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rhett o rick

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Member since: Fri Apr 22, 2005, 01:05 PM
Number of posts: 55,981

Journal Archives

Obama Continues the Bush Policies of Secrecy

Some of us naively thought during the terrible Bush decade that we could replace the heavy handed Security State of the Republican administration by electing a Democratic president and that we could reestablish our tattered democracy. In hindsight how foolish we were. We thought that Obama, who campaigned on government transparency and rolling back the Patriot Act would end the dominating control of the most powerful NSA/CIA Security State made strong by 8 years of zero oversight and an unlimited budget. We were wrong. How could we think that those in power would relinquish that power just because a new president was inaugurated? Sadly, some here in DU think that’s exactly what happened in spite of the evidence otherwise.

In “The Nation” magazine of Oct 27, there is a good article, “The Government’s War on Whistleblowers.”

“To date, the Obama administration has charged nine people with violating the …… Espionage Act – far more that all other administrations combined.”

As bad as that sounds, that is the tip of the iceberg. Many others have undergone Espionage Act “investigations” that didn’t result in prosecutions, but most likely destroyed careers. Some see this as heavy-handed intimidation.

“In its 2011 Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide, the FBI formally authorized the use of national-security letters to obtain the call records of journalists who are witnesses to a crime. (NSLs are secret orders that the FBI can issue with no judicial review. Recipients are prohibited from telling anyone they’ve received such an order.)”

The article goes on to detail how Obama’s DOJ used subpoenas to gather records of 100 journalists exposing their sources whether or not the sources were relevant to the justification for the subpoenas. This is more heavy handed intimidation.

It is apparent that our powerful NSA/CIA Security State, via the DOJ, has declared war on whisleblowers and investigative journalists.

When Obama became president he inherited a very powerful Security State from the Bush/Cheney administration that operated with an unlimited budget, carte blache authority and zero oversight. It appears that Security State has grown even more powerful under President Obama. This threat to our democracy should be obvious to all but those living in a state of denial. And those that applaud the president for the gains we’ve made must realize that without democracy those gains can disappear quickly.

Support Your Local Foodbanks and Soup Kitchens

I am reposting this as we move into Nov and the cold weather. People need help this time of year more than ever.

Local foodbanks are struggling. In tight economic times, donations to foodbanks tend to dry up. And this is the time when help is most needed as more and more people are relying on local foodbanks for help.

Please donate non-perishable foods. Even if the cans are dented or past expiration date they may still be good. Let the foodbank make the decision.

Canned meats and meals are always needed. Chili, tuna, canned salmon, pork & beans, etc.

Donating cash is the best because foodbanks usually can buy about three times more food for the dollar than you can.

It’s also important to donate time. At our foodbank about 75% of the labor is volunteered.

Some foodbanks take clothes and household items that they give away for free so keep that in mind.

Foodbanks usually need simple things like boxes, plastic grocery bags, and glass jars. Ask your local foodbank what they need.

Some people are wary that their donations are distributed fairly and efficiently. Volunteer to be a member of the Board of Directors and influence the operations of your local foodbank.

Also help the homeless. Our foodbank works with local soup kitchens and street ministries. Here are some specific items the homeless value:

Hats*, socks*, coats, rain ponchos*, space blankets*, tarps, tents, sterno, canned meats and meals that can be opened w/o opener, bottled water, hand sanitizer and first aid items, granola bars*, bus tokens, grocery gift cards, etc.

*Some items can be purchased in quantity at low prices online like at smile.Amazon. Note, if you use smile.amazon.com, they will donate to your designated charity (foodbank?).

Have a happy holiday season and please support your local foodbank.

When you buy a share of a company from another individual you are not "investing" in the company.

The company does not see a dime of your money. The person you bought it from gets the money. The value of the stock is based on it's popularity. That popularity can be influenced by the performance of the company but it can also be influenced by a lot of other things. For example, a number of years ago it was discovered that Wall Street Journal advisers were influencing stock prices and cashing in. They would tell people that they recommended a certain stock then they would buy a significant quantity which made the price go up. When the public saw this, they took the advice and drove the price up further. Then the advisers would cash out at the higher price. Of course the price would return to normal and those that "invested" on the way up, lost value. My point is that the value of the stock increase had nothing to do with the performance of the company. CEO's have been found manipulating the value of their company stock via business practices and cashing in via their stock options.

What is investing? Some say it's purchasing something with the hope of

profit. Of course inherit is the possibility of loss. That is very close to the definition of gambling.

After the initial release of stock your "investment" does not go to the company. It makes little moral difference if you "invest" in green stocks or WalMart. They don't see a dime of that money.

You essentially buy a ticket, like at the race track, and hope your "stock" is in the lead when you sell it. While the value of the stock may have some relation to the performance of the company, it is essentially a measure of the popularity of the stock.

When you "invest" in the Stock Market you are exchanging money for stock with another "investor". While you are betting the value will go up, he/she is betting the value will go down. This is clearly gambling.

The average "investor" is at a large disadvantage as the Big Money investors have inside knowledge and also can manipulate stock prices. The average of 10% gain you quoted is shared between the Big Money "investors" and the average Joe. Guess who gets the biggest share of that 10%.
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