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Member since: Thu Dec 30, 2004, 03:05 PM
Number of posts: 15,741

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Records show the Bales' (Afghan massacre suspect) own two properties, both of which are underwater..

From: Soldier suspected in Afghanistan massacre to meet with lawyers


"Records show the Bales' own two properties, both of which are underwater, meaning the mortgage balances are greater than the value of the properties.

Their main home near Lake Tapps, a white house with four bedrooms about 45 minutes east of Tacoma, was recently listed for sale at $229,000, according to the online real estate service Zillow.com. But Zillow, citing public transaction records, shows they paid for $280,000 for it in 2005.

Another realty website, for John L. Scott Real Estate, promotes the property as a "short sale," which occurs when a bank is willing to allow a homeowner to sell at a price below what is owed on the mortgage, accepting the loss on the remaining balance.
A smaller second property in the city of Auburn, about 10 miles to the north of their Lake Tapps home, was purchased by Karilyn Bales, then Karilyn Primeau, in 1999 for $99,500. While the property is assessed at $148,000, property records show it was remortgaged for the amount of $178,500 in 2006.

That property is in poor condition and has a "Do not occupy" notice from city authorities, posted in November 2010 due to "lack of sanitary facilities, lack of water to building."

"Microsoft seeks patent on monetizing buttons of TV remote"

How much would you pay to watch a replay of a great play, or skip a bunch of television commercials? And should you have to? Those are a couple of the questions raised by a newly surfaced Microsoft patent application. It’s called “Control-based Content Pricing,” and the basic idea is dynamic pricing of video content, based on the preferences of the user at any given moment — essentially setting different prices for different functions of the TV remote.

Here’s an excerpt from the filing.

For example, if a user initiates a navigation control input to advance past (e.g., skip over) an advertisement, the cost of a requested on-demand movie may be increased. Similarly, if a user initiates a replay of a sporting event, the user may be charged for the replay control input and for each subsequent view control input. This provides an advertisement revenue model that reflects user viewing choices and selections during playback of requested on-demand media, and enables targeted advertising and media content delivery, while maintaining consumer privacy. …

Control-based content pricing allows for user-personalized pricing where price is a direct function of user viewing interaction. Further, the pricing may be expressed as a debit function, such as a debit to receive an on-demand movie, or as a credit function, such as a credit to watch an advertisement or infomercial before receiving the on-demand movie. The credit and/or debit functions of the pricing may also be based on view control inputs, such as content navigation inputs, received as user-input commands initiated with a remote control device. http://www.geekwire.com/2012/microsoft-monetize-buttons-tv-remote

So let's say I'm reading a book, and I want to go back and re-read the last paragraph - should I now have to pay for that? Hell NO!

Or say I'm reading a magazine and I skip the full page ads - should I now have to pay for that? Hell NO!

Worst idea of the moment.

$1B of TSA Nude Body Scanners Made Worthless By Blog — How Anyone Can Get Anything Past The Scanners

"My legal battle against the TSA’s nude body scanner and pat-down molestation program continues in court, soon with a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court. If you’d like to donate to this effort, send PayPal to: jon [at] fourtentech.com

Add me on Twitter: @tsaoutourpants (no “of”)"

This interesting video and article article from: http://tsaoutofourpants.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/1b-of-nude-body-scanners-made-worthless-by-blog-how-anyone-can-get-anything-past-the-tsas-nude-body-scanners/

Oops.... Never mind!

Obviously nuclear power can never generate enough electricity cheaply enough to offset the cost of a Fukishima here in our country.

Especially when you consider that Wind, Biomass, Hydro, and Geothermal are ALREADY dollar for dollar cheaper - before you factor in the costs of waste storage and leakage over the next 30,000 years and the next inevitable nuclear disaster. Not to mention the plummeting costs of solar.


What Everone Needs to Know About Obama's Costly Corporate Tax Cut, and How to Fix It:

As we work to get Obama re-elected, let's also put pressure our Rep's to fix this latest tax decrease on corporations which will increase the burden on the rest of us.


From the NYT:

"An analysis in November from Congress’s nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, which was requested by House Democrats, reported that even if every corporate tax break were scrapped, the 35 percent corporate rate could not be reduced below 28 percent without adding to deficits. Republicans disputed that, citing a group of relatively obscure tax breaks that the Congressional analysts did not count.

Even so, the administration and Congress would have a political and mathematical challenge in eliminating or reducing tax breaks enough to lower corporate rates as they propose to do without adding to deficits. Underscoring the difficulty, just two popular tax breaks — for accelerated depreciation of businesses’ capital investments and write-offs of research and experimentation costs — account for the bulk of the revenue the government foregoes to benefit corporations.

Not only are those two provisions unlikely to be repealed; the Obama administration and both parties in Congress also support making a separate research credit permanent.
" http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/22/business/economy/obama-offers-to-cut-corporate-tax-rate-to-28.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

So, Obama has proposed a straight up tax cut to the very same corporations that are corrupting our democracy and outsourcing our jobs.

How to make sure this doesn't happen: We must make sure that any proposal is vetted and scored by the Joint Committee on Taxation and the OMB. Any proposal that does not come out with a net tax gain must be scrapped, seems to me.

How Bradley Manning was Upholding, not Breaking, the Law; The Nuremberg Principals:

In a nutshell, exposing war crimes is not a crime, it is a duty:

Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nüremberg Tribunal and in the Judgment of the Tribunal, 1950.

Principle I

Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefor and liable to punishment.

Principle II

The fact that internal law does not impose a penalty for an act which constitutes a crime under international law does not relieve the person who committed the act from responsibility under international law.

Principle III

The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible Government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law.

Principle IV

The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.

Principle V

Any person charged with a crime under international law has the right to a fair trial on the facts and law.

Principle VI

The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:

(a) Crimes against peace:
(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).

(b) War crimes:
Violations of the laws or customs of war include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave-labour or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.

(c) Crimes against humanity:
Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connexion with any crime against peace or any war crime.

Principle VII

Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law.

LINK: http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/full/390

The documents Manning released (if true) simply show a pattern and practice of criminal behavior. It was and is every soldiers duty to expose these crimes, IMHO.

DOJ Urges Supreme Court to Halt Warrantless Eavesdropping Challenge - WIRED

The Obama administration is urging the Supreme Court to halt a legal challenge weighing the constitutionality of a once-secret warrantless surveillance program targeting Americans’ communications that Congress eventually legalized in 2008.

The FISA Amendments Act, (.pdf) the subject of the lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and others, allows the government to electronically eavesdrop on Americans’ phone calls and e-mails without a probable-cause warrant so long as one of the parties to the communication is outside the United States, and is suspected of a link to terrorism.

The administration is asking the Supreme Court to review an appellate decision that said the nearly 4-year-old lawsuit could move forward. The government said the ACLU and a host of other groups don’t have the legal standing to bring the case because they have no evidence they or their overseas clients are being targeted.

The groups appealed to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that they often work with overseas dissidents who might be targets of the National Security Agency program. Instead of speaking with those people on the phone or through e-mails, the groups asserted that they have had to make expensive overseas trips in a bid to maintain attorney-client confidentiality. The plaintiffs, some of them journalists, also claim the 2008 legislation chills their speech, and violates their Fourth Amendment privacy rights.

MORE: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/02/scotus-fisa-amendments/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wired%2Findex+%28Wired%3A+Index+3+%28Top+Stories+2%29%29

Pepper-sprayed students file lawsuit against UC Davis - Sac Bee

"A lawsuit has been filed in federal court against UC Davis over the pepper-spraying of protesting students by police on Nov. 18.

Nineteen students have brought the suit that says that the university used excessive force to break up the demonstration. The Occupy UC Davis students were sprayed as they sat on the ground.

The suit said that the actions by police that day, which were broadcast around the world, had a chilling effect on free speech.

Among those named as defendants are University of California, Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, various UC Davis officials, the campus police chief and a police officer."

Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/crime/archives/2012/02/pepper-sprayed-students-filed-lawsuit-against-uc-davis.html#storylink=cpy

If you haven't seen the video that went viral after the incident, it's here:

In Europe, spending cuts fail to ease debt burdens - AP

"WASHINGTON (AP) -- Europe has endured the pain of layoffs, wage cuts and tax increases designed to bring government debt under control. So where's the gain?

Far from falling, debt burdens are rising fastest in European countries that have enacted the most draconian austerity programs, according to The Associated Press' Global Economy Tracker, which monitors the performance of 30 major economies.

The numbers back up what many analysts say: Austerity isn't just painful. It can be counterproductive and even make a country's debt load grow.

Many fear the cutbacks will cause Europe to sink into a self-defeating spiral: Higher debt leads to harsher austerity, growing social instability and deeper economic problems. Governments could find it even harder to pay their bills."



Which could be construed to mean - cutting Govt. and social programs will not decrease our debt. That should be off the table.

So it seems to me, if we want to decrease our debt, we need to increase taxes on those that have the wealth. Increasing taxes on the working class just stunts the economy since the workers have less to spend. Taxing the wealthiest parties stagnant stacks of billions will reintroduce those monies into the system.

Historically, it works, that's what our grandfathers did - closing the loopholes and imposing a 1950's style 91% tax rate on those that can afford it would be a great place to start, IMHO. Taxing existing wealth as in Norway, would be another.

That, and expanding our tax base by bringing our jobs back by exiting the costly trade agreements, and ending the endless wars.

At least, that's what I'm thinking...

New Harvard Study: Medical bills make up half of bankruptcies /Study finds most filers had insurance


BOSTON — Costly illnesses trigger about half of all personal bankruptcies, and most of those who go bankrupt because of medical problems have health insurance, according to findings from a Harvard University study to be released Wednesday.

Researchers from Harvard’s law and medical schools said the findings underscore the inadequacy of many private insurance plans that offer worst-case catastrophic coverage, but little financial security for less severe illnesses.

“Unless you’re Bill Gates, you’re just one serious illness away from bankruptcy,” said Dr. David Himmelstein, the study’s lead author and an associate professor of medicine. “Most of the medically bankrupt were average Americans who happened to get sick.”

Most were insured
Most of those seeking court protection from creditors had health insurance, with more than three-quarters reporting they had coverage at the start of the illness that triggered bankruptcy.


We really need to revisit healthcare as soon as we re-elect the President. Public option minimum. Medicare for all better.
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