Posts Tagged ‘money’

America! America! God mend thine every flaw

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

 

I am fearful that our beloved United States of America is going to follow a path (despite the rules laid down by our founders) that defies to protect us from the fate of Saudi Arabia, China and Russia.  All of those places have no tolerance for intellectual freedom much less freedom of religion or freedom to love. 

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I love America with all my heart…   her amber waves of grain are being destroyed by pipelinesHer purple mountain majesty is being blown to bits by coal magnates.

amber waves of grain

 

 

Her beautiful spacious skies will again be choked with soot and fear.  Her brotherhood of good From sea to shining sea will have to hide and whisper in corners and alleys.

texas

Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law.  Self-control is likened to weakness and liberty to peril. 

I weep, and seek the comfort of the like minded.  I cling to to the lovers of clean food and thought, pristine water and mind, clear air and soul.  Greed is the enemy of all those things. 

America please see what is happening.  Please embrace what our founders saw and tried to keep for everyone after them.  O beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years

O beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years   I repeat –> O beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years.  Take that in.

patriot dreams

 

that sees

 

waterfall

 

maine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Till selfish gain no longer stain, the banner of the free!

 

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US Chamber of Commerce and Mr Donahue

Monday, November 28th, 2016

What is it? and who is he?

The US Chamber of Commerce (USCC) is not a part of the government, although, it was created by President William Howard Taft  around 1912 to go against the Labor movement which had become organized and powerful.  

Tom Donohue became head of the organization in 1997. 

He disliked the idea of healthcare reform that involves providing healthcare for every American regardless of income or ability to pay.  

Mr Donohue disagrees with the scientific consensus that climate change is enhanced by human energy use. 

He opposed Dodd/Frank legislation and portions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act which was signed in to law by George W. Bush after the Enron and Worldcom scandals and arrests.

He thinks a company should be able to sue a country.  Phillip-Morris vs Uruguay was a case where a tobacco company actually sued the country of Uruguay for implementing strict measures to prolong life and promote health through organized efforts to get tobacco out of the country.  Monsanto is suing countries that are disallowing Monsanto products due to health concerns as well.

Well, now the USCC is the largest lobbying organization in America.  It’s current agenda includes –>

  1.  Establishing the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2017.  Why would he care about the congressional budget?
  2.  Providing for congressional disapproval of the Environmental Protection Agency relating to the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act.
  3.  Disapproving a rule submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency relating to “National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone”. clean air and water are too expensive to maintain and do a profitable business I guess.
  4.  Providing for congressional disapproval of the Environmental Protection Agency relating to “Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New, Modified, and Reconstructed and existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units”  He wants to keep oil, gas and coal
  5.  Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to the definition of the term “Fiduciary”.  I wonder what is wrong with the term Fiduciary?
  6.  EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2015.  Is it possible to reform science?
  7.  There are more, I just listed the first few.  They have their irons in lots of pots.

$79,205,000 has been spent on lobbying in 2016.  They spent $84,730,000 in 2015 so they may surpass that come January 1.  Whoo boy there is a lot of money in money isn’t there?  Not much money to be made in healthcare for all I guess.  Healthy, vegetable eating, non-smoking, solar powered masses are bad for the economy.  Mr Donohue, I think you are bad for the planet.

 

A list

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

A listSo I was reading Non Sequitur (my most favorite comic strip) and this reminded me of my recent flight experience. 

The industry of air travel is working fast and furious to separate us into the haves and the have-nots.  Why don’t they load the back of the plane first? Load the front of the plane last? Everyone can just calmly wait their turn.

  As it is now, there is an aggregate of common people (all of us piling on planes are common people otherwise we’d have our own plane) with over sized carry-ons pushing their way onto the plane, presumably to have room in the over head bins for their stuff.  This, of course, happens after those that have paid more for priority seating get on the plane.  You squeeze by them to get to the back of the plane and sit in your B seat between an overweight woman who wants the window seat and her overweight husband who wants the aisle. 

You struggle for a place to put your bag — which winds up two or three rows from where you are sitting — you didn’t want to join the cattle call — or prolong the agony of sitting for hours between two large people — by getting on the plane first.

You can, of course, avoid all of this undignified struggle if you pay much more.  Than you can sit comfortably in front while you watch the strugglers labor on past to their seat in the back of the plane. 

I wish someone would give us back our dignity and allow the back of the plane to be seated first.  I’m not thinking it will cost the airline any losses and may enhance the boarding process.

bottle waterAnother thing I never quite understood

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Tanks vs Trains

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011
Florida Governor Rick Scott turned down $2.4 billion in Federal money for a high speed rail project despite knowledge of a newly revealed Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) study that forecast the venture would net a $10 million surplus in its very first year of operation. 
State and Federal court battles are holding back the entire industry of high speed rail.  Meanwhile war machines carry on unobstructed?

One great train and track needs to be built to prove its usefulness.   A wonderful provider of jobs and a peaceful industry of builders and innovative minds to do their thing.  Not to mention a very comfortable way to study, read, sleep off a hangover, prepare a power point, get your homework done,  have some lunch,  cuddle with a loved one,  make friends with strangers, decrease your footprint, meet a famous person, pee without stopping at a scary rest stop, do needlepoint, or just enjoy the view without worrying about driving into the swamp, while getting from point A to point B.

 

The United States government pays companies to build tanks and jets to provide security and to protect the nation from bad guys.  But if the government pays a corporation to build solar panels, high speed rail, or windmills to provide energy independence  (which is a better source of security) than it is called socialist government intervention or “Big Government”.   Why isn’t it called socialist government intervention for us to subsidize the building of war machines?

Top 10 Fastest Trains 1

 

Shanghai Maglev is the fastest train in the world.  It’s operational speed of 430km/h and average speed of 251kmph. (156 mph)  The Maglev started commercial operations in April 2004.

It runs on the 30.5km Shanghai Maglev Line, which is the first commercially operated high-speed magnetic levitation line, extending from Longyang Road Station of Metro Line 2 and ending at Shanghai Pudong International Airport.

Shanghai Maglev is owned and operated by Shanghai Maglev Transportation Development Co. (SMTDC). The train was constructed by a joint venture of Siemens and ThyssenKrupp.


 

 Tanks are only useful for war?  Tank builders therefore need war.

Why can’t we also subsidize weapons of peace that contribute to energy independence?  Things like high speed rail that run on magnets (please see above), and Renewables.  Things that keep the planet clean and alive, and we get to live out our 70 to 80 years in peace?  Unfortunately, some people just don’t get peace.  Maybe a nice long clean peaceful life is achievable.


That’s my money belt

Sunday, September 25th, 2011


Some folks work hard and are poor anyway, not indigent, but, damn close and if any kind of physical anomaly befalls them they quickly become indigent.   Some of these people are alcoholics or drug abusers and some are just unlucky.

A dumptruck driver with a swollen ankle, went to a local free clinic and was given a prescription to get an x-ray and have an orthopedic surgeon look at it at the county hospital ER.  He had no way of getting to the hospital to get this done.  His ankle was swollen, broken or sprained; couldn’t drive his dumptruck, and he had no insurance.  He was that dreaded self-pay that never pays and is therefore turned away in non-emergent situations.  He became a resident of the Salvation Army house.   Orthopedic surgeons don’t fix people who don’t have insurance unless they have a lot of cash up front.  Free clinics can only do so much.

What are the essential requirements of an American life? Food, shelter, clothing, clean water, good health and an education.   Some of us think that access to health care is as essential as access to clean drinking water.  Some do not.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those who are opposed to the Affordable Care Act which is a big step in providing health care to a wider range of Americans  seem to be concerned about the cost to them personally. “The more money we make the more they take.”   Who are they?

What are they doing with my money after they take it?  Isn’t that what we all piss and moan about?  What is this going to cost me?   A health care system that provides quality services for citizens is an acceptable and essential place for our money to go.  Health care and the health of this planet is more important than killing people in other countries.

The dumptruck driver could get back in his truck after his ankle was fixed and be a productive tax-paying citizen again.  How is that bad for you?

 


Who gives a fig what S&P thinks?

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

 

Trickle down economics isn’t causing that drip you hear, its drool.  Who cares what S&P thinks?  Except, “after the Dow Jones Industrial Average,  the S&P 500 is the most widely followed index of large-cap American stocks.”

 

We should all be listening to Fred.  The news is full of Standard and Poor (S&P) credit downgrade of the US’s borrowing worth.  I say, OK, so lets not borrow from them.  Lets revoke their use of ratings as a political weapon. I’ve read and read and read and can’t really find an answer.  Numbers, economics, and resources all seem to play a part.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It may be disturbing to some to find out that not all good comes out of the wealthy corporate interests represented by the S&P’s 500.  Japan is pulling themselves out of their natural and man-made financial woes.  How?  Innovation.  It also helps that they don’t have a tea-party or christian fundamentalists standing on their drowning heads.  OK, with that sentence, I’m guessing I’ve lost about 25% of you.

Economics is nothing more than realizing that all the Earth’s resources are scarce and the study of Economics is how those resources get allocated amongst people.  A comparison of 1961 to today was made that sparked more research.  I asked my smart friend Fred  If our tax rate were the same as it was is 1961, would our deficit get payed off quicker?

and like a true economics guru he gave this reply…

Your question about the tax rate being what it was in 1961 would eliminate the deficit is a good one. The math is correct but ignores what has happened to the dollar since 1961. The top tax rate today is 35% on $357,500 of taxable income. In 1961 it was 34% on $8,000 and went as high as 91% on $200,000, $400,000 joint filers.  See http://www.taxfoundation.org/files/federalindividualratehistory-20080107.pdf for historical rates.

Back then a dollar was still worth 50 cents. Now it is worth something between a dime and a nickel. (this is the stuff, I just can’t seem to grasp.  How can a dollar only be worth a dime?  Compared to what? )In 1961 a large milk shake (real dairy) was  25 cents, gas was 25 cents a gallon, a new cadillac cost $2,999, and the minimum wage was 75 cents. A living wage was $5,000 and it took only one person working to support a family. Full time workers made much more than the minimum wage which applied mostly to part time and seasonal itinerant workers. If one made $20,000 a year they were rich.

Since then we have had greatly reduced tax rates but a very high tax in the way of inflation. Inflation went up most in the 1970’s until Reagan stopped it by raising interest rates in 1979. Since then inflation has been slower, but still running 4-6%. until 2008 when prices of some things went down, like housing making average inflation minor. Still we have food, medicine, fuel, education, all going up more than the Consumer Price Index. (The consumer price index takes a semester to understand. Why are we suffering if the price of things has gone down?  We’re not making it we’re just buying it, so we should be on top of this game.)

Now the government has used a new tack to fleece the citizen, it is called borrowing. We get tax cuts to make us feel like voting for the creeps, they take our social security money to fund wars, (is that why they want to tap into social security?  Are those 500 in the S&P wanting our pittances for wars?  Are those 500 in the S&P making money off of loaning to our pentagon for these wars? ) they give us cheap goods from China sending our jobs overseas so they can borrow from the wealthy and the Chinese, to finance more wars, that make some rich people richer so they can finance their reelections. “creeps” and other epithets are extremely appropriate in view of their game. These are smart people; they know what they are doing to us. (they don’t see us though, it’s like bomber pilots dropping bombs, all they see is a little poof)

Comparing the value of a dollar in 1961 ($.50) versus today ( 5 – 10 cents) we can compare the tax rates and equivalent dollars over the time from 1961 to now as follows; (50/10 + 50/5)/2 = 7.5 times. (I’m lost)

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Back to the main question, a tax of 34% on any family making more than $120,000, (16,000 X 7.5), and 91% on over $3,000,000, (400.000 X 7.5), would be equivalent to the tax rates we had in 1961. (91%?! Nobody wants that!  Wealthy folks should not pay more just because they are wealthy. , They should pay the same as we here in the trenches pay and take away their loopholes.  Perhaps those companies that profit from war should pay higher taxes.)These rates would go a long way to wiping out the deficit. I don’t have the figures, but it may even give us a surplus.

In fact, the tax rates in 1961 were too high because the rates still included the WW II repayments. (Our taxes included repaying the war debt? Now they want social security to pay the war debt?) When Kennedy reduced the rates it brought big expansion to the US economy, but it was accompanied by inflation which became intolerable by 1973 when Nixon brought out price controls, which did not work, by the way.

Reagan fixed inflation and brought us trickle down economics, which did not work, by the way. (It just brought a lot of drooling)

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Bush jr brought us cheap efficient wars, which do not end, by the way. (Cheap and efficient?  Fred, I believe your stabbing at humor here.)

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Reagan, Bush sr, Clinton. Bush jr, and Obama all brought us the global economy and cheap foreign goods at Wal Mart, Which do not last, by the way. (that is the plan?, buy crap that doesn’t last so you buy more crap.  This is not sustainable)

They also gave away our jobs, so we no longer work, by the way. (so we’ll be a bedroom society.  Let the rest of the world work while we figure out how to get disability.)

This is my final answer.  . . . I think.

We could fix the deficit if we balanced the long term budget by combining tax increases (much lower than 1961 rates), with reduced wasteful spending on senseless wars, control of medical costs and education costs, and getting organized money out of politics.

Fred
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(we need to put a cap on political donations.  $1000 per person and since corporations have been deemed “a person”  that’s all they can give too)

“Despair is the conclusion of fools” — Benjamin Disraeli
 

unions built America

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unions built America after their military service fighting to preserve it.

Americans for Prosperity and the US Chamber of Commerce

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Mandatory arbitration is a part of every credit card and cell phone contract that you sign.  In so signing you agree to not take the card company or cell phone company to court.  Did you know that?   Tort reform makes it so companies are not found liable for harm.  They use the term frivolous but includes third degree burns and death.  An example of State mandated caps–> in West Virginia  miners are often killed in mining accidents their families can ask for and win millions, but the cap is about $10.000.   Susan Saladoff’s film “Hot Coffee” is effective and makes these confusing terms easy to understand.   Who would think the US government would allow this kind of abuse to happen to citizens of the USA?

This prompted some inquiry into lobbying groups who support arbitration, caps and tort reform.  Then you look up the politicians those lobby groups support and you realize why the government has allowed this abuse.

Two lobbying groups were made the focus–>Americans for Prosperity supported by Charles and David Koch and the US Chamber of Commerce which was created by US president William Howard Taft as a counterbalance to organized labor in  1912.  You may not realize that the US Chamber of Commerce is not a government agency it is a private astroturf  lobby.  (I’m not talking about football fields)

The term astroturf is the billionaire version of grassroots.   Astroturf coalitions are created and funded by corporations and industry trade associations.  They fund lobbying groups who’s job is to win over the middle class and manipulate facts.   Many describe (or disguise) themselves as public relations groups like Bonner and Associates.

In 2009, Jack Bonner and his Associates were working for the  American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) and were caught forging letters to Representative Tom Perriello. The letters were supposedly from true grassroots groups, like the  NAACP — urging him to oppose the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill.  Perriello is one of the co-sponsors of the Clean Water Protection Act. The Coal industry didn’t want this Act signed because it would slow the practice of Mountaintop removal.

Jack Bonner had his company design a fictitious web calculator.  This calculator convinced users the cost of fuel would rise exponentially if legislators signed the Kyoto treaty; while accusing real scientists of being eco-wacko.  They have pulled off the same brilliant shenanigans for pharmaceutical companies, Mobile oil, US tobacco, Citicorp and so forth. The Kochs love these guys and have them working for them through “Americans for Prosperity” and probably many others.

The US Chamber of Commerce seems to have morphed into a completely self-serving machine.  It is a private lobbying group funded by 45 billionaires.  Their common denominator is a dislike for public education and healthcare reform.  These billionaires love funding tort reform and judicial races.  The US Chamber of Commerce helped to shield AIG from liability lawsuits, funded the Tea-party in the 2010 midterm elections, distributed books on energy to children, funded the fight against SCHIP (healthcare for poor kids),  and so forth.  They are drooling over social security money and wanting to legally manipulate it by lobbying for social security, medicare and medicaid to be privatized.  They are funding politicians who get behind this agenda with their pens.  Rick Scott has quickly signed legislation to privatize medicaid in Florida.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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They are the conductor, we are the band.  If you don’t like the music, make your own.  Look up stuff and find out the truth.


Fair Trade

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

If you have ever seen the term “Fair Trade” on labels, you may have wondered what that meant.

fair trade

 

 

 

 

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It isn’t about guns and Pomeranians.  It is actually a marvelous system of guaranteeing the buyer that the product they are buying is not harming life or the planet.  For example: In Papua New Guinea the farmers grow cocoa on land they own.  The cocoa was sold to middle-men that in turn sold it to chocolate makers who in turn sold it to us.  The farmers profits were miniscule in comparison to the middle man.   Logging Companies wanted to buy these lands from the farmers and since the farmers weren’t making much money growing cocoa they were willing to sell.  The Nature Conservancy came along and explained to the farmers that the sale would be a short lived income.  With Fair Trade certification their profits would be greater and last as long as they were willing to farm sustainably.    Keeping their lands to sell Fair Trade cocoa will provide income forever (or until we stop loving chocolate).

The farmers were granted the fair trade certification after a long (three years I think) and arduous process of sustainable growing and marketing education.  The middle man was removed so they had to find their own fair trade buyers.  You wouldn’t think it would be hard to find buyers for this wonderful cocoa; it helps to understand these farmers have limited sources of communication and funds for travel.  These photos might help explain.

Papua New Guinea - Tari Mountain kids send greetings beyond borders
Dancing villagers near the Karawari River, Papua New Guinea, Papua New Guinea Intro, photo, picture, image
The purchase of a fair trade product means paying a fair price to the producer, and creating lasting trade relationships that can guarantee the financing environmental development.  When you buy fair trade product you establish a more direct and concrete partnership with the producer.
So remember when you buy fair trade certified products you are participating in saving families, forests, and ways of life we can never enjoy.
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If you think fair trade clothing is ugly hippy crap take a look at Colin Firth’s wife Livia in a gown designed by Jeff Garner who used fair trade Ahimsa Silk for the beautiful gown she wore to the Golden Globe awards.

Livia Firth, Colin Firth, Prophetik, Jeff Garner, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, Golden Globes, eco-celebrities, green celebrities

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So to summarize, fair trade and rain-forest alliance are providing decent wages for countries like India, Mexico, Guatemala and Ethiopia.  If you complain about immigration then buy fair trade products.  The immigrants will go home and grow stuff for us to buy rather than coming here and taking our jobs cleaning hotels and picking tomatoes.

 

I would gladly pay you Tuesday…

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

I asked many of my co-workers and friends what they know about the Federal Reserve. Some never heard of it and others just “stay out of politics”.  Congress either understands the Federal Reserve about as well as me and the people I work with or they understand it very well and use it for their own purposes.  My guess is there is a little of both.

Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act into law in 1913 with hopes of  keeping the American economy stable.  The great depression happened after the stock market crashed in 1929 so apparently it didn’t work.  Conspiracy theories portray that It worked out nicely for the guys funding the Federal Reserve.

By the way did you know Woodrow Wilson’s second wife Edith was a descendant of Pocahontas and he was instrumental in women gaining the right to vote as well as creating the IRS and involving us in WWI.

It seems that Wilson’s purpose, which was passed by congress, was to establish a system of banking that would remain independent but overseen by congress to protect the American economy.   My smart friend Fred says… ‘ There is evidence that no one in government or banking has been properly taught recently. At least they don’t seem to be interested in financial stability as much as in how to flip securities and create new “products” to flim-flam investors, other banks and foreign governments. ”

Oversight of the Federal Reserve is quite obviously an important issue that we need to understand and pay attention to.  As Fred stated “Money is a debt of the government with no interest rate. When you have a hundred dollar bill it means the government owes you a hundred dollars. You can take it to any bank and exchange it for another or a combination of smaller  currency or coin equal to $100.  You used to be able to get gold or silver but that was eliminated in 1933. Can you imagine trying to keep track of a $5 gold fleck?”

So, we can’t run around with little gold flecks in our pockets or chickens or buckets of oil or items of value so money is printed.  A loan from the government covered by the value of the US treasury which is manipulated by the individuals at the Federal Reserve.  We vote for congressmen to keep an eye on the Fed, AKA oversight.

In 1895, the Federal Treasury was nearly out of gold. President Grover Cleveland arranged for J.P. Morgan to create a private syndicate on Wall Street to supply the U.S. Treasury with $65 million in gold. JP Morgan pretty much owned the US treasury, as a consequence Cleveland, a democrat, angered his democratic constituents, and lost the presidency to Republican William McKinley.  Mckinley established gold as the only standard for redeeming paper money with the Gold Standard Act in 1900.  He was assassinated in 1901.

Another panic in 1907 was a financial crisis that almost crippled the American economy, yet again. Major New York banks were on the verge of bankruptcy and there was no mechanism to rescue them until Morgan stepped in, yet again and personally took charge, resolving the crisis.

Morgan organized a team of bank and trust executives which redirected money between banks.  A delicate political issue arose regarding the brokerage firm of Moore and Schley, which was deeply involved in a speculative pool in the stock of the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company. Moore and Schley had pledged over six million of the Tennessee Coal and Iron (TCI) stock for loans among the Wall Street banks. The banks had called the loans, and the firm could not pay.  If Moore and Schley should fail, a hundred more failures would follow and then all Wall Street might go to pieces.  Too big to fail was going on back in 1907. Morgan decided they had to save Moore and Schley.

Vowing to never let it happen again, and realizing that in a future crisis there was not likely to be another Morgan, banking and political leaders, led by Senator Nelson Aldrich devised a plan that became the Federal Reserve System in 1913. The crisis underscored the need for a powerful mechanism, and Morgan supported the move to create the Federal Reserve System.  Yay!! it’ll never happen again and we don’t have to pay attention.  Then you may ask “Why did the great depression happen if the Federal Reserve System was established to protect the American economy”?  Well, either something evil was going on or just plain stupidity (on our part) and greed.

President Lincoln didn’t like the idea of a Central Bank and stated…

“The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. The banking powers are more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. They denounce as public enemies all who question their methods or throw light upon their crimes. I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe. Corporations have been enthroned, and an era of corruption in high places will follow. The money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed.”

Shortly after he said this, he was assassinated.

Banks store our money for us so we don’t have to walk around with our wad in our boots.  It isn’t sitting in a vault waiting for us to come and get it.  The bank has devised ways to turn our little wad into a bigger wad for themselves through speculation and manipulation of fractional reserves (watch the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYZM58dulPE to understand it better). They also extend credit to us based on our wad and make money off the interest.

We all need to treat our credit cards like a 30 day note, you borrow to get things you want in the immediate sense rather than having to wait for your next paycheck.  If you pay it back before the 30 days is up, you don’t have to pay interest, you just pay back what you borrowed. So we can live happily ever after surrounded by the ones we love.  Isn’t that the ultimate goal? for our money to buy our happiness? Like a patient said to me once “you never see a hearse pulling a U-haul”.

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