Archive for March, 2013

Guns don’t offer protection – whatever the National Rifle Association says

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Academics such as John Lott and Gary Kleck have long claimed that more firearms reduce crime. But is this really the case? Stripped of machismo bluster, this is at heart a testable claim that merely requires sturdy epidemiological analysis. And this was precisely what Prof Charles Branas and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania examined in their 2009 paper investigating the link between gun possession and gun assault. They compared 677 cases in which people were injured in a shooting incident with 684 people living in the same area that had not suffered a gun injury. The researchers matched these “controls” for age, race and gender. They found that those with firearms were about 4.5 times more likely to be shot than those who did not carry, utterly belying this oft repeated mantra.

Story is located here

30 Years of Reaganomics: What do we Have to Show?

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Thom Hartmann explains in this video located here

The ‘greatest retirement crisis’ in history looms large

Monday, March 25th, 2013

We are on the precipice of the greatest retirement crisis in the history of the world. In the decades to come, we will witness millions of elderly Americans, the Baby Boomers and others, slipping into poverty. Too frail to work, too poor to retire will become the “new normal” for many elderly Americans.

That dire prediction, which I wrote two years ago, is already coming true. Our national demographics, coupled with indisputable glaringly insufficient retirement savings and human physiology, suggest that a catastrophic outcome for at least a significant percentage of our elderly population is inevitable. With the average 401(k) balance for 65 year olds estimated at $25,000 by independent experts—$100,000 if you believe the retirement planning industry—the decades many elders will spend in forced or elected “retirement” will be grim.

Story is located here

The dark side of Dubai

Monday, March 25th, 2013

How a nation that has too much money uses their power to lie to foreigners that are trapped into being slaves.  This is apparently ok with residents of Dubai who claim to be tolerant of many different types of people and apparently that includes slave owners.

Her husband, Daniel, bought two properties. “We were drunk on Dubai,” she says. But for the first time in his life, he was beginning to mismanage their finances. “We’re not talking huge sums, but he was getting confused. It was so unlike Daniel, I was surprised. We got into a little bit of debt.” After a year, she found out why: Daniel was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

One doctor told him he had a year to live; another said it was benign and he’d be okay. But the debts were growing. “Before I came here, I didn’t know anything about Dubai law. I assumed if all these big companies come here, it must be pretty like Canada’s or any other liberal democracy’s,” she says. Nobody told her there is no concept of bankruptcy. If you get into debt and you can’t pay, you go to prison.

“When we realised that, I sat Daniel down and told him: listen, we need to get out of here. He knew he was guaranteed a pay-off when he resigned, so we said – right, let’s take the pay-off, clear the debt, and go.” So Daniel resigned – but he was given a lower pay-off than his contract suggested. The debt remained. As soon as you quit your job in Dubai, your employer has to inform your bank. If you have any outstanding debts that aren’t covered by your savings, then all your accounts are frozen, and you are forbidden to leave the country.

“Suddenly our cards stopped working. We had nothing. We were thrown out of our apartment.” Karen can’t speak about what happened next for a long time; she is shaking.

Daniel was arrested and taken away on the day of their eviction. It was six days before she could talk to him. “He told me he was put in a cell with another debtor, a Sri Lankan guy who was only 27, who said he couldn’t face the shame to his family. Daniel woke up and the boy had swallowed razor-blades. He banged for help, but nobody came, and the boy died in front of him.”

Karen managed to beg from her friends for a few weeks, “but it was so humiliating. I’ve never lived like this. I worked in the fashion industry. I had my own shops. I’ve never…” She peters out.

Daniel was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment at a trial he couldn’t understand. It was in Arabic, and there was no translation. “Now I’m here illegally, too,” Karen says I’ve got no money, nothing. I have to last nine months until he’s out, somehow.” Looking away, almost paralysed with embarrassment, she asks if I could buy her a meal.

She is not alone. All over the city, there are maxed-out expats sleeping secretly in the sand-dunes or the airport or in their cars.

“The thing you have to understand about Dubai is – nothing is what it seems,” Karen says at last. “Nothing. This isn’t a city, it’s a con-job. They lure you in telling you it’s one thing – a modern kind of place – but beneath the surface it’s a medieval dictatorship.”

Story is located here

Debunking Almost Every Republican Lie Against President Obama

Monday, March 25th, 2013

I’ve read thousands upon thousands of comments by Republicans in the 14 months since I founded my page Right Off A Cliff.  Usually what they say doesn’t bother me, because often it’s just ridiculous.  The thing that does drive me nuts is that about 95% of what they say is completely inaccurate.

Let me shred some of their Fox News fed rhetoric:

Obama has been the biggest spending President in history!  FALSE.  Year to year spending increases have been less than 1%.  They’re also at their lowest rate of year to year increases since Eisenhower.

Obama has spent more than all other Presidents in history!  FALSE. On January 20, 2009 our national debt was $10.6 trillion, today it’s $16.7 trillion—for a $6.1 trillion increase.  For the mathematically challenged, $6.1 trillion is less than $10.6 trillion.  This also doesn’t factor in the money spent in 2009, which gets tagged to President Obama, was actually passed by Bush.

*This also doesn’t take into account much of the cost of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars had not been put on our books by the Bush administration.

Obama is a Muslim!  FALSE. You’re an idiot and I’m not even going to explain why.

Obama isn’t an American!  FALSE.  See above.

Story is located here

Thom Hartmann with a crash course in Economics

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Video is located here

David Cross explains Teabaggers

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

David Cross explains quite well the Teabagger.

Video is located here

Hugo chavez has died. Here are several articles on the topic

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Greg Palast takes a look at some of the positive things Chavez did.  Story is located here