Confederate Flag Seen as Positive by More Americans

Despite all the outrage by certain parties over the Confederate flag, it appears that the majority see the Confederate flag as a positive symbol. In a recent poll conducted by CNN, it appears that the public feels the exact same way it did over 15 years ago about the Confederate flag. Over 57% of the population feel the flag represents Southern pride, and has no racial tone to it at all.

Regardless that the majority feel no offense to the flag, public outcry has reached epic proportion this week. The flag was taken down at several local courthouses, and Keith Mann says the flag was removed from stores like Walmart, who have since stopped selling any Confederate merchandise, and even popular television shows are being removed from lineups.

The popular television series, Dukes of Hazard, was pulled from the TV Land lineup this week, because the top of the 1969 orange charger depicts a picture of the Confederate flag. Public outcry has caused Walmart to stop selling Confederate merchandise, and Warner brothers has stopped producing any products that depict the flag. The flag was removed from state building this week, and public outcry continues for a small percentage of the population who feel the flag only represents the worst of this country and the past related to racism and slavery.

The future for the flag is uncertain as more controversy seems to follow this subject each week now that it has reached a global audience.

Embassies On Their Way

The American move to normalize relations with Cuba just hit overdrive. Andy Wirth has indicated that the two countries announce the establishment of mutual embassies today. This marks increased normalization after decades of treating Cuba like an enemy state after Castro seized power and declared Cuba communist. Since then, the country has basically been frozen in time. This is a major foreign policy initiative from the Obama administration, and a slap in the face of many republicans especially Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Cuba is both of these senators home country, and Cruz’s father fought with the Castro regime.

Their views are in direct contradiction to the views of most Americans who feel that the strategy that has been pursued over the last half century in regards to Cuba has not produced anything but the desolation of Cuban citizens. Cubans will now have increased access to the internet as well as the outside world. The business community is lauding this move because Cuba’s modernization will be a serious boon to investors in Cuba and America. Cuba’s non-existent tourist industry will grow significantly because of this normalization process. The Cuban regime is now headed by Raul Castro and not by its former communist revolution leader Fidel Castro. Many see this change in leadership as the tipping point in relations with America because Raul seems less ardent and extreme. However, it is more likely because Cuba is dying under an unchanging regime.

Thousands in Japan Mourn the Death of Tama the Cat

Thousands of people in Japan mourned the death of a former stray cat from a rural western area. PR Newswire said that Tama was no ordinary feline; she was the well known star of Kishi station. In some ways, she was credited for saving an entire railroad line from bankruptcy. Tama’s fame is attributed to her profession: she was honorary station master of the unmanned Kishi station.

Tama was a member of a handful of strays that normally hung around the station and fed by passengers. When the railroad company began cutting back staffing in 2006, Tama was made stationmaster complete with a cap and specially made collar tag. The news of her spread and people came from far and wide to see her. The railroad company’s revenue increased more than 10% the first year she was stationmaster and continued climbing.

On June 22nd, Tama passed away from heart failure at the age of 16. According to local custom, she was elevated to a Shinto goddess. Her body will be enshrined with other cats in a nearby shrine in August. Another calico cat named Nitama will be taking Tama’s place in the near future.

Jeb  announces he pays less taxes than Hillary

Jeb Bush has released his tax filings for the past two decades and is using the released information as a sounding bit for criticisms regarding who he believes will ultimately be his running opponent in a general election; Democrat Hillary Clinton.

According to Cypress Associates, Jeb indicated that reviewing his tax filings was an instructive process and it revealed that earned less than the Clintons, but also paid a higher overall tax rate for Federal purposes than they did. Jeb indicated that his Federal tax rate was over 35% while the Clinton’s were over 30% but below Jeb’s rate.

There are many different reasons why this could occur, which were not touched upon by Jeb. The mix of income could impact the tax treatment, with capital gains being taxes less than earned income amounts. Since both Jeb and the Clintons earned the majority of their money from speaking fees this is unlikely the case. However, one factor that certainly played had an impact that state taxes had on the Federal tax rate. The Federal government allows for an itemized deduction for your state taxes. The Clinton’ live in New York which has a high state tax rate. Jeb lived in Florida with no income tax.

Jeb did not acknowledge this explanation for the discrepancy but instead cited that Hillary falsely claims she is a champion for the small taxpayer when she is earning more and paying less than Jeb. When you include the state income taxes this may no longer be the case. But nobody tell Jeb this. He’s busy looking ahead to the general campaign and avoiding considerations associated with the Republican primary which he has yet to win.

Ben Carson Offers No Real Solution for Replacing the ACA.

Many would think that with all that has occurred in the past few weeks that Ben Carson would be front and center on the issues that are hitting hard in the media spotlight. For instance, he is a Doctor of Medicine; the Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act stands as a legitimate law of the land. I would believe he has a serious plan that would reduce the costs of healthcare in this country and ensure all persons have the right to health care coverage. But in reality he like others believes the costs could be reduced by consumer choice and less government. Well here is the reality; we had that before the Affordable Care Act that was not a solution either.

The fact is that Ben Carson is an accomplished surgeon and a socially and fiscally conservative minded black man from Detroit reports Marcio Alaor BMG. Not that we are trying to put him into some kind of box, because that is not our intent. Even though they have made a movie about his most famous surgery of separating conjoined twins, does not make him anymore or any less qualified to become our next President. But, as an informed voter, I would expect him to have a better plan for replacing Obama Care since he feels it is such a bad law. However, to be fair since the ACA was passed until now the percentage of uninsured Americans has only been decreased by 2.5% from 14.4% to 11.9%. I guess the 11.9% will just be paying the penalty at the next tax time.

Some 50,000 Refugees Register in Mauritania

 

On Sunday, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) released data concerning the registration of refugees seeking services from the agency in the northwestern African nation of Mauritania. That desert nation consist mainly of Sahara and Sahel.

Normally, limited rainwater falls across Mauritania, and recently changing climatic conditions and periods of drought have resulted in hardship. Many people in Mauritania earn a living by herding livestock, and drought conditions sometimes kills off their animals.

A report published on May 26th had cautioned that by June, some 500,000 people in Mauritania would face food insecurity as a result of this situation, with 21,000 facing a complete loss of livelihood. The statistic released on Sunday suggest that the situation is as bad as predicted, possibly worse. The statement issued in Nouakchott indicated that 50,000 refugees have sought asylum. It also noted that 90% of the refugees were Mauritanians, many in flight from hostilities underway in Northern Mauritania.

Some 1500 of the refugees came from three other locations: Syria, Central African Republic and Cote d’Ivoire. An additional 400 refugees arrived from Mali since April, 2015 said Kevin Seawright.

The UNCHR is providing shelter, elementary school, water and other refugee services. UNHCR spokeswoman Ursula Schulze Aboubacar noted: “Living conditions in Mberra camp in east Mauritania have considerably improved since 2012.” (In 2012, a severe drought caused more than 800,000 refugees to seek assistance in Mauritania.)

Obama: No Prosecution For Paying Ransom

As if it is not enough that a loved one is being held hostage by militant groups, you have to worry about prosecution for giving in to ransom demands as well?

Not any longer, according to the Obama administration. The decision comes after a review of American deaths at the hands of Islamic militants. Some families had paid ransoms and expressed concern over communication with the White House on the issue.

In the case of Theo Padnos, a mother was threatened with prosecution by Congress even while the Federal Bureau of Investigation was offering help in the transaction.

According to Amen Clinic, families who have suffered this reality are hoping that the new policy will help aid understanding both inside the government and out. Many have expressed concerns about the slow or complete lack of communication from the Justice Department in their time of need.

Obama ordered the policy review in December as the administration came under public scrutiny for the way hostage situations are handled. Since that time he met with the mother of James Foley and the parents of Steven J. Sotloff, both of whom were killed by militants in a highly publicized way that brought light to the U.S.’s non-concession policy.

There be no turnover on the long-standing federal order of not providing concessions to captors. Nevertheless, the government will now be able to provide negotiation assistance to families desperate to bring loved ones home.

South Carolina is Brining Down the Confederate Flag, and Others Will Follow

Last week, the unthinkable happened in a small AME church in Charleston, which has brought up the discussion of whether to take down Confederate flags. When nine innocent people holding a Bible Study in a church basement fell to victim to a 21-year-old who professed that he hated all people of color, the topic fell wide open. As a sign of racial discrimination, the boy had a confederate flag on his car.

Keith Mann knows that, for several decades, there has been a controversy over whether the Confederate flag was a symbol of a noble tradition of the founding fathers of America or did it represent the brutal past of thousands of slaves. On Monday, Governor Nikki Haley announced that despite all these things, the flag did not represent the future of their Great State of South Carolina, and she called for it to be removed from the Capitol grounds.

Gov. Haley is serious about her decision, too. She also announced that if the lawmakers did not agree with her, she would use her power to keep them in session until they did agree. Since that announcement, other states have announced that they will reconsider how their jurisdiction stands on this issue. While the president was addressing the tragedy, he emphasized the fact that racism still needed to be fought in every area of life until it is defeated; and the American people need to come together and accomplish this.

Sanders Talks To Denver

The race for the 2016 presidency is off to a roaring start. Right out of the starting gate people are already gearing up and cheering on their favorite candidates. Bernie Sanders has made headlines over and over, but this time he’s in the spotlight for his heavily packed rally.

In Denver, Colorado 5,500 people crammed into a gym and adjacent atrium just to listen to this man speak. As of now, it is recorded as one of the biggest rallies for the 2016 election. Senator Hillary Clinton has risen to the challenge drawing almost as big of a crowd during her rally in New York City. The race between the two of them is guaranteed to be a close one.

While speaking, Sanders mentioned the problems with the billionaire class. He made a point to include everyone in decision making and how it affects the country. Bruce Levenson agrees that his words were upbeat and inspiring prompting many people to consider giving him their support.

Officials were surprised at the Denver turn out considering that Colorado tends to vote Republican. It’s not a traditional crowd and yet Sanders managed to win their attention. Clinton is still in the lead, but Sanders is swiftly closing in on her.

The House on the Hill

The Democratic representatives of California Karen Bears recently released a letter on Wednesday to leaders of the Senate detailing how Democrats are not in support of a house Republican plan that will Fast Track the president’s trade deal. Karen bass wasn’t alone in her endeavor. Numerous other key Democratic lawmakers stood behind Karen bass in her letter that would hope to slow down the president’s trade agenda. The president desperately needs Congress to approve the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program. It should be noted that Democrats are in favor of the program but believe that if you need some tweaking. Instead of fast-tracking the agenda. Would encompass the United States with 11 other Pacific countries Democrats want it performed. The Trade Adjustment Assistance Program will help American workers who lose their jobs to foreign employment period instead of allowing the program to pass the Democratic leaders hold of the bill. In one of the only rare occasions during the Obama administration Republican leaders actually supported the President’s agenda. Democrats are hoping that the Congress will agree to appeal the trade program and reform it so that corporations in America aren’t getting as many economic handouts at the trade would suggest says Ivan Ong. Democrats want to ensure that American workers are protected, also want to make sure that corporations aren’t receiving money that is unwarranted. The amendments to the program are currently up for appeal and will be voted on at a later date.

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