Sunday, November 30, 2008
Is this not the most foul legislation you've seen? Keep in mind that the Second Amendment guarantees all others from enemies within and without. Had the recent victims in Mumbai been armed, it would not have been so easy for the terrorists.
Is Switzerland's population terrorized? NO! Every citizen is mandated to keep a weapon for defense.
The onslaught of those who would disarm the American people is relentless and never-ending.
Don't buy into it.
Contact both Representatives and Senators and tell them they'll have their hands full should they try. Do you think they would try to disarm you by force? You'd better believe it. I hope I'm wrong. But I don't think so.
Call your legislators toll-free. 1-877-851-6437; 1-866-340-9281.
Here's what a member of a hunting list has to say:
(*Many* Americans are scared-to-death at what's coming....)
The bill that is being pushed in 18 states (including Illinois and
Indiana) requires all ammunition to be encoded by the manufacturer in
a data base of all ammunition sales. So they will know how much you
buy and what calibers. Nobody can sell any ammunition after June 30,
2009 unless the ammunition is coded.
Any privately held uncoded ammunition must be destroyed by July 1,
2011.(Including hand loaded ammo.) They will also charge a .05 cent
tax on every round so every box of ammo you buy will go up at least
$2.50 or more!
If they can deprive you of ammo they do not need to take your gun!
This legislation is currently pending in 18 states: Alabama, Arizona,
California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky,
Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania,
Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington.
To find more about the anti-gun group that is sponsoring this
legislation and the specific legislation for each state, go to:
State of Alabama
By Senator Smitherman
Under existing law, there is no requirement that ammunition
manufactured or sold in this state be coded.
This bill would require, commencing January 1, 2009, that handgun
ammunition be coded. This bill would require by January 1, 2011, the
disposal of all non-coded ammunition owned by private citizens or
This bill would require the Department of Public Safety to establish
and maintain an ammunition coding database. This bill would require
ammunition vendors and manufacturers to register with the Department
of Public Safety.
This bill would require certain information in connection with
handgun ammunition transactions be recorded, transmitted to the
Department of Public Safety, and maintained by the vendor and
This bill would provide for a fee not to exceed 0.005 cent per bullet
or round of ammunition to establish and maintain the ammunition code
This bill would provide penalties for violations.
Amendment 621 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing
as Section 111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the
Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, prohibits a general law
whose purpose or effect would be to require a new or increased
expenditure of local funds from becoming effective with regard to a
local governmental entity without enactment by a 2/3 vote unless: it
comes within one of a number of specified exceptions; it is approved
by the affected entity; or the Legislature appropriates funds, or
provides a local source of revenue, to the entity for the purpose.
The purpose or effect of this bill would be to require a new or
increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of the
amendment. However, the bill does not require approval of a local
governmental entity or enactment by a 2/3 vote to become effective
because it comes within one of the specified exceptions contained in
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT
Relating to firearms and ammunition; to require handgun ammunition to
be coded; to require, under certain conditions, the disposal of all
non-coded ammunition owned by private citizens or retail outlets; to
require the Department of Public Safety to establish a statewide
database to track coded ammunition manufactured and sold for
handguns; to require ammunition vendors and manufacturers to register
with and provide information to the Department of Public Safety; to
provide for a fee to establish and maintain an ammunition coding
database; to establish the Code Ammunition Fund in the State
Treasury; to provide for civil and criminal penalties; and in
connection therewith would have as its purpose or effect the
requirement of a new or increased expenditure of local funds within
the meaning of Amendment 621 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901,
now appearing as Section 111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the
Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA:
Section 1. The Legislature of Alabama finds all of the following:
(1) Each year in the United States, more than 30 percent of all
homicides that involve a gun go unsolved.
(2) Handgun ammunition accounts for 80 percent of all ammunition sold
in the United States.
(3) Current technology for matching a bullet used in a crime to the
gun that fired it has worked moderately well for years, but
presupposes that the weapon was recovered by law enforcement.
(4) Bullet coding is a new and effective way for law enforcement to
quickly identify persons of interest in gun crime investigations.
Section 2. As used in this act, the following words shall have the
(1) CODED AMMUNITION. A bullet carrying a unique identifier that has
been applied by etching onto the base of the bullet projectile.
(2) HANDGUN. Any firearm with a barrel less than 16 inches in length,
or is designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand.
(3) HANDGUN AMMUNITION. All ammunition principally for use in
pistols, notwithstanding that the ammunition may also be used in
other firearms, including bullets used for reloading or handloading
Section 3. (a) All handgun ammunition manufactured or sold in the
state after January 1, 2009, shall be coded by the manufacturer.
(b) No later than January 1, 2011, all non-coded ammunition used in a
handgun, whether owned by private citizens or retail outlets, shall
be disposed of.
Section 4. (a) The Department of Public Safety shall be responsible
for establishing and maintaining an Ammunition Coding Database (ACD)
containing the names of manufacturers and vendors and the data the
manufacturers and vendors are required to record pursuant to
subsections (b) and (c).
(b) Manufacturers of handgun ammunition offered for sale in this
state shall register with the department in a manner prescribed by
the department through rule. Manufacturers shall maintain records
specifying the unique identifier for all coded ammunition for all
sales, loans, and transfers of ammunition, to, from, or within the
state, shall transmit the information to the department within 10
business days, and shall retain the information on the business
premises for seven years.
(c) Vendors of handgun ammunition in this state shall register with
the department in a manner prescribed by the department through rule.
Vendors shall record the following information for each caliber of
coded ammunition in a form prescribed by the department:
(1) The date of the transaction.
(2) The name of the transferee.
(3) The purchaser's driver's license number or other government
issued identification card number.
(4) The date of birth of the purchaser.
(5) The unique identifier of all handgun ammunition transferred.
(6) All other information prescribed by the department.
(d) A vendor of handgun information in this state shall maintain the
records required by subsection (b) on the business premises for a
period of three years from the date of the recorded purchase and
shall remit the information on each transaction collected pursuant to
this subsection to the department within 10 business days.
(e) The ACD shall be built within the framework of existing firearms
databases. The ACD shall be operational no later than January 1, 2009.
(f) Privacy of individuals shall be of the utmost importance. Access
to information in the ACD shall be reserved for key law enforcement
personnel and shall be released only in connection with a criminal
Section 5. (a) Any vendor that willfully fails to comply with, or
falsifies the records required to be kept by this act shall be guilty
of a Class B misdemeanor.
(b) Any manufacturer that fails to comply with this section shall be
liable for a civil fine of not more than one thousand dollars
($1,000) for a first violation, not more than five thousand dollars
($5,000) for a second violation, and not more than ten thousand
dollars ($10,000) for a third or subsequent violation.
(c) Any person who willfully destroys, obliterates, or otherwise
renders unreadable, the serialization required pursuant to this act,
on any bullet or assembled ammunition is punishable by imprisonment
not to exceed one year, and a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000).
Section 6. (a) Establishing and maintaining the ACD shall be funded
by an end-user fee not to exceed five thousandths cent (0.005) per
bullet or round of ammunition.
(b) There is hereby established in the State Treasury the Coded
Ammunition Fund for deposit of the end-user fees pursuant to
subsection (a). Moneys in the fund, upon appropriation, shall be
available to the department for infrastructure, implementation,
operational, enforcement, and future development costs of this act.
(c) Ammunition manufacturers based within this state shall be allowed
a one-time corporate income tax credit for the cost of purchasing
ammunition coding equipment. All applications on the credit shall be
submitted to the Department of Revenue by January 1, 2009. The State
Department of Revenue shall adopt rules to provide for the one-time
tax credit pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act.
Section 7. This act shall become effective on the first day of the
third month following its passage and approval by the Governor, or
its otherwise becoming law.
With the recycling of former Clinton/Bush cabinet members and advisors, the war on terrorism, especially with the situation now in Mumbai, we will keep fighting terrorists throughout the world.
Nothing new here.
Have you been..."short changed"? (Sorry, I couldn't help that.)
Saturday, November 29, 2008
OK - then someone out there on the internet knows where my friend from the 60s is!
Her maiden name: Nancy Dreher
She worked for Columbia Records in the CBS, Inc. headquarters building in NYC.
She married Bruce Tiedermann sometime in the late 60s and moved to New Jersey - Tom's River, maybe. They were married in a chapel of St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC.
And then I lost her. I have looked for her in every phone book in every town I've traveled to.
I can't find her. She was from Rochester, NY.
I remember her father's name was Francis Xavier Dreher (Frank).
She had a brother. At the time she was working in NYC she was living in either Newark or Bayonne.
Do you know her?
http://www.saburchill.com/chapters/chap0025.html Here you will see that plants take in oxygen and produce CO2, or carbon dioxide. So, let me think about this...we are going to be taxed on carbon we use or produce, but plants, including trees in the rainforest (the lungs of the planet), food crops, forests in the Sierras, in the Smokies, in YOUR backyard...all plants, including lawns, will be the villains, here, along with industry and autos that we need to drive?
How Plants Breathe
Plants do breathe - they give out carbon dioxide and absorb oxygen from the air that surrounds them. Their tissues respire just as animal tissues do. Plants, however, do not have lungs or a blood stream, so we cannot say that they breathe in the same way as animals.
We also have to be careful when studying green plants because in the light the green parts of these plants carry out photosynthesis as well as respiration.
Photosynthesis does the opposite of respiration. Carbon dioxide is absorbed and oxygen is produced. In order to study respiration in green plants we must block out the light, because although green plants respire all the time they only photosynthesize in the light.
Remember that a green plant respires all the time, day and night.
All parts of the plant respire, the leaves, the stem, the roots and even the flowers. The parts above the soil get their oxygen directly from the air through pores. The pores in the leaves are called stomata (singular: stoma). The pores in the branches of trees are called lenticels. This is part of an article from Green Living.com.
When Canadian citizens Nadine Artemis and Ron Obadia took a family vacation, it ended with them being led through Toronto's airport in handcuffs, locked up and separated from their baby.
Police told them they could be facing years in prison for exporting narcotics.
Two and a half pounds of material found in their carry-on bag had tested positive for hashish. But they didn't have drugs. They had chocolate. So far, the couple's legal bills have topped $20,000.
The couple was caught up in what civil libertarians say is a growing problem -- the use of unreliable field drug-test kits as the basis to arrest innocent people on illegal drug charges.
The kits, which are used by most every police department in the U.S., and by federal agents in Customs at the nation’s borders, use powerful acids that react with the substance in a plastic pouch. If the liquid turns a certain color, it is a considered a positive result.
A positive result generally leads to an arrest.
But a number of legal products and plants test positive:
- chocolate for hashish
- rosemary for marijuana
- natural soaps for the "date-rape drug" GHB
With the growth of organic and natural foods and products, experts say arrests are likely to increase.
Friday, November 28, 2008
I will post the whole interview on this entry. It's in several parts...I'm fascinated at the command of knowledge this man has as a political historian.
From Alan Salzberg's excellent newsletter, HerpDigest:
Cockroach farming, anyone?
Lizards' Treat A Recipe For Foreign Invasion (Cockroaches)
By Christine Evans, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer, Friday, November 21, 2008
People are feeding exotic cockroaches to their giant pet lizards. This is not a good thing.
That's the latest from the bizarre world of entomology, where, up at the University of Florida, a renowned cockroach expert dropped a bit of a bomb in the bug world when he and a colleague published a paper that said, basically, that the 3-inch-long Madagascar hissing roach could soon be living in your kitchen cabinets.
If you doubt the scenario - which, in full, involves a bearded dragon lizard, a timely phone call, a roadside rescue and an entrepreneurial group of cockroach farmers who sell the crunchy little critters via Internet - you might want to flip through the September/October issue of Florida Pest Pro magazine.
There you will learn that four types of exotic cockroaches - the Madagascar, the Turkistan, the orange spotted and the lobster - are practically leaping off the Web to the plates of hungry lizards everywhere, including, presumably, here.
"People are sharing their cockroaches with other people all over the place," says an incredulous Philip Koehler, the UF entomologist who coauthored the Pest Pro piece with colleague Roberto Pereira. "There's kind of an underground trade. I had no idea."
Neither did some pest controllers, until Koehler, an expert of some note who once appeared on Nightline with Ted Koppel to discuss the discovery of the Asian cockroach near the Port of Tampa, enlightened them.
The article, which drew dozens of press inquiries, describes the global trek of the Turkistan, which apparently has set up a nice little home for itself in the American Southwest, after arriving, it is thought, on the gear of soldiers returning from the Middle East. The Turk since has become one of the most popular lizard foods, and the authors warn pest companies to be on the lookout for little Houdini roaches who escape before going down a lizard's gullet.
What does all this mean?
"You don't want an invasive species or a non-native species of any sort coming into the state," says Liz Compton, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. "And obviously, we don't want more cockroaches."
The problem, Koehler says, is that people who keep lizards as pets have figured out that roaches provide a relatively cheap, easy and un-smelly way to feed them. Crickets used to be popular pet-lizard food, "but crickets are noisy. People don't like them chirping about in their homes."
Roaches, on the other hand, are quiet, unless they're hissing, as a Madagascar is prone to do when angry. "It thinks it's a snake."
Koehler and other insect experts are careful to point out that no official sighting of any of the four exotic species in question is on record in Florida - yet. It could be just a matter of time, "and then we have a problem ... because roaches can be mechanical vectors of disease. If they make it into your house, they might climb onto your hamburger meat."
Importing roaches to the state without a permit is illegal, but as Compton points out, "the packaging doesn't exactly say 'exotic roaches inside,' so we can't tell when it's coming or how many. Short of going door to door, there's not much we can do."
In other words, a hungry lizard's meal is only a Google away.
This summer, as Koehler was typing up his Pest Pro piece, the phone rang.
"I was just thinking it would be really nice to have a picture of a bearded dragon lizard to go with the article when somebody called to say he found a bearded dragon by the side of the road and it was hungry.
"Never in my 33 years here have I heard from somebody who had a hungry bearded dragon, so I told him to come over and we took the dragon's picture and then we gave him a meal of crickets and cockroaches."
Cockroaches? "Nothing exotic, of course." American-style.
Can you afford it? I know I can't. Not even by a Greyhound bus and camping in a tent.
Old blue collar Joe and Barack (who smokes - not very cool if you are a President - you know how stinky the upholstery and carpets get, not to mention the stains on the wall), sure didn't let you know about this stuff before they conned you, did they?
While relaxing last Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving, and reading a really good short story about the past glories of the United States and her people, I remembered a fact long being completely overlooked in today's economic debacle. The short story was interesting but nothing special as a literary work. The story was typical of a home coming of a wayward family member during the winter Thanksgiving - Christmas holiday period and how all past mistakes were forgiven and everyone expressed their heartfelt gratitude to God for reuniting the entire family once again. Such stories will be seen on television for the next month as the Christmas period in America is a time for maximum emotional outpourings.
This emotional socialist equality revolution will take several years to completely destroy the greatest industrial nation in the history of mankind. Watch for persecution and punishment of individuals that strive for more than others. These individuals will be declared as enemies of the state when they use their brain to think past emotion. The fact that they make life better for many does not mean they should be rewarded for thinking. The current economic difficulties of the United States have not been caused by lack of governmental regulation, but by lack of governmental enforcement of regulation. There is a difference.
The Neo-Yeltsin Administration?
The Obama Letdown
By MICHAEL HUDSON
Reality had to raise its ugly head. Barack Obama was elected with overwhelming approval to inaugurate an era of change. And at his November 25 press conference, he said that his decisive victory gave him a mandate to change the direction in which America is moving. But his recent economic and foreign policy appointments make it clear that when he chose “change” as his campaign slogan, he was NOT referring to the financial, insurance and real estate (FIRE) sectors, nor to foreign policy. These are where the vested interests concentrate their wealth and power. And change already has been accelerating here. Unfortunately, its direction has been for the top 1% of America’s population to raise their share of in the returns to wealth from 37% ten years ago to 57% five years ago and an estimated nearly 70% today.
The change that Mr. Obama is talking about is largely marginal to this wealth, not touching its economic substance – or its direction. No doubt he will bring about a welcome change in race relations, environmental regulations, and a more civil rule of law. And he probably will give wage earners an income-tax break (thereby enabling them to keep on paying their bank debts, incidentally). As for the rich, they prefer not to earn income in the first place. Taxes need to be paid on income, so they take their returns in the form of capital gains. And simply avoiding losses is the order of the day in the present meltdown.
Where losses cannot be avoided, the government will bail out the rich on their financial investments, but not wage earners on their debts. On that Friday night last October when Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain held their final debate, Mr. Obama was fully on board with the bailouts. And this week’s appointment of the “Yeltsin” team who sponsored Russia’s privatization giveaways in the mid-1990s – Larry Summers and his protégés from the Clinton’s notorious Robert Rubin regime – shows that he knows his place when it comes to the proper relationship between a
political candidate and his major backers. It is to protect the vested interests first of all, while focusing voters’ attention on policies whose main appeal is their ability to distract attention from the fact that no real change is being made at the economic core and its power relationships.
This is not what most people hoped for. But their hopes were so strong that it was easier to indulge in happy dreams and put one’s faith in a prince than to look at the systemic problems that need to be restructured in order for real change to occur. Individuals do not determine who owes what to whom, who is employed by whom or what laws govern their work and investment. Institutional economic and political structures are the key. And somehow the focus has been on the politics of personalities, not on the economic forces at work.
This is as true abroad as it is in the United States. Two weeks ago I was at an economic meeting on “financialization” in Germany. Most of the attendees with whom I spoke expressed the hope – indeed, almost a smug conviction – that Obama would be like Gorbachev in Russia: a man who saw the need for deep structural change but chose to bide his time, seeming to “play the game” with the protective coloration of going along, but then introducing a revolutionary reform program once in office.
Instead, after resembling President Carter by running a brilliant presidential primary campaign to win the nomination (will a similarly disappointing administration be about to come?), Obama is looking more like Boris Yeltsin – a political umbrella for the kleptocrats to whom the public domain and decades of public wealth were given with no quid pro quo.
Obama’s ties with the Yeltsin administration are as direct as could be. He has appointed as his economic advisors the same anti-labor, pro-financial team that brought the kleptocrats to power in Russia in the mid-1990s. His advisor Robert Rubin has managed to put his protégés in key Obama administration posts: Larry Summers, who as head of the World Bank forced privatization at give-away prices to kleptocrats; Geithner of the New York Fed; and a monetarist economist from Berkeley, as right-wing a university as Chicago. These are the protective guard-dogs of America’s vested interests.
If you are a billionaire, your first concern is simply to preserve your wealth, to avoid having to take a loss in the value of your financial claims on the economy – claims for repayment of loans and investment, as well as interest and dividends, and enough capital gains to compensate for the price inflation that erodes the spending power of more lowly income-earners.
This year has changed the typical fate of financial wealth in the face of bursting financial bubbles. Traditionally, business booms culminate in a wave of bankruptcies that wipe out bad debts – and the savings that have been invested on the “asset” side of the balance sheet. This year has changed all that. The bad debts are being kept on the books – but transferred from the banks to the federal government, mainly the Federal Reserve and Treasury. The bank bailouts have aimed not so much to protect the banks themselves, but to enable them to pay off on the bad bets they made vis-à-vis the nation’s hedge funds and other institutional investors in the derivatives market.
To participate in a hedge fund, one needs to prove that one can afford to lose their money and not be much the worse off for it in terms of actual living conditions. So the $306 billion in federal guarantees of the junk mortgage packages sold by Citibank, and the $135 billion bailout of the insurance contracts written by A.I.G. to protect swap contracts from loss, could have been avoided without much impact on the “real” economy.
In fact, writing down these financial claims ON the economy would have paved the way for writing down its debt burden. If the subprime and other mortgage debts had been permitted to decline to the neighborhood of 22 cents on a dollar they were trading for, this would have made it possible to write down debts to match the price at which mortgage holders had bought these loans for. But the financial overhead of American wealth “saved” in the form of creditor claims on indebted homeowners, industrial companies and junk-insurance companies such as A.I.G. has been protected against erosion by this year’s federal bailout program.
Bloomberg has added up these programs and finds that they $7.7 trillion dollars – nearly half an entire year’s GDP. By acting to support the market for bad-mortgage loans (but not for real estate itself), the seemingly endless series of Paulson bailouts seeks to be to keep today’s debt overhead intact rather than writing it down. Service charges on this indebtedness will divert peoples’ income from consumption to paying creditors. It will help financial investors, not labor or industry. It will keep the cost of living and doing business high, preventing the U.S. economy from working its way out of debt by becoming competitive once again.
With all these trillions of dollars of bailing out the wealthy, one might easily forget to ask what is being left out. For one thing, the government’s Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp, whose $25 billion deficit is not bailed out. This year, underfunded corporate pension plans are supposed to “catch up” to full funding so as to protect the PBGC, in accordance with a law passed by Congress two years ago. If underfunded plans don’t meet the scheduled 92% coverage for this year, they have to bring their set-asides fully up to the 100% funding level. The stock market plunge has dashed their hopes to do this. The result will be to force many industrial companies into a financial bind.
On the auto front, the Bush Administration has brought pressure to force the big three Detroit companies into bankruptcy as a way to annul their defined-benefit pension plans – with no plans at all bail out money owed to labor by restoring the PBGC to solvency. State and local pension plans are almost entirely unfunded, and are at even more risk as their tax revenues plunge and property tax payments are stopped on housing and commercial buildings that have foreclosed.
And speaking of state and local finances, what role is local government to play in Mr. Obama’s promise to rebuild infrastructure, headed by transportation? Given their strapped position, one is hearing a surge of Wall Street plans to spend enormous sums. Whereas Obama’s economic team made fortunes for Russian kleptocrats by giving them public-sector assets already in place, their American counterparts are going to have to get rich by actually building new projects. In such cases the benefits are as large as the total amount of money being spent – but not in the way that most people understand at first glance. Construction contracts for new public transport systems, bridges and roads and urban or rural modernization may be entirely honest and provided at a fair cost. But it is a byproduct of such investment that it creates an amount that is of equal or often even greater magnitude in the form of rent-of-location – that is, vast windfall gains for well-located real estate.
This is where Mr. Obama’s Chicago political experience comes in so handy. It is in fact a game tailor-made for his team. Hundreds of millions of dollars were made in gentrifying Chicago’s notorious but conveniently centrally located public housing for low-income families. The developments sponsored by Mr. Obama’s mentors, the Pritzker family, the University of Chicago and assorted real estate reverends opened up vast new land sites, with public support to boot. (The house where I grew up in Hyde Park-Kenwood, a block or so from Mr. Obama’s house, was torn down along with the rest of the entire block as part of Mayor Daley’s urban renewal program in the late 1950s – after the University’s block busters had run down the neighborhood, then panicked the whites into selling to the blacks at extortionate price markups and mortgage rate premiums, then tearing down the houses into which the blacks had moved. It’s an old real estate game that one learns quickly in Chicago politics.) As Thorstein Veblen noted, any American city’s politics is best understood by viewing it as a real estate development.
The gains from providing better transport infrastructure typically are so large that transportation investment could be self-financing by taxing these property gains – recapturing the added rental value in the form of property windfall taxes. London’s tube extension to Canary Wharf, for example, cost the city £8 billion – but increased real estate values along the route by some £13 billion. The city could have financed the entire project by issuing bonds that would have been repaid out of taxes levied on the windfall gains created by this public expenditure.
Likewise in New York City, the transport authority has just announced that subway and bus fares will be jacked up (adding no less than $10 to the monthly commute card) and services cut back sharply. Mayor Bloomberg has just stopped work on the 2nd Avenue subway, its completion will add at least as much to upper East Side property values as the subway costs itself. The city thus could finance its construction not by issuing bonds to be paid off by city and state taxpayers in combination with user fees paid as fares. Taxpayers wouldn’t have to pay, and riders could enjoy subsidized fares simply by taxing the real estate owners.
But I see no prospect of this being done. Real estate is still the name of the game, because it remains the largest asset category in every economy today just as much as under feudalism. The difference from feudalism is that whereas landlords received the rental value of their lands in centuries past, today’s property owners acquire ownership not by military conquest (the Norman invasion of 1066 in England’s case) but by borrowing from the banks. To a mortgage banker, a commercial developer or real estate company is a prime customer, the bulwark of bank balance sheets. It is hard to imagine a new American infrastructure program not turning into a new well of real estate gains for the FIRE sector. Real estate owners on favorably situated sites will sell out to buyers-on-credit, creating a vast new and profitable loan market for banks. The debt spiral will continue upward.
The fact that state and local budgets are too burdened to afford infrastructure spending themselves will lead to it being privatized from the outset. Probably London’s notorious public-private partnerships (a Labour Party refinement more Thatcherite than even Margaret Thatcher herself could have got away with) probably will become the basic model. Users will pay higher fees rather than enjoying the subsidized or free access typical in public infrastructure spending during the Progressive Era. The main purpose of public enterprise back then was to keep prices down for basic services, thus lowering the cost of living and doing business in America. But today, infrastructure spending will be just one more item adding to America’s debt overhead to make its economy even less competitive with foreign ones than it is.
The moral is, next time a candidate promises change, ask him to say just what changes he has in mind. During the Presidential debates, only Dennis Kucinich came out and said each specific law that he had put before Congress to implement each change he promised. But most of the public didn’t want to know the details – they simply liked hearing the word “change.”
Here are some purely fiscal and financial changes that a future presidential candidate might propose – changes that I don’t expect to be hearing any more about during the next four years. Just to get the discussion going, why shouldn’t these merely marginal changes within the existing system be implemented right now by a presidential candidate who is still bragging about his “mandate for change”:
* Regarding fiscal policy, re-introduce the estate tax, along with (at the very least) the Clinton era’s progressive-tax schedule.
* Tax capital gains at the same rate as wages and profits, rather than at half the rate; and make these taxes be paid at the point of sale of real estate or other assets, not deferred ad infinitum if the gains simply are invested in yet more wealth.
* Require a cost-benefit analysis of any publicly backed infrastructure spending so as to recapture all “external economies” (such as windfall real estate price gains) as the first line of financing such investment.
* Tax corporate borrowing that is used merely to pay stock dividends or buy back one’s own stock at least at 50%.
* Close the practice of offshore tax avoidance, and bring criminal cases against accounting firms abetting this practice.
* Only let a building be depreciated once, not repeatedly as a tax writeoff.
* Refocus state and local taxation on the property tax, remembering that whatever the tax collector relinquishes is simply “freed” to be paid to the banks as interest.
* In the sphere of bad-debt banking, when a government agency takes over a bank or company that has negative net worth, the stockholders must be wiped out as their stock has lost all market value. Bondholders must stand in line behind the government in case of insolvency.
* Write down mortgage debts to the ability of property owners to pay and/or the present market value. Banks that have made loans to these borrowers must take responsibility for their decision that the owners could afford to pay. Even better, apply New York State’s existing Fraudulent Conveyance law, and simply annul loans that are beyond the ability of debtors to pay.
None of this involves real structural change. It is simply more economically efficient under existing laws and practices – something like actually enforcing environmental law, anti-fraud and anti-crime laws, and the original intent of our tax legislation. It is a small step back toward the Progressive Era a century ago – the era that set America on the path of prosperity that made the 20th century the American century.
Michael Hudson is a former Wall Street economist. A Distinguished Research Professor at University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC), he is the author of many books, including Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (new ed., Pluto Press, 2002) He can be reached via his website, email@example.com
IF HE CUTS SS, A LOT OF PEOPLE WON'T BE ABLE TO EAT OR LIVE! DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND THAT HE MADE FALSE PROMISES?
Obama’s Budget Head Would Cut Social Security
By Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive. Posted November 28, 2008.
Peter Orszag, Barack Obama’s choice to head the budget office, is on record favoring a reduction in Social Security benefits.
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Barack Obama’s choice to head the budget office is on record favoring a reduction in Social Security benefits.
On Tuesday, Obama picked Peter Orszag to direct the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Orszag believes that Social Security benefits should be cut back to help balance the Social Security Trust Fund over the next 75 years.
He spells out his views in a paper he wrote with Peter A. Diamond for the Brookings Institute back in 2005, called “Saving Social Security: The Diamond-Orszag Plan.”
In it, they call for “a reduction in benefits, which would apply to all workers age 59 and younger.”
The younger you are, the more you’ll get hurt.
“The reduction in benefits for a 45-year-old average earner is less than 1 percent,” the plan says. “For a 35-year-old, less than 5 percent; and for a 25-year-old, less than 9 percent. Reductions are smaller for lower earners, and larger for higher ones.”
In the paper, Orszag and Diamond come out strongly against replacing part of Social Security with individual accounts, which Republicans have proposed. The authors call this “a grave mistake.”
But Orszag and Diamond say that there is no free lunch in making sure Social Security remains solvent. So they propose cutting benefits and raising Social Security taxes.
The Social Security Trust Fund’s reserves are projected to run out in 2041. At that point, the system will be bringing in less than it is committed to paying out.
But the consequence of that may be exaggerated.
“It’s not exactly the end of the world,” write Dean Baker and Mark Weisbrot in Social Security: The Phony Crisis.
“For one thing, the Social Security system would be far from ‘broke.' While it would indeed be short of revenue to maintain promised benefits, it would still be able to pay retirees higher real benefits than they are receiving today. And the nation has managed obligations of this size in the past: the financing gap would be roughly equal to the amount by which we increased military spending between 1976 and 1986 (a period in which we were not, incidentally, at war).”
When Barack Obama announced his OMB choice, he said we “have to be willing to shed the spending we don’t need.”
Some of that spending may be on Social Security, if Peter Orszag has any say over the matter. And he’s in a position to have a big say.
This article appears in today's AlterNet, a very liberal newsletter.
From the AMOJ newsletter...
Posted by: "Elena" firstname.lastname@example.org ramit59858
Thu Nov 27, 2008 7:53 pm (PST)
-------- Original Message --------
Here is one to pass around....
Kenya: 'I don't know' if Obama born in U.S.
Ambassador suggests question be put to American government
Posted: November 26, 2008
9:44 pm Eastern
By Chelsea Schilling
© 2008 WorldNetDaily
Kenyan Ambassador Peter N.R.O. Ogego is saying he's "infuriated" by a
radio program's efforts to "misquote" him on the subject of
birthplace – but he refused to confirm whether Obama was born in the
In an exclusive interview with WND today, Ogego was specifically asked
whether Obama is a natural-born U.S. citizen.
"I don't know," he said with a tone of irritation. "You should ask your
government. I know his father is Kenyan."
He continued with a rhetorical question: "Obama is an American, isn't he?"
/Sign the petition to insist on release of birth certificate.
On Nov. 6, only two days after the election, Detroit radio talk-show
hosts Mike Clark, Trudi Daniels and Marc Fellhauer on WRIF's "Mike In
The Morning" called the Embassy of Kenya in Washington, D.C., to speak
with Ambassador Ogego <http://my.wrif.
Hear the Kenyan ambassador's interview with WRIF radio
The interview with the Kenyan ambassador was widely publicized after he
called President-elect Barack Obama's Kenyan birthplace a "well-known"
/*Clark:*/ "We want to congratulate you on Barack Obama, our new
president, and you must be very proud."
/*Ogego:*/ "We are. We are. We are also proud of the U.S. for having
made history as well."
birthplace over in Kenya, is that going to be a national spot to go
visit, where he was born?"
/*Ogego:*/ "It's already an attraction. His paternal grandmother is
/*Ogego:*/ "It would depend on the government. It's already well known."
Now Ogego is saying the hosts misquoted and edited the audio recording
of his comments.
"I'm already infuriated by the whole thing," he said. "The radio itself
had a cynicism to it. I didn't mind that, but to misquote me is
unacceptable. They are circulating misinformation regarding Mr. Obama's
However, WRIF's Mike Clark told WND the show never manipulated the audio
recording in anyway.
"I can assure you that nothing was edited or stated out of context," he
Nonetheless, Ogego insisted he was speaking about Barack Obama Sr., and
not President-elect Obama.
"They asked me about Obama's father, not Obama," Ogego said with a
raised voice. "This is common-sense knowledge. Nobody is fooling anybody."
But Clark said Ogego's claim that he was speaking about Barack Obama Sr.
doesn't add up.
"If you listen to the call in its entirety, you will find it was very
obvious we were all talking about President-elect Barack Obama and not
his father," Clark said. "So, the idea that he thought we were talking
about his father seems a little farfetched to me."
Clark said Ogego's statement that Obama's Kenyan birthplace was already
an attraction caught them off guard.
"The point is, we expected him to say, 'No. Obama was not born in Kenya,
but there is an attraction to honor his father.' I would of thought that
would of been the answer if anything," he said.
The issue of Obama's place of birth has been heating up since WND senior
reporter Jerome Corsi traveled to Kenya and Hawaii prior to the election
to investigate issues surrounding Obama's birth
When asked if birth records for President-elect Obama exist in Kenya,
Ogego replied, "I don't know about all that."
WND asked Ogego why Obama's birth records have been sealed.
"Let's not get into that," he replied. "We will not be dragged into
unnecessary information. Somebody has a right to those details – the
American government or the Kenyan government – if it is /that/ important."
Ogego refused to discuss the matter further and ended the call.
Proofin' the prez: Who's in charge?
Petitioners: If you're eligible, show us the proof!
Supremes to review citizenship arguments
Petition to see the birth certificate
'Constitutional crisis' looming over Obama's birth location
Obama camp: Lawsuits by citizens are 'garbage'
Will Supreme Court have say in presidency?
Doubts persist about Obama birth certificate
Supremes asked to halt Tuesday's vote
Democrat: Obama's grandma confirms Kenyan birth
Judge dismisses Obama birth certificate lawsuit
Obama 'admits' Kenyan birth?
DNC steps in to silence lawsuit over Obama birth certificate
Democrat sues Sen. Obama over 'fraudulent candidacy'
Blogger reveals Obama birth certificate
Is Obama's candidacy constitutional?
Thursday, November 27, 2008
She's just set up her blog. It's a whole lot different than mine - she's got it focused and I know I'll be learning a lot about her. Listen to her here: http://cdbaby.com/cd/suzannes
If you are interested in government, the Libertarian party, political history, you will enjoy this blog.
A diabetic's nightmare.
But my friend Suzanne just asked me if I've heard about it, so it's here for you to explore. Her comments seem to say that it will impose standards on organic food, the supplements you choose to take, like vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc.
I drank raw milk and never got sick - then they pulled it off the market in California. My family and I and our animals drank water from a river well, and never got sick. I would much rather drink well water than the fluoridated, chlorined poison that passes for water in towns. That stuff will eventually kill you.
If I buy a goat and want to drink that milk, or my neighbor has a sick child who needs that wonderful elixir called goat milk, then I'm going to give it to her.
Control, control, control. Be thankful today that you still have a voice.
If you want to share your comments here - please do.
Here are six reasons why you should be thankful for your dog:
Love. If there's one thing you know, it's that your pet loves you. And if you love your pet, that love comes back to you tenfold.
Companionship . Your pet keeps you company, and that company helps you to feel less lonely and isolated, especially if you live alone. Coming home to your pet gives you something to look forward to.
Physical contact. When your dog nuzzles up next to you or licks your hand, all is right with the world. Studies prove that cuddling and stroking your dog is good for you; it makes you calmer and can even lower your heart rate and your blood pressure.
Someone to talk to. Talking things out relieves a lot of internal pressure. But having someone to talk to makes a difference, too. It makes you feel less lonely. Talk about anything - your pet will listen.
Motivation to exercise. Most pets need exercise every day. Whether it's walking your dog, to tossing a ball to your dog, you'll be getting some exercise, too. Physical exercise helps you to deal with stress and sometimes gives you the opportunity to get outside and breathe some fresh air.
Security. Some pets promote a feeling of safety. Your dog barks when he hears something out of the ordinary. But sometimes just having your pet nearby is enough to make you feel less anxious and more secure.
This Thanksgiving as we gather together to give thanks for our blessings, let's not forget our pets, those faithful companions that are such an important part of our lives.
Wisconsin law enforcement calls it: "the next step to force compliance". The link comes from a report on Prison Planet, the Alex Jones site, about a woman with a season pass to a football stadium taking another seat because hers had been taken. She was tasered because she refused to move and was taken out of the stadium because she was unable to walk. The woman was 54 years old. Here's the link to the story:
You also have the option to send it through the social bookmarking sites.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
The government is attempting to basically privatize Medicare by offering a Medicare Advantage Program. On the surface currently marketed Medicare Advantage plans appear to offer large cost savings but fail to inform the consumer about hidden reductions in payable benefits. This is nothing more than a MANAGED CARE program. Medicare pays the insurance company a set amount of money to care for you for the year. ANY MONEY LEFT OVER IS THEIR PROFIT. The incentive is for them to not recognize or not pay for services you may need or receive. The insurance company will be telling you what you may or may not do, NOT Medicare. Humana, an insurance company, has already begun marketing in this area. Others will follow, as this will be very profitable for the companies. They are urging patients to change from Medicare to their company. On the surface, as currently marketed, the plans will appear to offer large cost savings to you. What they fail to tell you is that this is a managed care program, and any dealings you have will be with the insurance company and NOT Medicare. Initially, they appear to not limit your using the doctor of your choice As a managed care program they will eventually, if other areas of the country are an example, most likely limit your choice of physicians to their participating physicians, or charge you a much higher co-pay (a penalty) if you go outside their list of phyicians. The companies will make their money be decreasint what they approve for your care and increasing your cost They will have the final say as to what tests are allowed for your care. Any appeals or complaints must be directed to and handled by the insurance company! If past history is any indicator, they rarely if ever reverse their decisions on appeal. The result is a much higher hassle factor and higher cost to you. Since 1984 Medicate has told physicians what they can charge the patients. This office, mandated by Medicare rules, MUST deal ONLY with the insurance company. There is no appeal process to Medicare!!! With traditional Medicare Part B you have federally guaranteed appeal rights.
Please compare carefully any insurance proposals with your traditional Medicare Part B before making a change. Be sure that you make clear to the agent that your physician does not participate with their company. This does make a difference.
REMEMBER, the insurance comany AND insurance agent selling you this policy are making money. See it in clear and concise writing. Do not accept promises. If it sounds too good to be true, BEWARE.
Here's what Townhall.com has to say: