Archive for credit cards

A.G.Holder's Big Cutting Crime Step:Opening Up Banks

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WesternOutlawsw351h244

As crazy as it seems, there's a financial issue on the federal level that has been cause for alarm in the legalized marijuana industry. Note: I said legalized. By that I refer to transactions for medical marijuana purchases (in 20 states plus D.C.) and legal recreational buys in Colorado and soon Washington state. You see, because of archaic federal laws making cannabis a Schedule One drug, purchases are illegal by federal standards despite being legal in a number of states for varying purposes.

So if it's legal in some states, what's the problem with banking?

Simple. Banks are currently barred under federal banking regulations from handling proceeds from marijuana sales even in states where pot sales have been made legal. Banks are also prohibited from doing other banking business with these vendors like loans and investments. Simply put, that means vendors can't deposit their "state legal" revenues in banks.

That trickles down to the customers who are mandated to cash only purchases -- no credit/debit cards. It also means employees have to be paid in cash as the vendors can't have checking accounts if their deposits were made from marijuana purchases. Loans and investments too are verboten for sellers who want to expand or improve their facility -- perhaps to add security measures to safeguard all of the cash-carrying customers.

Finally the Obama Administration Attorney General, Eric Holder, has seen the light -- and gotten at the very least, a nod from the POTUS to take steps which will help guarantee taxes being paid on these purchases -- a gray area in the state legal system but felonious on the federal level. That's right -- Colorado could tax your purchase, but wasn't allowed to pay federal taxes on the money. They would have to send cash via pony express or Wells Fargo Wagon to deliver the tax revenues as the money couldn't be wired. The result was no federal revenues were collected.

Money talks. Especially federal tax revenues.

As reported today on the HuffPo:

Jan 23 (Reuters) - U.S. treasury and law enforcement agencies will soon issue regulations opening banking services to state-sanctioned marijuana businesses even though cannabis remains classified as an illegal narcotic under federal law, Attorney General Eric Holder said on Thursday.

Finally, some common sense out of Washington. Let's face it, if states are fighting to legalize something that shouldn't have been criminalized in the first place (remember the Volstead Act), at least let them levy their taxes and be able to put them somewhere safer than in the mattresses. And lets send the applicable tax revenue to the IRS. If we can get cannabis tax receipts sent to Washington, maybe next we can do something about collecting those soft off-shore tax loophole revenues. Talk about putting a dent in the federal deficit.

This is a step in the right direction. It's late, but like many good things, better late than never.

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I Love My Debt Collector

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debtors prison

Times are tough, the economy has sputtered thanks to the sequester and the government shutdown. Many of us live on hopes and dreams of a better day. And try as we do, those days seem separated from arriving by trying to stretch the few dollars we have to make them go as far as they can.

This isn't exactly rob Peter to pay Paul, but it's a shell game, for sure. We make minimum payments here, delay a payment there -- even though the check we write this month won't really lower what we owe. We're just buying time while the banks get rich -- or richer.

No matter how good we think we are at this ploy, sometimes circumstances arise and some payment just can't get made -- especially if you and your loved ones want to be fed. And minimum wage jobs don't cover everything, not with a family.

Then the inevitable happens. The call. That call. It's the bill collector. They're not going to take you off to debtor's prison, basically because they don't exist anymore in the States, but it's painful  none-the-less.

These are never pleasant calls, and the people who are making minimum wage placing the collection reminders can't be blamed. It's their job and probably the only one they can get. Despite efforts to be patient while hearing the same excuses everyone uses, they really have one goal in mind -- to get you to pay your bills. And it's not as if we don't want to. It's that in some cases we just can't.

What's the solution? There is one. Think of it as a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down approach.

CFS2. Never heard of them? Well, they're a new kind of debt collector. They've got new approach and it's working both for the creditors and for the debtors. Their success rate is more than twice that of comparable companies. Instead of railing at you for not paying a bill, they help you find a way to  pay it. Then when those assets come in, they reap even more rewards.

If it sounds complicated, it's not. It's just an original way to deal with an age old problem. Check it out. It's so amazing that CBS did a spot on it for the evening news. This is not a commercial or endorsement from me. That's why I'm not giving your a homepage website link. It's just a wonderful, uplifting story you should see.

Oh, and here's a bit about the man who came up with this.  Bill Bartmann is his name. He left a dirt-poor family at age 14 to join the carnival; became an alcoholic gang member by age 17; later paralyzed by falling down stairs drunk; being told that he’ll never walk again, yet proving the doctors wrong, later walked out of the hospital unassisted.

This is a guy who "saw it all" and took life's lessons, turning his lemons into our lemonade.

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Junior Florida Republican staffer charged $1.3 million to party credit card

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By GottaLaff

My Twitter pals Symbolman (who co-authored Going Rouge, the Coloring and Activity Book) and Hoptoad4 stumbled upon something interesting in the St. Petersburg Times.

All that was missing was a Big GOP outing at the Voyeur club:

She was a 25-year-old junior staffer when the Florida Republican Party gave her an American Express card.

Over the next 2½ years, nearly $1.3 million in charges wound up on Melanie Phister's AmEx — $40,000 at a London hotel, and nearly $20,000 in plane tickets for indicted former House Speaker Ray Sansom, his wife and kids, for starters. Statements show thousands spent on jewelry, sporting goods and in one case $15,000 for what's listed as a month-long stay at a posh Miami Beach hotel, but which the party says was a forfeited deposit.

So much for all that "fiscal restraint" talk, huh? But hey, what's $1.3 mil between friends?

Even after a series of embarrassing revelations over profligate credit card spending by the likes of Republican U.S. Senate frontrunner Marco Rubio, Sansom and incoming House Speaker Dean Cannon — and pending state and federal investigations of party finances — revelations of the huge charges on Phister's card had veteran GOP fundraisers apoplectic.

Apparently, legislators abused Phister's card, too, as well as their own. Weeee! It's a spending party for the party who says they hate spending!

Did I mention that political donors are livid?

"I can't believe it. Someone should be hanged for that," Mark Guzzetta, a Boca Raton developer who has raised millions of dollars for Republicans, said of the party allowing so much spending on a low-level staffer's card.

I bet Democrats are just as guilty though, right? No, more guilty. Guiltier than guilty. Isn't that what the Rushpublics always say?

And we all know the last thing any member of the GOP would ever suggest is emulating the Dems. That's Number One on their List-O'-Sins:

The Florida Democratic Party requires staffers and leaders to use their own credit cards and seek reimbursement for appropriate expenses. That's now the practice at the Florida Republican Party, and fundraiser Hoffman suggested it's about time.

Finally. Bipartisanship.

H/t: TexBetsy

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VIDEOS- Bill Maher on Leno re: Afghanistan, Banking Rates, Tiger Woods

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By GottaLaff

"I thought the whole cowboy-liberator dreamworld was over, but this is more sameness I can believe in." Ouch.

On Tiger Woods, The News, and Afghanistan Decision:

On Banks, Credit Cards, Religion, Mother Theresa:

H/t: Ryan

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