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The protesters and what is going down right now
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CheshireKat
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 Posted: Fri Nov 11th, 2011 08:06 pm

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Here is a helpful resource to understanding how corporations change the democratic process. http://www.truthout.org/thom-hartmann-unequal-protection  It's written by Thom Hartmann, whom I consider to be a mentor and wonderful source of information on history & civics.



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 Posted: Fri Nov 11th, 2011 08:52 pm

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CheshireKat,ok I'llcheck out the link and if I do not understand something I'll ask you.



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CheshireKat
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 Posted: Tue Nov 15th, 2011 05:56 pm

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It looks like the movement is at a crossroads. It will be interesting to see what happens from here. Especially since Bloomberg enacted a media blackout last night while Occupy Wall Street was evicted from their park.I think it was really uncalled for and over the line for the authorities to have taken all the personal belongings that were confiscated to the city landfill.



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 Posted: Tue Nov 15th, 2011 09:51 pm

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CheshireKat wrote:
Here is a helpful resource to understanding how corporations change the democratic process. http://www.truthout.org/thom-hartmann-unequal-protection  It's written by Thom Hartmann, whom I consider to be a mentor and wonderful source of information on history & civics.

Thom Hartmann is a great thinker and teacher. I know him primarily from his syndicated radio program - which is accessible from his website during the time it is being aired on the radio - but he also has a couple of T.V. shows.

http://www.thomhartmann.com/tv/watch
It looks like the movement is at a crossroads. It will be interesting to see what happens from here. Especially since Bloomberg enacted a media blackout last night while Occupy Wall Street was evicted from their park. I think it was really uncalled for and over the line for the authorities to have taken all the personal belongings that were confiscated to the city landfill.
Trashing all personal belongings is exactly what the San Francisco Police do when clearing-out homeless encampments from under freeway overpasses and such.

I do not for a moment question whether that behavior violates the U.S. Constitution Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful seizure, but I suppose there may have been a thick layer of jurisprudential rubbish that has been piled up on top of that fact by the courts over time.

Last edited on Tue Nov 15th, 2011 10:02 pm by Be_You_

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 Posted: Tue Nov 15th, 2011 11:21 pm

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Be_You_ wrote:
I do not for a moment question whether that behavior violates the U.S. Constitution Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful seizure, but I suppose there may have been a thick layer of jurisprudential rubbish that has been piled up on top of that fact by the courts over time.
Isn't that like the cops "stealing" from the homeless? What's wrong with this picture...



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Abby1964
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 Posted: Wed Nov 16th, 2011 09:49 am

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What is wrong with this picture is what the people have allowed to happen over the years.  The people stood by and allowed us to be taken off of the gold standard which sent government spending out of control by giving the Fed carte blanche to print 'money' at will whether we have the assets to cover it or not.

The people stood by and allowed the government to take away the basic rights that we all had through the Bill of Rights by the Patriot Act.  The FOurth amendment guarantees us to be secure from illegal search and seizure

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
As soon as we stood by and allowed the Government to establish the TSA/DHS to perform their invasive 'searches' as a prerequisite to being allowed to travel, we let the government nullify the Fourth Amendment.  I never new that purchasing and using a plane ticket qualified as probable cause for terrorism until the Patriot act and TSA came along.

If one part is nullified, it stands to reason that the whole thing is nullified.  Sad to say but the sheep are reaping what they have sown.  Anyone who spoke up and called bullshit in 2001 on the Patriot Act was automatically labeled as Anti-American, Pro-terrorist enablers.  Now what they were saying has come to pass and all those who were supporting the garbage a decade ago are finally waking up a day late and dollar short. 



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 Posted: Thu Nov 17th, 2011 09:15 am

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Abby1964 wrote: What is wrong with this picture is what the people have allowed to happen over the years.  The people stood by and allowed us to be taken off of the gold standard which sent government spending out of control by giving the Fed carte blanche to print 'money' at will whether we have the assets to cover it or not.

The people stood by and allowed the government to take away the basic rights that we all had through the Bill of Rights by the Patriot Act.  The FOurth amendment guarantees us to be secure from illegal search and seizure

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
As soon as we stood by and allowed the Government to establish the TSA/DHS to perform their invasive 'searches' as a prerequisite to being allowed to travel, we let the government nullify the Fourth Amendment.  I never new that purchasing and using a plane ticket qualified as probable cause for terrorism until the Patriot act and TSA came along.

If one part is nullified, it stands to reason that the whole thing is nullified.  Sad to say but the sheep are reaping what they have sown.  Anyone who spoke up and called bullshit in 2001 on the Patriot Act was automatically labeled as Anti-American, Pro-terrorist enablers.  Now what they were saying has come to pass and all those who were supporting the garbage a decade ago are finally waking up a day late and dollar short. 



Abby, I'm glad we share an unfriendly view towards changes made in law and in the manner in which the courts have interpreted the U.S. Constitution subsequent to the events of 9/11/01. (One salient example is the SCOTUS decision which held that web-based email communication is not protected by the Fourth Amendment because since the information is stored on computer systems that are not under the direct lock and key control of the user, there can be no reasonable expectation of privacy.)

On the other hand, I can't share the sense of fatalism which I perhaps mistakenly detect in your words; such an attitude seems counterproductive no matter how compelling.

I also question your introduction of - and linking of the U.S.'s use of the gold standard and the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank and the level of federal debt, which I think are not so immutably related as has been suggested by some; but I'd be interested in any articles you can link to discussing this subject at greater length. 

Remember that gold - which at first glance perhaps seems a more stable and reliable measure of wealth than an insider-trading-lustfull gleam in the eyes of Fed managers or congressmen - is after all simply another commodity whose value can be manipulated on the world market; as has been done. It is not nearly so useful or scarce a metal than it's skyrocketting price would suggest.

Last edited on Thu Nov 17th, 2011 09:17 am by Be_You_

Abby1964
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 Posted: Thu Nov 17th, 2011 09:31 am

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Is it really necessary to go looking for articles when you have the proof of what I am saying right in front of you?  This is really common sense when you get rid of all the misdirection.

Under the Gold Standard a government could only print and circulate a certain amount of money at any given time, this was based on the gold that the government held in reserve.  That meant that the money you held had a set value, and inflation was almost non-existent.

Now I want you to look at your own bank account and pretend that you are the person in charge of setting the value for the all the money held by your bank.  You are not limited by a "value" on what was is in your account.  You could at will decide the accepted value of your bank account balance.  You could suddenly decide that $1 was worth 50 cents, and you have your paycheck direct deposited, and your weekly pay is $100 (Just keeping the numbers simple) How much would your employer now need to pay you to to actually give you the value of a $100 deposit?  That would be $200 because you arbitrarily decided that $1 is only worth  half of it's face value.  Now everyone who has savings in that bank just had the value of their savings account cut in half.

This is exactly what the Federal Reserve does on a daily basis.  They decide the actual value of that dollar bill.  And just like the hypothetical employer in my above example, we must now 'spend more of our dollars' to achieve the same value.

Now add in the fact that you can at any time write out a deposit slip for $1000 with no actual currency attached or backing collateral and that $1000 is now added to your balance.  You have just devalued all of the banks holdings even further.  Not because they have 'less of a balance' but because the balance they hold has less value.  What they could purchase yesterday for $1 now costs $2. 

That is the effect of fiat notes which is what we mistakenly call money.  Money has an intrinsic value that allows very little manipulation or tampering.  Fiat notes generate wealth for those who issue it by devaluing the value of the legal tender held by the general public.  Read this article about the 'advantages' of the fiat system.  The only advantage is to facilitate Government expansion and allow the manipulation of the economy by the issuers of the fiat notes themselves rather than through free market systems like supply and demand. 

http://www.dailypaul.com/145854/the-wonderful-advantages-of-fiat-money-republicae


Last edited on Thu Nov 17th, 2011 10:32 am by Abby1964



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 Posted: Fri Nov 18th, 2011 09:25 am

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Libertarianism is an idealistic model for real world phenomenon and completely unworkable: its central tenet that all government regulatory and oversight - boards such as the EPA and FDA - can be dispensed with leaving only lawsuits to defend us from poisoning is chimeral.

For one,  such after-the-fact action does not protect us from wrong-doing, but only serves to dissuade those who might poison us from acting irresponisbly - and I think there are several obvious reasons why that won't reliably work.

Secondly, while libertarianism is promulgated within the ranks of the Republican Party, tort reform (i.e. limiting lawsuits) is concurrently being enacted by the same side to eliminate the remedy which it promises.

I don't take Ron Paul at face value at all, though I do like to hear him irreverently toward the FRB system and illegal wars his own party men have willingly waged.

As for the idea of putting U.S. currency back on the gold standard, I too think it is a idea which has great appeal but is not as workable as first appearance might suggest.

As I mentioned, even such a commodity as gold is subject to manipulation - and the danger is increased when a great disparity of wealth exists. Gold does not have intrisic value which is fixed - nor does *any* kind of money. It is only true that some items have more stable value than others. All specie is of symbolic and not real value in the end no matter what other commodity it is tied to, because demand goes up and down.

(If everybody with gold wanted to buy the same bag of rice - and if they were all really, really hungry -  how would the value of gold be affected?)

The main problem with libertarianism is that it can only work under a hypothesis which is proven to be false: the concept of an idyllic free market. A free market unregulated by external control will cycle through boom and bust with traumatic results. The idea of having a mutable money supply is to regulate these unavoidable cycles.

I think the problem is not with the existance of the Fed, but only with the cloistered, secretive, private and insider nature of the operation.

Last edited on Fri Nov 18th, 2011 09:31 am by Be_You_

Abby1964
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 Posted: Fri Nov 18th, 2011 10:04 am

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the point is not the gold standard, but the fact that without some form of commodity to back the money being printed (It could be the silver standard, the oil standard or the pork belly standard) there is nothing to keep government spending in check.  We then become the commodity backing the government debt through taxation.

The problem is that you cannot get blood out of a turnip.  So the government rather than realizing that the taxation of the middle class is not covering the debt they have they simply print more money increasing the debt burden on the taxpayer. 

As for Regulatory agencies yes they are needed but they also need to do their job correctly.  The FDA is a perfect example of not doing their job correctly.  They rush new drugs to the market without proper testing then 10 or 15 years later James Sokolove is lining his pockets from all of the class action lawsuits.  Celebrex, Phen fen and god knows how many other drugs all on the market killing people and approved by the FDA.

the problem is that no one wants to meet on the middle ground.  Everything has to be liberal or conservative.  What has been lost and gets buried time and time again is that the government exists to serve the people, that has been twisted to the point that the people now serve the government.  We need less "nanny' government and there is entirely too much of it going on.  We need less government catering to corporations and big business and there is entirely too much of it going on.

The fact is that the government is out of control.  the only thing that is going to fix our situation at this point is massive government cutbacks and getting away from 'pennywise' thinking.  Would it be a blow for us to have massive Federal Layoffs? short term yes it would but the long term stability of a smaller more efficient government would alleviate much of what people are shouting about.  And it can be done.  The city I worked for before my retirement operated in the black.  They did some by running the city government within its means.  Budgets were created and departments expected to function within their budgets and 'emergency' funds were set aside for each department.

Government can be run efficiently and without massive debt if that government agency chooses to do so.  Government can be run without taxing citizens into the poor house if the government agency chooses to do so.  The Federal government instead chooses to create more debt rather than scaling back to bring government spending under control.  Unfortunately local governments are picking up the same bad spending habits.



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 Posted: Sat Nov 19th, 2011 02:05 pm

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Nobody has ever been "taxed into the poorhouse" in this country. That's just a slogan -  and one that figures to be most compelling to the ultra rich who may fear no greater "poverty" than simply being made not quite so super rich as they presently are.

I certainly don't question that there are inefficiencies in government, but to characterize the sum total of budetary woes as being on the spending side - as is habitually done by the Republican leadership - is not a balanced view.

European countries have far higher tax rates and the citizenry get value for their money. (Of course they don't spend half their discretionary spending on military hardware and war-related expenses.)

On the most basic level, if we base our philosophy on the premise that government is inherently an oppressive force, we have failed as small-d democrats and Americans. It is an uncontestable truth that there is a problem - and both you and the writer whose article you provided a link for correctly identify aspects of it - but the problem is not that government still remains too big to "drown in a bathtub" (to use the terminology coined by corporate lobbiest, anti-government agitator and Republican kingmaker Grover Norquist).

Just four or five years ago (Vice) President Dick Cheney famously remarked "deficits don't matter"; that was in context to the daily expenditures in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is not overly partisan to point out that Republicans have consistently lied to promote their own party's power and the difference between them and the Democrats is that the Dems do not do so on nearly as efficient a basis.

And when the side of corporate power has made a habit of constantly ratcheting their debating platform in a rightward direction and waiting for a newly positioned and false "middle ground" to establish itself despite widespread populist dissatisfaction with specific policies bein implemented - such as a failure to reestablishin a fair rate of taxation on the top two percent - it is not overly partisan to draw attention to that phenomenn and to take a position on the other extreme from the Norquistas.

A new sales tax on financial sector transactions is well past due, and it is fundamentally wrong to tax labor at a higher rate than the practically free money "earned" through capital gains.

There are truths lodged within your comment and the aforementioned article advocating returning to the gold standard, but the root proponents of these points are being disingenuous and offer nothing more than a bill of goods. They are not on our side.

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 Posted: Sat Nov 19th, 2011 05:36 pm

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No one has been taxed into the poorhouse?  Over 1/3 of your income is automatically given to the Federal Government through income taxes.  Some states also get a cut of your paycheck.  Almost 1/4 of America's children are living in households at or below poverty level and the majority of American families are one or two paychecks away from forclosure or homelessness because they are living paycheck to paycheck.

Then there are the taxes you pay through sales taxes on all of your purchases.  Hidden taxes on services and utilities.  Property taxes and lets not forget the disguised taxes that we pay that are called licensing fees.  All of these additional or hidden taxes go straight to the government.  In a time when almost half of the population is earning $25,000 or less and 1/3 of what you earn is snatched  the Federal government before you even receive your pay and everything you purchase or consume is taxed.  There's not much else to call it.

And don't forget that even if you don't pay the tax directly, you are still paying it through higher purchase prices.  So even if you don't see the tax it is still there.  People need to take off the blinders and start thinking for themselves. 



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 Posted: Sun Nov 20th, 2011 11:32 am

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Historically the poorhouse was a place where debtors were sent to work off their debts and maybe get a bit of gruel to eat until their bills were paid or they died; typically the latter. We in the U.S. have never had poorhouses (correct me if I'm wrong), but instead we have had a bankruptcy law which allowed people to excape from crushing debt; it has recently been weakened under Republican and "Blue Dog" Democrat legislative action performed in service to the credit card industry.

The "over 1/3 of income" you inexplicably claim that is automatically given to the Federal Government through income taxes refers only to the top federal income tax bracket of 35%. That rate only applies to people making well in excess of a quarter of a million dollars per year in income. Back in the day when this country fought the Nazis, the well-do-do had a top bracket at over 90 percent tax. Now we fight two wars and the rich use their coddled wealth to either buy shares of our ever-increasing debt or spend it financing the construction of offshore factories to further the destruction of the American economy.

Mention of the many American children living in poverty distracts from the real problem because for the most part the poor are exempted from income tax at the Federal level and benefit more than any other group from programs which are presently being cut due to revenue shortfalls. (How Republicans can be heard to claim the "poor don't pay taxes" - which is in fact provably false since the claim ignores the regressive taxation on sales at the state and local level - and then hold these poor children up as though human shields against increased federal income and other taxes they themselves fear frankly disgusts me; and that is a thought I can assure you that I've arrived at purely on my own). 

Yes, there are fees and property taxes. This is how our socialized police and firefighting and compulsory schooling for our youngsters is paid for. I prefer it that way. Taxes are not too high, it is simply that spending priorities need to be brought into line with the common good.

One last thought: mention of hidden taxes being paid for in the form of increased prices tangentially hints at an oft-repeated premise that it is impossible to tax corporations because they only pass the cost of taxes to workers who must buy their products. That is not true.

This is business-school 101 economic theory, but people get it wrong all the time - no wonder since it becomes so useful to avoid the truth - but businesses do not determine prices by taking the production costs and applying a multiplier to create a profit margin. Prices are set according to a analysis referred to as "price point" which takes into account market share to maximize profitability. Certain commodities and goods whose demand is somewhat flexible - such as gasoline for instance - can be taxed at relatively high rates, but the corporations selling them are prevented from passing all the taxes to their customers because such an increase changes the price point. (Hmmm. Seeing as how the petroleum industry is a phenomenally profitable one, this seems to point to another great idea for bringing the budget into balance...)

Abby1964
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 Posted: Sun Nov 20th, 2011 12:43 pm

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The US Tax rate for both businesses and individuals in the US is 35%. Unless you actually have a business, or wish to risk an unmanagle tax bill when you file,  this amount is withheld from each paycheck an individual receives unless they can claim business deductions.  So yes it does automatically go to the government.  Once a year the government will return a portion of it based on  taxable income.  The only way that you do not pay any taxes is if you can reduce your taxable income down to the accepted 'poverty' level for your personal filing status.  Everyone in the US pays the same rate of tax up front.

And yes there are hidden taxes, and those taxes are passed on to the consumer through retail prices paid.  The retailer or wholesaler factors in the tax on the product when setting the price.  The hidden taxes are not to be confused with the sales tax.  If they didn't charge the hidden tax to the consumers, the retailer/wholesaler would not make a profit, as any profit they made would be eaten up by the taxes.

As far as my statement "taxed into the poorhouse" I will rephrase it to satisfy semantics.  Taxed into: a public park, rest area, under a bridge or if they are lucky taxed into their vehicle or an understanding relatives home.  This has been happening for a while now under the system called 'gentrification'.  Many retired people have been taxed right out of homes when they held a clear deed to the property through increasing property taxes. 

It especially hit retirees hard where many owned the title to their homes and now as retirees were living on a fixed income.   An income adequate to cover their expenses until doubling and tripling of property taxes made the paying of their taxes impossible.  

You have to understand that I really don't care about some convoluted 'economic formula or explanation when I can see the evidence around me.  Back in 2003 I was telling people that the Federal Government's 'Our economy is strong' line was pure BS.  When I would drive through a neighborhood and see half the houses for sale, in foreclosure, etc. It was very clear that there was something wrong with this picture.  I don't really care what the numbers on paper say because numbers on paper do not reflect the reality that the average person is living in. 

I'm much more convinced of reality when I see a family living in their car at a local park trying to hold things together until they can find housing that they can afford because their home been foreclosed on. 
I'm much more convinced when I see an older couple packing a U-Haul to move to the local old folks home because they can no longer afford to live in a home that they have bought and paid for.
I'm much more convinced when I see  parents at the beginning of the school year lining up to get school supplies from a charity because they cannot afford to buy them. 
I'm much more convinced when I see couples working two full time jobs and one of them has to also pick up a part time job to make ends meet.
I'm more convinced when families are depleting their savings just to keep their heads above water.

That is reality, not some economic formula saying how our economy is rebounding when more people are joining the ranks of the unemployed every day.  When Businesses are reporting increased profits but still downsizing employees out of jobs.   




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 Posted: Sun Dec 4th, 2011 07:03 pm

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When we went to the nickel dinner in downtown LA, like 3 or so blocks was city hall. Was some site to see a glimpse of occupied LA and the 13 news vans that I saw more were there I am sure. It was impressive I would have taken a picture but my hubby thought it might be unsafe. I have bad luck with wrong place wrong time thing so we left. The next mourning the news said they were going to start the eviction order. But I don't think it went through yet?



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