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Five Simple Rules

Hat tip to my brother for sending this my way:

Five Rules to Remember in Life

1. Money cannot buy happiness but its more comfortable to cry in a Mercedes than on a bicycle.

2. Forgive your enemy but remember the bastard’s name.

3. Help someone when they are in trouble and they will remember you when they’re in trouble again.

4. Many people are alive only because it’s illegal to shoot them.

5. Alcohol does not solve any problems, but then again, neither does milk.

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Why Declutter?

Because decluttering is fun! It also opens up new possibilities.

From Courtney Carver: http://www.bemorewithless.com/

I knew that decluttering was just the beginning of some great possibilities and that it would give me the momentum and inspiration to make other great life changes.

  • Becoming clutter free made it easier to become debt free.
  • Becoming debt free made it easier for me to quit my job.
  • Quitting my job made it really easy for me to do work that I love.

If decluttering feels like an overwhelming chore, think about the hope and possibility that comes along with it. That will help to lighten the load, literally and figuratively.

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Bad news. I’ve got a leak in my rear end.

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@pogoplug once again enables attaching a drive locally in Windows. I see a great potential in pairing this with @crashplan.

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Step One: Calculate the amount of taxes we will collect next year at current GDP and tax rate

Step Two: Retain in the federal budget only the departments and spending which are necessary

Step Three: increase taxes and cut spending until Step One and Step Two balance for 2012

That’s all. Stop pretending we have ten years to get these two items down to a $1 Trillion deficit. We need a balanced budget, next year, or we might as well be Italy, or Greece, or Spain, or France… It’s already too late for them, will we learn?

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Helga is the proprietor of a bar. She realizes that virtually all of her customers are unemployed alcoholics and, as such, can no longer afford to patronize her bar. To solve this problem, she comes up with a new marketing plan that allows her customers to drink now, but pay later. Helga keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers’ loans).

Word gets around about Helga’s "drink now, pay later" marketing strategy and, as a result, increasing numbers of customers flood into Helga’s bar. Soon she has the largest sales volume for any bar in town.

By providing her customers freedom from immediate payment demands, Helga gets no resistance when, at regular intervals, she substantially increases her prices for wine and beer, the most consumed beverages.

Consequently, Helga’s gross sales volume increases massively.

A young and dynamic vice-president at the local bank recognizes that these customer debts constitute valuable future assets and increases Helga’s borrowing limit.

He sees no reason for any undue concern, since he has the debts of the unemployed alcoholics as collateral!!!

At the bank’s corporate headquarters, expert traders figure a way to make huge commissions, and transform these customer loans into DRINKBONDS.

These "securities" then are bundled and traded on international securities markets.

Naive investors don’t really understand that the securities being sold to them as "AA" "Secured Bonds" really are debts of unemployed alcoholics. Nevertheless, the bond prices continuously climb!!!, and the securities soon become the hottest-selling items for some of the nation’s leading brokerage houses.

One day, even though the bond prices still are climbing, a risk manager at the original local bank decides that the time has come to demand payment on the debts incurred by the drinkers at Helga’s bar. He so informs Helga. Helga then demands payment from her alcoholic patrons, but being unemployed alcoholics they cannot pay back their drinking debts.

Since Helga cannot fulfil her loan obligations she is forced into bankruptcy. The bar closes and Helga’s 11 employees lose their jobs.

Overnight, DRINKBOND prices drop by 90%. The collapsed bond asset value destroys the bank’s liquidity and prevents it from issuing new loans, thus freezing credit and economic activity in the community.

The suppliers of Helga’s bar had granted her generous payment extensions
and had invested their firms’ pension funds in the BOND securities. They find they are now faced with having to write off her bad debt and with losing over 90% of the presumed value of the bonds.

Her wine supplier also claims bankruptcy, closing the doors on a family business that had endured for three generations, her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor, who immediately closes the local plant and lays off 150 workers. Fortunately though, the bank, the brokerage houses and their respective executives are saved and bailed out by a multibillion dollar no-strings attached cash infusion from the government.

The funds required for this bailout are obtained by new taxes levied on employed, middle-class, non-drinkers who have never been in Helga’s bar.

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Occupy Wall Street is not getting its message across. They’re seen as leftists, or ant-capitalists, just homeless/jobless with nothing better to do. The truth is, OWS, started with, and is advancing an important message:

Wall Street isn’t winning – it’s cheating (as in, breaking the law) and is using our Congress for its illicit gain.

We have banks, investment firms, and Congress in bed together, collectively ripping us off, stealing our taxes, and running our country into the ground. We need to break the tie between Washington and Wall Street, un-elect our corrupt congress, and prosecute the fraud in the financial sector.

But we can’t do any of this while the current ruling class is in place – Congress won’t reform the laws, and the Executive branch won’t prosecute. The vast majority of Americans don’t understand that we – “the 99%” – continue to be victimized by the NY-DC oligarchy. That’s the message of OWS. Get enough people aware, and we’ll either vote for change, or we’ll spark a revolution. Either of those is better than being swindled into debt slavery.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/owss-beef-wall-street-isnt-winning-its-cheating-20111025

How does Wall Street continue to get away with it? They own the media, too. And they can use their own “Cheat Codes” to describe in pleasant terms how they can continue to rape America:

FREE MONEY. Ordinary people have to borrow their money at market rates. Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon get billions of dollars for free, from the Federal Reserve…

CREDIT AMNESTY. …Citigroup and Bank of America overextended themselves by the hundreds of billions and pumped trillions of dollars of deadly leverage into the system — and got rewarded with things like the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program, an FDIC plan that allowed irresponsible banks to borrow against the government’s credit rating. Banks got better credit for being less responsible. Click on freecreditscore.com to see if you got the same deal.

STUPIDITY INSURANCE. Defenders of the banks like to talk a lot about how we shouldn’t feel sorry for people who’ve been foreclosed upon, because it’s their own fault… …Time after time, when big banks screw up and make irresponsible bets that blow up in their faces, they’ve scored bailouts. When was the last time the government stepped in to bail you out? When Joe Homeowner bought too much house, essentially betting that home prices would go up, and losing his bet when they dropped, he was an irresponsible putz who shouldn’t whine about being put on the street. But when banks bet billions on a firm like AIG that was heavily invested in mortgages, they were making the same bet that Joe Homeowner made, leaving themselves hugely exposed to a sudden drop in home prices. But instead of being asked to "suck it in and cope" when that bet failed, the banks instead went straight to Washington for a bailout — and got it.

UNGRADUATED TAXES… …As for the banks, as companies, we’ve all heard the stories. Goldman, Sachs in 2008 – this was the same year the bank reported $2.9 billion in profits, and paid out over $10 billion in compensation — paid just $14 million in taxes, a 1% tax rate. When GM bought the finance company AmeriCredit, it was able to marry its long-term losses to AmeriCredit’s revenue stream, creating a tax windfall worth as much as $5 billion. So even though AmeriCredit is expected to post earnings of $8-$12 billion in the next decade or so, it likely won’t pay any taxes during that time, because its revenue will be offset by GM’s losses. Thank God our government decided to pledge $50 billion of your tax dollars to a rescue of General Motors! You just paid for one of the world’s biggest tax breaks.

GET OUT OF JAIL FREE. …Virtually all 2.3 million of those in prison in America come from "the 99%." Here is the number of bankers who have gone to jail for crimes related to the financial crisis: 0. The Abacus case, in which Goldman helped a hedge fund guy named John Paulson beat a pair of European banks for a billion dollars, tells you everything you need to know about the difference between our two criminal justice systems. The settlement was $550 million — just over half of the damage. Can anyone imagine a common thief being caught by police and sentenced to pay back half of what he took? Just one low-ranking individual in that case was charged (case pending), and no individual had to reach into his pocket to help cover the fine. The settlement Goldman paid to to the government was about 1/24th of what Goldman received from the government just in the AIG bailout. And that was the toughest "punishment" the government dished out to a bank in the wake of 2008.

These inequities are what drive the OWS protests. People don’t want handouts. It’s not a class uprising and they don’t want civil war — they want just the opposite. They want everyone to live in the same country, and live by the same rules. It’s amazing that some people think that that’s asking a lot.

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