Last time I wanted to show how Third Way are giving all public assets to corporate profit and I wanted to do that a little today. Looking at local to national policy the public is under siege by corporate powers. A headline on MSNBC .....a neo-liberal political station....said that having big banks isn't a bad thing and that financial reform is going just fine. REALLY????
Regarding Basu's airline ticket fee -palooza:
Do you know why corporations shifted to the fee for service that is modeled on doctor's services a few decades ago? So banks, airlines, car rentals, etc have a basic price plan and then all of the fees for additional services that drive consumers crazy used to add billions in profit and a maximized market value. It all has to do we the corporate tax loophole. Here is a clip out of Connecticut's tax law that gives a good view of the benefit of 'unbundled services':
Connecticut Sales and Use Taxes on Services, Taxable Services
Douglas A. Joseph, CPA
Tony J. Switajewski, CPA
With all of the exclusions under business management services, there is a wealth of planning opportunities available. A general principle of Connecticut sales and use taxation is that if a combination of taxable and nontaxable property and/or services are bundled together into one service, the taxable component will cause the entire service to be taxable. To avoid this costly and unfair result, the strategy is to unbundle the taxable and nontaxable service components. Ideally, there would be separate service contracts and separate invoices produced. Secondarily, one contract and one invoice which clearly identify taxable and nontaxable services and associated fees, may be utilized. In either instance, the service provider will need to keep detailed time records or other means of valuing the relative components so as to stand up to DRS audit scrutiny.
So, you see that it is tax law written deliberately to allow for zero taxes on unbundled services which spurs all of these copious and hidden fees. An airline is almost doubling its gains when it charges individual fees but is only paying taxes on the base ticket charge. The same deal exists for banks. States have differing standards for fees, but you see the value. A democratic supermajority would have ended this madness of fees on consumers when they controlled government in 2009, but Third Way corporate democrats have control of the democratic party and they work for wealth and profit so THEY LIKE LAWS THAT GIVE BUSINESSES AN OUT ON TAXES. Think about how much of our economy is service based and how much business is written off because of this law!
Whether S corporation, B corporation, or this service fee scheme every avenue of corporate tax is being written off. When businesses with property were left with property tax bills corporate pols invented these business tax credits and government owed partnerships that eliminate even that tax. THESE TAX LOOPHOLES ARE HAPPENING ONLY IN THOSE GOVERNMENT HATING RED STATES....THEY ARE HAPPENING IN THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATIC STATES LIKE MARYLAND AND THIS IS WHY THE TAXES ON THE MIDLE/LOWER CLASS ARE GROWING TO UNREASONABLE LEVELS. It is not because the state is protecting and serving its citizens!
This is classic Baltimore for you....Carl Stokes created an uproar when he sought to reverse a court order that held Ticketmaster fees as too large. Stokes wanted to pass a law protecting those large fees. The outrage was so loud that he is now being cast as wanting to hold Ticketmaster accountable....but look at his cap positions....he is going to allow low cost events by charged 15% while high cost events will only see 5%. Now, who attends events over $150? That's right....yet again the middle/lower class is the money-maker. GET RID OF THIRD WAY CORPORATE AND WEALTH DEMOCRATS....
Ticketmaster Service Charges to Face Regulation in Baltimore
Updated: Thursday, June 6 2013, 10:35 PM EDT
Huge service fees that Ticketmaster and other ticket sellers add could soon be reduced for Baltimore events. A Maryland bill has been introduced to stop companies from charging what one council member calls outrageous fees. Currently, Ticketmaster can charge users an extra 25 to 80 percent extra in service fees. Currently, there is not much users can do to avoid the fee, unless they are willing to go to court but that could be changing. On Thursday night at the 8x10 in Federal Hill, people are getting ready for the soulful sounds of The Cris Jacobs Band. But concert-goers were not ready for the $7.90 service fee that Ticketmaster charged on a $12.00 ticket. Councilman Carl Stokes agrees with Ticketmaster customers who feel that the service charges are outrageous. As a result, he has recently introduced the Consumer Protection Bill. The bill would cap surcharges: tickets $50.00 or less could only face an extra charge of 15%, and ticket $150.00 or more t would face a charger no greater than 5%. The bill would also update a law from 1948, which recently helped a Baltimore man win a lawsuit against Ticketmaster. He claimed he was being ripped off by the company’s excessive fees. If the bill passes, the law would force ticketing agencies to clearly show the full price of the ticket upfront.
Montgomery County is one of the wealthiest in the country and has plenty of money to support all social programs.....this is why we know that this sequestration is Third Way corporate democrats along with republicans....CAN YOU IMAGE THE KINDS OF PEOPLE THAT WOULD ALLOW SOCIAL SAFETY NETS BE DISMANTLED IN ORDER TO PROTECT MASSIVE WEALTH?
Remember, these people in power got super-rich by lying, cheating, and stealing.....THEY ARE SOCIOPATHS who intend to squeeze all of us dry!!
Sequester stalls Meals on Wheels programs
By Robert Samuels, Published: May 31
For almost 30 years, First United Methodist Church of Hyattsville has delivered 10 meals a week to homebound seniors who live nearby. But with the sequester leading to a reduction of federal funds next month, the church’s skeletal staff has come to a sad conclusion.
“We’re just going to have to close,’’ said Deanna Lesche, the treasurer for the church’s Meals on Wheels program. Its program used to receive $1,200 each quarter; it will now receive only $1,100 all year. That’s not even enough to pay the cook.
About 37 percent of Americans now say they've felt the sequester's impact. We took a look at who's actually being affected so far.
The sequester will cut 33,000 work-study jobs for college students this fall, and my daughter's among those affected.
Across the country, Meals on Wheels programs are slashing staff, reducing the number of meals delivered or shutting down. The programs receive money through the Older Americans Act, which is filtered through state governments, which divvy up the funds to local agencies based on factors such as size and levels of poverty.
Programs typically provide two hand-delivered meals a day; some make lunches for senior and community centers.
“These meals save me from doing so much work,” said Bruce Campbell, 81, a retired food-service manager and Hyattsville Meals on Wheels client who walks on a prosthetic leg. “Without it, I don’t know. I guess I’d cook for myself.”
Hyattsville’s service isn’t one of the multimillion dollar senior nutrition programs that put on lavish fundraisers. It is run by a 63-year-old church secretary and serves about a dozen clients, some of whom struggle to pay the $2.50 charge per meal. It illustrates the far-reaching consequences of the government impasse on Capitol Hill.
According to March 1 estimates, the sequester will result in a 5 percent decrease in Meals on Wheels programs in Maryland, Virginia and the District. Those cuts are slightly below the national average of 5.6 percent. Wealthier, urban areas fare better.
The cuts in the three jurisdictions threaten nearly 75,000 seniors, according to the Meals on Wheels Association of America. Officials in Montgomery County eliminated an empty position to fund programs until November, while officials in Fairfax County and the District have committed to use their coffers to make up for the loss.
“If this wasn’t happening, we could have used that money for more services,” said Sally White, executive director of Iona Senior Services, which delivers meals to seniors in Northwest Washington. “But you have to make do with what you have.”
Programs that feed seniors were suffering even before the sequester. Federal funding has flat-lined for years, while costs for food and gas have increased, said Jill Feasley, who directs the Meals on Wheels program in Takoma Park. It’s not unusual for programs to have waiting lists.
The organizations have found themselves trying to reimagine how they fund themselves. Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland, which serves 1,300 clients in Baltimore, Howard, Anne Arundel and Montgomery counties and Baltimore city, has reduced its staff by 5 percent and will deliver food one day less a week.
Other programs have considered serving only frozen meals, Feasley said. Some might hold fundraisers.
Maryland should note that its two Third Way corporate democrats Cardin and Mikulski voted for the cuts....and the voted for all the $3 trillion in corporate tax breaks and these huge farm subsidies.....'WE HAD TO DO IT TO SAVE THE SNAP PROGRAM'! they say.
NO, YOU HAD A SUPERMAJORITY IN 2009 THAT ALLOWED YOU TO FULLY FUND FOOD STAMPS FOR 10 YEARS
THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS ARE WORKING AS HARD AS REPUBLICANS TO END ALL WAR ON POVERTY AND NEW DEAL PROGRAMS
Shame on the 28 Democratic senators who voted to cut food stamps!
The Senate voted down an amendment restore $4.1 billion in food stamp cuts. Only 26 senators voted “yes.”
But we can’t blame obstructionist Republicans. Twenty-eight Democrats joined with Republicans to defeat this amendment. If this stands, 500,000 low-income households will lose benefits.
Food Stamps are already being cut as the federal stimulus dries up, and these proposed new cuts—from both parties—will only make it worse.
Please join Social Security Works and Campaign for America's Future by signing our petition to these 28 Senate Democrats, demanding they put low-income families ahead of corporate welfare—and to oppose draconian cuts to food stamps.
Dear Sens. Baucus, Bennet, Cardin, Carper, Coons, Donnelly, Durbin, Feinstein, Franken, Hagan, Harkin, Heinrich, Heitkamp, Johnson, Kaine, Klobuchar, Landrieu, Manchin, McCaskill, Mikulski, Nelson, Pryor, Rockefeller, Shaheen, Stabenow, Tester, Mark Udall and Warner:
Please put low-income families who rely on food stamps ahead of corporate welfare, and vote against draconian cuts to such needed benefits!
I thank Michael Greenberger for presenting this loss of privacy in a balanced way.....making it clear that while these actions may be legal with these new set of Patriot Act laws....it is policy that has yet to have open national discussion and that has broad and for many deep negative connotation. Do we really believe that a government that no one trusts is just looking at numbers and will come back for a warrant when more information is wanted? Of course not. I like that Congress is more worried about whether their personal information is being mined as well!
WHAT WE ARE NOT HEARING IS WHO THE US GOVERNMENT SEES AS TERRORISTS THESE DAYS. President Obama actually said that America has some pretty crazy characters these days. What we have are large sectors of America hating having a government that is criminal, corrupt, and corporate. Whether it is right wing militia groups or left wing anti-war and oppression groups with their civil disobedience....these anti-government sentiments are Obama's fault and they are legitimate concerns from citizens used to living in a first world, democratic society. So, we are watching a nun who breaks into a drone facility and spray paints anti-war graffiti is now a terrorist. It may be illegal, but these things were always considered civil disobedience. It includes Occupy as the FBI has been recording their member's every move. It includes Code Pink who were crazy enough to use a national media event to shout out in protest. It includes bloggers like me who use the words Wall Street and criminal....Eric Holder and treason in the same sentence!
Sure, there are sleeper cells of jihadists....white separatists who are getting violent....black groups forming to fight extreme oppression. THESE ARE SYMPTOMS OF A FAILED AND CAPTURED GOVERNMENT SYSTEM. THE ANSWER LIES IN CORRECTING THE GOVERNMENT, NOT MAKING CITIZENS THE CRIMINALS!!
Report: Government getting phone records Counterterrorism expert: Verizon not only company exposed
UPDATED 6:53 AM EDT Jun 07, 2013 Baltimore Sun
- Phone record collection stirs fervent debate Frightening government overreach or valuable law enforcement tool?
That's the question politicians in Washington, and millions of citizens around the United States, asked Thursday thanks to a jolting report suggesting the government has been collectin...
Maryland counterterrorism expert Michael Greenberger said Verizon is the only company exposed, but he suspects all the major phone carriers are giving this kind of information to the government. But the reason behind it might make it OK in the eyes of some Americans.
"Now that it's public, this is a shock to the system," Greenberger said.
Greenberger said the government is not collecting information on the substance of the call, but looking at the actual numbers and the duration of the calls.
"What you can reason from that is there are numbers they have that they associate with terrorists and they want to see who is talking to whom. For example, I am calling a terrorist organization and speaking on the phone for a long period of time -- that would give them cause to look more carefully at my activities," Greenberger said.
He said the Obama administration followed the proper legal channels by getting approval from a judge in the secret foreign intelligence surveillance court set up by Congress. But the news is tough for many Americans to take, even if they have nothing to hide.
"This sort of undercuts the thesis of living in a free society that you don't have people looking over who you're calling -- even if they're not listening to what you're saying. There'll be a lot of discussion about this; it will have to be digested," Greenberger said.
He said now that the secret operation is public, it may become ineffective.
"Now that it's public, a lot of terrorist organizations may say to themselves, "We have to stop talking on the phone,'" Greenberger said.
Friday, 07 June 2013 14:35
As the New York Times (NYT) Blasts Obama/Bush Surveillance State Tactics, Maybe Elites Will Become Concerned
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The Natonal Security Agency (NSA) in Maryland.In a withering June 6 editorial entitled "President Obama’s Dragnet," the New York Times editorial board lacerated the White House for its intrusive surveillance state tactics:
The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue. Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive branch will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it. That is one reason we have long argued that the Patriot Act, enacted in the heat of fear after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by members of Congress who mostly had not even read it, was reckless in its assignment of unnecessary and overbroad surveillance powers.
Based on an article in The Guardian published Wednesday night, we now know that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency used the Patriot Act to obtain a secret warrant to compel Verizon’s business services division to turn over data on every single call that went through its system. We know that this particular order was a routine extension of surveillance that has been going on for years, and it seems very likely that it extends beyond Verizon’s business division. There is every reason to believe the federal government has been collecting every bit of information about every American’s phone calls except the words actually exchanged in those calls.
Articles in The Washington Post and The Guardian described a process by which the N.S.A. is also able to capture Internet communications directly from the servers of nine leading American companies. The articles raised questions about whether the N.S.A. separated foreign communications from domestic ones.
Despite insulting platitudes (as the NYT calls them) from the Obama administration defending the massive invasion of privacy ("Intelligence Chief Says Massive Data Collection Is No Big Deal, But Reporting It Is" -- Forbes), the NYT's fierce condemnation of, in essence, sweeping data collection may finally wake some elites in the US up to the dangers of the enabling -- euphemistically named -- "Patriot Act."
Indeed, the NYT concludes its damning editorial with a shot at the "Patriot Act" itself: "Stunning use of the act shows, once again, why it needs to be sharply curtailed if not repealed."
Glenn Greenwald, who has been focused like a laser for years on constitutional abuses by the Bush and Obama administrations, wrote a column in The Guardian on May 4 that details wider government collection of private data than the public is even aware of. This, according to one former counter-terrorism expert who appeared on CNN, may include the large-scale recording of telephone conversations by the National Secuity Agency (NSA). This is technologically possible through advancement in broad information gathering capabilities within the NSA and other agencies.
There is even a government agency, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), that most Americans have never heard of whose sole purpose is satellite surveillance and intelligence data gathering. According to the NRO website,
The NRO has been intertwined with innovation since its inception. Formed in response to the Soviet launch of Sputnik, the NRO was secretly created on September 6, 1961 with the purpose of overseeing “all satellite and overflight reconnaissance projects whether overt or covert.” The existence of the organization is no longer classified today, but we’re still pressing to perform the functions necessary to keep American citizens safe. As the NRO mission states, we are relentlessly working to foster “Innovative Overhead Intelligence Systems for National Security.”
The slogan of the NRO is "Supra et Ultra" – above and beyond – which also can be translated to "out of reach," which is just what has become of those in the government through four administrations who have expanded domestic spying far, far beyond its constitutionally permitted limits.