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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Last Minute Gift Ideas, More TSA Follies

Bruce’s Poor Man Recession Bulletin
Your choice for urban survival resources

In This Issue:

What I gained When I lost Everything
America now has the worst income disparity in the world
Big Brother on Steroids-Walmart TV-Spy on Fellow Americans
American stupidity-why the sheep are so easily led
Online holiday freebies, Free PDF of Economics in One Lesson, More
Last minute gifts you can print online
The Biggest Bank Robbery

"For everybody has a natural right to defend his own person and property against aggressors, but also to go to the assistance and defense of everybody else, whose person or property is invaded. The natural right of each individual to defend his own person and property against an aggressor, and to go to the assistance and defense of every one else whose person or property is invaded, is a right without which men could not exist on earth."
-- Lysander Spooner
(1808-1887) Political theorist, activist, abolitionist

A blend of the ACLU & Nader’s Raiders-Are we just road kill?
Our country has entirely too much duplication of government agencies

One of the reasons we created the Citizen’s Guide to Screwing Bureaucrats is because many are tired of their ruthless, costly antics but most of us lack either the desire or means of challenging these flatworms in a legal fashion.

It is simply not government creeps that screw things up, it is often corporate jerks too and the most famous for screwing its customers is feebay. There are loads of blogs and sites devoted to exposing at their insidious practices. EBay’s ad network owes me $26.50 and they don’t want to give it back - they even admit they owe it! I will probably wind up filing a complaint with the CA Attorney General’s office (find a link to all 50 states on our Poor Man site).

A former employer of the Poor Man’s wife owes us a few thousand and is dragging his heals and openly shows his disrespect. We’ll file a complaint with the Department of Labor against him. An example from our book on how to use a bigger fish to go after a smaller fish at no out of pocket expenses.

My sister always said I should have been a lawyer and both of us passed the LSAT’s while in high school but never went to law school. However, the Poor Man sits on the board and acts as volunteer executive director of a not-for-profit group which has been essentially sitting idle for the past year. We used to make grants of cash and gifts to other non-profit groups, but that fund is empty.

We grew up in an era when Ralph Nader and his Nader’s Raiders were popular and it is time to revive an organization devoted to citizens rights since most often, the government either falls down on the job or is the problem. Nader went after consumer products, such as GM and their auto, the Corvair along with governmental organizations such as the FTC. There is no doubt we have too many government agencies. Can anyone tell me why the Department of Education needs to be duplicated 51 times? Let each state handle their own educational needs and save the taxpayers some cash!

Over the years, some have accused me of being un-American. Quite the opposite, I love this country but I’ve grown increasingly disgusted at how governments at all levels have trampled the rights of hard working Americans and have squandered our public treasury placing our children into hock for generations to come. Just because a child is sick doesn’t mean you toss it out the window, you try to cure it.

Most folks are too intimidated, too broke or don’t have the time or inclination to battle government agencies. That’s what they count on!

In the eyes of our Washington-Wall Street Cartel, many citizens have become serfs, serving the feudal master and if we no longer serve their purpose - we’re road kill.

My thinking is our activist group would target government agencies primarily as they seem to do the most harm and cost the public the most money - needlessly. If you have any interest in getting involved, drop me a line. Defending our rights under Natural Law is in the interest of every American. I will be seeking paralegals, researchers and lawyers to assist on a pro bono basis.

I’m meeting with the MI branch of the ACLU to get some pointers on approaching law schools to gather volunteers. We’re contemplating as our first case, to go after MI law preventing people from defending themselves using non-lethal tools such as mace and stun guns, something currently against the law.
To learn more about Nader’s Raiders, go here:

Here’s our Christmas Card to all of you…feel free to share it with your friends!
Click here for your card. (if this link doesn’t work, use the one below)

Learn to make your eBay listings stand out-Free guide

How to profit on eBay-even if you don’t have a product. (Part of a free online course you can sign up for when you visit this site)

UPS Adds Photo ID Requirement for Retail Shipping
UPS is expanding its policy to require customers who ship
packages from retail shipping locations to present a
government-issued photo ID for verification of identification.

It [the State] has taken on a vast mass of new duties and responsibilities; it has spread out its
powers until they penetrate to every act of the citizen, however secret; it has begun to throw
around its operations the high dignity and impeccability of a State religion; its agents become a
separate and superior caste, with authority to bind and loose, and their thumbs in every pot. But it
still remains, as it was in the beginning, the common enemy of all well-disposed, industrious and
decent men.
Henry L. Mencken, 1926.

Read-Our Enemy, the State-free
PDF you might wish to share or watch the video. One of the absolute best treatise on state power grabs and control

Homestead series on how to grow garlic. They also offer free how to’s on building a greenhouse and more.

A variety of Christmas-Holiday FREEBIES
Cards, music, catalogs and more…

Last Minute gifts you can print at home… - simply click the ‘gift cards’ menu tab and select Print a Gift Card - good at more than 15,000 eateries & you pay only 40-60% of the actual value! - go to their site & click on gift Purchase & choose how many months you’ll give.
!Tunes! - use gift cards to download songs & albums to suit nearly any taste (I like 80s music)

Here’s another idea…several years ago we made up custom gift baskets as presents to family members. Knowing each person allowed us to include their favorite chocolates and I baked up batches of cookies and mini-loaves of blueberry, pumpkin and banana breads. To this we included a 60-page cookbook I had written of unique country recipes…the baskets & cookbook proved a big hit and for several years we got requests for additional copies of our Secrets & Shortcuts of a Country Inn Chef!


What I Gained When I Lost Everything...
Michael Gates Gill - thanks to Bottom Line for allowing this to be shared! The Poor Man went through a similar experience but he’s not old enough to get medicare and he never worked at Starbucks…but he did rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in uninsured medical bills and bounced back. You can too is the moral of this story.

Fourteen years ago, at age 53, Michael Gates Gill was at the top of his game -- he had a lovely wife, an expensive home and a $160,000-a-year job in advertising. By age 63, he was divorced, unemployed and nearly broke -- then his doctor informed him that he had a slow-growing brain tumor.
In desperate need of health insurance and a regular paycheck, Gill took an entry-level job serving coffee at Starbucks for $10.50 an hour. To his amazement, he loved the work.
Four years later, Gill no longer needs the health insurance -- he now is old enough to qualify for Medicare. He also has sold his life story to Hollywood (Tom Hanks is expected to portray Gill in the film), but he plans to remain at Starbucks -- he enjoys the job. He has chosen “watchful waiting” as the treatment option for his brain tumor.
Bottom Line/Personal asked Gill to share what recent years have taught him about life...

Your own expectations can constrain you. In my earlier life, I defined myself by my career and social status -- I was an affluent, Yale-educated ad executive. When I lost my job in advertising, I was certain that the solution to my problems lay in landing a new job in advertising or, if not that, a new client to get my own advertising consulting business on its feet.

My mental image of myself prevented me from considering opportunities that did not fit that picture. I could not see myself in a service-sector job wearing an apron and a baseball cap -- even though Starbucks’ generous health insurance plan offered a solution to my most immediate problem.
It took an outside force to break me out of this box. I was in my local Starbucks when, out of the blue, a manager asked me if I needed a job -- it turns out that the Starbucks I had entered was having a “Hiring Open House.”
You may not know your true priorities. I spent most of my adult life chasing bigger paychecks, loftier job titles and flashier possessions. These were my goals not because I chose them, but because I never considered that any other goals existed. My friends and family seemed to want these things, and I assumed that I wanted them, too.

When I accepted the job at Starbucks, it struck me that I probably would never again have money, titles or expensive possessions -- yet one evening at Starbucks, I realized that I was as happy as I had ever been in my life. This “low-level” job gave me supportive bosses and coworkers, lots of human interaction and enough money to live a simple life. These were my real priorities, and I had never even known it. Instead, I had wasted most of my life pursuing other people’s goals. Perhaps I could have discovered my true priorities long ago if I had listened to my heart, rather than allowing myself to get swept along in what those around me were doing.
Trust the universe. I thought of myself as a master of the universe when I was young and successful. Only later did I discover that no person is a master of the universe, and it is foolish even to aspire to be one. Trying to master the universe means struggling against the tide of events, which rarely works. When the universe pushed me out of the executive suite, I tried to take charge and reclaim the life I had had previously. I did not find happiness again until I stopped fighting the tide and started swimming with it to see where it led.
Any task can be worthwhile if it involves serving others. I had considered serving coffee an unimportant job -- until I figured out that my job was not really serving coffee at all. It was serving my customers and my coworkers. I might not be curing cancer, but I am doing my best to make life a little better for anyone who steps through the Starbucks’ door. There are few feelings as wonderful as the feeling you get when you help someone feel better.
Having money only creates a desire for more money. I earned a lot in my previous career, yet I was always in debt and worried about finances. Today I no longer have a car, a big house, stylish furniture or $2,000 suits... and I do not miss my former possessions in the least. I can’t even remember why I thought they were important. Living without luxuries doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. I love my cozy apartment. I love that I can go for a walk or sit at home reading a book and not feel that I should be out at a business event or an expensive restaurant.
The best jobs are those that keep you in the moment. Much of my 26 years in advertising was wasted in meetings. Many times we had meetings to prepare for other meetings. We were living not for the moment but always in the future.

Only when I started working behind a counter did I discover the joy of work that keeps you in the here and now. There are no long-term projects in my new career. When I prepare a cup of coffee, I don’t worry about past mistakes or future challenges. I just do what I am doing right now to the best of my abilities, and I immediately see the results of what I have done. That is a wonderfully gratifying way to live.
Most people work long hours and think about their jobs even when they are home. When I worked in advertising, a boss once ordered me to fly to Detroit on Christmas while my young children were still opening their presents. I went.
I love the fact that now when I leave work for the day, I do not think about my job again until my next shift. That is what a job should be -- a relatively small part of life.
True, jobs that offer lots of free time are unlikely to be very lucrative -- but the free time they provide can lead to even greater financial success. I used some of my free time to write a book that will soon become a movie. If I were still a “successful” executive, I never could have found the time to write.
The only job that’s beneath you is one that you do not give your full effort to. I no longer consider it degrading to clean the toilets in a coffee shop bathroom. What would be degrading would be cleaning them poorly. Doing a task well -- any task -- is a source of self-respect.
It is natural to fear change, but things are rarely as bad as we fear. When we’re faced with change, we worry that we will not be able to adapt or that we will not enjoy our new situation. I was scared of taking a job at Starbucks... scared that I wouldn’t get along with coworkers half my age... scared when I was put in charge of a cash register, because I have never been very good with money.

Each time, I was scared before the change occurred -- yet once it did, it was never as bad as I had feared. Sometimes we just have to take that leap into a completely unfamiliar situation and expect that we will rise to the challenge.
Bottom Line/Personal interviewed Michael Gates Gill, former creative director at J. Walter Thompson Advertising and currently an employee at a Starbucks in Bronxville, New York. He is author of How Starbucks Saved My Life (Gotham)

Useful Resources…

Do you have multiple social networks that you try to keep updated? Wouldn't it be nice to able to update them all at once? Well now you can with Ping.

You'll have to register to be able to use it, but it's free! So just fill out the registration form with an e-mail address and password and then click the Sign Up button. Then you're whisked off to a list of social network sites. To connect them to your Ping account, all you have to do is click Add Network, and then follow the directions for that social networking site.

Consumers Follow Brands on Social Media for Coupons
Forty percent of consumers say they are most likely to search for
coupons or promotions when interacting with a brand via social
media, according to an Empathica survey.

Appeal Your Property Tax Assessment Workshops
Free assistance for homeowners
Learn how to appeal your property tax assessments by attending a free, two-hour workshop offered by the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance and the Wayne County Taxpayers Association. Currently scheduled are five Workshops for Detroit-area residents. West Michigan and out-state Workshops are being planned.
“Too many struggling homeowners may end up paying too much in property taxes if they don’t appeal their assessments. These workshops will provide valuable, expert and free information to homeowners.”
“Appealing your property tax assessment can be a bit tricky,” stated Leon Drolet, Chair of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance. “Learn the law and the appeals process and you increase your odds of paying no more than what you legally owe in property taxes.”

Perpetual Wars, Endless Enemies-our government is the biggest arms dealer and dealer in death than any other country and it routinely trumps the Constitution.
As the Poor Man has stated…it’s about control & the corporations making money from the technology they sell to Uncle Scam. Our government has in reality, declared war on its own citizens-Straight out of 1984 the movie AND it’s disgusting! Government extremists are everywhere.
Janet’s Homeland Security TV at WalMart - 1984 Style Tyranny

Marsha J. Evans, President and CEO of the American Red Cross...
Salary for year ending 06/30/09 was $651,957 plus expenses…while
Salvation Army's Commissioner Todd Bassett receives a salary of
only $13,000 per year (plus housing) for managing this $2 billion
dollar organization.

What is your plan B?
The financial problems we all face are now bigger than the government alone can handle. These problems are now becoming global problems:

1. Value of the dollar falling
2. National debt increasing
3. Baby boomers starting to retire
4. Oil prices rising
5. Gap increasing between the rich and everyone else
6. Wages decreasing
7. Jobs being exported
8. Social Security and Medicare going bankrupt
9. Savings being wiped out
10. Lack of financial education being taught

Congress"borrowed" nearly 43% of the money you paid into Social Security last year.

American Stupidity with Bill Maher…let this perk up your day!
It’s little wonder this country is in trouble & why the sheep are so easily led.

The average person will spend a buck on a lottery ticket or cup of coffee,
But they won’t drop a dime on something which will improve their brain
Or earning power…many no longer read anything.

Lawyer: U.S. to Indict Assange

Get ready for hacker mayhem. Lawyers for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange say he'll soon be indicted by the United States for spying. "Our position of course is that we don't believe it applies to Mr. Assange and that in any event he's entitled to First Amendment protection as publisher of WikiLeaks and any prosecution under the Espionage Act would in my view be unconstitutional and puts at risk all media organizations in the U.S.," said his lawyer. He's currently being held in solitary confinement in Britain on sexual-assault charges from Sweden.

Parting shots…

Freedom of speech...especially when its inconvenient

It's probably safe to assume that Australian Internet activist Julian Assange wasn't thinking specifically about Iran when his brainchild, the information clearinghouse WikiLeaks, released its latest round of classified U.S. government cables. Still, the data dump, encompassing more than a quarter-million internal memos issued by the State Department and U.S. embassies overseas, successfully demolishes a number of sacred cows relating to American policy toward the Islamic republic and its burgeoning nuclear effort. What truly amazes me however, the first rule one learns in the spy game is to never keep written records of damaging information! So what happened?

Part of me wants to cheer the guy on. He’s taken on the behemoth US government and appears to me sort of like David & Goliath…then again, it is our country?! I must remind myself how the Washington-Wall Street Cartel decimated our middle class and perhaps…

…when the workers decide they are tired of being exploited, and if anyone else wants their job they’re welcome to it. We will see worker slowdowns similar to those popular in Europe. Suddenly, corporate profits will be jeopardized.

And as I began writing in the mid 1980s, what will happen when corporations no longer have anyone left to sell to. In other words, if the number of unemployed keeps rising, at some point there will no longer be anyone left to buy things until they get employed again. At this point corporate survival will dictate the need to hire people if only to continue selling their products.

And as most of us already knew…despite the changes in ‘leadership’ of the past election, Congress will do little to change their spending habits. Oh yeah, there will be a lot of lip service to reining in the budget, but don’t count on it.

Closing thought on the economy…

In conversations with associates whose business it is to know (industrial, business & real estate forecasting), this will be the slowest recovering recession ever…2014 at the earliest in terms of jobs. Personally, I’m not as certain. I realize those calculations are based on current trends and stats but as I’ve warned readers before…it wouldn’t take much to upset the apple cart!

The fed says no inflation…but most of us know we’re being lied to again with manipulated statistics. The price of fuel and therefore, grains, has soared recently…expect the US to continue to under report inflation even as the average American continues to be pinched.

{I know economics bores most folks, but it is your pocket that is being picked. I suggest reading -FREE- the 1946 book Economics in One Lesson. Get it here}:

Another war with (take your pick)…more crushing government rules, regulation or the production of even more fiat money, more taxes at any level, no pick up in hiring, etc.- even so, Wall Street - see below.

America worst income disparity in world
Top Wall Street firms will once again break their own salary record this year and as the gap between the haves and have-nots worsens, could it get worse? Most of the government benefits have gone to help Wall Street get on its feet while others suffer. Mike Norman says what is happening to the United States is very disturbing and the US now ranks the lowest in income disparity in the world.

Suggested reading from Laissez faire books…(a company I once tried to buy).
Tax Revolt: The Rebellion Against an Overbearing, Bloated, Arrogant, and Abusive Government

One more you might enjoy about ‘The Biggest Bank Robbery yet

That’s it for this week from the Poor Man, curator of the Museum of Lost Civil Rights and all around bon vivant.

Don't Get Caught With Your Pantry Down-New 11th Ed.

A Shallow Planet Production

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