Forest Fires and Sequestration: Republicans Set Fire To America

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Fire Fighters Struggle With Flames and Budgets

Fire Fighters Struggle With Flames and Budgets

Every summer there is another record breaking forest fire immolating homeowners and ravaging communities.  2013 is no exception.

Throughout the American West, the United States Forest Service is scrambling to evacuate homes and contain destructive wildfires.  These fire epidemics are getting worse every summer.  Analysts blame urban encroaching into forests, global warming drying out the West, and bad luck.

Meanwhile, Washington’s sequestration and budget cuts have just axed the wildfire protection budget by more than forty-percent.

A gridlocked congress’s inability to act has pushed President Obama to preemptively reducing programs to offset future spending caps.  These cuts are on top of the millions lost to the sequestration eroding the Forest Service’s budget.  The Hazardous Fuels Reduction Program, responsible for controlling damaging megablazes,  has lost $208 million of its original $500 million dollar budget.   As the Forest Service chooses how to allocate its meager resources, experts are predicting worsening fires throughout  the foreseeable future.

The United States must invest in wildfire protection instead of cutting funding.  It also must spend smarter.  Proactive strategy, ranging from clearing at-risk brush to lighting clearing fires, are progressively considered the best option for the fiscally starved Forest Service.  Rather than fighting megablazes head on preemptive action curtails megablazes from ever burning out of control of threatening communities.  These preventive methods are the cheapest option to saving endangered towns; every dollar spent on prevention multiplies itself into ten dollars saved on firefighter costs.  To unlock the funds needed to reinstate funding to the Forest Services it will take political action from Congress, the institution originally responsible for the crippling cuts.

Many Republican Congressmen, ironically representing  the fire-plagued west, are responsible for the sequestration and budget cuts.  These austerity hawks are endeavoring to “starve the beast” of big government; by choking off the federal programs and taxes these zealots intend to force the nation towards smaller government.  The Republican leadership is now self-immolating its own districts to uphold a deranged ideology.  It’s no wonder Congress’s approval rating has plunged to ten percent.  Another record.

 

Cookie-Cutter Politics: The Uniform (Failure) of America’s Two-Party System

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Republican Elephant & Democratic Donkey - Icons

Cookie-Cutter Politics

I must confess; this November will be the first time I will vote in the Presidential Elections.

In previous elections I viciously debated which candidate I should support.  The rugged individualism of the Republicans spurred my dreams while the sound theories and progressive stance of the Democrats captured my earthly pragmatism.  As each Election Day came I dithered back and forth.  I could never decide, I never voted.  I may not have voted because I was distressed by the increasingly polarized extremes of the two-party system.  I may also not have voted because I was underage.  We may never know.

This year the debate is between Obama and Romney.  I can already hear the next year of commentary, with regular exclamations of “I wish there was a third-party to vote for!”  This is a legitimate issue.  America’s polarized politics have grouped large coalitions of values into strange alliances.  This is the only way each side can garner enough support to pass any laws.  It makes all politicians seem a little too uniform.  Why do Democrats always advocate for gun control?  Why do Republicans always oppose weakening any immigration laws?

The simple answer is politicians have no alternative.

The Two-Party system strong arms politicians on both sides of the aisle into a cookie-cutter mold.  Only moderates, those who make everyone happy by fitting the textbook description of the Democrat/Republican are legitimate candidates because only they fit all the values of each of their respective parties and win the crucial nominations.  Radicals, who could make world-changing reforms, are hedged out by the system which eliminates anyone with even one misaligned value.  I imagine there are plenty of Democrats who support gun rights and Republicans who would be willing to welcome immigrants.  These men will never see office because they do not fit the mold and there is no alternative.

The American Two-Party dilemma is only those who cannot reform are elected into office.  Those with flexible ideology, who could make real reform, are shunned because they will always have at least one taboo.  It is support of the entire party or no support at all in our polarized system.  We are left with similar men with the same ideas, the same convictions, and the same restraints.

Perhaps I was right to dither; both answers were always partially wrong for me.  I feel this is the issue every American has.

7 Reasons Why Herman Cain Will Never Be President: Part 3: The 999 Tax Plan

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What is Reason Number Three?

Evidently, Herman Cain read Part 1 of this series and has revised his “Fair Tax” policy, because of its catastrophic failings.

Cain’s new proposed tax reform plan is call the 999 Plan.  Each nine represents one of three theoretical tax rates within the future economy; a 9% business flat tax, 9% individual flat tax, and a 9% sales tax.  Everything else is untaxed.  These three central reforms eliminate the existing tax code, only Herman Cain’s vision would continue.

How could This Plan Help America?

The core ideology behind the plan is that people are better about allocating their money than the government.  These skimpy taxes would support a utilitarian government, one that deals exclusively with national defense and legal issues.  “Unnecessary” programs like Medicare and Social Security would be phased out.  The economic boom would create prosperity across the nation.

Why Will This Proposition Decimate the Economy?

Lets give Cain the benefit of the doubt, this plan actually sounds highly innovative.  Elements of it, such as his strong dollar policy could be perceived as beneficial.

I will write some fiction now: Herman Cain wins the 2012 election, thanks to a series of freak accidents eliminating the other candidates.  Congress was so dumbstruck by the fatalities they pass the 999 Tax plan.

Americans everywhere rejoice; on Wall Street stock transactions are no longer taxed, on Main Street shop owners frolic as new customers spend money from the tax breaks, even Grandma down in Florida smiles as her family can now afford to visit her.

Store owners rush out to buy new goods to sell.  Sure, costs are up with the strong dollar, but higher prices more than balance that out.  Wall Street is growing in leaps and bounds, without the government taxing profits what so ever.  Governments spurting funds are replaced with a growing private sector.

A hurricane spells doom for this economic salvation.  Florida receives a direct hit from a Category 3 storm, there have been dozens previously.  Property and investments, from the private sector, are demolished.  Insurance companies cover the losses; they are stretched thin, but still afloat. So is Grandma, her house is underwater from the hurricane.

FEMA and the National Guard launch a joint operation and save Grandma and many other stranded family members.

The funeral was nice, at least.

Wall Street crumbles; the revelation that the underfunded government will provide underfunded service must have slipped their minds.  After all 9% of taxes of the nation, a significant drop because the top 1% receive a 23% tax break and contribute the most, are significantly less the $3456 billion dollars currently collected annually.  Some services, critical services, will be chopped or watered down to nothing.

Without more than half of its funds the government will break down.

Wall Street, now the solitary investor in the America, will first fear an economic depression and then create one, by selling off all and any American stocks.  Herman Cain’s strong dollar policy will work against the system as foreign investors and corporations will be unwilling to sell to America because it will be more expensive for them; that is the dark side of a strong dollar.

Use your own imagination to predict the continuation of Cain’s Recession.  I would be interest in any responses, both colorful spirals of decay and ardent defenses for the destructive 999 Tax Plan.

If you are  new feel free to read Part 1, Cain’s (un)fair tax structure, and Part 2, Cain’s misguided Attack on Islam

7 Reasons Why Herman Cain Will Never Be President: Part 2

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What is Reason Number Two?

He is targeting Muslims; actively pursuing an agenda that will permit bans on mosques to be set up anywhere in America.

Why Is This Good Thing?

… It’s not …

This radical appeal to the TEA party extremists is a gamble, in an attempt to win the early primaries and gain a better chance of ensnaring the Republican nomination. In the end he is discriminating against all fringe religions.

Why is This Bad Thing?

Banning mosques is the equivalent to setting the Constitution on fire.

Herman Cain pretends to act in the defense of the average American. The fallacious reasoning behind his controversial policy a prevention of Muslims passing Shariah laws. He paints it as a hostile takeover of an alien religion; in reality the core values of Islam are essentially the same as Christianity. Islam influenced laws would only empower local governments.

His religious assaults are cloaked in civilian security; he makes it clear that he is not advocating for banning Islam outright. Mosques may only be eliminated when the majority of the populace does not want them.

For me, this translates to: The primary religion of any area can criminalize secondary ones.

I am a Congregationalist, my town is dominated by Catholics. If such a law, like what Herman Cain has proposed, would be passed I would be in the crosshairs.  Chances are, so would you.  There is no difference between Congregationalists, Jews, Wickens, or Muslims under such a law.  It would be easy to fall victim to theocratic takeover. The basis for the separation of church and state is this very reason; to prevent alienation of minorities.

By supporting theocracy Herman Cain is repealing over two hundred years of law and Article 6 of the Constitution, the promise of protection against religious tyranny.

Part 1: Cain’s “fair tax” is highway robbery.

7 Reasons Why Herman Cain Will Never Be President: Part 1

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Herman Cain

Herman Cain; contender for the 2012 Republican Presidential Nomination

What is Reason Number One?

Cain’s proposed “Fair Tax” federal taxation system.

What is Fair Tax?

It is a simple plan.

First, abolish all current federal taxes.  Second, impose a blanket national sales tax at a fixed percentage rate.  Everyone pays the same, regardless of class.  In addition everyone only pays on goods they want to buy.

“Prebates” would buy everyone essential goods so those in poverty will be gifted a decent standard of living.  The Internal Revenue Service will no longer need to exist, and would be removed.   The tax code will no longer be abused because it will be too simple.

Good idea, right?

Why is this an Un-Fair Tax?

The proposed national taxation rate is 23%.

Healthcare is taxed.  Mortgages are taxed.  Food and water are taxed.  Paychecks are not taxed; you will get every cent that you earn.  The federal’s lion share will be taken when ANY goods are bought, ANYWHERE.  Herman Cain outlines this himself, under the cloak of propaganda.

For the bottom ninety percent of the population this is a drastic tax increase.  For example, those in the bottom quintile will see their taxes increase by 460 percent.  Prices of goods will rise by 23% percent, counteracting pay raises, because business will need to keep profitable.  People do not win back a piece of their paycheck, they just lose government reimbursement.

Cain claims that his “prebates” will reimburse Americans so they can buy what they need, placing them at the poverty line.  Therefore, EVERYONE who does not currently pay above 23% will be driven down to the poverty line. That includes you.

Herman Cain and his “Fair Tax” are will enslave Americans, one overpriced purchase at a time.  Americans will just stop spending money, creating widespread deflation and winning Cain a recession.

Part 2: Cain allegedly supports silencing minority religions.

Democrats and Republicans Playing Chicken With the American Economy: How Polarized Bipartisanship In Congress Will Decimate Critical Concerns (Like Issuing Social Security Checks and Staving Off A Double Dip Recession)

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FDR on Social Security

Social Security: The Primary Financial Safety Net For Retirees

American seniors will be the first casualties of the debt limit; followed sequentially by Wall Street, the domestic economy, and finally the international economy.  President Obama and Senator Henry Reid’s ultimatum to the stubborn Republicans is that unless the public debt ceiling is raised the country will be forced to halt transfer of social security checks.  Both sides have agreed to reduce the increasing debt, however the specific amount is debated, fluctuating in the trillions.  The time for procrastination is running out.  If the August 2, 2011 deadline is not met the American dollar will become worthless as credit rating agencies, like Moody’s, will no longer support the Federal Reserve.  Not to fear monger, but this a potentially catastrophic financial disaster that stems from several men being unable to agree on a set of numbers.

What is the Democrats Positions?

The Democrats have united around Obama and the Democrats Congress Leaders.  Their unified polices have forwarded relatively generous offers to the Republicans.  Talks have been breaking down at this point, as they are repeatedly snubbed.  Their offers have been denied, there fair deals do not meet the requisites of the Republicans.  They are collectively determined to stay strong and stay the course; their economics work and will sustain the country and they know that their generous deals that they have submitted are feasible.  They just have to get the Republicans to agree.

What is the Republicans Position?

Despite the necessity for tax hikes Republicans uniformly oppose any new taxes.  This is where coordination break down, various factions of the GOP are each concocting their increasing implausible schemes to propose on the Senate floor.  They cannot create a coalition policy that might be taken seriously.

The crisis has become a ammo for the campaigns of the Republican candidates.  Romney pleads for cutting and capping of federal spending. Bachmann has accused Obama of holding the government hostage to continue the government’s spending spree.  Just like the senators, there specifics disagree while their cause does not.

This will result in their demands being painfully denied.

What is the Probable Resolution?

The Republicans  will cave at the last second, giving away a deal that is much less favorable towards them than what they originally rejected.  Their “non new revenue” rhetoric has shown negatively in the public’s eye.  Polls heavily favor the Democrats, because they have appear reasonable and open to debate while the republicans have been demanding ridiculous cuts that will do more harm than good.  Without public backing or good economics their situation is unsustainable and they will have to cave.

In the, unthinkable, event that Republican leaders carry out this game of chicken till it finality,  the result will be their own self-destruction.  There will be a the initiation of the second dip in a double dip recession on August 2, 2011.  The investors on Wall Street will panic as their traditional stable government mishandled the largest debt in the world and endangers national security.  Social Security checks will stop coming, granny will start starving.  Millions of Section 8 tenants will be tossed out in the streets until the government checks come.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with their millions of mortgages, shut down.   Protests will be held, riots will form.  We will all remember the event with a few days of anarchy until the Republican leadership can recover what little sense they have left.  Unless, of course, their million dollar mansions are burned down with them in it.

What is Public Debt and How Has it Accumulated?

Whenever a spending deficit in the government occurs, such as when finances for federal programs exceeds tax revenue, Congress covers the excess with bonds; these bonds are the source of public debt.  It is not in the best interests of governments to issue bonds unless pressed because every bond, even with inflation, pays off more money than it takes to buy one.  The government loses money on every bond.

Why Would the Government Have Any Public Debt?

Historically, only when clear and present threats to national security emerge are bonds issued.  These finance the war effort and allow the nation to persist.  This is fine and encouraged.  Issues arise first when public debt is unnecessarily accumulated and the danger of the national debt ceiling.  The debt ceiling is the amount set by Congress that can be withdrawn; defaulting or going over the national debt is unthinkable.  The consequences would freeze international investing, because nobody will be able to rely on the Federal Reserve.

Why is the Debt Hitting the Debt Ceiling?

Unnecessarily accumulation by fiscally inept leaders.  Our last president, George Bush exuberantly quarterbacked  two of the most long and expensive wars of our time while engaging in risky self promoting publicity stunts, such as the Bush Tax Cuts.  These terrible money hoarding policies dealt stole trillions of dollars from the majority of the American tax payers, funneling it to the richest Americans.  Collectively, these policies led us down the wrong path, creation short-term economic gains at great expense for those who suffer in the 2008 recession.  Financially, this is major defeat, comparable to Battle of Waterloo or the baseball curse that halts the Cubs from ever winning a World Series.  Politically, it bought him his second term.

EPA Under Fire From Renewed Republican Assault

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The Republican party is once again assaulting the Environmental Protection Agency; determined to vanquish is chiefly Democratic foe.  They claim that this wayward agency inhibits progress for America and should be swiftly done away with to benefit the economy.  Meanwhile the Democrats are fiercely defending their agency, rightfully claiming that it is one of the greatest protectors of American life.

What Controversy Has Reignited This Attack?

Recently, the Environmental Protection agency has been actively fighting Global Warming.  This ominous threat to humanity, taken from the greenhouse gases of the international industry, will result in higher sea levels, flooded cities, expanding deserts, and eroding farmlands. However, this crusade for the betterment of humanity has been met with stiff opposition from the Republicans, who control the House of Representatives.  Without their consent progress in defeating global warming will be brought to a standstill; the EPA has been increasing desperate and  demanding

In response notable TEA Party Republicans proposed 18% budget cuts that would paralyze the agency.  Should these measures pass all efforts to counteract global warming will be brought to a standstill.

Why are Republicans Opposed to Global Warming and the EPA?

The Republican party is a chiefly conservative party; their core values instruct them to shrink the government and allow laissez-faire to flourish in America, creating a “paradise” where each individual would dictate their own fate without being weighed  down by taxes that would benefit their lessers.  They are favored by the large corporations, who would greatly profit by deregulation of the government.  These deregulations have resulted in every single recession in world history. By eliminating government oversight of these companies expensive issues snowballed out of control, such as the dot-com recession or the sub-prime loam recession.

The EPA wants to place stringent regulations on polluting industry, using the Clean Air Act they intend to stem the emitted greenhouse gases and weaken the magnitude of global warming.  This will result in slightly higher costs for American industries, they will be taxed heavily for greenhouse gas emissions.  Through their political pressure they have delayed this rightful responsibility, using the Republican party as a shield to protect their own financial interests.  As long at these the reforms of the Clean Air Act are held up they will not be taxed, saving them millions of dollars today at the expense of trillions of dollars tomorrow.

What Will Be the People’s Response?

Outrage, riots, election of new senators (if they value their own lives).  Global warming will threaten the coming generations, and today’s innocent individuals.  Already America is suffering from the global warming; critical crops are in short supply, worsening weather conditions, in addition to increased pollutant poisoning our children.  The corporations have always been stood for money, the people must stand for their lives.  As long as the people vote in politicians that favor these corporations over them these tragedies will continue to strengthen, in number and magnitude.

 

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