Client’s house caught on fire. It did not burn down, but you wouldn’t want to live in it. He and his family had to seek other lodging and the bills began to pile up. The house entered foreclosure proceedings. Client offered bank $10,000 from his savings account to hold off for a couple of weeks because he had a good job starting then. Bank refused, bank foreclosed.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, the insurance company is figuring out who to screw this time around. They made an error that did not even save them money, but cost my client 50% of the insurance proceeds. The payoff was payable to Mrs. Client only, and Mrs. Client took the money and ran, so the bank and Mr. Client were both ripped off.
These incidents occurred in 2008. Client has not been able to face preparing his income taxes since 2008. He lost his family, and two homes.
That’s where I come in. I run a charity operation for clients whose lives have been turned upside down by the Great Recession or other of life’s uncontrollable tragedies.
I invite people who are behind on filing their taxes to come to me for help.
I don’t make much money. There’s no advertising budget. I build my own websites on my own webhost and I am a domain name provider, just like GoDaddy, only without the sexism and other ooky stuff. I live on a small Social Security payment and the business I can bring in by word of mouth and my mad skillz at SEO.
But here in America we don’t have the guts to indict our bankers, while we send our hardworking families to hell and back and store billions of dollars in caves in Trondheim. Our munitions makers are rolling in it.
Republicans are raising money from gullible voters by complaining that Obama is overstepping his bounds by issuing Executive Orders and using Signing Statements. This is the newest installment in “Pot Calling Kettle Black” series.
Previous administrations had made use of signing statements to dispute the validity of a new law or its individual components or to influence the enforcement of the law. Both parties copiously apply this method to bend the law to their agenda. Analysis of each President and act is beyond the scope of this article, but the sheer volume of Orders and Statements should preclude one side from tarring the other with the “treason” brush, for crying out loud.
Here’s the tally for the last few Prezzies. George H. W. Bush challenged 232 statutes through signing statements during four years in office and Clinton challenged 140 over eight years.
George W. Bush’s 130 signing statements contain at least 1,100 challenges. That is one way to try to affect the execution of laws as a President.
If Congress will not act, then the President has another way to accomplish hir goals,by using the traditional privilege to issue Executive Orders. These do not have the force of law and can be reversed by subsequent Presidents.
George Washington issued the first Executive Orders.
President, and Executive Order count:
George H.W. Bush, 166;
Executive Orders, Signing Statements, and Proclamations have always been with us, used by each party liberally.
*Indicates 2-term Presidents. No adjustment for Nixon’s shortened term or Obama’s 2nd mid-term status.
We can measure the economy in different ways to improve human life and enhance human potential. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measures government services only by the dollars spent, but not by the dollars earned by our investments in our people and infrastructure. As one commenter mentioned, Haiti has no public school system, and therefore no hope of pulling itself out of the “poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere” status.
The GINI Coefficient, ¤http://harvardmagazine.com/2008/07/unequal-america-html.
There is also the Social Progress Index, measured according to three broad dimensions:
Does a country have the capacity to satisfy the basic human needs of its people?
Does a country have the institutions and conditions in place to allow its citizens and communities to improve their quality of life?
And does a country offer an environment in which each citizen has the opportunity to reach his or her full potential?
How to get there? The Steady State economy, which does not have to “grow or die” like capitalism. ¤http://steadystate.org/
What on earth would cause me to go off like that, you ask? First I know stuff. Second, it was a question asked by a commenter, Nancy, on this article at the New York Times:
“Does any other country or group of countries measure the economy differently so that we have a ready means of comparison?”
It was a nightmare growing up with a depressive mean alcoholic mother and a depressive father. Then, when I was 8, mother married a sociopathic monster, a con-man so low he rustled cattle. He would wake my younger sister and I at 3AM. At ten years old, I was good to go, driving a stakebed truck around a corral while he did something. Then he took us for donuts and hot chocolate, the first time, anyway. Not long after, I learned that he had been loading calves into the truck. Not long after that, he went off to prison again.
I began to run away with more and more frequency into my teens. I would go stay with friends. My mother would come get me and say that she would never do X again. But of course, she did. Children are helpless and have no representation, no ways out of these abusive, poverty-stricken, unstable lives. When we moved, it was never announced to my sister and me. We just ended up in a new place. As an adult, I understand now that they were skipping out on paying rent.
It was just too appalling to stay under their roof sometimes. They got drunk and beat one another regularly. It was a horror show. I begged my grandmother to take me away. She told me, many years later, that my stepfather threatened to kill her if she tried to get custody.
The above is an expanded version of my comment on this article at Alternet. Some legislators propose to give powers to government actors to involuntarily medicate certain mentally-ill persons with a demonstrated tendency to violence. In California, we have had the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, which allows members of the public to have threatening persons taken to a psychiatric emergency room.
Let’s think about and compare the claims of the capitalist supporter of the “efficiencies” of the fictional free market to a market based on the needs of human beings. ~Via
By PAUL GREENBERG,
IN 1982 a Chinese aquaculture scientist named Fusui Zhang journeyed to Martha’s Vineyard in search of scallops. The New England bay scallop had recently been domesticated, and Dr. Zhang thought the Vineyard-grown shellfish might do well in China. After a visit to Lagoon Pond in Tisbury, he boxed up 120 scallops and spirited them away to his lab in Qingdao. During the journey 94 died. But 26 thrived. Thanks to them, today China now grows millions of dollars of New England bay scallops, a significant portion of which are exported back to the United States.
As go scallops, so goes the nation. According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, even though the United States controls more ocean than any other country, 86 percent of the seafood we consume is imported.
But it’s much fishier than that: While a majority of the seafood Americans eat is foreign, a third of what Americans catch is sold to foreigners.
The seafood industry, it turns out, is a great example of the swaps, delete-and-replace maneuvers and other mechanisms that define so much of the outsourced American economy; you can find similar, seemingly inefficient phenomena in everything from textiles to technology. The difference with seafood, though, is that we’re talking about the destruction and outsourcing of the very ecological infrastructure that underpins the health of our coasts. Let’s walk through these illogical arrangements, course by course.
Appetizers: Half Shells for Cocktails
Our most blatant seafood swap has been the abandonment of local American oysters for imported Asian shrimp. Once upon a time, most American Atlantic estuaries (including the estuary we now call the New York Bight) had vast reefs of wild oysters. Many of these we destroyed by the 1800s through overharvesting. But because oysters are so easy to cultivate (they live off wild microalgae that they filter from the water), a primitive form of oyster aquaculture arose up and down our Atlantic coast.
Until the 1920s the United States produced two billion pounds of oysters a year. The power of the oyster industry, however, was no match for the urban sewage and industrial dumps of various chemical stews that pummeled the coast at midcentury. Atlantic oyster culture fell to just 1 percent of its historical capacity by 1970.
Just as the half-shell appetizer was fading into obscurity, the shrimp cocktail rose to replace it, thanks to a Japanese scientist named Motosaku Fujinaga and the kuruma prawn. Kurumas were favored in a preparation known as “dancing shrimp,” a dish that involved the consumption of a wiggling wild shrimp dipped in sake. Dr. Fujinaga figured out how to domesticate this pricey animal. His graduate students then fanned out across Asia and tamed other varieties of shrimp.
Today shrimp, mostly farmed in Asia, is the most consumed seafood in the United States: Americans eat nearly as much of it as the next two most popular seafoods (canned tuna and salmon) combined. Notably, the amount of shrimp we now eat is equivalent to our per capita oyster consumption a century ago.
Last night, I had a dream that the Republican Party finally started representing people with incomes below $1 Million a year. Behold! The Republican Party today announced a series of…the stale old political objectives of the 1% covered with pretty new wrapping paper.
Let’s take a stroll through legal and political history together to see what I mean. My comments are in bold type, like this.
By Olivia LaRosa, June 20, 2014
Senate Republicans on Wednesday rolled out their own policy agenda for middle-class voters in an effort to counter the Senate Democrats’ 2014 platform, “A Fair Shot for Everyone.”
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) led a news conference Wednesday morning to unveil GOP solutions for working families.
The campaign-year initiative consists of six bills designed to retrain mid-career workers, give families more flexibility and provide tax breaks for home offices that include baby cribs.
Me: THUMBS UP! And while you are at it, repeal the requirement that people have to use one computer solely for business, and another for personal work. That would help many more people than this “baby crib” exception (see below) that no one pays attention to anyway.
“Some of our members wanted to come together today to talk about some Republican proposals that could immediately be acted upon to improve the lives of working families who are struggling in the Obama economy,” McConnell told reporters.
McConnell on Wednesday introduced the Working Parents Home Office Act, which would allow parents to deduct costs associated with a home office that has a baby crib. Current law disallows a deduction if there is a crib in the office while the parent is working.
“These are just the kinds of things that could make a difference in people’s lives now,” he said.
Me: THUMBS UP! See THUMBS UP #1. I still think that repealing the silly law about having to use separate computers for business and personal would help more families.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has introduced the Forty Hours is Full Time Act, which would repeal the Affordable Care Act’s 30-hour workweek rule.
Me: THUMBS DOWN! This “40 hours is Full Time Act” is designed to prevent families from obtaining healthcare through the Affordable Care Act even if they are prevented from working 40 hours a week by their employers. Employers/contractors win.
How does this help working families? Employers now can avoid offering benefits by limiting worker hours and the worker has no say, even without this meaningless bill. Here’s what’s gonna happen. A few million dollars will be spent challenging the law, if passed. It will go to the Supreme Court, which has already ruled that the ACA is legal and is Federal law. That doesn’t mean much, but as Labor Law is Federal, not State, it still means something.
How can anyone claim with a straight face that this bill helps families? What are the odds that this bill will ever go into effect as a law? 1000/1
A “liberal” Republican offers this useless bill.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) has introduced legislation, the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills Act, to reform the federal government’s Jobs Corps and other adult education and vocational rehabilitation programs.
Me: THUMBS DOWN until proven innocent. Whenever a Republican talks “reform” they mean “privatization.” What privatization means is that services formerly offered by public entities are sold off to corporations whose only motive is earning a profit FOR THEMSELVES. Service deteriorates or is actually shut down, as happened in Detroit this week, when thousands of families lost water service. So, this is likely another privatization bill. Employers/contractors win.
Then the government (that means YOU) has to spend money to remediate the poor service AND likely pay off the contractor for the lost business opportunity. How does this help working families?
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) offered the Raise Act, which would amend the National Labor Relations Act to allow employers to give merit-based raises to employees even if those compensation increases are not part of collective bargaining agreements.
Me: THUMBS DOWN. Pure political theatre. Union workers are entitled to merit raises right now. Another useless bill. No help for working families here, either. Score! employers/contractors.
Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) has endorsed an alternative to the Democrats’ Paycheck Fairness Act. It includes language to prevent employers from retaliating against workers who discuss or inquire about their salaries. It also would not raise caps on punitive damages that employees may seek in courts, a key provision of the Democratic bill.
Me: THUMBS DOWN. More political theatre. All this bill does is gut enforcement action against employers who engage in illegal acts against employees. It is designed to counteract the teeth in the Democratic proposal and nothing more. Employers who retaliate for legal activities of employees should pay. No help here. Score! employers/contractors.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) is pushing the Working Families Flexibility Act. It would let employers offer workers the option of comp time or overtime pay. It would require employers to establish written agreements allowing employees to choose the option that best fits their needs.
Me: GREAT BIG THUMBS DOWN. Employers have been trying to eliminate overtime rules for nearly a century now. We got overtime rules because employers abused us by making us work until we died. This bill is nothing more than a stalking horse to kill overtime pay, which often keeps families above the poverty line. How does this help working families?
In conclusion, I see that my dream has turned into a nightmare of empty suits full of empty promises. Don’t be fooled by the fancy words. This is not a Fair Shot. It’s a boatload of snake oil and fake populism designed to keep corporations at the head of our government. It’s just an old tired Trojan horse that has turned into a zombie. Score! employers/contractors.
You can’t fix things by not fixing them. You cannot claim to offer help when you do the opposite. The changes in government and economic systems have always occurred, always, because the people at the top got too greedy. Start supporting politicians who want BETTER government. No one cares how big it is if it works properly.
This is a Really Big Show, friends. The conservative Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, threw down the gauntlet at Obama’s feet by approving the construction of a pipeline to run from Alberta to the Pacific Coast at Kitimat through British Columbia. This geopolitical game features feints and obfuscation, but even so, the underlying effects of such an endeavor will echo worldwide in a manner that we can foresee.
by Olivia LaRosa, June 17, 2014
The underlying facts will demonstrate the earth-shaking nature of this challenge from the Harper government:
The US military is the largest consumer of petroleum products on earth – by far
The Harper government is seeking to “expand its markets.” Canada now ships 97% of her oil to the US.
The resulting increased demand for oil will create more tar sands wastelands and pollute water tables
How will a project of this magnitude disrupt surrounding systems? Can the externalized costs be quantified or justified?
http://olivialarosa.com/2008/10/the-proposed-iranian-oil-bourse/ On the potential disruption to global markets
The oil will be shipped to “Asia.” Who of the billions on the largest continent on earth will receive this oil?
The end client is unknown
This 731-mile drive between Bruderheim, Alberta and Kitimat, the bay town that is the British Columbia terminus, takes at least 17 hours. The route crosses both the Northern Rockies (1) and the Western System, nearly as formidably rugged.(2)-
Pipeline leaks and piracy
Environmental despoliation at the tar sands extraction sites and everywhere along the pipeline route
Government support for contractors who underbid and underperform
Destabilization of global political economy by making US oil supplies vulnerable and affecting the petrodollar’s dominance in markets
Corporate promises of environmental protections not kept
“Ghost towns” left after the tar sands boom cost local citizens lots in tax dollars and attract street criminals
Q. What Asian country would most like to be able to control and divert the product of a major oil supplier of critical geopolitical significance?
A. All of them.
We as citizens of planet earth must halt this waste of petrochemical resources to protect and preserve future generations’ access to the lifesaving properties of these products.
The big question, as always, is “Who Wins?” Here, it will be the Big Oil corporations, their subsidiaries and parasites, that by using their vertically-integrated tax-laundering mechanisms, evade their duty as citizens. In exchange, they might “give us jobs” building a pipeline across incredibly hostile and rugged territory.(1) It will be a temporary position, whether or not we survive the work.
(1) The Northern Rocky Mountains and the Western System.
(2) The Western System comprises the Coast Mountains, the Canadian portion of the Cascade Mountains (known in the US as the Cascade Range), the southeastern most Saint Elias Mountains and the Coastal Trough, which includes the Georgia Depression and its subunit the Fraser Lowland and other low-lying coastal areas. The western terminus is located in the Kitimat Ranges.
TORONTO (AP) — Canada’s government on Tuesday approved a controversial pipeline proposal that would bring oil to the Pacific Coast for shipment to Asia, a major step in the country’s efforts to diversify its oil exports if it can overcome fierce opposition from environmental and aboriginal groups.
Approval for Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project was expected as Canada needs infrastructure in place to export its growing oil sands production. The project’s importance has only grown since the U.S. delayed a decision on TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline that would take oil from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The northern Alberta region has the world’s third largest oil reserves, with 170 billion barrels of proven reserves.
Enbridge’s pipeline would transport 525,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta’s oil sands to the Pacific to deliver oil to Asia, mainly energy-hungry China. About 220 large oil tankers a year would visit the Pacific coast town of Kitimat and opponents fear pipeline leaks and a potential tanker spill on the pristine Pacific coast.
Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said Canada’s national interest makes the pipelines essential.
He was “profoundly disappointed” that U.S. President Barack Obama delayed a decision on the Texas Keystone XL option, and spoke of the need to diversify Canada’s oil industry. Ninety-seven percent of Canadian oil exports now go to the U.S.
Meanwhile, China’s growing economy is hungry for Canadian oil. Chinese state-owned companies have invested more than $40 billion in Canadian energy in the past few years.
“They are watching this very, very closely,” said Wenran Jiang, an energy expert and special adviser to Alberta’s Department of Energy.
“They told us as recently as a couple of weeks ago that further investment will depend on whether there will be at least opportunities to ship some of this crude to China. Currently all of their investment and production goes into the U.S. They are currently living with that,” he said.
Jiang said Canada ships all its oil to the U.S. so it’s vital that Canada diversify its energy exports. Canadian oil is sold at a discount compared to the prices elsewhere.
The Harper government declined requests for comment on Tuesday, only issuing a statement.
Canadian Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford said in a statement that Enbridge must meet the 209 conditions Canada’s regulator imposed on the pipeline. The company has previously said it would.
Enbridge President and Chief Executive Officer Al Monaco welcomed the decision but noted “we still have some more work to do.”
The fear of oil spills is especially acute in the pristine corner of northwest British Columbia, with its snowcapped mountains and deep ocean inlets. Canadians living there still remember the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989. British Columbia Premier Christy Clark set out five conditions for British Columbia’s support, and on Tuesday she repeated her contention that those conditions have yet to be met. Harper will have win support in British Columbia where he’ll want to preserve the 21 seats he has there. The British Columbia government can deny permits. Aboriginals could also get in the way of construction trucks.
Environmentalists and Canada’s native tribes could delay approval all the way to the Supreme Court, and the tribes still hold title to some of the land the pipeline would cross. That means the government will have to move with extreme sensitivity.
Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said aboriginal people will blockade any attempt by Enbridge to start work.
A statement issued by a broad coalition of British Columbia aboriginal groups vowed that they would “defend our territories whatever the costs may be.”
Environmental groups said Ottawa’s approval is no guarantee that the controversial project will be built.
“We are deeply disappointed, but you need to look no further than the spate of legal challenges filed against this project to know that Cabinet’s approval is by no means a guarantee that this project will ever be built,” said Barry Robinson, a lawyer for Ecojustice.
Working families generally do not have this luxury. Their assets are illiquid. Generally, young families who purchase homes burden their budget significantly for the privilege of making payments to a bank rather than a landlord. Nowadays, with interest rates on savings accounts as close to 0% as possible, rational families sock money into their 401Ks and IRAs.
Of course, this is expensive. But the gains far outweigh the inconvenience they suffer. Ever notice that when the stock market tanks, that construction begins to boom shortly thereafter? You suddenly see cranes dotting the skyline in all directions. These construction projects are run by and for corporations, not for people.
Since 2008, things have been different from other recessions. A year later, a found myself at a gas station in Bakersfield on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Normally, the Interstates and highways hummed with bumper-tp-bumper traffic both north and south on the holiday weekend, but not that day. The streets were empty. The town was desolate. No one at the gas station but me and the clerk. I said, “Has it been like this for a while?” He looked at me for a moment. Then he slowly nodded his head. “It’s been so slow,” he said. I replied, “Scary, huh?” He said, “Yes.” I wished him good luck through the coming storm.
In 3,142 of 3, 143 counties, Christian is the largest tradition. The second traditions may surprise you. What I found out about people, moving to “the big city,” then going to college and law school in mid-life is, we are all pretty much the same.
You might wonder why Ms. LaRosa has wrtten all this stuff for the Internet. Well, she is a writer, and has been involuntarily unemployed since 2004. Since you can't send out resumes 16 hours a day, she researches, reads, and writes about her findings.
She graduated from law school in 2004 at the age of 54. She started law school three weeks before 911, and the experience turned out to be educational in ways she never could have anticipated.
She maintains a blog at Hypatia of California, where she posts sophisticated analyses of world events alongside divinely silly satire.
Ms. LaRosa likes to have fun and does not like character-building experiences.
This website was born on November 27, 2011. It will change, She promises you. If you think the change is not for the better, please share! See, the more editors I have, the better I work.
Please contact her at via at olivialarosa.com to join the larosalist or for any other reason. Kindly humor her by sending only clean and legal communications. Thank you so much.