Posts Tagged With: Washington

Parrot laughs like a super villain…


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Inequality Is Replacing the American Dream…..


Inequality is replacing the American dream, because the U.S. economy — thanks to Washington’s mismanagement — is underperforming.

America still produces one-fifth of the world’s goods and services, but accounts for a much smaller share of global growth. Many U.S. products are no longer the best in class. Consequently, the economy can’t adequately employ many of its college graduates, and wages are stagnant or falling for ordinary folks.

America still has great strengths. High labor productivity, coupled with rising wages in Asia, make American workers a good value for global investors. Along with cheaper energy, thanks to the onshore oil boom, that should attract new factories, but the promised flood of new jobs has only been a trickle.

Simply put, the bureaucratic quagmire created by complex and ineffective business regulations makes it easier to produce in Asia than in America. The highest corporate tax rates among major industrialized countries make the cost of investing here too high.

It is increasingly difficult to refine and efficiently move oil to California and the Northeast — gasoline costs too much in Monterrey and heating oil costs too much in Massachusetts.

Whether businesses are taxed or directly pay for healthcare, higher costs than in Europe or Japan require radical reforms in delivery and pricing that Obamacare will not accomplish and Republicans refuse to discuss.

Germany punches above its weight. Whether in aerospace or web-based businesses, its companies compete effectively for customers in rapidly growing developing country markets by emphasizing proven technologies, execution and patience.

Cities from Bangkok to Lagos are too congested and cluttered with street vendors to support a middle-class drive to the mall retailing. German firms like Rocket Internet are recruiting suppliers and sending young women with tablets into marketplaces and workplaces to demonstrate their websites.

American companies eschew such boring approaches in search of big profits to pay for Uncle Sam’s terribly burdened regulations and taxes.

Apple will only sell the very best for the highest price, while Microsoft ties up PC customers with awkward software. Now, too few Americans can afford an iPhone and even fewer want a Windows smartphone. Korea’s Samsung offers state-of-the-art handheld devices and gives American companies fits.

In a globalized economy, America must play its strengths. It can’t continue to permit China and other Asian nations to rig their currencies, and otherwise lock out competitive U.S. exports with subsidies and protectionist regulations. In Asia, the Bush and Obama administrations have placed higher priority on other goals.

America shouldn’t import 6 million barrels a day of oil and pay the cost of policing the Persian Gulf, when opening up offshore drilling and smart conservation could eliminate foreign purchases.

Together, the trade deficit on otherwise competitive manufacturers and oil is costing Americans 5 million good-paying jobs — many that would go to struggling working-class families.

America’s best and brightest can earn big bucks by heading for Wall Street, Silicon Valley and industries that innovate and sell in global markets. Meanwhile, the army of more ordinary workers remains underemployed and underpaid.

A slow growing economy is the cause of increasing inequality, and the best way to reverse those is to clear a path for investment and entrepreneurs. The ticket is to streamline regulations, simplify and cut taxes, open up offshore energy production, radically reform healthcare and make exports and jobs America’s number one foreign policy priority.

With lower taxes how would Washington pay for entitlements and a big defense budget? Simply, an American economy growing at 5 percent and producing its own energy would need less of both and would generate a bounty of government resources for good purposes like the world has never seen.

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How China helps pay for Medicare, U.S. aircraft carriers…..


Chinese holdings of U.S. federal debt hit a new record high toward the end of 2013. We should probably be grateful.

At the end of November (the latest data available), China held $1,317,000,000,000 in U.S. Treasury securities. If all those zeroes make your head swim, that’s about $1.32 trillion, which exceeds the prior record, from 2011. China has been the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt since 2008, when it overtook Japan, which is now No. 2.

Chinese holdings of U.S. debt strike some people as a national-security vulnerability, but that’s largely a myth fed by fear-mongering xenophobes. For one thing, the debt held by China only amounts to about 7.6% of the entire $17.2 trillion in U.S. debt. About two-thirds of the national debt is held in the United States, with roughly 45% of that held by government trust funds and other federal agencies, much of it taxpayer money slated to be spent on Social Security and other entitlements. Overall, Uncle Sam’s portfolio of creditors is pretty well diversified.

Borrowing from all sources, including China, also helps Washington pay for more programs than Americans finance on their own through taxes. A trenchant irony of China’s lending to the United States is it helps pay for aircraft carriers, fighter jets, missiles and other military hardware that would menace China if there were ever a standoff between the two nations.

“One big pot of cash”

Funds from China also help pay for Medicare, highways, education grants, prisons, food stamps and most other things the federal government spends money on. A few programs — most notably, Social Security — have a dedicated source of funding. Medicare is partly funded that way, but money for some parts of the popular healthcare program for seniors comes from the Treasury Department’s general fund. For the most part, money from taxes and borrowing goes into the same pool at the Treasury, with no distinctions on how dollars from different sources are spent. “Whether the payments are derived from debt or taxes, it’s all one big pot of cash,” says Deborah Lucas, a finance professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

China’s holdings of U.S. debt may actually be a bigger worry for China than for America. “When people ask ‘how bad would it be for the United States if China withdrew its money,’ the answer is, ‘how bad would it be for China if the United States went bankrupt?’” says Richard Kogan of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. “China has a big stake in the solvency of the United States. They want us to pay all their principal and interest and keep buying the stuff they make.”

There’s little or no evidence, in fact, that China’s foreign-debt holdings have ever been used for political purposes. China mostly invests its reserves the way any nation seeking financial stability would.

The vast scale of borrowing by the U.S. government is a different story altogether and a legitimate worry. Washington has made halting progress on its debt recently, with the annual deficit dropping from $1.1 trillion in 2012 to $680 billion in 2013. That should fall to about $560 billion this year, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and perhaps lower if the economy exceeds expectations and tax revenues rise.

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Washington State…Gold claims available for filing…Grays Harbor County…


Gold Locations..Grays Harbor County
Cow Point Placer
Hoquiam
Moclips Placer
Moclips Placer
Moclips River Placer
Oyhut Placer
Oyhut Placer
Point Brown
Point Brown Placer
Site Name : Cow Point Placer
State : Washington
County : Grays Harbor
Latitude : 46.96149
Longitude : -123.83456
Year Discovered :
Years in Production :
Operation Type : Placer
Deposit Type :
Production Size :
Development Status : Occurrence
Primary Commodities : Gold
Secondary Commodities :
Other Commodities :
Site Name : Hoquiam
State : Washington
County : Grays Harbor
Latitude : 46.9709
Longitude : -123.87876
Year Discovered :
Years in Production :
Operation Type : Unknown
Deposit Type : Beach Placer
Production Size : N
Development Status : Occurrence
Primary Commodities : Gold, Platinum
Secondary Commodities :
Other Commodities :
Site Name : Moclips Placer
State : Washington
County : Grays Harbor
Latitude : 47.24006
Longitude : -124.21795
Year Discovered :
Years in Production :
Operation Type : Unknown
Deposit Type : Beach Placer
Production Size : N
Development Status : Occurrence
Primary Commodities : Chromium, REE, Thorium
Secondary Commodities : Platinum, Silver, Gold
Other Commodities : Titanium, Metal, Zirconium, Iron
Site Name : Moclips River Placer
State : Washington
County : Grays Harbor
Latitude : 47.23918
Longitude : -124.20738
Year Discovered :
Years in Production :
Operation Type : Placer
Deposit Type :
Production Size :
Development Status : Occurrence
Primary Commodities : Gold
Secondary Commodities :
Other Commodities :
Site Name : Oyhut Placer
State : Washington
County : Grays Harbor
Latitude : 47.02118
Longitude : -124.1696
Year Discovered :
Years in Production :
Operation Type : Unknown
Deposit Type :
Production Size : N
Development Status : Occurrence
Primary Commodities : Gold
Secondary Commodities :
Other Commodities :
Site Name : Point Brown
State : Washington
County : Grays Harbor
Latitude : 46.92701
Longitude : -124.17488
Year Discovered :
Years in Production :
Operation Type : Unknown
Deposit Type : Beach Placer
Production Size : N
Development Status : Occurrence
Primary Commodities : Titanium, Metal, Zirconium, Iron, Gold, Platinum
Secondary Commodities :
Other Commodities :
Site Name : Point Brown Placer
State : Washington
County : Grays Harbor
Latitude : 46.95559
Longitude : -124.15687
Year Discovered :
Years in Production :
Operation Type : Placer
Deposit Type :
Production Size :
Development Status : Occurrence
Primary Commodities : Gold
Secondary Commodities :
Other Commodities :

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Marijuana laws add a new tool to ban gun ownership…Obama see’s a way to control..


Is there something about the idea of legalizing marijuana that Washington LIKES?

That seemingly strange idea may have been borne out just days ago when the Congressional Research Service released its report on the “State Legalization of Recreational Marijuana: Selected Legal Issues.”

“With the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes in Colorado and Washington, it seems likely the ATF will … consider a recreational user of marijuana to be a prohibited possessor of firearms regardless of whether the use is lawful under state provisions,” they wrote.

The attorneys said the ATF specifically has stated, “any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance, and is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.”

They further wrote, “These individuals are to answer ‘yes’ when asked on the firearms transfer form if they are unlawful users of a controlled substance.”

Answering falsely, of course, is also a felony.

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Obama’s budget includes some surprising taxes


President Obama has plenty of big taxes in his budget proposal.
To achieve $1.8 trillion in new revenue, the president suggested a few of the policies he’s raised while battling Republicans over the past four years: taxing higher incomes by capping itemized tax deductions, rolling back domestic-production credits for oil companies, instituting the “Buffett Rule” of a 30 percent minimum tax rate for people making over $1 million in a year, and taxing investment managers’ “carried interest” profits as regular income top the list.
But the tax code is a jungle of odd rules, and the penny-pinching side of Obama’s budget raises some new taxes (or closes some “loopholes”) that might not readily occur to most taxpayers filling out run-of-the-mill 1040s this weekend.
As laid out this week by the Treasury Department in its “green book,” a massive spiral-bound document that explains tax changes in the White House budget proposal – it is pale green, and 246 pages – here are some quirky maneuvers the president suggests to offset spending and keep the deficit just a bit lower:
1. A Tax on Flavored Vodka
President Obama wants to tax your Stoli Razberi.
Distilled spirits currently get a tax break if they include flavors, but the president’s budget proposal does away with that. Spirits are taxed at $13.50 per proof-gallon (a gallon of 100-proof liquor), but if distillers add flavorings, they can roll back some of that tax: Up to 2.5 percent of the alcohol in those flavoring mixtures is exempt from the spirits tax.
It doesn’t sound like much, but the Treasury claims this tax break gives an unfair advantage to flavored liquors, particularly foreign producers whose flavor quotients aren’t restricted, as they are for U.S. producers. Heavily-flavored, foreign-made spirits can be sold cheaper, and consumers might be more likely to buy them than they otherwise would, Treasury argues.
The new rule would be good for Jack Daniel’s, bad for Absolut Citron.
2. Golf Courses Are No Longer Tax Havens
In a creative tax maneuver, an Alabama land developer was able to deduct part of his golf course.
E.A. Drummond bought real estate on a Gulf Coast peninsula in the 1990s, created a business to build a golf course on it, and developed the land around the golf course. In 2002, he had the business place a conservation easement – a partial restriction of what can be done with a piece of land, for the purpose of conserving it or preserving “recreational amenities,” golf among them as the tax code is written – donated that easement to a conservation land trust, and claimed the value of the easement as a charitable-giving tax deduction.
Under Obama’s budget proposal, that couldn’t be done.
In explaining the proposed change, Treasury protests that such moves have “raised concerns” that the deductions, often claimed by the developers of homes around golf courses, “are excessive,” and that they mainly advance “the private interests of donors” not “bona fide conservation activities.”
3. A Higher Tax on Cigarettes
President Obama smokes from time to time, but he proposes hiking the tax on cigarettes to pay for early-childhood education.
Cigarettes have been taxed at just under $1.01 per pack, to help pay for the 2009 expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In his budget proposal, Obama suggests raising that to $1.95 per pack.
The administration’s rationale is, essentially, that cigarettes are harmful.
Citing statistics on smoking-related deaths, Treasury writes, “Excise taxes, levied on manufacturers and importers of tobacco products, are one of the main ways that policymakers can affect tobacco production and consumption.”
4. Corporate Jets
Perhaps a dead horse by now, Obama is still beating it.
The so-called “loophole for corporate jets” works like this: Companies can write off the value of their equipment as it depreciates – to encourage investment, the government lets businesses recoup some cost of buying equipment by letting them count its depreciation against their income. The IRS has a schedule for how fast different kinds of equipment “depreciate,” and how much of their value can be written off when.
When it comes to airplanes owned by businesses, commercial and freight-carrying planes can be written off in full after seven years. Planes that aren’t used for those purposes – corporate jets, crop-dusters, and planes used for firefighting, for instance – can be written off after five years.
Under Obama’s budget proposal, noncommercial passenger aircraft are lumped in with commercial and freight planes, meaning businesses can deduct the value of their corporate jets after seven years, not five.
5. Businesses Can’t Deduct Punitive Damages
Say you’re a business, someone wins a lawsuit against you, and you’re required to pay damages. You can write them off.
Not so, under Obama’s budget proposal.
The White House plan would not only prevent businesses from deducting punitive damages from their taxable income, it would tax damages paid out by insurers, too: If a business takes out an insurance policy for some kind of liability, and that insurer ends up paying out damages on behalf of the company under its policy, those damages would be added to the business’s taxable income.

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Airplane Ride… 1911….Washington, D.C. “Senorita Lenore Riviero with Antony Jannus in Rex Smith aeroplane”


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Does she look a little unsure of what is about to happen?

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Oregon’s Next Huge Earthquake: Not If, But When….


The clock is ticking on the next big earthquake in the Pacific Northwest, and experts fear it will be a monster

 

Following the deadly magnitude-9.0 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011, Oregon legislators commissioned a study of the impact a similar quake could have on the state, according to the Associated Press.
The report, “Oregon Resilience Plan: Reducing Risk and Improving Recovery for the Next Cascadia Earthquake and Tsunami,” was presented to legislators Thursday (March 14).
Within its pages is a chilling picture of death and destruction that would cripple the entire Pacific Northwest, from Northern California to British Columbia.
More than 10,000 people led. Bridges, dams, roadways and buildings — including Oregon’s State Capitol in Eugene — in a state of utter collapse. No water, electricity, natural gas, heat, telephokilne service or gasoline — in some cases, for months. Economic losses in excess of $30 billion.

The seismically active region has felt temblors before, most notably a massive earthquake and tsunami in January 1700 that wiped out entire forests in what is now Oregon and Washington and caused a deadly tsunami in Japan, thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean. [Waves of Destruction: History’s Biggest Tsunamis]
“This earthquake will hit us again,” Kent Yu, chair of the commission that developed the report, told Oregon legislators, according to the Daily Mail. “It’s just a matter of how soon.”
That titanic 1700 shaker was a megathrust earthquake on the Cascadia Fault, a seismic zone that stretches for almost 700 miles (1,100 kilometers) just off the Pacific Northwest coast. Based on current understanding of the fault’s seismic history, scientists estimate quakes occur along the line roughly every 240 years.
In other words, another big Cascadia Fault earthquake is “long overdue,” the International Science Times reports.
The report also noted that, geologically speaking, Japan and Oregon are mirror images of each other. There is, however, one important difference: Japan is much more prepared for earthquakes.
And Oregon is hardly the only region of North America overdue for a large earthquake: The Lake Tahoe region on the California-Nevada border is home to the West Tahoe Fault, which generally sees a quake every 3,000 to 4,000 years, and the most recent temblor occurred 4,500 years ago.
Elsewhere in California, the southern San Andreas Fault last produced a big temblor in 1690, and has been relatively quiet ever since. That isn’t good news, since a major earthquake usually occurs there every 180 years, according to recent research, and the fault line now has more than 300 years of pressure built up.
Whereas the West Coast is usually considered the most seismically active region of North America, the East Coast also has earthquakes, just not as often. Fault lines have recently been discovered near New York City, and the Indian Point nuclear power plant, about 24 miles (39 km) north of the city, straddles the previously unidentified intersection of two active seismic zones.
In virtually all of these regions, preparation for earthquakes has been woefully inadequate, say many experts. Maree Wacker, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross of Oregon, laments the state of readiness: “Oregonians as individuals are underprepared,” Wacker told the Daily Mail.

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Legal pot in Colo., Wash. poses growing dilemma…..


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It may be called weed, but marijuana is legendarily hard to grow.
Now that the drug has been made legal in Washington and Colorado, growers face a dilemma. State-sanctioned gardening coaches can help folks cultivate tomatoes or zucchini, but both states have instructed them not to show people the best way to grow marijuana. The situation is similar in more than a dozen additional states that allow people to grow the drug with medical permission.
That’s leaving some would-be marijuana gardeners looking to the private sector for help raising the temperamental plant.
“We can’t go there,” said Brian Clark, a spokesman for Washington State University in Pullman, which runs the state’s extension services for gardening and agriculture. “It violates federal law, and we are a federally funded organization.”
The issue came up because people are starting to ask master gardeners for help in growing cannabis, Clark said. Master gardeners are volunteers who work through state university systems to provide horticultural tips in their communities.
The situation is the same in Colorado, where Colorado State University in Fort Collins recently added a marijuana policy to its extension office, warning that any employee who provides growing assistance acts outside the scope of his or her job and “assumes personal liability for such action.”
The growing predicament is just the latest quandary for these states that last year flouted federal drug law by removing criminal penalties for adults over 21 with small amounts of pot. In Washington, home-growing is banned, but it will be legal to grow pot commercially once state officials establish rules and regulations.
In Colorado, adults are allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants in their own homes, so long as they’re in a locked location out of public view.
At least two Colorado entrepreneurs are taking advantage of that aspect of the law; they’re offering growing classes that have attracted wannabe professional growers, current users looking to save money by growing their own pot and a few baby boomers who haven’t grown pot in decades and don’t feel comfortable going to a marijuana dispensary.
“We’ve been doing this on our own, but I wanted to learn to grow better,” said Ginger Grinder, a medical marijuana patient from Portales, N.M., who drove to Denver for a “Marijuana 101” class she saw advertised online.
Grinder, a stay-at-home mom who suffers from lupus and fibromyalgia, joined about 20 other students earlier this month for a daylong crash course in growing the finicky marijuana plant.
Taught in a rented room at a public university, the course had students practicing on tomato plants because pot is prohibited on campus. The group took notes on fertilizer and fancy hydroponic growing systems, and snipped pieces of tomato plants to practice cloning, a common practice for nascent pot growers to start raising weed from a “mother” marijuana plant.
Ted Smith, a longtime instructor at an indoor gardening shop, led the class, and warned these gardeners that their task won’t be easy. Marijuana is fickle, he said. It’s prone to mildews and molds, picky about temperature and pH level, intolerant to tap water.
A precise schedule is also a must, Smith warned, with set light and dark cycles and watering at the same time each day. Unlike many house plants, Smith warned, marijuana left alone for a long weekend can curl and die.
“Just like the military … they need to know when they’re getting their water and chow,” Smith said of the plants.
The class was the brainchild of Matt Jones, a 24-year-old Web developer who wanted to get into the marijuana business without raising or selling it himself. As a teenager, Jones once tried to grow pot himself in empty Home Depot paint buckets. He used tap water and overwatered, and the marijuana wilted and died.
“It was a disaster,” he recalled. Jones organized the class and an online “THC University” for home growers, but his own thumb isn’t green. Jones said he’ll be buying his marijuana from professional growers.

The course showed would-be grower Cael Nodd, a 34-year-old stagehand in Denver, that marijuana gardening can be an intimidating prospect.
“It seems like there’s going to be a sizable investment,” he said. “I want something that really tastes good. Doesn’t seem like it will be that easy.”

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27 People Dead, Mostly Children, at Connecticut Elementary School Shooting


Guns don’t kill people….people kill people…But watch the anti-gun jump on this hard….

More than two dozen people, mostly elementary school children, were shot and killed at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school this morning, federal and state sources tell ABC News.
The massacre involved two gunmen and prompted the town of Newtown to lock down all of its schools and draw SWAT teams to the school, authorities said today.
One shooter is dead and a manhunt is on for a second gunman. Police are searching cars. One shooter was described as a 24-year-old armed with four weapons and wearing a bullet vest, sources told ABC News.
It’s unclear how many people have been shot, but 27 people, mostly children are dead, multiple federal and state sources tell ABC News. That number could rise, officials said.
President Obama was briefed on the shooting by FBI Director Bob Mueller.
It is the worst shooting in a U.S. elementary school in recent memory and exceeds the carnage at 1999 Coumbine High School shooting in which 13 died and 24 were injured.
The Newtown shooting comes just three days after masked gunman Jacob Roberts opened fire in a busy Oregon, mall killing two before turning the gun on himself.
Today’s shooting occurred at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, which includes 450 students in grades from kindergarten through fourth grade. The town is located about 12 miles east of Danbury.

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