Friday, December 12, 2014

Congress OKs another bank bailout paid by us

Banks WIN: new spending bill will make us pay for their gambling losses AGAIN
House GOP/DEMs approved bank derivatives trading after banning it in 2008. Buffett called derivatives “weapons of mass destruction,” and fears for our future.
They nearly destroyed our global system. Wall St. is trying to overthrow the financial controls put in place after the 2008 meltdown. Wall Street lobbyists attached a "rider" to the $1.1 T federal spending bill that would roll back parts of Dodd-Frank and let the Big Banks go back to gambling with our entire economy while expecting us to bail them out again.
We lost to Wall Street—they can trade “derivatives” and meltdown again.
You can avoid paying for the higher taxes to cover the next bailout:

Is the IRS most popular tax haven right for you?
You have a tax refund coming next April from earnings in 2014. Earnings for this completely tax-FREE account include alimony and maintenance payments. Any part time job or self-employment income will work too. This tax-FREE account has no age restriction, so it can be used to leave your family a legacy FREE of all income taxes like life insurance. Contributions to $5,500 per year ($6,500 for age 50+) can be made if your income is under $191,000 for married-filing-jointly taxpayers and $129,000 for single taxpayers. Contribute your tax refund (average is $3,000) for 25 years and you may have $400,000. That could produce $36,000 a year TAX-FREE.

Congress to cut support for small business pensions
The employer-paid program backing multiemployer plans was $5 billion in the red. It projected that—unless Congress acted—there was "about a 35 percent probability" its assets would be exhausted by 2022 and "about a 90 percent probability" by 2032.
Don’t count on employer pensions. Make your own:

Your broker may lose pay if they help you next year
Merrill Lynch told its brokers they will get higher bonus payments in 2015 for attracting new clients and assets but eliminated pay for servicing clients with less than $250,000. Merrill will pay brokers .10 percent of new assets clients use to buy loans, banking and trust products, or put into fee-based advisory accounts. Brokers attracting over $10 million of such assets get .20 percent and .23 percent for those reaching $50 million. However, bonuses in 2015 are being halved for new money put into low-profit money-market or bank accounts.
Unless you have $10 mill with Merrill, you should do your own investing with Vanguard’s Top Ten:

ObamaCare plans renew automatically—NO WAITING
A 25 year old client enrolled in a health insurance plan on and only pays $20 a month! For 2014, 8 out of 10 people who signed up for health insurance on got help paying for their costs. Over the summer, the Obama administration decided that nearly everyone covered through the 34 federally run exchanges would be auto-enrolled in the same plans for 2015, with the same subsidies they received in 2014. The goal is both to ensure that more people would remain covered through Obamacare, to avoid both overwhelming the website during open enrollment and having a repeat of last year’s technical difficulties. Less than 100,000 opted out of auto-renewal when they signed up for 2014 coverage.

Car thieves have hard time too
Vehicle theft is down by more than 50 percent compared to 1991, despite an increase in population and registrations of over 60 million, according to National Insurance Crime Bureau. The drop—aided in part by better investigation from law enforcement and insurers, and new technologies—means vehicle owners are far less likely to have their cars stolen today than at any time in the last 44 years.
Save $2,000 with anti-theft discounts you must ask for:

If you turned age 70 in 2014…
IRS reminded taxpayers born before July 1, 1944, that they generally must receive payments from their individual retirement arrangements (IRAs) and workplace retirement plans by Dec. 31, 2014. Known as required minimum distributions (RMDs), these payments normally must be made by the end of 2014. But a special rule allows first-year recipients of these payments, those who reached age 70½ during 2014, to wait until as late as April 1, 2015 to receive their first RMDs. This means that those born after June 30, 1943 and before July 1, 1944 are eligible for this special rule. The amount is usually calculated by your IRA trustee using IRS lifetime estimates. If you don’t need the money, send it back to your trustee as a Roth IRA and keep it growing for health care or legacy.

GOP crazies
The current top Republican on the panel, retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), said it’s “pretty clear” the report’s main purpose is to attack Bush. He and other committee Republicans largely avoided cooperating in the preparation of the report, though he and several other panel members did vote to release it this spring.
GOP says torture is OK since CIA gets only the truth from the terrorist, who would never lie under duress. Right!?! McCain says NO WAY! Torture is wrong.
Republican Sen. John McCain, who was tortured and spent five and a half years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, said the Senate report on CIA interrogation practices proves what he knows from "personal experience" -- that prisoner abuse is ineffective and greatly damaging to America. McCain says victims say “anything” to stop. Listen!
If torture is illegal and Bush/Cheney OKd it, will they go to jail?

Why are we paying our taxes to Nazis overseas?
The House unanimously passed a bill -- dubbed the "No Social Security for Nazis Act" -- on Tuesday that would cut off those benefits.

IRS thinks gas prices are going up in 2015
Beginning on Jan. 1, 2015, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck will be 57.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, up from 56 cents in 2014, 23 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down half a cent from 2014, 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

Court allows more Wall Street criminals to walk
US Court of Appeals overturned two of the government’s signature convictions, the case against the former hedge fund traders Todd Newman and Anthony Chiasson, who were tried for insider trading of tech stocks. Citing the trial judge’s “erroneous” understanding of a precedent, the court threw out the case because defendants did not know the “intent” of the original info leakers.
Prosecutors complained that the ruling will tie their hands in pursuing Wall Street crime. From both sides, a consensus emerged that the ruling would have a chilling effect on insider trading prosecutions. More Wall Street tricks will work.

Star Trek’s Photon torpedo is now real Navy weapon

SCAMS           Why are we still paying $700 Billion a year for WWII deployments?
We are paying for 164,253 of our active-duty armed personnel to be in 150 countries around the world. We have about 50,000 in Japan and 50,000 in Germany.
Are we preparing for WWII again? There are 1,208,083[1] armed personnel in the United States. Our taxes pay for about HALF of the WORLD’s military expenditures every year. We have wasted $398.6 billion so far on the F-35 program—they can’t fly safely.
We just can’t afford to pay for everyone else’s defenses anymore.
Japan, Germany and S. Korea can pay for their own defenses.
The War on Terror requires SEALS’ attacks on top terrorists at their homes. Iraq proved converting a nation to Western-style republic doesn’t work.

Our accomplishments in Iraq—one elite replaces another—again ?
Islamic State militants may be at the approaches to Baghdad yet members of Iraq’s Shiite Muslim elite are offering cash for $1 million homes. Gilded mansions with jacuzzis in Italian-marble bathrooms and armored vehicles parked in the drive are replacing the humbler dwellings of the former middle-class Sunni, Shiite and Christian inhabitants. The conspicuous displays of Shiite affluence in tony Zayouna are testament to the shift in political power since U.S. forces ended decades of Sunni dominance under Saddam Hussein, according to Andrew Bowen, Middle East.
Cheney was wrong—torture does NOT work. Terrorists lie and lie and lie
They lie to get the CIA to stop torture, according to Senate report.
You knew that all along. People don’t tell the truth if they are terrorists—dahh.

Even the CIA was outraged by their contractor’s torture!
We paid people $80 million to torture people in our name and got no “smoking gun”
CIA hired contractors to do the dirty work. Contractors helped develop and operate the "enhanced interrogation techniques" that the agency used on terror suspects, including waterboarding, were paid more than $80 million, according to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the CIA's interrogation program released Tuesday. Contractors include Mitchell, Jessen & Associates, a Spokane, Washington, company run by two psychologists, Dr. John "Bruce" Jessen and Dr. James Mitchell. The deal initially provided the two principals with $1,000-a-day tax-free retainers.
According to CIA counsel, John Rizzo, contractors Mitchell and Jessen were recommending "sadistic and terrifying" techniques.

Scam Alert to Wealthy—Avoid “Impact Investing” trend
The World Economic Forum has a message for wealthy families thinking about impact investing: Don’t buy on the buzz. Stick with what you know.
Seeking investments with the dual purpose of making a profit and improving society has become trendy among wealthy people and money managers, who rarely have the expertise or tools to put it into practice, according to a report released today.

Reema Shah, former Ameriprise money manager who pleaded guilty to securities fraud must pay $390,103, a figure roughly equal to the gains regulators said her funds earned based on an insider tip about Yahoo. Shah illegally recommended Yahoo stock in 2009 on the basis of nonpublic information about a search engine partnership between Yahoo and Microsoft. The SEC said the source of the information was Robert W. Kwok, a former Yahoo executive, whom Ms. Shah had given inside information a year earlier about another company, Autodesk Inc.

Judge orders insurers to show paperwork for underpaid Sandy claims
Homeowners have sued Travelers and other insurers including Wright National Flood Insurance and Hartford. Suit says they illegally conspired with engineering firms and others to deny or underpay claims from Sandy. Some homeowners are still waiting for flood insurance to pay off since 2012. Sounds like Katrina all over again!
State Farm was notorious for its handling of homeowners’ claims related to the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Claims were routinely denied without basis and private home inspectors hired by the insurer have testified that State Farm told them to alter damage reports in order to avoid paying claims or pay less than the claims were worth.

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