During the week I Retweeted the following from KSat News in San Antonio, Texas….
I wonder how many of these guys made money from Irish Citizens? Bondholders ? Ask #Enda World’s richest billionaires http://www.ksat.com/-/478556/9259712/-/wvv8urz/-/index.html#.UTT3ocxeiUo.twitter …
If we go to the List we see Warren Buffett, the 82-year-old CEO of Berkshire Hathaway is worth an estimated $53.5 billion. Bill Gates, chairman and co-founder of Microsoft Corp., is also co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. His net worth is more than $67 billion. I ask the hypothetical question whether any of these made money on the back of the Irish Citizen? The answer is that I don’t know and our Government is making sure that I cannot find the answer as they refuse to disclose the identity of the Bondholders of Anglo Irish Bank and other Bank Bondholders who have been handed money by our Tax Payers. Our Government has, and is paying back every cent due to these same anonymous bondholders. The Citizen on the other hand, those that invested their redundancy or inheritances, if they were lucky enough to have the money in the first place, have taken huge loses in whatever Funds they were advised to invest in. No bailout for the Citizen, only those who claim Elite status.
The Citizen in Ireland now faces a life devoid of hope. They face the serious prospect of their homes being repossessed by these same Banks and Financial Institutions who they have in fact bailed out. My point is that Billionaires small change would rescue Ireland. But our Government prefers to be the Good Boy in the Euro Class and instead bleed their citizens dry. I’m sure that Billionaires have reaped the rewards from their Bonds, many of which were purchased, I’m told, at a great markdown. I’m sure they were laughing at the incompetent Irish all the way to their banks.
We’re told we are in a recession. I’m not an economist but have listened carefully to our Economists over the past number of years. Their diverse opinions are at times illuminating but it seems most just base their opinions and comments on what is in the media at any given time. Some, who I believe should know better give us little hope and just side with Government strategy in advising more austerity and pain for Citizens who already have been cut to the bone. It seems they reside in a parallel universe where people count for little or nothing and all that is important is the survival of the multinational conglomerates and their bankers. Tune in to Vincent Browne’s Show Monday to Thursday at 11pm on TV3 and listen to their endless diatribe. To be fair to Vincent he does tend to show them up for what they are and in an entertaining fashion.
Historically, Irish People have trusted their politicians and for that matter, their local friendly bank manager. If advised to purchase a home they will follow the advice, take whatever mortgage is offered and complete the purchase. They are fed media hype concerning what they should buy and most if not all media handed out advise on a weekly basis with glossy inserts in the daily papers. People are trusting and believe what they are told. Naive many would say, but I for one have seen what motivates people. As a solicitor in practise for over thirty years, I see the ‘little guy’ spending his/her hard-earned cash in ways that they are ‘urged’ to do by their ‘leaders’, whether politicians, bank managers, investment brokers, Thursday’s Irish Independent Property Supplement, Friday’s Irish Times Property Supplement or indeed the Sunday Papers with their advice regarding the queues outside housing developments to get a bargain. People cannot be expected to discriminate against such pressure from those they have come to trust. Their Friday Irish Times has in fact become the ‘Bible’ for such people. Can we honestly blame people for being taken in by such propaganda? The media, our politicians etc. were forcing an agenda. Those behind the newspapers, advisers and yes sadly, our politicians were making a fortune for themselves, I believe, on the back of the citizen. The money our people spent ended up in already rich coffers.
Now politicians change their mind and continue our previous Government’s austerity measures. People threw out Fianna Fail as they believed them corrupt and voted for change. Now they feel betrayed by those they trusted, again naively some might say, who now claim their hands are tied by previous the Government. So while politicians change their minds and continue to trade cheap shots with one another, the Citizen is driven to bankruptcy, lose their family homes and family silver and are told its their own fault. ‘We partied during the Celtic Tiger’ we have been told. No we didn’t. Yes, most did their part as they were told and spent money on property, if the funds were handed to them. To say people partied is an insult. The Citizen is now driven to despair and sadly many lives have been lost due primarily to the helpless situation they find themselves in. Families have been broken up, many, too many suicides have occurred and yet the Government ignores their pleas for help.
Yesterday we saw our leaders Enda Kenny, Fine Gael and Eamonn Gilmore, Labour Party ‘glorify’ in the success of the first two years of their Government. They told us that we are doing well. The reality is somewhat different on the streets where the level of poverty has arisen to greater heights than ever before in my lifetime. This without the upcoming property tax, water metering and whatever other schemes they dream up to fleece the citizen. Remember all those that bought their homes paid an enormous amount of Stamp Duty and to ask them to now pay Property Tax is an absolute travesty of justice. Those ‘economists’ who favour this charge citing other countries property taxes, simply ignore this injustice. Shame on them ! There seems a major disconnect from what politicians are saying and what the reality is. While citizens are awakening in a new era of poverty and austerity, corporations, who are not even pursued for the meagre corporation tax, continue to prosper. Who are the Government working for? The citizen or the multinationals who continue to prosper?
Are we in a recession or is it the implementation of all those Euro Treaties that we were told would bring jobs, prosperity etc. The United States of Europe, which no Irish Citizen ever voted openly for, but is the culmination of said Treaties, is now a reality and its imposition is being forced upon us. Be careful for what you wish for as all those Yes to Europe Votes have indeed come back to haunt us. We Irish are now a small poor Statelet within a huge capitalist entity. How did we ever think we’d be a player enjoying equality and fraternity with the likes of Germany? That is what we were sold by our politicians and we believed them. Recently on RTE Pat Rabbitte, a prominent member of the Labour Party said that you say some things before elections. He was justifying a change of mind when parties take power…
Video: Pat Rabbitte admits to breaking election promises http://www.joe.ie/news-politics/current-affairs/video-pat-rabbitte-admits-to-breaking-election-promises-0031538-1 … via @JOEdotie …And We continue to believe them..
Enda Kenny changed his mind on taxing the family home. I tweeted on this…Tom Baldwin @LegalEagleStar
‘It is morally wrong. unjust+unfair to tax a person’s home.’ EndaKenny 1994.’Don’t ever trust a politician.’ Me, 2013 pic.twitter.com/0P05G6vxY1
When I was in College we were taught about Capitalism, that you were ‘Never too big to fail’ What utter nonsense. Whosoever controls the capital calls the tune. Billionaires who continue to prosper, their bankers and suchlike, many under the guise of Anglo Irish bank Bondholders control this new United States of Europe. I wonder as to where the old Nazis are now because Hitler has indeed realised his ultimate goal of a United States of Europe under German control and with an ‘Elite’ firmly in charge of our destiny. Whatever will the German people think when they discover what is really happening to the Irish Citizen?
LegalEagleStar , Thursday , 7th. March , 2013.53.364346 -6.230336
In the simplest of terms, the 2013 Budget Sequestration is a series of across-the-board reductions to originally planned spending increases. While only $85.4 billion will be cut this year, $109.3 billion will be cut each year from 2014 to 2021 for a total of $959.8 billion. Government spending was set to increase by $100 billion over the course of 2013 in order to continue economic recovery efforts; however, the sequestration will now only allow a spending increase of $15 billion1. The cuts involve a mix of defense and non-defense spending, and they will take place gradually over the next ten years.
The sequester was the result of the Budget Control Act of 2011, the federal statute that helped to finally bring the 2011 debt-ceiling crisis to an end. During the debt-ceiling debate, President Obama tried to make revenue increases in the form of increased tax rates on the top 2% part of the budget deal, but Republicans would not accept this offer. Now, what happened next is controversial, because the details are difficult to confirm. According to Washington Post Journalist Bob Woodward, Barack Obama originally proposed what has been called a “compulsory trigger” which White House national economic council director Gene Sperling later called an “Automatic Sequester.” The objective of the sequester was to force a bipartisan move on the reduction of the budget deficit—in plain English, it was supposed to force Congress to find a way to reduce government spending in a responsible way. Sperling explained that, “A trigger would lock in our commitment. Even though we disagree on the composition of how to get to the cuts, it would lock us in. The form of the automatic sequester would punish both sides.”3 In other words, if both parties had something to lose, they would find a way to come together and solve this by the deadline. While Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid were initially skeptical of the idea, eventually both houses of Congress voted in favor of the Budget Control Act and the budget sequestration that came with it.
This is what is critical to understanding the sequester: it was implemented as a means of scaring Congress into doing its job. The idea was that a new measure would be passed that would replace the sequester; Democrats would fight for revenue increases, Republicans would fight for spending cuts, and as the deadline loomed, some grand bargain would be made that would appease both sides and avert sequestration. In other words, the sequester bought the President and Congress more bargaining time. Unfortunately, a bargain never happened. The original sequester deadline was January 1st, 2013; however, the Fiscal Cliff Deal, otherwise known as American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, pushed that deadline back to March 1st, 2013. That date came and went without a deal.
Where Will the Cuts Come From?
Dylan Matthews of the Washington Post listed the following cuts as a result of the sequester:
- $3.5 billion from the Air Force and Navy for aircraft purchases
- $13.5 billion from military operations
- $6.3 billion from military research
- $1.6 billion from the National Institutes of Health
- $323 million from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- $581 million from border security
- $323 million from immigration enforcement
- $323 million from airport security
- $406 million from Head Start (booting 70,000 kids from the program)
- $375 million from FEMA’s disaster relief budget
- $1.94 billion from public housing support
- $206 million from the FDA
- $970 million from NASA
- $840 million from special education
- $650 million from the Energy Department’s program for securing our nuclear weapons
- $388 million from the National Science Foundation
- $480 million from the FBI
- $355 million from the federal prison system
- $650 million from the State Department diplomatic functions
- $433 million from global health programs
- $55 million from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
- $75.6 million from the SEC
- $2.6 million from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
- $31 million from the Library of Congress
- $156 million from the Patent and Trademark office3
Cuts in funding to these programs will ultimately result in lay-offs and furloughs. According to George Mason University, approximately 2.14 million jobs will be lost as a result of the sequester over the next ten years. The map below provides an idea of how each individual state will be affected:
How Will the Sequester Impact the Economy?
The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the 2013 budget cuts will shave around 0.56% off of U.S. GDP growth for this year. That might seem like a small number, but it is actually quite significant to our economy. In 2012, the total GDP growth was a measly 0.1% due to cuts in government spending. The GDP growth rate for the U.S. in 2013 was originally predicted to be around 2% for the year, but the sequester cuts are anticipated to reduce that by at least 1/4. While it is unlikely that this will put the United States into another recession, there is no way to avoid the damage to our GDP growth without increasing revenue or canceling the cuts. If more government spending is cut, the likelihood of going into another recession will increase. This is because the slow downs in production, cuts to jobs, and reductions in income will result in fewer dollars going into the economy. Furthermore, if there is an increase in unemployment along with a decrease in GDP, it is likely that we will see a drop in the stock market as well.
How Can This be Fixed?
This is the million dollar question. Democrats and Republicans disagree on how to resolve this financial debacle, and that is the reason the sequestration went into place to begin with. President Obama would like to see an increase in tax revenue, primarily from closing unnecessary loopholes and deductions for the nation’s highest earners. He has agreed to spending cuts in less detrimental areas as long as they are paired with increases in tax revenue, but this offer has been firmly rejected by House and Senate Republicans. They claim that the President got his tax increases in the Fiscal Cliff deal, and they will not agree to another dime more. It’s convenient how they frame it this way, seeing as they personally allowed tax rates to go up on 100% of working Americans by letting the nation go over the Fiscal Cliff back in January. They did this so they could claim that they were voting on a “tax cut” rather than an increase as it would have been considered 48 hours earlier. On January 2nd, they passed the conveniently named American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, a bill that brought tax rates back down to what they were two days before for 99% of Americans, while the top 1% remained at their new higher rate. Let me be clear: Republicans waited until January 2nd so they could claim to be voting for a tax cut. In the 2014 elections, you can bet your last dime that they will proudly boast about their noble actions to reduce taxes for 99% of American families, but now that Obama is calling for more revenue, they suddenly claim that the President got his tax hikes in the Fiscal Cliff deal. Yes, the same deal that they claim was a tax cut.
To replace part of the sequester, House Republicans passed the Spending Reduction Act of 2012, a bill that called for cuts to food stamps, the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) and Dodd-Frank (the massive financial reform bill that protects average Americans from paying the consequences of reckless behavior on Wall Street). This is what John Boehner is talking about when he said that “the House has acted twice on this measure.” They proposed a bill that they knew would be rejected by Democrats simply to be able to claim that they had tried to do something. Let me be very clear: there was no bargaining involved. It was their way or the highway. House Democrats are more in line with Obama, asking for a combination of tax increases and spending cuts in less detrimental areas.
At this point, it is difficult to say how the sequester will play out. It’s possible that the President and Congress can come to some sort of compromise that would make both sides happy, but based on how things have gone for the past two years, it’s difficult to have faith in that notion. Nonetheless, there are some signs of hope as President Obama met last night for dinner with 11 Senate Republicans to discuss negotiations. Today’s reports suggest that the dinner went well, but what will come of it is yet to be seen.
1 “The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2013 to 2023″. CBO. February 5, 2013. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
2 Woodward, Bob. The Price of Politics. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012. Print.
3 Matthews, Dylan. “The Sequester: Absolutely Everything You Could Possibly Need to Know, in One FAQ.” Web log post. The Washington Post. N.p., 1 Mar. 2013. Web. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/20/the-sequester-absolutely-everything-you-could-possibly-need-to-know-in-one-faq/
The “unsheltered” are that segment of a homeless community who do not have ordinary lawful access to buildings in which to sleep. Such persons frequently prefer the term “houseless” to the term “homeless”. Others may use the term street people which does not fully encompass all unsheltered in that many such persons do not spend their time on urban “street” environments, and to the contrary shun such locales and prefer to convert unoccupied buildings, or to inhabit mountains or, more often, lowland meadows, creeks and beaches.
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“I first met Hugo Chávez in New York City in September 2006, just after his infamous appearance on the floor of the UN General Assembly, where he called George W. Bush the devil. “Yesterday, the devil came here,” he said, “Right here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today, this table that I am now standing in front of.” He then made the sign of the cross, kissed his hand, winked at his audience and looked to the sky. It was vintage Chávez, an outrageous remark leavened with just the right touch of detail (the lingering sulfur!) to make it something more than bombast, cutting through soporific nostrums of diplomatese and drawing fire away from Iran, which was in the cross hairs at that meeting”.
To read the rest of the article go to:http://www.zcommunications.org/on-the-legacy-of-hugo-ch-vez-by-greg-grandin
Weeping and shouting, a sea of Hugo Chavez’s supporters paraded his coffin through the streets of Caracas on Wednesday in an emotional outpouring that could help his deputy win an election and keep his self-styled socialist revolution alive.
Hundreds of thousands of “Chavistas” marched behind a hearse carrying the remains of the flamboyant and outspoken president, draped in Venezuela’s blue, red and yellow national flag.
Watch the Video
Idealists the world over have come together to cry, hold hands and hug trees whilst remembering the most fashionable socialist of recent years, Hugo Chavez.
However, millions have since been arrested by the Venezuelan secret police.
Carlos, just a generic Venezuelan bloke, heard the news and accidentally said, ‘Is it just me, or does it seem like his life was shorter than most of his speeches?’
Carlos was arrested and put in prison for excessive political humour, where he later died.
In Chavez’s will, he left all sorts of instructions, one of which is that the costs for his state funeral are to be gained from a tax on smiling because ‘it is the sort of behaviour one might expect from the wealthy, and they are tossers.’
However, Roberto, another run of the mill Venezuelan bloke said, ‘I think the tax is wishful thinking, I don’t really know anyone who smiles in Venezuela.’
‘Also, nobody actually has any money. The great thing about Chavez was that he loved the poor so much. He had so much love to give that he never wanted anyone to stop being poor, so that he could continue to love them.’
‘But that does mean that pretty much everyone is broke.’
In the UK, the sort of people that you would expect, have come forward to say how great he was. Daffodil, who wears quirky spectacles and who is so intelligent that she has posters of Che Guevara and Chairman Mao next to one another on her wall said,
‘The man just seemed to hate all of the right sort of things.’
‘Poor people are ‘in’ right now and he said all sorts of things about them which sounded nice.’
A man drinking artesian water added, ‘If I had a real job, I would find it so frustrating not being able to spend more of my earnings on tax.’
”Unfortunately not everyone can be as intelligent as me and he realised that.’
‘Fuck actually living there though. The thought makes me feel a little sick.’
‘Waiter, I ordered the vegan Moussaka 15 minutes ago, do you think it might be a good idea to actually bring it to me?’
Photo: By Victor Soares/ABr (Agência Brasil) [CC-BY-3.0-br (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Many things have been written about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez since his death on Tuesday. Some of it has been laudatory, claiming he was a man of the poor. some has illustrated him as a tyrant who gave the Venezuelan people’s money to terrorist groups around the world.
The short video below shows an example of the reaction from ex-pat Venezuelans attending the baseball game in Miami between the Marlins and the Venezuelan National team in preparation for the World Baseball Classic. These people left the country, as did many, to escape Chavez’ currency controls and draconian administration and find a new life in the US where they feel safe and are free to spend their money as they please. They don’t have to worry about buying US dollars on the black market every time they want to go on vacation.
Now we can let go of an era that was killing us, was holding us back. Venezuela has so much potential.
- Miguel Penagos of West Palm Beach, Florida