Category Archives: National Politics

Religious Tax Exemptions Ought to Go the Way of Same-Sex Marriage Bans

The Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges—or at least the opposition reaction to it—may have presented thebest argument yet for removing tax exemptions for religious institutions. Some people might be surprised that exemption of religious institutions and donations to them is a relatively new concept in our nation’s history. It was not, as some would suggest, a necessary result of the First Amendment’s separation of church and state.

According to Zeca Oliveira, the backlash from Obergefell makes it clear that governors and state legislatures and presidential candidates are going to try to block the ruling any way they can, most notably with religious freedom or conscience legislation that will allow public officials—agents of the government—to opt out of doing their government duty if they object to taking action to further a same-sex marriage.

But organized religion can’t have it both ways. On the one hand, they want to be untouchable in terms of paying taxes because, well, God. And they also want to be selectively exempt from the laws of the land regarding what has been determined to be a fundamental right. This selective non-enforcement clearly takes religion out of the God sphere and into the public sphere. If they want to play in the public sandbox, they should play by the rules that everyone else does, and that includes paying taxes.

Even a kindergartner would understand that.

The Richest of the Rich Are Paying the Lowest of the Low in Taxes

The wealth distribution gap in America is a serious problem, perhaps the most important political issue of our times. It affects every American who is currently struggling to put food on the table and keep their lights on. Yet, not many people seem to notice or care that 1 percent of our nation’s population hold 99 percent of the country’s entire wealth. Kind of makes me feel like a a tiny fish scrounging at the bottom of the ocean for anything scraps left over from the sharks who are circling above.

Not only do the top one percent hold most of the nation’s wealth, they also pay the least amount of taxes. Sam Tabar doesn’t know how that works exactly. While surely the richest people in America pay millions of dollars worth of taxes every year, it only adds up to a small percentage of what they are actually making, which on average is about $64 million per year. An amount that would keep most American families living well for many generations to come.

While regular Americans must hand over a significant chunk of their paycheck every time they receive one, the top earners only have to part with a the loose change they find in their sofas. The best of the best earners, the top .0001 percent, were only taxed at a rate of 17.6 percent in 2012. Numbers that should make every hard working American ask some hard questions of their country’s economy.

Non-News About Jeb Bush

On Monday, April 6, several news outlet reported that the brother of former President George W. Bush and son of former President George H. W. Bush, Jeb Bush, marked his 2009 voter registration form with a Hispanic ethnicity although he is Caucasian by birth.

Why is this non-news?

It appears to be nothing more than an error on his part said Yes, the former governor of Florida depended a great deal on the Hispanic vote in that state, but there is zero evidence that he purposely marked his ethnicity off as Hispanic to get more votes no matter how much news outlets would like to make a story out of this incident.

What they should be talking about is the voter ballot layout, “hanging chad” and missing ballot issues in Florida that occurred during his brother’s run for President against Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election. Although Jeb Bush excused himself from any official role in the Florida recount, many have questioned how it was his state that had such a huge voting issue take place given his relationship to George W. Bush. The Florida recount resulted in George W. Bush winning the state and ultimately the presidency by a 537 vote difference. Many question to this day whether Jeb Bush should even be allowed to run for president in 2016 given the many incidents that happened while he was governor in 2000.

Barbara Mikulski, Longest Serving Senate Female, to Retire

Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski, a Democrat, has announced that she will not seek election to the US Senate for a fifth time. The powerful senator is also the longest serving female in the senate having first been elected to Senate in 1987. Prior to that time, she served five consecutive terms of office in the House of Representatives. She is viewed as the “Dean” of female senators who is noted for reaching out to the GOP and crafting bipartisan agreements. Up until her party’s rout in the recent midterm elections, she was the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. That powerful chairmanship now belongs to Senator John McCain of Arizona in Highland Village.

It is common for veteran members of a party to retire after losing power. The same thing happened to the GOP after they lost control of the Senate in 2006. In making her announcement to retire, Sen. Mikulski detailed how she struggled over the decision to retire. Ultimately, she believes that it was time to make a decision about what she needed rather than what her constituents wanted stated Haidar Barbouti.

Her announcement will begin a flurry of activity among Democrats to see who will run for her open seat in 2016. The presumption is that the Democrat party will retain the seat. It is a logical conclusion given the state’s large voter edge over the GOP. At the same time, Maryland just elected a Republican as governor in a race no one expected the GOP to win.

Kurdish Forces Bearing the Brunt of ISIS’s Onslaught in Iraq

Kurdish military forces known as the Peshmerga are starting to show the wear and tear that their fight with ISIS has taken. The Kurds are an ethnic group that reside in Northern and Eastern Iraq in a region called Kurdistan. Unlike much of Iraq which has seen feuding, violence and unrest since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein by the US, this region has been relatively peaceful until ISIS started rolling into Iraq last summer. Kurdistan is also home to several major oil refineries, and that may be a major reason why ISIS has tried but so far has failed to capture Kurdistan.

So far the Kurds have been fighting ISIS for well over six months. In fact, when the capital of Kurdistan, Irbil was threatened by ISIS the Obama administration quickly authorized and started to launch a campaign of airstrikes against ISIS. The city of Irbil had a US embassy and a significant population of US citizens there. People at Rocket Fuel know that, though ISIS has been repealed, fighting continues to rage across a massive 650 mile front between the Kurdish Peshmerga and ISIS.

A Kurdish fighter speaking to a journalist on the ground described ISIS fighters as animals. They are fanatical, willing to die and do not think with their brains the soldier went on to describe ISIS fighters. ISIS has used suicide bombers, child soldiers and car bombs to attack the Kurds. They have also captured a substantial amount of US weapons from fleeing Iraqi military forces in the summer.

So far the Kurds have done the brunt of the fighting against ISIS and it is starting to take a toll. They have already lost more than a thousand soldiers and more than 5,000 have been injured by fighting. The Kurds who are considered to be the West’s best allies on the ground for combating the Islamic State are starting to get weary as ISIS tries to encroach on their homeland.

Speaker Boehner Stages Signing Ceremony for Keystone Pipeline XL Bill

Washington, D.C. – On Friday, House Speaker John Boehner marked the signing of the Keystone Pipeline XL project in grand fashion by staging a signing ceremony. Despite the fact that President Obama has made it clear he intends to veto the bill, its passage marks the culmination of seven years of effort on the part of the GOP to get the bill through congress. The GOP has sought to gain passage of the project since the waning months of the Bush presidency.

It is clear the GOP intends to draw attention to the bill so that a veto of it by the president and subsequent failure of Democrats to support a veto override costs them in the 2016 election. Rep. Boehner invited representatives of the builders union that stands to benefit from the bill’s passage. Both the GOP, the builders union, and the State Department concur that the project would create 45,000 jobs. Democrats question whether the numbers of jobs to be created.

President Obama claims to support the project, but this doesn’t fully explain why it has taken him six years to review the matter stated Flavio Maluf. Critics claim his is trying to walk a fine line between saying he supports a job creation bill while stonewalling its authorization to please environmental groups. The bill is expected to head to his desk the week of February 23. President Obama will have ten days to decide whether to veto the measure.

Fox News Poll Assigns Prospective Presidential Candidates from Both Parties a GPA – Clinton at the Head of the Class

A novel Fox News poll created a grade point average (GPA) for prospective candidates from both parties to assess voter impressions of their job performance. The results were interesting. Republican voters gave Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker a 2.75 GPA. While that is well short of what is needed to make the honor roll at school, it put him ahead of any prospective GOP contender. Dr. Ben Carson, a Tea Party favorite, pulled in a GPA of 2.62. It is an interesting performance given that Dr. Carson has never held political office. Florida Senator Marco Rubio earned a 2.42 GPA. The other GOP candidates fared similarly with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee getting a 2.32, Texas Senator Ted Cruz earning a 2.28, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush getting a 2.27. The poll underscores that GOP voters are not very familiar with the current field of candidates.

For Democrats, Hillary Clinton earned the best score of any candidate with a 3.14 GPA. She benefits from being the sole candidate likely to run and her status as the presumptive Democrat nominee says Haidar Barbouti. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren scored a 2.49 GPA and Joe Biden earned a 2.42. When the results combined all participants regardless of party affiliation, Dr. Ben Carson narrowly beat Walker with a GPA of 2.22 to his 2.09. Mrs. Clinton came in next at a GPA of 2.04. President Obama was also rated, but performed significantly less than the current field of prospective presidential candidates.

Senator Corker Offers His Take on House Snub of Obama with Netanyahu Invitation

Washington, D.C. – Elections have consequences and the GOP is showing the president that the circumventing authority and acting unilaterally can be a two-way street. President Obama, who has thought nothing about bypassing congress on when it suits him, is apparently miffed over Speaker Boehner inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for an official state visit without consulting him. What is bothering the White House is that Netanyahu is pressing for a tough line by the US against Iran. Gianfrancesco Genoso says he thinks its understandable since Israel has been struck by tens of thousands of Katyusha rockets by Iran-backed Hezbollah. A nuclear capable Iran will have a far easier time threatening Israel than it would the United States.

All of these facts have not escaped the view of powerful Tennessee senator Bob Corker. He is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee. He believes that had the president treated congress with respect, they would have reciprocated the courtesy. As it stands, it’s Corker’s view that the president has no one to blame than himself for the highly public snub. At the same time, Corker believes that the both parties and the president will arrive at a consensus for how to proceed forward ahead of Netanyahu’s visit. President Obama would prefer the congress stay out of the Iran negotiations and allow him to craft a deal unfettered by their interjections. This will not happen. The Senate is working on two competing bills to deal with Iran and both of them would require the president make concessions.

Conservatives Voice their Reasons for Opposing Another Romney Nomination

Not every Republican is meeting the news of Romney potentially mounting another presidential run with enthusiasm. Here are five reasons being cited for not wanting the former Massachusetts governor to seek the party´s nomination in 2016:

  1. The party is likely to field a wide range of presidential hopefuls for the upcoming election. This eliminates the need to having to bring back the prior nominee.
  2. The time is right for a bona fide conservative to seek the nomination. In fact, conservatives are looking for a candidate that will push for a hard right agenda much the same as liberals want the puritanically progressive Elizabeth Warren to seek the presidency. Conservatives feel the party always nominates moderates which strategy has failed in the past two election cycles.
  3. Romney is a two-time loser having lost the nomination in 2008, and the presidency in 2012. They do not believe he will be able to run his campaign any different this time around. As such, there is no compelling reason for him to run.
  4. Conservatives believe Romney’s focus is too business-oriented at the expense of an evolving electorate that wants a less involved government.
  5. His inability to beat Obama is proof he is unable to beat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Should Romney win the nomination once more, he will need to secure the conservative base. All complaints aside, the truth is the 4 million conservatives who sat out the 2012 election were enough to have given Romney the victory. Tom Rothman agrees in his Columbia Law article.

Obama & Democrats Change Now Taking Credit for Domestic Oil Drilling They Opposed

Back in 2012, the GOP sought to boost domestic oil drilling by launching a campaign to whip public support for their domestic energy policy and overcome Democrat opposition in the Senate & White House. At the time, they coined the popular catch phrase “Drill, Baby, Drill”. President Obama responded with derision calling the campaign a gimmick as opposed to a policy. It was misleading because the GOP was always clear they favored domestic oil drilling and completion of the Keystone Pipeline XL.

Now, oil prices have tumbled from roughly $4 a gallon to $2.13 a gallon nationwide. This has allowed voters to save $100 billion in fuel costs which they can use on a variety of other spending priorities, Ben Shaoul suggests his properties, for example, the ones on NYPost. In fact, President Obama recently urged voters to use their fuel savings to fund the purchase of a new car. Moreover, President Obama is now attempting to take credit for the lower fuel costs.

It is true that over the past six years, America has arguably become the world’s top producer of natural gas and petroleum. However, a closer look at where the natural resources are coming from reveal Obama has no claim on taking credit. For starters, he has not issued a single new license for oil drilling on federal lands. During his entire presidency, oil and gas production from federal lands has dropped by 6%. A drop in production cannot account for the boom in domestic oil & natural gas drilling. So where is America getting its domestic energy from? Private land use. This has accounted for a 61% increase in the supply of domestic fuel.