7/31/11

Guest Blogger: Part V: The Debt Ceiling: The Antoine Marshall Proposal

Guest Blogger Antoine Marshall breaks down the Debt Ceiling and puts forward his original proposal (in a 7 part blog series)-- let's hope Congress takes notice.  Antoine Marshall is a rising 3rd year law student at Wake Forest University. http://www.linkedin.com/pub/antoine-marshall/1a/267/148


The Marshall Plan:
(Disclaimer: This plan is constructed under the premise that I had full authority. I understand that it would be politically unfeasible to pass in our current legislature)

New Programs:

-          Health-Care Public Option
This proposal will involve passing the public option that was originally part of the House’s America’s Affordable Health Choices Act. The Public option was taken out of the final version of the bill but it creates a Medicare-type public insurance plan that individuals would have the option of buying into as part of the health care exchanges that will begin to operate in 2014.

Savings by 2020: $400 Billion

Additional Revenue:
-          Tax the Worldwide income of US Corporations as it is earned
Income earned abroad also may be taxed by the country in which it is earned. To prevent such double taxation, U.S. companies are allowed to claim the foreign tax credit, which reduces their U.S. taxes by the amount of any income and withholding taxes they have paid to foreign governments.

The foreign tax credit is subject to limits that are designed to ensure that the amount of credits taken does not exceed the amount of U.S. tax that would otherwise have been due. Those limits also are intended to prevent corporations from using foreign tax credits as a way to reduce taxes on income earned in the United States.

Most income earned by the foreign subsidiaries of U.S. corporations is not subject to U.S. taxation until it is repatriated in the form of dividends paid to the parent corporation.

Under this option, all income earned by the foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies would be subject to U.S. taxes as it was earned, regardless of when it was repatriated. To prevent double taxation, foreign tax credits would still be allowed. For determining the limit on those credits, however, the U.S. parent corporation’s overhead expenses would no longer be allocated between domestic and foreign activities.
Revenue by 2020: $65.2 Billion


-          Financial Speculation Tax
Tax that is based off of a tax the United Kingdom has had for decades. A modest tax on financial transactions like trading stocks, options, futures and credit default swaps (0.25% on the sale or purchase of a share of stock).
Revenue by 2020: $2.1 Trillion 

7/30/11

Guest Blogger: Part IV: The Debt Ceiling: The Antoine Marshall Proposal

Guest Blogger Antoine Marshall breaks down the Debt Ceiling and puts forward his original proposal (in a 7 part blog series)-- let's hope Congress takes notice.  Antoine Marshall is a rising 3rd year law student at Wake Forest University. http://www.linkedin.com/pub/antoine-marshall/1a/267/148


The Marshall Plan:
(Disclaimer: This plan is constructed under the premise that I had full authority. I understand that it would be politically unfeasible to pass in our current legislature)

Cuts:         
-            Order the Federal Reserve to buy and hold $750 billion - $1 trillion in debt

The Federal Reserve Board routinely buys and sells U.S. debt as part of its monetary policy operations. In the current downturn it has made the unusual decision to buy up hundreds of billions of dollars of long-term government bonds and more than $1 trillion of mortgage backed securities in order to help keep long-term interest rates low and thereby provide support to the economy.

This option would have the Fed sell back at most $250 billion to the public (it intends to sell it all back), keeping the flow of interest on this debt going back into the Treasury. This way the debt issued to support the economy in the downturn does not become a burden on the government in the future.

In ordinary times, the decision by the Fed to buy large amounts of government debt could lead to inflation. This is unlikely to be a serious problem in the current context of near double-digit unemployment. When the unemployment rate begins to return to more normal levels, the Fed could use other tools, such as raising reserve requirements or raising the federal funds rate, to ensure that inflation does not get out of control.
Savings by 2020: $1.125-$1.5 Trillion


-          Tie Retirement Age of Social Security and Medicare eligibility into Life Expectancy rates.
One of the drawbacks to most retirement programs are that we are living longer than when the Government first passed social security and Medicare programs. Current Social Security law states that the normal retirement age is 62, and that age will begin rising two months a year in 2016.

Under this proposal we make the retirement age 14% of the life expectancy rate. The average life expectancy in the US is currently 77 years, so we raise the normal retirement rate to 66.

Savings by 2020: $78 Billion


-          Reduce Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to 60,000 by 2015.
This proposal is to slowly decrease the troop levels over in Afghanistan and Iraq. Troop levels in both countries added up to be about 235,000 in 2010. This proposal calls for decreasing troop levels slowly to 195,000 in 2012, 80,000 in 2014 and 60,000 in 2015.

Savings by 2020: $690 Billion

7/29/11

Guest Blogger: Part III: The Debt Ceiling: The Antoine Marshall Proposal

Guest Blogger Antoine Marshall breaks down the Debt Ceiling and puts forward his original proposal (in a 7 part blog series)-- let's hope Congress takes notice.  Antoine Marshall is a rising 3rd year law student at Wake Forest University. http://www.linkedin.com/pub/antoine-marshall/1a/267/148

Current Plans:

There have been many speculated and failed plans.
  • At the beginning of the process, a bipartisan Vice-President Biden lead group came up with a plan that included $1.7 trillion dollars in spending cuts and a $2.4 trillion dollar raising of the debt limit, that was shunned by the House because it didn’t meet their dollar for dollar requirement.

  • A Grand Deal proposed by Obama in his bipartisan budget talks cut spending by $3 trillion and raises an additional $1 trillion in revenue for a reduction of $4 trillion. But this compromise too was shot down because it required raising taxes.

  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed a plan to fundamentally change the process of raising the debt ceiling, giving the President the power to raise the debt ceiling, issuing the proposal that the legislature could then vote down.

    The President would be able to veto their objection and raise the debt ceiling anyways. Most Republicans don’t like this idea because #1 it’s strictly a political move and #2 it gives more power to the President.

  • The House Republicans passed the Cut, Cap and Balance Act which makes substantial cuts to social security, Medicare, creates a constitutional amendment that requires that the Federal Government pass a balanced budget, and a requirement that any increase in taxes must contain a 2/3rds majority in both houses (essentially no new taxes).

    Senate Democrats (and any sane rational person with an understanding of governance) voted against this bill.

7/28/11

Guest Blogger: Part II: The Debt Ceiling: The Antoine Marshall Proposal

Guest Blogger Antoine Marshall breaks down the Debt Ceiling and puts forward his original proposal (in a 7 part blog series)-- let's hope Congress takes notice.  Antoine Marshall is a rising 3rd year law student at Wake Forest University. http://www.linkedin.com/pub/antoine-marshall/1a/267/148

What’s the hold up in raising the debt Ceiling?

With the Republicans in control of the House of Representatives any debt ceiling vote is going to have to come with House Republican’s approval. Backed by a core of first term Tea Party candidates Republicans have trumpeted the cause of reducing federal spending.

In all fairness to their cause, economist caution that when a country’s debt reaches 100% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) they struggle to generate jobs and support a healthy economy (Greece before their economic meltdown had a 133.3% GDP to debt ratio, Italy which is juggling its economic meltdown has a debt to GDP ratio of 116%), and at a GDP at $15 trillion, there is major concern that our debt is going to lead us to a major economic depression.

Obama is calling for a $2.4 trillion dollar increase in the debt limits, because projections show that that is what’s needed to get us through the 2012 elections.

The President has stated outright that he will veto any short term deal, under the belief that with all the trouble we’re going through now to pass a deal it’s going to be impossible to do so during an election cycle. He also states that by passing a 3, 6 or 9 month plan will increase market uncertainty which will continue to slow the economic recovery.

Republicans have called Obama’s request for a long term deal a political ploy, that his request isn’t because he doesn’t think a deal can get done during an election season, but because he’s trying to avoid the issue come election time because it hurts his re-election.

They in turn have tied the debt ceiling to the debt and demand that any increase in the debt ceiling has to have a dollar for dollar reduction of the debt in the federal budget over the next 10 years. Included within that demand is a zero tolerance policy for any new taxes.

Essentially they are calling for $2.4 trillion dollars in cuts in federal spending, which can only be obtained through cuts to Democratic Darlings like Medicare and Social Security.

A deal that appeases Obama’s demand for a long term deal and a Republican demand for dollar for dollar cuts with no new taxes is virtually impossible and thus the impasse.

Stay Tuned for Part III

7/27/11

Guest Blogger: Part I: The Debt Ceiling: The Antoine Marshall Proposal

Guest Blogger Antoine Marshall breaks down the Debt Ceiling and puts forward his original proposal (in a 7 part blog series)-- let's hope Congress takes notice.  Antoine Marshall is a rising 3rd year law student at Wake Forest University. http://www.linkedin.com/pub/antoine-marshall/1a/267/148


Fixing the Debt Ceiling.

Much has been made over our impending debtpocolypse that will occur if the Congress doesn’t raise the Congressional debt limit by August 2nd, the date given by Treasury Secretary Geithner, that the country will run out of money to obligate our payments. Although some question the date given by Geithner, and the effect of us defaulting, Congress and the White House have been working towards a deal to raise the debt limit.

What is the debt limit?

The debt limit is basically how much Congress allows us to borrow. A statutory limit has been placed on our debt as part of the Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917 which allowed us to finance World War I. Right now it’s at about $14.6 trillion dollars. Meaning the federal government has borrowed $14.6 trillion dollars that we haven’t paid back yet.

Total debt of the federal government can be increased in two ways.
  1. Either selling debt to the public, normally secured through US savings bonds (Those birthday gifts you probably received and were upset by as a kid. “Happy Birthday Little Johnny, here’s $100 in a US Savings Bond. You can’t spend it for another 20 years but it draws interest and will be very valuable by the time you forget you have it.”),

    or
     
  2. When the federal government issues debt to certain government accounts such as social security, Medicare, and transportation trust funds.
So who holds our debt?

As of right now
  • commercial banks and credit unions hold about $269.8 billion, 
  • insurance companies hold about $260.8 billion, 
  • the UK and state and local governments have about $511 billion each, 
  • mutual funds hold about $637.7 billion, 
  • Pension funds worth $706.4 billion, 
  • Japan has traditionally been one of the largest US debt holders with $877.2 billion, 
  • China is the largest debt holder at $895.6 billion, 
  • $1.5 trillion is held by individuals, businesses, estates, corporations, and non-corporate business, 
  • and $5.351 trillion is actually held by the US Government (yeah the biggest holder of government debt is the federal government… go figure).
The debt ceiling was raised 8 times during the Bush administration, 5 times when the Republicans have had control of the house, with each of those 5 votes earning at least 193 Republican voting yes.

Even when Democrats took back the House during the final 2 years of the Bush Presidency, the debt limit was raised three times with a combined 136 Republican yes votes.

Between 2000 and 2008 the debt ceiling went from $5.9 trillion to $11.3 trillion. Since Obama has been in office the debt ceiling has been raised 3 times, with not a single Republican yes vote.

Stay Tuned for Part II

Youtuber of The Week

7/22/11

PT 4: Black VS African-American VS American

Esh: "But you ARE an Afro-descendent and that's why you are identified as such. White people have hyphens too, it's just because they're white and their identity has been normalized that they don't have to throw it on there. It's the same thing u...p here - I always get asked where I'm from but if you ask a white person they get thrown off track. It shouldn't be that way and by asking them and forcing them to realize that they have roots somewhere else it'll change, eventually. But in any case, you’re African-American."


Ash: "I'm resisting the labels! Lol... White people always get it...black ones don't hence this drawn out convo."

Jos: "so pick a few countries in Africa that interest you!"

Ant: " It's not because black people don't get it, it’s just because we are easier to differentiate. You stand an African-American next to an Italian-American and you can instantly spot the difference. Stand an Italian-American next to an Irish or ...German one. Can you really tell them apart? And because their bonds aren't as common as African-Americans.

A vast majority of African-Americans can trace their ancestry back to slavery. We all came over roughly the same time (between Jamestown and the end of the transatlantic slave trade). For a similar purpose. Our history has been connected. There was a wave of Germans in the early 1800s another in the 1880s, another in 1912 who all underwent different immigrant experiences.

True blacks in the Caribbean and America came over through the same way but each underwent different circumstances as time passed. There were experiences that are exclusively African-American (civil war, great migration, Harlem renaissance, Jim Crow, civil rights movement, etc.) That differentiates the African-American and say a Haitian or Dominican. All part of the black Diaspora but separate ethnic groups because of the distinctions in history which has shaped their language, culture, etc."

Tierra: "I think people stop at slavery, but shouldn't."

Ant: "I agree Tierra that we stop black history at slavery which is wrong. People should learn about the great African empires of Mali, Ethiopia, Ghana, Zulu, Carthage, Nubia, etc. But as an ethnic group African-Americans do stop at slavery. It was that moment we no longer belonged our respective groups because they erased that history."

Tierra: "they didn't erase it, they just stopped talking about, it's still there, and you can research and find it. In one breath blacks say we still have slave mentalities, in another, they condemn us for not knowing that we are and acting like kings and queens. Why would we if ever reference dates back to slavery"

Stac: " Not really erased at Ant. you can have them take a sample of your DNA and they can trace where your people originated from, and pin point where. An old friend from college paid $600 just to find out he was Ethiopian."

Ant: "That's what I plan on doing once I get out of school. And, I say erased from the slaves. They couldn't speak their language, celebrate their holidays or acknowledge their traditions"

Esh: " It's not that important for me to know where exactly I'm from in Africa. I assume I'm from somewhere in West Africa and that's enough for me - I got love for the whole continent so it's whatever. And I don't understand how this whole process works; frankly I think it sounds a little sketchy.

Also, a lot of people go to Africa and someone will take one look at them and tell them where they're probably from for free ninety-nine lol. It happened to my mom when she was in Ghana and makes me think even less about doling out cash for that. I think the interesting thing about it is that you don't know what you're going to find. Could turn out you hail from enslaved Africans somewhere in Africa too!"

I'm black/afro descendant. The end lol. However, I recognize my elements. It's up to you, what you wanna be :) you're gonna hear bullshit no matter what you choose though"

7/21/11

PT 3: Black VS African-American VS American

Ash: "Racially it is different. Charlize Theron is an ACTUAL African American. The new Princess of Monaco is also an African. They don't look black to me..."


Jos: "that’s not what I mean and those kinds of people aren’t why the term African American was created. Black by definition has to do with the fact that your ancestors are from Africa you have RACIAL origins there. Charlice Theron wasn't born in American at all, she just lives here now lol. Her people's origins are in Europe. So really she's African European"

Tierra: "Jos I know what you're trying to say, I disagree with your last point only. I think Ant cleared it up best. If I can remember correctly, my biology teacher in high school put it like this:

Race = the color of your skin

African/American= nationality

Culture= ethnicity

You can identify as Black because of your skin, be American, but your ethnicity be Dominican, such as my friend Vasti. Beyond that, I think it's stupid to expect someone to look at you from the outside and be able to figure out "what" you are. "Oh, I’m not black, I'm southern, American and my great grandma is Irish." GTFOH."

Jos: "Well agree to disagree. Although the term African American may be a little inaccurate, I don’t dislike it because it associates me with Africa or African culture. I look the way I do mostly because of my African Ancestors. It may have been ...a while ago that my great great great whoever came across the ocean but that’s still the biggest part of me. And there ARE cultural differences.

The way we dance, and sing and some of the foods we prepare are based on cultural ways of life in Africa. Yes we’ve made our own culture here but I recognize the similarities and I’m proud of them. At the End of the day I'm American and I do think it's annoying that you don't hear white people call themselves European American. For some reason we have the additive on our nationality."

Ant: "Ash I understand your argument but you're arguing over semantics. You can argue over the name if you want but you are categorically an African-American. You are an African-American because you are black, your ancestry goes back to Africa and due to history you can't pinpoint where.

And African isn't an ethnicity anymore than European or North American. It's a name used to describe anyone living on the continent of Africa. Ibo is an ethnicity, Ashanti is an ethnicity, Ethiopian, Nubian those are ethnicities. The people you named are African by virtue of where they live, but that is not their ethnicity."

Jos: "maybe the issue was that the black race and white race are colors, while every race in between gets to be associated with a continent or whatever. Asian/Pacific Islander, Latino/Hispanic, Native etc, maybe some people didn't want to be called black because their skin isn't technically black"

Ash: "Ant, I totally get that and what I'm saying is that society is wrong because they're too stupid to realize that we as a group aren't African. I just get annoyed by the hyphenated American thing."

Ant: "AFRICAN IS NOT A CULTURE!!!! Would people stop implying that 20% of the world’s landmass home to over 25% of the world’s population, over 200 languages, hundreds of ethnic group and thousands of customs is one abstract culture."

7/20/11

PT 2: Black VS African-American VS American

Ash: "I'm ethnically American. I am such an All American girl that it annoys me that people think you have to be Becky blue eyes to be American."


Ant: "American is a citizenship not an ethnicity. America as a nation is inhabited by several different ethnic groups. There is no typical American. You'll find Americans with different customs when it comes to food, music, religion, etc. And there is no predominate commonality.

Normally for a country itself to be an ethnicity it has to be a monolithic population racially with a long history steeped with a common tradition/culture. Japan, England and Greece can be considered their own cultures. Or countries where racial and cultural mixing has actually taken place (and lower immigration rates) few places in the new world (exceptions for countries like Mexico and a majority of the Caribbean) have that history."

Ash: "I meant American in terms of the general idea of American. Not the niche cultures in America....Maybe my ethnicity is "Southern" then...lol"

Jos: "augh this never ending topic. Race and nationality are not the same. Everyone born in America or has citizenship here is American. If you're American but have parents from somewhere else then you could break it down to your nationality and nation of origin, if you know it. And unless a parent or grandparent is something other than of the black race (which covers the ENTIRE African Diaspora some people think you're only black if you're an African American.

I learned that when I lived in Cape Verde), then you black jack! you can nitpick if you want, like oh, I don't have "typical" African features, or I’m lighter than most, my hair is wavy, or my daddy has hazel eyes so that means..." but like someone else said the rest of the world doesn’t really see those lil differences"

Ash: "I am not an African American because other than melanin I have nothing in common with anyone that's a cultural African. I'm not an actual or ethnic African and I prefer not to be called one."

Jos: "I didn't call u one! lol. I get what you're saying. It may be inaccurate from a cultural standpoint, but racially it isn’t. I think some black Americans felt the need to not be looked at like some alien creature that has no home, whereas most other races in American can trace their people back to another continent/country. And the reason you're black at all is because somewhere down the line you have African ancestors."

Esh: " I mean, we're all so many things. But I think it's one of many things are we aren't completely in control of. I can say that I'm part African, part European, part Indigenous Caribbean, but this society sees me as Black and that's what I identify with the most. As much as I can talk about other parts, that's the dominant one and that's the one that mostly affects who I am and how I'm seen and treated where I live, so it makes more sense to me to have a stronger connection with that.

We can talk all day but white people are gonna call us black and say our hair is nappy so somewhere along the line I feel like internalizing it and making it positive may be a better way to deal so we don't go crazy."

7/19/11

"I will tear my clothes off for Putin."... Awkward Much??

"In a case of naked political ambition, female fans of Vladimir Putin are being urged to strip down to show their support for the Russian prime minister. Supporters launched an online campaign asking young women to take it all off for Putin, who is mulling a bid to retake the Russian presidency.

A video featuring a brunette student named Diana appeared on a lawmaker's site on Sunday, London's Telegraph reported. The woman wearing a suit takes out a white top and writes on it, "I will tear my clothes off for Putin."

Then she starts to strip. The group behind the video, which identifies itself as "Putin's Army," said its goal is to show that Putin is supported by "beautiful, young and smart girls." The campaign promises girls a chance to win an iPad2 if they strip for Putin before the vote next March.

"Every girl will be on the Internet - a star!" the site promises. Putin now has a traditionally ceremonial position in the Russian government but is widely considered a major decision-maker. He was the country's president from 2000-2008 before his handpicked successor took over

Read more:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2011/07/18/2011-07-18_new_in_presidential_campaigns_russian_girls_urged_to_strip_to_show_support_for_v.html

PT 1: Black VS African-American VS American

• How do I define myself?
• Are the definitions available something I'd readily grasp?
• Am I wrong to reject a certain construct?

These are questions that most human beings discuss among themselves. My friends were discussing this topic on facebook within our private group. The conversation started innocently enough in regards to a certain hair product, than it centered on pejorative terms like "Nappy" & "Kinky."

The below are Not my words but definitely I tend to agree with what's been written.

This will be a series of 4: So stay tune to a great discussion! :)

Naq: "I've learned that my hair isn't kinky neither...its highly textured and tightly coiled and curled...I have a courser texture than Becky but it’s not nappy...I've learned that it's just hair. Nothing more nothing less. Also, if your hair is properly moisturized, that's when you learn the difference. Your hair is only nappy if it's dry and unkempt lol...even ppl with straight hair can be nappy"
Esh: " I feel like there's a lot of stigma around words like 'kinky' and 'nappy' and I hear it in the way a lot of black Americans talk about natural hair, but I've always thought of them of fun, positive words. Yes, my hair is really just tightly... curled, but above all I think they just describe difference and indicate afro-descendent. I see it in the same light as I do the word 'black.' I'm not actually black but it's a word we use to talk about what makes us different. So like the children's book says I'm 'Happy to be Nappy.' :)"
Ash: "I get incensed because it's a pejorative term....and also not correct. I'm fine with being called black though because I'm not, in fact, an African American."
Esh: "But black isn't correct either for the majority of us and it's not the same as African-American. There was a time when black was a lot more of a pejorative word than it is now. I mean, it still is widely negative even whether it's inside or... outside of racial terms. I think a lot of words go through negative periods and then people turn them around and make them positive and empowering. I dunno, I don't care. I'm not black but I call myself black, I'm not nappy but I'm down with it too."

Ant: "Black is a racial construct, African-American an ethnic construct. Technically you're both. Although race and ethnicity are social constructs, they are separate in a sense. Race is usually broken down into the now defunct bio...logical constructs (defunct because there is no "black gene" or particular sets of genes that can be discerned. Some people are biologically closer to individuals of a different race than their own) of Negroid, Caucasian, Hispanic, or Asian. Ethnicity on the other hand is a standard of race and culture. African-Americans are black, as are the Ibo tribe of Nigeria, but what separates them is a common language, customs, music, dress. Etc.

You might dispute African-Americans having such similarities but when you look at it on depth our history is usually linked back in slavery, we all speak English (slight dialect variations exist but still) musically most African-Americans are into jazz, r&b, hip hop, and funk. Food is more or less similar, etc."

Dai: "I never call myself American and never heard too many black people say they're proud to be American besides 9/11 and when Osama was killed...maybe"

Esh: " I don't really call myself Canadian unless I'm outside of Canada and it's still kind of an uncomfortable term for me because I identify with more than one country. I always feel like I have to explain myself. Canadian isn't enough, I don't feel ethnically Canadian."

7/18/11

You Must Be Deaf: K-Pop! Girl's Generation

I've randomly heard of K-Pop... and being in Korea I've def seen the ads & videos ... but it wasn't until I watched one of It's Kinglsey Bitch videos about K-Pop & Ke$ha.... sooo here ya go! :)



Here's the Ke$ha version :)



Tell Me your thoughts

7/15/11

Youtuber of The Week

I've mentioned him recently!I think he is Hee-larious! oh and ooh wee he tweeted me! lol

10 Days Later

I'm back with a Vengenance!

New Youtube Videos will be uploaded per week!
New Global Street Pics uploaded 2 or 3 times a week!

I'll update my blog as needed and I'll work on my creative writing!

7/5/11

You Must Be Deaf: Korean Hip-Hop

Ok for the past 90 days I've been complaining about the lack of cultural activities that I could gravitate too. Granted I haven't searched out these activities--being under the stupid American mindset that, people should advertise the events in English or market it to foreigners.

But I'm over that idea. I'm totally down for searching out this ish... now that I've attended an Improv Show & the 2011 B-Boy World Championships, included w/ a mini-concert featuring Drunken Tiger or Tiger JK & his awesome wife Tasha! I'm starting to become OBSESSED w/ them!
A lot of the music is in Korean, but I love their-- must I say it...AGH---- SWAG & tone of voice! Low-key when they were performing I originally thought they were the South Korean version of the Fugees!!

I'm really all about Tasha. When I saw her perform and felt her energy. I just felt transported. She was too hype! Oh and while I was looking her music up on youtube.. found out that she was bi-racial.. Surprising that she's doing so well or even well-known in the homogenous society of South Korea.
Check out their music!



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