Archive for savings

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



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.


Estimate of TARP losses falls to $25 billion


I just don't get the messaging from this White House, the surrogates should have been on every tv and radio show this morning, singing this to the rafters.

"The projected cost of the $700-billion financial bailout fund -- initially feared to be a huge hit to taxpayers -- continues to drop, with the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimating Monday that losses would amount to just $25 billion," the Los Angeles Times reports.

In March, the budget office estimated that the program would cost taxpayers $109 billion.

From the report: "Clearly, it was not apparent when the TARP was created two years ago that the cost would turn out to be this low. At that time, the U.S. financial system was in a precarious condition, and the transactions envisioned and ultimately undertaken through the TARP engendered substantial financial risk for the federal government."


Feds: Blackwater Saves Taxpayers Money


By GottaLaff

I wouldn't care if they saved us billions, there is no justification for their existence. Period:

But a new government report says they may actually have saved U.S. taxpayers money. The State Department saves roughly $900 million a year using private firms to protect American diplomats in Iraq rather than relying on U.S. government employees, according to a recently published review by the non partisan Government Accounting Office.

Here are the reasons they give for the differences. Ready?

The state department did not have to pay overtime or provide benefits or vacation time to the contractors. They were not saddled with extensive travel and housing costs. And they did not have to outfit them with weapons and gear.

Seriously. Those are the reasons. Well, then, by all means, go with Blackwater, er, Xe, er, Blackwater, er, Murder Inc.

But wait, it gets even better:

The report noted that the State Department would have been "reluctant to hire third country nationals to provide security in Iraq because the department does not want to be perceived as hiring mercenaries."

I'm sorry, but did I just wake up in Crazy World?

Moral of the story: Money first... Except for Jan Schakowsky. She's smart that way:

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), who has sponsored a bill to outlaw government contracts to private security companies, defended her bill against the report, told ABC News that money was not the biggest factor in assessing the value of contractors in war zones.

And with that, it's time to re-introduce my old primer, Blackwater for Dummeez. Consider it a refresher course on who these thugs are:


What is Blackwater USA, boys and girls? Blackwater USA is an international security contractor founded in 1997 by Erik Prince and is based in the U.S, . state of North Carolina where it operates a tactical training facility that it claims is the world's largest. Wow!

Let's take a peek into their world, in their very own words, where they claim to be: "The most comprehensive professional military, law enforcement, security, peacekeeping, and stability operations company in the world".

Our leadership and dedicated family of exceptional employees adheres to an essential of core corporate values- chief among these are integrity, innovation, excellence, respect, accountability, and teamwork.

In doing this, we have become the most responsive, cost-effective means of affecting the strategic balance in support of security and peace, and freedom and democracy everywhere.

Blackwater's Federal Contracts

Year Amount Paid

2001 $736,906

2002 $3,415,884

2003 $25,395,556

2004 $48,496,903

2005 $352,871,817

2006 $593,601,952

Well, howdy-do, that's impressive!

Now! What do they do? Stuff that includes integrity, innovation, excellence, respect, accountability, and teamwork? Nah, they were just kidding. They do this:

The lead Suburban in our convoy loomed up behind an old, puttering sedan driven by an older man with a young woman and three children. As we approached at typical breakneck speed, the Blackwater driver honked furiously and motioned to the side, as if they should pull over. The kids in the back seat looked back in horror, mouths agape at the sight of the heavily armored Suburbans driven by large, armed men in dark sunglasses. The poor Iraqi driver frantically searched fora means of escape, but there was none. So the lead Blackwater vehicle smashed heedlessly into the car, pushing it into the barrier. We zoomed by too quickly to notice if anyone was hurt.

That's what they do.

Who's in charge? Just a dickens of a guy! Erik Prince! And what a resume has he!

Born: 6-Jun-1969 Religion: Born-Again Christian Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight Occupation: Business, Military Party Affiliation: Republican Executive summary: Founder, Blackwater USA Military service: Navy SEAL Team Officer (1993-96, Bosnia, Haiti)

Erik Prince is a multi-millionaire right-wing fundamentalist Christian from a powerful Michigan Republican family. His wealth came from his father, Edgar Prince (d. 1995, billionaire, started Family Research Council with Gary Bauer). A major Republican campaign contributor, he interned in the White House of President George H.W. Bush and campaigned for Pat Buchanan in 1992, finding time to intern for conservative congressman Dana Rohrabacher as well. Prince founded the security and mercenary firm Blackwater USA in 1997 with Gary Jackson, another former Navy SEAL.

Prince's sister Betsy DeVos is a powerful conservative in her own right. Married to the son of Richard DeVos (Republican bankroller and co-founder of Amway), she served as chair of Michigan Republican Party in the 1990s. His mom is Elsa Prince Broekhuizen (Republican Party funder, remarried)

Can you say mercenary? I knew that you could. Now why would I go and ask a thing like that? Here's why!

In the capital, American officials said a joint U.S.-Iraqi commission formed to look into last month's shooting incident in which Blackwater USA security guards killed at least 11 Iraqis had yet to meet. In addition, most members of an FBI team that also will investigate the Sept. 16 shootings have not arrived and probably will not get to Iraq until next week, said U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Mirembe Nantongo.

Why, there were more killings than we can count! There was the one where a drunk killed a guard on Christmas, and there was one where…oh never mind. Now remember, boys and girls, killing is bad. Killing for money is worse. And killing for money with no repercussions is worst of all!

No need to worry, because there's o-ver-sight. Can you say oversight? Yes, the U.S. Congress is on the job! Or are they...?

Darrell Issa: On the "Democrat side", this isn't about Blackwater. It's a repeat of the MoveOn dot Org attack on Petraeus' patriotism. They'll simply switch targets. I'm here to defend General Petraeus and our men and women in uniform.

Oooopsies! Well, kids, sometimes love can be misplaced. Erik Prince has a lot of love to share, too, but in the form of big fat checks:

Prince's latest donation was in July, when he gave $20,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee. California recipients of Prince's $1,000 checks include Reps. Jerry Lewis and Duncan Hunter, a current GOP presidential candidate, and former Rep. Richard Pombo.

The former serviceman has given almost all of his donations to Republicans. There was, however, an exception in 2006, when he donated $5,000 to the Green Party of Lucerne County, Pa. That was a Republican ploy to ensure the Green Party's U.S. senate candidate got on the ballot in an effort to peel votes away from Democrat Bob Casey and help Republican Rick Santorum. The effort failed and Casey won.

What's a mercenary to do? He has to invest his hard earned wages somewhere, doesn't he?

Well, kiddies, that's enough for today. No go eat your supper before it gets cold. You can sit in front of the TV and catch up on the latest news. What could be more fun than all the dinner you can eat, and all the Blackwater you can stomach?


Study: Health Care Bill Will Cut Costs


By GottaLaff

Report after report confirm the same thing, but will that convince the Rushpublic Party of So What? Will the Tea Partiers finally shut their spouts? Will the punditiots have a long overdue epiphany? Not on your life:

A new analysis by MIT economist Jonathan Gruber claims that the Senate health-reform bill will "make health insurance much more affordable for individuals facing purchase in the non-group market."

The report, which is surely good news for Democrats, states that the Senate's version of the bill will significantly curb health care costs for both individuals and families.

Gruber finds "that the single individual would save over $2500 at low incomes (175% of poverty), and would save $200 even at higher incomes (425% of poverty or higher). For families, the savings are much larger, ranging from nearly $7500 for low income families (at 175% of poverty) to $500 for higher incomes (425% of poverty or higher)."

Now back to our RushpuBlockage already in progress.