YOU WILL HEAR A PROPAGANDA MACHINE THAT SAYS MARYLAND AND NEW YORK, HOME OF PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES CUOMO AND O'MALLEY ARE SOOOOO PROGRESSIVE AND IT IS A COMPLETE LIE!!!!! WHETHER THESE TWO, OR BIDEN AND HILLARY CLINTON.....THEY ARE ALL RAGING THIRD WAY CORPORATE POLITICIANS!!!This is a busy week for actions of all sorts and I want to finish for now on Gun Control by encouraging all people to look closely at all of what is being proposed by the Obama/Hopkins policy group and think about the regressive nature and the current state of our country as regards attitudes towards government and corporate autocratic control. In Maryland, Health Care for All, an organization supposedly working to protect people is promoting these regressive policies because they are a Hopkins private non-profit!!!I would like to discuss labor issues that show progress on the part of citizens organizing and combating ever regressive labor conditions and introduce new areas to fight in that regard. Here in Baltimore we have strong unionizing actions in a city whose pols work hard to impoverish. We see Sheraton and Hyatt staff at all levels on the streets in picket lines fighting for unionization. This week Baltimore is the site of a National Labor Board action against Hyatt for firing union organizers and look forward to favorable rulings as the case is solid. I will attend those proceedings tomorrow and give an update. This is important as US labor is now at such an impoverished level of wages as to make us almost equal to China in how labor costs effect corporate operational costs and therefor profits.Below you'll see that the manufacturing sector that is moving back to America is doing so not because Obama and Third Way corporate democrats gave them trillions of dollars in tax breaks under the guise of job creation, they are coming back because the technology created over these few decades has eliminated the need for much of the human labor in these factories....the article below places robots as taking half of the jobs in a factory. So, your corporate pol is providing a bonanza in tax breaks for very few jobs......which is why unemployment will remain high. Now, what is an American citizen to do....we cannot hate robots? The problem and deliberate policy that makes this transition as bad as it is for unemployment is that ALL OF THE SMALL, REGIONAL BUSINESSES THAT WOULD COMPETE AND OFFER ALTERNATIVE PRODUCTS ARE BEING SIDELINED EITHER BY INABILITY TO GET SMALL BUSINESS FUNDING OR BY LAWS THAT ALLOW THESE MEGA-BUSINESSES TO FORCE SMALLER BUSINESSES TO MERGE WITH THEM, PUTTING THEM OUT OF BUSINESS. Remember, a handful of corporations own all of business interests in America and this is what is keeping unemployment high!!!! Do we have free-markets and the benefits of competition if we have a business environment that stifles competition and allows price-fixing? IT IS ALL AN ILLUSION AS WE ARE CAPTURED BY THE INTERESTS OF A HANDFUL OF CORPORATIONS. THIS IS BAD POLICY FOR A FREE AND DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY.If your Third Way corporate democrat is not shouting loudly and strongly against these policies that are consolidating our economy and killing our ability to actively engage in personal pursuits.......THEY ARE NOT WORKING FOR THE MIDDLE/LOWER CLASS ....VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!!! IF YOUR LABOR OR JUSTICE LEADERS ARE NOT RUNNING CANDIDATES AGAINST THESE THIRD WAY CORPORATE POLS ......THEY ARE NOT WORKING FOR YOU AND ME AND YOU NEED TO VOTE THOSE LEADERS OUT!!!WHEN OBAMA IS TELLING US THAT MANUFACTURING RETURNING TO AMERICA WILL FUEL JOB CREATION AND WHEN YOUR THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS KEEP GIVING TAX BREAKS TO THESE CORPORATIONS UNDER THE GUISE OF JOB CREATION......THIS IS WHAT IS CAUSING EVER GROWING UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES.....AND YOUR POLITICIAN KNOWS THAT.We know that policy creating mega-corporations is bad for American labor, we know as well that policy designed to maximize corporate profits are as well because it is labor and quality of service that are that source. So corporate tax policy that is now not only free corporations from paying taxes but actually have our government handing our tax revenue to corporations for their operating costs it TOXIC for the American people and your Third Way corporate democrat is going at this like gang-busters. Obama and all of the Senate's democratic leaders are Third Way corporate and that is why we are seeing these policies getting ever deeper.VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!Lastly for today I want to remind all citizens ......because you all are potential labor after all......that Third Way corporate democrats are pushing for privatizing all that is public even faster than Republicans because they are wanting government to be all about serving corporate interests and not about protecting the interests of the people. GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE------THAT IS OUR DEMOCRACY-----IS BEING TAKEN AWAY BY USURPERS THAT WOULD NORMALLY BE PROSECUTED FOR CRIMES AGAINST THE STATE....ONLY THE PROSECUTORS ARE WORKING FOR THE USURPERS!!!!So every public institution is being given over to corporations and as a result the public sector which was always middle-class with benefits are now being made the most impoverished.. Maryland's O'Malley and Baltimore's Rawlings-Blake are deliberately allowing contractors to dismantle our MTA by making agreements that were to protect the unionized MTA workers and their rights when handed over to Veola and then Veola slashes all those rights and the unions are dissolved by firing and resale. YOUR THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRAT IS DOING JUST AS BAIN CAPITAL DID TO BE RID OF UNIONS AND THEIR BENEFITS.....DEFUNDING THEM BY ALLOWING MASSIVE CORPORATE FRAUD TO EMPTY GOVERNMENT COFFERS AND BY FURTHER STARVING GOVERNMENT WITH CORPORATE TAX BREAKS AND PARTNERSHIPS THAT PLACE ALL THE COST OF BUSINESS OPERATION ON THE PUBLIC.STOP REELECTING YOUR INCUMBENT AND MAKE SURE A LABOR AND JUSTICE CANDIDATE IS RUNNING FOR OFFICES AT ALL LEVELS!!!!! January 13, 2013 8:07 PM Are robots hurting job growth?The following script is from "March of the Machines" which aired on Jan. 13, 2013. Steve Kroft is the correspondent. Harry Radliffe and Maria Gavrilovic, producers. 60 Minutes Overtime The robot waltz: An appreciation » One of the hallmarks of the 21st century is that we are all having more and more interactions with machines and fewer with human beings. If you've lost your white collar job to downsizing, or to a worker in India or China you're most likely a victim of what economists have called technological unemployment. There is a lot of it going around with more to come. At the vanguard of this new wave of automation is the field of robotics. Everyone has a different idea of what a robot is and what they look like but the broad universal definition is a machine that can perform the job of a human. They can be mobile or stationary, hardware or software, and they are marching out of the realm of science fiction and into the mainstream. The age of robots has been anticipated since the beginning of the last century. Fritz Lang fantasized about it in his 1927 film "Metropolis." In the 1940s and 50s, robots were often portrayed as household help. And by the time "Star Wars" trilogy arrived, robots with their computerized brains and nerve systems had been fully integrated into our imagination. Now they're finally here, but instead of serving us, we found that they are competing for our jobs. And according to MIT professors, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, one of the reasons for the jobless recovery. Andrew McAfee: Our economy is bigger than it was before the start of the Great Recession. Corporate profits are back. Business investment in hardware and software is back higher than it's ever been. What's not back is the jobs. Steve Kroft: And you think technology and increased automation is a factor in that? Erik Brynjolfsson: Absolutely. The percentage of Americans with jobs is at a 20-year low. Just a few years ago if you traveled by air you would have interacted with a human ticket agent. Today, those jobs are being replaced by robotic kiosks. Bank tellers have given way to ATMs, sales clerks are surrendering to e-commerce and switchboard operators and secretaries to voice recognition technology. Erik Brynjolfsson: There are lots of examples of routine, middle-skilled jobs that involve relatively structured tasks and those are the jobs that are being eliminated the fastest. Those kinds of jobs are easier for our friends in the artificial intelligence community to design robots to handle them. They could be software robots, they could be physical robots. Steve Kroft: What is there out there that people would be surprised to learn about? In the robotics area, let's say. Andrew McAfee: There are heavily automated warehouses where there are either very few or no people around. That absolutely took me by surprise. It's on display at this huge distribution center in Devens, Mass., where roughly 100 employees work alongside 69 robots that do all the heavy lifting and navigate a warehouse maze the size of two football fields -- moving 10,000 pieces of merchandise a day from storage shelf to shipping point faster and more efficiently than human workers ever could. Bruce Welty: We think its part of the new American economy. Bruce Welty is CEO of Quiet Logistics, which fills orders and ships merchandise for retailers in the apparel industry. This entire operation was designed around the small orange robots made by a company outside Boston called Kiva. And can now be found in warehouses all over the country. Steve Kroft: Now this is the order that she is filling, right, on this screen.______________________________________________The key word here is other contractor. This is our public transportation system and we do not want any of it to fall to private contractors because, as you see, there is no stability for the employees attached to these contractors.....which is the point says Mayor Rawlings-Blake and Baltimore City Council. These are employees that should be working for the MTA making a middle-class salary with strong public sector benefits. What Baltimore politicians are doing is privatizing public transportation a little at a time and throwing these employees into a private hiring situation that impoverishes them, takes their benefits, and now we see they are losing their jobs and seniority. When Veola took jobs from the MTA there were contract protections for the workers. The idea was that the employees would remain unionized just as they were with MTA but, as is the plan with all these public-private partnerships, they are brought down to poverty and then if unionized, a reason is found to dismiss. Now, when/if these employees are rehired or moved to yet another private contractor will they be unionized? You can bet that won't happen in Baltimore with this City Council and mayor.....they seek to make you as poor as possible!!Veolia Transportation warns that it will lay off 78 Most could be hired by a competitor, company tells state By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun 1:02 p.m. EST, January 15, 2013 Veolia Transportation warned state officials that it will be laying off 78 employees in Baltimore as it stops servicing a portion of an unspecified contract, but added that most could be hired by the new contractor. The cuts are expected March 3. Veolia's notice to the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation said the workers are based at a Huntingdon Ave. location. Veolia's services in Baltimore include paratransit.State labor officials said the company hopes that employees who don't switch to the new contractor will find other jobs at Veolia. The company is based in Illinois and has operations across the country. email@example.com________________________________________________________________________________THERE ARE SO MANY POLICIES COMING FROM BALTIMORE CITY COUNCIL AND MAYOR RAWLINGS-BLAKE THAT DELIBERATELY IMPOVERISH CITY WORKERS THAT WE NEED ALL OF THE FEDERAL HELP WE CAN GET. THE NATIONAL LABOR BOARD IS SO WEAKENED BY DEFUNDING THAT IT TAKES VERY FEW CASES TO COURT......WHICH IS THE REASON IT IS DEFUNDED BY THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS.Labor-practices case against Hyatt Regency begins National Labor Relations Board attorneys call it a 'classic nip-in-the-bud case'By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun 8:31 p.m. EST, January 14, 2013 A hearing into allegations of unfair labor practices filed against the Hyatt Regency Baltimore began late Monday after hours of ultimately fruitless discussion about settling the complaint. National Labor Relations Board attorneys began their case against the hotel by describing the situation as a "predictable pattern" of "unlawful" management responses to unionizing efforts by employees working with Unite Here, a union that represents employees in fields such as hospitality. "It's a classic nip-in-the-bud case," said Sean R. Marshall, a senior trial attorney for the board.In a November complaint, the board's general counsel alleged that Hyatt Regency managers who "interrogated employees about their union activities" suddenly began "invoking harsh discipline" when employees arrived late to work and fired four people last year as part of the reaction to unionizing. Since then, one of the workers has been rehired, Unite Here says. Eric M. Fine, an administrative law judge for the board, will decide whether to reinstate the other three and whether to order the Hyatt to give them back pay. The government's case also alleges other unfair labor practices against workers who were not fired. Hyatt Regency's general manager, Gail Smith-Howard, said in a statement that she believes the hotel will prevail. She said in an earlier interview that the hotel hasn't tried to stop workers from unionizing. "Because of our disagreement with UniteHere over its organizing tactics, the union has said and done anything to advance its cause, including making false accusations about Hyatt's workplace environment in Baltimore and elsewhere," she said in the statement. Unite Here, which said Hyatt Regency managers disciplined workers for arriving as little as one minute late after union activities came to light, expects the government to call at least a dozen witnesses. The case will likely continue past this week. "I think it's really significant that this many workers are coming forward to testify," said Tracy Lingo, an organizer with Unite Here Local 7 in Baltimore. The National Labor Relations Board says about 90 percent of its cases settle. Attorneys on both sides of the Hyatt case tried for most of Monday to do so, with updates to the judge suggesting the parties were getting close, but they couldn't reach an agreement. After that, there was only time for Marshall's opening statement — the Hyatt's attorneys will make theirs when their part of the case begins — and a single witness. Barthold Philippeaux, who worked in the Hyatt Regency's kitchen for two stretches, most recently from April 2011 to last June, was part of the union organizing committee. He testified that he received a text message from a supervisor that asked about union activities after word got back to managers. The next day, workers went public. Philippeaux and others passed out union leaflets to co-workers. Soon after, he said, the same supervisor called him into an office. "He said, 'That right there is a f— — up way of trying to get fired,'" said Philippeaux, who now works in Atlanta. Brian Deller, a Hyatt bartender who is also active in the unionizing effort, said before the hearing that the case is encouraging workers to press on. "In this country, you have the right to organize a union, you have the right to join a union and you cannot be fired for that," he said. firstname.lastname@example.org
HOW DO YOU FIND WAYS TO TOTALLY DISENFRANCHISE MOST CITIZENS SIMILAR TO THE WAR ON DRUGS AND ZERO TOLERANCE LAWS.........YOU PROMOTE GUN CONTROL WITH 26 NEW LAWS MAKING EVERYONE INELIGIBLE TO OWN GUNS AND INCREASE THE REASONS TO SEND PEOPLE TO JAIL WHEN THE PEOPLE ONLY WANT REASONABLE RESTRICTIONS. WHY WOULD HOPKINS WANT TO DO THAT....THE SAME REASON THEY TOLD ME THEY DO NOT SEE ANY CORPORATE FRAUD OR BAD GUYS AT THE TOP OF THE INCOME LADDER!!!THEY ARE AT THE TOP OF THE LADDER!!!!Well, day two of the Johns Hopkins Gun Control Symposium saw what I think is the most troublesome aspect of this version of gun policy.....absolute control of the gun policy. I am absolutely not a gun rights person.....the total opposite, but I know when policy is about keeping people safe and when it is about using it against people. We see from Hopkins the desire yet again to used it against people.I think most people supporting controls agree on the 3 main issues: end access to assault rifles and large magazines; stricter gun background checks; and ownership licensing that gives ongoing oversight. Even gun enthusiasts see most of these as necessary. The problem with Hopkins is it usual zeal to own the solution and its history of a less than balanced approach to how laws are implemented. As I said yesterday, they do not even recognize the crimes at the top and for today's discussion I will note that all of the thousands of people guilty in these massive corporate frauds would be felons if charged and convicted.....which they would have been in normal Rule of Law circumstances. Also, raise your hands if you think the richest are more guilty of drug and alcohol abuse than the lower/middle class...........EVERYONE KNOWS THERE IS A TREMENDOUS ABUSE OF ALCOHOL AND DRUGS BY THE AFFLUENT.....ONLY, THEY RARELY GET CHARGED WITH A CRIME. The lower-class on the other hand have been charged to an inch of their lives for all kinds of drug and alcohol offenses.......and this is where Hopkins intends to double-down on gun ownership and criminal penalties.........it will be illegal in most cases for anyone who is a minority to own a gun and the penalties for being found with a gun will be strengthened. So, if you have a felony, if you have been charged with an alcohol or drug crime, if you under 21, if you are an illegal immigrant, if you are guilty of any violent crime......could be a street fight........YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO OWN A GUN. THEY SAY THERE WILL BE A 10 YEARS RESTRICTION FROM THE TIME OF THE CRIME. IF YOU ARE FOUND WITH A GUN, THE PENALTIES WILL BE MADE MORE HARSH.....THINK ZERO TOLERANCE AND THREE STRIKES.They had a gentleman who went on a bit much about the fact that the intent was to totally disarm almost all people and he referred to tyranny and absolute power. He came off as a Tea Party extremist as he tried to make a big point in a small time allotment but he hit the ball out of the park......THE HOPKINS APPROACH TO GUN CONTROL IS ABOUT COMPLETE DISARMAMENT AND IT IS BEING DONE UNDER A VERY CORRUPT ATMOSPHERE WITH MOST PEOPLE NOT TRUSTING GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATIONS.Do you realize who would fall into the categories described above.......ALMOST ANYONE THEY WANTED TO CHARGE!!!!! HONESTLY!!!So, again we have a good issue like gun control being manipulated to completely take away Constitutional freedoms.....think Education Reform and how it is being used to privatize public education and this is all being led by Hopkins. HOPKINS IS TRYING TO TAKE THE LEAD ON AN ISSUE AND FRAME IT TO THEIR ADVANTAGE. Is it a bad thing to take guns away from most people? It would not be a problem if the people taking them were not far more guilty than the people losing them and if the idea were not to criminalize and incarcerate another generation of poor people for this War on Guns.They would not call on me again as c-span was still recording so I did not get to say all of this and my major concern is that the term 'FELON' is so arbitrary in the US ....a homeless person fined for loitering over and over and failing to pay fines is made a felon. Drug possession of small amounts makes you a felon. Stealing a $800 color TV makes you a felon. Partying at all night raves on Times Square taking copious drugs.....Wall Street office parties with binge drinking and sexual assaults....domestic violence by a corporate executive taking too much cocaine.....STEALING TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN CORPORATE FRAUD....NO FELONY. So these crazies are bad guys who can own guns!!!!They have written the policy, provided the expert testimony, created polling information that supports their 26 gun control policies, and are ready for their famous coalition forming. WE DO NOT WANT LAWS THAT WILL SEND PEOPLE TO PRISON FOR YET ANOTHER SERIES OF TRUMPED UP CRIMES. IT IS ALREADY HAPPENING IN BALTIMORE!!! I liked when the Australian expert on gun control made clear how laws in Australia and laws in America differ as to reaching goals:In Australia, we do not seek to criminalize we seek to deter people from what we deem bad behavior. This was said in response to what legal actions are taken if people are found to lie on applications for gun ownership/businesses. We simply don't give them a license. The person in the audience wanted to hear about legal charges to criminalize the person!!! THAT IS WHY THE US IS # 1 IN THE WORLD FOR INCARCERATION AND AUSTRALIA CONDEMNS THE US FOR BEING #1. THESE GUN POLICY REFORMS SEEK TO CONTINUE DOWN THIS PATH!!! IF YOU DO NOT HEAR YOUR POLITICIAN SHOUTING LOUDLY AND STRONGLY ABOUT GUN CONTROL LAWS THAT SEEK TO CRIMINALIZE PEOPLE AND NOT JUST CHANGE BEHAVIOR....VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!!Why Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely Dr. Robert Aziz Psychoanalytical therapist Huffington PostPosted: 08/07/11 08:50 PM ET The option to impose one's will on another is an option that position alone wrongly affords all too many individuals. Indeed this option to impose on, rather than work with, this option to impose on without any regard whatsoever for due process, becomes, in the hands of most, a license to harm, if not destroy the careers and lives of others. People do, after all, inexplicably lose their jobs; careers do get gently nudged onto the rocks; professional marginalization does occur; first-rate organizational, social and political initiatives do encounter untenable resistance, if they are not obstructed altogether; minority oppression does occur; individual whim decimates cultures and destroys countries. There are some obvious explanations as to why individuals would abuse the authority associated with their formal positions. The existence of an altogether unrelated drive for personal gain would be at the top of that list, such as we saw unleashed through the financial sector before ultimately taking the form of the housing crash, which devastated not only America, but the global economy. I would further imagine that the existence of malice toward others characteristic of economic, social, political, religious, ethnic and racial injustices would be a close second. Now as much as we have just cast a wide net, something else I have observed, based on my work for over two decades as both an executive consultant within the business sector and psychoanalytical therapist, is that the majority of these abuses of position, as they present in their everyday forms within business, professional and political circles, are attributable to something far less sinister, albeit no less destructive. What I have been led to conclude is that managerial or leadership incompetence is a significant factor when it comes to such abuses within business, professional and political circles. Power is that to which leadership necessarily defaults in the absence of being able to contain and process meaning with others and within oneself. In the absence of functional interpersonal [with others] processing and functional intrapsychic [internal] processing there can only be power. In the absence of functional processing and meaning there can only be the dynamics of imposition, will and power. We should add to this the alarming fact that many individuals, by way of promotion or other circumstances, eventually find themselves holding positions of authority that exceed their leadership/consciousness capabilities to function within meaning rather than power. Looking to current events, even after we allow for the normal restrictions of partisanship politics, does not the pure inanity of the debt ceiling fiasco provide us with more evidence of this point than we care to see? How could we not conclude that those holding positions of authority had exceeded their leadership/consciousness capabilities to function within meaning rather than power? With the stakes so high for the world's foremost economy and by extension yet again the global economy, in light of the leadership/consciousness vacuum, is it any wonder that for the first time in the history of the United States action, in the form of the downgrading of the US credit rating, had to be taken by an outside party to contain the chaos, to contain that which was not being properly processed. So why does power corrupt? It corrupts because it gives license to unconsciousness and neglect. It corrupts because it licenses individuals to unilaterally, unreflectively and thus arbitrarily impose their will on others. It licenses individuals to impose their will without having properly engaged and processed through the Reality at hand. Power inflates the ego and through it the ego is erroneously led to believe it has the power to make people, ideas and even Reality itself disappear without due process. In the big picture nothing is further from the truth. Power corrupts because it gives license to unconsciousness, and in so doing it not only destroys the growth opportunity of the victim of such imposition, but no less the growth opportunity of the victimizer. Failure to engage another in consciousness, not only does the other individual harm, but it no less does serious harm to oneself, for in both cases the precious opportunity to extend consciousness by way of self-organizing nature is altogether lost, corrupted. By way of power you corrupt; by way of power you are corrupted. By way of absolute power you absolutely corrupt; by way of absolute power you become absolutely corrupted
.___________________________________________________As someone who attended this symposium I will shout out that Hopkins is taking the timing of gun tragedy to push policy that goes far beyond what the public wants and it is doing so with such extreme bias in polling and statistics it will take your breathe away. As a gun control advocate I will side with the Australian gun control expert who commented on what types of penalties come with breaking these gun control laws.....'In Australia, we seek to change behavior not to criminalize people over this issue'. That is what is disturbing with Hopkins approach in that it seeks to criminalize the process and deny ownership to a wide swath of people. Since the poor are the only ones charged as felons for actions everyone does regarding drugs and alcohol, they are the ones squarely in the sights of this Hopkins gun control policy. It's like killing a fly with by dropping a piano on it. You will see all of the broad ideas that everyone supports and none of the onerous policies that criminalize ever
.Bloomberg urges federal gun control reforms at Hopkins summit Posted: 11:40 am Mon, January 14, 2013 By Associated Press New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is calling for federal gun control reforms. Bloomberg outlined his proposals Monday at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health at a summit on reducing gun violence. The two-day summit began one month after the mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. Bloomberg is urging President Barack Obama and Congress to increase background check requirements for firearms purchases. He also says the federal government needs to get tougher on gun trafficking. Bloomberg says the federal government must also limit assault weapons and magazines with more than 10 rounds. Democratic Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley also outlined some reforms he plans to seek in Maryland. They include banning assault weapons and tougher licensing requirements. They also include proposals to increase school safety.__________________________________________________I WANT TO INCLUDE THIS CRITIC OF THE HOPKINS GUN CONTROL BECAUSE IT IS THE ONLY ARTICLE NOW OUT THERE THAT ADDRESSES WHAT I SEE AS THE CONCERNS. AGAIN, I AM FOR ENDING ASSAULT WEAPONS AND LARGE MAGAZINES, GUN REGISTRATION AND BACKGROUND CHECKS........WHAT I DO NOT WANT IS FURTHER CRIMINALIZATION OF AN ALREADY ENTRENCHED PEOPLE IN POVERTY WHICH IS WHAT THIS DOES. WE ARE WATCHING AS A LARGE SEGMENT OF OUR POPULATION IS LOSING ALL OF ITS RIGHTS AS CITIZENS UNDER THE GUISE OF CRIMINAL PROSECUTION. O'MALLEY AND YOUR INCUMBENT ARE NOT TELLING YOU DETAILS THAT FURTHER CIVIL RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES VIOLATIONS!!!!!VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE.I AGREE THAT THE POLICY SUPPORT IS BIASED AND THE PEOPLE CREATING THE POLICY HAS THE AGENDA OF ENDING GUN RIGHTS FOR THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE IN AMERICA. Why the John Hopkins Report Calling for Tougher Gun Laws is Flawed 10/25/12 | by S.H. Blannelberry Guns.com On Thursday, researchers at the John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research released their report on gun control. What were their findings? Isn’t it obvious? We need tougher gun laws! Here are their key points briefly recapitulated, with the help of CNS News: “High-Risk” Individuals Should be Prohibited from Owning Guns
A “high-risk” individual includes those suffering from substance abuse problems (alcoholics, drug addicts), anyone convicted of a violent offense, including misdemeanors, those who are charged with a felony but plea-bargain to a lesser charge.DO YOU KNOW HOW TO ASSESS THESE SOCIAL ILLS LIKE ALCOHOLISM AND DRUG ADDICTION.....MOST PEOPLE ARE ADDICTS FOR LIFE SO THIS IS A LIFE RESTRICTION. I DON'T WANT GUNS IN ANYBODY'S HAND, BUT WE KNOW THAT THESE LAWS WILL FALL ON PEOPLE ALREADY STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE AND COMPLETELY DISENFRANCHISED. Also, anyone under the age of 21 should be banned from owning a firearm. “When you deny high-risk people access to guns, the evidence shows that saves lives,” said Daniel W. Webster, director of Hopkins’ Center for Gun Policy and Research and the report’s lead author, told the Baltimore Sun. “And when you regulate all gun sales, fewer guns get diverted to criminals.” With respect to the 18-20-year-olds, Hopkins said, “We do not allow that group to legally drink beer, but in 45 of 50 states, that group can legally own a handgun.” Close the ‘Gun Show Loophole’: The Brady Law is “necessary but insufficient,” the research team argues, because it only requires FFLs to conduct background checks on prospective buyers. Private sellers are not obligated to conduct background checks. In essence, this “loophole” needs to be closed. THAT IS GOOD Boost regulation and oversight of gun-sellers: The report also blames Congress for limiting public access to crime-gun trace data, and for providing firearm manufacturers and retail sellers with “broad protections from lawsuits.” THAT IS GOOD “Data from federal gun trafficking investigations indicate that scofflaw gun dealers are the most important channels for diverting guns to traffickers and criminals,” the report states (Really? Fast and Furious anyone?). Eliminate “right-to-carry” laws They “do not make us safer and likely increase aggravated assaults,” the Center argues, rejecting John Lott’s research that shows the opposite is potentially valid. THIS IS GOOD Regulate the design of guns “Not all firearms are created equal,” the report states. “Aside from ammunition capacity, other characteristics of firearms that are relevant to public safety include how easily the gun can be concealed, and how prone it is to misfire or fire unintentionally.” The Hopkins team advocates reintroducing the now-expired 1994 ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines. THIS IS GOOD The public wants stronger gun regulation: “Contrary to recent media reports, a large majority of the public, including gun owners, favors remedying many current weaknesses in our gun laws,” the paper concludes. It also mentions the “real political hurdles” to enacting new gun control laws—“the gun lobby” being a “substantial” hurdle. “But politicians who want to correct flaws in our current laws, which enable dangerous people to get guns, could do so knowing that there is broad support for those policies, the reforms are constitutional, and the policies would enhance public safety.” Commentary and Analysis There are many red flags in this report (no specific breakdown of how drug and gang-related violence impacts the homicide rate, no acknowledgement that the National Research Council found that the AWB, while it was enforced (1994-2004), had zero impact on gun violence, no admission that cities like Chicago, Baltimore and Washington DC, which have some of the strictest gun laws in the country have disproportionately high crime rates, no talk about the government run, fatally flawed gun walking operation Fast and Furious and its deadly ramifications both along the border and in Mexico, no mention of the fact that over the past two decades there’s been a massive expansion of concealed carry rights and crime has gone down nationwide, etc.) But here are three that really stood out to me: Follow the Money Who funded this study? THIS IS TRUE! As mentioned it’s the John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, which is a division of the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Yes, to be clear, that’s “Bloomberg” as in New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the fearless leader of the most aggressive pro-gun control organization in the country, Mayors Against Illegal Guns. This information is courtesy of Philanthropy News Digest: Since graduating from Johns Hopkins University in 1964, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has given generously to his alma mater and other nonprofits in Baltimore, the Baltimore Sun reports. Bloomberg recently gave $120 million to help build the new $1.1 billion Johns Hopkins Hospital and $5 million to the Open Society Institute-Baltimore. With the gift to the hospital, Bloomberg, who has amassed what Forbes estimates to be a $22 billion fortune as the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg L.P., has given some $800 million to Johns Hopkins since he paid his way through college with loans and a job as a parking lot attendant. That makes him the university’s largest donor — and possibly the largest single donor to any university in the United States.
It’s a fair question, is it not? Who really funded the study and what findings did he/she expect to see? Lazy Research In calling for the end of concealed carry rights, the Hopkins team said the following: So-called right to carry (RTC) laws allow individuals who are not legally proscribed from possessing firearms to carry concealed weapons in public, either by making it easy to get a permit to do so, or by not requiring such permits at all. Arguments for RTC laws are premised on the idea that everyone who is eligible to legally own a firearm is law-abiding, and is at low risk for committing a violent crime. Research cited above concerning weak standards for legal firearm ownership calls this into question. A recent review of concealed carry permit holders in North Carolina examined criminal offending in the group over a five-year period. During that period, more than 2,400 permit holders were convicted of crimes (excluding traffic violations), including more than 200 felonies and 10 murders or manslaughters. An additional 900 had been convicted of a drunk driving offense, an offense commonly associated with substance abuse. This paragraph is very misleading. For starters, no one within the gun community argues that all CCW permit holders are perfect, law-abiding citizens. The reality is people are fallible. However, what can be argued, and what I showed when I examined that same NC study is that CCW permit holders are less likely to commit crimes than the general population. This is, indeed, true. It wasn’t just my conclusion, the New York Times indirectly admitted as much in its write up of the study: In the end, most researchers say the scattershot results [about whether concealed carry increases or lowers crime] are not unexpected, because the laws, in all likelihood, have not significantly increased the number of people carrying concealed weapons among those most likely to commit crimes or to be victimized. This key point was omitted from the report, which is tantamount to lazy research on behalf of the Hopkins team (though, it could also be a deliberate obfuscation of the truth). The Luntz Poll With regards to public support for gun control, the researchers dismiss objective Gallup polls, which show that by and large the public opposes tougher gun laws, and instead choose to cite one commissioned by Mayors Against Illegal Guns and conducted by media wordsmith Frank Luntz. I examined this Luntz poll when it was released in July and I noted that the survey is worded in an idealistic fashion, with no mention of an actual piece of legislation that would ground the questions in reality. In other words, there’s no indication of opportunity costs or the practical ramifications of what supporting some of these measures would mean for gun owners. Therefore, my conclusion was rather straightforward: “Overall, the poll is worthless. It doesn’t ask any real, policy-based questions. It’s all political fluff” (for more on this, click here). THIS IS CORRECT....THEY DO NOT INCLUDE SOME OF THE MOST CONCERNING LAWS BEING CONSIDERED AND DELIBERATELY USE BROAD WORDING. Given the fact that this poll is not only useless but also flagrantly biased, one has to ask why a team of professional researchers with PHDs and JDs opted to cite it in their report? Conclusion While I think my complaints against the report’s conclusions have considerable merit, I believe John H. Josselyn, legislative vice president for the Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore, had an infinitely more succinct and cogent rebuke. He told the Baltimore Sun, “Attempting to control criminal behavior through additional gun laws is the rough equivalent of trying to control drunk driving by making it more difficult for sober people to purchase a car.” Indeed. To back up his claim, he pointed to a 1991 Hopkins paper that found no clear difference between homicide rates in the United States and Canada in the late 1970s, even though Americans owned far more handguns then, according to the Sun. It goes with out saying, but instead of looking for ways to limit the availability of guns, the Hopkins team should spend its time and research dollars looking at ways to improve the lives of “high-risk” individuals, ways to get them off of drugs and keep them from resorting to a life of crime. I TOLD THESE HOPKINS PEOPLE THAT IT IS INDEED THE ISSUES OF POVERTY THAT CREATE THE CRIME AND GUN USE. WE ALREADY ARE SENDING PEOPLE TO JAIL FOR BEING POOR....THESE KINDS OF LAWS WILL BE USED TO PUT MORE OF THE SAME PEOPLE IN JAIL FOR LONGER PERIODS OF TIME.
I WILL BE ATTENDING ALL DAY CONFERENCES MONDAY AND TUESDAY SO IF I AM ABLE TO BLOG THESE DAYS IT WILL BE LATER IN THE EVENING.......
PLEASE STAY CONNECTED!!!!!
CINDY WALSHHello!!! I'm back from an all day conference at Johns Hopkins regarding gun control. This is being shown by c-span and it was a good opportunity to speak to what the real causes of gun violence and soaring gun sales are rather than only the ones they want to give to us. I AM ALL FOR GUN CONTROL AND GLAD THIS IS MOVING FORWARD, BUT, AS WE KNOW THESE REGRESSIVE ACTIONS ARE DESIGNED TO ASSESS EVER MORE CRIMINAL PENALTIES FOR GUN POSSESSION JUST AS THEY DID FOR DRUG POSSESSION. LOTS OF PEOPLE IN POVERTY GOING TO JAIL.
We all know what the gun issues are: waiting periods, gun dealer licensing, gun ownership restrictions, tougher enforcement. We sat and listened to detailed descriptions of funding increases for expanding and beefing up Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearm agencies .....oversight, enforcement, prosecution and creating a separate designation for the ATF so that appointments last for 10 years to keep politics out of gun control. THEY ARE AFTER THE BAD GUYS WITH GUNS!!! The last issue makes me see ever more separation of government duties into appointed agencies free from political oversight. That is why we elect politicians and these appointment designations are happening far too frequently at all levels of government. Most of the issues I support.
I wanted to have a chance to state the REAL issue for gun violence and gun control.....THE BAD GUYS AT THE TOP COMMITTING MASSIVE CORPORATE FRAUD TO THE TUNE OF TENS OF TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS CREATING AN WEALTH INEQUITY MAKING POVERTY IN AMERICA DEEPER AND WIDER THAN ANY THIRD WORLD COUNTRY.......ERGO, ALL OF THE GUN CRIME/OWNERSHIP!!! This was the point I made:
only 13% of American citizens say they trust government and corporate institutions because of the massive and systemic corporate fraud and the government corruption that allows trillions of dollars in fraud remain with the people stealing this money. Our government has suspended Rule Of Law and is giving the American people no avenue for justice while having massive sums of public and individual money taken from them. This is why 85% of Americans....that is most of what is called 'Mainstreet' do not trust government and corporate institutions. Wealthy inequity is the cause of increased gun violence and ownership as people fight to survive and ordinary people who are buying AK47s and automatic guns are not planning to use them to shoot a robber coming through a window.....they are buying them because they do not trust government/corporations. THESE ARE THE CAUSES OF INCREASED GUN VIOLENCE AND GUN OWNERSHIP SO THIS SHOULD BE THE TOP PRIORITY IN FIXING THE PROBLEM.......THE ISSUES OF GUNS LAWS AND ENFORCEMENT WILL NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM IF THAT IS THE ONLY APPROACH TAKEN!!!!
Of course, Johns Hopkins et al are not even talking about wealth inequity our massive corporate fraud as the reason. They said 'we don't see that' and 'we don't want excuses' as reasons my concerns were irrelevant. They will go to the grave denying massive fraud took place and think they can silence it away!!!! I DID GET ONTO C-SPAN SAYING THAT, ALTHOUGH I AM SURE THEY WILL EDIT IT OUT AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.
So, it was a great big photo opportunity for Governor O'Malley and his best friend Wall Street Mayor Bloomberg who opened the event. It is after all Mayor Bloomberg and his sociopathic financial industry that is creating all of the instability and poverty. It is sickening that Bloomberg can be a champion for an issue that he directly creates!!!
Wall Street’s Untouchables Wed, 01/09/2013 - 02:07 — Glen Ford
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
The Obama administration is willing to cut an infinity of deals for the Lords of Capital. Two Crimes Of The Century in a row have produced no serious criminal prosecutions of individuals. Attorney General Eric Holder gave out “so many immunities from prosecution he looked like Abraham Lincoln on Emancipation Day.” Wall Street’s Untouchables
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“The feds did what the government always does with Wall Street criminals: they settled.”
The federal government and the nation’s biggest banks have reached yet another settlement in the Crime Of The Century – or, one of those crimes that are supposed to come around only once a century but seem to pop up every year or so nowadays, as finance capitalism rushes towards its final collapse. The $8.5 billion deal is the second settlement in what was called the robo-signing scandal, in which banksters took possession of homes whose mortgages they could not prove they actually owned.
If ever there were a capital corporate crime, this was it – a mega-theft so monstrously destructive it merited French Revolution-style justice, with hundreds of one-way trips to the guillotine. Instead, what we got was presidential intervention, during Obama’s last State of the Union address, when he announced that there would be a settlement with the states to avoid state prosecutions of the banks. The robo-signing investigation would pass into the gentle hands of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, whom the bankers had no reason to fear, and the states would divide up $25 billion, much of which would never reach victimized homeowners.
This week’s second settlement of the same scandal is a bizarre derivative of the first deal. The banks had agreed to hire outside consultants to pour through their books to determine how many homes had been unlawfully seized, loan modifications wrongfully denied, and fees improperly charged. By late last year, the consultants were nowhere near finished, when federal regulators called off the exercise, calling it hopeless and too expensive. So, the feds did what the government always does with Wall Street criminals. They settled, this time for $8.5 billion – while consumer advocates say the actual damage to homeowners was many times that.
“The banks’ books are vast crime scenes.”
It’s an educated guess that the independent auditors took so long sifting through the records because the banks’ books are vast crime scenes, covered in the life’s-blood of millions of consumers. Not the kind of treasure trove of criminal evidence that one should rush through, if one is seeking justice. However, what this administration seeks is not justice, but settlements that allow the banksters to pay a fine, stay out of jail, and get on with crime as usual.
Eric Holder is the Settler-in-Chief. That’s his job. Remember that other Crime Of The Century, the LIBOR interest rate-fixing scandal, the one that reached into every crease and crevice of the world economy. Attorney General Holder vowed to build criminal cases against the perpetrators, which included virtually the entire U.S. and European banking cartel. What he did was give out so many immunities from prosecution he looked like Abraham Lincoln on Emancipation Day. In this way, lots of evidence is gathered, but nobody goes to jail.
Eric Holder is actually the Get Out of Jail Attorney General. Not Get Out of Jail Free – the banks do have to pay a fine, which is called a settlement, and is viewed as a cost of doing business. And since the only business Wall Street knows how to do is crime, it’s back on the roller coaster for another screaming ride – until, finally, the whole contraption goes off the rails. How long? Not long.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.
______________________________________________________IT IS THE BAD GUYS WITH WEALTH COMMITTING CRIMES THAT MAKE ALL OF US IMPOVERISHED AND THE LAWS WE WILL SEE WILL CREATE MORE REASONS TO INCARCERATE!!!Illinois Finding More Ways to Criminalize People: New Gun Laws on the Way…Please Spread the Word Prison CultureI received the following e-mail from the tireless and dedicated Kathy Bankhead who spent years as the chief prosecutor in juvenile court in Cook County. Kathy is one of those prosecutors who just “gets it.” Anyway this is supremely disturbing news… Spread the word far and wide across the state.
A warning to the wise:
Illinois’ crime rate is at or lower than the crime rate in the 80s according to all objective data. The prison population is down in Illinois as well. You may recall that the State wanted to close a wing of Stateville prison or Pontiac prison in order to save money because the prison space was not needed. You may also remember that Thomson prison was never able to fully open because the anticipated incarceration of “Chicagoans” didn’t happen.
Neither Pontiac nor a wing of Stateville were closed because of community and union concerns and protests about lost jobs and decreased economic opportunities. The feds are buying the Thomson facility which employed 77 people for 136 inmates. No one seems very concerned about that government waste of our tax dollars.
This year a new law named for a police officer who was killed by a gang member on probation for a handgun offense was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor. No, it wasn’t a gun control law, like the one the State’s Attorney proposed last year which would have required that lost or stolen guns be reported within 24 hours. It wasn’t a law passed to in order to increase the odds of tracking down and prosecuting gun runners/traffickers. The law had nothing to do with reducing the supply of guns making their way onto the streets and making their way into the hands of the stupid, the scary or the criminal. It wasn’t a law that increased the penalty for being a felon with a gun. It is illegal for felons to possess a gun or ammunition in Illinois.
Gun laws in Illinois: Unless specifically exempted by statute, any Illinois resident who acquires or possesses firearms or firearm ammunition within the state must have in their possession a currently valid Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card issued in his or her name. http://www.isp.state.il.us/docs/ptfire.pdf
Most Illinois laws make it a FELONY to illegally possess a gun in Illinois. (This is not a complete rundown of the law, nor is it intended as legal advice, though it is good advice)
The new law states that any gang member illegally in possession of a gun is guilty of a Class 2 felony which is usually punishable by probation or 3 to 7 years incarceration, must be sentenced to 3 to 10 years in the penitentiary. Probation is not an option. Note: “A [20 year old] West Chicago street gang member today became the first person in DuPage County to be convicted and sentenced under a new state law that makes it illegal for a gang member to have a gun in his possession…[He was] sentenced him to five years in prison…”.
In January 2011 probation will not be available to any person guilty of illegally possessing a gun without a FOID card. It will mean 1 to 3 year prison sentence.
The effect will be increased incarceration of Illinoisans, particularly those from Cook County. This will continue the vicious downward spiral, especially for young men with limited resources/opportunities, of arrest, prosecution, felony conviction, incarceration, parole, further reduced resources/opportunity, recidivism…that increases danger and decreases public safety for the communities from which they come and to which they return, thereby making those communities even less desirable – decreasing resources and opportunities for other young people in the community who then enter the criminal underground economy. Eventually, they will be begin the cycle of arrest, prosecution, felony conviction, incarceration, parole, further reduced resources/opportunity, recidivism…
The purpose of these laws is to decrease gun violence by deterring illegal possession of guns. Interestingly, there has been no educational/informational ads or announcements about these laws and the enhanced penalties. An aggressive public service education campaign aimed at those most likely to be arrested for violating these laws would surely do more to reduce illegal gun possession and the inevitable violence that follows and consequently increase public safety and opportunity for positive individual and community outcomes than imprisonment.
The effect of the new laws will be an increase in incarcerations. The communities whose economies depend on prison populations will be the only ones who benefit in the long run as our prison population and taxes required to maintain them will surely rise.
There has been a lot of talk lately by government officials and community members about “reentry”; I feel a cottage industry about to begin. But that’s a discussion for another time.
It is critical that this information be shared, so that we are able decrease violence, increase opportunity and do not increase the prison population.
What can you do? Please tell everyone, especially young people about the new laws. They are too complex for a full airing in this note, so tell them this:
1. Stay away from guns and ammunition and tell your friends to stay away too, until you are old enough to legally possess them.
2. Having a gun on you, in your house, in your car or the car you are riding in will lead you straight to prison, even if you’ve never been in trouble before.
3. Being in a gang or hanging around with gang members (even your friends) with guns nearby will lead to a long prison sentence even if you have never been in trouble before.
4. If you have a bright future or dream of one, illegal gun possession is the best way to turn your dream into a nightmare. Or, if you have limited resource and opportunities and think it’s tough now, if you think you have few options for success now, get a felony conviction, go to prison and see how much worse it gets for you and your family.
The Illinois State Police used to have a pamphlet on guns laws, but it is outdated. The laws change so fast it is hard to keep up. If anyone has a specific question about gun laws, legal ownership, transportation etc I may be reached at work (773) 783-5100 or by email email@example.com.
Please make sure as many young people as you know learn about this and pass it on to young people they know: Facebook, Twitter, email, text message, phone call, announcement in the church bulletin. Get the word out!
____________________________________________________THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO ONE IN THE WORLD WHO DOESN'T UNDERSTAND THAT POVERTY CREATES CRIME AND VIOLENCE AND THOSE SAME PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT WE HAVE WEALTH INEQUITY BECAUSE OF MASSIVE CRIME AT THE TOP. THE BAD GUYS WITH GUNS ARE SCARING THE BAD GUYS IN FINANCIAL CARTELS AND YOU CAN BET THAT WHILE GUN CONTROL LAWS ARE NOT BAD, THE POLICE WILL MAKE SENDING PEOPLE TO JAIL A PRIORITY!!!!! THAT IS NOT GOOD!!! It's the Inequality, Stupid Eleven charts that explain what's wrong with America.—By Dave Gilson and Carolyn Perot
| March/April 2011 Issue3454
Want more charts like these? See our charts on the secrets of the jobless recovery, the richest 1 percent of Americans, and how the superwealthy beat the IRS.
How Rich Are the Superrich? A huge share of the nation's economic growth over the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of one percent, who now make an average of $27 million per household. The average income for the bottom 90 percent of us? $31,244.
Advertise on MotherJones.com
Note: The 2007 data (the most current) doesn't reflect the impact of the housing market crash. In 2007, the bottom 60% of Americans had 65% of their net worth tied up in their homes. The top 1%, in contrast, had just 10%. The housing crisis has no doubt further swelled the share of total net worth held by the superrich. Winners Take All The superrich have grabbed the bulk of the past three decades' gains.
Download: PDF chart 1 (large) PDF chart 2 (large) | JPG chart 1 (smaller) JPG chart 2 (smaller)
Out of Balance A Harvard business prof and a behavioral economist recently asked more than 5,000 Americans how they thought wealth is distributed in the United States. Most thought that it’s more balanced than it actually is. Asked to choose their ideal distribution of wealth, 92% picked one that was even more equitable.
Download: PDF (large) | JPG (smaller)
Capitol Gain Why Washington is closer to Wall Street than Main Street. member max. est. net worth Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) $451.1 million Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) $435.4 million Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) $366.2 million Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) $294.9 million Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) $285.1 million Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) $283.1 million Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.) $231.2 million Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) $201.5 million Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) $136.2 million Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) $108.1 million combined net worth: $2.8 billion Congressional data from 2009. Family net worth data from 2007. Sources: Center for Responsive Politics; US Census; Edward Wolff, Bard College.
Download: PDF (large) | JPG (smaller)
Who's Winning? For a healthy few, it's getting better all the time.
Download: PDF (large) | JPG (smaller)
Download: PDF (large) | JPG (smaller)
YOUR LOSS,THEIR GAIN How much income have you given up for the top 1 percent?
Download: PDF (large) | JPG (smaller)
WANT MORE CHARTS LIKE THESE? See our charts on the secrets of the jobless recovery, the richest 1 percent of Americans, and how the superwealthy beat the IRS. Some samples:
YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT YOUR GAINS Productivity has surged, but income and wages have stagnated for most Americans. If the median household income had kept pace with the economy since 1970, it would now be nearly $92,000, not $50,000.
MEET THE ELITE ONLY LITTLE PEOPLE PAY TAXES
Income distribution: Emmanuel Saez (Excel)
Net worth: Edward Wolff (PDF)
Household income/income share: Congressional Budget Office
Real vs. desired distribution of wealth: Michael I. Norton and Dan Ariely (PDF)
Net worth of Americans vs. Congress: Federal Reserve (average); Center for Responsive Politics (Congress)
Your chances of being a millionaire: Calculation based on data from Wolff (PDF); US Census (household and population data)
Member of Congress' chances: Center for Responsive Politics
Wealthiest members of Congress: Center for Responsive Politics
Tax cut votes: New York Times (Senate; House)
Wall street profits, 2007-2009: New York State Comptroller (PDF)
Unemployment rate, 2007-2009: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Home equity, 2007-2009: Federal Reserve, Flow of Funds data, 1995-2004 and 2005-2009 (PDFs)
CEO vs. worker pay: Economic Policy Institute
Historic tax rates: Calculations based on data from The Tax Foundation
Federal tax revenue: Joint Committee on Taxation (PDF)
Read also: Kevin Drum on the decline of Big Labor, the rise of Big Business, and why the Obama era fizzled so soon.
More Mother Jones charty goodness: How the rich get richer; how the poor get poorer; who owns Congress?
WE JUST GOT THE HINT AT THE VAT IN MARYLAND......WE DO NOT WANT A FLAT SALES TAX......THEY WILL MAKE THIS LOOK LIKE A WIN FOR YOU AND ME, BUT IT WILL BE A PIB WITH LIPSTICK!!!!!
SHOUT LOUDLY AND STRONGLY AGAINST THIS TAX!!One issue that O'Malley has said he sees as a priority is reforming the referendum process because it makes it too easy for the public to challenge what the Maryland General Assembly passes into law. DOES THAT SOUND LIKE A DEMOCRAT!!! NO, IT SOUNDS LIKE A CAPTURED CORPORATE POL TRYING TO TAKE EVER MORE POWER FROM THE PEOPLE TO AFFECT CHANGE IN GOVERNMENT. Make no mistake, this is not only about Republicans challenging issues, it is about the people's plans to use the referendum to change Baltimore's charter involving mayoral powers and city council term limits and recall. O'Malley knows we will have an easy time of collecting signatures on petitions for these referendum items. SHOUT LOUDLY AND STRONGLY AGAINST MAKING IT HARDER FOR PEOPLE TO CHALLENGE LOCAL AND STATE LEGISLATION!!!!!The other issue that seems to be rising is the idea of eliminating the gas tax and having one state sales tax to cover all taxation. They are saying this because Virginia is doing it. Well, Virginia is a very conservative and corporate state and they are doing it for a reason........IT IS A VAT FORM OF TAXATION THAT IS VERY REGRESSIVE IN THAT IT MAKES IT IMPOSSIBLE TO FOLLOW WHETHER BUSINESSES ACTUALLY PAY THE TAX. With Maryland having almost no corporate oversight, what this tax method would do is allow businesses to simply fail to record all of the necessary documentation to track the tax accountability process and the result is that the consumer at the end of the selling process will be the only one paying the tax. Value Added Taxation is simply yet another way for businesses to avoid paying any of the tax at all.The way it will work is that the poor and middle-class who have little money that they do not spend on consumption will pay this tax on all that they earn while the rich who spend little of what they earn as a percentage in income will pay very little and corporations that are supposed to keep all kinds of documentation as to buying and selling as percentages of their tax amount ignore it. Can you imagine an IRS audit that tries to track each stage of a product's manufacturing? IT IS AN OUTRAGE AND IS SIMPLY AN ATTEMPT TO PUSH ALL TAXATION OFF ONTO THE MIDDLE/LOWER CLASS. Although they pretty much do that now.....this will make it official.VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!YOU KNOW YOU ARE IN TROUBLE WHEN FORBES PUSHES IT!!! Once Considered Unthinkable, U.S. Sales Tax Gets Fresh Look Demonstrators called for a suspension of value-added tax on food in Manila last year. Such a tax is attracting real interest among U.S. policymakers. By Lori Montgomery Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, May 27, 2009 With budget deficits soaring and President Obama pushing a trillion-dollar-plus expansion of health coverage, some Washington policymakers are taking a fresh look at a money-making idea long considered politically taboo: a national sales tax. Common around the world, including in Europe, such a tax -- called a value-added tax, or VAT -- has not been seriously considered in the United States. But advocates say few other options can generate the kind of money the nation will need to avert fiscal calamity. At a White House conference earlier this year on the government's budget problems, a roomful of tax experts pleaded with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner to consider a VAT. A recent flurry of books and papers on the subject is attracting genuine, if furtive, interest in Congress. And last month, after wrestling with the White House over the massive deficits projected under Obama's policies, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee declared that a VAT should be part of the debate. "There is a growing awareness of the need for fundamental tax reform," Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said in an interview. "I think a VAT and a high-end income tax have got to be on the table."
A VAT is a tax on the transfer of goods and services that ultimately is borne by the consumer. Highly visible, it would increase the cost of just about everything, from a carton of eggs to a visit with a lawyer. It is also hugely regressive, falling heavily on the poor. But VAT advocates say those negatives could be offset by using the proceeds to pay for health care for every American -- a tangible benefit that would be highly valuable to low-income families. Liberals dispute that notion. "You could pay for it regressively and have people at the bottom come out better off -- maybe. Or you could pay for it progressively and they'd come out a lot better off," said Bob McIntyre, director of the nonprofit Citizens for Tax Justice, which has a health financing plan that targets corporations and the rich. DO YOU REALLY THINK THE POOR AND MIDDLE-CLASS WILL COME OUT PROGRESSIVELY BETTER OR WILL IT BE REGRESSIVE LIKE EVERY SINGLE TAX WE HAVE!!!! A White House official said a VAT is "unlikely to be in the mix" as a means to pay for health-care reform. "While we do not want to rule any credible idea in or out as we discuss the way forward with Congress, the VAT tax, in particular, is popular with academics but highly controversial with policymakers," said Kenneth Baer, a spokesman for White House Budget Director Peter Orszag. Still, Orszag has hired a prominent VAT advocate to advise him on health care: Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and author of the 2008 book "Health Care, Guaranteed." Meanwhile, former Federal Reserve chairman Paul A. Volcker, chairman of a task force Obama assigned to study the tax system, has expressed at least tentative support for a VAT. "Everybody who understands our long-term budget problems understands we're going to need a new source of revenue, and a VAT is an obvious candidate," said Leonard Burman, co-director of the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, who testified on Capitol Hill this month about his own VAT plan. "It's common to the rest of the world, and we don't have it." Seeking New Revenue The surge of interest in a VAT is testament to the extraordinary depth of the nation's money troubles. While some conservatives have long argued that a consumption tax would provide a simpler and more efficient alternative to the byzantine U.S. income tax code, this time it's all about the money. The federal budget deficit is projected to approach $1.3 trillion next year, the highest ever except for this year, when the deficit is forecast to exceed $1.8 trillion. The Treasury is borrowing 46 cents of every dollar it spends, largely from China and other foreign creditors, who are growing increasingly uneasy about the security of their investments. Unless Congress comes up with some serious cash, expanding the nation's health-care system will only add to the problem. Obama wants to raise income taxes for high earners and impose new levies on business, but those moves would not generate enough cash to cover the cost of health care, much less balance the budget, and they have not been fully embraced by Congress. Obama's plan to tax greenhouse-gas emissions could raise trillions of dollars, but again, Congress is balking. Key lawmakers are considering other ways to pay for health reform, including new taxes on sugary soda, alcohol and employer-provided health insurance. The last proposal could raise a lot of money -- nearly $1 trillion over the next five years, according to White House budget documents. But options on the table would raise a fraction of that sum. And while it might pay for health care, it would barely dent deficits projected to total nearly $4 trillion over the next five years and to grow rapidly in the future, as baby boomers draw on Social Security and Medicare. Enter the VAT, one of the world's most popular taxes, in use in more than 130 countries. Among industrialized nations, rates range from 5 percent in Japan to 25 percent in Hungary and in parts of Scandinavia. A 21 percent VAT has permitted Ireland to attract investment by lowering its corporate tax rate. The VAT has advantages: Because producers, wholesalers and retailers are each required to record their transactions and pay a portion of the VAT, the tax is hard to dodge. It punishes spending rather than savings, which the administration hopes to encourage. And the threat of a VAT could pull the country out of recession, some economists argue, by hurrying consumers to the mall before the tax hits. A VAT's Bottom Line What would it cost? Emanuel argues in his book that a 10 percent VAT would pay for every American not entitled to Medicare or Medicaid to enroll in a health plan with no deductibles and minimal copayments. In his 2008 book, "100 Million Unnecessary Returns," Yale law professor Michael J. Graetz estimates that a VAT of 10 to 14 percent would raise enough money to exempt families earning less than $100,000 -- about 90 percent of households -- from the income tax and would lower rates for everyone else. And in a paper published last month in the Virginia Tax Review, Burman suggests that a 25 percent VAT could do it all: Pay for health-care reform, balance the federal budget and exempt millions of families from the income tax while slashing the top rate to 25 percent. A gallon of milk would jump from $3.69 to $4.61, and a $5,000 bathroom renovation would suddenly cost $6,250, but the nation's debt would stabilize and everybody could see a doctor. Sales Tax Gains Momentum Burman, who helped House Democrats craft an unsuccessful 2007 plan to repeal the alternative minimum tax, said he's received a number of phone calls from lawmakers interested in his idea, though "they can't quite imagine how to make it happen politically." Burman said the 25 percent rate has caused some sticker shock, and he's trying to figure out how to bring it down. Graetz's proposal drew an endorsement from Volcker, who last year called it "a sensible plan for reform." (Volcker did not respond to a request for comment.) It also has piqued the interest of Conrad, the Senate Budget Committee chairman who argues that it could be modified to accommodate Obama's pledge not to raise taxes on families who make less than $200,000 a year. "I think interest is quietly picking up," Graetz said. "People are beginning to recognize that the mathematics of the current system are just unsustainable. You have to do something. And a VAT has got to be on the table if you want to do something big and serious." Still, the Senate Finance Committee declined to include a VAT among the options it is considering to pay for health reform. And even VAT supporters doubt the tax will find a place among the tax-reform proposals the Volcker panel has been asked to produce by Dec. 4. Though the nation's fiscal outlook is grim, Burman said "the situation will have to get more desperate" before lawmakers are likely to consider a new levy aimed directly at the pocketbooks of every one of their constituents. Most lawmakers are still looking for "a painless source of revenue" to overhaul the health-care system and dig the nation out of debt, Burman said. "Who knows?" he added. "Maybe the tooth fairy will bring that to them." __________________________________________________THE PEOPLE CAN KNOW THEY ARE IN TROUBLE WHEN FORBES PROMOTES THE IDEA OF A VAT. WE ARE HEARING RUMORS AS TO JUST THAT IN MARYLAND. YOU CAN BELIEVE THEY WON'T ANNOUNCE IT OFFICIALLY UNTIL THEY ARE READY TO VOTE AS PEOPLE WILL BE OUTRAGED.THEY WILL TRY TO MAKE IT SOUND THAT CORPORATIONS PAY INTO THIS SYSTEM AT EVERY STAGE BUT IN REALITY THEY PAY NOTHING AND IT IS SO REGRESSIVE THAT THE POOREST PAY THE HIGHEST PERCENTAGE SINCE ALL THEIR MONEY IS SPENT ON CONSUMPTION. THE RICH WHO SPEND A VERY SMALL AMOUNT OF MONEY ON CONSUMPTION RELATIVE TO THEIR EARNINGS WILL WIN BIG....CORPORATIONS WILL JUST IGNORE IT AS NO ONE WILL CHECK THE DOCUMENTATION TO VERIFY......VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!!Want Lower Corporate Tax Rates? Pay A Value Added Tax
| 2/22/2012 @ 5:03PM Janet Novack, Forbes Staff The Obama Administration today released its long promised plan for reforming the corporate income tax, proposing to eliminate a slew of special tax breaks, while bringing the top rate down from its current 35% to 28% and to 25% for domestic manufacturers. But the document, a slim 25 pages that the Administration calls a “framework” for reform, is short on specifics and likely won’t do much on its own to move corporate reform ahead. “This proposal is designed to start the process of tax reform. This process is going to take some time. It will be politically contentious,’’ Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told reporters. No kidding. Just about everyone agrees that it hurts the U.S.’s international competitive position to be tied with Japan for having the highest stated corporate income tax rate (including state levies) of the developed countries. While the U.S.’ effective corporate tax rate is closer to the average, the Administration paper does a reasonable job of setting out the problems with the current system: It produces widely different tax rates for different industries (leading to unfairness and skewed investment decisions); encourages companies to finance themselves with debt instead of equity; creates incentives to shift profits and production overseas; fosters games playing and tax shelters; and is complicated for small business. A mess. But bringing the rate down to 28% (let alone the 25% or lower Republicans want) without increasing the deficit, is no easy trick. In fact, the dirty little secret of corporate tax reform is this: you can’t pay for a low rate just by closing questionable corporate loopholes. There aren’t enough of them. So how would Obama get to 28%? The framework suggests, as the President did in his State of The Union address, some sort of minimum tax on multinationals which park profits overseas. In addition, it rehashes earlier Obama proposals to get rid of last in-first out accounting and to end special breaks for oil and gas companies; for the carried interest earned by hedge fund and private equity managers; for depreciation of corporate jets; and for inside build up of corporate owned life insurance. (Zing to Exxon-Mobil, Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman, Gulfstream Aerospace and MetLife.) As the Administration admits, however, if you add all those items up, they still don’t pay for a 28% rate. And so, the framework says, reformers will have to draw from a vague “menu of options” including changing depreciation schedules, limiting deductions for interest and taxing larger “non-corporate” entities. (In a post here, contributor Dean Zerbe explains what this “non-corporate” entities reference might mean for small and medium sized businesses.) The lack of detail isn’t really surprising, even if it is disappointing. “They don’t want to put political capital behind it,’’ observes economist Martin A. Sullivan, a former Treasury and Congressional staffer and author of Corporate Tax Reform: Taxing Profits in the 21st Century. Sullivan, who blogs for Tax Analysts here , isn’t just picking on the Administration, mind you. He finds the same fault with other corporate reform proposals, including from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman David Camp (R-MI). “They advertise lower rates, but nobody is willing to belly up to the bar and say how they’re going to pay for it, and until they do that, you have no real credibility to say you’re serious about reform. It’s like saying, `I’m going to lose 40 pounds.’” Sullivan notes that other countries have paid for lower corporate rates by raising taxes on individuals, either through higher taxes on capital gains and/or dividends or through a higher value added tax. Of course Republicans resist any increase in taxes on investment income. And both parties treat the notion of the U.S. adopting a VAT –a type of sales tax created by the French—as political poison. “The arithmetic is brutal,’’one Administration official said in explaining why the new proposal doesn’t take the corporate rate below 28%. “Sometimes countries will reduce their corporate tax by increasing their value added tax. That’s not an option in our case.” Read here about a plan that would use revenue from a national consumption tax to lower the corporate tax rate to 15%, while eliminating the income tax on families earning less than $100,000. _________________________________________________THIS IS SERIOUS FOLKS....THEY WILL TRY TO MAKE IT SOUND AS IF IT IS THE REPUBLICANS WHO WILL BE HURT, BUT FOR THOSE OF US WANTING TO CURB THE POWERS OF GOVERNMENT IT IS AN ATTEMPT TO MAKE THE PROCESS HARDER FOR ANYONE TO CHALLENGE LEGISLATION OR THE CITY CHARTER!!!!!
SHOUT LOUDLY AND STRONGLY AGAINST THIS !!! O’Malley threatened by the voice of the people through the referendum petition When our elected officials pass a bill that is unpopular with the people, our only recourse and constitutional right is to petition it to referendum, which puts it on the ballot at the next general election so the voters can have final say. This election cycle, three bills passed by the state general assembly were petitioned to referendum by the people in our exercise of the citizen’s veto power over the legislature. The current process to petition a bill to the ballot is cumbersome, and requires tens of thousands of signatures to be collected in a short timeframe under stringent rules. As a result, only three of the approximately 3,000 bills passed in this cycle made it to the ballot. That represents one-tenth of one percent of the total bills considered. Governor O’Malley thinks that’s too much say to be in the hands of the people. Because the process is citizen-driven and undertaken by volunteers, only the most radical and unpopular legislation is petitioned to referendum. And after that, it becomes an expensive messaging war between the citizens who sponsored the petition and the special interests and legislature who supported the bill. That messaging war was why the three referred laws were not overturned. And the voters even chose not to veto those bills, so what’s he complaining about? He can’t tolerate the embarrassment of the citizens voicing disapproval? He doesn’t want any roadblocks to threaten his ramming of radical bills through the legislature? He’s annoyed by having to defend his positions to the public who dare to question the decisions of elected officials? O’Malley is apparently not familiar with the First Amendment which intentionally gives the people a stake in the system of checks and balances over the government. Governor O’Malley said in Robert Lang’s article, "I think we have been best served in our state in the over 200 years or more of our history, by a representative democracy rather then plebiscites.” And so the messaging war begins. O’Malley intends to paint our Constitutional right to petition as somehow overturning our representative democracy. What a spoiled, power-greedy statement by our state’s leader. And it doesn't stop there. Apparently the order has been sent. Baltimore County Councilman Tom Quirk recently told one of our petition leaders that he intends to make the process harder as well. Having a five to two majority on the council must not be enough. Don’t let O’Malley and gang take our constitutional rights away. Protect our First Amendment rights by calling and emailing O’Malley, your state delegates and senator, and our county councilmen. It only takes a few minutes to stand up for our rights.
I want to continue with O'Malley and Maryland General Assembly's legislative agenda this winter. Maryland citizens are the big losers in having a Third Way corporate political class and we are all feeling the pain. I have spoken to the corporatizing of all of our public schools and today I'd like to speak to O'Malley's handing off of our utilities to these corporate mega-monsters. This session will include BGE, fracking, and wind farms. I have spoken to the latter and will look at BGE/Exelon.I attended a public open meeting with the Maryland Public Service Commission this week about an almost double rate increase for gas and electric. These are the same people to whom I ranted against the last rate hike and against the BGE/Exelon merger. Each time they simply go ahead and allow what hurts the people and enriches the shareholders. BGE HAS A HISTORY OF ENRICHING THEIR SHAREHOLDERS THAT WOULD TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY.....WHO ARE THESE 1%. THEY ARE THE ONES CONTROLLING BALTIMORE PUBLIC POLICIES.This was my question for Baltimore's corporate/public media:Yesterday provided a prime example as to why Baltimore needs a public media station and not one captured by corporate interests as with WYPR. Fraser Smith completely neglected the primary government news item of the week.....the BGE rate increase. Did you know there were public meetings this week with the Commission regarding almost doubling the rate for electric and gas to pay for Exelon's past operational expenses and their future infrastructure development? I asked the Commission where they advertised and they said....in the legal section of the newspaper and on their Maryland Public Service Commission website. How many people peruse those two places? Almost no one....those that do will be the shareholders that benefit from this bonanza. How many are against it? Almost everyone. Remember early in O'Malley's first term as governor when he suggested this same rate increase when working with then Constellation Energy and the outrage was so great he quickly changed directions and ran for the second term as governor with saying he fought to protect the people from this very rate increase? THAT'S RIGHT....HE LIED AGAIN. HOW DOES O'MALLEY KEEP ALL THESE LIES STRAIGHT? THE SAME WAY LANCE ARMSTRONG DID.... Needless to say no one was at any of the public meetings for this rate increase because no one knew about the meetings. You see, they didn't want the public outrage this time. I spoke and started with this fact: on the west coast where democracy is alive and kicking, an issue like doubling the cost of domestic energy would have been in all media weeks before the public comment. Radio, TV, and news print would have had the issue daily with talk shows debating the pros and cons and community groups speaking about how all of this affected them. Yes, even the shareholders of Exelon could have spoken as to the windfall this will be for their $1 billion a year profit corporation. In Baltimore and Maryland.....absolute silence.....just like election primaries there is no democracy. I told the Commission an empty room shows Maryland does not want a participatory democracy. The point I made in the rate increase is this: Before the merger between BGE and Exelon, all public officials and indeed the print newspapers assured the public there would be no rate increase with the merger. THEY PUBLICLY STATED NO RATE INCREASE WITH THE EXELON MERGER. It is malfeasance to deliberately misinform the public towards policy that is against public interest....which this is. Secondly, I brought up the $1 billion settlement from rate payer fraud by Constellation several years ago that should have transferred to Exelon with the merger. Nothing has been said of this $1 billion settlement throughout the merger deal and I told the People's Council that the people need to know the status of that $1 billion and why it is not tapped for these funds rather than another rate increase.. The People's Council is appointed by the State Attorney General and if the AG has suspended Rule of Law to protect corporate wealth, you know his appointments will be working to protect shareholder and corporate wealth over people as well. I will be watching to see if that People's Council makes my points loudly and strongly!I WANT TO REINTRODUCE THE HISTORY OF MARYLAND CITIZENS BEING PREYED UPON BY AN UNREGULATED PRIVATE ENERGY COMPANY. THEY LITERALLY OWE THE RATEPAYERS BILLIONS OF DOLLARS PER SETTLEMENTS AND AGREEMENTS THAT HAVE NEVER BEEN MET. EACH TIME A GOVERNOR SIGNS A DEAL MOVING THE COMPANY FURTHER INTO THE HANDS OF EVER LARGER CORPORATIONS, THE RATEPAYER IS TOLD WE WILL GET $100 REBATE OR $200 REBATE. WE ARE OWED A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF MONEY AND WE WANT IT NOW!!!! FORGET THE RATE INCREASE!!!
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!!THESE GUYS ARE DESPICABLE!!!Deregulation deck stacked against ratepayersMarch 15, 2006|By JAY HANCOCK | JAY HANCOCK,SUN COLUMNISTDon't blame deregulation for the 72 percent pop in electricity bills that Baltimore Gas and Electric customers will see after July 1, says BGE."It is not deregulation that has failed," BGE spokesman Rob Gould said on WYPR radio last week. "The real cause for the price increase is the world energy market." But for all of BGE's and parent Constellation Energy's portrayals of themselves as victims of high energy costs, the facts show not only that regulation would have softened this kind of rate shock but that deregulation was fixed from the start in their favor.For one thing, deregulation was what exposed BGE ratepayers to the world energy market by cutting them off from the low-cost coal and nuclear generators BGE used to own.On Sunday, I wrote that electricity bills in Michigan are a third less than what BGE's will be because regulators stopped deregulation short and forced Detroit Edison to keep its coal and nuclear plants, passing the low cost to households.This column revisits the heart of deregulation - the 2000 sweetheart deal that shifted BGE's generators to parent Constellation and that is now being re-examined by the General Assembly.The transaction - basically a paper shuffle - morphed what should have been benefits for households into profits for Constellation and bonuses for its bosses.The generation plants changed hands on another fateful July 1 - July 1, 2000. One day they were owned by the heavily regulated BGE. The next day they were owned by Constellation, which could then peddle their megawatts to anybody and eventually force BGE and ratepayers to bid for juice in the open market.Of course, you're saying, Constellation must have paid BGE ratepayers a fair price for those valuable facilities.When Potomac Electric Power Co. sold its generation plants to Mirant Corp. in 2000, the resulting $424 million capital gain paid for, among other things, basically seven weeks of free electricity for Pepco customers in Maryland.BGE customers, alas, got no such gain. For some reason Constellation got to take over BGE's plants at book value. No cash changed hands. No premium was paid. No gains flowed back to customers.In fact, it was just the opposite. You, the electricity customers, paid Constellation to take the valuable plants off BGE's hands!Like other power companies, Constellation argued that the plants would become uncompetitive after deregulation and that electricity customers should compensate them, essentially helping to pay the facilities' mortgages. The result was the "stranded-cost" charge, added to every bill you paid for the last six years. The charge, which disappears after June, has put an extra half-billion dollars in Constellation's pocket.Of course the plants didn't become uncompetitive. They soared in value like Google stock. As rising gas and oil prices have driven up the market price for megawatts, efficient coal and nuclear plants have become gold mines.The most striking example is the Calvert Cliffs nuclear generation plant, which Constellation put on its books in 2000 for $1 billion. Last fall Calvert Cliffs was worth between $2.6 billion and $4.3 billion, according to consultant Global Energy Decisions, which calculates "blue book" values for generation assets.And don't forget that most of the half-billion-dollar stranded-cost bailout that Constellation collected was linked to Calvert Cliffs, so its cost basis for the plant is actually even lower than $1 billion.That's a ton of money ratepayers left on the table.No wonder Constellation's profit went up 45 percent last quarter. No wonder Constellation bosses are seeing millions of dollars in stock option gains.To be fair, there are several things to be said on Constellation's behalf.Along with the 2000 transfer of the generation plants came a 6.5 percent rate cut for BGE customers, which lasts until July 1. Even so, Pepco customers in Maryland got the same rate cut - plus free kilowatts from the sale of Pepco's generation plants. The 6.5 percent rate cut should have been just a start.Another valid point Constellation will make is that capital investment by current shareholders and management-driven efficiencies are key reasons for the huge jump in its plants' value.Across the country, new operators "have really turned around what had been relatively mediocre performance among nuclear plants in the past," says Gary Hunt, president of Global Energy Advisors, a Global Energy Decisions affiliate.No doubt. But that doesn't explain all of the gains made by Constellation. And it doesn't change the fact that ratepayers got a deal that amounted to having to pay down the mortgage but not being able to benefit when the property doubled or quadrupled in value.Stranded cost? I call it a stranded rate cut for BGE customers.Come on, Constellation. Give back the half-billion - as legislators have begun discussing - to soften the 72 percent rate shock. And admit that deregulation has worked a lot better for you guys than us.jay.hancock@baltsun,com
________________________________________________YOU SEE BELOW THAT THERE WAS A SETTLEMENT THAT HAD CONSTELLATION PAYING A REBATE TO RATEPAYERS OVER 10 YEARS STARTING IN 2007. THAT MEANS WE WOULD RECEIVE IT UNTIL 2017. WE INSTEAD RECEIVED $100FROM THE MERGER WITH EXELON AND THAT WAS TERMED A PERK OF THE MERGER......IT WAS SIMPLY THEM PAYING A BILL OWED BY CONSTELLATION.THE PEOPLE ARE TOLD O'MALLEY WON $100 FOR US AS A RESULT OF THE MERGER.......IT WAS MONEY ALREADY OWED. Mar 3, 2008, 8:11pm EST Constellation Energy files suit against state over $386M in rebates Staff Baltimore Business Journal Baltimore-based Constellation Energy Group filed a federal lawsuit late Monday to recoup about $386 million in ratepayer rebates the company alleges were illegal. Filed in Baltimore's U.S. District Court, the lawsuit seeks to stop the state from continuing to give $38.6 million a year for 10 years to customers of Baltimore Gas & Electric Co., the Constellation-owned utility, designed to offset a proposed 72 percent rate hike. Lawmakers approved the rebates in 2006, which ratepayers began receiving January 2007. They also capped the rate increase at 15 percent from July 2006 through July 2007. The lawsuit also asks the court to uphold a 1999 deregulation agreement between Constellation, BGE and the state. Constellation officials said two Maryland court rulings have already upheld the 1999 decision by lawmakers on electric restructuring. "A contract is a contract, and the state must abide by the rule of law," said Mayo Shattuck III, CEO of Constellation Energy Group (NYSE: CEG) in a statement released Monday. "We take this action reluctantly and only after pursuing alternative approaches to resolving these disputes." The Maryland Public Service Commission is holding hearings on the impact of the state's decision in 1999 to deregulate the power industry. Constellation and BGE executives and PSC officials have argued over a report the PSC released alleging that BGE overcharged ratepayers by about $1 billion following deregulation. In a Feb. 6 hearing, BGE officials refuted the report and told regulators that ratepayers received a benefit of about $2 billion. The state of Maryland stepped in Feb. 29 with its own federal lawsuit filed in Baltimore City Circuit Court in an effort to safeguard the rebates and keep Constellation from going to court to get them back.
___________________________________________________THE 1999 AGREEMENT TO DEREGULATE WAS A CATASTROPHE FOR THE PUBLIC ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY AS ALL OF THESE UTILITIES IMMEDIATELY STARTED PREYING UPON PEOPLE. THE AGREEMENT TIED $2.7 BILLION TO CALVERT CLIFFS NUCLEAR PLANTS FOR UPGRADES TO BE SPENT BY 2010...THAT'S 10 YEARS. WHEN A DEAL WAS CUT TO GIVE THESE NUCLEAR PLANTS TO CONSTELLATION THE REQUIREMENT TO PAY FOR THOSE UPGRADES DISAPPEARED AND SUDDENLY THE RATEPAYER WAS PAYING SO MUCH IN EACH BILL FOR THESE UPGRADES. THEN WE FIND OUT THAT THE AMOUNT WE ARE PAYING WILL PROVIDE A SUPER-SIZED PROFIT OVER THE COSTS CONSTELLATION WILL INCUR FOR ANY UPGRADE IF THEY EVER HAPPEN. THE LAST I'VE HEARD IS THAT EXELON IS LOOKING TO BE RID OF THESE PLANTS AND HAS YET TO START ANY UPGRADES.SO BILLIONS OF DOLLARS ARE OWED THE RATEPAYERS ONE WAY OR ANOTHER AND THESE POLITICIANS WITH O'MALLEY THE LAST TO HAVE HIS HAND ON IT HAVE THE AGREEMENTS SO CONVOLUTED AS TO MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO FOLLOW. YET, O'MALLEY DOESN'T HESITATE TO CALL FOR THE RATE INCREASE EXELON IS DEMANDING!! WE ARE TALKING ABOUT SOME OF THE DIRTIEST POLITICIANS AROUND!!!!VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!ELECTRICITY Panel Questions Cost Of Nuclear Shutdown The Pubic Service Commission says that electric customers are being overcharged $1.4 billion for the decommissioning of the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant. (By James A. Parcell -- The Washington Post) By Lisa Rein Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, February 27, 2008 Constellation Energy Group will likely receive a $1.4 billion windfall because the company is charging customers more than it will eventually need to decommission the Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant, Maryland utility regulators said yesterday.
The overpayment estimate came as Public Service Commission members grilled attorneys for the Baltimore-based energy giant on the terms of the 1999 deal to open Maryland's regulated electricity market to competition. Residential electric bills have soared since rate caps began to come off four years ago. The commission and lawmakers are searching for relief for customers. Attorneys for Constellation said at yesterday's hearing in Baltimore that it is too early to determine how inflation and investment returns will affect the cost of dismantling Calvert Cliffs. But they said electricity customers gambled when the deregulation deal was signed that the money they would pay would cover the costs, exceed them or fall short. "It could be a windfall, but that's how a hedge works," said Michael Naeve, a Constellation attorney. The deregulation law now under review allowed Pepco and Baltimore Gas and Electric to sell their power plants to unregulated companies. In BGE's case, the plants, including Calvert Cliffs in Lusby, went to the utility's parent company, Constellation. BGE is Maryland's largest utility, serving 1.1 million electric customers in the Baltimore area, Prince George's, Howard, Anne Arundel and Montgomery counties. Constellation took over the nuclear plant, but did not assume the federally mandated costs to dismantle it -- an expensive, lengthy process scheduled for one reactor in 2034 and the other in 2036. State regulators are raising questions now about how much is appropriate for customers to pay and whether the agreed-upon sum, which comes to about $18 million a year, will be enough to get the job done or put too much in the company's pocket. "I assume you didn't intend to profit from this aspect of the  settlement," Commission Chairman Steven B. Larsen told lawyers for Constellation at the hearing. If customers continue to contribute decommissioning payments in their monthly bills, "It appears they will be potentially hugely overpaying by $1.4 billion," Larsen said. "There's potentially a vast difference between the actual ratepayer liability and the costs that may be incurred by Calvert Cliffs." Larsen said after the hearing that the commission will recommend to the General Assembly whether some of the money can be recovered. Constellation executives declined to appear at a similar hearing on decommissioning costs three weeks ago, and regulators were unable to get many of the answers they were seeking from attorneys for BGE, which remains a regulated company. But Constellation agreed to appear yesterday, quieting a war of rhetoric that had erupted between the company and Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) over disputed terms of the deregulation deal. The company has accused the commission of creating a hostile regulatory climate by trying to undo parts of the deal. Much of yesterday's hearing focused on how Constellation is calculating the costs to dismantle Calvert Cliffs, a process that will require the cleanup of radioactively contaminated plants and equipment and the removal of radioactive fuel. Constellation has scaled down the estimated costs in reports to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission since 2003. Naeve told commissioners that last year the difference from previous calculations came to about 4 percent. "Time will bear out" the real price, he said. But Larsen said customers were on the hook for more payments when the company received permission from federal regulators in 2000 to extend the life of the plant, which originally was scheduled to close sometime between 2014 and 2016. "They signed onto a potentially never-ending liability," he said. Regulators also said yesterday that about $160 million of the money customers already have paid for decommissioning is being held by an unregulated affiliate of Constellation, and questioned whether it is being put aside for the nuclear plant. Naeve said the money is being used for "general corporate purposes" but would be allocated for decommissioning when it is needed.
_____________________________________________HERE WE HAVE THE SAME CORPORATION COMMITTING YET ANOTHER CRIME AGAINST RATEPAYERS, THIS TIME IN NATURAL GAS....AND THE FINES ARE SO SMALL THAT THIS COMPANY WILL DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN. FERC warns power, natural gas traders on manipulation
NEW YORK/HOUSTON | Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:43pm EDT (Reuters) - The top U.S. energy regulator on Thursday warned power and natural gas traders that the agency has beefed up enforcement activity to discourage market manipulation, citing last week's record fine against Constellation Energy. That's the message Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Jon Wellinghoff told Reuters the agency is sending with a record $245 million fine against Baltimore-based Constellation Energy."The penalty amount will send the signal that you will not profit from market manipulation," Wellinghoff said. "It will cost you dearly. There is no profit to be made in manipulating the market; it will be a huge net loss for you."Constellation agreed to pay a $135 million civil penalty and to disgorge unjust profits of $110 million. It was the largest penalty FERC has imposed since Congress expanded its enforcement authority in 2005 to prevent another electricity crisis like the one that hit California in 2000 and 2001.
- iBy Scott DiSavino and Eileen O'Grady
Before the Constellation settlement FERC had only issued $172 million in fines since 2007.FERC's enforcement staff determined Constellation engaged in manipulation in New York from September 2007 to December 2008, resulting in economic losses to market participants who bought and sold energy in the New York and New England power grids. Specifics of the trading violations outlined in FERC's agreement with Constellation should also be viewed by industry as a message, commissioner Cheryl LaFleur told Reuters."The details of the settlement agreement which sets out what the alleged market manipulation was as well as the compliance that we are expecting from the companies going forward - whether intended as a message or not - it is a good message for people who are market participants to learn from," LaFleur said."It's good reading," she said.More than 10 years after the collapse of Enron and the California energy crisis, which was exacerbated by illegal trading activity and cost companies billions of dollars, the need for constant market oversight remains, Wellinghoff said."It will always be necessary to have oversight and enforcement of these markets," Wellinghoff told Reuters. "You have to make sure people are trading and operating fairly and openly. There are going to be some people to test the limits and others who will go beyond the limits and actually engage in fraud, manipulation and abuse."FERC has been building its enforcement office in the years since the California crisis."We're now maturing to a full robust office that has the capability to ensure these markets operate fairly for consumers," Wellinghoff said.BEEFING UP ENFORCEMENTAdding staff with analytical skills and energy market experience will allow the enforcement division "to dive deeper into the data and be able to bring cases where they are appropriate," he said.Wellinghoff credited former New Mexico U.S. Attorney Norman Bay, named to lead the FERC enforcement office in 2009, for prosecutorial and energy market expertise.As part of the Constellation settlement, FERC plans to grant $1 million to six regional transmission grid operators (RTOs), including New York and New England, to enable them to better analyze trading and price data."The RTOs are in a good position to identify discrepancies," FERC Commissioner John Norris told Reuters. "They deal with the power markets every day. We're trying to enhance our capacity to watch the market by enhancing the RTOs ability.""My hope is people will realize there are serious repercussions for manipulation. We have a very strong investigations team, beefed up with a new division of analysis and surveillance. So the end goal is we have less to investigate," Norris said.CONSTELLATION DENIES WRONGDOINGConstellation CEO Mayo Shattuck said the company did not admit to any wrongdoing but agreed to settle the case to avoid litigation and pave the way for its $7.9 billion merger with Chicago-based energy company Exelon Corp.But Wellinghoff said in a statement that FERC would hold senior managers of "all companies" accountable for monitoring compliance. He said companies would be expected to refrain from making uneconomical trades on one position in order to lift the value of a different position.FERC's enforcement unit said Constellation's inappropriate activity involved losing money in the New York physical power market to favorably influence payments it received under a separate financial market.In a statement, Wellinghoff said companies would be expected to respond truthfully to questions about their trading, and also to realize that FERC "will be vigorous in using its anti-manipulation authority to protect consumers."In addition to the civil penalty and profit disgorgement, Constellation had to remove the employees involved in the questionable trading activities from any position related to wholesale energy trading.Shattuck said last week that Constellation believed its trading practices "were lawful portfolio risk management transactions." Wellinghoff's statement said "clearly that is not the case.""The Stipulation and Consent Agreement sets forth a detailed description of the transactions that I believe Constellation knowingly and willfully engaged in that form the basis of enforcement staff's conclusion that Constellation engaged in market manipulation, fraud, and misrepresentation," Wellinghoff said._____________________________________________________DO YOU THINK THAT HANDING MARYLAND RATEPAYERS TO THIS BEHEMOTH WAS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST? DO YOU THINK THE DIVESTMENT BELOW REALLY PROTECTS RATEPAYERS? DOES A DOUBLING OF RATES MAKE THAT CASE? VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE. THE DEAL CREATED WEALTH FOR SHAREHOLDERS ONLY AT OUR EXPENSE!!!Justice Department Requires Divestiture in $7.9 Billion Merger of Exelon Corporation and Constellation Energy GroupDivestiture of Three Electricity Generating Plants Will Preserve Competition for Customers Throughout Mid-Atlantic Region WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice announced that it will require Exelon Corporation and Constellation Energy Group Inc. to divest three electricity generating plants in Maryland in order to proceed with their $7.9 billion merger. The department said that the transaction, as originally proposed, would substantially lessen competition for wholesale electricity, ultimately increasing electricity prices for millions of consumers in the mid-Atlantic region. The department’s Antitrust Division filed a civil lawsuit today in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to block the proposed transaction. At the same time, the department filed a proposed settlement that, if approved by the court, would resolve the department’s competitive concerns and the lawsuit. “Competition in wholesale electricity markets is vital to the economic well-being of consumers and businesses,” said Sharis A. Pozen, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division. “These divestitures will preserve that critical competition for the benefit of electricity customers throughout the mid-Atlantic.” According to the complaint, the merger would create one of the largest electricity companies in the United States with total assets of $72 billion and annual revenues of $33 billion, and would combine the assets of two large competitors in the mid-Atlantic region. Together, the companies would own between 22 and 28 percent of the generating capacity in the densely populated mid-Atlantic area encompassing Delaware, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, and parts of Maryland and Virginia. The department said that the combination of the assets would enhance the incentive and ability of the merged firm to raise wholesale electricity prices and reduce output. Under the terms of the proposed settlement, the merged firm must divest three electricity plants, which in total provide more than 2,600 megawatts of generating capacity. The plants to be divested are Brandon Shores and H.A. Wagner in Anne Arundel County, Md., and C.P. Crane in Baltimore County, Md. Exelon is incorporated in Pennsylvania and has its headquarters in Chicago. Exelon owns the PECO utility of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth Edison utility of Chicago. Exelon had $18.6 billion of revenues in 2010. Constellation is incorporated in Maryland and has its headquarters in Baltimore. Constellation owns the BG&E utility of Baltimore. Constellation had $14.3 billion of revenues in 2010. As required by the Tunney Act, the proposed settlement and the department’s competitive impact statement will be published in the Federal Register. Any person may submit written comments concerning the proposed settlement during a 60-day comment period to William H. Stallings, Chief, Transportation, Energy and Agriculture Section, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 450 Fifth St. N.W., Suite 8000, Washington, D.C. 20530, 202-514-9323. At the conclusion of the 60-day comment period, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia may enter the proposed settlement upon finding that it is in the public interest.
OBAMA'S EDUCATION REFORM IS ALL ABOUT ENDING 'BROWN VS BOARD OF EDUCATION' THAT MAKES EQUAL OPPORTUNITY AND ACCESS THE LAW OF THE LAND. MARYLAND IS RACING TO INSTITUTE SEPARATE AND VERY UNEQUAL!!!!Top on the agenda in Maryland and in Baltimore is moving ahead with the privatization of public schools and that takes place in Baltimore in the form of the school rebuilding plan of Alonzo. I have gone on and on about the attachment of public schools to the Wall Street financing scheme but today I want to address the infrastructure that Alonzo with the help of Mayor Rawlings-Blake and Governor O'Malley is set to create.I spoke today with a woman passionate about education for children with disabilities. I love to see parents fighting for good things for children. What I heard at the same time was an example of how words are being used to skew meaning in this Race To The Bottom education reform. We talked about the term 'mainstreaming children' which was one of the main tenets that came from Brown vs Board of Education. THESE PEOPLE PUSHING THE BILL GATES/ARNE DUNCAN EDUCATION REFORM ARE TRYING TO ELIMINATE BROWN VS THE BOARD OF EDUCATION! It is happening in Maryland as hard as they can move it and confusing Mainstreaming is a start to that goal.Mainstreaming children in schools was always about having public schools in neighborhoods that could meet the needs of all families...poor, disabled, and advanced students all in the same neighborhood school. This was meant to end the marginalization created by warehousing each sector in schools that always were tiered in funding and quality of service. Schools just for the disadvantaged were atrocious as they simply offered very basic job training that tracked these children for a life of poverty employment at best. We wanted schools that had the capacity to offer these same children with disabilities the opportunity to attend mainstream classes but have special education classes that met all these student needs. THIS MEANS MORE TEACHERS IN SCHOOLS AND MORE ADULTS IN CLASSROOMS. THE INVESTMENT WAS IN TEACHERS AS RESOURCES AND THE TOOLS THEY NEEDED TO SUCCEED. What we saw was a slow defunding of these special needs classes within schools and an influx of underserved students tracked into these classes and out of the mainstream classes. THE ATTEMPT AT MAINSTREAMING ALL CHILDREN WAS NEVER FULLY IMPLEMENTED AND NOW THEY ARE CALLING IT A FAILURE AND RETURNING TO THE WAREHOUSING OF DECADES AGO.Remember being a mom in the 1960s and 70s shouting to fund schools not wars.....make the military have bake sales!!! That was the recognition that we never received the funding we needed to make our community schools work for all families. WE CAN STILL DO IT WE SIMPLY NEED EACH SCHOOL FUNDED EQUALLY AND STAFFED WITH PROFESSIONAL TEACHERS. I keep hearing 'that isn't going to happen'.....why would we accept that tenet?In Baltimore, Alonzo is here to do just the opposite. We are seeing with this new rebuilding scheme an infrastructure that will rebuild existing public schools and reopen them as one of these charters that specialize in one product or the other. Product meaning job training, disability, or advanced placement and the funding of each will be totally decided upon by the private non-profits in place to fund as they choose. ALONZO IS BREAKING UP THE CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION THAT ASSURES EQUAL ACCESS AND OPPORTUNITY AND CREATING THE SYSTEM THAT WILL CONNECT SCHOOLS TO BUSINESSES AND CHANNEL CHILDREN INTO SPECIFIC TRACKS. For those families thinking that will happen only to lower-class children.....they are coming for middle-class schools too! Think about who can afford health care and insurance.....will you be able to afford to send your child to a special private school for disabilities if you don't like what you see as public schools for the same purpose? NOT MANY FAMILIES WILL BE ABLE TO AVOID A BAD DEAL FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS.Maryland is busy creating this tiered system of education with private non-profits that build the charters that have the vocational track, private schools that have quality teaching for disabled students, and Advanced Placement schools just for those testing into them. This school rebuild will expand this tiered system throughout the city. The closing of so many schools will necessitate tens of thousands of families move and what will be their access when they do? THAT'S RIGHT.....THEY WILL FALL INTO THESE WAREHOUSED, UNDERFUNDED SCHOOLS!!! THE FIRST WAY YOU SELL PEOPLE ON THE LOSS OF DEMOCRATIC EDUCATION IS TO MAKE THEM BELIEVE THEY ARE GETTING SOMETHING BETTER. FOR SOME THEY WILL, IF YOU CAN AFFORD TO GO THERE. IN BALTIMORE THE GROUND FOR WAREHOUSING THE DISABLED IS SET BY MAKING PARENTS BELIEVE THESE SCHOOLS WILL REMAIN QUALITY AND FOCUSED ON THE STUDENT'S BEST INTEREST. WE KNOW FROM THE PAST THAT THE GREAT MAJORITY OF DISABLED STUDENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES COULD NOT AFFORD PRIVATE SCHOOLS AND FELL INTO A TRULY DISMAL SYSTEM OF WAREHOUSED PUBLIC SCHOOLS FOR DISABLED. THAT IS WHAT THIS ORGANIZATION IS CREATING.....THE BEGINNING OF THIS WAREHOUSING. THEY MAKE IT SOUND GOOD DON'T THEY.....VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!! Who We Are The Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities (MANSEF) is a not-for-profit organization of nonpublic special education facilities approved by the Maryland State Department of Education. These facilities, throughout Maryland, promote quality services for children and youth with disabilities. They serve more than 4,500 students between 3 - 21 years of age. What We Do MANSEF unites a diverse community of educators, professionals and parents into an accessible, visible and effective organization that champions the continuum of services for special needs children and adolescents. MANSEF works in partnership with, and reaches out to, private/nonpublic special education facilities, families, parent groups, state and local education and government officials and related service professionals. Who We Serve MANSEF schools provide services for children and youth between 3 - 21 years of age who have at least one of the following disabilities: Who We Believe MANSEF is committed to creating optimum educational opportunities in the least restrictive environment for all Maryland children and youth with disabilities. Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities P.O. Box 6815 • Baltimore, Maryland 21285-6815 410-938-4413 • firstname.lastname@example.org
_________________________________________________Below you see how other major Third Way democratic cities are slowly eliminating access for the disabled just as they are now in Baltimore. Whereas private schools for the disabled are growing in numbers because they know public schools are phasing mainstream access for the disabled students, the public charters that are being created to warehouse these children are already showing the lack of intent in quality schooling.THEY KEEP TELLING US THIS EDUCATION REFORM IS ABOUT MAKING THINGS BETTER.....WHAT THIS REFORM IS ABOUT IS MAKING THINGS CHEAPER AND THE DISABLED AND THE UNDERSERVED FAMILIES WILL LOSE OUT......ENDING BROWN VS THE BOARD OF EDUCATION!!!Health & Disability Advocates Challenges the Chicago Public Schools for Failures to Provide Early Childhood Special Education Services January 08, 2013 6:21 PM National Health, Education and Employment Nonprofit Files State Class Complaint for Violations of Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act Chicago, IL (PRWEB) January 08, 2013 Health & Disability Advocates, a national health, education and employment nonprofit based in Chicago, filed a formal class complaint alleging that the nation's third largest public school district, the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), fails to properly transition children turning three years old from Early Intervention (EI) services to early childhood special education. The complaint was filed with the Illinois State Board of Education after 2½ years of work to improve the system stalled. For over 20 years, Health & Disability Advocates (HDA) has conducted program, training and advocacy work on behalf of people with disabilities and special health needs. Successful litigation includes landmark class actions such as Memisovski v. Maram, No. 92 C 1982*, which established better access to health care for more than 500,000 low-income children in Illinois. Yesterday's challenge aims to improve systemic barriers to access to education for very young children with disabilities. The first five years of life are a critical for brain development. During this time, Early Intervention (EI) is vital to improving social, cognitive, communicative, physical, and adaptive abilities of children with developmental delays. Interruption of services can result in lost gains. “Early Intervention improves kindergarten readiness as well as long term health and human potential of children with disabilities. Families who successfully obtain EI for their deserving child can be irreparably harmed when services suddenly stop on a child's third birthday,” says Amy Zimmerman, an attorney and director of HDA's Chicago Medical Legal Partnership for Children. Zimmerman and other stakeholders worked collaboratively with CPS to improve accountability and coordination of specialized services for young children with special needs. Guided by the Mayor's Early Childhood Task force, they sought to create a system in which children with disabilities could avoid gaps in services when they turn three. The group worked with CPS' Office of Special Education and Supports to develop a plan of action to remedy the violations and made key recommendations to CPS Early Childhood Evaluation Advisory Group. CPS recognized the problem and made tangible headway to solve it, including securing an additional $4.5 million to fund ten dedicated early childhood evaluation teams. But since summer, progress stalled. In writing about the complaint, the New York Times notes thousands of children are in the same boat. The named class members represent the interests of approximately 2200 eligible children residing in Chicago and their families who age out of EI services at age three each year. The filing alleges myriad ways CPS fails to take the steps necessary to work with families to support timely transition of toddlers with disabilities to preschool or other specialized services. Alleged examples include: CPS maintains bureaucratic loopholes, repeatedly fails to conduct timely special education evaluations and service provision, and has yet to implement planned improvements to systemic barriers. This situation denies countless students their legal right to a free and appropriate public education, despite a desperate need for specialized instruction and related services that could help them to advance academically and get on the path to wellness and economic security in later life.
“As a former teacher, I've seen firsthand the value of early learning and early interventions,” notes staff member Dan Hausman, now a first year attorney and University of Virginia Powell Fellow placed at Health & Disability Advocates to work on issues faced by children seeking early childhood special education and services. “Plus, if we don't solve these problems early, we'll see them again down the road, when they're more intractable and harder to solve.” Zimmerman's program at HDA, the Chicago Medical Legal Partnership for Children, works with some of the most medically complex children and their families in the city. One of the first medical-legal partnerships in the country, the model program has a successful track record for using law to improve children's health and education outcomes. Zimmerman, who has spent her legal career focusing on issues that impact children, rues the necessity of filing the complaint. “Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of parents, advocates and staff at Child and Family Connections offices in Chicago, CPS has failed to put a workable system in place,” she notes, “Sadly, these children, who are some of the most at risk children, fall even further behind.” Health & Disability Advocates is a national organization, based in Chicago, Illinois, that promotes income security, work and educational opportunities, and improves healthcare access and services for vulnerable populations, including children, people with disabilities and low-income, older adults. Its team of legal and policy experts provides a range of services including individual legal representation and custom trainings and technical assistance to consumers, businesses, service providers and state agencies.
For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2013/1/prweb10301577.htmRead more: http://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/13/01/p3226090/health-disability-advocates-challenges-the-chicago-public-schools-for-f#ixzz2HV4PVyR7Charter Schools Fall Short On Students With Disabilities Posted: 06/19/2012 10:14 pm Updated: 06/20/2012 7:46 am
- U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division
Advocates, lobbyists and celebrities including Bill Cosby are rubbing shoulders in Minneapolis this week to celebrate 20 years of the charter school movement. But a report released late Tuesday confirms a flaw that charter critics have raised over the last two decades: charter schools don't enroll students with disabilities at the same rate as traditional public schools, despite federal laws that require all publicly funded schools to serve disabled students.
The Government Accountability Office report, commissioned by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), found that 11 percent of students enrolled in public schools during the 2009-2010 school year had disabilities, compared with 8 percent of students in charter schools. The report is the first to quantify this gap.
"We have known for several years that students for disabilities were underrepresented in charter schools," Jim Shelton, the U.S. Education Department assistant deputy secretary for innovation and improvement, told The Huffington Post. "The report puts a fine point on issues we were concerned about," said Shelton, the U.S. point person on charter schools. In a letter attached to the GAO report, Shelton wrote that the Education Department is working on new guidance to help charter schools meet federal standards for enrolling special-needs students. Shelton also noted that his agency's Office for Civil Rights is conducting four compliance reviews into charter schools that appear to have underserved students with disabilities.
While 34 percent of traditional public schools had populations with high concentrations of students with disabilities, only 23 percent of charter schools had similar compositions, the report said. To help explain the data, GAO investigators visited 13 charter schools and concluded "some charter schools may be discouraging students with disabilities from enrolling."
Charter schools originated in Minneapolis to increase flexibility in rigid public schools -- and to give students stuck in failing public schools an alternative that isn't determined by where they live. Charter schools receive public funding, but can be privately run by non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses. Unlike traditional public schools, charter schools can choose how to hire, fire, and pay their teachers, escaping union rules and school district regulations. They can also have more specialized curricula, extended hours and a longer school year.
More than 5 percent of America's school children now attend charter schools. All but nine states have laws allowing charter schools.
Charter school critics assert that rather than improving the overall quality of public education, charters create a two-tiered education system with different resources that cater to different populations. They have pointed to cases where charters allegedly discouraged the enrollment of special-needs students, or kicked them out once the school year started. The GAO report suggests that the number of special education students enrolled in charter schools may be lower because parents are drawn to traditional public schools with more resources for such kids. And, in some cases, state laws around charter-school funding might
The report comes as charter advocates edge into their third decade of operation, trying to convince politicians and school districts that the schools are worth the money. Advocates realize that in order to sustain that momentum, they need better results. While some charter schools perform exceptionally well on standardized tests, a steady trickle of research has shown that overall, their students perform neither better nor worse than those in traditional public schools.
Miller told reporters that bipartisan charter school legislation the House of Representatives passed last year may help curb any discrimination.
Read highlights of the report below:Charter School SWD Highlights_ June 2012______________________________________________________CHOICE BASED SCHOOLS IS A POLICY DESIGNED TO MOVE CURRENT STUDENT POPULATIONS OUT WHILE MOVING A NEW POPULATION INTO THE SCHOOL. IT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND IT INSTILLS A FEELING OF DISCOMFORT ON THE CHILDREN INTENDED AS THE ONES MOVING OUT. THESE ARE THE SAME STUDENTS NEEDING THE BEST ENVIRONMENT FOR SUCCESS AND THESE POLICIES SHOW THAT ISN'T THE MISSION.
Power Speaks Truth Jul. 31, 20129:39 amby Jackie Bennett EdWize Blog Watch the NY1 story » For years, Bloomberg’s high school admission policies have been concentrating the city’s most at-risk students in certain schools. What with complex, market-driven enrollment policies on the one hand (which favor the families best equipped to negotiate the system), and high-stakes accountability systems on the other (which reward schools that teacher fewer at-risk kids), students have been disenfranchised by Bloomberg’s policies. The UFT and others (see here, here, and here) have been pointing this out for years, and for just as long, the DOE has denied it. But now it turns out that even as Bloomberg makes his denials, he and the DOE have been scrambling for cover. NYS Education Commissioner John King has put on the pressure, and in May, the DOE sent him a letter claiming they would address the problem, noting that “concerns about situations where our choice-based system may be leading to an over-concentration of students with disabilities, English language learners and/or students that are performing below proficiency in certain schools.” See an exposé on the issue here. As far as the changes themselves, well, as a parent advocate explains later in the report, it’s too little, too late. _________________________________________________WHEN THEY TELL YOU THEY ARE WORKING TO CREATE BETTER SCHOOLS JUST ASK WHY ARE YOU FIRING ALL THE TEACHERS IF THE GOAL IS BETTER SCHOOLS? THE PEOPLE WHO REPLACE THESE TEACHERS WILL BE TEACH FOR AMERICA AND OTHER NON-UNION STAFF WITH LITTLE EDUCATION BACKGROUND. IT WON'T BE ABOUT QUALITY...IT WILL BE ABOUT CHEAP. HOW DO YOU THINK THE UNDERSERVED STUDENT OR THE DISABLED STUDENT WILL FARE IN THIS MIX......THAT'S RIGHT......THEY WILL BE MARGINALIZED!!Teacher Layoffs Make Way for School Privatization By stuartbramhall on January 8, 2013 10:55 pm As he begins his second term, Obama’s school privatization agenda is chugging along at full steam. Citing the Department of Labor’s monthly employment report, the World Socialist Website reveals that 11,000 public school teachers were laid off in December 2012. This brings total teacher lay-offs since 2008 to 300,000.The layoffs are consistent with Obama’s decision to target public education for privatization and downsizing under Race to the Top, an expansion of Bush’s No Child Left Behind program. The Obama version provides financial incentives for school districts across the country to use accountability and “efficiency” issues to lay off thousands of teachers every month. This is on top of hundreds of public schools that are being closed to make way for private charter schools.Philadelphia, for example, is preparing to shut down more than thirty schools – a move that would virtually eliminate public education for many neighborhoods. Washington DC has enacted a mandate that will allocate all new public facilities to private charter operators on a first come, first served basis.Despite all this, the article points out, the National Education Association (NEA), was one of the first union’s to endorse Obama’s re-election. Obviously they aren’t looking after teachers’ jobs and welfare. So exactly whose interests do they represent?
PLEASE REMEMBER THE BGE RATE INCREASE HEARINGS ARE THIS WEEK...WEDNESDAY AT 7PM IN BALTIMORE!!!WE ARE SEEING, AS WITH THESE MORTGAGE FRAUD SETTLEMENTS THAT SEND ALL THE SETTLEMENT MONEY TO STATE COFFERS AND VERY LITTLE MONEY TO THE PEOPLE DEFRAUDED A SYSTEM THAT MOVES TAXPAYER MONEY FROM ONE HAND TO THE OTHER AND ULTIMATELY OUT TO BUSINESSES THAT POCKET THE MONEY.
THIS ARTICLE ON THE SANDY RELIEF BELOW IS A PRIME EXAMPLE. PEOPLE SHOULD BE OUTRAGED AS WELL THAT MANHATTAN, HOME OF WALL STREET, IS NOT DIRECTING HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS STILL OWED IN FRAUD TO THESE EVENTS!!!THE ABILITY OF INSURANCE COMPANIES, JUST AS WITH FINANCIAL COMPANIES TO FIND ANY NUMBER OF WAYS TO DENY RESPONSIBILITY IS A DIRECT RESULT OF THE LAWS OUR LEGISLATORS WRITE AND NY AND NJ ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DEMOCRATIC STATES........BUT THEY ARE NOT......THEY ARE THIRD WAY CORPORATE AND WORK FOR CORPORATE PROFIT. THAT IS WHY THIS IS HAPPENING IN THE SANDY DISASTER AND IT IS WHY IN MARYLAND, ALL OF THE MORTGAGE FRAUD SETTLEMENT MONEY IS GOING IN THE STATE COFFERS RATHER THAN TO THE PEOPLE DEFRAUDED.VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE AND RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE CANDIDATES!!!! Austerity Disaster: Hurricane Sandy Victims Thrown to Lending Sharks and Privatized "Relief" Disaster victims are now expected to shoulder relief expenses that used to be shared publicly. January 4, 2013 | Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com In a shameless display of putting politics before human needs, Congress began 2013 still scrapping over a $60 billion Hurricane Sandy relief bill fully nine weeks after the disaster hit. And if the Katrina experience is any indication, the bill may not bring adequate relief to struggling and displaced homeowners even when it is finally passed. The damage wrought by Sandy to New York and New Jersey coastal areas was similar in scale to that to New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Just two weeks after Katrina hit, Congress approved $62.3 billion in emergency appropriations, along with numerous subsequent emergency funding requests to cover the damages, which topped $100 billion. Yet as noted on the Occupy Sandy Facebook page, federal relief funds post-Katrina were gutted in favor of “privatizing and outsourcing relief, making room for predatory lenders, disaster capitalists, and gentrification developers.” According to a report by Strike Debt, the vast majority of FEMA’s resources and efforts are spent on public assistance programs that provide infrastructure restoration. Individual victims of disaster are for the most part just offered personal loans – loans that have many features of predatory subprime lending. Disaster victims are now being expected to shoulder relief expenses that used to be shared publicly. Most people believe they are covered by their insurance policies or by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), but many disaster victims have found that their insurance policies include obscure provisions that exclude coverage, and the only aid that FEMA gives to individuals is the opportunity to take on more debt. It is a failing of our austerity-strapped federal disaster relief system that it can offer little real help to individuals; and it is a failing of our private, for-profit insurance system that the legal duty of management is to extort as much money as possible from customers while returning as little as possible to them, in order to maximize shareholder profits. Most Sany Victim Are Left Stranded The report by Strike Debt was based on observations made at a community meeting in Midland Beach, Staten Island, on November 18, 2012, as well as on interviews with FEMA and Small Business Association (SBA) representatives, volunteer workers, local business owners, and residents throughout New York City. According to the report, there are three main sources of financial support being offered to Sandy victims: insurance, grants, and loans. Federal support is available only once private insurance has been exhausted. For federal aid programs: * Victims are required to first apply for loans before qualifying to apply for FEMA aid, placing the economic cost of the disaster on the individual victim. * Aid programs favor those who can take on debt, further exacerbating pre-existing inequalities among residents. * Federal programs are inflexible and fail to meet even basic individual and community needs. * Relief options are not clearly communicated or well understood. Policies are so complex that even lawyers are confused. Except for temporary living costs, FEMA grants are accessible only after the homeowner, renter or business applies for an SBA loan. If the applicant qualifies for a loan, he or she is not likely to be provided further FEMA aid. Disaster loans are made through FEMA on the basis of credit history, and favorable interest rates are available only if the applicant cannot get credit elsewhere. That means favorable interest rates are offered only if an applicant cannot qualify for credit through a commercial bank. When the banks got in trouble themselves, the Fed dropped the Fed funds rate (the rate at which they borrow from each other) to nearly zero. But no such relief is extended to disaster victims. ________________________________________________Maryland's Attorney General Doug Gansler said with great fanfare that $1 billion in mortgage fraud settlement money was coming to Maryland and he outlined how the victims would receive relief and justice. He then simply placed $700 million of it in the State general fund where it has now become the money that makes the state general fund look flush.The states made all kinds of commitments as to how the money would be distributed and then they didn't do it. This recent Federal fraud settlement will be the same. We do know where much of it is going.....it is paying for demolition of Enterprise Zones preparing to build luxury real estate. It is paying for subsidized loans to affluent home buyers that are being recruited to replace those working class and poor who were victims of the fraud. EVEN THE NEWSCASTERS SOUND ASHAMED AS THEY REPORTED ON THIS IN BALTIMORE.THESE POLS ARE DESPICABLE!!!!!VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!Monday, September 10, 2012 Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition
National Mortgage Settlement-More Needs to Be Done On August 29th, the Office of Mortgage Settlement released a report on the progress five national banks have made in fulfilling their obligations under the national foreclosure settlement. The banks have committed to providing relief to beleaguered homeowners through principal reduction loan modifications, refinancing, short sales, and more. To date, banks have done an excellent job in moving forward on short sales while there has been scant progress on principal reduction loan modifications. While this report only covers the first few months since the settlement and does not cover loan modifications that are in progress or in a trial period, the number of homeowners receiving meaningful principal reductions is still a cause for concern._______________________________________________I'LL HAVE TO LET PUBLIC JUSTICE, CITIZENS JUSTICE, MARYLAND CONSUMER RIGHTS COALITION, NAACP-MD, ALCU-MD, AND MARYLAND PIRG KNOW ABOUT ALL THIS INJUSTICE. I'M SURE THEY ARE SILENT BECAUSE THEY SIMPLY DON'T KNOW!!!!! So, they are using the money won in these mortgage fraud settlements to give grants to new people they like better than the working class and poor that were the victims of fraud. You know that all of these homeowners that are victims of fraud and/or had foreclosures due to unemployment will not have the credit to buy a home for years. THIS MASSIVE FRAUD WAS DESIGNED TO NOT ONLY GENTRIFY THE COMMUNITIES THESE BALTIMORE POLS WANTED TO MAKE AFFLUENT, IT WAS DESIGNED TO KEEP PEOPLE IN PERPETUAL FINANCIAL STRAIGHTS......JUST AS SUGGESTED BY THE FIRST ARTICLE ABOVE REGARDING THE SANDY DISASTER RELIEF. In Baltimore, it is important that everyone understands that your City Council member along with Mayor Rawlings-Blake is moving this policy along.....Jack Young, Carl Stokes, Mary Pat Clarke.....all of them. We must run and vote for labor and justice candidates next elections!!!! VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!! Program Offers Help with Home Down Payment Residents interested in buying a home in Baltimore could be eligible for a $15,000 grant. A new program, created after the city settled its lawsuit with Wells Fargo last year, will provide qualified residents interested in buying a home in Baltimore $15,000 in down payment assistance. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced the CityLIFTSM program, which is also supposed to support homebuyer education programs in the areas most impacted by the 2008 financial crisis, on Monday. Baltimore is one of 20 cities that will have access to money from the program that is funded by $170 million from Wells Fargo, according to a news release. "This collaboration with Wells Fargo and local nonprofits will help Baltimore residents achieve the American dream of homeownership by offering financial support, as well as the resources to help them make successful investment decisions," Rawlings-Blake said in the release. The city sued Wells Fargo in 2008, alleging that the company had steered minority customers to subprime mortgages. The lawsuit was settled in July after Wells Fargo agreed to provide $425 million in lending for people trying to purchase homes in the city during the next five years, $4.5 million for a lending assistance program and $3 million for local priority funding and foreclosure related initiatives. During the first phase of the CityLIFTSM program residents must complete a homebuyer’s education course, meet certain income guidelines and have signed a contract to purchase a home in Baltimore to be eligible for the grant, according to a news release. In April, 2013 an additional $3.5 million will be made available to residents without a contract on a home, but they will have to be "mortgage-ready," finish an eight hour homebuyer's course and close on a home in 90 days.
The most important thing you can do to hold your incumbent responsible is to know the issues and how these pols vote. To do that you must look at the entire bill because the media gives you headlines that sound good when in fact the bill does not work in the public's interest. I have shown time and again how the Baltimore City Council pretends to be working for the working class and minorities with bills that sound friendly but are so full of loopholes as to mean nothing. Below you see our Maryland General Assembly schedule of issues and for the most part they will have the middle/lower class paying more with the rich and corporations paying little to nothing.....WE ARE BEING SOAKED PEOPLE.....WE WANT TO HAVE STRONG PUBLIC SERVICES AND PROGRAMS BUT WE ARE PAYING THE DIFFERENCE AS CORPORATE AND WEALTH TAX RATES PLUMMET!!!!
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!!!
Below you'll see the issues for this session and my comments. What will also happen is that your incumbent will vote for the same leaders Miller and Busch that have held the office for decades. These people are the ones making Maryland a corporate state with huge wealth inequity and it is the delegates and the senate pols from across the state who vote for them each year. Stop sending your incumbent back to do this.....they are not cute and friendly civil servants.....they are killing democracy with quasi-government non-profits and corporate fraud and corruption!!!
10 big topics for the Maryland General Assembly
Wind energy, fiscal concerns, transportation taxes and gun control are among the top issues facing the Maryland General Assembly, which begins its annual 90-day session Wednesday.
You know how a corporate pol handles fracking? Third Way corporate pols in Maryland pretend they are working against it by placing a hold on drilling while pushing using Maryland ports as an exporting terminal for natural gas!! Our legislature has yet to fund a baseline study for Marcellus Shale water quality. This relatively cheap testing is what is needed to take fracking companies to court for contaminating the water table. All across the country the public is taking these companies to court for this only to be told there was no baseline study proving those chemicals weren't always there....and your pols are making sure that data isn't here in Maryland as well as WVA and PA are fracking away and seepage will assure contamination. I am told Maryland isn't fracking because there are no good sites in Maryland and for no other reason. Also, as I said, Maryland pols are already hinting at making Maryland a site for exporting natural gas......WE DO NOT WANT OUR ENERGY PRICES RAISED BY GLOBAL MARKETS AT A TIME WE NEED TO CONSERVE AND PROTECT OUR ENVIRONMENT!!!
'Fracking' for natural gas is polluting ground water, study concludes A Duke University study finds high methane levels in ground water near where fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, has occurred. Fracking is a controversial practice to extract natural gas from shale.
By Mark Clayton, Staff writer / May 9, 2011
In this April 23, 2010 photo, a Chesapeake Energy natural gas well site is seen near Burlington, Pa., in Bradford County. So vast is the wealth of natural gas locked into dense rock deep beneath Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Ohio. But freeing it requires a powerful drilling process called hydraulic fracturing or 'fracking,' using millions of gallons of water brewed with toxic chemicals that some fear threaten to pollute ground water.
Methane levels were 17 times higher in ground water near areas where shale-gas "fracking" wells had been drilled in Pennsylvania, compared with areas where no gas drilling had occurred, a new study has found.
Duke University researchers analyzed methane gas in 68 private ground-water wells across five counties in Pennsylvania and New York. The study cited "evidence for methane contamination of drinking water associated with shale-gas extraction."
In shale-gas extraction, water is mixed with chemicals and sand and is injected at high pressure deep into shale formations, which then releases natural gas.
MONITOR QUIZ: News quiz for May 1-7, 2011
The peer-reviewed study, which is being published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is one of the first to conclude that hydraulic fracturing is polluting ground water. And it’s likely to be used as ammunition in court by those opposing drilling in sensitive watersheds.
The hydraulic fracturing approach has dramatically increased available US reserves of natural gas by unlocking gas that was previously trapped in shale formations from the mid-Atlantic to Texas to Colorado. But environmentalists and local residents have long claimed that fracking pollutes ground water with methane as well as with chemicals in the injection fluids.
The Duke researchers said that the presence of methane likely was due to its escape from faulty drill casings.
While the study found high methane levels, it did not find any evidence that the chemicals injected at deep levels to fracture the shale had moved upward to pollute relatively shallow ground water.
"We found no evidence for contamination of drinking-water samples with deep saline brines or fracturing fluids," the study found. "We conclude that greater stewardship, data, and possibly regulation are needed to ensure the sustainable future of shale-gas extraction and to improve public confidence in its use."
Even so, the study was immediately attacked by natural-gas industry lobby groups. They zeroed in on the lack of base-line data to further corroborate that the higher methane levels were caused by drilling and were not naturally occurring.
“It’s amazing these guys are this comfortable making these kinds of conclusions with a data set this small, no random sampling, and no baseline information to speak of whatsoever," said Chris Tucker, a spokesman for Energy in Depth, in a statement. Energy in Depth is a drilling industry lobby group.
Researchers said that while they lacked base-line data, the higher levels of methane within one kilometer of nearby gas wells were so strongly correlated statistically that it would be difficult to conclude that they were caused by anything else.
"At least some of the homeowners who claim that their wells were contaminated by shale-gas extraction appear to be right," Robert Jackson, lead author of the study, said in a statement.
Environmentalists hailed the study, which comes on the heels of a Cornell University study that found that the overall process of collecting shale gas produced more greenhouse gases than many had expected. More research is needed, the environmentalists said.
"It comes as no surprise that natural gas is not as clean as the industry pretends," says Deborah Goldberg, an attorney with Earthjustice, an environmental group. "The gas industry has made it virtually impossible to do base-line testing because in order to do that, researchers need to know what they're testing for – not just methane, but the variety of other contaminants being injected into the ground."
Chemicals from the fracking fluids, she adds, are likely to appear decades from now as they work their way up from deeper levels.
Hydraulic fracturing for natural gas is being conducted in shale formations in 32 states, according to an Earthjustice tally. New York has blocked the controversial practice pending results of an environmental review later this year. The Environmental Protection Agency is conducting a study whose results are not expected until 2012.
Know why the state budget is doing better this year? All of the awards from financial fraud, from subprime to LIBOR went primarily into the state general fund and not to the communities that were victims of the fraud. The general fund is sending hundreds of millions out as corporate tax credits so these banks will simply get these fraud penalties back in these tax breaks. Our Third Way corporate pols in Maryland are great Wall Street corporate players!!! Run and vote for labor and justice candidates.
Maryland gets $1 billion Mortgage Settlement March 13, 2012 By Maryland Reporter
Attorney General Doug Gansler told lawmakers Monday that the ink was still drying on the state’s $1 billion mortgage settlement with the five major banks — Wells Fargo, GMAC, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Citibank.
“This is a timely briefing because the agreement was literally filed about an hour ago,” Gansler told the House Economic Matters Committee.
Gansler said the state gave up all rights to sue the big five banks for servicing and originating bad mortgage claims, but gained 42 pages of new bank standards for servicing loans in Maryland, like having an individual at the bank contact homeowners when they are in trouble with a home loan.
The state keeps the right to pursue criminal charges against the banks for loan fraud, Gansler said. He indicated the state was interested in going after lawyers involved in the robo-signings.
The state did not give up any rights to fair-housing claims or individual claims, Gansler said.
“The biggest thing we did not give up is securitization claims,” Gansler said. “The banks were packaging sub-prime loans they knew would never be satisfied, and sold them to corporate and individual investors. We will be able to go after those claims in the future.”
Gansler said Maryland was the sixth hardest-hit state in the country for foreclosures and consequently got the sixth-largest settlement, larger than New York’s.
<strong>Help is on the way</strong>
Help is us on the way to people underwater on their mortgages as well as Marylanders who have already lost their homes. Gansler said four pools of money would be available as soon as staffs were set up to distribute them.
The largest pool of money is around $810 million for those on the “brink of foreclosure.” The settlement requires that at least $485 million go to reducing principal and the rest can go to loan modification and short sales, Gansler said. Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition reports that almost none of this money has been used as of yet for mortgage adjustments....it is still in the state's general fund making the budget look flush. THESE POLS ARE ANIMALS!!!!
He said formulas will be established to determine who is likely to go into foreclosure in the near future.
The second pool of money sets aside $64 million for people who are current on their loans but can’t refinance at lower interest rates because they owe more on their home than the current appraised value.
“That money will go to people who are currently underwater,” Gansler said. “Their monthly payments will be dramatically reduced.” He said the banks were happy with this portion of the settlement because it holds down the number of foreclosures in the state.
The third fund established under the settlement makes $59 million available for housing projects.
Gansler said a task force has been setup to consult with government agencies and nonprofits to determine the best use of the money.
“We want to make sure the money is effectively and efficiently used,” Gansler said.
The fourth pool of money will provide $1,800 to $2,000 to Marylanders who have already lost their homes to foreclosure.
“That doesn’t sound like a lot of money for someone who’s been foreclosed on,” Gansler said.
He said homeowners can still pursue litigation against the banks for fraud.
“This is just extra money they get from the banks,” Gansler said.
Wonder where the Transportation Trust fund for Maryland went? They aren't telling as no public demands for accountability has been met. We know this....the affluent Washington beltway has had lots of transportation projects completed as the rest of the state has been left with projects on hold. A new Montgomery County transit system and an ICC toll road may well have eaten the entire Trust. So who will pay to rebuild this transportation trust? We have tolls on roads, tolls on bridges all increased and now higher gas taxes....all hitting the middle and lower class the hardest. Gas taxes pay for transportation infrastructure so what if you have an electric or hybrid car......you win a free pass or lighter burden in maintaining the roads.....the gas guzzlers owned usually by the lower class pay the way. Maryland has the most regressive tax policy in the country with gambling and regressive fees and tolls that hit the middle/lower class with much of the revenue burden in the state. Could that be one of the reasons for wealth inequity in Maryland?
TAX THE WASHINGTON SUBURBS TO REPLENISH THE TRUST FOR BUILDING ACROSS THE STATE!!!
Oregon wants to tax hybrid drivers who aren't buying enough gas
The Ford C-Max Hybrid SEL delivers lower mileage than some of its rivals. Mike Bertha, Philly.com
Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013, 8:39 AM In Oregon, state officials have proposed a tax on folks who drive energy efficient cars because they're not buying enough gas. The state uses money generated from taxes at the pump to repair roads and bridges. But, people who drive hybrids can get more than 55 miles per gallon and, subsequently, aren't paying as much tax because they're filling up less frequently. So, Oregon officials are proposing that people who own hybrids should pay a per-mile tax. How would the drivers report the number of miles they've acrued? It's 2013, so a smartphone app, of course. The tax rates would be left up to the state's lawmakers, who could opt for a flat rate, instead. [KPIC]
School construction in Baltimore is all about tying many of our public schools to a $2.4 billion credit bond municipal loan to Wall Street. Remember, the economy is at the same House of Cards level as 2007 with $600 trillion in derivatives leverage even riskier than before and all levels of government maxed with budget strains. Economists predict we will see another US collapse in the next few years. SO WHY ARE THESE THIRD WAY POLS TYING OUR SCHOOLS TO WALL STREET FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS RATHER THAN SIMPLY SHOUT FOR THE MONEY STOLEN IN FRAUD AND NEEDING TO COME TO THE CITY ALREADY? Baltimore has plenty of money owed it that never makes it here. We have a state that allows money that has been awarded by courts to underserved communities to never arrive.....they simply are added to the state general fund. WE DO NOT WANT OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM TIED TO WALL STREET!!!Muni Debt Is Bubble Near Bursting, Marketfield’s Aronstein Says By Dunstan McNichol - February 5, 2010 16:09 EST Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- The $2.8 trillion municipal bond market is a bubble about to burst, as housing and technology did in the past 10 years, said Michael Aronstein, the money manager whose Marketfield Fund returned 31 percent in 2009 by betting correctly on commodity-price swings. Lulled by ready access to low-cost credit, politicians have piled up unsustainable debt service that the public will soon demand they stop paying, he said. Bankers are selling municipal bonds based on unrealistic assumptions of population and revenue, and will be held accountable when they can’t be repaid, he said in an interview. Aronstein also saw weakness in emerging markets such as China and India, which have been saturated by years of investment and will be harmed as investors return funds to the U.S. to capitalize on a strengthening dollar. “I think we’re getting quite close,” he said of the collapse of the municipal market. “You’ll see people trying to withdraw money from the municipal bond funds. The big risk comes when you start seeing the tightening credit cycle.” Aronstein, who manages the $102 million Marketfield Fund and is chief investment strategist at Oscar Gruss & Son Inc. in New York, recommended buying credit default swaps on debt issued by California, the U.S.’s lowest-rated state. He said investments in so-called BRIC Index funds, funds based on returns from Brazil, Russia, India and China, will prove costly because the opportunities for realizing gains in emerging markets has passed. Commodity Collapse The 56-year-old Aronstein predicted the collapse of commodity prices in 2008, then reversed course in the first quarter of last year, putting one-fourth of his fund’s assets in commodities such as palladium and zinc. By the end of the year, the metals had returned more than 50 percent.
Municipal finance faces a collapse because the public sector is relying on “unlimited access” to credit, Aronstein said. That access will dry up as the cost of debt service begins to consume unmanageable shares of government budgets, prompting taxpayers to demand cuts in bond payments. “There’s always a feature in the economy that lives off its credit,” he said, citing the technology and housing sectors. “The next phase of it is government. They’re operating under the same kind of illusion of infallibility and unlimited access to credit.” To mitigate future public excesses, Aronstein said, legislation should be enacted that would hold elected officials to the same standards of fiduciary accountability and conflict of interest restrictions as money managers, he said. To contact the reporter on this story: Dunstan McNichol in New York at email@example.com. _______________________________________________
Maryland is the most corporate and captured state in the union and it is that way in large part by Martin O'Malley.....a possible Presidential candidate in 2016. Look at Maryland's campaign finance laws being considered this session. Notice that it increases donations to $25,000 at a time when ordinary people are shouting loudly against these kinds of big donations. Let's be clear....Maryland has absolutely no oversight of any government business so saying there will be laws for more oversight is a window-dressing for the object of the legislation and that is this lifting of donations. Run and vote for labor and justice candidates next elections....these guys are dirty!!! Panel discusses raising Maryland campaign contribution limits
Posted: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 10:00 am | Updated: 11:22 am, Wed Jun 20, 2012. By LEN LAZARICK, Maryland Reporter A commission studying Maryland’s campaign finance laws appears likely to recommend raising current limits on campaign contributions, which haven’t been increased in 19 years. At an Annapolis meeting Monday, the commission took no formal vote on a final recommendation, but seemed to reach a consensus on raising the amount an individual may contribute to state election campaigns during a four-year election cycle from $10,000 to $25,000. The new rule was proposed by Del. Jon S. Cardin, D-Baltimore County, a commission member who chairs the election law subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee. The commission also reached consensus on raising the limit for any single candidate from $4,000 to at least $5,000 or even $7,000 in any four-year cycle. Indexing the limits to inflation also was discussed. “The aggregate amount is a much more meaningful number” than the limit on donation to a single candidate, Cardin said. “Most people are making contributions of significantly smaller amounts over a term.” Commission member Marty Madden, former Republican leader in the state Senate, said any increase in the limits made little difference unless the commission proposed limiting the contributions from limited liability corporations. Every LLC, which real estate developers often create for each project or parcel, is treated as an individual. This has allowed business owners, particularly commercial developers, to avoid contribution limits by contributing from multiple LLCs under their control. “We have to look at disclosure at who is behind the LLCs,” Madden said. Currently, these corporations must list only a resident agent, who is often unrelated to the controlling interest behind the LLC. Attorney Bruce Marcus, the commission chairman, said there is really little distinction in Maryland law between other corporations and LLCs. “There is no reason why they should be treated differently,” he said. At the start of the meeting, commission member Larry Gibson, a University of Maryland Law School professor and political consultant, said that in the studies that he and his students conducted over the years of the campaign finance laws in neighboring Pennsylvania and Virginia, “no one can find any correlation between any system (of controls) and corruption or perception of corruption.” Virginia, for instance, “doesn’t pretend to have any limits on contributions,” Gibson said. At its next meeting July 16, the commission plans to discuss a total ban on contributions from business corporations, as in federal elections. Madden pointed out that 21 states currently ban contributions from corporations, but Maryland has long permitted business contributions. The commission also discussed banning political contributions from companies doing business with the state, but will take that up again in next month. Also on the agenda this summer are dozens of items that include public financing of campaigns, controls on independent expenditures in support of candidates and new enforcement procedures for violations of campaign laws._______________________________________________
IN MARYLAND OUR THIRD WAY CORPORATE POLS ARE CREATING A SOCIETY THAT RECRUITS THE BEST OF THE BEST IN THE WORLD THROUGH POLICIES LIKE ALLOWING WEALTHY IMMIGRANTS TO BUY THEIR GREEN CARDS AND CITIZENSHIP, LIKE BUILDING WORLD CLASS PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES DESIGNED TO RECRUIT THE WEALTHY STUDENTS OF THE WORLD WHILE BEING TOO EXPENSIVE FOR MARYLAND CITIZENS, AND ALLOWING A DEVELOPMENT CABAL OF CORPORATE NON-PROFITS TAKE OVER THE GOVERNMENT AT ALL LEVELS....LEAVING MARYLAND CITIZENS NO VOICE!!! Baltimore's Shadow Government- The Baltimore Development Corporation "The City of Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) is a 501(c)(3) corporation contracted with the City of Baltimore to provide economic development services. With a mission to retain and expand existing employers and attract new ones, we work collaboratively within City government, and with private partners, to deliver services that will help your business grow." From the 11/30/07 Baltimore Sun: "Baltimore Development Corp. is a nonprofit that holds a contract with the city to craft long-term development strategies and to negotiate with private companies on its behalf. In part because the entity's board is appointed by the mayor, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled last year that the BDC is a public body. The agency has negotiated some of the city's most significant development deals, including the convention center hotel that is under construction downtown. It is also overseeing the more recent effort to build a new venue to replace the 45-year-old 1st Mariner Arena." The BDC has used controversial eminent domain methods to acquire property for the greater good of Baltimore. Does it seem right for a "public" organization that really is a 501(c)(3) corporation to be allowed to go around planning the future of Baltimore and taking buildings away from private owners? Why can't the city do this on its own? Why do we need another government (one that is not accountable to the people) to do this? Where does the BDC get its funding? Couldn't the BDC favor connected developers when it redistributes land and buildings? These are issues that readers of mine have brought up to me. The BDC board and staff is made up of some very well connected individuals. The BDC is not the only mysterious and seemingly unnecessary quasi-governmental organization in Baltimore. The Midtown Community Benefits District and the Charles Village Community Benefits District are two other groups that come to mind. Both are partially funded by extra property taxes the city has in these areas. Recently the city admitted it made a mistake and had been collecting too much money from property owners. The money is supposed to fund maintenance services for the areas. Of course the city should already be properly maintaining these areas. Does all the money collected go to maintenance services? If it does not where else is it going? According to this older article from the City Paper the money is going to quite a few people. There you have it. I am not a conspiracy kind of guy at all. I think the intent of these groups was probably good. I just do not see why we need bureaucracies within bureaucracies. Baltimore has a very inefficient bureaucracy, that problem is not solved by creating quasi-governmental bureaucracies within it. The setup of the BDC makes it especially prone to corruption and favoritism. Who are all these quasi-governmental groups really accountable to?
We must remember that the major goal for Third Way corporate democrats that hold the leadership in all of Maryland politics is developing the next Wall Street global bubble and that is education businesses and global health systems. To do that you need people willing to take what all Americans see as public institutions that should not be profit-driven and should work in the public interest and turn these institutions into private sector businesses driven by profit-maximization. So, to do this you will place corporate people in leadership positions while pushing academics out of these positions......and you therefore must pay them more. That is for what O'Malley has worked his entire career and as he has delivered Maryland totally to that purpose, this is why he was tapped for higher office.
Whether the U of M turn to the Big 10 or the much maligned Indy race, these Maryland corporate pols see policy as making Maryland international news. This idea of professionalizing all public operations has to do with creating a tiered class within America much like that seen in Third World countries. When you have an administrative sector receiving inflated salaries much like the private sector CEOs, you buy loyalty at a time you are trying to transition the US from democracy to plutocracy....when you impoverish the masses you need a few committed administrators holding the line!!! WE ARE SEEING THE LOWER-LEVEL WORKERS CONTRACTED OUT AND PAID POVERTY WAGES.Six-figure state salaries raise concerns Originally Published in the Examiner Government Transparency by Hayley Peterson, Staff Writer MPPI IN THE NEWS AUGUST 1, 2012 Government watchdog groups are growing concerned about the lofty salaries that some state employees are paid in Virginia and Maryland. More than 11,500 state employees earn more than six figures annually -- 6,194 in Virginia and 5,501 in Maryland, The Washington Examiner reported Wednesday. Of those, 1,165 earn at least $200,000. Most of the top earners are higher education and medical professionals, according to state records. "In these times of austerity these kinds of salaries seem out of line," said Kimberly Burns, president of the nonprofit group Maryland Business for Responsive Government. "Public service is a very valiant and needed part of society, but some of these salaries seem extreme." University of Maryland at Baltimore President Jay Perman is earning a base salary of $710,000 and Virginia Tech professor Pendleton Montague is earning $387,600. "I could only aspire to make that kind of money in the private sector," Burns added. By contrast, former Maryland state employee Neil Bergsman said that when he worked for the government, he was earning six figures -- and yet it was one-third of the salary that someone with a similar job in the private sector would be making. Bergsman was formerly the chief financial officer of the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services. "Maryland state government compensation is in line -- and in fact, I think below -- comparable with private-sector positions," said Bergsman, now director of the Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank. Maryland Public Policy Institute President Christopher Summers argued that when pension benefits are factored into state worker salaries, then state workers appear better off than private-sector employees. About 100,000 employees work for each state. "Surprise, surprise: It pays to be a Maryland state government worker," Summers said. "This has been known for some time." Government workers' pension benefits were buffered from the recession, while many private-sector workers, most of whom are enrolled in 401(k) plans that are directly affected by market performance, saw their retirement savings obliterated by the recession. Summers attributed the competitive salaries of government workers, at least in Maryland, to strong public sector unions. But in Virginia, union membership isn't required as a function of state employment, and yet state workers' salaries are comparable with those in Maryland. "There is no check and balance on what [government] employees get," said Fairfax County resident Frederick Costello, a retired scientist and member of the Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations. "I don't know where it's going to stop."
PLEASE MAKE THIS COMING YEAR ABOUT BUILDING DEMOCRATIC ORGANIZATION IN YOUR COMMUNITIES......THESE INCUMBENT POLS ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS AND WILL NOT STOP GIVING ALL THAT IS PUBLIC TO THESE 1%. THIS ARTICLE DOES A GOOD JOB GIVING THE BIG PICTURE.....LET'S TURN THIS ALL AROUND BY RUNNING AND VOTING FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE CANDIDATES IN NEXT ELECTIONS!!!!!!
The Financial War Against the Economy at Large Sunday, 06 January 2013 06:48 By Michael Hudson, Naked Capitalism | News Analysis
The New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street. (Photo: kainet)Today’s economic warfare is not the kind waged a century ago between labor and its industrial employers. Finance has moved to capture the economy at large, industry and mining, public infrastructure (via privatization) and now even the educational system. (At over $1 trillion, U.S. student loan debt came to exceed credit-card debt in 2012.) The weapon in this financial warfare is no larger military force. The tactic is to load economies (governments, companies and families) with debt, siphon off their income as debt service and then foreclose when debtors lack the means to pay. Indebting government gives creditors a lever to pry away land, public infrastructure and other property in the public domain. Indebting companies enables creditors to seize employee pension savings. And indebting labor means that it no longer is necessary to hire strikebreakers to attack union organizers and strikers.
Workers have become so deeply indebted on their home mortgages, credit cards and other bank debt that they fear to strike or even to complain about working conditions. Losing work means missing payments on their monthly bills, enabling banks to jack up interest rates to levels that used to be deemed usurious. So debt peonage and unemployment loom on top of the wage slavery that was the main focus of class warfare a century ago. And to cap matters, credit-card bank lobbyists have rewritten the bankruptcy laws to curtail debtor rights, and the referees appointed to adjudicate disputes brought by debtors and consumers are subject to veto from the banks and businesses that are mainly responsible for inflicting injury.
The aim of financial warfare is not merely to acquire land, natural resources and key infrastructure rents as in military warfare; it is to centralize creditor control over society. In contrast to the promise of democratic reform nurturing a middle class a century ago, we are witnessing a regression to a world of special privilege in which one must inherit wealth in order to avoid debt and job dependency.
The emerging financial oligarchy seeks to shift taxes off banks and their major customers (real estate, natural resources and monopolies) onto labor. Given the need to win voter acquiescence, this aim is best achieved by rolling back everyone’s taxes. The easiest way to do this is to shrink government spending, headed by Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Yet these are the programs that enjoy the strongest voter support. This fact has inspired what may be called the Big Lie of our epoch: the pretense that governments can only create money to pay the financial sector, and that the beneficiaries of social programs should be entirely responsible for paying for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, not the wealthy. This Big Lie is used to reverse the concept of progressive taxation, turning the tax system into a ploy of the financial sector to levy tribute on the economy at large.
Financial lobbyists quickly discovered that the easiest ploy to shift the cost of social programs onto labor is to conceal new taxes as user fees, using the proceeds to cut taxes for the elite 1%. This fiscal sleight-of-hand was the aim of the 1983 Greenspan Commission. It confused people into thinking that government budgets are like family budgets, concealing the fact that governments can finance their spending by creating their own money. They do not have to borrow, or even to tax (at least, not tax mainly the 99%).
The Greenspan tax shift played on the fact that most people see the need to save for their own retirement. The carefully crafted and well-subsidized deception at work is that Social Security requires a similar pre-funding – by raising wage withholding. The trick is to convince wage earners it is fair to tax them more to pay for government social spending, yet not also to ask the banking sector to pay similar a user fee to pre-save for the next time it itself will need bailouts to cover its losses. Also asymmetrical is the fact that nobody suggests that the government set up a fund to pay for future wars, so that future adventures such as Iraq or Afghanistan will not “run a deficit” to burden the budget. So the first deception is to treat only Social Security and medical care as user fees. The second is to aggravate matters by insisting that such fees be paid long in advance, by pre-saving.
There is no inherent need to single out any particular area of public spending as causing a budget deficit if it is not pre-funded. It is a travesty of progressive tax policy to only oblige workers whose wages are less than (at present) $105,000 to pay this FICA wage withholding, exempting higher earnings, capital gains, rental income and profits. The raison d’être for taxing the 99% for Social Security and Medicare is simply to avoid taxing wealth, by falling on low wage income at a much higher rate than that of the wealthy. This is not how the original U.S. income tax was created at its inception in 1913. During its early years only the wealthiest 1% of the population had to file a return. There were few loopholes, and capital gains were taxed at the same rate as earned income.
The government’s seashore insurance program, for instance, recently incurred a $1 trillion liability to rebuild the private beaches and homes that Hurricane Sandy washed out. Why should this insurance subsidy at below-commercial rates for the wealthy minority who live in this scenic high-risk property be treated as normal spending, but not Social Security? Why save in advance by a special wage tax to pay for these programs that benefit the general population, but not levy a similar “user fee” tax to pay for flood insurance for beachfront homes or war? And while we are at it, why not save another $13 trillion in advance to pay for the next bailout of Wall Street when debt deflation causes another crisis to drain the budget?
But on whom should we levy these taxes? To impose user fees for the beachfront reconstruction would require a tax falling mainly on the wealthy owners of such properties. Their dominant role in funding the election campaigns of the Congressmen and Senators who draw up the tax code suggests why they are able to avoid prepaying for the cost of rebuilding their seashore property. Such taxation is only for wage earners on their retirement income, not the 1% on their own vacation and retirement homes.
By not raising taxes on the wealthy or using the central bank to monetize spending on anything except bailing out the banks and subsidizing the financial sector, the government follows a pro-creditor policy. Tax favoritism for the wealthy deepens the budget deficit, forcing governments to borrow more. Paying interest on this debt diverts revenue from being spent on goods and services. This fiscal austerity shrinks markets, reducing tax revenue to the brink of default. This enables bondholders to treat the government in the same way that banks treat a bankrupt family, forcing the debtor to sell off assets – in this case the public domain as if it were the family silver, as Britain’s Prime Minister Harold MacMillan characterized Margaret Thatcher’s privatization sell-offs.
In an Orwellian doublethink twist this privatization is done in the name of free markets, despite being imposed by global financial institutions whose administrators are not democratically elected. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Central Bank (ECB) and EU bureaucracy treat governments like banks treat homeowners unable to pay their mortgage: by foreclosing. Greece, for example, has been told to start selling off prime tourist sites, ports, islands, offshore gas rights, water and sewer systems, roads and other property.
Sovereign governments are, in principle, free of such pressure. That is what makes them sovereign. They are not obliged to settle public debts and budget deficits by asset selloffs. They do not need to borrow more domestic currency; they can create it. This self-financing keeps the national patrimony in public hands rather than turning assets over to private buyers, or having to borrow from banks and bondholders.
We are being bombarded by press telling us that the President won the 'fiscal cliff' debate even as we know that with $300 billion of new revenue in a decade and with corporate taxes being lowered there will be no revenue from the rich or corporations. You will watch as Third Way corporate dems pretend to be hostage to deep cuts in spending that will make our government ever smaller......which is the goal of Third Way pols. As they cut spending social programs and safety nets will go and as you see below, health care co-opts that were to hold private health corporations in check has had its funding cut......all to protect corporate profits.WE MUST UNDERSTAND THAT BILL CLINTON AND THE THIRD WAY CAUCUS CAUSED THE STATE OF THE NATION AS THEY WORKED FOR WEALTH AND PROFITS OVER PEOPLE. Please work to field labor and justice candidates to run and vote for them in the coming elections at all levels of government. We can turn this around if we vote to move the power of the democratic party to its labor and justice base clearly 80% of the democratic party and away from the Third Way corporate and wealth that is the right wing of the democratic party and making up only 20% of the party but almost all of the democratic leadership!!! We can do it and we can reverse these policies that are killing the REAL middle-class and lower class.VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!!Joe Biden of Delaware and Harry Reid of Nevada have states that lead the nation in stealth wealth businesses. Whether dynasty accounts that protect wealth from taxation or overseas shell accounts that take wealth out of the country.....or perhaps corporate headquarters protecting against corporate taxation......these Third Way corporate democrats are tops in protecting profits over people......see why 95% of the country is heading for poverty? Run and vote for labor and justice candidates in the coming elections!!!Super Joe: Biden leaps from punchline to power player (2:25)Reuters Vice President Biden has often found himself the butt the late night talk show monologues but these days he looks like a smooth operator. His most recent score: the fiscal cliff deal he helped pull back from the edge of defeat. Is his next stop a 2016 presidential run? (Jan. 4, 2013)________________________________________________FOR THOSE PEOPLE STILL NOT CONVINCED THAT THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT WAS SIMPLY MEANT TO CONSOLIDATE HEALTH SYSTEMS INTO GLOBAL CORPORATIONS THAT WILL PREY ON THE POOR AND ELDERLY JUST LIKE WALL STREET BANKS, WE ARE WATCHING AS ALL ASPECTS OF PUBLIC OPTION DISAPPEAR. THE PLAN IS FOR PROFIT MAXIMIZATION NOT PEOPLE'S CARE! Fiscal Deal Kills New Funding for Health Co-opsBy Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health NewsPublished: January 03, 2013Going, going, gone.The fiscal cliff deal, approved by Congress on New Year's Day, eliminates most of the more than $1.4 billion in remaining funding from the federal health law for new nonprofit, customer-owned health plans designed to compete against the major for-profit insurers.That means the Obama administration won't be able to approve loans to any additional co-ops. In the past 2 years, the Department of Health and Human Services has awarded nearly $2 billion in loans to 24 proposed state co-ops. Those loans won't be affected by the cut."We were blindsided by the elimination of funds," said John Morrison, president of the National Alliance of State Health Cooperatives. "The health insurance industry is getting its way here by torpedoing co-ops in the 26 remaining states. This is not about budgets; it is about those health insurance giants killing competition at the expense of millions of Americans who will pay higher premiums because of it."But some House Republicans have said the co-ops were a way for the administration to reward its political friends. Sponsors of the co-op plans already under way include the Freelancers Union in New York, a farmers' union in Colorado and the Connecticut State Medical Society.Critics also have been skeptical the co-ops could compete with more established insurers, such as Aetna and UnitedHealthcare."Starting a new health plan is a risky proposition," said Peter Kongstvedt, a McLean, Va.- based health care consultant. He said consumers already have sufficient choice of plans in most markets and won't miss having the additional co-ops.Proponents of the co-ops say such plans could offer lower premiums because they don't have to generate profits for shareholders. Under the law, co-op plans must apply any surpluses to lowering rates or improving benefits or quality for their members. The co-ops are scheduled to open by next year.In testimony before Congress last year, Morrison called skepticism about co-ops' ability to compete "naive," noting, "The large carriers are saddled with stockholder demands for profit, large overheads, antiquated legacy processing systems, and other inefficiencies."Initially, the health law allocated $6 billion to help co-ops start up and meet state insurance solvency requirements. In 2011, Congress reduced that funding to $3.4 billion as part of broader budget cuts.More than two dozen applicants were applying for co-op funding when the money was eliminated, Morrison said. HHS officials did not return calls for comment.The deal approved Tuesday leaves 10 percent of the remaining co-op funds to cover the administrative costs connected with the 24 plans already launched.__________________________________________________Both Joe Biden of Delaware and Harry Reid of Nevada come from states that lead the nation in wealth stealth. Whether dynasty accounts that protect against taxes or offshore shelters that hide wealth from accountability and taxes, Nevada and Delaware are corporate and wealth havens. So now do you see why almost no new tax revenue came from the rich and why corporate taxes will come down even as these Third Way corporate pols negotiate cuts in our social and safety net programs? Run and vote for labor and justice candidates next elections!!!!How to Set Up a Dynasty Trust By an eHow Contributor Other People Are Reading Instructions
- 1 Determine the amount of money to use to set up a dynasty trust. Keeping the assets in trust eliminates the possibility for beneficiaries to lose any of the funds through divorce, death tax or lawsuits. The beneficiaries are not the owners of the inheritance.
- 2 Set up a trustee for the dynasty trust. This can be an adult child until the death of the child (who can then hand the responsibility down to the next generation), or it can be through a financial institution for indefinite management of the trust.
- Sponsored Links
- 3 Decide whether to fund the dynasty trust upon your death or during your lifetime. Lifetime funding provides asset growth with less tax impact.
- 4 Consider life insurance policies and stocks for placing in a dynasty trust. These assets tend to grow rapidly in trusts.
- 5 Use an experienced estate-planning attorney to set up a dynasty trust. An attorney who is familiar with the grantor's assets and beneficiaries can draft a document that is personalized for each beneficiary. If some family members are more able to care for themselves than others, the trust can be set up to provide accordingly.
- 6 Make a decision about using irrevocable life insurance to fund a dynasty trust. At the grantor's death, the policy pays enough to cover estate taxes.
- 7 Place stipulations on a dynasty trust that prevents your children and grandchildren from becoming "trust-fund kids." You can require them to obtain a college education and maintain a job to receive the trust income. Another option may be to match their earnings with income from the dynasty trust.
SEE MY BLOG BELOW THIS POST AS I VENT MY OUTRAGE:
We are watching a tragi-comedy that Sophicles himself could not outdo as the premier playwright in history. The Republicans are pretending to have lost even though they received everything they wanted and corporate tax cuts on the side....extension of Bush tax cuts for all with the smallest of a hit on the rich. The Third Way democrats are pretending to have foiled the Republican attempt to scuttle taxing the rich and protecting social safety nets. Both sides having failed to serve their constituents elect the same leaders and making wealth inequity permanent (or so they think).
IT IS A TESTAMENT TO MEDIA CAPTURE THAT THIS NEWS SLANT IS THE ONLY HEARD AND ONE WONDERS HOW THESE MEDIA PEOPLE CAN BEAR SUCH AN ASSAULT ON THEIR INTEGRITY.
The democrats have set their constituents up with nothing but spending cuts as $300 billion in revenue will be all that lies between these pols and the deficit reduction. IT IS A TRAGIC BETRAYAL TO ALL AMERICANS.