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Iranian Voters (Image courtsey ISNA)

Iranian Voters (Image courtsey ISNA)

WINDS OF CHANGE?
Fire is not always the answer. Especially when the world’s on fire already. Iran’s voter turnout has been astounding and the results are expected to be far more closer than expected before. Similiar to politics in other “third world countries”, the scenes in Iran depicts a stark contrast between two ideologies or ‘marketing capaigns’ as I’d put it.

THE SUPPORT BEHIND THEM
The moderate ex-premier Mir Hossein Mousavi is backed by the youth in major cities while fiery Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has the rural support behind him. With many expecting a close result, the international community is waiting in the wings to restore ties with Iran which have now been severed for almost three decades, with none more so willing than US President Barack Obama.

NUCLEAR ISSUES
The people of Iran may chose the comparatively level-headed Mousavi to lead them to the much-needed financial stability that has been missing during Ahmadinejad’s first four year term. The nation’s nuclear drive has hampered its overall developement and the world waits for a breath of fresh air in the Iranian political scenario. Even today, all four candidates in the running are of the opinion that Iran has the right to all kinds of nuclear research although Mr Mousavi is believed to be willing to negotiate such matters with the West.

THE RESULTS
Looking at the long queues and the astonishing turnout in this year’s elections in Iran, it seems the people have come out in masses to bring a much needed change in the country’s political scenario. It seems the fire has burned too long and its time for things to cool down and settle. The results would be announced within 24 hours after voting ends but it seems this time hardliner Ahmadinejad may end up on the wrong side of a stunning upset. We wait with a hope of peace finally returning to this wonderful country
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moderate ex-premier Mir Hossein Mousavi.

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Freedom Alliance: A step in the right direction [ image courtsey of larrycrisp on Photobucket]

Freedom Alliance is a non-profit organization devoted to honor military service and to appreciate the members of the services along with their families and children for the sacrifices they make to protect the freedom of our country. If only we could do it more often.

Freedom Alliance recently organized an Appreciation Dinner at Wagon Steakhouse in Leesville, Louisiana for 55 members of the service, along with their families, stationed at Fort Polk. The night was organized to honor service members for their service towards protecting freedom and their country. Such nights must be organized more often to show appreciation to everyone in the armed forces and to show them that everyone doesn’t laze on their couches and watch TV all day while they are defending the sovereignty of the United States. Some of us are indebted for what they do.

Organizations like Freedom Alliance make it a point to thank and appreciate the service members for their service and sacrifice. They host Appreciation Dinners for stationed as well as wounded members of the troops on a regular basis at all its branches across the country. Freedom Alliance also hands out “Gifts from Home” packages to service members stationed overseas. It also organizes several other programs for service members and their families including scholarships to children of celebrated war heroes. Sometimes, these little things make all the difference.

Freedom Alliance President Tom Kilgannon stated that “”Words like duty, sacrifice and honor are defined by the men and women of the U.S. military.” He said that his organization worked very hard to show soldiers that they are understood and supported. Freedom Alliance hopes that through these dinners, they can honor the brave service members as much as they honor us. A noble thought indeed.

America needs more people like Tom Kilgannon to stand up and show the world that American troops are more than puppets of manipulative agendas of politicians; and they too are people who need a pat on the back from time to time for the work they do. Freedom Alliance may the first but I sure hope it’s not the last avenue for such appreciation. You can visit Freedom Alliance at http://www.freedomalliance.org/

Do you feel American service members are getting their due share of appreciation? Leave me your thoughts and comments…

Tax Day protestors for Fair Tax

Fair Tax supporters

Fair Tax supporters come together on Tax Day

This April 15 was different from previous years as thousands of protesters came together at Tax Day “Tea Parties” in several cities from Atlanta to Anchorage to lend their voice to the growing outrage over recent government spending. It seems the American people’s animosity towards IRS is raising the tide of Fair Tax proposal. It is believed that the taxpayers view the passing of Fair Tax as a channel to vent their anger at the federal spending.

I find it hard to be on top of things when it comes to Tax Day and especially the Fair Tax proposal. I find graphs, charts and complicated tax reports to be a tad more baffling than plans to find “Weapons of Mass Destruction”. So, I’ve made four 60-second lists to keep you in the loop and ahead of the times…

Five things to know about Fair Tax:

FairTax.org

FairTax.org

1) It has been introduced by Georgia Republican John Linder in the House and by Georgia Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss in the Senate.

2) It is a proposal to replace all federal income taxes with a single national retail sales tax.

3) The tax would be levied once at the point of purchase on all new goods and services meant for personal consumption.

4) The sales tax, as stated in the legislation, is going to be 23 % of the total payment including the tax.

5) All family households of lawful U.S. residents would receive a monthly payment known as “Family Consumption Allowance” (FCA). It would be a ‘prebate’ or an advance rebate on purchases up to the poverty level.

Why people support it?

1) It would decrease tax burdens by broadening the tax base and effectively taxing wealth.

2) With the advance rebate of “Family Consumption Allowance”, the Fair Tax would be progressive on consumption.

3) An individual spending at poverty level, as per the proposal, would have a 0% effective tax rate. Whereas a person spending twice the poverty level would have an effective tax rate of 11.5%

4) It would enable the federal government to reduce the size of federal tax administration by 73%, by cutting the IRS budget to $8 billion from $11.01 billion (figure for 2007).

Why people stand against it?

1) It would decrease tax burden on high-income earners and increase it on the middle class.

2) The size of such a consumption tax makes it very complex to collect and may lead to widespread tax evasion.

3) It would cause an increased budget deficit as the new tax rate would raise less tax than its predecessor.

4) Imposing a national retail sales tax would force transactions underground and lead to an extensive underground economy.

What happens next?

1) The proposal, introduced in 1999, has not since moved from committee and is yet to have any say on the present tax system.

2) An advisory panel on tax reform, established by President Bush in 2005, had deemed such a tax system as undesirable to recommend in their final report.

3) President Barack Obama does not back the bill, arguing instead for more progressive reforms to the payroll and income tax systems.

Now that you know it all, what do you feel about the Fair Tax proposal…leave me your comment below…


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