Thanks to The Bronx Cheer for turning me onto a different kind of blog, Military Motivator, a site which just cracks me up because my current employers are really into those exact motivational posters.
Rudy Giuliani has just released a blueprint for his candidacy which he calls his "Twelve Commitments to the American People." And they are:
I will keep America on offense in the Terrorists’ War on Us. I will end illegal immigration, secure our borders, and identify every non-citizen in our nation. I will restore fiscal discipline and cut wasteful Washington spending. I will cut taxes and reform the tax code. I will impose accountability on Washington. I will lead America towards energy independence. I will give Americans more control over, and access to, healthcare with affordable and portable free-market solutions. I will increase adoptions, decrease abortions, and protect the quality of life for our children. I will reform the legal system and appoint strict constructionist judges. I will ensure that every community in America is prepared for terrorist attacks and natural disasters. I will provide access to a quality education to every child in America by giving real school choice to parents. I will expand America’s involvement in the global economy and strengthen our reputation around the world.
Edwards wants to repeal them right now. Obama has already spent them. Does anyone remember what the allowing the Bush Tax Cuts to come back to life would mean? George Will:
The five income tax brackets (10, 25, 28, 33 and 35 percent) will be increased 50, 12, 10.7, 9.1 and 13.1 percent, respectively, to 15, 28, 31, 36 and 39.6 percent. The child tax credit reverts to $500 from $1,000. The estate tax rate, which falls to zero in 2009, will snap back to a 60 percent maximum, and exemptions that have increased will decrease. The capital gains rate will rise, and the marriage penalty will be revived, as will the double taxation of dividends.
Dem's & Lefties have been moaning about the "tax cuts for the rich" for so long now that alot of folks just believe it. But if you look at that paragraph above, there's a really good chance that you're in it. YOU, my friend, and your friends and neighbors, are going to get creamed if the Bush Tax Cuts are allowed to expire.
And the Democrats have all publicly and repeatedly condemned the Bush Tax Cuts.
Have a kid? Are you married? Do you have a job? Are you going to inherit anything in the next couple of decades? Own stocks or mutual funds? Have a pension? Or do you plan on having any of those happy conditions at any time in your life? If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, then the Dem's have promised to increase your taxes. There is no doubt that they would make good on such a promise. They will try to sell it as taxes for the rich, but me and the rest of us on the Right will be here to let folks know how they're being swindled.
You can count on us.
There's a lot the President has not done to my satisfaction, but this time-delayed IED of expiring tax cuts is one of his greatest tricks. It is going to go off right under the up-armored HUMVEE of the Democrat campaign. I love it when a plan comes together.
I suppose I should be grateful the State of Florida is discussing ways to cut my taxes, rather than lower them. It's just that there were a couple of really good ideas out there a few months ago, and now a rather lame and complicated scheme is coming out on top.
Public Enemy #1: Susan Latvala.
"You always fear the worst, but I'm pleasantly surprised and optimistic," said Pinellas County Commissioner Susan Latvala, who as president of the Florida Association of Counties has been a leading voice against drastic tax reductions.
It galls me to hear a public official faced with the specter of tax cuts wail about impossibility. Bull. Susan, you did in fact run the County 5 years ago on the 2002 budget, and you could again. Susan, you're a nice lady to meet at a cocktail party, but you're ruining people's lives with your heavy taxes. You're more like a Sheriff of Nottingham than a county commissioner.
The plan has two major components. One is a rollback of tax revenues for local governments, and the other is a sharp expansion of the state's homestead exemption...
It was commercial landowners, snowbirds and landlords who cried the loudest last summer for a break in property taxes because their bills have risen fastest. Yet, almost two-thirds of the new savings go to homesteaders...
And there were new fears Friday about cuts to local school budgets. While Pruitt and Rubio pledged to hold schools harmless in the tax deal, the proposal would cut school budgets by $7.1-billion over the next five years. Lawmakers will have to find a way to replace that money.
"This is very unsettling and gives us a queasy feeling," said Mark Pudlow, spokesman for the Florida Education Association. "It's kind of 'trust us' deal."
Man, I HATE those greedy school people. Loathe them. Despise them. Greedy manipulative liars...
The biggest challenge politically will be winning approval in the Legislature for the new "super" homestead exemption. Tinkering with the homestead exemption, available only to primary residences, means changing the state Constitution. That requires a three-fourths majority in the House and Senate, plus voter approval.
Under the proposal released Friday, the current $25,000 flat exemption would be replaced by a system that provides a 75 percent exemption on the first $200,000 in home value. The next $300,000 would get an additional 15 percent exemption. So a home valued at $400,000 would be taxed on only $220,000.
A minimum exemption of $50,000 would be guaranteed.
Longtime homeowners who already have especially low tax bills because of the Save Our Homes cap on annual assessments would be allowed to keep their existing tax bill...
Aside from the local government rollback, businesses get relatively few benefits, including an exemption of $25, 000 in taxes on equipment.
The local government tax rate rollback will be easier to enact because it requires only a straight majority vote of the Legislature before being sent to the governor. Under the proposal, property tax revenues for city and county budgets for the coming fiscal year 2007-2008, which begins Oct. 1, would freeze at the current year's level.
Each local government would also have to make additional cuts to their property tax revenues of either 3, 5, 7 or 9 percent, depending on how much they had raised taxes between 2001 and 2006.
The rollback plan would generate an average saving for all property owners of about 6 or 7 percent in the first year.
Future tax revenue growth would be capped by the rate of personal income growth and population in a city or county. City and county elected officials could break the limitations through a supermajority vote...
The problems with this plan are:
It's not enough.
It's not fair.
1.) Local governments are not being forced to take any significant cuts. 7%? give me a break. Latvala, her cronies and fellow fool travelers have been on a spending spree of Neronic orgiastic proportions. 7%? Latvala has raised local spending 75% over the past 5 or so years. The idea of capping spending at this year's budget level is outrageous and misses the point entirely. Those fools need to be forced to CUT SPENDING.
2.) Taxes should be paid by every one. They should be spread fairly. They should bear some relationship to what they cost. As with the existing tax system, the new proposal would have it so that two identical condominiums, side by side in the same complex, could have vastly different tax bills because one is lived in full-time and the other only seasonally. Guess who pays a lot more? The seasonal one. That's what the "homestead" is all about, and it's grossly unfair. Same with business properties.
People are starting to leave the state, especially snow birds and businesses who have choices. They have been royally screwed by rising taxes in the last few years, and this proposal does nothing to fix that. If they should start leaving in great numbers, and should their exodus create falling property values, I wonder what Susan Latvala would do then?
Got that? More taxes on income, capital gains, dividends, and a hike in the estate tax. Assuming that all those tax hikes are enough to come up with $50-65 billion according to Obama's own estimates, which one would assume are probably as lowball as he thinks he can get away with - if they don't raise enough revenue or the program is more expensive, he will keep digging. And that's just to pay for one program - remember that any time he proposes anything else from here on, he has to come up with money from somewhere else besides these tax hikes, having already spent them.
The Democrat campaigns seem so plastic and faded to me. I'm glad there are other people willing to pay attention to this stuff so I don't have to.
I voted twice for this man and his abdication of the most fundamental executive responsibility, to protect our country from foreign invasion, is cause for regret.
Talk is cheap. The most responsible course of action that this president can take on immigration is to do nothing. Leave it for the next president. Focus on Iraq and then go home.
Signing this bill would render what little good he has done meaningless by comparison.
I wish he were already gone.
The bottom line for the many, many conservatives who've become estranged is this: They just plain don't trust the government to do any enforcement of any immigration restrictions. End of story. The Feds have had 6-1/2 years to seal the border but haven't. The White House has no chance to regain their trust -- it's just too late for that. They can't build fences or hire border agents in the time President Bush has left. But the Republican senators and Representatives can salvage their connection to the conservatives by simply breaking the immigration bill down into a logical progression.
Close the border. AFTER that's done and only after that's done,
Comprehensive immigration reform that does not include amnesty.
Overwhelming majorities of Americans don't want amnesty for illegal aliens. We want them to go home and get to the back of the line. (Personally, I'd put a moratorium on Mexicans -- Mexico has been a bad neighbor.) We do NOT want them to stay here and wait at the back of an imaginary line while they renew their shiny new Z-visas for life. The obvious way to get those folks to self-deport is through proper identification and strict work place enforcement.
I strongly doubt the Senate will get the garbage out of the bill, and if they don't I expect it will die in the house. And that's a shame because the status quo stinks.
From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli. We fight our country’s battles in the air, on land and sea. First to fight for right and freedom, and to keep our honor clean; We are proud to claim the title of United States Marine.
That’s from the Marine Corps Hymn, of course, and you can thank me for not singing it. When I was a boy, a lot of America kids knew that verse — and probably a few more. I hope they still do, but I get the impression that might not be the case.
U.S. Marines patrol the street in Ramadi, 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, April 8, 2007. U.S. forces have tried just about everything to quell the Sunni insurgency in the capital of blood-soaked Anbar province, and after years of some of the fiercest street fighting of the war, something finally appears to have worked: Ramadi, at least by Ramadi standards, is calm.
That’s one reason I’d like to spend some time talking about the heritage this song represents. Another reason is that the lyrics hold a history lesson critical to America’s future. I realize a lot of you already know this material, but indulge me for the sake of those who might not.
The very first line written for the Marine Corps Hymn, about the shores of Tripoli, refers to America’s first foreign war. After the Revolution, U.S. ships were sailing the world in search of trade without British protection. With no real navy to protect our merchants and travelers, American vessels and citizens were being targeted for looting, enslavement and ransom. The enemy was the so-called Barbary pirates — agents of the North African provinces of the Ottoman Caliphate.
Ransom and protection money were demanded and paid. Stories of terrible treatment of American men and women in the dungeons of North Africa were well known. Behind it all, the country was having a pro- and antiwar debate.
On the one hand were those who took the “no blood for trade” approach. They had legitimate concerns about the cost and political impact of maintaining a standing military. They favored negotiations and payments rather than fighting. For a long time, their side was winning the argument. In 1786, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams even went to London to negotiate directly with the envoy from Tripoli.
Several historians and writers have reminded us recently of the ambassador’s nearly forgotten answer. Fortunately, Jefferson prepared a written report for the government and left other records of the incident. Here’s a description from The Atlantic Monthly in 1872:
Disguising their feelings as best they could, they ‘took the liberty to make some inquiries concerning the ground of the pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury.’ The ambassador replied that it was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave.” He claimed every one of their guys who was “slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise.
This answer may have helped sway the debate to the side of those who favored military response over further attempts at diplomacy. Some believe it had a personal impact on Jefferson himself, though higher and higher ransoms probably helped too. Congress finally acted, creating the U.S. Navy in 1794. This included approval for the construction and manning of six frigate warships, including the USS Constitution — which is afloat and commissioned to this day.
Still, though, congress refused to act directly against the Barbary pirates for years. Eventually, between 10 and 20 percent of U.S. revenues would be paid annually without ever buying actual safety for Americans. In the end, Thomas Jefferson acted on his own, sending forces into harm’s way. America entered into its first and protracted foreign war. From beginning to end, in fact, the conflict lasted approximately 14 years. I couldn’t tell you, by the way, if the Barbary wars were ever described as a “quagmire” or “lost.”
I won’t describe here the taking of Tripoli by courageous American soldiers. And I sure don’t have time to talk about America’s eventual victory over the forces of that era’s religiously justified terrorism. I would though encourage you to read about it for yourself. It’s a great story and it holds an important lesson about the nature of the world.
Sometimes folks around the world mock Americans for not having more of a sense of history. They might be right, but I think it is often for a good reason. Americans are a people who look to the future instead of the past. We hope and believe that things can and will get better. We are more than willing to forgive our old enemies and move forward together in peace. So we tend to forget the bad things we left behind.
Unfortunately, some of our enemies feel differently. They neither forgive nor forget. Listening to the messages of al Qaeda’s leaders, you understand that they see their old defeats in very personal and contemporary terms. They are in a “long war” against us, even if we don’t know it. And they’re committed to winning it.
LOOK OVER THE DESCRIPTIONS OF THE FOLLOWING TWO HOUSES AND SEE IF YOU CAN TELL WHICH BELONGS TO AN ENVIRONMENTALIST.
HOUSE # 1:
A 20-room mansion (not including 8 bathrooms) heated by natural gas. Add on a pool (and a pool house) and a separate guest house all heated by gas. In ONE MONTH ALONE this mansion consumes more energy than the average American household in an ENTIRE YEAR. The average bill for electricity and naturalgas runs over $2,400.00 per month. In natural gas alone (which last time wechecked was a fossil fuel), this property consumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home. This house is not in a northern or Midwestern "snow belt," either. It's in the South.
HOUSE # 2:
Designed by an architecture professor at a leading national university, this house incorporates every "green" feature current home construction can provide. The house contains only 4,000 square feet [I've heard from other sources it's a lot bigger than that - THC] (4 bedrooms) and is nestled on arid high prairie in the American southwest. A central closet in the house holds geothermal heat pumps drawing ground water through pipes sunk 300 feet into the ground. The water (usually 67 degrees F.) heats the house in winter and cools it in summer. The system uses no fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas, and it consumes 25% of the electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling system. Rainwater from the roof is collected and funneled into a 25,000 gallon underground cistern. Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets goes into underground purifying tanks and then into the cistern. The collected water then irrigates the land surrounding the house. Flowers and shrubs native to the area blend the property into the surrounding rural landscape.
HOUSE # 1 (20 room energy guzzling mansion) is outside of Nashville,Tennessee. It is the abode of that renowned environmentalist (and filmmaker) Al Gore.
HOUSE # 2 (model eco-friendly house) is on a ranch near Crawford, Texas. Also known as "the Texas White House," it is the private residence of the President of the United States, George W. Bush.
So whose house is gentler on the environment? Yet another story you WON'T hear on CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, MSNBC or read about in the New York Times or the Washington Post. Indeed, for Mr. Gore, it's truly "an inconvenient truth."
I hadn't heard any of that before about the Texas White House.
Iowahawk Online Community Issues Forum Special by Ann Coulter and Bill Maher
ANN: Hello, I'm syndicated columnist and best-selling author Ann Coulter.
BILL: And I'm Bill Maher, host of HBO's "Real Time."
ANN: Today we want to talk to you about an issue that concerns both of us: the deterioration of civility in American politics.
BILL: That's right Ann, you anorexic Nazi whore. Even though we are on opposite sides of the political fence we can both agree that Americans of all political stripes need to start walking back from the hateful rhetoric that unfortunately characterizes much of our contemporary political discussion.
ANN: I couldn't agree more Bill, you syphillitic commie scumnozzle. Because whether they are normal patriotic Americans or mincing San Francisco fudgepackers, all citizens of this country need to think first before using words intended to hurt or offend others....
Hummingbird Finally, my first hummingbirds. Saw them on a fire bush in Crystal Beach, FL. My rental's neighbor's yard is all xeriscaped, which is ugly to me but just fine with the little hummers. At first, I thought they were the biggest hornets I'd ever seen.
Flamingo! One of these dudes flew right over my house. I couldn't believe it. And please don't tell me it was a roseated spoonbill because it was a frickin' flamingo, dude! Huge and pink and right there above me. I was like so freaking out, you know?
Falcon! Don't see these guys too often. Wish we did. Bet the morning doves don't.
Black Skimmer These beauties are getting scarce, but one flew by yesterday at low tide on the hunt for minnows.
Dead sea turtle cool, but smelly
Reddish Egret These have been hanging out around the pool quite a bit lately. Must be a new group of adolesent birds -- the youngsters like to hunt where the water is clear, and it takes them a day to figure out there are not now and never will be fish in the swimming pool no matter how clear the water.
Brown Pelican I saw a flock of about 200 of these at Disappearing Island yesterday, just south of Anclote Island on the west coast of FL. Good to see such a large flock.
Wood Pecker They've developed a sudden interest in the orange tree, which just went into bloom.