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Archive for July, 2011

Republican Senator Mitch McConnell

Republican Senator Mitch McConnell said, "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria is correct: The borrowing damage is already done. It’s irresponsible to renege on money borrowed. And, “So why do we have a debt ceiling [in the first place]?”

When legislators vote to authorize spending that is greater than revenues, government will have to borrow the difference. It, in and of itself, is a vote to increase the debt. In fact, the U.S. Constitution’s fourteenth amendment declares that we must: Section 4 reads, “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.” And, here we have our government questioning that wisdom.

Moreover, the United States is the only country, except for Denmark, that has a debt ceiling.

Even so, the debt ceiling has been raised 78 times in the last 50 years. Never has it been questioned that the U.S. should not pay its obligations. As was said in the second paragraph, that’s because – apparently except for congressional republicans – legislators know (or, if they do not, they should) that authorizing spending that is greater than income is in fact authorizing and increase in debt.

Read Full Article Here: Fareed Zakaria Declares The Damage Is Already Done!

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President George W. Bush discusses Social Security at the Lake Nona YMCA Family Center in Orlando, Fla., Friday, March 18, 2005.

President George W. Bush discusses Social Security at the Lake Nona YMCA Family Center in Orlando, Fla., Friday, March 18, 2005.

It’s hard to reconcile the fact that I live in a country where my government and its politicians believe that low and middle-income, seniors, and destitute Americans don’t count, and that only the very wealthy give this country meaning. That’s the message of Boehner, republicans and others who support him, including Obama and the Democrats if they should capitulate to Republican demands.

Our debt problem should not be about entitlements. A strange word designation to give to something owed. If one has money in the bank, is entitlement, particularly as viewed the way republicans and tea party folks do, an appropriate word to use for those deposits.

Now, there must be reforms that include reducing waste and fraud, of course, reducing or eliminating private insurance subsidies, and strengthening original Medicare benefits so there does not have to be dependency on private insurance to receive adequate coverage, something that includes affordable and comprehensive drug coverage while eliminating the Bush-era idea of drug coverage – the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003.

Read Full Article Here: Robert Scheer Debt Madness Was Always About Killing Social Security

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In her article, 21st-Century Slaves: How Corporations Exploit Prison Labor, Rania Khalek writes an infuriating but not-so-surprising report on America’s high rate of incarceration, and a government that incentivizes corporations to employee prisoners at wages “that rival those of third-world sweatshops..”

America, with 5 percent of the world’s population, where liberty has long been touted to be one of her greatest strengths, incarcerates one-quarter of the world’s prisoners. And, America, who postures itself as standing firm for human rights, where black people make up 13 percent of the population, finds it necessary to incarcerate black Americans at the rate of 40% to all other prisoners.

According to Khalek, “Michelle Alexander points out in her book The New Jim Crow [Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness]  that more black men are in jail, on probation, or on parole than were enslaved in 1850. [However] Higher rates of black drug arrests do not reflect higher rates of black drug offenses. In fact, whites and blacks engage in drug offenses, possession and sales at roughly comparable rates.”

Egregiously, imprisonment, beyond those who really need to be locked up, has been for illegal immigrants and drug offenders, as well as for those who commit other low-level crimes. The New York Times reports that Americans even have been sentenced to life for minor crimes like shoplifting.

Read Full Article Here: Is High Incarceration Sought as a Solution to High Unemployment?

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Leadership

Leadership

Managers should not be under the misconception that they can lead from behind a desk. Leadership is an essential part of management; it is an art and unlike management cannot be taught, although its principles can be learned.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, former President of the United States and supreme commander of Allied Forces during World War II, once gave the most succinct definition of leadership: “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done—because he wants to do it.” It is having the skill to present values, ideas, and actions that people will believe are worth following because more than anything else they believe in you.

Leadership is essential to be an effective manager; however, management and leadership are not one in the same.

You see, management is the process of organizing, planning, directing, staffing, and placing controls over an operation’s activities. A manager is given the authority and responsibility to manage an operation in any way he/she wishes in order to achieve an objective, so long as it falls within the law, ethics, policy and budget. The process of management is the technical aspect of what it is to be a manager. A manager can sit in an office, perform these technical aspects, and delegate the control function through other supervision and lead positions. It is a position of power and a hierarchically objective top-down process.

Read Full Article Here: The Essentials of Effective Management and Leadership

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May Hansen celebrating the vote on the same-sex marriage bill outside of the Parliament of Norway Building

May Hansen celebrating the vote on the same-sex marriage bill outside of the Parliament of Norway Building

The District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and New Hampshire allow same-sex marriage, and now, so does New York. On Sunday, Phyllis Siegal, 76, and Connie Kopelov, 84, were married in a chapel at the city clerk’s office, becoming the first couple married under the state’s new same-sex marriage law.

In 2008, voters passed the California Marriage Protection Act, an act recognizing marriage as only between a man and a woman. In August 2010, a federal appeals court blocked an earlier federal court’s ruling that declared California’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals indefinitely extended the stay, stopping new same-sex marriages in the state of California pending appeal.

On January 4, 2011, the federal appeals court certified a question to the California Supreme Court as to whether non-governmental proponents of the amendment have standing to appeal. On February 16, the California Supreme Court unanimously agreed to address the Ninth Circuit’s request. The court may hear oral arguments as early as September.

The outcome could bring the issue before the U.S. Supreme Court. Moreover, if the Court upholds the ban there is a risk the Court could make marriage equality laws in same-sex marriage states invalid. Whichever way a court may decide, the issue will continue to be a vastly divisive, and an unnecessary controversy.

On September 21, 1996, President Clinton signed The Defense of Marriage Act into law, whereby the federal government defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. The Act also provides that no state be required to recognize as a marriage a same-sex relationship that is considered a marriage in another state. Following suit with the federal government, across America, the opposition’s argument, including politicians who lag behind voters on gay marriage, is based on the misbegotten belief that marriage is exclusive to one man with one woman. However, that’s not central to the issue, for what is central to the issue is the appropriateness of state sanctioned marriage itself.

Read Full Article Here: State Sanctioned Marriage Is an Outmoded Concept

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A New Way to Pay the National Debt

A New Way to Pay the National Debt

The cartoon image for this article shows King George III and Queen Charlotte standing before the Treasury, moneybags under their arms, their pockets overflowing and bursting with coins (funds from the Treasury to cover Royal debts), William Pitt, his pockets full of coins, hands the king another moneybag taken from an overflowing wheelbarrow; the Prince of Wales, George IV, stands to the right looking destitute; a quad-amputee sits on the ground to the left with an overturned and empty hat between the stubs of his legs, which are fitted with prostheses.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the United States would have until August 2 before reaching its borrowing limit. With ten days remaining before the August deadline, John Boehner notified President Obama that he has “decided to end discussions.”

In a letter to house Republicans, Boehner wrote, “In the end, we couldn’t connect. Not because of different personalities, but because of different visions for our country,”

That “different vision for our country” is a debt and deficit reduction plan of no new taxes, and drastic cuts in spending, principally Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and education, which is certainly a different vision than that of President Obama and the Democratic Party.

Speaker of the House John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Republican Senator Orrin Hatch have all said, “Washington does not have a revenue problem. Washington has a spending problem.” If one were to talk to any member of the Tea Party or any member of the Republican Party, you would hear the same Reaganism: essentially mirroring Reagan who in 1982 said, “We don’t have a trillion-dollar debt because we have not taxed enough, but we have a trillion dollar debt because we spend too much.”

An uninformed Main Street American might say …

Read Full Article Here: End of Discussion: Read My Lips, No New Taxes! 

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USA deficit, China surplus, 2000-2014, World Economic Outlook, IMF

USA deficit, China surplus, 2000-2014, World Economic Outlook, IMF

A proverb can come in handy in expressing clearly and succinctly a basic truth. For example, the real reason for our current debt and deficit problem can be explained with “a stitch in time saves nine.” Meaning prompt action by Congress years and years ago with continued vigilance not to let it falter would have averted the crisis we are facing today.

The solution to debt and deficit is not in raising the debt ceiling and unrealistically in a panic drastically cutting deficit spending, albeit reactively now we must, because of a $14.3 trillion national debt and an increasing deficit that could reach $1.645 trillion this year, but that will do nothing to solve the problem.

For example, the recent House passage of a “cut, cap and balance” deficit reduction plan requires a Balanced Budget Amendment. As if BBA is something new. Attempts at passing a balanced budget amendment (BBA) date back to the 1930s, and all have been unsuccessful. Besides, isn’t that what a budget is supposed to do: “cut, cap and balance” needs to meet cost objectives.

Read Full Article Here: Debt and Deficit Is Simply an Indicator of Years of Failed Leadership

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