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Archive for February 22nd, 2012

Remember When Republicans Called Government ID Cards “The Mark Of The Beast”?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 22, 2012

State Opposition to Real ID, as of 2009 (from CNET)

I sure do — and it wasn’t all that long ago, either – witness this World Net Daily piece from 2006:

“There is a prophecy in the Bible that foretells a time when every person will be required to have a mark or a number, without which he or she will not be able to participate in the economy,” states the Christian website NoNationalID.com. “The prophecy is 2,000 years old, but it has been impossible for it to come to pass until now. With the invention of the computer and the Internet, this prophecy of buying and selling, using a number, can now be implemented at any time. Has the time for the fulfillment of this prophecy arrived?”

The site asks visitors to sign an online petition vowing not to vote for any candidate who does not commit to repealing the Real ID Act.

Now, pay close attention to this part of the WND article:

U.S. governors also have come out against the law, saying it is a huge unfunded mandate imposed on the nation’s states.

The National Conference of State Legislatures is equally opposed to the Real ID Act, saying, “Federal legislators and rule makers are negating state driver’s license security efforts, imposing difficult-to-comply-with mandates and limiting their flexibility to address new concerns as they arise. In other words, decades of state experience is being substituted for a ‘command and control regime’ from a level of government that has no driver’s license regulatory experience.”

Um, what? The Federal Government most certainly does issue driver’s licenses, as any current or former member of the military could tell you. So that objection is arrant nonsense, like much else we see in the pages of World Nut Daily.

Funnily enough, while ALEC-inspired Voter ID advocate Mary Kiffmeyer is now all in favor of driver’s licenses as state if not national IDs, she did her best to keep Native Americans whose reservations are within the state of Minnesota from using their own reservation-issued driver’s licenses as identification for voting, even though these licenses, like the state drivers’ licenses, carry the issuee’s name, address, and photo — and as it turns out are, just like state driver’s licenses, perfectly acceptable forms of ID under the Real ID Act.

So what it’s beginning to sound like is that Republicans only object to government-issued IDs if they can use the objection to keep certain groups of people, particularly those noted for voting for Democrats, from voting at all.

Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans like Jim Sensenbrenner, Lamar Smith and Peter King are all in favor of that mark of the beast, the national ID, and tried last March to get it implemented:

If you’re a resident of one of at least 24 states including Arizona, Georgia, and Washington, your driver’s license may no longer be valid for boarding an airplane or entering federal buildings as of May 11, 2011.

That’s the deadline that senior House Republicans are calling on the Obama administration to impose, saying states must be required to comply with so-called Real ID rules creating a standardized digital identity card that critics have likened to a national ID.

And guess what? Minnesota’s one of the states that has passed a bill prohibiting the implementation of Real ID. (See also graphic above.)

Posted in abuse of power | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off

The Administration’s flawed corporate tax plan

Posted by Charles II on February 22, 2012

Citizens for Tax Justice (by newsletter):

“The President has proposed to reduce the statutory corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 28 percent, make certain temporary tax breaks, including the research and experimentation credit, permanent, and add some new business tax breaks. In total, these tax cuts would cost us about $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years.

“To offset this cost, the President proposed in his fiscal 2013 budget raise about $0.3 trillion from closing or reducing business tax loopholes. That leaves almost $1 trillion in further business tax reforms that would be necessary for the tax plan to break even, as the President say he wants to do. His ‘framework,’ however, leaves the sources of this $0.9 trillion in offsetting reforms mostly unspecified.

“We can and should collect more tax revenue from corporations. Right now, America’s biggest and most profitable corporations are paying, on average, a ridiculously low amount in federal income taxes, and many of them are paying nothing at all.

Why higher rates are fair:

■ A 2007 report from the Bush Treasury Department found “the United States takes a below average share of corporate income in taxes” compared to other developed countries.

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Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Obama Administration, taxes | Comments Off

Understanding Syria

Posted by Charles II on February 22, 2012

While understanding what is going on in Syria is probably all but impossible for those of us who do not live in the Middle East/North Africa, there are some good sources to begin with.

Syria is split into multiple factions. The dictator, Asad, is an Alawite, which (according to Robert Mackey of the NYT) is

“an esoteric Islamic sect, the Alawites, whose belief in the divinity of Ali, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, is just one of the reasons that they were oppressed as infidels for centuries by other Muslims.”

Mackey then quote Malise Ruthven in the NY Review of Books:

they evolved a highly secretive syncretistic theology containing an amalgam of Neoplatonic, Gnostic, Christian, Muslim, and Zoroastrian elements.

Nusayrism could be described as a folk religion that absorbed many of the spiritual and intellectual currents of late antiquity and early Islam, packaged into a body of teachings that placed its followers beyond the boundaries of orthodoxy.

Nusayris believe in metempsychosis or transmigration. The souls of the wicked pass into unclean animals such as dogs and pigs, while the souls of the righteous enter human bodies more perfect than their present ones.

According to the BBC, the Alawites are a minority (8-15%) whose power in Syria is a legacy of French colonial rule, which created an Alawite state yclept Latakia. Seventy five percent of Syrians are Sunnis. Ten-fifteen percent are Kurds, there is a significant (10%) Christian minority, 2-3% are Druze, 1% are Ismaili Shia, and presumably some are secular. (So, as you can see, there are 106% – 119-plus% Syrians, a genuinely remarkable achievement.)

The government involves Alawites operating in an alliance with some Sunnis, Kurds and Christians, as well as perhaps Druze. Still, government forces represent a small fraction of the population. Crosscutting this are perhaps more important tribal loyalties, generational conflicts, and regional loyalties. Hassan Hassan in the UAE’s The National (via perhaps the most important American source on Syria, Professor Joshua Landis);

The Egaidat is the largest tribal confederation in Al Jazira, with at least 1.5 million members, and links mainly to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Al Neim is the prominent tribal confederation in Deraa that includes the houses of Zoubi, Rifai and Hariri, and has a strong presence in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and also in the UAE, especially in the Northern Emirates. Al Eniza is another prominent Gulf tribal confederation with members in Al Jazira, Suwaida, Homs, Hama and Aleppo. Al Dhafir tribe has members in Al Jazira, Hama and a few in Deraa, as well as a presence in Saudi Arabia and less so in Kuwait. The Shammar confederation has at least one million members in Syria and is also one of the largest tribes in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

Several leaders of the Syrian branches of the tribes continue regular visits to the Gulf states and often meet members of the royal families. A significant number have returned to the Gulf and become naturalised citizens mainly in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait. Many hold privileged positions in these countries and, as the bloody crackdown in Syria continues, tribal kinships have grown closer, with tribes in Deraa contacting their “cousins” in the Gulf asking for a firm diplomatic and economic position regarding Damascus.

So, in very crude terms, there are interest affiliations something like the chart above.

Posted in colonial wars, Conflict in the Middle East | 1 Comment »

Wind, Solar Were 68% Of New European Electricity Installs In 2011

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 22, 2012

That’s right: 68% of all newly-installed European electricity generation in 2011 was either wind or solar.

Sounds like the plan to get Europe off of coal and oil is proceeding quite nicely.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

 
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