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November 4, 2010

Beware of Career Politicians!

Washington seems to be irrevocably broken. We no longer have politicians who leave their communities from Alabama to Wisconsin and go to work in Washington on issues that will benefit their constituents. Once elected by their home town and state, politicians go to Washington armed with personal agendas and to do lists. That’s why D.C. is currently filled with Republicrats and the Class of 2010 will introduce Teapublicrats into Washington’s political structure. If a politician goes to Washington and dares to try to change the corrupt, crooked, fraudulent practices s/he will be labeled as ‘Public Enemy Number One’ and everything they try to work on — no matter how good for America — will be blocked. Saying that our government is a social order of elite cliques is an understatement.

Washington is FILLED with career politicians who are only interested in getting rich and re-elected. I am not being scornful nor am I mocking people who are civic minded. It is just difficult to explain why anyone would spend $150 MILLION dollars on a campaign to get a job that pays $180,000 a year. What could cause such a reckless financial decision? Could it be the personal benefits: the kickbacks, salary for life, unbelievable insurance and the ability to vote for a raise for yourself?

Washington is damaged and only American voters can change it. We have to put a stop to this madness that works against us. The only people who seem to benefit from the Washington political system are the corrupt Washington fat cats. We need term limits: two 2 year terms. Politicians should campaign the way they intend to govern and govern like they campaigned. Politicians should go to Washington, focus on what they campaigned to do to benefit their community and then leave D.C. when they’ve done their job. We need to stop politicians’ ‘special benefits’. Politicians should receive Social Security and Medicare just like everyone else. There should be a five dollar limit on campaign contributions and only from individual American citizens. We need our elected officials to be civic minded public servants instead of special interest directed career politicians.

We also need to be independent thinkers. That’s the only way Americans are going to benefit from our political system. Do not let either political party control your mind. Do not hate a candidate only because he is a Democrat. Do not hate a candidate only because she is a Republican. Do not trust a candidate just because she is a Democrat. Do not trust a candidate just because he is a Republican. If you do, you will forever be their puppet without benefits.

Yesterday Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that he will not work with President Obama on Programs that will benefit Democrats and Republicans alike. He said that his goal is to get a Republican in as President in 2012. Excuse me, but how does this help Americans get jobs, and loans, and homes and cars? He doesn’t care about how his decision will create consequences for you and me. Plotting the next election only benefits his personal agenda. McConnell is the Senate minority leader with an obligation to govern for Americans in a manner that transcends his own partisan goals.

It seems that given the choice of supporting something that was good for the country, but would also benefit Barack Obama politically, McConnell would screw over Americans. He is willing to do what’s beneficial for his personal political agenda; and not necessarily good for us Americans.

Our Teapublicrats MUST work together in the next two years so that America can get out of the ditch she’s in. If these politicians do not work together we will all suffer tremendously.

If the economy does not improve soon, more businesses will lay off more employees. Those of us with jobs could lose our jobs. If we lose our jobs we can’t buy anything or support our local businesses. If we don’t support our local businesses they will go out of business. If they go out of business there will be less taxes coming into our communities. If there are less taxes flowing into our community our Mayors will have to cut services in our communities and the downward spiral will continue until we are ALL affected. This can turn into a living nightmare for all of us. We have to work together as Americans and make it clear to individual politicians we elected that they must work for us, that getting America back on its financial feet is goal number one.

Our politicians are living THEIR American dream. We have to convince them to work for us: for you and me so that we can live our American dream.

We have to let them know that we will not tolerate 2 years of dysfunction that leads to more suffering for us while they sit on their behinds and get paid. We have to remind them that we the voters have the power to stop their dreams. We have to demand that they work together to create jobs and do what’s best for ALL of us.

Empower yourself. Force politicians to do the work you sent them to do in Washington. Contact your elected officials: tweet, email, call or write your Senator, U.S. Representative, Governor and Legislators and insist that they work together and do what’s right for America.

Contact your elected officials: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

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October 18, 2010

Is The Tea Party Good For America?

Is the “Tea Party” good for America?

Last year after the first “tea parties” were held on Tax Day, 51% of Americans had a favorable view of the Tea Party (“TP”). According to Rasmussen, this year, that number went down by 10 points. Now 41% of polled voters have a favorable opinion of the TP, while 35% view it unfavorably — 23% are undecided. The Rasmussen also informed us that male voters are more likely to have a favorable opinion of the TP than female voters but there are many, many female Tea Partiers (“TPiers”) and we know that 70% of Republicans view the TP favorably.

Voters also said that if the Tea Party was organized as a political party, 34% would prefer a Democrat in a three-way congressional race; 27% would vote Republican and 21% say they would vote for the TP.

After doing a tremendous amount of research I came to the conclusion that the TP doesn’t have any real set of guidelines, long-term goals or realistic solutions that defines it as a group. On the other hand they have a few beliefs in common that make them unite when it’s opportune.

TP members say that they want to “take back” America! They say that America is heading in the wrong direction and we need to take control and fix it before it is too late. Bu they don’t say specifically what they want to fix. The rhetoric sounds damn persuasive and even more terrifying. It has many Americans frightened, anxious, enraged and ready to wage war!

TPiers believe that the federal government is a special interest group and that government and big business work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors. Of course there was no TP before President Barack Obama. This contradicts their insistence that it’s really all about big government since big government didn’t bother them when George W or any other person was president.

The TPiers won’t commit to what part(s) of big government they would get rid of to create a small government. Do the TPiers want to get rid of Student Loans, Federal Education Funding, Job Corp, Public Transportation, Social Security, Medicaid or Medicare or any of the many government programs that build our roads, highways and bridges or the programs that protect our food supply, etc.? These are the things that ‘big government’ does. If our government isn’t responsible for these big issues that the majority of all Americans benefit from, who is going to create, fund and manage these programs? The TP doesn’t have an answer. They seem to be only interested in throwing random thoughts into the wind where they leave the thoughts…floating aimlessly…with no solutions.

TPiers are only interested in the economic state of our nation, not any of America’s social issues, unless, it’s something they don’t like such as: welfare, abortion, or gay and lesbian (GLBT) rights. The Republican Party candidate for Senate in Nevada, Sharron Angle, said, “And these programs that you mentioned — that Obama has going with Reid and Pelosi pushing them forward — are all entitlement programs built to make government our God. And that’s really what’s happening in this country, is a violation of the First Commandment. We have become a country entrenched in idolatry, and that idolatry is the dependency upon our government. We’re supposed to depend upon God for our protection and our provision and for our daily bread, not for our government.”  TPiers wants us to believe that if we lose our jobs because of the Republican-caused economic crisis, or if we lose our house because of the Republican-backed bank fraud, or if we can’t afford health care insurance because Republicans blocked the public option, don’t worry; the government won’t have to help you because God will provide.

TPiers also allege that they are being painted as extremists, which they say they are not when they are in their smaller social club group. But they agree that when they come together and have joint meetings of different sects from different cities and states they are extreme in their vocalizations and outrage.

What is puzzling is that even politicians that owe their nominations to the TP tend to shy away from admitting to being a part of it. For example, here in the great State of Florida, Marco Rubio the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate said, “I think there is a real misunderstanding about what the Tea Party movement is. The Tea Party movement is a sentiment in America that government is broken – both parties are to blame – and if we don’t do something soon, this exceptional country will be lost and it will become just like everybody else.”

It seems that politicians use the TP to gain campaign funds and the nomination and then discard or distance them self from the TP in order to reconnect with mainstream voters. This is a very shrewd strategy! This strategy allows politicians like Rubio to tap into the ranting and raving of the TP without them self having to look or sound angry or extreme – they can blame the rage and disorderliness on their TP audiences. How incredibly conniving of mainstream Republicans!

How is this even possible? How can an ideological group that is only 18 month old allow mainstream politicians that do not support their beliefs to manipulate them and dispose of them so blatantly?! It seems that greed may be the answer.

Some TP leaders are thinking about their personal futures and are trying to find a way into mainstream politics. Yes, they want to be a part of the same big government that they loathe and preach against daily. TP leaders are involving themselves in the more traditional American political scene. From before the primaries and now as the mid-term elections draws closer, some tea party groups seem to have aligned themselves with one candidate or another and these alignments are changing the nature and character of the TP. Many TP sects are seeing a shift in their focus. They are moving from being ideologically linked groups of people who want to advance an ideal, to being candidate focused groups that are participating in the infighting between generally like-minded candidates. The thing is the TP leadership doesn’t want their activists or supporters to know that there is bickering and infighting in their ranks.

So back to my original question, “Is the “Tea Party” good for America?”

In a civic sense I believe that answer is yes because the TP has engaged and encouraged citizens to involve themselves in maintaining the good order of our fair republic – just as the country’s Founders envisioned it.

From a constructive, helping America to be all she can be point-of-view – my answer is a resounding no. Their candidates are erratic and are on the fringe of one extreme or another. They are not unifiers. They are dividing America with hostilities. The TP has not brought anything new to the table. They have no solutions and their political naiveté is worrisome. Simply put, they are obstructionists.

Initially I thought the Tea Party was a noble movement of independent free thinking spiritual people from all walks of life. What I have discovered during my research is that the TP could just as well become a neo-Nazi type party if they are not contained.

We cannot sit idly by and watch a few ‘non-thinkers’ without solutions take over the American political system. It seems to me that those who know do not speak and those who speak do not know. If ‘thinkers’ do not unite and make our voices heard we will all have to live with the decisions that the ‘non-thinkers’ made and it will be our own fault.

Keep your eyes on the prize — vote on Tuesday, November 2 and Early Vote if it’s an option in your State!!!

Peace, Love and Understanding!

 

August 3, 2009

White House: “NO New Taxes For Middle Class”

President Obama is committed to making sure middle class families do not see a tax increase, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today. 

“The president’s clear commitment is not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000 a year,” Gibbs said, repeating Obama’s pledge from the presidential campaign. 

On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner suggested that taxes increases are inevitable. 

“We will not get this economy back on track, recovery will be not strong and sustained, unless we … can convince the American people that we’re going to have the will to bring these deficits down once recovery is firmly established,” Geithner said on ABC’s “This Week.” 

Asked point blank whether it was right to suggest it is a matter of when, not if, taxes will be raised, Geithner responded, “It is absolutely right.” 

National Economic Council President Larry Summers also did not rule out future increases on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” 

Gibbs, though, dismissed the comments Monday as part of a “hypothetical back and forth” that Geithner and Summers allowed themselves to engage in. 

“Promising that everybody’s going to be on message may be a bar that’s too high for me to leap over,” Gibbs said.

Peppered with reporters’ questions on the topic, he repeatedly said that despite the Sunday comments the president has been “clear” that he intends to shield middle-class families from a tax hike. 

“I am reiterating the president’s clear commitment in the clearest terms possible that he’s not raising taxes on those who make less than $250,000 a year,” he said. 

The discussion over future tax increases comes as the deficit is expected to hit $1.8 trillion next year. With spending still planned for a $1 trillion, 10-year health care reform plan, officials say something will have to be done to keep the deficit and national debt from growing wider. 

Gibbs said that President Obama is committed to cutting wasteful spending to help achieve that goal. 

April 16, 2009

View President Obama’s Tax Return

As another demonstration of the President’s commitment to openness and transparency, the White House issued releases making the President and Vice President’s tax returns public. If you would like to see the Obamas and Bidens tax return go to:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/09/04/15/Release-of-the-President-and-Vice-Presidents-Tax-Returns/

March 25, 2009

Dear AIG, I QUIT!!!

The following is a letter sent on Tuesday by Jake DeSantis, an executive vice president of the American International Group’s financial products unit, to Edward M. Liddy, the chief executive of A.I.G.

DEAR Mr. Liddy,

It is with deep regret that I submit my notice of resignation from A.I.G. Financial Products. I hope you take the time to read this entire letter. Before describing the details of my decision, I want to offer some context:

I am proud of everything I have done for the commodity and equity divisions of A.I.G.-F.P. I was in no way involved in — or responsible for — the credit default swap transactions that have hamstrung A.I.G. Nor were more than a handful of the 400 current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. Most of those responsible have left the company and have conspicuously escaped the public outrage.

After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company — during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 — we in the financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials. In response to this, I will now leave the company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.

I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to A.I.G. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down.

You and I have never met or spoken to each other, so I’d like to tell you about myself. I was raised by schoolteachers working multiple jobs in a world of closing steel mills. My hard work earned me acceptance to M.I.T., and the institute’s generous financial aid enabled me to attend. I had fulfilled my American dream.

I started at this company in 1998 as an equity trader, became the head of equity and commodity trading and, a couple of years before A.I.G.’s meltdown last September, was named the head of business development for commodities. Over this period the equity and commodity units were consistently profitable — in most years generating net profits of well over $100 million. Most recently, during the dismantling of A.I.G.-F.P., I was an integral player in the pending sale of its well-regarded commodity index business to UBS. As you know, business unit sales like this are crucial to A.I.G.’s effort to repay the American taxpayer.

The profitability of the businesses with which I was associated clearly supported my compensation. I never received any pay resulting from the credit default swaps that are now losing so much money. I did, however, like many others here, lose a significant portion of my life savings in the form of deferred compensation invested in the capital of A.I.G.-F.P. because of those losses. In this way I have personally suffered from this controversial activity — directly as well as indirectly with the rest of the taxpayers.

I have the utmost respect for the civic duty that you are now performing at A.I.G. You are as blameless for these credit default swap losses as I am. You answered your country’s call and you are taking a tremendous beating for it.

But you also are aware that most of the employees of your financial products unit had nothing to do with the large losses. And I am disappointed and frustrated over your lack of support for us. I and many others in the unit feel betrayed that you failed to stand up for us in the face of untrue and unfair accusations from certain members of Congress last Wednesday and from the press over our retention payments, and that you didn’t defend us against the baseless and reckless comments made by the attorneys general of New York and Connecticut.

My guess is that in October, when you learned of these retention contracts, you realized that the employees of the financial products unit needed some incentive to stay and that the contracts, being both ethical and useful, should be left to stand. That’s probably why A.I.G. management assured us on three occasions during that month that the company would “live up to its commitment” to honor the contract guarantees.

That may be why you decided to accelerate by three months more than a quarter of the amounts due under the contracts. That action signified to us your support, and was hardly something that one would do if he truly found the contracts “distasteful.”

That may also be why you authorized the balance of the payments on March 13.

At no time during the past six months that you have been leading A.I.G. did you ask us to revise, renegotiate or break these contracts — until several hours before your appearance last week before Congress.

I think your initial decision to honor the contracts was both ethical and financially astute, but it seems to have been politically unwise. It’s now apparent that you either misunderstood the agreements that you had made — tacit or otherwise — with the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, various members of Congress and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo of New York, or were not strong enough to withstand the shifting political winds.

You’ve now asked the current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. to repay these earnings. As you can imagine, there has been a tremendous amount of serious thought and heated discussion about how we should respond to this breach of trust.

As most of us have done nothing wrong, guilt is not a motivation to surrender our earnings. We have worked 12 long months under these contracts and now deserve to be paid as promised. None of us should be cheated of our payments any more than a plumber should be cheated after he has fixed the pipes but a careless electrician causes a fire that burns down the house.

Many of the employees have, in the past six months, turned down job offers from more stable employers, based on A.I.G.’s assurances that the contracts would be honored. They are now angry about having been misled by A.I.G.’s promises and are not inclined to return the money as a favor to you.

The only real motivation that anyone at A.I.G.-F.P. now has is fear. Mr. Cuomo has threatened to “name and shame,” and his counterpart in Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, has made similar threats — even though attorneys general are supposed to stand for due process, to conduct trials in courts and not the press.

So what am I to do? There’s no easy answer. I know that because of hard work I have benefited more than most during the economic boom and have saved enough that my family is unlikely to suffer devastating losses during the current bust. Some might argue that members of my profession have been overpaid, and I wouldn’t disagree.

That is why I have decided to donate 100 percent of the effective after-tax proceeds of my retention payment directly to organizations that are helping people who are suffering from the global downturn. This is not a tax-deduction gimmick; I simply believe that I at least deserve to dictate how my earnings are spent, and do not want to see them disappear back into the obscurity of A.I.G.’s or the federal government’s budget. Our earnings have caused such a distraction for so many from the more pressing issues our country faces, and I would like to see my share of it benefit those truly in need.

On March 16 I received a payment from A.I.G. amounting to $742,006.40, after taxes. In light of the uncertainty over the ultimate taxation and legal status of this payment, the actual amount I donate may be less — in fact, it may end up being far less if the recent House bill raising the tax on the retention payments to 90 percent stands. Once all the money is donated, you will immediately receive a list of all recipients.

This choice is right for me. I wish others at A.I.G.-F.P. luck finding peace with their difficult decision, and only hope their judgment is not clouded by fear.

Mr. Liddy, I wish you success in your commitment to return the money extended by the American government, and luck with the continued unwinding of the company’s diverse businesses — especially those remaining credit default swaps. I’ll continue over the short term to help make sure no balls are dropped, but after what’s happened this past week I can’t remain much longer — there is too much bad blood. I’m not sure how you will greet my resignation, but at least Attorney General Blumenthal should be relieved that I’ll leave under my own power and will not need to be “shoved out the door.”

Sincerely,

Jake DeSantis

Original post:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/25/opinion/25desantis.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

March 24, 2009

Buying Your First Home In 2009? Claim $8K In Tax Credit!!!

house-on-money  Now is the time to purchase your first home!

Last month, President Obama signed into legislation a $789 billion economic stimulus package that included something very important: an $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers!

This credit is a far cry from the one passed last summer.

Last summer Congress passed a $7,500 tax credit for first-time home buyers that sounded good at first glance. However, a closer look at the details revealed that buyers actually had to pay the tax credit back. It really was just a zero interest loan. Just 111 people in the whole country applied for the program.

But this new program is making it a real deal to purchase a first home. The tax credit does not have to be repaid and is for 10 percent (up to $8,000) of the price of the home.

A “first-time home buyer” is anyone who has not owned a principal residence for the last three years. Even if you’ve owned a vacation home, but not a principal residence, within the last three years you can still qualify for the credit. So if the last date you owned a home was three years ago from today, you could buy a home and qualify.

An important part of the program that everyone needs to understand is that to qualify, you have to buy the home before Dec 1, 2009. It’s retroactive to Jan. 1, so if you bought your first home any time after the first of the year you can still qualify.

There are income limits, though. Single people who buy their first home cannot make more than $75,000 to qualify for a full credit. And if you are married, you cannot have a household adjusted gross income of more than $150,000. If you make more than that, you may still be eligible for reduced credits.

There is a requirement that buyers must live in the new home for at least three years. If it is sold within three years the credit must be returned to the government. Exceptions will be made in certain cases such as death or divorce.

So, how does someone take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit? If you buy a new home between January 1 and December 1, 2009, you claim the credit when you file your 2008 taxes (before April 15 this year so you can get your money back now!) or when you file your 2009 taxes early next year.

Now is the time to purchase a home.  An $8,000 tax credit coupled with the lowest interest rates in 30 years, joined by an unusually large inventory of homes from which to choose, offered by sellers who have lowered their prices well below what they were worth just two years ago.

This perfect storm won’t last long; the buyer’s market window will be closing before the end of 2009. It’s time to buy.

For more information, including guidance for people who bought their first homes in 2008, visit IRS.gov.

To learn more about the overall implementation of the Recovery Act, visit Recovery.gov.

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