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The truth is as hard to grasp as water in your hand. – Justin Bass, copyright June 5, 2015.

Google search for %22water EPA%22 on June 5, 2015

Google search for “water EPA” on June 5, 2015

Surveil You Later? — How the N.S.A. ruined the Information Age

November 14, 2013 Leave a comment


The National Security Agency (N.S.A.) headquarters at Ft. Meade, Maryland.

picture source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/National_Security_Agency_headquarters,_Fort_Meade,_Maryland.jpg

The N.S.A. ruined the Information Age.
Who wants to shop online with somebody looking over your
shoulder? President Obama, you know what it’s like to be
followed while shopping. Why do it to us, in our homes, at
our offices, or wherever we may be connected to the world
wide web?

Maybe somebody was on his cellphone at the park and wanted to
check the score of the football game he just bet on. It’s
none of the government’s business if two consenting adults
make a gentleman’s wager on the outcome of the Giants vs.
Vikings game. Mitt Romney can make $10,000 bets all day, and
it’s none of the government’s business if Rick Perry takes
him up on it or not!

Video: Mitt Romney saying “Rick, I’ll tell you what, 10,000
bucks? $10,000 bet?”

Oh, Mitt!

Now, since Edward Snowden revealed the surveillance-software
suite at the disposal of U.S. government workers, we also
know that the N.S.A. can see our emails, internet search
activity, online bank accounts, and everything we do in the
digital world. So if that’s where we are in present-day
American society, let’s just admit we live in an age of
diminishing privacy. Sure, you can refrain from using the
internet, and give up calling and emailing people. But how
many people are going to stop using their iPhones and
Androids and other so-called smartphones? Once you get ‘em
hooked, you can’t just take away the candy. At least not
without a claim ticket.

That’s why we should use a cellphone check-in
service. In the name of bringing back conversation to
civilized society. Just listen to these two humans talk to
each other when there are no cellphones to interrupt their
natural state.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Two men in the audience waiting for a live
show to begin.

AUDIENCE MEMBER #1:
God, this is boring!

AUDIENCE MEMBER #2:
Totally.

AUDIENCE MEMBER #1:
And we can’t even get online.

AUDIENCE MEMBER #2:
Hey, by the way, what do you think
about the N.S.A.?

AUDIENCE MEMBER #1:
Seriously?

AUDIENCE MEMBER #2:
They can’t track us now.

AUDIENCE MEMBER #1:
Well, I think it’s bad that there’s
no oversight.

Two men in suits suddenly appear.

SUIT #1:
Sir, would you please come with us?

Audience Member #1 gets up to leave with Suit#1.

SUIT #2 (TO AUDIENCE MEMBER #2):
And what do you think about the
N.S.A.?

Audience Member #2 smiles and give two thumbs up.

Suit #2 nods and harrumphs before exiting.

Audience Member #2 slouches down in his seat, stealthily
looks over both shoulders, and turns around with a nervous
head twitch.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Let’s not let it get to this, People. Secret courts for
surveillance programs on American citizens is not what the
framers of the Constitution had in mind. Just in case, the
American Public demanded the first 10 Amendments.
The very first Amendment is Freedom of Religion, Freedom of
the Press, Freedom of Peaceful Assembly to protest the
government, and Freedom of Speech.

Speech is not free when you have somebody looking over your
shoulder the whole time. Just ask Edward Snowden.

Edward Snowden during interview in Hong Kong hotel with UK Guardian reporter, Glenn Greenwald, and Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker, Laura Poitras.

Picture source: http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2013/06/Edward-Snowden.jpg

The rest of Europe wants to give him an award, but he’s in
Vladimir Putin’s Russia now. And Snowden thought the N.S.A. was
bad? If he did any whistleblowing on Putin, he’d be in
Russian jail faster than you can say Pussy Riot.

In 2012, band members of Pussy Riot wearing their trademark balaclavas while performing “Punk Prayer” at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. Two of the women in the band are serving out two-year prison sentences for singing their political-protest song in church.

Picture source: http://rt.com/files/news/pussy-riot-court-hearing-355/if499a049ff6dce2e1c1bd012dd9466b2_1.jpg

We live in an age where the whistleblowers of secret U.S.
government surveillance have to hide out with our competitor
countries? How is that Freedom of Speech protection for
Snowden when he has to flee to China’s Hong Kong?

Map of Hong Kong as part of China.

Picture source: https://fandecande.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/14194-china-map-w-hong-kong200.jpeg

And then to Putin’s Russia?

Map of Russia, bordering Europe and Asia.  

Let’s get it all out in the open. Our government spies on
everybody, including its own citizens.

People using N.S.A.-tracked devices.

Picture source: http://www.redorbit.com/media/uploads/2013/09/smartphones-everywhere_TS_80404212_091613-617×416.jpg

If you reveal the secret surveillance, the government will
revoke your passport and you will be in No Man’s Land. All
you can do is throw up your hands and try to make calls for
help, much like being a Verizon Wireless customer near the
beach in L.A.

No, Technology does not always work. And when it does work,
we have no privacy. But our cellphones and our computers
provide those sugary snacks for the mind that we crave day
and night. We don’t really care who watches us, as long as
they let us have our candy.

Edward Snowden just pulled back the curtain on the Wizard of
Oz.

Wizard of Oz behind the curtain when Dorothy reveals him
in the classic film (in color).

But this Oz is very powerful. It’s going to take a lot of
Heart, Brains and Courage to overcome the all-powerful
National Security Agency. But, like I said, give people the
candy they want and they don’t really care what you do behind
the curtain. Especially if you tell them that it has
something to do with stopping terrorists. (Joe Q Public
voice.) “Of course you need everybody’s emails to stop
terrorists. I’m not a terrorist, go ahead.”

We’ll sing “God Bless America” at the 7th inning stretch and
you can track everybody in and out of the stadium.

Aerial view of Dodger Stadium.

Picture source: http://www.examiner.com/images/blog/EXID426/images/dodger-stadium-pic.jpg

Unless, we start doing cellphone check-ins at the ballpark, and
at the movies, and at every public venue! We could take back
our Freedom of Speech if, and only if, we willingly give up
our cellphones for moments during the day.
If we can have coat-check rooms, then we can have cellphone check-in
rooms. Or you can leave your cellphone at home or in
your car. Civilization is what we make of it. The
communication network provided by cellphones and the
internet, that’s the N.S.A.’s domain. But everything else, the
rest of the world, that’s ours. All of ours. Unless you’re
Edward Snowden.

Edward Snowden in Russia.

Picture source: http://img.welt.de/img/ausland/crop121424053/2238725298-ci3x2l-w620/title.jpg

He’s the hero, and yet he’s the one who has to hide. Think
about that the next time the N.S.A. tracks you online while
consuming your internet content.

It’s not so bad now, but just think of what somebody could do
if they wanted to take advantage of our private information:
our business contracts and financial investments, our
professional and personal relationships. This is not the place where government should be. We all have the right to our privacy! Unless you’re a terrorist!

Well, I guess that settles it: the N.S.A. can do whatever it
wants in the name of fighting terrorists and we should use
cellphone check-in rooms to get away from the N.S.A. at certain
points during the day.

Ah, America! The only country that
cares enough to monitor its citizens’ communications 24/7
just to make sure everything is O.K. Like an overbearing
parent!

“It’s for your own good,” they’ll say, as they store
everything we text and type in a super-huge server facility
in Utah, where you can’t even buy a beer on Sunday!


Frosty glass mug of beer.

Picture source: http://www.slate.com/content/dam/slate/articles/life/drink/2012/02/120224_DRINK_frostedBeerMug.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-large.jpg

What’s next? No tacos on Tuesdays?!

Taco, a happy-hour treat on Tuesdays.

Picture source: http://i.cdn.turner.com/dr/teg/tsg/release/sites/default/files/assets/meattaco.jpg

We have to draw the line somewhere, or the government will
continue to encroach on our privacy and our civil liberties.
I say beer on Sunday and tacos on Tuesdays, and cellphone check-in
rooms, and real regulation on the N.S.A. surveillance. No
secret courts. Let’s have our regulation in a regular court.
And let’s have our daily slice of Americana with our First
Amendment rights intact.

Map of the United States in the
middle of North America.

picture source: http://www.kidcyber.com.au/IMAGES/usa-politcal-map.jpg

Freedom of Speech makes America the best country in
the world. Without Freedom of Speech you might as well be living in Russia.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Some good news! It’s the Sun. : )

August 18, 2013 Leave a comment

President Obama OK’d a solar-electric system to be installed on the White House roof this weekend.

* President Carter installed solar panels at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in 1979, but President Reagan had them removed in 1986.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Read more:

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/DC-Decoder/2013/0815/With-US-made-panels-White-House-goes-solar-again

http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/politicsnow/la-na-pn-white-house-solar-panels-20130815,0,877012.story

http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/05/white-house-going-solar-again/?_r=0

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/18/opinion/sunday/gorgeous-glimpses-of-calamity.html?hp

Save Social Security = end the salary cap of $100,000 on contributions to the program

* The richest 1% of Americans have been getting the Lion’s share of the wealth created in this country for the last 30-plus years. It happened under Ronald Reagan, it happened under George W. Bush, and it is happening under Barack Obama. It is time to save Social Security for the majority of Americans. It is time for the rich to pay their fair share, because when the richest 1% of Americans garner more than 60% of the economic wealth created in the last decade that is the opposite of democracy and the opposite of economic benefit for the majority of Americans. We all work hard to make this country great. There are more than 300 million people in this country, not just 3 million.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Millionaires, billionaires and Wall Streeters currently pay Social Security contributions only up to approximately $100,000 of their income, and that ain’t right. Remember, we (the taxpayers) bailed out Wall Street and many big names in corporate America (General Motors, Chrysler;special emergency loans to Harley-Davidson, McDonald’s, Verizon, General Electric, Caterpillar). It’s time for Wall Street and corporate America to remember where they come from — a land between the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans teeming with hungry people who are still cleaning up after the Financial Crisis of 2008. 

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Read more:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/opinion/sunday/kristof-americas-primal-scream.html?_r=0

EXCERPT:

“Three factoids underscore that inequality:

¶The 400 wealthiest Americans have a greater combined net worth than the bottom 150 million Americans.

¶The top 1 percent of Americans possess more wealth than the entire bottom 90 percent.

¶In the Bush expansion from 2002 to 2007, 65 percent of economic gains went to the richest 1 percent.”

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/06/the-war-on-entitlements/

EXCERPT:

“Currently, earned income in excess of $113,700 is entirely exempt from the 6.2 percent payroll tax that funds Social Security benefits (employers pay a matching 6.2 percent). 5.2 percent of working Americans make more than $113,700 a year. Simply by eliminating the payroll tax earnings cap — and thus ending this regressive exemption for the top 5.2 percent of earners — would, according to the Congressional Budget Office, solve the financial crisis facing the Social Security system.”

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/feb/14/opinion/la-oe-sanders-social-20110214

EXCERPT:

“Despite the manufactured hysteria about a crisis, Social Security has not contributed one penny to the very serious deficit situation the United States faces. Social Security is fully funded by the payroll tax that workers and their employers pay; it’s not paid for by the Treasury. Our deficit has been, in recent years, largely caused by the cost of two wars, tax breaks for the rich, a Medicare prescription drug program written by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, and the Wall Street bailout — not Social Security.”

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/02/business/economy/02fed.html

EXCERPT:

“At home, from March 2008 to May 2009, the Fed extended a cumulative total of nearly $9 trillion in short-term loans to 18 financial institutions under a credit program.

Previously, the Fed had only revealed that four financial firms had tapped the special lending program, and did not reveal their identities or the loan amounts.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/26/business/yourmoney/26every.html

EXCERPT:

“’There’s class warfare, all right,’ Mr. [Warren] Buffett said, ‘but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.’”

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

You and Me

April 16, 2013 Leave a comment

You and me

We’ve got all the time

In the world

‘Cause life is long

It goes on and on. © 2013

So much corruption and hypocrisy in America today

April 9, 2013 Leave a comment
* Must-see video…”Exxon turns to paper towels for oil spill clean-up. Rachel Maddow shares photos and video of the pollution from the oil pipeline spill in Mayflower, Arkansas being addressed with paper towels.”http://video.msnbc.msn.com/the-rachel-maddow-show/51473926
“Exxon turns to paper towels for oil spill clean-up
video.msnbc.msn.com
Video on msnbc.com: Rachel Maddow shares photos and video of the pollution from the oil pipeline spill in Mayflower, Arkansas being addressed with paper towels.”
* Must-see video…”British press more honest on Thatcher legacy. Rachel Maddow praises the ability of the British press to describe the full range of Margaret Thatcher’s legacy upon her death, in contrast to the willful ignorance endemic to manipulated American media coverage of political figures like Ronald Reagan.”http://video.msnbc.msn.com/the-rachel-maddow-show/51474158
“British press more honest on Thatcher legacy
video.msnbc.msn.com
Video on msnbc.com: Rachel Maddow praises the ability of the British press to describe the full range of Margaret Thatcher’s legacy upon her death, in contrast to the willful ignorance endemic to manipulated American media coverage of political figures like Ronald Reagan.”
  • This is so wrong…”The Ronald Reagan Legacy Project was started in 1997 by Grover G. Norquist….Our goal is to eventually see a statue, park, or road named after Reagan in all 3,140 counties in the United States.”
    http://www.ronaldreaganlegacyproject.org/about

    www.ronaldreaganlegacyproject.org

    The Ronald Reagan Legacy Project is committed to preserving the legacy of one of America’s greatest presidents throughout the nation and abroad.”
  • https://fandecande.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/fah-q-grover-norquist/

    fandecande.wordpress.com

    FAH-Q = For All to Hear & Question. ; ) ___________________________________________________________________________________________ PROBLEM: The greedy, self-serving Superwealthy and their enab…
  • http://www.thenation.com/blog/162206/grover-norquists-culture-corruption

    www.thenation.com

    After his central role in the Jack Abramoff scandal, why does Grover Norquist have any credibility left?”

  • www.youtube.com

    “We are not auditioning for fearless leader,” Grover Norquist told conservatives at the CPAC convention in February. “We don’t need a president to tell us in…
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    “Exxon wins safety award as Mayflower sees no end to spill cleanup (VIDEO) — RT USA
    rt.com
    As responders continue clearing tens of thousands of gallons of oil from a small Arkansas town after an Exxon pipeline burst, delivering a severe blow to the local ecosystem, a major NGO has named the oil giant the winner of a national safety award.”
    • EXCERPT: “In preliminary other findings released in the weeks following the fire, the Chemical Safety Board has faulted Chevron’s failure to replace a heavily corroded pipe on the 245,000 barrel-per-day crude distillation unit that ruptured setting off the fire, which caused only minor injuries at the second-largest refinery in California.

      The board has also criticized the refinery for failing to shut the unit down when it sent firefighters on August 6 to try and find the leak.

      California’s worker safety regulator the California Occupational Safety & Health Division (Cal/OSHA) fined Chevron $963,000 on January 30 for 25 violations of worker safety regulations.”
      http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2013/04/05/us/05reuters-refinery-fire-chevron-richmond.html?hp&gwh=7669496AF28CDA75228882EAC67B1338

      www.nytimes.com

      The federal agency investigating the fire that broke out in August at Chevron Corp’s oil refinery in Richmond, California, faulted the state’s regulatory system for not being proactive enough in preventing accidents.”
    • “According to the indictments, one Republican official from Queens frisked a briber, who was actually an undercover F.B.I. agent, to make sure he wasn’t wearing a wire. Then failed to find the wire. Then took the bribe while being recorded. This all happened at a super-secret meeting at Sparks, the steakhouse where John Gotti had Paul Castellano rubbed out. I believe there should be an unwritten rule in criminal conspiracy that you do not schedule your big payoff at the most famous gangland murder site in Manhattan.”

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/06/opinion/collins-a-new-era-in-political-corruption.html?hp&_r=0

      www.nytimes.com

      New York’s recent corruption scandals shatter our confidence that taking money was the
      one thing politicians know how to do well.”
    • “Unemployment, not excessive money printing, is what ails us now — and policy should be
      doing more, not less.”

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/05/opinion/Krugman-The-Urge-To-Purge.html?hp

      www.nytimes.com

      The push to see depression as a necessary and somehow desirable punishment for past sins
      is as strong as ever.”
    • https://fandecande.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/open-letter-to-president-obama-9/

      fandecande.wordpress.com

      Social Security, don’t touch it. Mr. President, I’ve gone to bat for you over and over again.
      I volunteered for you in 2008 and in 2012. I stand up for you in conversation and defend you on-line. B…
    • www.youtube.com

      Bernie Sanders Sets The Record Straight On Social Security And The Fraud The GOP
      Is Attempting To Pull On The Elderly And Veterans”
    • “The Big Lie”…EXCERPT from End This Depression Now! by Paul Krugman, pages 64-66;
      W.W. Norton & Company 2012:

      “The Big Lie

      ‘I hear your complaints. Some of them are totally unfounded. It was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, Congress who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp. Now, I’m not saying I’m sure that was terrible policy, because a lot of those people who got homes still have them and they wouldn’t have gotten them without that.

      But they were the ones who pushed Fannie and Freddie to make a bunch of loans that were imprudent, if you will. They were the ones that pushed the banks because it’s one target, it’s easy to blame them and Congress certainly isn’t going to blame themselves. At the same time, Congress is trying to pressure banks to loosen their lending standards to make more loans. This is exactly the same speech they criticized them for.’

      –Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York, on the Occupy Wall Street protests

      The story I have just told about complacency and deregulation is, in fact, what happened in the run-up to the crisis. But you may have heard a different story—the one told by Michael Bloomberg in the quotation above. According to this story, debt growth was caused by liberal do-gooders and government agencies, which forced banks to lend to minority homebuyers and subsidized dubious mortgages. This alternative story, which says that it’s all the government’s fault, is dogma on the right. From the point of view of most, indeed virtually all, Republicans, it’s an unquestioned truth.

      It isn’t true, of course. The fund manager and blogger Barry Ritholtz, who isn’t especially political but has a keen eye for flimflam, calls it the Big Lie of the financial crisis.

      How do we know that the Big Lie is, in fact, not true? There are two main kinds of evidence.

      First, any explanation that blames the U.S. Congress, with its supposed desire to see low-income families own homes, for the explosion of credit must confront the awkward fact that the credit boom and the housing bubble were very widespread, including many markets and assets that had nothing to do with low-income borrowers. There were housing bubbles and credit booms in Europe; there was a price surge, followed by defaults and losses after the bubble popped, in commercial real estate; within the United States, the biggest booms and busts weren’t in inner-city areas but rather in suburbs and exurbs.

      Second, the great bulk of risky lending was undertaken by private lenders—and loosely regulated private lenders, at that. In particular, subprime loans—mortgage loans to borrowers who didn’t qualify according to normal prudential standards—were overwhelmingly made by private firms that were neither covered by the Community Reinvestment Act, which was supposed to encourage loans to members of minority groups, nor supervised by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored agencies charged with encouraging home lending. In fact, during most of the housing bubble Fannie and Freddie were rapidly losing market share, because private lenders would take on borrowers the government-sponsored agencies wouldn’t. Freddie Mac did start buying subprime mortgages from loan originators late in the game, but it was clearly a follower, not a leader.

      In an attempt to refute this latter point, analysts at right-wing think tanks—notably Edward Pinto at the American Enterprise Institute—have produced data showing Fannie and Freddie underwriting a lot of ‘subprime and other high risk’ mortgages, lumping loans to borrowers without stellar credit scores in with loans to borrowers who failed strict lending criteria in other ways. This leads readers who don’t know better to think that Fannie and Freddie were actually deeply involved in promoting subprime lending. But they weren’t, and the ‘other high risk’ stuff turns out, on examination, to have been not especially high-risk, with default rates far below those on subprime loans.

      I could go on, but you get the point. The attempt to blame government for the financial crisis falls apart in the face of even a cursory look at the facts, and the attempts to get around those facts smack of deliberate deception. This raises a question: why do conservatives want so badly to believe, and to get other people to believe, that the government did it?

      The immediate answer is obvious: to believe anything else would be to admit that your political movement has been on the wrong track for decades. Modern conservatism is dedicated to the proposition that unfettered markets and the unrestricted pursuit of profit and personal gain are the keys to prosperity—and that the much-expanded role of government that emerged from the Great Depression did nothing but harm. Yet what we actually see is a story in which conservatives gained power, set about dismantling many of those Depression-era protections—and the economy plunged into a second depression, not as bad as the first, but bad enough. Conservatives badly need to explain this awkward history away, to tell a story that makes government, not lack of government, the villain.

      But this in a way only pushes the question back a step. How did conservative ideology, the belief that government is always the problem, never the solution, come to have such a firm grip on our political discourse? That’s a slightly harder question to answer than you might think.”

      ________________________________________________________________________________

      * I highly recommend the book by Paul Krugman, “Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics.”

      picture source: http://www.amazon.com/End-This-Depression-Paul-Krugman/dp/0393088774

      www.amazon.com

      A call-to-arms from Nobel Prize–winning economist and best-selling author Paul Krugman.
      The Great Recession is more than four years old—and counting. Yet, as Paul Krugman points
      out in this powerful volley, “Nations rich in resources, talent, and knowledge—all the
      ingredients …”
    • “Republicans will lie, cheat and steal…EXCERPT: “As I reported a couple of weeks ago, a recent Senate bill came with a nice bonus for the genetically modified seed industry: a rider, wholly unrelated to the underlying bill, that compels the USDA to ig…”

      www.motherjones.com

      The notoriously agribiz-friendly senator freely admits that he crafted the recent GMO rider—and that Monsanto helped.”
    • http://www.tribecafilm.com/filmguide/513a8415c07f5d47130004d0-gasland-part-ii

      www.tribecafilm.com

      Two years ago, Josh Fox introduced us to hydraulic fracturing with his Oscar®-nominated exposé Gasland. Now this once-touted energy source has become a widely discussed, contentious topic. In his follow-up, Fox reveals the extreme circumstances facing those affected by fracking, from earthquakes to…”
    • * Legacy of failure manifests as a library and museum on May 1, 2013.
      http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/01/16/george-w-bush-presidential-library-opening/1839687/

      www.usatoday.com

      The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas is set to open its doors to the public on May 1.”
    • http://www.politico.com/story/2013/03/obama-im-no-cheney-on-drones-88853.html

      www.politico.com

      President Barack Obama’s defense to Democratic senators complaining about how little his
      administration has told Congress about the legal justifications for his drone policy: Dick Cheney
      was worse. That’s part of what two senators in the room recounted of Obama’s response when,
      nea…”
      ________________________________________________________________________________________
       For lagniappe…
      “History Licking Its Chops To Judge George W. Bush
      ‘Let Me At That Fucker,’ Says Branch Of Knowledge”

      http://www.theonion.com/articles/history-licking-its-chops-to-judge-george-w-bush,31921/

To all the idiots out there

April 7, 2013 Leave a comment

What do you mean public employees shouldn’t get a pension? That’s part of the incentive that attracts teachers and police officers to those jobs. You understand that they don’t get Social Security; they get a pension instead, right?

____________________________________________________________________________

Read more…

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/24/nyregion/noble-change-of-careers-can-be-costly.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

EXCERPT: “A retired teacher entitled to $400 a month through a civil service pension and a $300-a-month spousal benefit would have received the total amount before the government pension offset was put in place. Under the offset, however, the teacher’s spousal benefit is reduced by two-thirds of his or her pension check (about $267). So the teacher would receive $33 from Social Security. If two-thirds of the pension exceeded $300, the teacher receives nothing. The survivor benefit is subject to the same two-thirds rule.”

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/nov/02/business/la-fi-hiltzik-20101102

EXCERPT: “But her career in public service is going to cost her a chunk of the Social Security she already earned, as well as a portion, and possibly all, of the spousal retirement benefit she would otherwise be due through her husband.”

http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Ripoff-Social-Security-and-California-Teachers.html

EXCERPT: “Over a million public employees in California who qualify for Social Security –directly or indirectly through their spouses – won’t get the benefits when they retire. They include firefighters, police officers and schoolteachers. Years ago, Congress voted to keep pensioners from double dipping. But the decision wound up penalizing civil servants across the country.”

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-wall-street-is-using-the-bailout-to-stage-a-revolution-20090402?print=true

For perspective: Hank Paulson’s Bush-led-government-aided thievery of $200 million…

EXCERPT: “Another culprit was Goldman Sachs, which also had the good fortune, around then, to see its CEO, a bald-headed Frankensteinian goon named Hank Paulson (who received an estimated $200 million tax deferral by joining the government), ascend to Treasury secretary.”

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