I have been personally processing large amounts of information over the past several days regarding the NSA / PRISM data liberation, and the responses of the U.S. Government to same. There seem to be 2 points of the affair which are most contentious: Is the massive, all-encompassing spying being done by the government of grave concern, or no big deal? And whether the people involved in the release of the classified data are heroes or criminals. There has been plenty of heated debate on both of these points, but I have some thoughts on several things which have not received much attention – in fact, you may not have heard or thought of them at all.
Edward Snowden, the former spy who gave the documents in question to the press, stated he was making $200,000 per year. Booz Allen, his most recent employer, recently stated Edward’s salary was…
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People, can we face some hard truths about how Americans save for retirement?
It Isn’t Happening
Here’s a fact: most people aren’t seriously saving for retirement. Ever since we chucked widespread employer based pension systems for 401K’s and personal responsibility, people just haven’t done very well saving. They take money out for college for their kids, or an unforeseen medical expense, or they just never put money in in the first place. Very few people are saving adequately.
In Fact, It Shouldn’t Happen
Next: it’s actually, mathematically speaking, extremely dumb to have 401K’s instead of a larger pool of retirement money like pensions or Social Security.
Why do I say that? Simple. Imagine everyone was doing a great job saving for retirement. This would mean that everyone “had enough” for the best-case scenario, which is to say living to 105 and dying an expensive, long-winded death. That’s a…
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From October 2008 through September 2014, Bank of America paid over $98 billion in 67 separate fines or settlements due to criminal activities. Over these 6 years, this results in an average of $16…
The only vote I would ever cast for Hillary is ‘guilty as charged’.
Trump is a moron and an asshole, among many other things. (Racist, tasteless, tactless, self-centered, hypocritical, hateful, stupid….) The only vote I would ever cast for him would be to vote him off the island.
I voted for Jill Stein in 2012. The world did not end.
Strong showings by candidates who are not republicans or democrats can help instigate change, even if the candidate loses that particular election. It can be easier to get on ballots in the future, public funds can be freed up, private interests may feel better about donating money, good candidates could be encouraged to run in future elections, etc.
The President is only one person. 30 Senators and 100 Representatives working together could arguably effect more change, for example. (Ideally non Republicrat ones)
I have been on the Bernie train since the day he started running, and have been a fan of his for years, but probably more a fan of most of his policy positions, and his honesty and conviction. Out of the 320 million people in this country I would bet there are at least a few thousand who would be very similar to Bernie in their beliefs, principles, ability, and actions. Lets get them into state, local, and national offices and see what happens.
I decided in 2012 to never again vote for a republican or a democrat running for national office (President and Congress) and voted for several ‘third’ party candidates for state and local offices in 2012 and 2014. If 20 or 30 million more people did this, it would certainly shake things up a bit. Imagine Trump / Hillary winning with only 36% of the popular vote. This is not a playoff football game, one loss does not mean everyone has to go home sad.
I noticed some things during Bernie’s speaking engagement today that you probably won’t see in many media stories about him, and thought I should share one person’s first hand account.
Bernie spoke for a few hundred people at 9 AM today, after drawing 10,000 in Madison, WI last night. I was in the front row about 20 feet from the podium.
One thing that stood out was the respect Bernie showed for his political rivals in Washington. He repeatedly used the phrase “my Republican colleagues”. No name-calling, belittlement, or disrespect shown, even though he fights, disagrees, and / or argues with them on many issues on a regular basis.
Another thing I noticed many times today was Bernie’s use of “we” and not “I” when speaking of past events or future plans. There were several times when he said we, and I thought ‘don’t you mean I?’ For example: ‘We accomplished this’, or ‘We need to fight for these changes in the future’. Many times he used ‘we’ when most normal people would have said I, not to mention what most politicians would say. Whether this is the way Bernie really feels, or just a planned strategy, I still found it notable, as compared to how other politicians speak.
Bernie stood at the podium for well over an hour, no glass of water, no pauses, lots of hand gestures, very energetic passionate, and sharp. During the audience questions, he was very respectful, gave direct answers to the questions asked, and did not cut anyone off, even if they rambled on a bit. No wishy-washy answers, or ‘I’ll look into it’.