I’m down in London visiting my family and so I have taken a short time off blogging.
Giving up smoking was pretty easy, although I have “cheated” and had a total of two cigarettes in the whole time I have not been smoking.
It’s been a bad time to relax from blogging, Wikileaks leaked. Assange became the enemy of the State and mad Palin supporters want him hunted down like a terrorist, however as stupid Palin supporters want people who disagree with them hunted down as terrorists that is no surprise.
Student finance cuts/reform proved to be the biggest issue the coalition government faced. Given the Housing Benefit cuts resulted in almost no opposition it proves that a governemnt can shaft the poor but nothing happens but mess with the middle class and wealthy going to university a British (Tory) Governemnt is likely to face riots.
In the US Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has been repealed and some Republicans gained some common sense and voted for the new START Treaty signed by the US President. A precedent of not signing off on Treaties just because the other Party signed it was probably too far for for those with some brains.
It has been a very mixed year and for me I look forward to a new year with hopefully much better contracts.
So to all of you the best for the Holiday Season and a Merry Christmas to those who follow it. Here’s hoping 2011 brings wealth and hapiness to you.
All Best Wishes
I think it’s important to know just how hard our elected officials are working, and maybe more importantly, just for whom they are working so hard.
A recent survey conducted by CBS News indicates that only 26% of American adults want to extend the Bush tax cuts for those families making over $250K yearly. This is the most recent poll, and previous polls showed the percentage wanting to extend the tax cuts for all to be higher than 26%, but never more than 40%, and always below that percentage wishing to let them expire for the rich.
But let us not be deceived – $250K is not, in practice, actually $250K. That is the dollar amount only for those taking the standard deductions. The reality is that very few people making that much money file a 1040EZ. Most people in this category itemize, deducting mortgage interest, state and local taxes, business expenses and many other possible deductions and tax credits. Therefore, families making well in excess of $300,000 would not see a tax increase at all. According to the Tax Policy Center, only about 2% of American households would end up paying higher tax rates in the event they expired only for the wealthy. And only 3% of businesses would be affected, with many of these not what most people think of as a “small business” in either scope or size.
Besides, as if the Reagan and Bush the Lesser Recessions were not proof enough, statistic prove that the wealthy do not “reinvest” these tax savings back into the economy – they hoard it. Look at it this way: if you were to inherit $25,000 from a rich and benevolent relative, you’d probably spend almost every penny of it by paying debts, upgrading your car, sending your kids to college, donating to your church, etc., etc. However, if a multi-millionaire were to inherit the same $25,000, it would most likely go into his investment portfolio. It is a fact that the working class spend a much higher percentage of their income than the wealthy.
Though the official numbers won’t be out for a while yet, we do know that the number of registered Democrats who voted last month was markedly less than the number of registered Republicans that voted. I simply continue to wonder how long it will take for those working-class Republican voters to realize for whom their candidates are working so hard.
The Pentagon has released the result of its year-long study about whether or not to allow gays to openly serve in the American military. The conclusion is that the repeal of DADT would not adversely affect the effectiveness of our fighting forces. It took a year and millions of tax dollars to demonstrate to homophobic bigots what the rational minded already knew – that is sexual orientation has no relation to one’s ability to perform any job, even combat.
I’ve written about this before, and many of you know I’m a 17-year Army veteran with a couple of combat tours. I’ve known several gay soldiers during my career, and I have nothing but respect for them, and there isn’t a one of them that I wouldn’t want next to me in a foxhole when the shit hit the fan.
The only real question that needed to be answered for the public was whether or not non-gay soldiers could handle integration of openly gay soldiers into the ranks. Many of the same arguments against gays were the exact same arguments used by bigots against integrating blacks into the service years ago. The more educated and open-minded (read “liberals”) people have always realized there was no other rationale for holding to archaic and discriminatory practices.
Elected Republican officials really had little choice but to either skirt the issue or speak out against the repeal, or risk angering their small-minded, or religious right base. Arizona Senator John McCain was one of those speaking out against it. I couldn’t tell if this is an issue he feels strongly about or not. Since his chameleon-like change of color on his ideology to suit the whims the ever-vocal Tea Party and religious right, I’m no longer sure what he believes. I used to have a great deal of respect for him because of his willingness to reach across the aisle on issues, as opposed to pandering to the party line. (For my right-wing readers, that does not mean he didn’t have “values”. In fact, it means he was more committed to his values than he was to his party – something all of our politicians could do more of.)
I don’t really believe there will be any other outcome than that gays will be able to serve openly and honorably in our nation’s defense. It is only a matter of time. I’m glad to see this happening. It is, however, a shame that it is taking this long and that the fight has been this hard.