Archives for September 2011

Judge apologizes to Susette Kelo for allowing theft of her property

The Supreme Court case of Kelo vs. New London stirred outrage in the hearts of millions.  I freely admit I was one of them.  The idea that the government can take your property and essentially give it to someone else because they might raise more tax revenue disgusted me to no end.  Now, years after the decision, the land in question sits barren.  Now, no one is living there or operating a business there.  It is, quite literally, a dump.

And people question cosmic justice.

The Hartford Courant has a piece that is worth sharing.  It’s written by Jeff Benedict, who covered the Kelo case from the very beginning.  He’s since written a book about the case.  In the book, he shares a story about an encounter after a dinner honoring the Connecticut in may of last year.  He was giving the keynote address about the case.  There with him was Susette Kelo, the principle defendent.

Afterward, Susette and I were talking in a small circle of people when we were approached by Justice Richard N. Palmer. Tall and imposing, he is one of the four justices who voted with the 4-3 majority against Susette and her neighbors. Facing me, he said: “Had I known all of what you just told us, I would have voted differently.”

was speechless. So was Susette. One more vote in her favor by the Connecticut Supreme Court would have changed history. The case probably would not have advanced to the U.S. Supreme Court, and Susette and her neighbors might still be in their homes.

Then Justice Palmer turned to Susette, took her hand and offered a heartfelt apology. Tears trickled down her red cheeks. It was the first time in the 12-year saga that anyone had uttered the words “I’m sorry.”

It was all she could do to whisper the words: “Thank you.”

Yes, millionaires pay more in taxes than the middle class

President Barack Obama’s proposed tax hikes have, thankfully, been a flop on the Hill as Republicans and some Democrats aren’t too anxious to raise taxes during tough economic times; a position the president himself once held.

But with the rhetoric coming from the left that is clearly hoping to revive the populist sentiment to put Obama in the White House comes a dose of reality. Despite the ramblings of Obama and his ally Warren Buffett, millionaires do indeed pay more in taxes than the middle class, according to an Associated Press fact check:

On average, the wealthiest people in America pay a lot more taxes than the middle class or the poor, according to private and government data. They pay at a higher rate, and as a group, they contribute a much larger share of the overall taxes collected by the federal government.

The 10% of households with the highest incomes pay more than half of all federal taxes. They pay more than 70% of federal income taxes, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
There may be individual millionaires who pay taxes at rates lower than middle-income workers. In 2009, 1,470 households filed tax returns with incomes above $1 million yet paid no federal income tax, according to the Internal Revenue Service. But that’s less than 1% of the nearly 237,000 returns with incomes above $1 million.

This year, households making more than $1 million will pay an average 29.1% of their income in federal taxes, including income taxes, payroll taxes and other taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank.

Households making between $50,000 and $75,000 will pay an average of 15% of their income in federal taxes.

VIDEO: Vince Vaughn introduces Ron Paul at LPAC

In case you haven’t seen it, here is video from this past weekend of Vince Vaughn’s introduction of Ron Paul at the Liberty Political Action Conference in Reno and the presidential candidate’s subsequent speech.

“Che Guevara was a murderer and your t-shirt is not cool”

Who was Che Guevara? While some kids sport a t-shirt with his image, most have no idea that he was a cold-blooded murderer:

The title of this post is also the name of a Facebook group. I’d encourage you to join it to raise awareness of Che’s real legacy.

Ron Paul whoops all comers in California

Ron Paul whoops them all…in a California straw poll at least.  Paul took the poll with almost 45% of the vote, followed by Rick Perry (29.3%) and Mitt Romney (8.8%).  We can only assume that Romney’s hair was deemed ineligible.  Straw polls don’t meant to much in the grand scheme of things, but it has to be clear by now that Ron Paul’s campaign is picking up steam.  Even CNN acknowledge that Paul is making some serious moves this time around.

He has gained momentum in the race for the White House in recent weeks, according to the latest CNN/ORC International Poll. Among current GOP candidates, Paul placed third in the poll with 13%, following Romney in second place with 21% and Perry in first with 32%.

Honestly, this is a solid position to be in at this point.  Yes, Perry is the frontrunner, but it’s not exactly uncommon for the frontrunner to burn himself out by being stupid.  In primary politics, I’ve always believed that slow and steady won the race, and Paul is definitely doing that.

Of course, there are things Paul can get hit on, and probably will later if he keeps building momentum.  For example, there are the charges of antisemitism that stem from a piece that ran in his newsletter.  While Paul has denied writing them, the charge lingers because he printed them.  It’s not hard to spin though, since Paul is an advocate for free speech he simply chose not to censor the writer.

Eat the Rich

Oh yeah baby, the new plan is here. Raise Taxes on those Rich Sunsabitches. Once again confirming the old adage “Democrats Tax and Spend, and Republicans just spend”.

In what would appear to be a last ditch effort to get out of the basement in Presidential rankings, President Obama is proposing an increase of taxes on the “super earners” of America that may in fact close the gap on the deficit enough to restore America’s credit rating.

The one question I have yet to see asked is: Who does a better job with money, the government, or top private earner? The question that has been asked (and answered) is how much would increasing taxes on top earners actually increase revenue? And I would like to expand on that:

Warren Buffett, who has spoken out about “not paying enough taxes” made about 43 Million last year according to one report I read – and he paid about 18%. That’s about $7,740,000. Want to know what that covers in terms of Federal Government Spending? $3.9 Trillion Divided by 365 days, divided by 24 hours, divided by 60 minutes = $7,420,091.So obviously, doubling Mr. Buffett’s taxes will get you…. One whopping minute of spending.

Or put another way…. It’s just shy of 1.5% of what the federal government just lost with Solyndra. Apparently though, $535 Million is a “drop in the bucket”. You need seventy Warren Buffetts just to pay for the Solyndra theft loss… that doesn’t seem like a drop in the bucket to me.

Jeff Flake endorses Mitt Romney

If you’ve been around for awhile, you know that I’m a big fan of Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who is running for U.S. Senate in 2012. He has been solid on fiscal issues and free trade and voted to repeal the military’s outdated “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and until his recent vote to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act, he’d been very good on privacy issues.

Unfortunately, Flake’s endorsement of Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential nomination is a big let down. Here is his brief statement on the endorsement:

“Mitt Romney has the experience and vision to get our country on the right path again. Whether it was his time as governor or as a successful businessman, Mitt Romney has shown that he has the economic knowledge to create the environment for businesses to start hiring again.”

The problems with Romney begin with health care, which may be a big issue during the 2012 election. Nominating Romney, due to the job-killing health care plan he pushed in Massachusetts, effectively takes that issue off the table.

Romney also seems to have no core or real principles. He’ll say whatever he thinks voters want to hear. Yeah, he does the best against Barack Obama in general election matchups, but does Jeff Flake really know what he’s getting with Romney?

Congressional Black Caucus admits to double standard

The Congressional Black Caucus admits that they’re doing things differently because Obama is in the White House than if someone else, like even Bill Clinton, were sitting there.  I picked it up in a piece over at The Hill.

Unhappy members of the Congressional Black Caucus “probably would be marching on the White House” if Obama were not president, according to CBC Chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.).

“If [former President] Bill Clinton had been in the White House and had failed to address this problem, we probably would be marching on the White House,” Cleaver told “The Miami Herald” in comments published Sunday. “There is a less-volatile reaction in the CBC because nobody wants to do anything that would empower the people who hate the president.”

In this instance, the problem is the unemployment rate for African-Americans that is still moving upwards.  Members of the caucus want action, but don’t want to undermine the president.

“We’re supportive of the president, but we getting tired, y’all,” Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) said in August. “We want to give [Obama] every opportunity, but our people are hurting. The unemployment is unconscionable. We don’t know what the strategy is.”

The thing that bugs me is that, if by their own admission they’re treating Obama different, aren’t they simply doing the exact same thing they would criticize others for?  After all, they’re giving preferential treatment to Obama because of his skin color.  How is this not racism?

Real tax hikes, phony spending cuts

President Barack Obama made his pitch yesterday to jack up tax rates on high-income earners and bring a host of new fees that will reach across income groups — offering $3 in tax hikes for every $1 in spending cuts:

Drawing clear battle lines for next year’s elections, a combative President Barack Obama on Monday demanded that the richest Americans pay higher taxes to help cut soaring U.S. deficits by more than $3 trillion. He promised to veto any effort by congressional Republicans to cut Medicare benefits for the elderly without raising taxes as well.

“This is not class warfare. It’s math,” Obama declared, anticipating Republican criticism, which was quick in coming.
The president’s proposal, which he challenged Congress to approve, would predominantly hit upper-income taxpayers and would also target tax loopholes and subsidies used by many larger corporations. It would spare retirees from any changes in Social Security, and it would direct most of the cuts in Medicare spending to health care providers, not beneficiaries.

Benefit programs wouldn’t be unscathed. Obama’s plan would reduce spending for those, including Medicare and Medicaid, by $580 billion. But with Republicans calling for massive cuts in entitlement programs, Obama said he would veto any legislation that cut Medicare benefits without raising new revenue.

Barry Manilow on Ron Paul: “I think he’s solid”

In my house, Barry Manilow is a punchline.  What can I say, I’m not a fan of his stuff.  I often quip about how unjust life is that we lost Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix, but Barry Manilow is still making music.  However, comments he made to the Daily Caller have just boosted the man out of the punchline category…at least if it comes to politics.

Grammy award-winning musician Barry Manilow told The Daily Caller that he agrees with “just about everything” 2012 Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul says, calling him a “solid” contender for the highest office in the land.

“I like him. I like what he says, I do. I like what he says. I think he’s solid,” said Manilow, who confirmed to TheDC in an interview at the Capitol on Thursday that he contributed to Paul’s last campaign for president.

“I agree with just about everything he says. What can I tell you?” Manilow added.

I’ve commented previously about how someone like Ron Paul actually reaches across the typical right/left boundaries. Granted, we don’t really know what Manilow’s political preferences are at the moment, but since he was in Washington to talk about increasing spending on medical research, I think it’s safe to say that Manilow isn’t a libertarian.

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