Archive for August, 2018

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

General Motors NYSEGM (GM) and Chrysler have both begun to offer layoff packages to their workforces.

The automobile manufacturers have been hard hit in the recent economic downturn and have been forced to seek federal aid from the U.S. government. Reports say that GM’s package includes a $20,000 cash payment and a $25,000 new vehicle voucher. Chrysler will offer a $25,000 vehicle voucher and $50,000 with healthcare and $75,000 without. Both will offer the deal to most United Auto Workers (UAW) union members – 62,000 at GM, which is seeking to cut 31,500 jobs by 2012.

The two companies have received $13.4 billion in federal loans to keep them operating, but Congress required them to produce viability plans to demonstrate they were making significant cost cuts and labor concessions in return for the money. UAW workers in Detroit earn $28 an hour; their replacements will earn about half that. The UAW’s “jobs bank”, a system where workers without duties are still paid, has stopped at both companies.

GM is also attempting to engineer a debt-for-equity swap, reducing its liabilities from $27.5 billion in unsecured debt to $9.2 billion. It is also seeking to sell a truck manufacturer, the Delco Electronics parts group and the Hummer and Saab Automobile vehicle brands.

The entire motor manufacturing sector has suffered under the economic downturn, with the Ford Motor Company NYSEF announcing a $14.6 billion annual loss, although it has not sought federal aid. GM and Chrysler both ran out of operating funds in December, leading to the federal bailout.

Ben Shephard announces departure from GMTV

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30
Aug

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ben Shephard has announced his departure from GMTV, the current television breakfast programme on ITV in the United Kingdom, having been a presenter on the programme for ten years. His current contract ends in April 2010, but he is expected to leave by the end of the Summer of 2010, according to the Press Association.

Initially, Shephard only presented an entertainment section of the television programme before being given a promotion to the sofa in 2005. He is the third presenter to leave GMTV within the last year, after the departures of Fiona Phillips and Penny Smith.

According to a statement released from Ben Shephard’s agent: “Ben’s two-year contract with GMTV is up at the end of April. Earlier this year, his management made it clear that he would not be renewing it, but would be happy to stay on temporarily during this transitional period. Ben is excited about moving on after 10 incredible years and will be focusing on a number of new projects with ITV and other channels.”

Adrian Chiles, who recently announced his departure from the BBC after modifications were made to The One Show — a show that he presented with Christine Bleakley — was recently reported to be appearing as a presenter on GMTV in the future.

US stock markets fall amid credit fears

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28
Aug

Friday, August 3, 2007

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 280 points, Friday, to 13181.91, just two weeks after soaring to a historic record of 14,000. Two other major indexes, the Nasdaq and the Standard and Poor 500, fell more than 2% in a widespread market sell-off.

Shares of Bear Stearns, the largest United States underwriter of mortgage bonds, fell 6.3% today, resulting from Standard and Poor’s altering its outlook toward the company to “negative” from “stable”. The investment banking firm recently saw two of its major hedge funds sink after exposure to the sub-prime mortgage decline. Standard and Poor’s report said the firm may have problems, including its hedge funds, that could hurt the firm “for an extended period.”

The company held a press conference at noon, but was unable to salvage its stock, leading to heavy losses in the rest of the financial sector. Chief Financial Officer Sam Molinaro remarked that the credit market was in the worst condition he had seen in 22 years.

American Express shares fell 5.6%, while homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises fell 9.4% in the sell-off which impacted all the indexes. American Home Mortgage Investment Corporation shares fell 52.07% in the session after announcing plans to close most operations and lay off over 6000 employees. The company has also lost its lending license in four states including New York.

“It is with great sadness that American Home has had to take this action,” Chief Executive Michael Strauss said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the market conditions in both the secondary mortgage market as well as the national real estate market have deteriorated to the point that we have no realistic alternative.”

Analysts say that the weakness in the stock markets and economy in general could prompt the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates, consequently allowing inflation to rise, but that it would also support stocks and ease borrowing. The Fed has not changed interest rates since June 2006.

Navy helping New Orleans pets

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28
Aug

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Spanish word “tortuga” means “turtle.” But in the wake of the New Orleans disaster, the USS Tortuga is helping other animals.

For nearly two weeks now, sailors from Tortuga’s repair division have devoted much of their time during this disaster relief operation to ensure the health and comfort of displaced pets.

September 4th, just after the ship moored to a pier at Naval Support Activity (NSA) New Orleans, HT1(SW) Mark Hanley and DC1(SW) Antony Graves gathered materials from the repair shop on board to construct a kennel along the levee. The facility they made soon became a popular shelter for the homeless animals of the storm.

Tortuga’s search and rescue team brought aboard more than 170 displaced citizens during this past week, providing them with food, water, medical aid and a place to sleep.

Tortuga’s makeshift kennel, named ‘Camp Milo & Otis,’ has housed as many as 90 dogs, eight cats, one rabbit, one guinea pig, a pair of parakeets and a flightless pigeon during the past week of operation.

Currently, there are 14 dogs that remain in Tortuga’s care, as many of the other pets have been taken to animal shelters in the area for extra medical attention, or been claimed by their owners upon arrival to Tortuga. The pets that Tortuga has registered have all been in the hands of professional veterinarians assigned to provide expert medical attention to the members of Camp Milo & Otis.

Dr. Kelly Crowdis and Dr. Latina Gambles, both from Tuskegee University and Christian Veterinary Missions, have treated many of the pets for infection, dehydration, malnourishment and broken bones at the Camp during the past week.

“The animals were bathed and assessed before physical interaction with the sailors,” said Dr. Crowdis. “They’ve been given immunizations, antibiotics and medications based on their medical needs.”

Dr. Crowdis added, “What these sailors have done on their own has been such a heart-warming thing. As an animal lover, it is so comforting to know that everyone cares about the animals in addition to the human lives rescued from the storm. I’m very pleased with these guys for taking the initiative to construct this kennel.”

Graves, Hanley and other members of their division have consistently bathed, fed, walked and given special attention to every dog, every day.

“We play with them,” said Hanley. “We take them out of their kennels to give them attention every day. And we’ll continue to do that for as long as our ship’s mission keeps us here.”

September 11th, the Agricultural Center at Louisiana State University donated supplies to “Camp Milo & Otis” in support of Tortuga’s efforts to help the animal victims.

”We got medical supplies, bowls, food, cages, leashes, collars, toys, cat litter and cleaning supplies from these people yesterday,” said Graves. “It’s nice to know that so many people out there have heard about what our ship is doing, and responded by donating so much to support us the best they can.”

A photo gallery of unclaimed pets is on the USS Tortuga’s web site.

As part of disaster plans, the Department of Homeland Security has also deployed Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams to provide medical care to pets and livestock, as well as provide any needed veterinary medical care for search and rescue dogs.

There are over 3,850 animals being sheltered around the state. If someone is looking for a pet they should contact their nearest Humane Society or go online to http://www.petfinder.org// . More information is also available at http://www.vetmed.lsu.edu//.

By Ed Sneineh

There are a lot of factors to take into account when searching for car insurance and when trying to locate cheap auto insurance you’ve got to do your homework. Within the insurance industry, competition is tough and premiums vary tremendously. Benefit from this by analyzing around and keep an eye out for rate reduction, which many insurance carriers offer at different times of the year, to get more customers.

1. Ask Your Friends

You may start out your search by questioning good friends and family members for information and support about quality insurance agents they did business with earlier. Your social network should give you some good start point and that may allow you to expand your horizon concerning your preference. Plus, questioning friends may permit you to avert certain choices, thus saving you time and dollars.

2. Probe the Competition

Combine to what your people advised by collecting more information online, information concerning the strength and weaknesses of your possible insurance carrier. But the right strategy to get your quote information is to check specific auto insurance companies and work with an independent agent. In contrast with captive agents who deal with one insurer, independent agents legally represent many insurance companies, and, hence can give more premium options. This can be managed online, over the phone or, simply, in person. Make sure to allow them know you are shopping around and it might help them to give you the cheapest price possible.

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3. Credits and Discounts

Many times a company will instantly offer certain credits to its potential customers. Don’t expect the lowest rate is the number one rate offered. Ask for credits! Some will offer a discounts in rate for many interesting life issues, like:

a. Discounts for insuring multiple cars

b. Discount for prior insurance c. Credit for owning a home/ condo d. Discounts for students good grades e. Low mileage use credits f. Multiple Account Discount- Discount for having more than type of insurance with the same insurer g. Credit for an alarm h. Part time operator credit

You need to ask for specific credits because it is not in the agents or company’s financial benefit to freely offer everything available.

4. History of Your Driving

While shopping for cheap auto insurance, risk is the first element that insurance companies look at when it comes to pricing an auto insurance policy. If they have reasons to believe that you are at higher risk of creating road accidents or traffic tickets, then the more likely you will need to file claims. This costs them money so your policy will become higher. Some of the risks they look at are history of your driving, date of birth and occupation. If you have a lot of tickets on your driving record or are under the age of 25, you will likely pay a much higher premium. Bear in mind, that if you go for several years without any incidents on your record, many companies will automatically lower your insurance costs. And if you get married or have life insurance or other insurances with the same insurance company, then more discounts may apply.

5. Get What You Need, Not What They Want To Sell

A few people are under the impression that they need full coverage on any vehicle they own. The reality is, if you don’t have a loan that you pay monthly on for the car, or if it’s older than six years or worth less than few thousand dollars, don’t waste your money, liability insurance is all what the law asks for. Full coverage may possibly end up costing you more than the worth of the vehicle. Else, liability with a high deductible on the full coverage may be suitable for you needs and won’t break the budget.

It doesn’t have to be hard to identify cheap auto insurance. Take some time doing the research so that you are not caught off guard. Unexpected additions that look like must-haves are not always needed no matter what the agent may tell you. This includes bond cards, duplicate towing (if you already got road side assistance, etc.)

About the Author: Ed Sneineh, Chicago auto insurance agent since 1989, former college educator of insurance, & founder of the Chicago-based Insurance Navy, a leader in providing affordable Chicago car insurance discounts. Visit us and get your SR22 Car insurance discounts Illinois in 5 minutes or less from over 20 insurers like AAA, Travelers, Progressive, Hartford.

Source: isnare.com

Permanent Link: isnare.com/?aid=728647&ca=Finances

Olympic highlights: August 21, 2008

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28
Aug

Thursday, August 21, 2008

August 21, 2008 is the 12th major day of the 2008 Olympic games. The below article lists some of the highlights.

Contents

  • 1 Events
    • 1.1 Women’s 20km walk
    • 1.2 Star class sailing
    • 1.3 Tornado class sailing
    • 1.4 Men’s marathon 10 km swimming
    • 1.5 Women’s beach volleyball
    • 1.6 Men’s 400 meters sprint
    • 1.7 Women’s 200m sprint
    • 1.8 Men’s Triple Jump
  • 2 Medal Table
  • 3 Sources

Olga Kaniskina, who represents Russia, has set a new Olympic record in the women’s 20km walk with her time of 1 hour and 36 minutes. After the race Kaniskina said that the weather did not affect the record.

“I think my regular training is the most important factor contributing to my victory,” she said, explaining the factors that she believes led her to victory.

Britons Iain Percy and Andy Simptson won the gold medal in the star class sailing event after a successful performance in the final round, which took place today. The pair started today in silver medal position, and gained one place in the final round to win the gold medal.

Spanish Fernando Echavarri and Anton Paz won an Olympic gold medal in Sailing’s fast Tornado catamaran class. Darren Bundock and Glenn Ashby from Australia finished in second place and the Argentinean pair of Santiago Lange and Carlos Espinola won the bronze medal.

Maarten van der Weijden, a long distance swimmer from the Netherlands, beat the favorites in the men’s marathon 10 km swimming event to secure the gold medal with a time of 1:51:51.6. David Davies, who was one of the favourites to win the gold medal, was overtaken by Weijden in the final 500 metres of the race.

Davies finished 1.5 seconds behind Weijden.

Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh won the Olympic gold medal for the United States in the women’s beach volleyball competition by winning every set in the final against the Chinese Tian Jia and Wang Jie.

Both sets were won 21-18.

American LaShawn Merritt won the final of the Men’s 400 meters in an event which saw all three of the medals going to the American team.

Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown won the gold medal in the final of the women’s 200m sprint with a time of 21.74 seconds.

Allyson Felix, the defending Olympic champion, who was representing United States, won the silver medal, with her time being approximately 0.2 seconds behind the time of the winner.

Nelson Evora won the men’s triple jump at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. Evora won the gold medal with a jump of 17.67 meters beating silver medalist Phillips Idowu of Great Britain by 5 centimeters (17.62 meters). Leevan Sanders of the Bahamas won the bronze medal with a triple jump of 17.59 meters. link Nelson Evora of Portugal Wins Men’s Triple Jump Gold Medal


Medal Count update

China has extensive plans for space exploration

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26
Aug

Monday, December 19, 2005

China is developing and enacting a long term space program aimed at cultivating and proving the country’s scientific abilities. The project is heavily research based and includes plans extensive manned missions and a modular space station. However the ultimate goal is lunar based.

The Chinese hope to develop its own pollution free fuels that may be used in high capacity rockets that may be able to launch upwards of 25 tons into space. The program has plans for a moon based astronomical telescope and extensive research of the moon’s geology. Ouyang Ziyuan, who heads the moon research program, has explained one particular interest is the helium-3 isotope. Helium-3 is thought to have great capacity for a reliable, non-polluting fuel source.

Their recent Shenzhou 6 mission sent two astronauts into orbit for 5 days. The Shenzhou 7 mission expects to launch three astronauts into space in 2007. Subsequent missions include plans for launching parts of their space station and eventually. The Chinese intend to man their orbiting space station with Shenzhou 10. By 2006 the Chinese hope to launch the Chang’e 1 lunar orbiter which is designed around a Chinese commercial satellite. They intend to follow up with landlers and sample collection as early as 2017.

Started in 1992, the Chinese space program has made rapid progress. Shenzhou 6 was their second manned mission and cost China roughly 110 million, quite inexpensive when compared to the space missions of other countries. The programs extensive plans hint that now, more than ever, the program’s progress is heavily dependent on funding. In 2004 the Chinese budget was 1.8 billion, almost a 30% less than in 1999 and tiny compared to NASA’s spending potential, upped to 16.5 billion for 2006. The space program realizes that it must fit into the country’s grander scheme.

Hu Shixiang, deputy commander in chief of China’s manned space program told CNN that the Chinese are not competing with other countries in their space research, denying any comparison to the Cold War space race. He said China is willing to put for international cooperation in their space research.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Journalist, counselor, painter, and US 2012 Presidential candidate Joe Schriner of Cleveland, Ohio took some time to discuss his campaign with Wikinews in an interview.

Schriner previously ran for president in 2000, 2004, and 2008, but failed to gain much traction in the races. He announced his candidacy for the 2012 race immediately following the 2008 election. Schriner refers to himself as the “Average Joe” candidate, and advocates a pro-life and pro-environmentalist platform. He has been the subject of numerous newspaper articles, and has published public policy papers exploring solutions to American issues.

Wikinews reporter William Saturn? talks with Schriner and discusses his campaign.

News briefs:January 9, 2007

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25
Aug

The time is 20:00 (UTC) on Tuesday January 9, 2007, and this is Audio Wikinews News Briefs.

Contents

  • 1 Headlines
    • 1.1 Polish Archbishop resigns after spying revelations
    • 1.2 Natural gas odor permeates New York and Jersey Cities
    • 1.3 Accusations Tigger threw punch fill airwaves as teen claims neck injuries
    • 1.4 Hindu Holy Men in India threaten to boycott Ganges River Festival because of pollution
    • 1.5 Prince Laurent of Belgium testifies in marine fraud case
  • 2 Closing statements

[edit]

This is the online suicide letter authored by Andrew Stack, the man believed to be responsible for flying a light aircraft into a building in Austin, Texas. It was originally posted at Stack’s site, http://embeddedart.com/. The hosting company, T35, took the site offline per an FBI request. The note is reproduced here in its entirety.

If you’re reading this, you’re no doubt asking yourself, “Why did this have to happen?” The simple truth is that it is complicated and has been coming for a long time. The writing process, started many months ago, was intended to be therapy in the face of the looming realization that there isn’t enough therapy in the world that can fix what is really broken. Needless to say, this rant could fill volumes with example after example if I would let it. I find the process of writing it frustrating, tedious, and probably pointless… especially given my gross inability to gracefully articulate my thoughts in light of the storm raging in my head. Exactly what is therapeutic about that I’m not sure, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

We are all taught as children that without laws there would be no society, only anarchy. Sadly, starting at early ages we in this country have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and service, our government stands for justice for all. We are further brainwashed to believe that there is freedom in this place, and that we should be ready to lay our lives down for the noble principals represented by its founding fathers. Remember? One of these was “no taxation without representation”. I have spent the total years of my adulthood unlearning that crap from only a few years of my childhood. These days anyone who really stands up for that principal is promptly labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse.

While very few working people would say they haven’t had their fair share of taxes (as can I), in my lifetime I can say with a great degree of certainty that there has never been a politician cast a vote on any matter with the likes of me or my interests in mind. Nor, for that matter, are they the least bit interested in me or anything I have to say.

Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours? Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies. Yet, the political “representatives” (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the “terrible health care problem”. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.

And justice? You’ve got to be kidding!

How can any rational individual explain that white elephant conundrum in the middle of our tax system and, indeed, our entire legal system? Here we have a system that is, by far, too complicated for the brightest of the master scholars to understand. Yet, it mercilessly “holds accountable” its victims, claiming that they’re responsible for fully complying with laws not even the experts understand. The law “requires” a signature on the bottom of a tax filing; yet no one can say truthfully that they understand what they are signing; if that’s not “duress” than [sic] what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is.

How did I get here?

My introduction to the real American nightmare starts back in the early ‘80s. Unfortunately after more than 16 years of school, somewhere along the line I picked up the absurd, pompous notion that I could read and understand plain English. Some friends introduced me to a group of people who were having ‘tax code’ readings and discussions. In particular, zeroed in on a section relating to the wonderful “exemptions” that make institutions like the vulgar, corrupt Catholic Church so incredibly wealthy. We carefully studied the law (with the help of some of the “best”, high-paid, experienced tax lawyers in the business), and then began to do exactly what the “big boys” were doing (except that we weren’t steeling [sic] from our congregation or lying to the government about our massive profits in the name of God). We took a great deal of care to make it all visible, following all of the rules, exactly the way the law said it was to be done.

The intent of this exercise and our efforts was to bring about a much-needed re-evaluation of the laws that allow the monsters of organized religion to make such a mockery of people who earn an honest living. However, this is where I learned that there are two “interpretations” for every law; one for the very rich, and one for the rest of us… Oh, and the monsters are the very ones making and enforcing the laws; the inquisition is still alive and well today in this country.

That little lesson in patriotism cost me $40,000+, 10 years of my life, and set my retirement plans back to 0. It made me realize for the first time that I live in a country with an ideology that is based on a total and complete lie. It also made me realize, not only how naive I had been, but also the incredible stupidity of the American public; that they buy, hook, line, and sinker, the crap about their “freedom”… and that they continue to do so with eyes closed in the face of overwhelming evidence and all that keeps happening in front of them.

Before even having to make a shaky recovery from the sting of the first lesson on what justice really means in this country (around 1984 after making my way through engineering school and still another five years of “paying my dues”), I felt I finally had to take a chance of launching my dream of becoming an independent engineer.

On the subjects of engineers and dreams of independence, I should digress somewhat to say that I’m sure that I inherited the fascination for creative problem solving from my father. I realized this at a very young age.

The significance of independence, however, came much later during my early years of college; at the age of 18 or 19 when I was living on my own as student in an apartment in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. My neighbor was an elderly retired woman (80+ seemed ancient to me at that age) who was the widowed wife of a retired steel worker. Her husband had worked all his life in the steel mills of central Pennsylvania with promises from big business and the union that, for his 30 years of service, he would have a pension and medical care to look forward to in his retirement. Instead he was one of the thousands who got nothing because the incompetent mill management and corrupt union (not to mention the government) raided their pension funds and stole their retirement. All she had was social security to live on.

In retrospect, the situation was laughable because here I was living on peanut butter and bread (or Ritz crackers when I could afford to splurge) for months at a time. When I got to know this poor figure and heard her story I felt worse for her plight than for my own (I, after all, I thought I had everything to in front of me). I was genuinely appalled at one point, as we exchanged stories and commiserated with each other over our situations, when she in her grandmotherly fashion tried to convince me that I would be “healthier” eating cat food (like her) rather than trying to get all my substance from peanut butter and bread. I couldn’t quite go there, but the impression was made. I decided that I didn’t trust big business to take care of me, and that I would take responsibility for my own future and myself.

Return to the early ‘80s, and here I was off to a terrifying start as a ‘wet-behind-the-ears’ contract software engineer… and two years later, thanks to the fine backroom, midnight effort by the sleazy executives of Arthur Andersen (the very same folks who later brought us Enron and other such calamities) and an equally sleazy New York Senator (Patrick Moynihan), we saw the passage of 1986 tax reform act with its section 1706.

For you who are unfamiliar, here is the core text of the IRS Section 1706, defining the treatment of workers (such as contract engineers) for tax purposes. Visit this link for a conference committee report (http://www.synergistech.com/1706.shtml#ConferenceCommitteeReport) regarding the intended interpretation of Section 1706 and the relevant parts of Section 530, as amended. For information on how these laws affect technical services workers and their clients, read our discussion here (http://www.synergistech.com/ic-taxlaw.shtml).

SEC. 1706. TREATMENT OF CERTAIN TECHNICAL PERSONNEL.

(a) IN GENERAL – Section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978 is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection:

(d) EXCEPTION. – This section shall not apply in the case of an individual who pursuant to an arrangement between the taxpayer and another person, provides services for such other person as an engineer, designer, drafter, computer programmer, systems analyst, or other similarly skilled worker engaged in a similar line of work.

(b) EFFECTIVE DATE. – The amendment made by this section shall apply to remuneration paid and services rendered after December 31, 1986.

Note:

· “another person” is the client in the traditional job-shop relationship.

· “taxpayer” is the recruiter, broker, agency, or job shop.

· “individual”, “employee”, or “worker” is you.

Admittedly, you need to read the treatment to understand what it is saying but it’s not very complicated. The bottom line is that they may as well have put my name right in the text of section (d). Moreover, they could only have been more blunt if they would have came out and directly declared me a criminal and non-citizen slave. Twenty years later, I still can’t believe my eyes.

During 1987, I spent close to $5000 of my ‘pocket change’, and at least 1000 hours of my time writing, printing, and mailing to any senator, congressman, governor, or slug that might listen; none did, and they universally treated me as if I was wasting their time. I spent countless hours on the L.A. freeways driving to meetings and any and all of the disorganized professional groups who were attempting to mount a campaign against this atrocity. This, only to discover that our efforts were being easily derailed by a few moles from the brokers who were just beginning to enjoy the windfall from the new declaration of their “freedom”. Oh, and don’t forget, for all of the time I was spending on this, I was loosing income that I couldn’t bill clients.

After months of struggling it had clearly gotten to be a futile exercise. The best we could get for all of our trouble is a pronouncement from an IRS mouthpiece that they weren’t going to enforce that provision (read harass engineers and scientists). This immediately proved to be a lie, and the mere existence of the regulation began to have its impact on my bottom line; this, of course, was the intended effect.

Again, rewind my retirement plans back to 0 and shift them into idle. If I had any sense, I clearly should have left abandoned engineering and never looked back.

Instead I got busy working 100-hour workweeks. Then came the L.A. depression of the early 1990s. Our leaders decided that they didn’t need the all of those extra Air Force bases they had in Southern California, so they were closed; just like that. The result was economic devastation in the region that rivaled the widely publicized Texas S&L fiasco. However, because the government caused it, no one gave a shit about all of the young families who lost their homes or street after street of boarded up houses abandoned to the wealthy loan companies who received government funds to “shore up” their windfall. Again, I lost my retirement.

Years later, after weathering a divorce and the constant struggle trying to build some momentum with my business, I find myself once again beginning to finally pick up some speed. Then came the .COM bust and the 911 nightmare. Our leaders decided that all aircraft were grounded for what seemed like an eternity; and long after that, ‘special’ facilities like San Francisco were on security alert for months. This made access to my customers prohibitively expensive. Ironically, after what they had done the Government came to the aid of the airlines with billions of our tax dollars … as usual they left me to rot and die while they bailed out their rich, incompetent cronies WITH MY MONEY! After these events, there went my business but not quite yet all of my retirement and savings.

By this time, I’m thinking that it might be good for a change. Bye to California, I’ll try Austin for a while. So I moved, only to find out that this is a place with a highly inflated sense of self-importance and where damn little real engineering work is done. I’ve never experienced such a hard time finding work. The rates are 1/3 of what I was earning before the crash, because pay rates here are fixed by the three or four large companies in the area who are in collusion to drive down prices and wages… and this happens because the justice department is all on the take and doesn’t give a fuck about serving anyone or anything but themselves and their rich buddies.

To survive, I was forced to cannibalize my savings and retirement, the last of which was a small IRA. This came in a year with mammoth expenses and not a single dollar of income. I filed no return that year thinking that because I didn’t have any income there was no need. The sleazy government decided that they disagreed. But they didn’t notify me in time for me to launch a legal objection so when I attempted to get a protest filed with the court I was told I was no longer entitled to due process because the time to file ran out. Bend over for another $10,000 helping of justice.

So now we come to the present. After my experience with the CPA world, following the business crash I swore that I’d never enter another accountant’s office again. But here I am with a new marriage and a boatload of undocumented income, not to mention an expensive new business asset, a piano, which I had no idea how to handle. After considerable thought I decided that it would be irresponsible NOT to get professional help; a very big mistake.

When we received the forms back I was very optimistic that they were in order. I had taken all of the years information to Bill Ross, and he came back with results very similar to what I was expecting. Except that he had neglected to include the contents of Sheryl’s unreported income; $12,700 worth of it. To make matters worse, Ross knew all along this was missing and I didn’t have a clue until he pointed it out in the middle of the audit. By that time it had become brutally evident that he was representing himself and not me.

This left me stuck in the middle of this disaster trying to defend transactions that have no relationship to anything tax-related (at least the tax-related transactions were poorly documented). Things I never knew anything about and things my wife had no clue would ever matter to anyone. The end result is… well, just look around.

I remember reading about the stock market crash before the “great” depression and how there were wealthy bankers and businessmen jumping out of windows when they realized they screwed up and lost everything. Isn’t it ironic how far we’ve come in 60 years in this country that they now know how to fix that little economic problem; they just steal from the middle class (who doesn’t have any say in it, elections are a joke) to cover their asses and it’s “business-as-usual”. Now when the wealthy fuck up, the poor get to die for the mistakes… isn’t that a clever, tidy solution.

As government agencies go, the FAA is often justifiably referred to as a tombstone agency, though they are hardly alone. The recent presidential puppet GW Bush and his cronies in their eight years certainly reinforced for all of us that this criticism rings equally true for all of the government. Nothing changes unless there is a body count (unless it is in the interest of the wealthy sows at the government trough). In a government full of hypocrites from top to bottom, life is as cheap as their lies and their self-serving laws.

I know I’m hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand. It has always been a myth that people have stopped dying for their freedom in this country, and it isn’t limited to the blacks, and poor immigrants. I know there have been countless before me and there are sure to be as many after. But I also know that by not adding my body to the count, I insure nothing will change. I choose to not keep looking over my shoulder at “big brother” while he strips my carcass, I choose not to ignore what is going on all around me, I choose not to pretend that business as usual won’t continue; I have just had enough.

I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be white washed and ignored that the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take nothing less. I would only hope that by striking a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are. Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn’t so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer. The cruel joke is that the really big chunks of shit at the top have known this all along and have been laughing, at and using this awareness against, fools like me all along.

I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

Joe Stack (1956-2010)

02/18/2010