July 2010

Jul 4  Elizabeth II, reigning queen of the UK, Canada, Australia and thirteen other sovereign states, praises Canada's commitment to preserving basic freedoms. Many Canadians are the descendants of colonists who remained loyal to the British monarchy.

Jul 4  President Obama says that this is the day that "we celebrate the very essence of America," the day that "we celebrate the principles that are timeless tenets first declared by men of property and wealth but which gave rise to what Lincoln called a new birth of freedom in America."

Jul 4  Political commentator Newt Gingrich weighs on the Fourth. He has attributed the creation of the United States to God – meaning that during the bloody revolutionary war, God was on the side of the revolutionaries rather than the loyalists, many of whom ran to what today is Canada. Among Canadians there is talk of God having created the many splendors of their country. In the planning stage the Archangel Gabriel is said to have asked God whether he was being too generous to the Canadians, and God replied: "Not really. Just wait till you see the neighbors I'm going to give them."

Jul 6  China has plans to build an 8 billion dollar oil refinery in Nigeria and to cover 80 percent of the construction cost.

Jul 6  In May, 2009, Niall Ferguson called signs of an economic recovery in the US "wishful non-thinking." Ferguson remains a rival to Paul Krugman's view that the government ought to be stimulating the economy. Ferguson calls for tax increases and cuts in spending in order to ward off a disastrous bond market creditability disaster a couple years or so down the road.

Jul 9  Fareed Zakaria (American journalist) and Christine Lagarde (France's Minister of Finance) have called for a combination of stimulus and debt reduction. Asked whether both stimulus and austerity can be done, Lagarde replied, "Yes, it can." She added that "We must, very decisively cut our deficit and reduce our debt." One way to do this, she said, is through taxation. The French and British governments have plans for raising taxes, "a bit more in 2010," said Lagarde, "than we did in 2009." Both have the Value Added Tax. The US does not.

Jul 13  Many commentators focused yesterday on a statement made by Erskine Bowles of President Obama's debt commission. Bowles likened the national debt to a slow moving cancer and said that the country was moving to "the most predictable economic crisis in history." He suggested that the crisis might be around five years away. Bill O'Reilly of "no spin" fame at Fox News echoed the disaster aspect of Bowles' speech and proclaimed that trying to tax ourselves "out of the mess" is a mistake. He ridiculed extending unemployment insurance and liberalism in general. Rachel Maddow of MSNBC spoke of Senator Kyl, Republican of Arizona, who said that "You should never (emphasis added) have to offset the cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans." He was putting a lower tax rate above paying down the debt at the same time that Republicans were expressing concern about the debt. Meanwhile, anti-tax conservatives in the US are saying little if anything about the new conservative government in London fighting Britain's debt by raising taxes. And the Republican Party appears intent on using the tax issue (tax and spend) against the Democrats.

Jul 18  The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is on its way to President Obama for his signature. Only three Republican senators voted for the bill. The bill includes Paul Volcker's recommendation to separate banks that take deposits and are federally insured from managing investment activities. See the Nov 8, 1999 for the bill that some blame for the banking crisis of 2007.

Jul 20  Anne Applebaum, a conservative, writes in the Washington Post about Americans demanding "ludicrous levels" of safety. She writes that "Most Europeans are reconciled to the idea that not everybody, at any age and in any condition, is entitled to the most expensive medical technology." She writes that Americans "demand more from their government than just about anybody else in the world." She ridicules overreaction to the threat of terrorism and that "schools should close if there is ice on the roads." She is also critical of the Tea Party movement.

Jul 21  At Fox News this week, Bill O'Reilly claims that Fox News is a "dominant number one," and he says that "If you want to know what's happening in America you have to come here." Looking at the internet as a measure, CNN.com is receiving around three times the hits received by FoxNews.com. The internet has to be considered an influence, and on it Huffingtonpost.com outranks Foxnews.com. And there are many other internet blogging sites. As to O'Reilly's influence, there is the question how many watch O'Reilly as a joke or merely for entertainment. Lately his show has been bending a little more toward entertainment. In numbers of viewers at any rate, according to Wikipedia, O'Reilly's show is bringing in around 3.5 million viewers a night compared to 2.7 million for the deadly serious NewsHour over at PBS. Sixty Minutes, at CBS, brings in around 10 or 11 million per show – the dominant number one news show.

Jul 23  Today in the Washington Post, a conservative, Michael Gerson, mentions Britain's conservative government raising taxes. He describes Prime Minister Cameron as having "proposed about four pounds in spending reductions for every pound in tax increases." This week by the way, Cameron spoke well of President Obama in an interview with Diane Sawyer and seemd out of sinc with a lot of Republicans. Cameron told Sawyer that he thought Obama had "plans for quite an aggressive budget deficit reduction that I think is going to take your deficit down to three percent of GDP from – from where it is today – by 2015."

Jul 28  According to the New York Times, the profits for 175 companies on the Standard and Poor's 500-stock index increased by 42.3 percent during the last quarter (April to June). Harold Meyerson of the Washington Post writes of US corporations winning greater profits by producing and selling abroad rather than rehiring. This, he writes, "portends the kind of long-term structural unemployment that we haven't seen since the 1930s." Meyerson sees corporations setting a record amount of cash. He favors tax incentives for investment in domestic manufacturing for development of green technology, and if the public sector doesn't fill the gap left by corporations not investing in domestic work, he writes, "the era of American prosperity, is history." By evening, Meyerson's article received 357 reader comments. One read: "Harold, you ignorant sl$t! The answer is capitalism, not regulation. Lower taxes for those that hire. Real incentives and controlling the borders. Easy."

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