The Poor Man Bulletin
Your Choice for Usable Information
In This Issue:
· Socialist Slave Number – Do’s & Don’t’s
· Militarizing our Police
· Usury Laws – Where Are They?
· America’s Financial Problems – how bad is it?
· Can You Afford to be Poor?
· Clean energy from firewood
A compromise is an agreement whereby both parties get what neither of them wanted. ~Author Unknown
Increase Seen in Anti-Government Actions
Recently, we learned about a man who crashed his airplane into an IRS building because he became frustrated over their actions. In Minneapolis, Federal agents raided a ‘suspected’ internet firm stating it was involved in a Ponzi scheme. Serving a warrant in Fresno, CA became deadly for three law enforcement officials. Seems there is a lot of anger from citizens over ‘law enforcement tactics.’
The average local law enforcement man or woman is honest and hard working. As one AZ sheriff told me, “It’s the feds that give all of us a bad name…they’re more interested in ‘protecting’ government turf than citizens rights.”
Remember, in the United States, the American people in business have no protection over the federal governments investigative branch. Without absolute facts American businesses are at the whim of federal agencies which can freeze bank accounts, take computers and close offices with nothing more than an allegation. In many cases, your business is guilty until proven innocent…that’s the way it works in our free country.
See our story below on how paramilitary police have trampled the rights of many citizens.
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“We’ve reached a point now where there’s an intimate link between our solvency and our national security. What’s so discouraging is that our domestic politics don’t seem to be up to the challenge.” · Richard Haass, president of the insiders’ ultimate power club, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
Cleaner Energy from Firewood
From Mother Earth News, by Amanda Kimble-Evans
Wood, the oldest fuel source known to humans, may be about to experience a renaissance, thanks to rising oil and gas costs combined with shrinking bank accounts. Ultra-efficient, ultra-clean advanced wood combustion technology and fast-growing “perpetual” fuel woods can, on the micro level, bring increased home heating security for landowners and, on the macro level, create a regenerative fuel source for electricity generation.
How does fuel wood combat climate change? Wood is often considered “carbon neutral,” because growing it pulls as much carbon dioxide out of the air as is released into the atmosphere when it’s burned. So, unlike gas or oil, it releases no net carbon. It is a closed-loop energy source, simply recirculating the carbon dioxide already within the Earth’s carbon cycle.
An analysis led by Daniel D. Richter, professor of soils and forest ecology at Duke University, proposes we are missing a key strategy in our search for sustainable energy solutions. Richter says we need to consider advanced wood combustion, which he defines as “automated, high-efficiency wood-fired energy generation systems with strict air pollution control.”
The analysis was detailed by Richter and a multidisciplinary team of experts in the March 13, 2009 issue of Science magazine, and points out that creating thermal and electrical energy with advanced wood combustion has been growing quickly throughout Europe. “These facilities release remarkably low quantities of air pollutants and have system-wide thermal efficiencies approaching 90 percent,” Richter says. According to the article, the cost of wood fuel is several times cheaper than fossil fuel costs (per unit of energy produced).
The authors of the Science article say the United States is well-suited for sustaining a wood-energy economy. Yet currently, energy from wood provides only about 2 to 3 percent of total U.S. energy consumption. This is about half of the potential annual sustainable wood supply available to us for power generation.
The report also identifies “waste” wood as an untapped asset, estimating that 30 million tons of urban wood per year can be safely burned for energy. For example, the District Energy program in St. Paul, Minn., burns 250,000 tons of waste wood and other biomass per year to provide heating, cooling and other energy to part of the city.
Although wood supplies just a fraction of today’s national energy use, the sustainable wood supply of the United States could easily produce more than the 3 percent that is supplied by our current hydroelectric sources.
Perpetual Fuel Wood
Sustainable harvests from existing forests could be supplemented with “perpetual fuel wood” (fast-growing, hedge-like trees used in Europe).
“People are talking about biomass plantations, efficient burning and super insulation, but older, more accessible strategies not being talked about involve coppiced and pollarded fuel-wood hedges,” says Ben Falk, founder of Whole Systems Design (www.wholesystemsdesign.com), a Vermont-based sustainable land development company. Coppicing and pollarding are the practices of harvesting firewood from species that resprout from their base or part way up the trunk, capitalizing on the existing energy of the root structure.
Falk and his team have focused on the massive U.S. interstate highway system as a possible site for these hedges. “There are more than 46,000 miles of underutilized interstate corridor landscape,” he says. “Much of the median and surrounding acreage is mowed, which requires huge quantities of fossil fuel, time and labor, and doesn’t offer any actual yields.”
Falk also finds great promise in the ability of coppicing to sequester carbon dioxide. “Each time you cut back a tree, root dieback releases carbon into the soil. Coppiced systems act as large-scale, solar-powered carbon pumps transporting carbon from the atmosphere into the soil — where it belongs.”
Possibly the most attractive selling point of advanced wood combustion is that it’s more quickly and easily implemented than solar or wind energy systems. A number of U.S. cities and public institutions are already integrating advanced wood combustion into their green energy plans, including the Fuels for Schools program in Vermont and various district energy programs in Idaho, Ohio and South Carolina.
Wood Fuel for Your Home
The Science article didn’t broach the question of home-scale fuel wood for heat, but Falk is excited about the possibilities. “You can grow a lot of your own food calories almost anywhere in this country,” he says. “But your own heat? It’s difficult, but it can be done.”
The question is, how many acres would you need? According to John Gulland, a wood heat expert and MOTHER EARTH NEWS contributing editor, “In many regions, a healthy, well-managed woodlot can perpetually yield half a cord of wood per acre per year. An average home typically requires about 5 cords per winter, which can be sustainably harvested from about 10 acres. A well-insulated, modest-size home using a high-efficiency woodstove might need only 2 cords, cut from 4 acres, per season.”
Falk says the question is also about what type of renewable heating option folks can afford. “Most people can’t afford to retrofit their home for solar heating. Harvesting local firewood for a high-efficiency stove is a better option in many cases.”
The key to implementing these positive projections for fuel woods is a move toward a more localized energy framework. “Everyone says wood is ‘carbon neutral,’ but if you’re moving massive amounts of heavy material — chipping, cutting, logging, hauling — then it won’t be a carbon neutral process,” Falk says. Most of the European growth has been on the community scale.
The Science article analysis predicts that community-based models will recycle money back into the local economy with new jobs and new sources of income for local landowners.
Richter and his colleagues add that advanced wood combustion systems help communities transition to other renewable energies. And, according to Falk, “While we don’t yet have all the answers needed for large-scale transformation toward regenerative resource use, there are many transitional technologies accessible to us right now. By looking across cultures and regions, we can begin to adapt them to the challenges we face today.”
Excerpted from Mother Earth News, the Original Guide to Living Wisely. To read more articles from Mother Earth News, please visit www.MotherEarthNews.com or call 800-234-3368 to subscribe. Copyright 2010 by Ogden Publications Inc.
When You Should, Shouldn’t Give Out Your Social Security Number
Some Legitimately Need It—to Others, Learn to Say ‘No’
Your Social Security number is one of the keys to your financial health. It’s a unique indentifier lenders use to assess your creditworthiness. It’s also exactly what a would-be thief needs to apply for a credit card, mortgage, car loan or job in your name.
If you’re like most Americans, it’s also something you give out all too frequently.
“As with so many procedures in the business world, your Social Security number is something that many companies ask for, so no one really questions it,” says James Van Dyke, president of Javelin Strategy & Research, a research firm that tracks financial services topics. “But giving out your Social Security number is definitely a practice consumers should think twice about.”
Case in point: A recent Javelin Strategy & Research report—the 2009 ID Fraud Survey—found that, among identity theft victims, 38 percent said the perpetrator had obtained their Social Security number and used it in the crime. “It’s certainly logical to say that you could eliminate 38 percent of your risk of identity theft by limiting access to your Social Security number,” says Van Dyke.
‘Your Socialist Slave Number, Please’
Still, saying it and doing it are two different things. Many of the forms you encounter during the day—at doctor’s offices, at the dentist, at your child’s school—ask for Social Security numbers. Retailers may ask for it, too, when accepting a check for payment or before issuing check cashing privileges. Potential employers also need it, and they may even want a copy of the actual card, says Linda Foley, founder of the San Diego-based Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC). You’ll also be asked for it at your local Department of Motor Vehicles, car dealerships, pawnshops, drugstores—even at the airport, should you lose your luggage, she says. In fact, you may be surprised at how far-reaching this practice is, says Foley.
NOTE: As an alternative, use a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) available from the IRS for use in opening bank accounts and the like.
What did you do today to spread liberty? Use this checklist!
Who is the Middle Class?
Have you been wondering about the lack of serious coverage by the media of the financial crisis facing the middle class? As David Sirota shows us, the media doesn’t seem to understand who the middle class are:
Last year, the New York Times told us it’s difficult for people to make ends meet on $500,000 a year, and the Washington Post insisted that it’s hard to “squeak by” on $300,000 a year. Now the Denver Post insists that if you make $250,000 a year, you may only be “middle class”
Where does utter disconnect with reality come from? And why does it exist?
Media voices perpetuate these myths of the impoverished wealthy, in part, because many media voices are themselves wealthy — and there’s no more powerful class solidarity than that which exists among the rich.
Indeed, the wealthy don’t just convince themselves they aren’t wealthy, they try to create the perception among themselves, politicians and the public at large that they are “middle class” and thus persecuted by taxes. Put another way, the real danger of the New York Times, Washington Post and Denver Post article floating the idea of the wealthy as not wealthy is in skewing our political debate over economics. If someone making $500,000 is just “getting by,” and someone making $300,000 is barely “squeaking by” and someone making $250,000 is in the persecuted “middle class,” then having any fact-based discussion about tax inequities becomes that much harder.
The income gap in the US has been increasing since the 1970’s when wages began to stagnate.
Watch out for falling home prices
Despite signs that the real estate market might be lurching forward, prices are expected to fall further this year and next.
The average home price in the United States will fall by about 6% by September 2011, according to a joint report between Fiserv and Moody’s Economy.com. And that’s after plunging more than 27% in the past three years.
Most of the projected home price decline will occur during the usually slow summer months of 2010. After that, prices should begin to stabilize, according to Fiserv, and stay almost flat through fall of 2011.
The main reason for continued decline, according to Mark Zandi, economist and co-founder of Economy.com, is foreclosures—the same thing that’s plagued markets for the past three years.
Learn more about the $8000 Home Tax Credit Before it Expires
I usually lump organized religion, organized labor, and organized crime together. The Mafia gets points for having the best restaurants. ~Dave Beard
America’s Financial Crisis- how bad is it?
General Motors, once the strongest and largest corporation in America, went bankrupt because Management didn’t see the mistakes they made until it was too late.
Now the same thing is happening to the U.S. Government.
Even Ben Bernacke is touting the need for fiscal restraint in Washington.
“There is a real chance America could go bankrupt”. Bill O’Reilly, Talking Points 2/12/10
“U. S. credit rating at risk- Moody’s”. Daily Telegraph
The AAA bond rating on U.S. bonds is threatened as Moody’s says U.S. finances are already extended and could be overstretched.
Other News items:
-National Debt at 12.4 Trillion Dollars and growing. (See www.usdebtclock.org)
• Warren Buffet says the economy is in shambles but thinks it will improve in 4 years. When asked why he thinks it will improve he said, “Because it always has”.
• The United Nations and China have both proposed replacing the U.S. dollar as the defacto world currency because of our weakened economy.
• The U.S. government is spending beyond its budget; it is only able to operate because of foreign loans.
• Manufacturing in the U.S. is at its lowest in 26 years.
• The wealth of America is being sapped dry as each year we send:
$265 billion to OPEC and other oil producing countries
$296 billion to China for items we import
• According to the non partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), by 2019 a whopping 82% of our Gross Domestic Product will go to pay down our national debt. This means in future years the U.S. government could owe its creditors more than the entire economy can produce!
To sign the ‘mother of all petitions’ to stop our reckless federal spending, go to:
A recent Toyota internal memo was "leaked" to the Drudge Report. Among the memo's conclusions is that the Obama Administration and its "activist" Congressional crusaders are "not industry friendly." And while Toyota's executives on the Hill are remaining calm in the face of withering Congressional temper-tantrums (two hearings by two committees), the fact that company operatives leaked the memo is a clear message to Congress: Be careful how far you take this.
I do not think the political class are listening to the warning Toyota's upper management have subtly telegraphed to Congress.
Meanwhile, here's the real story you won't generally see reported:
· Toyota is being singled out by the congressional majority because its employees have rejected unionization. Ford Motor Company recalled some 4 million cars last year alone (Toyota's recall has so far been limited to 650,000 cars).
· The defective gas pedals and floor mats Congress is squawking about are actually entirely American-made! In part to appease the politicians over the years, Toyota subcontracted their construction to U.S.-based companies.
· To do business in the United States, Toyota has paid significant tribute to the political left which is now thanklessly savaging them. For example, Investor's Business Daily notes Toyota has played ball and knuckled under to Jesse Jackson's race-baiting corporate shakedowns, giving him and other left-wing extortionists the lion's share of $7.8 billion for handouts to his favorite liberal groups.
· Because Toyota has based its operations in states with lower tax rates and Right to Work laws disallowing forced unionism, the powers-that-be in Washington are out to get them. Obama's Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, has actually advised Americans not to drive Toyotas.
Demilitarizing local police…many 3rd World Dictators Envious
By Richard Diamond
Just over four years ago, Salvatore J. Culosi was gunned down by a Fairfax County, Va., SWAT team member who suspected the 37-year-old optometrist of wagering on football games. County officials insist that it was an accident when Officer Devall Bullock squeezed the trigger of his .45-caliber pistol, sending a bullet into the chest of the unarmed man. In 2007, the Culosi family sued Mr. Bullock and the county for financial and punitive damages related to the incident.
Then-Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. refused to file involuntary-manslaughter charges. The punishment Mr. Bullock suffered for killing a non-threatening man with no criminal record was a three-week suspension without pay.
As former Cato Institute policy analyst Radley Balko meticulously documented in a 2006 paper, “Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America,” law enforcement agencies around the country have increased their use of military-style tactics to deal with low-risk situations. Mr. Balko mapped 43 specific examples in which use of the SWAT team led to the death of an innocent and 173 cases in which military-style tactics were used against people who, apparently unlike Dr. Culosi, had not broken any laws.
One of the highest-profile examples of this type of mistake was the 2008 raid on the home of Berwyn Heights, Md., Mayor Cheye Calvo. SWAT team officers gunned down Mr. Calvo’s dogs, which were attempting to flee out of fear while Mr. Calvo and his family were held at gunpoint - even though they and the friendly black Labrador retrievers had done nothing wrong. The Prince George’s County sheriff’s department cleared itself, declaring the operation a success.
NOTE: Now, you might see how valuable our free FREEDOM report might be!
Get the full PDF file of Overkill here:
Can You Afford to be Poor in the US?
Writing in the Harvard Law & Policy Review, Matt Fellowes examines the higher prices lower-income workers pay for basic necessities—home loans, groceries, and financial services—and outlines a combination of initiatives that can bring down business costs, curb unscrupulous behavior, and boost consumer knowledge to reduce these prices, creating up to thousands of dollars in extra family spending power.
The working poor (a growing percentage of US citizens) pay more for just about everything from autos and insurance to mortgages, medical care and food…what boils to in essence, a ghetto tax. A single person in this country needs to earn $16.40 hourly wage to afford the average 2-bedroom apartment.
NOTES: Doesn’t it make you wonder…the middle class, what’s left of it, is getting poorer. I pity most of today’s college grads who finish school thousands of dollars in debt and with few solid job prospects (I guess they can always become a greeter at Wal Mart). A BA today is worth about as much as my honorary doctorate. One of our readers sent me an email about a CBS report that military families at the Miramax Air Base in California are getting food supplies from an area food bank and that military recruiters now include applications for food stamps in their orientation packets.
With Wal Mart wages now the norm, I wonder which is worth more…the US dollar or the Peso? It’s obvious they cannot support the economy and it goes back to what I’ve been saying the 1980s – “Burger flippers can’t afford $40K cars!” A wonderful case of Disaster Capitalism and a shell game thanks to government policy and Wall Street greed!
Whatever happened to Usury Laws?
Predatory lending has become the norm in this country, especially with those loan sharks on nearly every corner called ‘check cashing’ storefronts. So what ever happened to usury laws in this country?
Definition: Usury is defined as the act of lending money at an unreasonably high interest rate, this rate is defined at the state level. Repayment of loans at a usurious rate makes repayment excessively difficult to impossible for borrowers. This is also called “loan sharking” or “predatory lending”.
Many states have abandoned such laws in order to allow credit card firms and other financial pirates to scam the low income public.
Usury is a very old notion that is almost as old as banking itself. It was first simple the charging of a fee for a loan, something obviously accepted today. As the notion of interest, or a flat-rate fee, for loans became common, the definition change to charging a rate perceived as excessive.
Find the usury limits in your state by visiting:
This Land is Their Land by Barbara Ehrenreich (author of Nickel & Dimed)
After America: Narratives for the Next Global Age by Paul Starobin - 2009
That’s the roundup for this week pardners!
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Bruce “The Poor Man” http://www.PoorManSurvival.Com