February 23, 2012
February 23, 2012
By Dylan Charles
“This is an interesting article – especially after we just had the fifth millionth GOP debate. Talk about a waste of energy.” –KTRN
From grade school on we are taught to appreciate the American government and its civic processes as the cornerstone of freedom in the world, the ‘shining beacon on the hill.’ We are taught how to pledge allegiance to and revere a flag. We are told that goodness will prevail if we all just participate heartily and enthusiastically, playing by the rules.
We grow up believing that a basic responsibility of being born a human on planet earth is to participate in all of this political activity, and likewise, we are taught that non-participation is irresponsible, lazy, deplorable even. And so as good citizens do, many of us participate.
So, perhaps you’ve donated money to a political campaign or ran for public office. Maybe you’ve staffed for a political party or organized at the grass roots level. Maybe you’ve even joined the electoral process as a delegate, gone to your County or State convention, or just showed up with signs at the polls. Perhaps you’ve written your Congressman once or twice.
But is all this frenzy of well-intentioned activity doing our society any good or providing hope for a better future for our posterity?
Is it possible that our electoral system is cleverly designed to exhaust our positive, community-minded energies and to pacify our violent human will to live the prosperous and peaceful lives we deserve?
Could it be that the resources and energy we have applied to this social mechanism have been squandered in one of the greatest opportunity costs of all time?
Actually, when looking at politics as a drain on society, it becomes rather easy to conclude that we may be indeed wasting our greatest potential for societal progress in this endless game of ego satiation and public parade. Furthermore, it appears that the hidden costs of our political efforts have been quite vast, and have had many detrimental effects to our collective psyche and identity.
Politics devours time, energy and resources that could be spent elsewhere.
Politics creates widespread division amongst the populace by providing us with few choices and then positioning those choices as mutually exclusive enemies.
Politics nullifies the value of society’s potentially most effective members by forcing passionate, community-oriented individuals into a rigid arena that demands conformity and ultimately defers to entrenched power cliques.
Politics falsely empowers the thoughtless by providing an arena for people to believe they are positively impacting the world by simply pressing a button or checking a box when told to do so.
January 24, 2012
By CALVIN WOODWARD
“You mean Newt Gingrich said something that wasn’t true?” –KTRN
Newt Gingrich called rival Mitt Romney a “terrible historian” but flubbed his own history in Congress on Monday night when he claimed the nation ran four consecutive budget surpluses during his time as House speaker. Romney attacked Gingrich’s financial links to Freddie Mac while ignoring his own.
The accusations were fast out of the gate in the latest Republican presidential debate, and reality got tromped in the process.
A look at some of claims and how they compare with the facts:
GINGRICH: “When I was speaker, we had four consecutive balanced budgets.”
THE FACTS: Actually, two.
The four straight years of budget surpluses were 1998 through 2001. Gingrich left Congress in 1999, so he only had a hand in surpluses for his last two years. The budget ran deficits for his first two years as speaker.
The highest surplus of that four-year string came in budget year 2000, after Gingrich was out of office.
Overall, the national debt went up during the four years Gingrich was speaker. In January 1995, when he assumed the leadership position, the gross national debt was $4.8 trillion. When he left four years later, it was $5.6 trillion, an increase of $800 billion.
ROMNEY: “I don’t think we can possibly retake the White House if the person who’s leading our party is the person who was working for the chief lobbyist of Freddie Mac. Freddie Mac was paying Speaker Gingrich $1.6 million at the same time Freddie Mac was costing the people of Florida millions upon millions of dollars.”
January 20, 2012
By David Espo
The race for the Republican presidential nomination took a turn toward the South Carolina surreal Thursday as Rick Perry dropped out, Newt Gingrich faced stunning allegations from an ex-wife and Mitt Romney struggled to maintain a shaky front-runner’s standing.
An aggressive evening debate capped the bewildering day.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum played aggressor for much of the night, trying to inject himself into what seemed increasingly like a two-way race with little more than a day remaining until the South Carolina polls open on Saturday. He accused Gingrich and Romney of “playing footsies with the left” when it came to health care. Both men rejected the allegations.
The debate began a few hours after first word that Romney had been stripped of his Iowa caucus victory, only to be stung a few hours later by Perry’s withdrawal and endorsement of Gingrich.
Gingrich, in turn, was accused by an ex-wife of seeking an open marriage so he could keep his mistress.
“Newt’s not perfect, but who among us is,” said Perry, abruptly quitting the race just before the first-in-the-South primary.
His decision to end a once-promising candidacy left Romney, Gingrich, Santorum and Texas Rep. Ron Paul the remaining contenders in the race to pick a Republican to challenge Democratic President Barack Obama this fall.
Nine hours after Perry exited one stage, the four remaining contenders walked onto another for a final pre-primary debate.
Gingrich angrily denounced the news media for putting his ex-wife front and center in the final days of the race. “Let me be clear, the story is false,” he said. Santorum, Romney and Paul steered well clear of the controversy. “Let’s get onto the real issues, that’s all I’ve got to say,” said Romney, although he pointed out that he and his wife, Ann, have been married for 42 years.
January 18, 2012
By Steve Watson
“Notice how the reporter had to clarify why Ron Paul did so good at this poll.” –KTRN
The dirty tricks campaign against GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul reached new heights during the South Carolina debate last night, with virtual exclusion from the first 40 minutes of the program, poisonous questions in the second half, and a cringe inducing situation during the post debate analysis where Fox pundits were forced to admit that Paul had completely wiped the floor with the other candidates.
During the post debate commentary, Fox reporter John Roberts blatantly excluded Paul from the charts and graphs he presented representing feedback from viewers.
The results of Twitter surveys on which candidate had most accurately answered questions and who had performed the best were displayed with Ron Paul’s name nowhere to be seen.
Almost one hour later, Roberts was called upon to go over the results one more time, after floods of complaints from viewers asking why Paul had been left out.
“John, you caused a fury in my world.” Fox anchor Harris Faulkner began. “I have a bone to pick with you. You left off Ron Paul.” she added, before Roberts attempted to slime out of the fact hat he had totally excluded Paul from his results tally by saying that because Ron Paul won by huge margins in every category, it was unnecessary to report on it!
Roberts then went through each debate topic again with Paul added to the graphic. As he explained the result Roberts downplayed and skipped over Ron Paul’s figures in every category, causing Harris Faulkner to interject.
“John, can I stop you right there because I’m getting real time feedback.” Faulkner said. “Ron Paul did not just do well, he did the best from that chart. I just want to be fair because people are watching for this.” she added.
Roberts then laughed out loud and flippantly said “his bars are bigger than everyone else’s, we report you decide.” before once again mocking Paul’s performance as he continued the presentation.
January 16, 2012
By Stephen Dinan
It’s official: Congress ended its least-productive year in modern history after passing 80 bills — fewer than during any other session since year-end records began being kept in 1947.
Furthermore, an analysis by The Washington Times of the scope of such activities as time spent in debate, number of conference reports produced and votes taken on the House and Senate floors found that Congress set a record for legislative futility by accomplishing less in 2011 than any other year in history.
The Senate’s record was weakest by a huge margin, according to the futility index, and the House had its 10th-worst session on record.
Of the bills the 112th Congress did pass, the majority were housekeeping measures, such as naming post office buildings or extending existing laws. Sometimes, it was too difficult for the two chambers to hammer out agreements. More often, the Senate failed to reach agreement within the chamber.
That left much of the machinery of the federal government on autopilot, with the exception of spending, where monumental clashes dominated the legislative session.
“Absent unified party control with a bolstered Senate majority, I think it’s just very hard to get things done, particularly in a period when revenues aren’t growing and the decisions are how to cut, and how to cut in the long term,” said Sarah Binder, who studies Congress as a Brookings Institution scholar and professor at George Washington University. “Congress just isn’t very good at solving long-term problems.”
The futility record could be short-lived. The full House returns from a monthlong Christmas break on Tuesday to begin the second session, but all sides expect election-year paralysis, meaning some of the usually routine bills may run into trouble.
December 12, 2011
Check out all of Ron Paul’s comments in the GOP debate from December 10, 2011. He got around 13 minutes of speaking time at this debate. Not too shabby. -KTRN
September 13th, 2011
The Washington Post
By: Don Balz and Nia-Malika Henderson
Texas Gov. Rick Perry found himself on the defensive in a Republican presidential debate here Monday night, pilloried for suggesting that states should take over Social Security, attacked for trying to mandate vaccinations for young girls and roundly criticized for immigration policies he has supported in his state.
Some of the attacks came from former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who is Perry’s principal rival for the party’s nomination. But in contrast to a candidates debate in California last week, the criticism was just as strong and at times stronger from some of the other contenders.
As with last week’s forum, it’s doubtful that Monday’s two-hour exchange will fundamentally alter the trajectory of the GOP race. But it signaled that, as long as Perry is leading opinion surveys, he is likely to be challenged by his rivals from both the left and the right.
Romney led the charge on Social Security and the economy. But Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), former Utah governor Jon Huntsman Jr., former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) and at times Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) tried to derail the campaign of the candidate who has leapt to the top of the polls since his entry last month.
Bachmann appeared especially eager to take Perry down, having had her own campaign damaged by his candidacy. During the two-hour debate, co-hosted by CNN and the Tea Party Express, Bachmann looked to reclaim her standing as the favorite of tea party activists and to prompt doubts about Perry’s bona fides.
Perry stood his ground throughout the evening, whether on Social Security or questions raised about Romney on his job-creation record in Texas. On immigration, he affirmed his opposition to building a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border and his support for providing in-state college tuition for children of illegal immigrants — but the issue threatens to continue to dog him in the race.
Only on his support for vaccinating young girls against cervical cancer did he allow that he would do things differently if he could. But he said he was motivated by the need to save lives. That did not satisfy his rivals.
The debate helped to underscore divisions between the establishment and tea party wings of the party, and the battle for tea party support will continue to be an important subplot of the nomination fight.
On Social Security, Romney and Perry picked up where they left off last week. Romney challenged Perry to to say whether he still stood by what he wrote in his recent book about turning the federal retirement program over to the states.
He accused the Texas governor of scaring senior citizens by calling the program a “Ponzi scheme” and an “absolute failure.” Perry said it was Romney trying to scare people with his criticism.
Perry went to some lengths to soften some of his previous remarks. In his opening words on the topic, he sought to assure those who are receiving Social Security and those who are close to retirement. He promised a “slam-dunk guarantee” that neither group would see its benefits cut. But for younger workers, he said it is essential for the country to face the program’s financial problems.
Today, Kevin reveals the truth behind celebrity endorsements that they don’t want you to know about! Plus, find out what happened to a listener after mentioning Kevin Trudeau’s name in front of the chairman of Domino’s Pizza.
Take Trudeau on the Go! Click here to download this show to your iPod, mp3 player, or PC through iTunes!
March 21st, 2011
By: Ken and Daria Dolan
If you needed any more proof that our state, local and federal budget spending is out of control, here it is. In an effort to get out from under record deficits and support their spending habits, politicians from Seattle to New York and everywhere in between have cooked up some outrageous taxes.
Some of these taxes are already on the books, some are just up for debate, but all show you just how far politicians will go to put a little moreta of your money in their pockets.
Let’s start with so-called “sin taxes,” which have always been popular with politicians. Taxing items seen as vices–such as smoking, drinking and gambling — is seen as an easy way to raise tax revenue. But the definition of “sin” seems to be expanding…
Here’s proof that some politicians are a few cards short of a full deck. Anyone who purchases a deck of cards in the state of Alabama must pay a “card tax” of 10 cents. However, the law claims that the tax must be levied on the purchase of any deck containing “no more than 54 cards” so if you are lucky enough to find a deck with 55 cards, you’re home free! Really, how much money can this possibly raise?!
In Utah, any businesses where “nude or partially nude individuals perform any service” have to pay a 10% sales and use tax. This tax is applied to all revenue from admission fees as well as merchandise, food, drink and “services” sales.
As part of the controversial Patient Protections and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (better known as healthcare reform), there is now a 10% excise tax on using a tanning salon. This tax is expected to raise a surprising $2.7 billion dollars over 10 years.
Be careful what you eat in Kentucky or it can cost you. There is now a sales tax on any food classified as candy. But the definition of candy is controverisal — under Kentucky’s definition, a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup is candy, but a Milky Way is not. Huh?
The tax is also snaring some seemingly healthy foods. If a breakfast bar contains natural or artificial sweeteners along with fruits, nuts or other healthy ingredients, but has no flour and doesn’t need refrigeration, it’s considered candy and is subject to sales tax. But breakfast cereals with exactly the same ingredients are not considered candy and are not taxed.
After 20 years of living, working and raising a family in New York City, nothing surprises us. But the city certainly has cooked up some outrageous new taxes. We doubt any of these will do much to help them dig out of their massive budget deficit, but let’s take a look…
In January, the New York City Fire Department proposed a new “crash tax.” The proposal, which stirred up a very heated debate, calls for a $500 fine for anyone in an accident requiring emergency response vehicles at the scene.
Haunted House Tax
Here’s a new tax that would scare any reasonable person. If a haunted house includes music and the admission charge is more than 10 cents, then sales tax applies. Yet New York, the home of one of the greatest theater arts communities in the world, doesn’t tax musical comedies, operas or chamber music shows. Go figure.
New York is cracking down on enforcing the tax on prepared food. One of their targets: the beloved bagel. If you buy a whole bagel and take it home with you, it’s tax free. But, if you purchase a bagel to eat at the bagel shop, you’ll have to pay sales tax.
A New Kind of Death Tax
As of January 1, 2011 it costs money to die in Seattle. King County, which includes Seattle, has instituted a $50 fee for reporting a death to the Medical Examiner’s Office. If you don’t pay, you don’t get the permission and paperwork needed in order to be buried.
There is now an annual tax on brand name pharmaceutical companies. This is a tax on corporations, not individual taxpayers, that’s expected to generate $2.5 billion in 2011. But you better believe the cost of this new tax will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices for the brand name drugs we buy.
New FSA Tax
If you use a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) that lets you pay for medical expenses with pre-tax money, brace yourself for new restrictions. New Flexible Spending Account (FSA) rules will limit the amount you can set aside tax-free to just $2,500 starting in 2013. That amounts to a tax increase on anyone who currently uses an FSA to pay for healthcare costs over that $2,500 cap.
With budget deficits reaching a crisis point, we think you’ll see plenty of new and outrageous taxes coming your way. We should all pay our fair share, but make sure you’re not paying one penny more! Take every tax deduction you’re entitled to and make those tax deductions airtight!