Monday, May 31, 2010
"Mrs. Clinton goes on to say that "my view is that you have to get many countries to increase their public revenue collections." It seems what she wants is a sort of transnational cartel, in which governments agree to burden the "wealthy" with high taxes that they cannot escape by moving their businesses or residences elsewhere. Which, come to think of it, would be much worse than a mere domestic tax hike, which could be undone with simple legislation.
- GDP per capita: Brazil $10,200, U.S. $46,400
- GDP per capita, rank: Brazil 105th, U.S. 11th
- Unemployment rate: Brazil 7.4%, U.S. 9.3%
- Population below poverty line: Brazil 26% (2008), U.S. 12% (2004)
- Share of nationwide household income or consumption, lowest 10%: Brazil 1.1%, U.S. 2%
- Share of nationwide household income or consumption, highest 10%: Brazil 43%, U.S. 30%
The U.S. does better on all these measures except 2009 unemployment--and a year earlier, the U.S. rate (5.8%) was considerably better than Brazil's (7.9%). The average American is more than 4.5 times as productive as the average Brazilian, and a Brazilian is more than twice as likely to be impoverished by Brazilian standards than an American is to be impoverished by U.S. standards.
Brazil's GDP actually shrank last year, by 0.2%, though it grew 5.1% in 2008 and 6.1% in 2007. For America, the figures were a 2.4% decline in 2009, 0.4% growth in 2008 and 2.1% growth in 2007. But developed countries seldom grow at 5% or 6% a year; developing ones experience such growth because their economies are smaller to begin with. Even if Brazil is "growing like crazy," for America to emulate it would be nuts."Perhaps the frighting aspect of the current administration is they remain in the "Unconscious Incompetence" stage of management.
"He needs to take a Valium before he comes in and talks to Republicans," Sen.Pat Roberts, R-Kan., told reporters. "He's pretty thin-skinned."
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., said he addressed Obama, "trying to demand overdue action" on the giant oil spill damaging Gulf coast states. He said got "no specific response" except Obama's pledge to have an authoritative WhiteHouse official call him within hours.
Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Obama's 2008 presidential opponent, said he pressed the president on immigration issues. McCain said he told Obama "we need to secure the border first" before taking other steps. "The president didn't agree," he said.
McCain said he defended his state's pending immigration law, which Obama says could lead to discrimination. It directs police, when questioning people about possible law violations, to ask about their immigration status if there is "reasonable suspicion" they're in the country illegally.
At the luncheon, McCain said, "I pointed out that members of his administration who have not read the law have mischaracterized the law—a very egregious act on their part."
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
On the afternoon of Jan. 8, 1945, Sergeant Dunham was leading a platoon in the 30th Infantry, Third Infantry Division, when the soldiers, among them his brother Ralph, were pinned down by German fire. They were at the bottom of a hill near the village of Kaysersberg, the birthplace of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Albert Schweitzer.
German machine-gunners and riflemen fired down on the Americans while an artillery barrage landed behind them. “The only way to go was up,” Mr. Dunham told Reader’s Digest long afterward.
Wearing as camouflage a white robe made from a mattress cover, Sergeant Dunham ran up the hill ahead of his platoon and charged a machine-gun emplacement. He was shot in the back, and his camouflage became useless: his white clothing was soaked with blood.
Despite “excruciating pain” from his wound, as the Medal of Honor citation told it, Sergeant Dunham wiped out three machine-gun nests and attacked German riflemen in foxholes. Moments later, Ralph Dunham destroyed a fourth machine-gun position.
Firing 175 rounds of carbine fire and throwing 11 grenades, Russell Dunham killed nine Germans, wounded seven and captured two others.
Two weeks later, his battalion was surrounded by German tanks at the French town of Holtzwihr. Most of the men were forced to surrender, but as Mr. Dunham told it to Peter Collier in his book “Medal of Honor,” he hid in a sauerkraut barrel outside a barn.
He was discovered by two German soldiers the next morning, but while searching him they found a pack of cigarettes in his pocket and began to fight over it. They never noticed a pistol in a shoulder holster under Sergeant Dunham’s arm.
While the Germans were taking him toward their lines, one of them stopped at a bar. Sergeant Dunham shot and killed the other soldier. He escaped on foot, was spotted a couple of days later by United States Army engineers building a bridge, and was treated for severely frozen feet.
He was awarded the Medal of Honor at a ceremony in Nuremberg, Germany, in April 1945.
Mr. Dunham, a native of East Carondelet, Ill., worked as a Veterans Administration counselor after the war. He passed from this world April 10, 2009.
In a 1999 interview with The Alton Telegraph in Illinois, Mr. Dunham told how “the shrapnel in my leg is a reminder of the war we fought.”
And a vivid image endured from that snowy hillside in France: “It happened in 1945, but I still remember staring into the eyes of the German machine-gunner.”
On May 12, 1962, Versace began his first tour of duty in the Republic of Vietnam as an intelligence advisor. In May 1963 he volunteered for a six month's extension of his tour, planning to attend seminary at the conclusion of his service and join the Catholic priesthood, hoping to return to Vietnam as a missionary working with orphans.
Less than two weeks before the end of his tour, on October 29, 1963, while acting as intelligence advisor to Detachment 25, 5th Special Forces Group in the Mekong Delta, Versace accompanied several companies of South Vietnamese Civilian Irregular Defense (CIDG) troops who had planned to remove a Viet Cong (VC) command post located in the U Minh Forest, a Viet Cong stronghold. A VC Main Force battalion ambushed and overran Versace's unit, wounding him in the process. He was able to provide enough covering fire so that the CIDG forces could withdraw from the killing zone.
A second government force of about 200 men operating only a few thousand yards from the main fight learned of the disaster too late to help. U.S. authorities said the communist radio jammers had knocked out both the main channel and the alternate channel on all local military radios. Versace was captured and taken to a prison deep in the jungle along with two other Americans, Lieutenant Nick Roweand Sergeant Dan Pitzer. He tried to escape four times, but failed in his attempts. Versace insulted the Viet Cong during the indoctrination sessions and cited the Geneva Convention treaty time after time. The Viet Cong separated Versace from the other prisoners. The last time the prisoners heard his voice, he was loudly singing "God Bless America". On September 26, 1965, North Vietnam’s "Liberation Radio” announced the execution of Captain Humbert Roque Versace. Versace's remains have never been recovered. His headstone at Arlington National Cemetery stands above an empty grave and can be located in the Memorial section MG-108
- For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while a prisoner of war during the period of October 29, 1963 to September 26, 1965 in the Republic of Vietnam. While accompanying a Civilian Irregular Defense Group patrol engaged in combat operations in Thoi Binh District, An Xuyen Province, Republic of Vietnam on October 29, 1963, Captain Versace and the CIDG assault force were caught in an ambush from intense mortar,automatic weapons, and small arms fire from elements of a reinforced enemy Main Force battalion. As the battle raged, Captain Versace fought valiantly and encouraged his CIDG patrol to return fire against overwhelming enemy forces. He provided covering fire from an exposed position to enable friendly forces to withdraw from the killing zone when it was apparent that their position would be overrun, and was severely wounded in the knee and back from automatic weapons fire and shrapnel. He stubbornly resisted capture with the last full measure of his strength and ammunition. Taken prisoner by the Viet Cong, he demonstrated exceptional leadership and resolute adherence to the tenets of the Code of Conduct from the time he entered into a prisoner of war status. Captain Versace assumed command of his fellow American prisoners, and despite being kept locked in irons in an isolation box, raised their morale by singing messages to popular songs of the day, and leaving inspiring messages at the latrine. Within three weeks of captivity, and despite the severity of his untreated wounds, he attempted the first of four escape attempts by dragging himself on his hands and knees out of the camp through dense swamp and forbidding vegetation to freedom. Crawling at a very slow pace due to his weakened condition, the guards quickly discovered him outside the camp and recaptured him. Captain Versace scorned the enemy's exhaustive interrogation and indoctrination efforts, and inspired his fellow prisoners to resist to the best of their ability. When he used his Vietnamese language skills to protest improper treatment of the American prisoners by the guards, he was put into leg irons and gagged to keep his protestations out of earshot of the other American prisoners in the camp. The last time that any of his fellow prisoners heard from him, Captain Versace was singing God Bless America at the top of his voice from his isolation box. Unable to break his indomitable will, his faith in God, and his trust in the United States of America and his fellow prisoners, Captain Versace was executed by the Viet Cong on September 26, 1965. Captain Versaces extraordinary heroism, self-sacrifice, and personal bravery involving conspicuous risk of life above and beyond the call of duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army, and reflect great credit to himself and the U.S. Armed Forces.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Those records reflect a long-term trend accelerated by the recession and the federal stimulus program to counteract the downturn. The result is a major shift in the source of personal income from private wages to government programs.
The trend is not sustainable, says University of Michiganeconomist Donald Grimes. Reason: The federal government depends on private wages to generate income taxes to pay for its ever-more-expensive programs. Government-generated income is taxed at lower rates or not at all, he says. "This is really important," Grimes says.
I don't know what the President's actual intention and objectives are, but in the words of Rush Limbaugh, "I hope he fails".
Monday, May 24, 2010
BOSTON (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) - A serious car crash involving a local lawmaker and a suspected illegal immigrant is threatening to reignite already heated debates about immigration on Beacon Hill, according to police reports obtained by FOX25.
State Rep. Mike Moran of Brighton was rear-ended by a suspected illegal immigrant this week. The suspect was wearing a Mexican costume at the time of the crash where he slammed into Moran at 60 mph.
The suspect, 27-year-old Isaias Naranjo, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, leaving the scene of an accident and driving without a valid license. According to the report, when told of the serious charges he would be facing, he just laughed.
But because of action taken by Gov. Deval Patrick, state police were unable to notify immigration authorities that Naranjo might be illegal.
Three years ago, Patrick revoked an order by former governor Mitt Romney which gave state police power to investigate immigration violations.
The suspect... blood alcohol content was .25 at the time of the accident according to the police report...
MR. GREGORY: All right, we're going to come back to this with our guests in just a moment. I want to take a moment now to turn to Pennsylvania's Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, Congressman Joe Sestak.
MR. GREGORY: Nice to have you here. You had a very important victory in Pennsylvania, taking on Senator Arlen Specter, the incumbent, and you won. And when you spoke on election night, this is what you said.
MR. GREGORY: You voted for TARP, for the bailout. You voted for the president's stimulus plan. You voted for the president's healthcare plan. Exactly which establishment are you not part of, that you're running against?
REP. SESTAK: Oh, I did vote for those because they were needed. But as John F. Kennedy once said, sometimes the party asks too much. And when they did something that I didn't agree with because it didn't help Pennsylvania working families, I'll stand up to the party. That's what I did. It doesn't mean whether you're part of an establishment or not. It's whether you stand up for what's right.
REP. SESTAK: Oh, I did--I honestly think that this president has done great, good things. But I don't think we've gone far enough in terms of helping small business. My party has to recognize business is a good word when you have small in front of it. And to give a 15 percent tax credit to small businesses for every new payroll job that's created, we could, according to Economic Institute, soak up five million of the eight and a half million unemployed in two, two and a half years. In short, we need to do even better than what we've done. And as was mentioned earlier, the market's good. There's really good private markets out there. We just need fair rules. And before the rules kind of favored Wall Street, not those in state.
Little doubt that Congressman Sestak's Republican opponent will use his own words to hang himself with. Let's hope that the voters in PA can see through the congressman's attempt to weasel some distance between his campaign rhetoric and the facts of his actual voting record.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
He might be on to something here. Certainly seems to warrant further discussion. Since President Obama appears to be in complete agreement with the policy of Mexico, I wouldn't be surprised to seen him form some type of Blue Ribbon Panel to evaluate and incorporate Mexico's laws into those of the US.