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dkf's Journal
dkf's Journal
September 12, 2012

How many people will now watch the movie to see what this is about?

If this whole thing is in reaction to the idea that the Terry Jones movie is widely seen, what happens when the attackers see the number of views that are obviously going to increase as a result?

Are we going to need to censor it to dampen the outrage? Is it our duty to not see the film?

September 12, 2012

IRS won't be enforcers of individual mandate.

Reuters | September 11, 2012 | 02:48 PM EDT
The Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday assured congressional lawmakers that agents would play no role in enforcing the controversial requirement that Americans buy insurance under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

"IRS revenue agents will not be involved. There will not be audits," IRS Deputy Commissioner Steven Miller told a subcommittee of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

The law, passed in 2010 and upheld by the Supreme Court, will charge individuals a fee, or tax, if they fail to buy insurance starting in 2014.

Opponents of the healthcare measure have focused on that requirement, with some Republicans saying they worry the IRS, the agency responsible for tax collection and tax law enforcement, will harass people who fail to buy insurance.


September 11, 2012

American killed in US consulate attack in Benghazi: official

(AFP) – 1 hour ago 
BENGHAZI, Libya — A US official was killed and another wounded on Tuesday as an armed mob protesting over a film they said offended Islam attacked the US consulate in Benghazi, an official told AFP.

Libya's deputy interior minister Wanis al-Sharef said: "One American official was killed and another injured in the hand. The other staff members were evacuated and are safe and sound."

He could not say if the dead man was a diplomat.


September 11, 2012

Boehner "not confident at all" on budget deal.

Washington (CNN) – House Speaker John Boehner said he’s “not confident at all” that Congress can reach a budget deal to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff” at the end of this year.

On Tuesday morning Moody’s, a credit rating agency, released a report threatening to lower the U.S. government’s AAA credit rating if Congress didn’t agree to a major deficit reduction package. Asked by CNN how confident he was that congressional negotiators could avoid that action Boehner replied, “I’m not confident at all.”

The speaker maintained that House Republicans already passed legislation to replace those spending cuts and extend all the current tax rates.

“Listen the House has done its job on both the sequester and the looming tax hikes that will cost our economy some 700,000 jobs,” Boehner said, and shifted the blame to Democrats, adding, “The Senate at some point has to act. And on both of these – where is the President? Where’s the leadership? Absent without leading.”

Although Moody’s report specified it would consider cutting the government’s rating if an agreement didn’t emerge in the next year, an aide to Boehner told CNN that the speaker’s comments reflected his confidence level about reaching a deal by the end of 2012. Without any serious bipartisan negotiations taking place, both parties are expected to return to the issue in the lame duck session of Congress in mid-November.


September 11, 2012

Germany Says 'Great Uncertainty' About US Debt

Reuters | September 11, 2012 | 06:38 AM EDT
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble questioned on Tuesday how the United States could deal with its high levels of government debt after November's presidential election.

In a speech to the Bundestag lower house of parliament to open a debate on the 2013 German budget, Schaeuble said worries about U.S. debt were a burden for the global economy, hitting back at Washington which has criticized Europe for failing to get a grip on its own debt crisis.

In private, German officials often express concern about U.S. debt levels and the inability of politicians there to reach a consensus on how to reduce it, but Schaeuble's public remarks underscore the extent of the worries in Germany.

"Ahead of the election in the United States there is great uncertainty about the course American politics will take in dealing the U.S. government's debts, which are much too high," Schaeuble said. "We need to remind ourselves of that sometimes and the global economy knows that and is burdened by it."


September 10, 2012

Today is the day we run out of tax revenues...everything else is on the Federal credit card.

$10,000,000,000 a day for the rest of the year.


September 9, 2012

Fate of eurozone rests in the hands of German judges

They have the potential to throw the stock exchange into turmoil, trigger frenzy on bond markets and bring down the German government. So the eyes and ears of the eurozone will be on the eight red-robed judges of Germany's highest court this week when they deliver a long-awaited verdict over whether a financial rescue fund considered crucial to the future of the euro gets the green light.

The constitutional court is under international pressure to rule in favour of the European stability mechanism and fiscal pact. A dissenting ruling from the court, based in Karlsruhe, southwestern Germany, would probably cause havoc on money markets and cast doubt on the future of Europe's single currency.

"The German constitutional court cannot afford to be seen as not being independent, but it also cannot afford to be seen as the court that brought down the government," said Constanze Stelzenmüller, a senior transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund in Berlin. "They're going to have to try to square the circle; in other words, not bring down the government at the same time as asserting their independence."

The ruling, due on Wednesday, is expected to give the go-ahead to the ESM, a permanent bailout mechanism, and the fiscal pact, but with caveats such as constraints on future decision-making or a ruling that Germany's basic law has to be rewritten if there is to be further EU integration.


September 9, 2012

Soros calls for Germany to 'lead or leave euro'

International financier George Soros has called for Germany to "lead or leave the euro" days before a crucial ruling on the eurozone's bailout fund by Germany's constitutional court.

Mr Soros argued that the eurozone should target 5% economic growth.

That would require the bloc to abandon German-backed austerity measures and accept higher inflation, he says.

He also backed a new European Fiscal Authority financed by VAT receipts to oversee eurozone government finances.

In an article published in Monday's New York Review of Books, Mr Soros said that Germany should become a more "benevolent" leading country or exit the single currency: "Either alternative would be better than to persist on the current course."


September 9, 2012

California MMA fighter Jarrod Wyatt, accused of ripping out friend’s heart and tongue, pleads guilty

CRESCENT CITY, Calif. — A Northern California mixed-martial artist accused of ripping out his friend’s heart and removing his tongue while the two were on hallucinogenic drugs has pleaded guilty to murder and mayhem charges.

Jarrod Wyatt of Crescent City agreed to a plea deal in which he will serve 50 years to life in prison, Del Norte County prosecutors said. His official sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 4.

Wyatt pleaded guilty to first-degree murder involving mayhem in the March 21, 2010, death of his sparring partner, 21-year-old Taylor Powell, prosecutors said.


When police arrived that day at a home at the mouth of the Klamath River, they found Wyatt naked and covered in blood. He told the officers, “I killed him,” and said he had cut out Powell’s heart and tongue, according to court documents.

The officers found Powell’s body on the couch of the Requa home. His chest was cut open, and his heart, tongue and the skin of his face were gone, court records said. His heart was found charred in a wood-burning stove.


September 9, 2012

No matter what the Maximum tax rate has been, we've never collected much more than 20% of GDP

Federal tax revenues have averaged 19.6 percent of GDP since World War II. As the chart above shows, federal receipts broke the 20 percent ceiling only once, reaching 20.6 percent during the tech boom of 2000.

This has led many economists to argue that it is irresponsible for the U.S. to make long-term commitments to expenditure levels above about 20 percent of GDP. Nonetheless, government expenditure was 25.5 percent of GDP in 2011 and is projected to be more than 24 percent this year.

The 20 percent ceiling for government revenue holds despite a wide variation in tax rates. In the postwar period, the highest personal income tax rates have been as high as 92 percent and as low as 28 percent, while corporate tax rates have ranged from 35 to 53 percent.

This means that raising taxes to address mounting U.S. debt is not an option. While it may seem fair politically, it is unrealistic and counterproductive in practice.

At some point, apparently around 20 percent of GDP, increased tax rates are offset by shrinkage in the tax base.


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