Hard to believe its been a year since the Boston Marathon bombing in Massachusetts. As I write today, I’m reminded of the 260+ people that were injured when two bombs were detonated near the finish line. Additionally, I’m reminded how precious life is, when we all consider that 8 year old Martin Richard was killed when the second bomb exploded…such tragedy, words cannot describe. Add to the death list, Krystie Cambell, 29 years young, Lingzi Lu, a Boston University graduate student from China, and Sean Collier a young security guard who was shot during the chase and capture process.The two brothers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev were the two attackers that changed so many lives and families. Tamerlan was killed by the authorities during the city wide search for these two terrorists. Dzhokhar, aka Jahar, the younger of the two, has been “humanized” in a number of ways, including a cover story in Rolling Stone Magazine’s August 2013 edition. I read the article, though I refused to purchase the publication, at my local book store, my own personal protest to getting Tsarnaev’s story out. When you kill children, you have no excuse and I personally do not find any humanity in that act. Any effort to bring humanity is frankly out of bounds for me and probably many of you. Despite that, Rolling Stone (RS) points out that Tsarnaev writes about atrocities that are committed by the “U.S.” Government in Iraq and Afghanistan on Muslim” civilians” and that those events are the reasons for he and his brother to kill U.S citizens. I highly doubt that young Tsarnaev has actually been to either of these places, witnessed first hand any such acts, knows of anyone specifically harmed by those accusations, etc. etc. etc. You see, young Tsarnaev had been living in Cambridge for a decade, so the only way he would learn of such events would be from outside sources, including his brother Tamerlan. RS further points out that during the arraignment, Tsarnaev smirked during the reading of the charges. Though RS gives an accounting of this kid’s history, family, and upbringing, he’s been here in the United States for 10+ years and you have to believe he knows the cultural differences between right and wrong. How did he get here? He arrived with his father Anzor, at the age of 8, from Dagestan. The family applied for asylum, which was given by the U.S. government and its people, the same people they chose to attack and kill. The RS article continues for pages and pages telling history, describing his personality, telling you he had “morals”, etc. It describes his family life, parents, friends, and fundamentally makes this kid seem “normal” or at least you start to think that.
Ok, so why did I choose this topic for April? There are several reasons and I don’t want to bore you with all of them. I would like to point out that this tragedy seems like it happened a lot longer than a year ago. You see, we are so overwhelmed with media through television, internet, radio, email, newspapers, magazines,, newsletters, etc., that it’s easy to minimize what happened here on U.S. soil and forget about what happened. These two were not Al Qaeda or part of any particular terrorist group. They where a couple of kids who decided to attack Americans on American soil and kill 4 people, including an 8 year old child. The other reason I bring this up is that young Tsarnaev is about to go on trial and if convicted, will face the ultimate penalty, Death. It is my sincere hope that the Boston bombing events do not leave your thoughts for the next few days. The deaths and injuries that were sustained by these two “terrorists” should make you mad. I know they enrage me……
The situation in the Ukraine is escalating at a fever pitch. Over the past few days, the Russians have taken Ukraine Government buildings in 9 separate cities and are expanding on a daily basis. Some of sanctions that were applied last month have already taken some toll on the Russian economy. Since the Crimea invasion and subsequent sanctions, the Russian stock market has shown a 20% loss. Before we start giving credit to sanctions, let’s also understand that investors do not want to have their assets in countries that are essentially on the brink of war, specifically civil war. Our chief executive has had a couple of conversations with Vladimir Putin, but that seems to have been brushed to the side as a mere nuisance. I highly doubt if Mr. Putin gives Mr. Obama any respect whatsoever. This is evidenced by the recent incident in the Black Sea, where a Russian fighter jet made multiple low altitude passes on the USS Donald Cook, flying within 1000 yards of the vessel, which is a violation of several U.S./Russian agreements and Treaties. In addition, the Cook was “shadowed” by a Russian frigate. These events, in my opinion, are simply to see how far they, Putin and the Russian’s, can go before the United States takes some sort of definitive action, whatever that may be. Frankly, we are being tested, clear and simple. It’s certainly not something to go to war about, but it’s also something that cannot continue. I am certainly not a foreign affairs expert, but I do understand the human psyche, at some point, you have to let your enemy know that enough is enough. Putin is a bully, pure and simple and the sooner we establish a legitimate position of strength, the better. Putting financial and travel sanctions on him, his country men, and his country isn’t going to get it done. Reestablishing missile defense in places like Poland and Turkey is certainly one method of sending a clear message of our position. We could also begin some joint military maneuvers with countries like, Slovenia, Romania, Ukraine and Hungary, which would also send a message an demonstrate our conviction to defending the Baltic’s.
Here are some tax facts for you;
People that make less than $50k per year pay 5.7% of the taxes. $50.1k to $100k per year, 18.6%. $100.1k to $200k, 29%. $200.1k to $500k, 20.2%. $500.1k to $1m, 7.5% and +1m 19%. People making $100k or more will contribute 75.7% of all federal taxes, which includes; payroll, income and excise taxes. Those folks will also pay 95.2% of federal income taxes. As a comparison, 2 years ago, that same group only paid 88.3% of taxes.
Last month we hit a nerve with one reader of this newsletter. Though I certainly don’t mind hearing and responding to comments on my monthly dialog, sometimes people take this information personally. That is certainly not my intention. I merely attempt to bring some much needed facts, reality, and satire to the events that surround the world we live in. My research is done diligently and it takes a lot of time to assemble and ultimately condense the information that is contained here. I go above and beyond to verify what is written so that it is accurate.
Fortunately, for every person who responds negatively, I receive 30+ positive comments. I guess you can’t please everyone, though we try.
That’s all for this month…
As always, my very best to you and your families.