Saturday, October 21, 2006

Where does the Catholic Church Stand?

With the recent admission from Rev. Anthony Mercieca concerning his behavior with Mark Foley (R-Fla), I have to wonder where exactly does the Catholic Church stand on pedophilia? Granted, Mark Foley's behavior with young male Congressional pages is unacceptable and not excused by what may have happened to him when he was young. That is a separate matter and should be investigated and pursued. So, what is the position of the Church on the relationship of Church officials and their young parishioners? Rev. Mercieca has admitted to multiple acts with the young Foley that should be considered inappropriate for a priest to have with a 13 year old parishioner.

Mercieca tells CBS news, "Let's say it was 40 years ago, almost 40 years ago, so why bring this up at this late stage?" Mercieca asked during the WPTV interview. "Anyway, he will overcome it, with a psychiatrist you know. Mark is a very intelligent man." Mercieca also submits, "I wish him well. Let bygones be bygones."

I believe that if Mercieca can be this up front and casual with his recounting of interactions with Foley, then he must have had more than one parishioner that he loved like a "brother". Does the Church not see anything wrong with this type of behavior? If the Catholic Church can not take a strong stand to protect children from its own priests, then any good work that the Church can do will be reduced in its ability to help anyone.

##That's my opinion##

Thursday, October 12, 2006

What's that in your pants?

I would still like to know why Sandy Berger needed a document from the National Archive so badly that he stuffed it in his pants. I had almost forgotten that had happend until former Attorney General John Ashcroft, recently on TV, mentioned that it was the "after action report" from the millennium bombing that Sandy had with him. Now, why would Sandy need that report? According to a 2004 National Review article that I missed, Sandy did not just take one copy of the report, but that he took several copies on more than one occassion. Now that's taking a big risk to sneak out material that surely is copied in several other government agencies.

In his recent TV appearance, Ashcroft also made reference to Clinton's Chris Wallance interview, where Clinton stated a plan had been left for President Bush to follow in the fight against terrorism. Ashcroft implied that the "plan" Clinton left was based on the tactics outlined in the after action report. Richard Clarke was the author of the after action report and within the report itself, Richard stated that the tactics used should not be a model for the government moving forward.

So, was Sandy attempting to get rid of the after action report in order to increase credibility of the terroism plan left by Clinton? Was Sandy afraid that Clinton would also have to share some of the blame for not doing more to stop 9/11?

Has our government (both parties) become so corrupt that stealing documents is common place? Has blaming the other party become more important than protecting the American people? Are the perks of being a Congressman or part of an administration so luxurious that people will do anything to get them and to keep them? My answers are Yes, Yes, and Yes.

Maybe it's time we had average citizens in Congress rather than lawyers and professional lobbyists.

##That's my opinion##

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Monday, October 09, 2006

Ways and Means Hearing Submission: Tax Issues

In support of The Fair Tax, I submitted the following to the the Committee on Ways and Means Hearing on Member Proposals on Tax Issues Introduced in the 109th Congress.

Honorable Committee Members,

I support passing of HR 25, The Fair Tax, and the fundamental reform of the current tax system. A model of tax collection based upon a national retail sales tax will greatly improve the nation's economy by providing a more equitable taxing system that encourages investment in the United States rather than in various tax havens around the world.

Tax havens are “a place where certain taxes are levied at a low rate or not at all. This encourages wealthy individuals and/or firms to establish themselves in areas that would otherwise be overlooked” (Tax Haven, Wikipedia). This exodus of capital to more forgiving tax environments drains our economy of investment capital and facilitates an enormous opportunity cost felt by all Americans. Tax havens such as the Cayman Islands and The Isle of Man contain about 1 percent of the world’s population, but they hold approximately 30 percent of the world’s assets (David R. Francis, Christian Science Monitor, April 2005). “[T]hese overseas tax havens undermine confidence and trust in our federal government” (Senator John Kerry, 26 April 2002).

The tax haven situation causes the United States to lose an estimated $60 billion a year and worst of all; it shifts the majority of the tax burden from those who can afford it to those who cannot. According to John Christensen of London’s Tax Justice Network, “the tax burden has been shifted from those who can afford it to middle- and low-income households and from businesses to working people and consumers." As international pressure causes some tax haven countries to crack down on tax haven abuses, the door simply opens on new players. New players, such as Singapore, have recently entered the tax haven market and threaten to cost the United States an estimated $5 billion over the next decade (Taylor and Prystay, Wall Street Journal, February 2006).

Investment capital is not all that we are loosing to the war on taxes. Some wealthy Americans are actually opting to give up their U.S. citizenship for more favorable tax treatment.
“Who in his right mind would give up his U.S. citizenship? Lots of people. You could practically fill a Boeing 747 with well-heeled U.S. citizens who have taken on foreign citizenship rather than submit to what Learned Hand called ‘enforced exactions’ at a level that amounts to virtual confiscation.” (Forbes, Nov 21, 1994 v154 n12 p131).
We are faced with a challenge to fund our government through a method that is fair and equitable to all citizens. Those of lesser financial means should not be burdened with government taxation that the wealthy are enabled to avoid. A system of taxation based on consumption will target those most capable of paying. Passing HR 25 will lessen the burden on the less fortunate, increase the fair share of the most fortunate, and also spread the burden to non-citizens who enjoy the greatest nation on earth through tourism and business expansion. This is not a partisan issue, it is an American challenge. Enable the United States to become the world’s new tax haven by passing HR 25 and bring our expatriates and their money home.

##That's my opinion## ... supported by fact