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Return of the DISCLOSE Act

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

A great editorial from the LA Times. Yes, Citizens United is with us (for now), but the DISCLOSE Act lets Americans see who gave how much $ to the wretched Super PACS. – R. T.

http://www.latimes.com/la-ed-disclose-20120215,0,738803.story

Mitt Romney’s tax returns: an InCity Times investigative report

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

 

Mitt Romney’s trusts invested in Japanese automakers, European alternative energy companies, foreign pharmaceuticals, several French companies, and took a tax write off of $1.4 million for donating to his own charitable foundation. And much of Romney’s funds were invested through Goldman Sachs, the controversial Wall Street firm that received $10 billion in federal TARP money and hundreds of billions of dollars in federal loans. One thing’s for certain – Mitt Romney did not invest as an American economic nationalist. He put his money where got the most bang for his buck, often in overseas bank accounts investments.

By Steven R. Maher

            Mitt Romney had good reasons to hide his tax returns. It provides a fascinating look at a man who would be an American President, but often put his money to work in foreign companies that directly compete with American manufacturers. While the American automobile industry was struggling to survive, Mitt was investing in Toyota and Mitsubishi. While campaigning for the country to free itself from the dependency of foreign oil, Romney, acting through trusts, was buying stock in foreign manufacturers of alternative energy sources. And in something remarkable, Romney gave $1.4 million to his own “charitable” foundation and reported it as a deduction on his tax return.

            Romney’s tax returns, released Tuesday January 24, 2012, show heavy reliance on the Wall Street firm of Goldman Sachs, which received $10 billion in federal TARP money and hundreds of billions of dollars in federal loans. The TARP money and loans, later repaid by Goldman Sachs, took place around the same time Romney invested with the firm.         

Well structured finances

 

            First, a brief explanation about how Romney structured his finances to minimize his tax liabilities and provide for the lowest possible tax on his estate when it passes to his heirs. Not surprisingly, Romney appears to have greatly benefited from sophisticated legal and accounting advice.

            Romney set up three trusts to house his property: the “Ann and Mitt Romney 1995 Family Trust” (the most fascinating of the group); the “W. Mitt Romney Blind Trust”); the “Ann B. Romney Blind Trust”; and the “Tyler Charitable Foundation” a “Nonexempt Charitable Foundation Treated as a Private Foundation.”

            Theoretically a “blind trust” functions much like a super Pac – the owner of the assets, like the Presidential beneficiary of a super Pac, has plausible denial ability for knowledge of the Trustees’ investment decisions, Click to continue »

THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

By Nancy Snyder

Just recently we learned that the staffers of Congress family members are exempt from having to pay back student loans. This will get national attention, if news networks will broadcast it. When you add this to the below, just where will all of it stop? …

… For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest is to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform … in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn’t seem logical. We do not have an elite that is above the law. I truly don’t care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. The self-serving must stop. …

Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution: “Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States .”

Winds of Change….

*Congressional Reform Act of 2011*_

1. No Tenure / No Pension.

A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no
pay when they’re out of office.

2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social
Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the
Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into
the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the
American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all
Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.
Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and
participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the
American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void
effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this
contract with Congressmen/women.

Congressmen/women made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.

The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!

Crompton Park pool looks fab, but …

Monday, August 1st, 2011

By Maureen Schwab

Following what was a particularly cold and snowy winter, the warm days of summer are finally here. For the residents of Green Island, and for the many basketball and softball players from throughout the city, summer means heading down to Crompton Park.

On a recent weekday evening, as I strolled through the park at early evening, I was delighted to see three softball games in progress, neighborhood children playing soccer on the tennis courts, and basketball on Cousey court. I was not so delighted to see, however, the sorry sight of many children playing on a dilapidated play structure, and the sorriest sight of all; one lousy broken swing hanging by its solo chain, looking much like a torture device you would find in the Tower of London.

At one time, Crompton Park had a bank of high flying swings at the Endicott St. playground. The baby swings were over on the corner of Canton Street. The swings at Crompton Park have been gone for at least two years. How did we loose our swings, the corner stone of every playground I have ever visited? Why is this being overlooked by the Parks Dept?

I have participated in several park walk-throughs with several different city councilors in the past five years. Residents made requests for change, politicians said they would see what can be done, and nothing had ever really changed in the past years, except for further deterioration of playground equipment at Crompton Park.

All of the city pools were all closed last summer, and in a high stakes, winner takes all game of which neighborhood gets the one city pool, Green Island and Crompton Park won. Click to continue »

Nothing is for nothing

Monday, July 18th, 2011

By Jack Hoffman

The first time, and only time, I went to a basketball game at the new Boston Garden- excuse me, Bank North Center – it was a complete culture shock. On every empty space of the venue was an ad for, you name it. But what impressed me the most was this massive electronic scoreboard high above the rafters covered with more ads than information about the game that was being played. The ads were so prominent I wasn’t sure if McDonalds was playing Dunkin Donuts!

Watch a baseball game, hockey or basketball game – you name it. On every pitch everywhere the puck is and wrapped around the scorers’ table an ad flashes for, once again, you name the product.

The Patriots have even scrimmaged with Reebok plastered on their practice shirts. How about those drivers who continuously drive around a circle at speeds up to 200 mph in a car painted with one of your famous consumer products and an advertiser who spends literally millions of dollars to see their name stitched on the drivers’ clothing. We are so influenced by consumer imagery we just about forget what we are paying hundreds of dollars to watch – a sporting event.

Advertising, or shall we say image making, has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. Check out Go Daddy a subscription service for going online. Their product is being sold by 6-foot-tall blonds with cleavage that could be easily attributed to the local plastic surgeon.

Beer commercials that play on the boys’ libido with once again blonds on a beach with pronounced cleavage. How about the Cadillac that can go 190 mph without the wipers being blown away? Wait a minute! How many cars are traveling at 190 MPH?

Advertisers, networks and all the rest that sell lots of this crap have gotten so bad they have bastardized the actual event, the movie we want to watch, the news we try to absorb and more. Oh, let’s not forget Janet Jackson’s nipples. I still want to meet someone who actually saw that nipple. And you still think that was a wardrobe challenge? If some of these advertises are playing on your libido I suggest tuning into HBO after 10 PM.

A local news show that can’t wait to see some victim crying and hear the buxom newscaster ask just how do you feel? See how many blonds will Fox “News” use? Well, wait until 6:24 p.m. and if you like watching commercials they run 4 minutes straight of your favorite products. I timed a 4-minute segment and 75% of the commercials were for cars. So much driving on a test track I can’t remember one car advertiser from another.

Image is so important to some advertisers that Staples bought the naming rights to the new sports center in LA for $100 million for 15 years. Is it really worth it?

Now we go to a movie and arrive just in time to be greeted by a slew of commercials and coming attractions that consume 15 to 18 minutes of get ‘em up aliens and some more stupid animations. This is not a kiddy audience or a kiddy movie we paid 10 bucks to see.

Just a friendly tip: arrive 15 minutes after the scheduled start time.
Isn’t it interesting that the best news network or the most informative programs are the ones on PBS and on the radio at NPR? Problem is so much private funding is needed to keep these gems on the air/airwaves we are now being bombarded with “pledge week” that once lasted a week to the now almost once every month.

Would I rather pay $40 per month and watch all the movies I want or an extra $15 per month to watch important sporting events? I joked when Disney 10 years ago paid $1 billion for ESPN. I asked: How much fly fishing can we watch? Well, in any case I wish I could pay a couple of bucks extra to watch a pawn shop show or some dangerous occupation like catching crabs in snow storms without being interrupted by an ad for some other action show.

The question is: Will we the audience be willing to pay extra money to be entertained without being pitched some product/service we don’t really need?

Is bigger better?

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

By Richard Schmitt

When critics call President Barack Obama’s health reform plans “socialist” they often worry about the overwhelming power of government. The federal government is very powerful; the worry is justified. But if the same people then go on to say that health care should be in the hands of private business, they forget that private business also is often very large and even more powerful than the Feds.

Do you remember that we had to shell out almost a trillion dollars in tax money only last year to save the largest insurance company in the world, as well as Bank of America and other banks because they are “too big to fail”? Click to continue »

Education and money

Friday, August 7th, 2009

By Richard Schmitt

Everyone knows that money is very important.

Everyone equally believes that “money does not buy happiness.”

But many people, including many “important” people, do not understand that however important money is, a lot of things are much more important.

Take love. Click to continue »

City Clerk David Rushford: The Marrying Man?

Friday, July 17th, 2009

By Rosalie Tirella

Let’s see: the city is cash strapped, the state is cash strapped (until the new MA state sales tax kicks in!) and the country is searching for the bootstraps it needs to pull itself out of this financial hell hole. What better time for Worcester City Clerk David Rushford to add as much as $95,000 to his base salary of $131,000!

Meet David Rushford – Worcester’s Marrying Man. This Sunday we learned that Rushford, who is already closing the Worcester City Clerk’s office a couple of hours earlier than 5 p.m (creating banking hours for himself and his staff while still collecting the same pay check) has been making some serious side money ON CITY TIME and CITY PROPERTY marrying people.  He won’t say how much he charges, but thanks to yet another whacky Massachusetts law, Rushford, or any city/town clerk in Massachusetts can charge $50 – $95 every time he/she officially marries a couple.

You would think that the fee would go to the city or town. After all, the momentous event is happening in a city or town hall. It is being performed by a city/town clerk who is working at his city/town job in a city/town hall (thus collecting his/her city/town pay check). You would think with all the whining David Rushford has done about losing a few city clerks and not being able to perform all his work with the staff he’s got, that he would be tickled pink if marrying people meant more moeny for the City of Worcester. Maybe then City Manager Mike O’Brien could rehire some of Rushford’s city clerks he laid off earlier. 

Nope. The dough goes to the city/town clerk doing the marrying.

Last year, Rushford married 950 couples. Do the math: 950  x $100 = $95,000!

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS STATE?! HOW NUTTY CAN WE GO? WE (City of Worcester) LAY OFF CITY NURSES AND TEACHERS AND PARKS PEOPLE AND STILL ALLOW RUSHFORD TO MAKE AS MUCH AS $95,000. WHY DON’T THE MOVERS AND SHAKERS IN WORCESTER GET RIGHTEOUSLY PISSED AND WORK TO HAVE THIS ARCANE STATE LAW CHANGED SO THAT THE MONEY GOES TO THE CITY OF WORCESTER? Not our city clerk who lives in an amazingly huge mansion on Mass Ave – for being little more than a glorified secretary.

Insane!

Here’s hoping city councilors do something productive during their two summer meetings. Let’s have them petition the state to rescind the law or at least pass some local ordinance that allows the City of Worcester to collect – and KEEP - the fee.

$95,000 could go to Worcester’s parks, city pools – city kids. It could go towards public health, AIDS awareness.

It amazes me to see how Blow Mag and many city pols just seem to enable/excuse this bad behavior. Why? Because they know Rushford. Because they are all in the same boys club, standing in the same swill.

Pathetic.