Friday, September 19, 2014 / PROGRESSIVE JOURNALISM FOR POSITIVE ACTION
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Published: Thursday 18 September 2014

Transitioning from childhood to the college years, and then to full-fledged adulthood can put a lot of financial pressure on young people. Some kids grow up working from an early age, while others don’t obtain a job until after college graduation. Learning how to navigate banks, car and home loans, and more is an integral part of becoming independent, but it’s also challenging if you hope to find a healthy balance. Take a look at the following nine tips for how young adults can achieve balanced, secure financial independence in a responsible manner. Nine tips for every young adult Here are a few specific tips every young person -- regardless of financial standing -- should understand and follow: 

  • Lower your expectations. While you may be used to living with your parents and enjoying the luxuries and benefits of their wealth, you can’t let their success blind you. You probably won’t be living like your parents immediately, and it may take some time to get access to certain things on your own that you’ve become accustomed to having over the years.

 

  • Understand banking 101. Every time you open a new bank account or make changes to your existing one, you need to study the fine print, ask questions, and make sure you know what you’re doing. Many banks impose hidden fees, administrative expenses, and transfer penalties. Keep an eye out for these tricks to avoid wasting money.

 

  • Start saving right away. Once you get your first taste of steady cash flow and independence, it can be tempting to start purchasing everything your heart desires. While there should certainly be room to spend, it’s at least as important to start saving.

Published: Thursday 18 September 2014

How foolish Americans are, or rather, until a few years ago, we Americans. This writer himself got caught up in the greatest of all confidence games: The Two Party Monte!  Using an embedded media, the ‘Two Party, One Party ‘political system (created by our Military Industrial Empire) keeps chugging along. Whether it is a Reagan or Clinton, a Bush or a Kerry, a Romney or an Obama, it matters not to the puppeteers who run things. They choose who the so called ‘ field of candidates ‘ will be, and then most of the time let the suckers ( we voters ) make the final decision from Column A or Column B. Of course, sometimes, when the empire’s agenda is too urgent, they go ahead and fix the game a bit. Case in point the elections of 2000 and 2004. The movers and shakers decided that they needed a malleable dope in the White House sign off on what then followed: The illegal and immoral invasions and occupations of Iraq & Afghanistan. As if right out of a scene from Scorsese’s Casino, when the five Mafia leaders were discussing their puppet union leader Andy Stone’s future. Four of the dons stated how Andy was a good guy and could be trusted to not ‘flip ‘and turn against them with the Feds. They then all looked to the head of the commission, the fifth don, and he quietly offered: “Why take a chance? “  Soon after Andy Stone was murdered. The Tuesday, September 9th New York Times ran a brief story buried on page A 16, entitled ‘Laughs and Accolades as Clinton and Bush Introduce a Leadership Program’. There was the usual fluff about the two former presidents collaborating with their respective presidential libraries etc. The picture that accompanied the article showed the two of them sitting side by side laughing hysterically. What really got to this writer were the quotes from Clinton about Bush Jr.: ...

Published: Thursday 18 September 2014

Too often we see headlines about goods being sold for ridiculous prices at auction. A dead person’s painting sells for a hundred million whilst on Ebay a jar of bellybutton lint goes for $302.65 – I kid you not. But an auction is a professional playground for those sourcing goods for their company. Online bankruptcy auctions in particular are proving to be a honey pot for satisfying steals due to some key advantages. First off, corporate foreclosures often yield a decent assortment for bidders to pick and choose. What’s more, the equipment itself is almost always fully intact and ready to go – the company may be broke but the goods don’t need fixing. This means even large industrial machines are often already primed for production. Last and most certainly not least is price. A liquidator’s priority is getting rid of goods fast, at short notice and without reserve prices – which gives bidders the perfect chance to swoop in and bag themselves a bargain. Despite our recovering economy, prospective bidders shouldn’t be discouraged from bankruptcy auctions because corporate insolvency is still high. Take Germany, for example, whose corporate insolvency rates stand more or less where they were fourteen years ago. The country’s economic slump in the early 2000s hit companies hard, with a staggering 39,320 companies going under and, despite Germany being one of the strongest standing countries in the global financial crisis, insolvency peaked again in 2008. After years of tumultuous economic weather, figures settled in 2012 to just under 27,000 and have stayed there ever since. On the big scale, you can notice the relative long-term consistency. Bankruptcy auctions will be alive and kicking, whatever the year. It’s bad news for companies struggling to stay afloat, but great news for others those who are savvy enough to convert insolvency into a profitable outcome for ...

Published: Thursday 18 September 2014

First the GOP Guv, Now Kansas’s Senator in Electoral Peril(September 11, 2014) The Newsletter once again visits Kansas, where Gov. Sam Brownback is not the only Republican fighting for his political life.Until very recently, the US Senate race looked like a cakewalk for three-tem incumbent Pat Roberts (R-KS). His opposition was split between Democrat Chad Taylor, the Shawnee County district attorney, and Independent Greg Orman, a wealthy businessman who has supported both Democrats and Republicans in his lifetime. Kansas had not elected a Democrat to the US Senate since 1932.Democrat Chad Taylor Withdraws From Senate RaceThe status quo was rudely interrupted when Democrat Taylor withdrew from the race. On September 3, 2014, Taylor filed papers to exit the race, leaving Kansas’s Senate contest a horserace between two very viable candidates. According to the Topeka Capital-Journal, “Employees in [Secretary of State Kris] Kobach’s office accepted Taylor’s letter of withdrawal.”Two days later, Secretary of State Kobach changed course and insisted that Taylor must remain on the ballot. Kobach, an anti-immigration activist, “birther” and card-carry member of the GOP wing-nut brigade, cited a 1997 provision in Kansas election law that requires withdrawing candidates to detail why they are incapable of serving office.On ...

Published: Thursday 18 September 2014

A logo resembling that of the Islamic State (IS) – locally known as Daash – is seen in an Islamic textbook of a third grade primary school, which sparked a wide debate and criticism among educators in Saudi Arabia. According to the local Arabic newspaper Alhayat, the deputy of the Ministry of Education, Dr. Hamad Al-Sheikh, clarified that what is in the textbook is actually the seal of the prophet cited in the literature 14 centuries ago, and is different from that of Daash.Daash and Al Qaeda must have stumbled upon the seal of the prophet in some historical books and references, and adopted it to be their slogan so as to succeed in convincing others to sympathize and join them.Some historical references, however, state that the last seal the prophet had used was actually of a rectangular shape and is quite different from the logo, and is displayed in a museum in the Turkish city of Istanbul.Regardless of the accuracy of the historical references to the actual seal of the prophet, criticism from educators has grown, calling for the logo to be removed and or replaced.Throughout the past few years, Saudi school curricula have gone through several attempts to revise the textbooks and filter out extreme views. A logo such as this, albeit incidental, seen at the present time, in a school textbook, is heavily frowned upon and the relevant textbook must be reprinted or replaced as soon as possible. Schools are supposed to educate and teach kids to be tolerant of others instead of being the breeding grounds for Islamic radicals.

Published: Thursday 18 September 2014

What was once American democracy is disappearing. It is being replaced by Authoritarian-Capitalism, a cross between an economic belief system and a trope version of Christianity which is hatching like those creatures emerging out of an astronaut’s body in the film Alien. Recently, in a secret meeting with his billionaire sponsors, a Congressman, Mitch McConnell, promised he will work to undo every Federal social program possible. In Mississippi the Chief Justice of that state’s Supreme Court told an audience the First Amendment of our Constitution applies only to Christians. Malthusian zero-sum Christian-Capitalism is reaching for a transformative end game. What kind of country are these people imagining? The United States has always been about business and money even before it was a country, well before a “Revolution” that did more for business interests than for the general population, women, and people of color. Every 4th of July we celebrate the efforts of a group of wealthy lawyers and businessmen who created a country where their interests and investments would be protected and their prejudices regarding blacks and natives preserved. People who were not property owners, women, people of color, and aboriginals were explicitly excluded from the contract. This is not the version of US history taught in schools of course but it is the truth and it bears directly on what we are witnessing today, a realization of that foundational vision fueled by loathsome myopic greed enabled by increasingly more severe social control. Strike a fast food franchise for a living wage and you will probably be arrested. Today workers’ wages are at their lowest share of GDP since 1947 while corporate profits are the highest in 40 years. Today’s  circumstances are the result of an illusory social contract ...

Published: Wednesday 10 September 2014

As scandals typically go, this one started with a “whistleblower.” According to Politico, it was in December 2013 when “Sam Foote, a doctor of internal medicine with the Phoenix VA, retired and began meeting with [a reporter] with detailed allegations that patients were placed on secret waiting lists and several died while awaiting care.” Dr. Foote also sent letters to several congressmen and to the US Attorney’s office. Finally, in April of this year, the VA “scandal” broke.Lurid details followed. The VA was blamed for 35 veterans’ deaths while they awaited care…then it was 40 deaths. On May 30, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki resigned. In June, “an internal VA audit…found that more than 120,000 veterans were left waiting or never got care and that pressures were placed on schedulers to use unofficial lists or engage in inappropriate practices to make waiting times appear more favorable.”The alleged misdeeds on the part of VA officials will not be debated here. But what is sorely missing from the whole national conversation about the VA scandal is why it happened. How did the VA health system get so overloaded that authorities felt compelled to “cook the books?”Our country’s recent war in Iraq–how it was fought and what that did to our soldiers–provides a significant clue.Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a ...

Published: Wednesday 10 September 2014

Most consumers understand the risks of credit card fraud, but they doubt such an event will happen to them. Despite carefully choosing whom they give credit card information to, monitoring their credit reports, and taking other measures to keep their data safe, conscientious individuals fall victim to thieves and con artists every day. Why has it become so difficult to safeguard credit card information? The answer lies in increasingly sophisticated technologies, most of which were created to benefit consumers. In the hands of ill-intentioned individuals, however, these tools enable high-tech thefts that are often difficult to prevent and detect. To protect yourself most effectively from credit card fraud, you must be aware of the many ways criminals now obtain and use their information. Armed with this understanding, you also gain the tools you need to fight back. Technologies that thieves use to commit credit card fraud     Criminals will go to any lengths to grab ill-gotten gains, including using the latest technologies to their advantage. Such tools include: ·       Skimming devices. These mechanisms closely resemble legitimate credit card scanners, especially those provided on self-serve devices such as ATMs or gas pumps. Customers swipe their credit cards and complete their transactions, and the individual who placed the skimmer gains immediate access to their information. ·       RFID readers. Cards with these embedded chips present wireless capabilities, making them easier to scan ...

Published: Saturday 6 September 2014

Brave men and women that serve in the United States military often struggle to find jobs when making a transition back into civilian life. The unemployment statistics for out-of-work U.S. veterans are quite staggering. Each year, nearly three quarters of a million former military personnel find themselves unemployed in the United States. Fortunately, some corporations are taking proactive initiatives in helping veterans. Nonprofit organizations are formed specifically to assist with job placement for individuals that have made sacrifices for their country while proudly wearing military uniforms. In many cases, helping veterans find jobs is a challenge due to a number of factors. Soldiers often return home with psychological problems that are classified as post-traumatic stress disorder. This condition might hinder job opportunities that would otherwise be available for normal civilians. Therefore, it is important to deal with the emotional trauma that service men and women struggle with. Psychiatric therapy might help veterans make a smooth transition into civilian life and eventually find stable jobs. Nonprofit organizations that help U.S. military members are usually operated by high-level corporate executives. Such powerful and wealthy individuals have all of the necessary connections to make real impacts in large job markets. The leaders of charities might work with job recruiters that are given incentives to hire U.S. veterans. For example, corporations might be convinced to hire more military personnel due to federal and state tax breaks.  For the most part, small businesses hire the majority of unemployed veterans. Job placement programs must focus on the skills that former soldiers already possess. For example, it's a good idea for veterans to get into the private security business. Similarly, local police departments and other law enforcement agencies often hire U.S. veterans. ...

Published: Saturday 6 September 2014

In order to inform the present, one must know the past. On the GOP's website they write about the party's history, claiming that the party “began in a little schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin, in 1854 [when] a small group of dedicated abolitionists gathered to fight the expansion of slavery, and they gave birth to a Party dedicated to freedom and equal opportunity.” Beyond the name of the party as “Republican” which was supposedly inspired by the Democratic-Republican Party which lasted from 1789 to 1825, and which conveyed “a commitment to the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” they write that the party was formally organized “by thousands of anti-slavery activists at a convention in Jackson, Michigan” and its convention happened two years later. From here, they give a rosy history, writing about the presidencies of Lincoln, McKinley, Grant, T. Roosevelt and Taft, Eisenhower, Reagan, Bush I and II, how the early women's right's movement was supposedly tied to the GOP, and declaring that “Republicans believe individuals, not government, make the best decisions; all people are entitled to equal rights; and decisions are best made close to home.” Beyond this view which obviously supports the GOP, it is important to question the roots of the party itself. Was it really organized by a small group of abolitionists? Or was there someone else there as well? These questions, among many others is what this this article attempts to answer. The first book I turn to is John Nichols's book, titled The “S” Word, who even spoke about his book to a meeting of the Socialist Party South Central Wisconsin back in February 2012. This was also a book I vaguely remember ...

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Transitioning from childhood to the college years, and then to full-fledged adulthood can put a lot...
How foolish Americans are, or rather, until a few years ago, we Americans. This writer himself got...
Too often we see headlines about goods being sold for ridiculous prices at auction. A dead person’s...
First the GOP Guv, Now Kansas’s Senator in Electoral Peril (September 11, 2014) The Newsletter once...
A logo resembling that of the Islamic State (IS) – locally known as Daash – is seen in an Islamic...