Saturday, July 28, 2012

Fwd: Headlines - Saturday July 28

I love how NOW he's undergoing a psychiatric evaluation, after buying two dozen firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition. This is disgusting. If we permit our fellow citizens, including the worst among us, to arm themselves to the hilt, then shouldn't be surprised what happens next. It's time to stop pretending that we - and especially the NRA and its pet known as the Republican party (with some help from Democrats who are afraid of their own shadow - maybe they should arm themselves) didn't bring this upon ourselves.
NBC Washington reports that Prescott made more than one call to a co-worker to issue his threats, one of which was recounted to the local affiliate of being to the effect of: "You don't know who the real joker is; I am the real joker." The reference to the "joker" comes one week after suspected Colorado gunman James Holmes reportedly delivered a similar message to police after being arrested.

Police found the 28-year-old Prescott in his Crofton home Thursday wearing a shirt that read "Guns don't kill people, I do." He had thousands of rounds of ammunition and 25-odd firearms, including semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, and handguns, according to ABC News. Police said they believe Prescott was prepared to carry out his threatened attack and say they likely prevented a massacre.

Prescott is currently undergoing a psychological evaluation in Annapolis.

Writing a few days ago in the Washington Post and Kaplan, inc. Loss Leader, Jennifer Rubin:

The Obama campaign can't bear the thought that the well-traveled Mitt Romney will make a nice impression on his overseas tour.

Maybe Rubin's editor's will let her #retroactively make that column about pink Himalayan salt.


House Republicans next week intend to vote on a plan that would both extend all of the Bush tax cuts — including those on income in excess of $250,000 — and fast-track "tax reform." If the House GOP bill were adopted, tax reform legislation would "have special protections in the U.S. Senate, limiting the opportunities for lawmakers to use blocking tactics."

But the GOP bill only calls for a certain kind of tax reform — specifically that which would benefit the rich and corporations. Under the GOP's fast-track approach, a tax reform bill would have to consist of:

(1) a consolidation of the current 6 individual income tax brackets into not more than two brackets of 10 and not more than 25 percent;

(2) a reduction in the corporate tax rate to not greater than 25 percent;

(3) a repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax;

(4) a broadening of the tax base to maintain revenue between 18 and 19 percent of the economy; and

(5) a change from a ''worldwide'' to a ''territorial'' system of taxation.

As Citizens for Tax Justice noted, these changes would massively benefit the wealthy and corporations, shifting the tax burden down the income scale. In fact, consolidation of the tax code in the way the GOP envisions would give millionaires a $187,000 annual tax cut, while likely increasing taxes on the middle-class and working families, due to the elimination of deductions upon which they depend.

Changing to a "territorial" system of corporate taxation, meanwhile, would boost the incentive to invest overseas and push jobs offshore. These are the sort of changes which Republicans want to protect from procedural shenanigans, even as they drive the use of the filibuster to unprecedented heights, including on legislation that could boost the sluggish economic recovery.


Former Florida Republican Party Chair Says Republicans Actively Suppressed The Black Vote | In a 630-page deposition, released to the press yesterday, former Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer described a systemic effort by Republicans to suppress the black vote. Referring to a 2009 meeting with party officials, Greer said "I was upset because the political consultants and staff were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting." He also said party officials discussed how "minority outreach programs were not fit for the Republican Party." Florida is currently embroiled in a controversy surrounding Gov. Rick Scott's (R) voter purge program, which disproportionately affects voters of color. Fifty-eight percent of Scott's original list of voters who were supposedly ineligible to voter were Hispanic while Hispanics make up only 13 percent of Florida's eligible voters. Greer and the GOP cut ties in 2010, and he is currently facing felony corruption charges. (HT: Salon)


You don't hear about it as often anymore, but the House Republicans are still attempting to implement austerity measures on weekly basis. Each measure easily passes through its relevant committee, but is then shelved or watered-down before being inserted into a larger omnibus bill to avoid conflicts with the Senate.

Their latest bright idea that will never (probably) see the light of day is to obliterate the funding for Social Security programs aimed at reducing waste and abuse, and according to Social Security's chief actuary, the resulting increase in waste would cost five to six times more than the current budget for the programs.

An appropriations bill that last week cleared a GOP-led subcommittee slashes 2013 funding for disability reviews and eligibility redeterminations, which seek to ensure that seniors and other eligible beneficiaries don't receive more funds than they are entitled to. The proposed cuts would shave this specific budget item from the $1.024 billion agreed upon in the debt limit law last year to $272 million, saving nearly $800 million.

In a Thursday letter responding to inquiring House Democrats, Social Security's chief actuary Stephen C. Goss concludes that cuts will cost taxpayers "between $5 billion and $6 billion more over the lifetime of those who would not be reassessed due to the reduced funding."

We'll cut 80 percent of the $1 billion budget for reducing waste, and the resulting increase in waste will cost 5 to 6 billion! That's brilliant! Why didn't I think of that?

This is the legislative equivalent of trolling. For the lulz.


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