true. So I still hope that there are enough Republicans in Congress who remember that public service is not about sport or notching a political win, that thereís a reason we all chose to serve in the first place, and that hopefully, itís to make peopleís lives better, not worse.
But right now, after eight years, the legislation rushed through the House and the Senate without public hearings or debate would do the opposite. It would raise costs, reduce coverage, roll back protections, and ruin Medicaid as we know it. Thatís not my opinion, but rather the conclusion of all objective analyses, from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which found that 23 million Americans would lose insurance, to Americaís doctors, nurses, and hospitals on the front lines of our health care system.
The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. Itís a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.
Simply put, if thereís a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family Ė this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.
I hope our Senators ask themselves Ė what will happen to the Americans grappling with opioid addiction who suddenly lose their coverage? What will happen to pregnant mothers, children with disabilities, poor adults and seniors who need long-term care once they can no longer count on Medicaid? What will happen if you have a medical emergency when insurance companies are once again allowed to exclude the benefits you need, send you unlimited bills, or set unaffordable deductibles? What impossible choices will working parents be forced to make if their childís cancer treatment costs them more than their life savings?
To put the American people through that pain Ė while giving billionaires and corporations a massive tax cut in return Ė thatís tough to fathom. But itís whatís at stake right now. So it remains my fervent hope that we step back and try to deliver on what the American people need.
That might take some time and compromise between Democrats and Republicans. But I believe thatís what people want to see. I believe it would demonstrate the kind of leadership that appeals to Americans across party lines. And I believe that itís possible Ė if you are willing to make a difference again. If youíre willing to call your members of Congress. If you are willing to visit their offices. If you are willing to speak out, let them and the country know, in very real terms, what this means for you and your family.
After all, this debate has always been about something bigger than politics. Itís about the character of our country Ė who we are, and who we aspire to be. And thatís always worth fighting for. ---- President Barack Obama
Pi , the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, and this is just the beginning; it keeps on going, forever, without ever repeating. Which means that contained within this string of decimals, is every single other number. Your birthdate, combination to your locker, your social security number, it's all in there, somewhere. And if you convert these decimals into letters, you would have every word that ever existed in every possible combination; the first syllable you spoke as a baby, the name of your latest crush, your entire life story from beginning to end, everything we ever say or do; all of the world's infinite possibilities rest within this one simple circle. Now what you do with that information; what it's good for, well that would be up to you. -- Harold Finch from 2πR
Last Week Tonight 08/20/2017 - MA Rating (language)
Stupid Watergate - MA Rating (language) May 21 2017
TRUMP INAUGURATION SHRINKAGE
TINY TRUMP crowd vs HUGE OBAMA crowd
Donald Trump is a dangerous, destructive choice for the country.
He promotes magical thinking and conspiracy theories.
He misinforms the electorate, degrades trust in public institutions with conspiracy theories, and promotes willful delusion over engagement with reality.
He poses a unique danger to the functioning of democratic and economic institutions, and to the prosperity of the country.
Republican candidate Donald J. Trump's sweeping proposals on international trade, if implemented, could unleash a trade war that would plunge the US economy into recession and cost more than 4 million private sector American jobs, according to an empirical analysis of the two candidates' trade agendas by the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Trump has proclaimed that he would "rip up" existing trade agreements, renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and impose a 35 percent tariff on imports from Mexico and a 45 percent tariff on imports from China. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate, has expressed skepticism about trade but in effect represents stasis. Both candidates have come out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim countries, which President Barack Obama signed earlier in 2016.
The authors of the empirical assessment, Marcus Noland, Tyler Moran, and Sherman Robinson, extend a macroeconomic model from Moody's Analytics and find that if Trump raises tariffs sharply on China, Mexico, and other trading partners, export-dependent US industries that manufacture machinery used to create capital goods in the information technology, aerospace, and engineering sectors would be the most severely affected. But the shock resulting from Trump's proposed trade sanctions would also damage sectors not engaged directly in trade, such as wholesale and retail distribution, restaurants, and temporary employment agencies, particularly in regions where the most heavily affected goods are produced. Millions of American jobs that appear unconnected to international trade; disproportionately lower-skilled and lower-wage jobs, would be at risk, according to the empirical study.
In a legal analysis, Gary Clyde Hufbauer argues that there is ample precedent and scope for a US president to unilaterally raise tariffs as Trump has vowed to do as a centerpiece of his trade policy. Any effort to block Trump's actions through the courts, or amend the authorizing statutes in Congress, would be difficult and time-consuming.
In a separate chapter Noland analyzes the impact of trade policies advocated by both Trump and Clinton on the United States' foreign policy interests. Pulling out of the TPP, as both candidates promise to do, would weaken US alliances in Asia and embolden its rivals, thus eroding US national security. Noland also warns that abrogation of NAFTA, as Trump threatens, would deliver a severe blow to Mexico's economic and political development that could increase, not decrease, the flow of illegal migrants and drugs into the United States.
Peterson Institute for International Economics
WASHINGTON - Donald Trump's business losses in 1995 were so large that they could have allowed him to avoid paying federal income taxes for as many as 18 years, according to records obtained by The New York Times.
In a story published online late Saturday, the Times said it anonymously received the first pages of Trump's 1995 state income tax filings in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The filings show a net loss of $915,729,293 in federal taxable income for the year.
The New York Times
What Would a Dick Do? - MA Rating (language)
Make America Learn Again - MA Rating (language)
Hypocrites - MA Rating (language)
Conservative Newspapers rejecting Trump
Why seeing Trump's tax returns really matters
Lady and the Trump - MA Rating (language)
America's Mad Dash Toward Oligarchy
The Sunk Cost Fallacy - MA Rating (language) September 23 2015
The Revolt Against the Ruling Class... August 3 2015
Perspective... May 18 2015
The USAF Air Supremacy F-22 RAPTOR
PROGRESSIVE COMMENTARY & HUMOR
The Greatest President In Modern History
AMERICAN MIDDLE-CLASS HERO
A Conservation with Peter Dreier
THE # 1 NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT
- THE FINANCIAL COLLAPSE OF THE MIDDLE CLASS -
THE BEST GOVERNMENT MONEY CAN BUY
"Greed is Good"
The consequences of the disparity of wealth distribution have come home to roost. The "of the rich, by the rich and for the rich", bought and paid for U.S. Congress will need to address the billions of dollars wasted by the failed Republican trickle-down economic policies of the past several decades. Tax loopholes for corporations and the 1%, such as tax inversions - (tax evasions), the carried interest provision, the 1 million dollar mortgage interest deductible, and the second home mortgage interest deductible are just a few that come to mind.
No wonder the middle class is struggling. Their tax dollars are supporting the entitled moneyed class lifestyles through tax loopholes that are not even available to the middle class.
Time to Start Thinking: America in the Age of Descent
The most divisive consequence of the Great Recession were the mid-term election results of 2010. We are living with the consequences of a deep political divide in Congress, resulting in Washington having become dysfunctional. The Founding Fathers of the U.S. CONSTITUTION determined that problem solving through compromise would be the only enduring solution in keeping the UNITED STATES the greatest democratic republic the world would ever realize. Political moderation and consensus building across party lines would be essential, in keeping the legacy of our Founding Father's promise kept alive for all future generations of Americans.
THE DEBT CEILING THEATER
Unlike virtually all western democracies, the UNITED STATES, with the passage of the Second Liberty Bond Act in 1917, has the statutory requirement for the U.S. Congress to vote to raise the debt ceiling, at least once every fiscal year, if the U.S. Congress votes to spend more money than the U.S. Treasury collects. In fact, it has done so more than 70 times in the past 50 years (and seven times under George W. Bush). Simple examples of revenues collected are through individual Federal income taxes middle class workers pay and corporate taxes, some but not all U.S. corporations, pay each year to the U.S. Treasury. Likewise, examples of expenditures are through Federal agencies such as FEMA which come to the rescue in times of local and state duress such as instances of forest fires, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes. Military expenditures include boats and planes and paying our men and women in uniform in times of peace and war. It is the responsibility of Congress to see to it that adequate revenues are collected via the tax code, members of Congress write and amend, to pay for all expenditures they voted to pass.
The Debt Ceiling Circus
Beginning with the modern congressional budgeting process in 1976, the UNITED STATES not paying it's bills has become a political football. As of October 1 2013 the U.S. Congress has politicized the crisis members of Congress created, by shutting down the U.S. Government 18 times and threatening to default on the U.S. SOVEREIGN DEBT in the summer of 2011. Ironically,
the U.S. Government has been starved of revenues and is near it's lowest levels in modern history. Over the past 3 decades, the U.S. Congress has prioritized the tax code in favor of wealthy individuals and corporations while mostly ignoring middle class workers. U.S. corporations, Wall Street CEO's, hedge fund and private equity tycoons and Real Estate charlatans have wound up paying a lower tax rate to the U.S. Government than mom and pop businesses, policemen, firemen, nurses, secretaries and janitors.
Taxes are the price paid for civilization.
With the demise of a strong financial middle class,
as seen in stagnant wages over the past several decades, popular democracy is in peril. For a concise and articulate treatise on today's widening income inequality, click on the link, Greed is Good above.
"Cranks and Crazies"
In the summer of 2011 the newly elected Republican Tea Party members decided that threatening to default on the U.S. GOVERNMENT SOVEREIGN DEBT by not agreeing to increase the debt ceiling, (funds that have already been dispersed by Congress), would be an acceptable way to enact their political ideology into fiscal demands. Credit rating agency S&P witnessed the resulting bipartianship bickering and subsequent passage of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which they deemed as inadequate and took action.
The UNITED STATES has the privileged position of having the U.S. DOLLAR accepted as the global reserve currency. As a consequence of the Republican Tea Party theatrics, on August
5 2011, S&P downgraded the international reserve currency by way of the U.S. GOVERNMENT SOVEREIGN DEBT rating, by one full notch, from AAA to AA+, with a negative outlook. The 112th United States Congress, thanks to the Republican Tea Party ideology of "NO", will go into the history books, as the only U.S. Congress to politic over the first-ever downgrade of U.S. SOVEREIGN DEPT.
U.S. corporate effective tax rates fell from 29% in 2000 to 17% in 2013
Follow the green line from left to right
- click graph for explanation -
OXFAM ISSUE BRIEFING - JANUARY 18 2015|
WEALTH : HAVING IT ALL AND WANTING MORE
REPORT 6 - 5 - 2014 : OFFSHORE SHELL GAMES - Many large U.S.-based multinational corporations avoid paying U.S. taxes by using accounting tricks to make profits made in America appear to be generated in offshore tax havens - countries with minimal or no taxes. By booking profits to subsidiaries registered in tax havens, multinational corporations are able to avoid an estimated $90 billion in federal income taxes each year. These subsidiaries are often shell companies with few, if any employees, and which engage in little to no real business activity.
NOTABLE U.S. CORPORATE TAX INVERSIONS
McDermott International to Panama - 1982
Helen of Troy to Bermuda - 1994
Tyco International to Bermuda - 1997
Fruit of the Loom to the Cayman Islands - 1998
Transocean to the Cayman Islands - 1999
Ingersoll Rand to Bermuda - 2001
Ensco plc to the United Kingdom - 2009
Eaton Corporation to Ireland - 2012
Actavis to Ireland - 2013
Liberty Global to the United Kingdom - 2013
Burger King to Canada - 2014
Medtronic to Ireland - 2015
Mylan to the Netherlands - 2015
Arris Group to the UK - 2016
Johnson Controls to Ireland - 2016 (pending)
U.S. CORPORATE TAX AVOIDANCE
The observation shared by many, especially independent voters, is that the GOP has lost the ability to govern as a consequence of trying to appease the far right-wing extremists of their party - the Republican Tea Party obstructionists. This faction, when augmented by Republicans who have signed the lobbyist's "Grover Norquist Pledge", has resulted in moderate and reasonable Republicans leaving not only the U.S. Congress, but all levels of governance. The problem of allegiance to a lobbyist's pledge above allegiance to the American Flag is perceived as problematic at best, by most Americans. During one of the televised Republican Presidential debates, the candidates were asked to raise their hands if they would not accept a 10 dollar spending reduction compromise in exchange for a 1 dollar tax increase. All the candidates raised their hands. It appeared as unsound reasoning, that during an era of a 16 trillion national debt, that a one dollar tax increase on multi-billionaires, in exchange for a ten dollar spending reduction compromise, would be seen as an unacceptable violation of their "Pledge" to Grover Norquist.
This political polarization on the right, (my way or the highway mentality), will make it very difficult for the two political parties to reach any significant consensus on any of the major issues facing middle class Americans. Sadly, this lack of bipartisanship compromise will likely continue indefinitely.
The End Game for Democracy
America's Gilded Capital
WHY THE SUPERCOMMITTEE ON LONG-TERM DEFICIT REDUCTION FAILED
The Pledge: Grover Norquist's hold on the GOP
POLITICS & ECONOMICS
Politics and economics has and will continue to play a key role in U.S. military success or defeat. The mind-set of the Charles Lindberg era, advocating America stay out of the war in Europe, not unlike rethinking the cost of post - Cold War programs, the current mind-set, including ending production of the F-22 program, will arguably set the stage for America's military victories or defeats for the next thirty years. The final F-22 Raptor was delivered to the USAF on May 2 2012 completing the total build of 195 units. Only time will tell if the 187 active duty F-22 Raptors built, minus those that have crashed, will be adequate in number to own any hostile air space for the next several decades.
FACT CHECK : According to the Air Force, each of the F-22 aircraft cost $143 million. Counting upgrades, research and development costs, the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimates that each F-22 cost U.S. taxpayers $412 million as of 2011.
HISTORY HAS PROVEN THE NEED FOR AIR DOMINANCE
The unprecedented success of the F-15 EAGLE has
demonstrated the performance standard required for air dominance
since becoming the UNITED STATES front-line fighter in the
The F-22 RAPTOR, successor to the F-15 EAGLE, has
raised that performance standard a quantum leap. The F-22 RAPTOR has achieved initial operational capability as of December 2005 and is now combat ready. The F-22 RAPTOR, as argued by proponents, is expected to "own" any future enemy air space with it's stealth, supercruise Pratt & Whitney thrust-vectoring engines, twin supercomputer avionic synergies, including passive Inter/Intra Flight Data Link technologies. The only speculated omission at this time, is stealthy two-way radio communication with other AMERICAN and friendly force aircraft.
It's to be seen if the F-22 RAPTOR will continue to retain the "right stuff", in its proclaimed front-line status of 30 years, against fifth-generation air superiority competition from the likes of Russia or China. Unlike the U.S. law banning export sales to allies and friends such as Australia, Japan or Israel, it should be noted that Russia intends to sell its version to client countries such as Iran.
AIR DOMINANCE AND MISSION SUCCESS
Air power has changed the course of history. Ironically, it was air
power that plunged the UNITED STATES into war after the attack at
Pearl Harbor and air power that turned the tide in the Pacific at the Battle of Midway. Rapid deployment of air superiority fighters saved many AMERICAN and coalition lives and vanquished enemy forces in Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom.
TIME WAITS FOR NO ONE
Where will the need for the F-22 come from in the decades ahead? Which of the many geopolitical flash points, throughout the world, ignite with little or no advance warning? Will diplomacy prevail in Iran, North Korea or Pakistan? No one can say for sure. But with the F-22 at the ready, potential hostilities can be averted, or, as in Desert Shield, fight their way into harm's way and own the sky, minimizing casualties. Not even an advanced version of today's F-15 will be able to overcome the anticipated capabilities of potential enemy land based defenses and their advanced air forces simultaneously in the years ahead.
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THE ONLY THING NECESSARY FOR THE TRIUMPH OF EVIL IS FOR GOOD MEN TO DO NOTHING.
EDMUND BURKE [1729 - 1797]
AUGUST 22 2017
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