Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Two and a Half Men Show Teen Star Becomes Christian, Bashes Show

He's the kid who grew up on the show, and in more ways than one, it appears.

Angus T. Jones, 19, bashes the show, asks viewers not to watch.  He is making a reported $350k per episode (some have it much higher), bound by contract, but his new Christian faith (Seventh Day Adventist, no less) has catalyzed a crisis of conscience.

When the star of the show Charlie Sheen bashed the producer, he was terminated.  Will Jones face the same fate?  Will he care?  CBS has declined comment --- for now.


and still more .....

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ron Paul Says Goodbye

Rep. Ron Paul, the iconic libertarian congressman from Texas, has delivered what will most likely be his final address to Congress.

In a sprawling, 52-minute speech to the House chamber, Paul lambasted U.S. government, politicians and special interests, declaring that the U.S. people must return to virtue before the government allows them to be free, and that the Constitution has failed to limit the scope of an authoritarian bureaucracy.

“Our Constitution, which was intended to limit government power and abuse, has failed,” Paul said. “The Founders warned that a free society depends on a virtuous and moral people. The current crisis reflects that their concerns were justified.”

For the retiring Republican, 77, the “current crisis” isn’t quite what it is for other members of Congress, who routinely use that word to describe the economic recession that followed the 2008 financial crash. To the Texas Republican, that’s part of it, but the causes are deeper, and it’s also a crisis of governmental authoritarianism and the vanishing of personal liberty.

“If it’s not accepted that big government, fiat money, ignoring liberty, central economic planning, welfarism, and warfarism caused our crisis, we can expect a continuous and dangerous march toward corporatism and even fascism with even more loss of our liberties,” said Paul, an obstetrician-gynecologist by training.

The problem isn’t just government’s size, but its use of force, both in starting preemptive wars and as it coerces U.S. citizens with police power. To Paul, this is the fault of Americans who no longer prioritize liberty, and it will lead to the unraveling of orderly society unless people change.

“Restraining aggressive behavior is one thing, but legalizing a government monopoly for initiating aggression can only lead to exhausting liberty associated with chaos, anger and the breakdown of civil society,” Paul said. “We now have a standing army of armed bureaucrats in the TSA, CIA, FBI, Fish and Wildlife, FEMA, IRS, Corp of Engineers, etc., numbering over 100,000 civil society.”

More than coercive, to Paul the government is also corrupt: “All branches of our government today are controlled by individuals who use their power to undermine liberty and enhance the welfare/warfare state-and frequently their own wealth and power,” he said.

Throughout his speech, Paul questioned not only the fundamental health of America’s social compact, but specifics like fiat money, the power of the Federal Reserve, the PATRIOT Act, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act modifications, undeclared war, the illegalization of medical marijuana, mandatory sentencing requirements for drug crimes, the illegalization of hemp, TSA searches, federal debt and borrowing, the White House’s authority to assassinate those it declares terrorists, the legalization of detaining U.S. citizens for national-security purposes, the political power of AIPAC, and the regulation of light bulbs and toilets in people’s homes.

For Paul, the list of grievances is long, and he might  not have accomplished much in Congress: “In many ways, according to conventional wisdom, my off-and-on career in Congress, from 1976 to 2012, accomplished very little,” he said. “No named legislation, no named federal buildings or highways, thank goodness. In spite of my efforts, the government has grown exponentially, taxes remain excessive, and the prolific increase of incomprehensible regulations continues. Wars are constant and pursued without congressional declaration.”

In thinking about the champions of liberty, his lesson is a bitter one: “History has shown that the masses have been quite receptive to the promises of authoritarians which are rarely if ever fulfilled,” but his prescription is hopeful.

Paul left the podium, for the last time, offering an “answer” to all of these problems: that people should choose liberty and limit government, and seek change within themselves.

“The number one responsibility for each of us is to change ourselves with hope that others will follow,” Paul said, urging an end to two motives that have hindered U.S. society: envy and intolerance.

“I have come to one firm conviction after these many years of trying to figure out the plain truth of things. The best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people worldwide, is to pursue the cause of liberty. If you find this to be a worthwhile message, spread it throughout the land.”


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Regrets? I've had a few, but then again.....

Jack Nicklaus exorcises Ford-era demons by stumping for Romney - latimes.com

When I went to the polls here, early this a.m., there was a long line.  I cannot remember the last time I saw that.  Was there "change" afoot, as we saw in 2008?  Or does Obama have the race locked up as the pollsters seem to indicate?

As a nation, we continue to spend more than we take in.  We continue to pass our debts to our children;  this is unspeakably immoral.  A vote for Obama says, in effect, that's fine with me, keep it going at least another four years.  A French king once said the same, apres moi, le deluge.  And those words lived in ignominy ever since.

Someday, the markets will intervene and we will regret it.  Could Americans be waking up to this proactively?  Or did the voters in my precinct hustle out early to line up for more free money......?

Friday, November 02, 2012

Seniors taxed on their own funds

When an aging parent needs help managing their financial affairs, they may turn to a grown child and, for convenience, place that child’s name on their bank accounts. But what seems like a simple solution opens the door to all kinds of problems.
Consider the turn of events that Carol and Paul Kurland endured, as reported in AARP Bulletin. In their late 80s, the Levittown, PA, couple added their 56-year-old daughter to their bank accounts, figuring the arrangement would come in handy if they became ill. They trusted her; and one day she would inherit all their assets anyway. But it was the daughter who fell ill. She died and the Kurland’s got socked with a tax bill.
Under Pennsylvania law, when the daughter’s name was placed on the Kurlands’ accounts she became a one-third owner of the assets. So on her death, mom and dad “inherited” that share of their own money. Some states specifically exempt parents of descendants from inheritance tax, and only six states levy such a tax anyway. But it’s a wake-up call to the costs of convenience.

According to Senior Citizens Law Office, the risks of adding a child’s name to your bank accounts include:

  • Your child could withdraw all of the money in the account and use it for personal purposes (such as a trip to Las Vegas).
  • Your child’s creditors could come after the money in the account to settle their debts.
  • If the child were sued, the courts might award money from your account to pay damages.
  • If your child is married and later divorces, the child’s spouse might claim a community property interest in the account.
  • A child co-signor might defeat your estate plan. The co-signor becomes the owner of the assets upon your death, no matter what it says in your will.
The good news is that you can gain the convenience you desire with much less risk. You simply need a durable power of attorney, which gives a child lifetime access to your accounts without legally handing over any assets.
With a durable power of attorney, your child can still mismanage your financial affairs. But your child’s creditors and spouse will have no claim on your assets, which will be divided as you prescribe in your will. And you’ll never have to worry about compounding the loss of a child with a tax on what’s already yours.

From Dan Kadlec

Read more: http://moneyland.time.com/2012/10/16/6-ways-adding-a-trusted-child-to-your-bank-account-backfires/#ixzz29wvwnFa3