The Talk Show American

THE TALK SHOW AMERICAN: 11/25/2012 - 12/02/2012

Saturday, December 01, 2012

30 (Non-Benghazi) Reasons Why Susan Rice Should Not Be Secretary of State

Here are 30 (Non-Benghazi) reasons why Susan Rice should not be Secretary of State:
1. failed to call an emergency meeting of the Security Council after the 2010 Haiti earthquake
2. skipped the Security Council debate and vote to add new UN Peacekeepers in Haiti after the earthquake
3. led the US during the most inactive Security Council since 1991 during her first year as Ambassador
4. held her first press conference with the UN Secretary General on the pressing international issue of texting while driving
5. failed to speak out when Col. Gaddafi's Libya was elected to the UN Human Rights Commission
6. waited 17 months before voting on the one and only UN resolution on Iran passed during her tenure
7. dismissed by Hillary Clinton from negotiating most of the Iran resolution with the French
8. lost the support of more nations on her one Iran resolution than the previous five Iran resolutions combined
9. took 103 days to move the Security Council to issue a statement after a North Korean submarine sank the South Korean ship that killed 46 sailors
10. took 18 days to lead the Security Council to action after a North Korean nuclear test (it took John Bolton 5 days in 2006)
11. failed to support the Iranian opposition during their Green Revolution
12. failed to speak out when Iran was elected to the UN Women's Commission
13. skipped the UN Security Council's emergency meeting on the Gaza flotilla crisis
14. snubbed Israel to the point they skipped President Obama's 2010 UN speech
15. took more than 2 years to find someone to head America's UN reform team
16. failed to address the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to ascertain how erroneous scientific claims were added to official UN reports
17. painfully slow in getting a UN resolution on the Sudan-South Sudan referendum
18. ignored Canada's pleas for help in getting elected to the Security Council
19. negotiated with the UN's Arab Group to condemn Israel's settlements
20. failed to lead the Security Council during Tunisia's Arab Spring protests
21. didn't speak out on the Libya crisis until the French, British and Arab League had done so
22. failed to attend the first Security Council meeting on the Arab Spring protests
23. failed to get the support of allies India, Germany and Brazil on the UN's Libya resolution
24. failed to lead the Security Council during Egypt's Arab Spring protests
25. failed to lead the Security Council during Yemen's Arab Spring protests
26. failed to lead the Security Council to confront Bashar al-Assad's brutal violence where US resolutions received an unprecedented three vetoes on three different votes
27. agreed to send former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to Syria where he failed miserably
28. skipped the last open meeting before the planned UN vote to recognize Palestinian statehood
29. failed to speak out when Iran was elected vice president of the Global Arms Treaty negotiations
delayed Security Council action and the UN report on Rwanda

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12 Individual Tax Remedies for the Fiscal Cliff

1. Contribute the maximum to a 401(k) before 2013.

2. Increase the number of allowances taken to ensure lower withholding, which gives an individual use of their money earlier.

3. Avoid underpayment penalties by ensuring enough is actually withheld.

4. Do not defer discretionary income into 2013, when taxes are likely to rise. Record the income this year.

5. Plan deductions by investigating which ones may be more valuable for either 2012 or 2013.

6. Consider selling appreciated securities by Dec. 31. Even if Congress does not raise rates on capital gains or dividends, a new 3.8 percent surtax on unearned income for high-income individuals looms.

7. Convert traditional IRAs to a Roth. Withdrawals from traditional IRAs are taxed at the ordinary tax rate, while Roth withdrawals can be tax-free for those at least 59 ½ years of age. Even if tax reform next year lowers individual tax rates, the conversion can be undone if necessary until Oct. 15, 2013.

8. Avoid end-of-year mutual fund purchases in non-retirement accounts, since the payout of dividends will be taxable for 2012.

9. Give to charity and write off the donation.

10. In addition to giving appreciated stocks or mutual funds to charity, individuals 70 ½ years or age or older may be able to make a tax-free charitable distribution of up to $100,000 from their IRAs directly, if Congress approves an extension of that IRA rule.

11. Make individual gifts to family and others before 2013, when gift-tax exclusions are expected to be lower and maximum estate tax rates will rise.

12. Spend down 2012 flexible spending accounts if your employer deadline requires it by year-end.

Read more: Kiplinger: 12 Individual Tax Remedies for the Fiscal Cliff
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Guns Don't Kill People - Hands and Feet Do !

The FBI has released their 2007-2011 “Murder Victims by Weapon” report. The results are contradictory to anti-gun industry claims that relaxing the ban on assault weapons will cause more crime.

The report indicates you are more likely to be killed by hands or feet than by a rifle or shotgun.

Since 2007 there has been a 16.2% decline in murders committed with personal weapons which are defined as “hands, fists, feet etc.” The number of murders of this type in 2011 totaled 728.

While gun ownership has dramatically increased since 2007, murders for both the shotgun and rifle categories have seen declines faster than the rate of personal weapons related crime.

The rates of decline for the shotgun and rifle categories are 22.1% and 28.7% respectively. In 2011 there were 356 shotgun murders and 323 rifle murders for a total of 679 murders.

Total murders by hands and feet in 2011 exceed the total number of murders by shotgun and rifle.

 Does that mean gloves and shoes need regulation because they are concealing deadly weapons?

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America's Future: 7 Reasons To Be Optimistic !

1) The reelection of Barack Obama has the potential to be a turning point.

Despite Barack Obama being a mean-spirited, habitually dishonest socialist who was presiding over a terrible economy and a record of incompetence unprecedented in America’s history, he was reelected anyway. This should be a wake-up call for the Republican Party. The GOP’s messaging, choice of candidates, fidelity to its principles and most importantly, minority outreach just isn’t good enough. The same goes for results the deep pocketed donors in the party are getting for their contributions. Their money isn’t being used wisely. The grassroots have now been alerted that just showing up at a Tea Party isn’t good enough either. Social conservatives and the Christian church should be shocked out of their complacency as well. Although Obama seems likely to make a mess of things in his second term, that will give the American people more insight into the wages of liberalism while the Republican majority in the House and the three conservatives and two right leaning moderates on the Supreme Court will hopefully keep Obama from doing too much damage. God willing, as terrible as Barack Obama’s election seems to be for the country today, it will turn out to be a positive turning point.

2) Technology and resource acquisition may advance faster than we anticipate.

Did you know the United States is the Saudi Arabia of shale oil? We have the potential not just to become almost self-sufficient, but to become a net exporter of oil. Granted, that probably won’t happen under the liberal Luddites in the White House today, but it’s just a matter of time until this nation’s energy potential is unlocked. We could also conceivably pass Russia in natural gas production as early as 2015. When you couple that with technological advances right out of science fiction in 3D printing, algae based fuel, nearly cost-free medical diagnostics, vertical farming and robotics, we may have the ability to do better than most people expect over the next few decades.
3) We’re in a stronger position than many people realize.

 America still has the world’s largest economy and the most powerful military. The dollar is the world’s reserve currency; we’re still the single most attractive destination for immigrants and we have the world’s best customer base for other nations to target. We have more soft power and cultural influence than any other nation in the world and we’re still the planet’s only Super Power. Weaknesses? We have plenty, but we shouldn’t disregard our nation’s truly massive strengths.

4) We may move slowly, but we will eventually adjust.

What Winston Churchill said about Americans is all too often true, “Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing…after they have exhausted all other possibilities.” As a nation, we have a terrible habit of waiting until a crisis strikes before we take decisive, albeit poorly-thought-out action to deal with it. Then over time, we get around to dealing with the devils in the details. In other words, we tend to take a lot of damage that could have been prevented with quicker action, but history shows that we do eventually address our problems.

5) There’s no other nation ready to take our place as a Super Power.

Japan’s population has gotten very old, very fast. Western Europe has larger problems with big government, economic productivity, demographics and debt than we do. China is still growing, but the country looks increasingly unstable and seems highly unlikely to continue its rapid growth over the next few decades. Additionally, Russia and India seem likely to remain as regional powers for the foreseeable future. In other words, this isn’t the Cold War where our loss would mean that another great power would be waiting to step in and shove us aside. Losing our Super Power status would be far from ideal, but it would still be preferable to living in a world dominated by Russia, China or Europe.

6) We’ve been through bad times before and we’re still here.

This country has survived a Revolutionary War against the world’s most powerful nation that was fought in our own territory, another fight against the Brits during the War of 1812 in which they burned the White House and came close to capturing the American northeast, a Civil War that pitted the northern and southern halves of the country against each other, not just one, but two world wars, a decade long Great Depression and a Cold War against the Soviet Union in which we had enough nuclear weapons pointed at each other to wipe out life on earth. After all that, we’re still standing strong. A debt driven crisis could make things very tough for us over the next few decades, but our history says we’ll pull ourselves up by our bootstraps when it’s over.

7) The wheels of history turn awfully slowly.

Since history is such a long period of time and we human beings live such comparatively short lives, we often overestimate the speed with which a problem will overtake us. As to great nations, they can splutter on for an extraordinarily lengthy time before finally falling to pieces. Just to name the most famous example of this, Rome was founded in the 8th Century BC, became a republic in the 6th Century BC, ceased to be a republic in the 1st Century BC, and split into two halves in the 3rd Century AD. The Western half of the Roman Empire was overrun in the 5th Century AD, the last Roman emperor visited Rome in the 7th Century AD, and the Eastern Roman Empire finally fell to the Turks in the 15th Century AD. Does that mean the United States should be fine for another thousand years or so? No, but it means that devastating problems we spot today that look immediately threatening may sometimes take decades or even centuries longer than we expect to flower into devastation.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Federal Revenues Up 19% Why Do We Need To Raise Taxes?

The conventional political wisdom is that Republicans have lost the argument on taxes. Obama won. Democrats held on in Congress. That means, according to some, that they have a mandate to raise taxes. Because, according to them, a big part of the nation’s deficit problem is lower tax revenues resulting from Bush-era tax cuts.

Unfortunately, this argument doesn’t match up with reality. This chart shows total direct federal revenues, by year, from 1992 through 2012 in nominal dollars:

There is a dip in revenues in 2001 and 2002 corresponding with the post-9/11 recession. Then there is a return to revenue growth even after the implementation of the Bush tax cuts beginning in 2003. That continues until 2008 and 2009 when the collapse of the housing market thrust the nation into a nasty and protracted recession.

But even since then, federal revenues have been growing, increasing roughly 19% over 2009 levels and nearly reaching our 2008 peak.

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