Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Shooting victim seeks charges against Fulton police

I’m glad they are proceeding with their plans.  I’m praying justice is served for Ron Pettaway.
www.ajc.com

image

By S.A. REID
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 04/24/07

The surviving brother from a shooting by police in south Fulton County on Tuesday filed an application for an arrest warrant against the two county police officers.

The application, filed by Roy Pettaway III, 27 , was accepted by a Magistrate Court clerk and forwarded to a magistrate, who will set a hearing.

Pettaway’s 26-year-old brother, Ron, was fatally shot in the head in the parking lot of the Frozen Palace lounge in College Park on April 15. Roy Pettaway was wounded. The men were unarmed when they got involved with police, who were responding to a report of a fight at the nightclub.

The warrant application asks for criminal charges against Officers Aissa Ware, 23, and Michael Bernard Wilson, 26. Among the charges requested: aggravated assault and attempted murder.

Police officials have said the officers, who are on administrative leave pending an investigation, have been on the force less than two years.

After filing the application, Pettaway said, “I feel this is one step towards justice. It takes the burden off my shoulders. I’m glad we did what we did today.”

A day after the shooting, Fulton police Chief George Coleman Jr. requested the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to help with the investigation.

The Rev. Markel Hutchins, a family spokesman, said they sought the warrants because they have become impatient with the investigation and because authorities have not yet interviewed Pettaway.

Pettaway is the 14th person killed by law enforcement officers in the past 15 months. Twelve people have been killed by police in DeKalb County. In Atlanta — in a police shooting last November that made news worldwide — an elderly Atlanta woman, Kathryn Johnston, was killed by Atlanta police during a botched drug raid.

Posted by loni on 04/24 at 02:26 PM
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Thursday, April 19, 2007

You Need To Believe To Be A Republican.

This is from an email sent to me.  Thank you, Claudine.

1. Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary
Clinton.

2. Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush’s daddy
made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him, and a bad guy
when Bush needed a “we can’t find Bin Laden” diversion.

3. Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade with
China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

4. The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest
national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.

5. A woman can’t be trusted with decisions about her own body, but
multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without
regulation.

6. The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in
speeches, while slashing veterans’ benefits and combat pay.

7. If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won’t have sex.

8. A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies, then
demand their cooperation and money.

9. Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy, but providing health
care to all Americans is socialism. HMOs and insurance companies have the
best interests of the public at heart.

10. Global warming and tobacco’s link to cancer are junk science, but
creationism should be taught in schools.

11. A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable
offense, but a president lying to enlist support for a war in which
thousands die is solid defense policy.

12. Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution,
which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.

13. The public has a right to know about Hillary’s cattle trades, but George
Bush’s driving record is none of our business.

14. Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you’re a
conservative radio host. Then it’s an illness and you need our prayers for
your recovery.

15. Supporting “Executive Privilege” for every Republican ever born, who
will be born or who might be born (in perpetuity.)

16. What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but
what Bush did in the ‘80s is irrelevant.

17. Support for hunters who shoot their friends and blame them for wearing
orange vests similar to those worn by the quail.

Feel free to pass this on. If you don’t send it to at least 10 other people,
we’re likely to be stuck with more Republicans in ‘06 and ‘08.

Friends don’t let friends vote Republican.

Posted by SPN on 04/19 at 08:30 AM
Politics • (1) CommentsPermalink

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Look how the Virginia Tech assassin is portrayed in a Peruvian newspaper.

Assasin

Posted by SPN on 04/18 at 10:05 PM
International • (1) CommentsPermalink

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

No guns on men shot by Fulton police

This is the second article posted about this situation.  No weapons on their persons. 
Cops are on administrative leave. Makes you wonder......

Activist and family want investigation

By S.A. REID , ERIC STIRGUS
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 04/17/07

A local civil rights activist and the family of a 26-year-old man fatally shot by Fulton County police are calling for a state and federal investigation into the death.

The Rev. Markel Hutchins, a spokesman for Ron Pettaway’s family, said Monday the case deserves the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Fulton District Attorney’s Office.

a.m. Sunday when police responded to a call about a fight at the Frozen Palace, a bar at 2395 Flat Shoals Road near College Park.

Police confirmed Monday afternoon that neither man had weapons.

“There is no justification for police to wound and shoot two unarmed men,” Hutchins said at a news conference while flanked by members of Pettaway’s immediate family. “It’s nothing short of murder. These young people were shot for no reason.”

Coleman said the two officers who shot the Pettaway brothers have less than two years on the force. Both men are on administrative leave pending the outcome of the probe. Their names have not been released.

LaShonda Dennis, 33, of Marietta, a patron of the Frozen Palace, said a fight started inside the bar when Ron Pettaway told her another patron looked like rapper Lil’ Wayne. The patron took offense to the description, and the two men fought inside the club, Dennis said.

Bar security ushered the men outside, Dennis said, and when they returned, both men were calm. Minutes later, a police officer arrived and asked Ron Pettaway to come outside, Dennis said.

Five seconds later, Dennis said, she heard at least five gunshots. Dennis said she ran out the back door and returned later to find Ron Pettaway covered in a white sheet.

Roy Pettaway, according to Hutchins, saw his brother on the ground being beaten by police. He was shot in the back as he tried to stop them. He heard a second shot, but didn’t know his brother had been fatally shot until told Sunday night, Hutchins said.

Ron Pettaway was shot in the back of the head, according to family members and the Fulton Medical Examiner’s Office.

Roy Pettaway III, 27, remains at Grady Hospital in stable condition and could undergo surgery. Ron Pettaway’s funeral will be held Saturday, on what would have been his 27th birthday, family members said. Details on the service are being worked out.

Hutchins promised additional action, including public protests, to bring the officers responsible to justice and to deal with a climate in metro Atlanta and elsewhere in which, he said, “police officers are now shooting first and asking questions later.”

Hutchins said the Pettaway shootings are another example of excessive police force by metro Atlanta police. Twelve people were shot by police in DeKalb County last year alone.

He and family members were scheduled to talk with the laywers at the Cochran Law Firm this morning. They also are miffed that no Fulton police or government official, so far, has offered condolences

Posted by loni on 04/17 at 08:10 AM
Blogging • (5) CommentsPermalink

Activist calls for state, federal investigation of shootings

I had to post this. Ron was a friend of mine and this was senseless. This is the 2nd killing of an individual by Police in Atlanta, the first being an elderly woman who lived alone with a no knock warrant for the wrong address.  This is getting outrageous.  Police should be taught restraint. What would cause the police to shoot a man in the back of the head claiming he was resisting arrest when witnesses stated that was not the case. Also no statements were taken from any witnesses at the scene because no one would corroborate the officers story.

Family says men were not armed

By S.A. REID
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 04/16/07

A local civil rights activist and the family of a 26-year-old man fatally shot by Fulton police are calling for a state and federal investigation into the death.

The Rev. Markel Hutchins, a spokeman for Ron Pettaway’s family, said Monday the case deserves the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Fulton District Attorney’s Office.

conference while flanked by members of Pettaway’s immediate family.

Pettaway was killed and his brother, Roy, was shot and wounded about 1:30 a.m. by police who responded to a call about a fight at the Frozen Palace, a bar at 2395 Flat Shoals Road near College Park.

Hutchins repeated claims that the brothers were unarmed and cited the Pettaway shooting as another example of excessive police force by metro Atlanta police.

Ron Pettaway was shot in the back of the head, according to family members and the Fulton Medical Examiner’s Office. His brother, relatives said, was wounded in the back.

image

Hutchins said police showed up well after what he termed a “barroom brawl” involving the two brothers had ended. The fight had spilled outside, but by the time police arrived the pair had gone back inside and had resumed partying, Hutchins said.

Fulton police are investigating and have declined to comment beyond confirming that shootings happened on a sidewalk outside the bar. One officer shot Ron Pettaway, while another shot his brother, who has charges pending in the case.

The two officers involved are on administrative leave pending the outcome of the probe. Their names have not been released.

Roy Pettaway III, 27, remains at Grady Hospital in stable condition and could undergo surgery. His family has planned a 7 p.m. prayer vigil Monday at the Frozen Palace. Ron Pettaway’s funeral will be held Saturday, on what would have been his 27th birthday, family members said. The details on the service are still being finalized.

Hutchins promised additional action, including public protests, to bring the officers responsible to justice and to deal with a climate in metro Atlanta and elsewhere in which, he said, “police officers are now shooting first and asking questions later.”

He and family members were scheduled to talk with the laywers at the Cochran Law Firm this morning. They also are miffed that no Fulton police or government official, so far, has offered their condolences.

“Tonight we’re going to pray,” Hutchins said. “Next week, we will put our feet to the street. We’re not going to let this young die in vain.”

-- Reporter Eric Stirgus contributed to this article.

Posted by loni on 04/17 at 08:05 AM
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Monday, April 16, 2007

GE Energy starts their interviewing process for Summer Interns.

This was a forwarded email sent to me.

OPPORTUNITIES! OPPORTUNITIES! OPPORTUNITIES!

GE Energy will be starting their interviewing process for Summer Interns in a few weeks. The company is looking for college Freshmen, Sophomores, or Juniors in Engineering, Computer Science, Finance, or Accounting.  Must have a minimum GPA of 3.0. Consideration will be made for some business majors with strong leadership qualities.

Location of Internships: Atlanta, Greenville, Houston, Ohio, Raytown, Schenectady,Erie, ..anywhere there is a GE facility!  Average salary: $17 an hour....some locations I will pay a housing allowance.

If you or someone you know meets the requirements, please contact:

Michelle Jackson, PHR
GE Energy - HR Manager, Compliance & Dispute Resolution

T: 678 844 7668 F: 1-866-276-0930 D: *421-7668 C: 757-639-3366 E:

Posted by SPN on 04/16 at 12:27 PM
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Imus isn’t the real bad guy

Instead of wasting time on irrelevant shock jock, black leaders need to be fighting a growing gangster culture.
Some of this guy’s article pissed me off more than those despicable words uttered by Imus.  I definitely plan on writing this guy.  Some of what he says I will agree with but his “shame” at the appearance of the Rutgers women and their coach at a news conference just floored me.

Posted on Wed, Apr. 11, 2007 - Kansas City Star
By JASON WHITLOCK

Thank you, Don Imus. You’ve given us (black people) an excuse to avoid our real problem.

You’ve given Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson another opportunity to pretend that the old fight, which is now the safe and lucrative fight, is still the most important fight in our push for true economic and social equality.

You’ve given Vivian Stringer and Rutgers the chance to hold a nationally televised recruiting celebration expertly disguised as a news conference to respond to your poor attempt at humor.

Thank you, Don Imus. You extended Black History Month to April, and we can once again wallow in victimhood, protest like it’s 1965 and delude ourselves into believing that fixing your hatred is more necessary than eradicating our self-hatred.

The bigots win again.

While we’re fixated on a bad joke cracked by an irrelevant, bad shock jock, I’m sure at least one of the marvelous young women on the Rutgers basketball team is somewhere snapping her fingers to the beat of 50 Cent’s or Snoop Dogg’s or Young Jeezy’s latest ode glorifying nappy-headed pimps and hos.

I ain’t saying Jesse, Al and Vivian are gold-diggas, but they don’t have the heart to mount a legitimate campaign against the real black-folk killas.

It is us. At this time, we are our own worst enemies. We have allowed our youths to buy into a culture (hip hop) that has been perverted, corrupted and overtaken by prison culture. The music, attitude and behavior expressed in this culture is anti-black, anti-education, demeaning, self-destructive, pro-drug dealing and violent.

Rather than confront this heinous enemy from within, we sit back and wait for someone like Imus to have a slip of the tongue and make the mistake of repeating the things we say about ourselves.

It’s embarrassing. Dave Chappelle was offered $50 million to make racially insensitive jokes about black and white people on TV. He was hailed as a genius. Black comedians routinely crack jokes about white and black people, and we all laugh out loud.

I’m no Don Imus apologist. He and his tiny companion Mike Lupica blasted me after I fell out with ESPN. Imus is a hack.

But, in my view, he didn’t do anything outside the norm for shock jocks and comedians. He also offered an apology. That should’ve been the end of this whole affair. Instead, it’s only the beginning. It’s an opportunity for Stringer, Jackson and Sharpton to step on victim platforms and elevate themselves and their agenda$.

I watched the Rutgers news conference and was ashamed.

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke for eight minutes in 1963 at the March on Washington. At the time, black people could be lynched and denied fundamental rights with little thought. With the comments of a talk-show host most of her players had never heard of before last week serving as her excuse, Vivian Stringer rambled on for 30 minutes about the amazing season her team had.

Somehow, we’re supposed to believe that the comments of a man with virtually no connection to the sports world ruined Rutgers’ wonderful season. Had a broadcaster with credibility and a platform in the sports world uttered the words Imus did, I could understand a level of outrage.

But an hourlong press conference over a man who has already apologized, already been suspended and is already insignificant is just plain intellectually dishonest. This is opportunism. This is a distraction.

In the grand scheme, Don Imus is no threat to us in general and no threat to black women in particular. If his words are so powerful and so destructive and must be rebuked so forcefully, then what should we do about the idiot rappers on BET, MTV and every black-owned radio station in the country who use words much more powerful and much more destructive?

I don’t listen or watch Imus’ show regularly. Has he at any point glorified selling crack cocaine to black women? Has he celebrated black men shooting each other randomly? Has he suggested in any way that it’s cool to be a baby-daddy rather than a husband and a parent? Does he tell his listeners that they’re suckers for pursuing education and that they’re selling out their race if they do?

When Imus does any of that, call me and I’ll get upset. Until then, he is what he is — a washed-up shock jock who is very easy to ignore when you’re not looking to be made a victim.

No. We all know where the real battleground is. We know that the gangsta rappers and their followers in the athletic world have far bigger platforms to negatively define us than some old white man with a bad radio show. There’s no money and lots of danger in that battle, so Jesse and Al are going to sit it out.

To reach Jason Whitlock, call (816) 234-4869 or send e-mail to . For previous columns, go to KansasCity.com

Posted by Nuttshell on 04/16 at 10:46 AM
Racism / Prejudice • (3) CommentsPermalink

Sunday, April 15, 2007

What is the “Fair Tax” and why should you care about it?

Here is the text taken from the website fairtax.org . This explains what the Fairtax is and how it is better than our current system and the Flat tax.

The FairTax (real reform) vs. the flat tax (more of the same): A comparison

A consumption tax can be viewed as imposing a zero marginal tax rate on labor and capital income, if the economic incidence of the tax is on consumers. Alternatively, one can view the incidence of the consumption tax on the factors of production (labor and capital). The comparison below is based on the view that the consumption tax is incident on the factors of production.  The most commonly quoted flat tax legislation would reduce the top marginal income tax
rate to 17 percent. This rate, however, is not revenue neutral. The flat tax is revenue neutral at about 21 to 22 percent, not taking into account the impact of the plan on economic growth. In the real world, the flat tax would cause economic growth that would increase the tax base, perhaps reducing the revenue-neutral tax rate to 20 percent (within a few years). The flat tax would not affect the employer or employee Social Security or Medicare payroll tax. Those that have earnings below the Social Security wage base ($90,000 per worker in 2005) would, therefore, face a marginal tax rate of 32.3 percent. Taxpayers over the Social Security wage base would face a marginal tax rate of 19.9 percent on wage income and 17 percent on capital income.
These figures are about 3 to 5 percentage points higher in a revenue-neutral flat tax.
Under the FairTax, the poor experience negative effective tax rates because of the universal rebate. No American pays any tax on spending up to the poverty level, but this is most telling with the poor. Affluent taxpayers pay 23 percent at the margin.  Thus, middle-income taxpayers pay a much lower marginal tax rate under the consumption tax than under the flat tax. This is because the FairTax replaces payroll taxes as well as the income tax. Affluent taxpayers pay comparable marginal tax rates under the consumption tax and the flat tax.

A FairTaxSM White Paper
The FairTax (real reform) vs. the flat tax (more of the same): A comparison This letter from The Wall Street Journal accurately summarizes the future of the flat tax or any tax that relies on an intrusive, income-tax infrastructure:
Flat Tax Will Get Bumps
January 12, 2005; Page A11
Your Jan. 6 editorial “Flat-Tax Club” stated that several European countries have chosen “the simplest, most efficient system available.” In 1913, the U.S. chose that same system, and look where it is today. It will be interesting to see what the European tax codes will look like in 20 or 30 years, or even if they still have a tax on income. After they witness the economic boom created by the FairTax in this country, they will probably have implemented the same system.
A flat tax will not remain flat.
John Kozan
Glendale, Ariz.
Irony: Eastern Europe and Russia have Steve Forbes’ flat tax while the U.S.A. has Karl Marx’s heavy, progressive income and estate taxes.
While much of the world has repudiated Marx and his failed economic ideas, we do cling to some of his manifesto planks here at home. In contrast to our progressive income tax, there is no question that the flat tax has been successful when applied in Eastern Europe and Russia; it should continue to be successful in the near future. Thinking about the tax systems it replaced, their flat tax (as proposed by FairTax proponent Richard K. Vedder, Ph.D. in conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin) has been a breath of economic fresh air. The FairTax was not an option, as their retail infrastructure is simply not sophisticated enough to apply such a tax; they chose the best alternative.

Steppes tax to Urals tax: How long will it take?

The U.S.A. has its Great Plains; Russia has its broad, flat steppes. The U.S.A. once had a flat tax with its first income tax in 1913. With President Kennedy bringing down 90-percent rates in the early 1960s, through President Reagan’s 1986 reform, our tax code got flatter again. But the times between 1913 and 1962 and since 1986 look more like our Rocky Mountains than our Great Plains. Former Iron Curtain countries with economies booming under their new flat income taxes will quickly learn that special interests and well-heeled lobbyists are not exclusive to Washington, D.C.  When the special interests weigh in, it is only a matter of time before Russia’s steppes tax becomes its Urals tax. We can only hope that the citizens of Eastern Europe will recognize the similarities between their former totalitarian lives and the intrusiveness of any income tax The FairTax (real reform) vs. the flat tax (more of the same): A comparison system, before they are once again victims of such tyranny. By then, their retail infrastructure will be enhanced and the FairTax boom in the U.S.A. will provide them with the ultimate example for ensuring and enhancing civil liberties while providing sufficient funds for government operations. A simple consumption tax, collected only under the bright lights of the retail counter, easily understood by consumers of any age, is the sole inoculation, if imperfect, against the lobbyist cancer.

FairTax and flat tax: Both consumption taxes, yet one dispenses with the income tax infrastructure and pervasive intrusion. One does not.

Robert Hall and Alvin Rabushka are the fathers of Steve Forbes’ or Dick Armey’s or Jack Kemp’s flat tax with their book The Flat Tax. In that book, both economists introduce their flattax concept as a value-added tax or VAT, a form of consumption tax common in Europe and much of the rest of the world. However, unlike the rest of the world’s VATs, Hall and Rabushka suggest implementing it through our existing income tax infrastructure: The IRS, withholding, and citizen record keeping, filing, audits, and enforcement. They could have implemented their consumption tax with a point-of-purchase sales tax, like most states have today. Or, though more complex, they could have done it with a European-style VAT, which adds the additional burden of tax collections throughout every good’s supply chain as well as at the point of purchase. No, it appears that their flat tax could also be called the Government Tax Bureaucracy Full Employment & Expansion Act (GTBFEEA). Rather than state sales tax returns from retail businesses, they would continue to require returns from every wage earner, while exempting all other forms of income. Rather than ensuring compliance with a modest number of retailers via existing state sales tax authorities, the federal government would continue to chase all of your co-workers, those next to you in the pews, and every one of your neighbors.
The flat tax once appeared to have some grassroots support, but the FairTax has it now. Several years ago, former Majority Leader Dick Armey and former Congressman Billy Tauzin hit the road with their Scrap the Code Tour. In more than 30 debates in front of grassroots audiences across the nation, Dick explained the flat tax and Billy explained the national retail sales tax. At the end of each debate, Dick received polite applause and Billy received a thunderous ovation. Poll after poll has demonstrated a similar result: While voters may indicate initial support for a flat tax simply by virtue of the name, only a minor explanation (e.g., “gross pay = net pay”) moves support overwhelmingly to the FairTax. Finally, no self-respecting Democrat would ever have voted for a plan that appears to tax only wage earners. Simply put, outside of Steve Forbes and his very small circle, there is no substantive support for the flat tax, period. Alternatively, support for FairTax-style taxation, from state political party platforms to farm bureau policy to talk show hosts to professional economists to state legislators, is broad and deep in our nation’s fabric.
Both the FairTax and the flat tax reduce marginal tax rates dramatically, though the FairTax does more so.
Flat tax supporters often emphasize, correctly, that marginal tax rates, rather than average or effective, are the most economically relevant tax rates. It is the marginal tax rate that affects an individual’s decision about what to do.
The FairTax (real reform) vs. the flat tax (more of the same): A comparison A consumption tax can be viewed as imposing a zero marginal tax rate on labor and capital income, if the economic incidence of the tax is on consumers. Alternatively, one can view the incidence of the consumption tax on the factors of production (labor and capital). The comparison below is based on the view that the consumption tax is incident on the factors of production.
The most commonly quoted flat tax legislation would reduce the top marginal income tax rate to 17 percent. This rate, however, is not revenue neutral. The flat tax is revenue neutral at about 21 to 22 percent, not taking into account the impact of the plan on economic growth. In the real world, the flat tax would cause economic growth that would increase the tax base, perhaps reducing the revenue-neutral tax rate to 20 percent (within a few years). The flat tax would not affect the employer or employee Social Security or Medicare payroll tax. Those that have earnings below the Social Security wage base ($90,000 per worker in 2005) would, therefore, face a marginal tax rate of 32.3 percent. Taxpayers over the Social Security wage base would face a marginal tax rate of 19.9 percent on wage income and 17 percent on capital income.
These figures are about 3 to 5 percentage points higher in a revenue-neutral flat tax.
Under the FairTax, the poor experience negative effective tax rates because of the universal rebate. No American pays any tax on spending up to the poverty level, but this is most telling with the poor. Affluent taxpayers pay 23 percent at the margin.
Thus, middle-income taxpayers pay a much lower marginal tax rate under the consumption tax than under the flat tax. This is because the FairTax replaces payroll taxes as well as the income tax. Affluent taxpayers pay comparable marginal tax rates under the consumption tax and the flat tax. These differences are summarized in the table below.
Comparative marginal tax rates
Type of person Flat tax Revenue-neutral flat tax (+3) FairTax Difference
Poor 15.3 15.3 0 -15.3
Middle class 32.3 35.3 23 -12.3
Affluent (capital) 17 20 23 + 3.0
Affluent (salary) 19.9 22.9 23 + 0.1
The FairTax generally has a more positive impact on marginal tax rates than does the flat tax.
Both the FairTax and the flat tax are neutral toward savings and investment.  The FairTax and the flat tax both remove the income tax bias against savings and investment.
The flat tax accomplishes this result with complexities well known to today’s income tax sufferers: Expensing capital costs and exempting the return on savings. The consumption tax accomplishes this same result by only taxing final consumption sales, a simple task common in The FairTax (real reform) vs. the flat tax (more of the same): A comparison 45 states. Each solution would result in higher levels of savings and investment, higher rates of capital formation, higher productivity, and higher real incomes. According to a broad range of studies, the FairTax has a significant positive effect on economic growth. The flat tax should have some positive effect.
Since the FairTax has a better impact on marginal tax rates and an arguably equivalent tax on capital investment, the FairTax has a more positive impact on economic growth. Moreover, because U.S. and foreign producers for overseas markets can produce goods and services tax free under the FairTax, but not under a flat tax, the FairTax has a relatively more positive impact on economic activity in the U.S.

The FairTax does a better job of eliminating work disincentives for low-income Americans.

Since the FairTax plan removes the payroll tax while the flat tax keeps the payroll tax (and repeals the earned income tax credit), the FairTax makes it easier for the working poor to climb out of the dependency trap. In contrast, the working poor will continue to pay the 15.3 percent payroll tax on their first dollar earned under the flat tax. Under the FairTax, payroll taxes are repealed, a rebate of the consumption tax on expenditures up to the poverty level is provided, and all tax costs currently embedded in the retail supply chain are eliminated. Thus, the marginal tax rate the poor face is zero up to poverty level spending, and therefore, lower under the consumption tax than under the flat tax.
While the earned income tax credit may properly be credited with successfully encouraging work, it is also true that 72 percent of workers filing for these benefits are forced to pay a tax preparer. Those preparers are notorious for tempting such taxpayers with usurious loans disguised as “instant refunds.” Finally, the IRS targets these returns for audit. Under the FairTax, one simple registration ensures similar negative tax rates with a first-day-of-the-month rebate, every month, with no withholding, no returns, no compliance costs, no audits, and no enforcement efforts.

Finally, the flat tax is apparently biased against workers because only those earning
wages pay the tax.

Those that earn income from capital gains (such as those with personal wealth) apparently avoid paying their fair share of taxes. This makes it less palatable to the American public. With the FairTax, income from any source and accumulated wealth are taxed when spent.
A flat tax is easy to convert back into an income tax. The flat tax fully preserves the Internal Revenue Service infrastructure; it is totally dependent upon it. They would administer a system that is not structurally different from the income tax.  All individuals and businesses would file tax returns. With five simple changes, the flat tax can be converted into a graduated income tax, steps that should be all too familiar with any student of the 20th century.
• Step one is to depreciate rather than expense capital costs.
• Step two is to make interest expenses deductible and interest income taxable. The FairTax (real reform) vs. the flat tax (more of the same): A comparison
• Step three is to tax capital income (such as dividends and rent) and capital gains.
• Step four is not to allow inventory purchases to be deducted until the inventory is sold.
• A fifth step is to impose graduated rates, which would complete the transition back to a
graduated income tax.
After the FairTax is enacted, it is very difficult – though admittedly not entirely impossible – to go back to an income tax. The federal infrastructure necessary for the FairTax has its attention directed at the 50 states, rather than every American citizen. The states administer the FairTax through their existing sales tax authorities, though five states have to initiate such systems. The entire income tax apparatus is dismantled and the expertise in administering this present Byzantine system is dispersed. People will get used to the freedom of not filing returns and will not want to go back to the old system. People will have gotten used to keeping what they earn and will not want to go back to withholding.  As a final step, the FairTax plan includes repealing the 16th Amendment, returning the law of our land to our Founding Fathers’ original intentions to outlaw any form of federal direct taxation on citizens.

Under the FairTax, state sales tax authorities collect from retailers, as they do today
in 45 states.

In general, states administer the FairTax because they already have the expertise. States are not required to administer the tax; however, in most cases, they will choose to do so. States are provided with a generous administration fee of one-quarter of one percent for their services. A similar amount is paid to retailers. Since 45 states already administer sales tax systems, the incremental costs of implementation of the FairTax are low (particularly if the state chooses to conform its tax base to the federal tax base). The FairTax greatly simplifies the states’ drive for a streamlined sales tax structure by providing a national template for the base; collection of internet and catalog sales taxes is greatly facilitated. This broadens each state’s tax base and puts all retailers on an equal footing.

The flat tax may require only a postcard return for wage earners, but the FairTax requires
no return at all.

Flat tax proponents are proud that their individual tax form will fit on a postcard, though this
simplicity belies the record keeping behind such a return. So, of course, could today’s 1040 EZ.
Under the FairTax, individuals who are not involved in retail business file no return. No return is preferable to a postcard; no record keeping is preferable to any record keeping. Compliance costs are lower under the FairTax than under the flat tax.
It is absolutely true that any flat tax would simplify the tax code considerably. However, many of the complexities of current tax law would remain. For example, tremendous pressure would be placed on inter-company pricing rules since offshore income is exempt from tax.
Manipulating the prices at which goods change hands between a U.S. company and its foreign affiliate could zero out the U.S. source income under a flat tax. Under a flat tax, the cost of employee benefits, interest, insurance, and other costs must be segregated since they are not The FairTax (real reform) vs. the flat tax (more of the same): A comparison deductible. The current complex pension system stays largely intact. Under the FairTax, the question is simply, “How much did a retailer sell to consumers?” Every factor known to bear upon compliance is improved under the FairTax. Some of these have been discussed in Congressional testimony by the General Accounting Office, the most important of which are:
• Number of taxpayers – down by some 80 percent under the FairTax
• Marginal tax rates – lowest under the FairTax
• Complexity of the system – taken to an irreducible minimum under the FairTax as written
• Number of opportunities for each taxpayer to cheat – reduced solely to retail transactions
• Transparency or the risk of detection – more than 80 percent of retail sales taxes are collected by less than 10 percent of retailers
• Magnitude of punishment if caught – similar to the current system
• Perceptions of unfairness – the FairTax returns to the Constitutional concept of uniformity of taxation: All citizens are treated the same
• Enforcement resources and safeguards in place – as if states were not already efficient enough, an 80-percent reduction in taxpayers brings new scrutiny to scofflaws

The flat tax would reduce tax evasion when compared to the current system; the FairTax does better than both.

Under the FairTax, the number of filers on which tax administration authorities must focus is reduced by 80 percent or more. Only retail businesses are in the tax system. Dramatically lower marginal tax rates – lower for most than with the flat tax – reduce the marginal benefit to cheat.  If enforcement and associated penalties remain comparable, and the marginal benefit to cheating falls, evasion declines. The overall legitimacy of the system improves and noncompliance generated by frustration or hostility declines. Individuals who are not in business and non-retail businesses do not cheat on their tax returns because they file none.
Retailers benefit equally from cheating under the flat tax and the FairTax (assuming the rate is the same). Let’s take a bar owner who pockets $1,000 per week and fails to report his sales either to the income tax, flat tax, or consumption tax authorities. In the world of either the income tax or the flat tax, that pocketed $1,000 will reduce the owner’s gross revenues, and therefore, his profits by $1,000 per week. He will, of course, continue to report all of his expenses. He will retain the documentation for the wages he paid and the liquor he bought. The government will lose revenue equal to the tax rate times the $1,000 per week. In the FairTax world, the government loses revenue equal to the consumption tax rate times the $1,000 per week. In both cases, the loss to the government is the same.

The FairTax is much easier for taxpayers to understand than is the flat tax.

The FairTax is easily explained and understood by the taxpayers. Flat tax proponents have had difficulty explaining their plan to the American people, notwithstanding large budgets, Steve Forbes’ Presidential campaign, the efforts of Majority Leader Armey, the Heritage Foundation, Citizens for a Sound Economy, and others.
The FairTax (real reform) vs. the flat tax (more of the same): A comparison Perhaps the most obvious problem with explaining the flat tax is the issue of income from capital (interest and dividends) as opposed to that from wages. Again and again, it has been argued that the flat tax does not tax “coupon clippers” such as Steve Forbes. This argument is made in response to the allegation that rich people can live well and tax free on interest and dividends and pay no tax while the working stiff has to pay tax. Although this allegation is false because the tax on that income is effectively withheld at the business level, flat tax proponents have failed in their efforts to get their message across.

The FairTax is very, very visible.

Under the flat tax, much of the tax burden is hidden in the business tax, as it is with today’s income tax. Will recipients of dividend and interest payments actually understand that a withholding tax has been imposed by denying a deduction to the business making the payment?  Will recipients of employer-provided fringe benefits understand that a withholding tax has been imposed by denying the employer a deduction for the benefits? Will the non-deductibility of employer taxes be understood as tax increases? In all cases, it is highly doubtful. Thus, hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes are hidden under a flat tax.  There are those who believe that hiding taxes from the American people is a good thing, because if the people actually understood the true level of the tax burden, they wouldn’t stand for it. The FairTax, however, works on the principle that taxes should be visible and fairly convey the true cost of government. The FairTax is, by law, shown on every retail purchase sales receipt, and this provision is mandatory.

The FairTax is not a VAT; the flat tax is.

The FairTax is not a value-added tax (VAT) since it is collected solely at the retail level, and no tax is imposed on intermediate sales upstream in the manufacturing or distribution process.
The flat tax is a VAT. None other than the father of the flat tax, Robert Hall of Stanford University (along with Alvin Rabushka), in his 1995 Ways and Means Committee testimony said, “The Hall-Rabushka flat tax is a value-added tax.”
The flat tax is not an income tax because its tax base is not income. Some do characterize it as a flat (income) tax as it uses the income tax infrastructure to collect it.
At the business level, value added by capital is taxed by the flat tax. At the individual level, value added by labor is taxed. The business tax burden under the flat tax is much higher than under current law. Interest expense, most insurance expenses, taxes (including payroll taxes), rent, and other expenses are not deductible under the flat tax. The aim of the flat tax is not to measure net income, but value added.
The flat tax is identical to another proposal’s (USA Tax) business tax, an acknowledged subtraction-method VAT, except in two respects. First, the flat tax taxes exports and exempts imports from tax. This makes it an origination-principle VAT instead of the usual destination principle VAT. The other difference is that businesses can deduct wages in the flat tax, but not in normal VATs. The flat tax individual tax, however, is a wage tax. Thus, the flat tax taxes The FairTax (real reform) vs. the flat tax (more of the same): A comparison wages just like a normal VAT. However, because it taxes wages at the individual level, the flat tax taxes most value added in the government, while normal VATs do not.

The transition is easier under the FairTax than under a flat tax.

Under the flat tax, the tax liability of the business community increases dramatically, by hundreds of billions of dollars per year. All value added by capital is taxed at the business level.
Only wages are taxed at the individual level. About $5 trillion worth of future deductions (remaining basis), relating to inventory acquisitions, depreciation on capital investment made under the income tax, and so on, exist under the income tax. Since the return on these assets would be in the flat tax taxable base, failure to allow these deductions would amount to a confiscation of nearly one-fifth of existing wealth. The business community, large and small, will not let the flat tax pass without transition rules.
For example, under the Burgess flat tax if you bought a building for $1 million dollars the day before the bill went into effect and sold it for $1 million the day after the bill went into effect, you would have taxable income of $1 million (even though you have no profit) since the bill assumes that you have expensed the building. In the real world, the taxpayer’s income tax basis in that building is going to have to be deductible. The revenue from this kind of expropriation is presently counted in flat tax revenue estimates.
Allowing these deductions, however, would increase the revenue-neutral tax rate in the flat tax considerably. Alternatively, the transition could be funded by a complex series of taxes on various windfall gains accruing to certain businesses or taxpayers.  Under the FairTax, corporations and other businesses and investors pay no tax on their income. Accordingly, it is doubtful that any transition “relief” is appropriate. The future income of their assets is tax free. Transition rules are only appropriate with respect to inventory held on the date of the changeover, since those inventory costs would not have been deducted in the income tax and the sale of the inventory is taxed. Rules need to be provided to ensure that the CPI used to index benefit payments includes the consumption tax to protect against any consumption tax-induced price increases (although it is not clear a price increase is likely, since repealed income and payroll taxes account for 20 to 25 percent of the price of goods and services, according to Harvard economist Dale Jorgensen, Ph.D.). That’s about it. The transition is a much simpler problem under the FairTax.
The FairTax (real reform) vs. the flat tax (more of the same): A comparison

What is the FairTax plan?

The FairTax plan is a comprehensive proposal that replaces all federal income and payroll taxes with an integrated approach including a progressive national retail sales tax, a rebate to ensure no American pays federal taxes up to the poverty level, dollar-for-dollar revenue neutrality, and the repeal of the 16th Amendment. This non-partisan legislation (HR 25/S 25) abolishes all federal personal, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare, self-employment, and corporate taxes and replaces them all with one simple, visible, federal retail sales tax – collected by existing state sales tax authorities. The FairTax taxes us only on what we choose to spend, not on what we earn. It does not raise any more or less revenue; it is designed to be revenue neutral. So it is also cost neutral – the final cost for goods and services changes little under the FairTax. The FairTax is a fair, efficient, transparent, and intelligent solution to the frustration and inequity of our current tax system.

What is Americans For Fair Taxation (FairTax.org)?

FairTax.org is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots organization dedicated to replacing the current tax system. The organization has hundreds of thousands of members and volunteers nationwide. Its plan supports sound economic research, education of citizens and community leaders, and grassroots mobilization efforts. For more information visit the web page: http://www.fairtax.org or call 1-800-FAIRTAX.

Posted by SPN on 04/15 at 01:29 PM
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Friday, April 13, 2007

Emmy-winning actor Roscoe Lee Browne dies

81-year-old actor succumb after a long battle with cancer The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - Actor Roscoe Lee Browne, whose rich voice and dignified bearing brought him an Emmy Award and a Tony nomination, has died. He was 81.

Browne died early Wednesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after a long battle with cancer, said Alan Nierob, a spokesman for the family.

Browne’s career included classic theater to TV cartoons. He also was a poet and a former world-class athlete.

His deep, cultured voice was heard narrating the 1995 hit movie “Babe.” On screen, his character often was smart, cynical and well-educated, whether a congressman, a judge or a butler.

Born to a Baptist minister in Woodbury, N.J., Browne graduated from historically black Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, where he later returned to teach comparative literature and French. He also was a track star, winning the 880-yard run in the 1952 Millrose Games.

Browne was selling wine for an import company when he decided to become a full-time actor in 1956 and had roles that year in the inaugural season of the New York Shakespeare Festival in a production of “Julius Caesar.”

In 1961, he starred in an English-language version of Jean Genet’s play “The Blacks.”

Two years later, he was The Narrator in a Broadway production of “The Ballad of the Sad Cafe,” a play by Edward Albee from a novella by Carson McCullers. In a front page article on the advances made by blacks in the theater, the New York Times noted that Browne’s understudy was white.

He won an Obie Award in 1965 for his role as a rebellious slave in the off-Broadway “Benito Cereno.”

Breaking stereotypes
In movies, he was a spy in the 1969 Alfred Hitchcock feature “Topaz” and a camp cook in 1972’s “The Cowboys,” which starred John Wayne.

“Some critics complained that I spoke too well to be believable” in the cook’s role, Browne told The Washington Post in 1972. “When a critic makes that remark, I think, if I had said, ‘Yassuh, boss’ to John Wayne, then the critic would have taken a shine to me.”

On television, he had several memorable guest roles. He was a snobbish black lawyer trapped in an elevator with bigot Archie Bunker in an episode of the 1970s TV comedy “All in the Family” and the butler Saunders in the comedy “Soap.” He won an Emmy in 1986 for a guest role as Professor Foster on “The Cosby Show.”

In 1992, Browne returned to Broadway in “Two Trains Running,” one of August Wilson’s acclaimed series of plays on the black experience. It won the Tony for best play and brought Browne a Tony nomination for best featured (supporting) actor.

The New York Times said he portrayed “the wry perspective of one who believes that human folly knows few bounds and certainly no racial bounds. The performance is wise and slyly life-affirming.”

Browne also wrote poetry and included some of it along with works by masters such as Lawrence Ferlinghetti and William Butler Yeats in “Behind the Broken Words,” a poetry anthology stage piece that he and Anthony Zerbe performed annually for three decades.

Posted by Nuttshell on 04/13 at 12:13 PM
Celebrity • (0) CommentsPermalink

Should We Stop Hate Speech?

I certainly found Don Imus’ depiction of the Rutgers players deplorable but I’m not sure he should have lost his radio job.  Only because I think he could be a tool used to spotlight the hate speech of Limbaugh, Boortz and Michael Savage.  Those guys are unrepentant racists who wouldn’t dare offer apologies.  I think they should be off the airwaves because they are so disrespectful and hateful to significant groups of Americans.  I’m not saying that they don’t have 1st Amendment rights to spew their hate speech but I don’t think the market place should support their speech.  Am I wrong?

Posted by Nuttshell on 04/13 at 11:59 AM
Blogging • (6) CommentsPermalink

Monday, April 09, 2007

How Long Does America Have?

I received this via email and thought it might be an interesting discussion topic. I must add a disclaimer. This is not the opinions of soulphoto.net or it subscribers just an interesting email that may or may not warrant discussion.

About the time our original thirteen states adopted their new constitution in 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years earlier:

“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.”

“A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.”

“From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse
due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”

“The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years.”

“During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequence:

1. from bondage to spiritual faith;
2. from spiritual faith to great courage;
3. from courage to liberty;
4. from liberty to abundance;
5. from abundance to complacency;
6. from complacency to apathy;
7. from apathy to dependence;
8. From dependence back into bondage”

Professor Joseph Olson of Hemline University School of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota, points out some interesting facts concerning the 2000 Presidential election:

Number of States won by:
Gore:  19
Bush: 29

Square miles of land won by:
Gore: 580,000
Bush: 2,427,000

Population of counties won by:
Gore: 127 million
Bush: 143 million

Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by:
Gore:  13.2
Bush: 2.1

Professor Olson adds: “In aggregate, >the map of the territory Bush won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of this great country. Gore’s territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in government-owned tenements and living off various forms of government welfare...”

Olson believes the United States is now somewhere between the “complacency and apathy” phase of Professor Tyler’s definition of democracy, with some forty percent of the nation’s population already having reached the “governmental dependency” phase.

If Congress grants amnesty and citizenship to twenty million criminal invaders called illegals and they vote, then we can say goodbye to the USA in fewer than five years.

Posted by loni on 04/09 at 11:38 AM
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Saturday, April 07, 2007

What is the Kyoto Protocol?

What is the Kyoto Accord and why doesn’t the US join?

Basically it is an amendment to the international treaty on climate change, which attempts to set limits on the amount of of greenhouse gases that signing nations should contribute to the atmosphere.

The US hasn’t signed because our leaders think that it will give developing countries a free ride to pollute while our pollution is stifled.

I have to admit here that I just watched “An Inconvenient Truth”.  I’m amazed that this issue of global warming and greenhouse emissions is being politicized as a Socialist or a Liberal plot to destroy the US.  This has less to do with the US than it has to do with being conservative with our resources.

They say that by agreeing to Kyoto we will lose our advantage in the world market.  I say that if we don’t start making some sacrifices there won’t be a world market to participate in.

Here are a set of links to different sites that have explanations of what it is and why it is important.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyoto_Protocol

http://mindprod.com/environment/kyoto.html

http://unfccc.int/essential_background/convention/items/2627.php

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/Climate_Change/Kyoto/

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/01/30/harper-kyoto.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4267245.stm

Posted by SPN on 04/07 at 01:46 PM
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Thursday, April 05, 2007

AFROMEXICO Project in Albuquerque

April 7
Film Series/Ciclo de Cine
[This is the first in a series of film exhibitions curated by Gene Grant, noted journalist and film critic./La primera en un ciclo de cine organizado por Gene Grant, renombrado periodista y crítico de cine.]
“A Tree from Two Separate Seeds,” by Trifari White (2001, U.S., 5 min).  An experimental examination of the director’s African-Mexican roots; a colorful journey of two seeds planted to produce a woman who is grounded by the Orishas and her ancestors.
“La Raíz Olvidada” (The Forgotten Root), by Rafael Rebollar, (2001, Mexico, 50 min, Spanish with English subtitles). Documentary details the history of Mexico’s often overlooked African populations and argues that Mexico’s famous mestizaje must include the important contributions of African groups. Mr. Rebollar will be present to discuss his film./Este documental trata con las historias, poco conocidas, de los pueblos afro-mexicanos y sus importantes contribuciones al mestizaje mexicano. El Sr. Rebollar estará presente para discutir su documental.

4 p.m.
Wells Fargo Auditorium, National Hispanic Cultural Center
FREE Admission/Entrada GRATUITA

July 14
Film Series/Ciclo de Cine
“The Underground Railroad in Mexico,” by Curtis Muhammad (U.S., 2004, 30 min, English).  Documents stories of those of African descent in Mexico, based on a series of ‘story circles’ where participants sat together in their community and told stories about their experiences.
“La Tercera Raiz” (The Third Root), by Rafael Rebollar (Mexico, 1992, 30 min, Spanish with English subtitles). Documentary focuses on daily life and cultural traditions of Afro-Mestizos living in the Costa Chica, area of Mexico’s Pacific Coast./Este documental explora la vida cotidiana y tradiciones culturales de los afro-mestizos de la Costa Chica, area de la costa pacífica.
“De Florida a Coahuila: Historia de Los Mascogos” (From Florida to Coahuila: History of the Mascogos), by Rafael Rebollar (Mexico, 2002, 48 min, Spanish with English subtitles). The remarkable story of a rebel people, the Mascogos, known in the United States as the Black Seminoles, who resettled along both sides of the Mexican border./Una historia iluminante de un grupo de rebeldes, los Mascogos, conocidos en Estados Unidos como Seminoles Negros, quienes se establecieron en la frontera méxico-estadounidense.
4 p.m.
Wells Fargo Auditorium, National Hispanic Cultural Center
FREE Admission/Entrada GRATUITA

Todo por el momento,
Saludos,

Eduardo Díaz
Executive Director
National Hispanic Cultural Center
1701 4th St. S.W.
Albuquerque , NM 87102
(505) 246-2261


http://www.nhccnm.org

Posted by SPN on 04/05 at 02:17 PM
Movies • (0) CommentsPermalink
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