General Info
U.S. Postal Service is poised to make devastating cuts in service PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Lance Coles   
Monday, 17 November 2014 11:09

DATELINE -- Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and the USPS Board of Governors, the board that oversees the U.S. Postal Service, are poised to make devastating cuts in service to the American people – cuts so severe that they would forever damage the U.S. Postal Service.

·       On Jan. 5, the USPS is slated to lower “service standards” to virtually eliminate overnight delivery – including first-class mail from one address to another within the same city or town.

·       All mail (medicine, online purchases, local newspapers, newsletters of religious organizations, bill payments, letters and invitations) throughout the country would be delayed.

·       Our entire community would lose business opportunities associated with ecommerce, which relies on the speedy delivery of goods ordered online.

·       Beginning Jan. 5, 82 Mail Processing & Distribution Centers are scheduled to close.

 

 

The cuts would cause hardships for the public and small businesses, eliminate jobs, and destroy the world’s most efficient and affordable delivery network by driving away mail and revenue. They are part of the same flawed strategy that’s behind efforts to end Saturday and door-to-door deliveries, cut back post office hours, and make other reductions in mail service.

The travesty is that the cuts are absolutely unnecessary – because postal operations are profitable. The Postal Service, which isn’t funded by taxpayers, has earned an operating profit so far this year of more than $1 billion. For four years running, its finances have been improving.

And, while revenue from First Class Mail has been declining, package delivery, largely due to the growth of e-commerce has been rapidly expanding.

There is red ink, but it stems from political interference, not from the mail. In 2006, a lame-duck Congress mandated that the Postal Service pre-fund future retiree health benefits 75 years in advance – something no other public agency or private firm is required to do. That costs the Postal Service $5.6 billion a year – and that’s the red ink.

Fifty-one senators and 160 House members have called for a one-year moratorium on the reduction in service and the closure of the mail processing centers to allow Congress time to enact postal legislation that would improve, not degrade, postal service. The Postmaster General and USPS Board of Governors should honor their request.

For more information, visit www.StopMailDelays.org.

 

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Taxpayers are footing the bill for $750-million SolarCity PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Jason Hart   
Wednesday, 12 November 2014 14:47

Union bosses dumped more than $7.5 million into the Wisconsin and Michigan governor races only to see both states’ labor-reforming incumbents re-elected.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, both Republicans, were two of the five governors publicly targeted by union coalition AFL-CIO in February. Last Tuesday, Walker defeated Democrat Mary Burke 52-47, and Snyder defeated Democrat Mark Schauer 51-47.

Big labor hates — and in 2012 tried to recall — Walker because of 2011’s Act 10, a centerpiece of his agenda limiting the power of public-sector unions. Snyder signed two right-to-work laws in 2012, empowering most Michigan workers to opt out of paying labor union bosses and launching himself near the top of the union enemies list.

Without accounting for union contributions to Democratic Party committees or any of a laundry list of politically active “progressive” nonprofits, unions this year spent at least $4,387,631 against Walker and at least $3,276,973 against Snyder. These figures likely far understate unions’ staff and monetary investments in both races.

Based on campaign finance reports filed with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, Burke’s failed campaign received more than $650,000 of cash and in-kind support from labor unions.

The Washington, D.C., headquarters of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, United Food and Commercial Workers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and International Association of Fire Fighters each sent Burke donations of the maximum $43,128 allowed by state law.

National Education Association headquarters sent Burke $43,000 from D.C., and her campaign received max contributions from Wisconsin Professional Police Association, United Auto Workers Wisconsin and NEA-affiliate Wisconsin Education Association Council. Several WEAC locals gave Burke four- or five-figure donations.

Campaign finance reports submitted to the Michigan secretary of state show union contributions to Schauer exceeding $630,000. International Union of Painters and Allied Trades sent $50,000 from its national headquarters, IBEW headquarters donated $44,500, UFCW headquarters gave $44,300 and AFSCME headquarters gave $34,000.

Schauer received maximum $68,000 contributions from the Michigan affiliates of UAW and Communications Workers of America, and received $60,381 from Michigan Education Association.

Although labor bosses profess opposition to unlimited independent expenditures from “super PACs,” most union spending against Walker and Snyder came from independent expenditures. Union fronts Greater Wisconsin Committee and We Are Wisconsin spent a combined total of more than $3.7 million in big labor’s latest attempt to defeat Walker.

Greater Wisconsin Committee PAC spent $1,218,468 in the governor’s race and received $1,298,000 from WEAC in the latest reporting period. AFSCME headquarters funneled $2,370,000 to We Are Wisconsin Political Fund and WEAC gave $500,000 during the latest reporting period, while the group spent $2,517,443 in the governor’s race.

“Once again, Big Labor failed in its attempt to defeat Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the author of collective bargaining reform,” Brett Healy, president of the Wisconsin-based, free-market MacIver Institute said in an email to Watchdog.org.

“One union boss even said they had ‘a score to settle’ with Walker,” Healy added.

“Wisconsin taxpayers, on the other hand, are ecstatic that Act 10 has saved them almost $3 billion dollars over the last (four) years which has led Walker to cut taxes by $2 billion dollars, freeze property taxes at 2010 levels statewide and freeze tuition at the University of Wisconsin.

“The popularity of Act 10 with Wisconsinites is exactly the reason why Big Labor’s decision to spend their members’ hard-earned money on this wild-goose chase is so ridiculous and disappointing,” Healy said. “It is clear the unions are more worried about yielding crass political power than the welfare of their members.

“Sounds to me like the taxpayers have settled the score, once and for all, with Big Labor,” Healy said.

In Michigan, union super PACs sank more than $2.6 million into unseating Snyder. NEA Advocacy Fund spent $703,747, Service Employees International Union Community Alliance spent $689,270 and AFL-CIO’s Workers’ Voice spent $632,459.

Michigan For All spent $644,617 in the governor’s race, fueled by donations of $300,000 from SEIU Community Alliance, over $700,000 from AFSCME, and more than $400,000 from NEA Advocacy Fund.

F. Vincent Vernuccio, labor policy director at Michigan’s free-market Mackinac Center, told Watchdog.org the Nov. 4 election “was less a referendum and more a reaffirmation on labor reform.”

“The referendums occurred in May and July, which were the two deadlines for unions to put right-to-work on the ballot in Michigan, either as an initiative or a constitutional amendment,” Vernuccio said. “And it happened throughout the governor’s race, where right-to-work was not even an issue used by Snyder’s opponents against him.”

 
What Sad Statistic Do More than 20 Percent of American Children Share??? PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 07 November 2014 14:31
4 Ways You Can Help Alleviate the Problem

While most Americans will worry about eating too much this holiday season, 16 million of our country’s children live in households that struggle to afford food, according to a 2012 report from the United States Department of Agriculture.

“We hear about ‘food insecurity’ quite a bit, especially after the 2008-09 economic crash, but I think most people don’t have a clear picture of what that means,” says Lois Brandt, a former Peace Corps volunteer and author of “Maddi’s Fridge,” (www.MaddisFridge.com), a children’s picture book that asks the question: what do you do if your best friend’s family doesn’t have enough food?

“Food insecurity means an empty refrigerator. Food insecurity means soda instead of milk. Food insecurity means a child coming to school hungry and unable to focus. Poverty may not look exactly the same in our country as it does in a war-torn region or a developing country, but it is affecting our children and their futures. Sometimes, working parents have to choose between rent and food, medicine and food, or gas and food.

Brandt suggests four things you can do to help prevent childhood hunger.

•  Support non-profit organizations like Feeding America (www.FeedingAmerica.org). Previously known as Second Harvest, Feeding America is a national network of food banks that feeds more that 37 million people through food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters. It’s the nation’s leading organization for countering hunger and educating the public about this crisis.

“Public awareness is important,” Brandt says. “Many people simply do not know that we’re surrounded every day by hungry children.”

•  Talk to your children about childhood hunger and how they can help. “When I was a child I opened my best friend’s refrigerator to get a snack and was shocked to see it held almost nothing,” she says. “I didn’t know what to do.”

As an adult, Brandt says she’s amazed by the number of people who share with her their own stories of childhood food insecurity.

“Rather than sheltering your children from this sad fact of American life, talking to them about it can help nurture their compassion and empathy,” she says. “And there’s plenty they can do to help, from making posters to raise awareness, to organizing a food drive at school.”

Taking action teaches children that they do have the power and ability to change the world for the better.

•  Don’t make childhood hunger a political issue. Of course, childhood hunger doesn’t exist in a vacuum; issues like welfare, minimum wage, income inequality and access to health care – all of which are heavily politicized – surround the problem. Whatever your take on these topics, realize that no matter the decisions a parent has made in his or her lifetime, children are innocent and have no control of their family’s circumstances.

•  Volunteer with your family at a shelter or food pantry during the busy holiday season. While serving or cooking food for a holiday-themed meal at a shelter during Thanksgiving or Christmas does not solve the larger problem, it will affect every person whose life you touch that day. Your efforts and kind words can become a fond, lifelong memory for a child, or remind adults that others care and they’re not alone.

Volunteering also has personal benefits, not the least of which is knowing that, despite whatever problems you’re facing, you were able to help someone else.

About Lois Brandt

Lois Brandt is a children’s fiction writer whose work has appeared in Highlights and other fine children’s magazines. Her new book “Maddi’s Fridge,” (www.MaddisFridge.com), illustrated by Vin Vogel, is the first picture book to address child hunger in the United States. It was inspired by Brandt’s childhood memory of opening her friend’s refrigerator and finding only condiments and a lunch milk carton her friend had saved from school for her little brother. Ten percent of proceeds from sales of “Maddi’s Fridge” go to hunger solutions. Brandt, who holds an MFA from Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa.

 
IRS Impersonators Calling Iowa/Illinois Consumers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Better Business Bureau   
Friday, 07 November 2014 14:25

IRS impersonators are making their rounds throughout our service area. BBB is receiving numerous calls from consumers who are inquiring about the legitimacy of a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS.  The impersonator states that the IRS is pursuing a lawsuit against the consumer for “back taxes,” and they are demanding payment via prepaid money card or a wire transfer.

Those who don’t answer their phone are left with a threatening message to call them back at 202-864-1213. Scammers often target the elderly or immigrant population. Some of the threats include jail time, deportation or suspension of the victim’s business or driver’s license.

BBB offers the following tips to protect you from the IRS scam and others like it:

  • Don’t wire money to people you don’t know. The IRS will never ask for payment over the phone. Furthermore, they will never ask for payments by wire transfer or prepaid debit card.
  • Just hang up. Don’t engage in conversation with a scammer. A scam artist is often cunning. They may extract information from you the longer you engage in conversation with them.
  • Never give out your personal information. Caller ID spoofing makes it very easy for callers to pretend to be someone else. You should never give anyone your credit card, social security number or bank account information if they are soliciting you.
  • Call the IRS/ or company directly. If you owe taxes or think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. An IRS employee will help you with payment issues. Verify legitimate phone numbers on company websites or in the phonebook.

 

About Better Business Bureau: BBB is an unbiased, nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. All BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice; free BBB Business Reviews on more than 4 million businesses, 11,000 Charity Reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. BBB Serving Greater Iowa, Quad Cities and Siouxland Region was founded in 1940 and is one of 112 local, independent BBBs across North America.

 
Why and how to understand ISIS PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Jan Oberg   
Friday, 07 November 2014 11:51

One can neither solve a conflict nor a problem - or get rid of it - without a proper understanding of its root courses and features. Just condemning ISIS because it is brutal brings us nowhere near a solution.

Understanding is necessary and doesn't mean legitimising or supporting.

Understanding is simply smart. Condemnation may make you feel morally superior - but in this case also ignores the fact that there are many actors in our world who have killed many more people than ISIS has.

Condemnation is a deadend if you want to solve an issue, serves only to legitimise the present bombing - where there are better ways.

A doctor also doesn't just condemn a patient or curses the cancer cells; she or he deals professionally with a problem to be solved and a human being to be healed. Thus diagnosis, prognosis and treatment.

In its 29th year, TFF preactises this simple philosophy.

That's why this independent foundation can continue to deliver some of the most precise diagnoses and solutions - some 7000 articles on its website - where other get emotional for or against this or that party and ends up being trapped in advocating violence.

Here follows expert contributions from TFF Associates and we appreciate you reading, re-posting and you economic support if you appreciate:

Farhang Jahanpour

The threat of ISIS should be taken seriously

Farhang Jahanpour

Al-Baghdadi, self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State

Farhang Jahanpour

ISIS in a Sunni-Shia perspective

 

Johan Galtung

ISIS - Negotiations, not bombing

Johan Galtung

Christianity versus Islam - Countercyclicity

Johan Galtung

The Sunni-Shia conflict: Any solution?

 

Jan Oberg

Instead of Bombing ISIS - Part A: Some principles

Jan Oberg

Instead of bombing ISIS - Part B: 27 proposals

(In Danish: Her er dine alternativer til krigen, Helle)

Jan Oberg

The war on terror. A predictable fiasco

 
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