Category Archives: Serendipity

Celebrating 100 Years of Fail

Is It Next Year Yet?

big dog eat child
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Curse of the Billy Goat
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gocubs
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booooooo
7th stretching – so it’s root, root, root for the cubbies…

never say die and let’s get some runs!
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Filed under History, Humor, psychology, Serendipity, Viral Video

Study – US Is an Oligarchy Not a Democracy

oligarchsMajor Study Finds That The US Is An Oligarchy
Zachary Davies Boren

The US government does not represent the interests of the majority of the country’s citizens, but is instead ruled by those of the rich and powerful, a new study from Princeton and Northwestern Universities has concluded.

The report, entitled Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens, used extensive policy data collected from between the years of 1981 and 2002 to empirically determine the state of the US political system.

After sifting through nearly 1,800 US policies enacted in that period and comparing them to the expressed preferences of average Americans (50th percentile of income), affluent Americans (90th percentile) and large special interests groups, researchers concluded that the United States is dominated by its economic elite.

The peer-reviewed study, which will be taught at these universities in September, says: “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

Researchers concluded that US government policies rarely align with the the preferences of the majority of Americans, but do favour special interests and lobbying organizations: “When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it.”

The positions of powerful interest groups are “not substantially correlated with the preferences of average citizens”, but the politics of average Americans and affluent Americans sometimes does overlap. This merely a coincidence, the report says, with the the interests of the average American being served almost exclusively when it also serves those of the richest 10 per cent.

The theory of “biased pluralism” that the Princeton and Northwestern researchers believe the US system fits holds that policy outcomes “tend to tilt towards the wishes of corporations and business and professional associations.”

The study comes in the wake of McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, a controversial piece of legislation passed in The Supreme Court that abolished campaign contribution limits, and record low approval ratings for the US congress.
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Capitalism

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If you’re still supporting the two party duopoly in the US you are not only the problem you are a slave.
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You’re Not Going To Believe This

Social Security, Treasury target taxpayers for their parents’ decades-old debts
By Marc Fisher

A few weeks ago, with no notice, the U.S. government intercepted Mary Grice’s tax refunds from both the IRS and the state of Maryland. Grice had no idea that Uncle Sam had seized her money until some days later, when she got a letter saying that her refund had gone to satisfy an old debt to the government — a very old debt.

When Grice was 4, back in 1960, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise. Until the kids turned 18, Sadie Grice got survivor benefits from Social Security to help feed and clothe them.

Now, Social Security claims it overpaid someone in the Grice family — it’s not sure who — in 1977. After 37 years of silence, four years after Sadie Grice died, the government is coming after her daughter. Why the feds chose to take Mary’s money, rather than her surviving siblings’, is a mystery.

Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who are expecting refunds this month are instead getting letters like the one Grice got, informing them that because of a debt they never knew about — often a debt incurred by their parents — the government has confiscated their check.

The Treasury Department has intercepted $1.9 billion in tax refunds already this year — $75 million of that on debts delinquent for more than 10 years, said Jeffrey Schramek, assistant commissioner of the department’s debt management service. The aggressive effort to collect old debts started three years ago — the result of a single sentence tucked into the farm bill lifting the 10-year statute of limitations on old debts to Uncle Sam.

No one seems eager to take credit for reopening all these long-closed cases. A Social Security spokeswoman says the agency didn’t seek the change; ask Treasury. Treasury says it wasn’t us; try Congress. Congressional staffers say the request probably came from the bureaucracy.

The only explanation the government provides for suddenly going after decades-old debts comes from Social Security spokeswoman Dorothy Clark: “We have an obligation to current and future Social Security beneficiaries to attempt to recoup money that people received when it was not due.”

Since the drive to collect on very old debts began in 2011, the Treasury Department has collected $424 million in debts that were more than 10 years old. Those debts were owed to many federal agencies, but the one that has many Americans howling this tax season is the Social Security Administration, which has found 400,000 taxpayers who collectively owe $714 million on debts more than 10 years old. The agency expects to have begun proceedings against all of those people by this summer.

“It was a shock,” said Grice, 58. “What incenses me is the way they went about this. They gave me no notice, they can’t prove that I received any overpayment, and they use intimidation tactics, threatening to report this to the credit bureaus.”

Grice filed suit against the Social Security Administration in federal court in Greenbelt this week, alleging that the government violated her right to due process by holding her responsible for a $2,996 debt supposedly incurred under her father’s Social Security number.

Social Security officials told Grice that six people — Grice, her four siblings and her father’s first wife, whom she never knew — had received benefits under her father’s account. The government doesn’t look into exactly who got the overpayment; the policy is to seek compensation from the oldest sibling and work down through the family until the debt is paid.

The Federal Trade Commission, on its Web site, advises Americans that “family members typically are not obligated to pay the debts of a deceased relative from their own assets.” But Social Security officials say that if children indirectly received assistance from public dollars paid to a parent, the children’s money can be taken, no matter how long ago any overpayment occurred.

“While we are responsible for collecting delinquent debts owed to taxpayers, we understand the importance of ensuring that debtors are treated fairly,” Treasury’s Schramek said in a statement responding to questions from The Washington Post. He said Treasury requires that debtors be given due process.

Social Security spokeswoman Clark, who declined to discuss Grice’s or any other case, even with the taxpayer’s permission, said the agency is “sensitive to concerns about our attempts to arrange repayment of overpayments.” She said that before taking any money, Social Security makes “multiple attempts to contact debtors via the U.S. Mail and by phone.”

Grice, who works for the Food and Drug Administration and lives in Takoma Park, in the same apartment she’s resided in since 1984, never got any notice about a debt.

Social Security officials told her they had sent their notice to her post office box in Roxboro, N.C. Grice rented that box from 1977 to 1979 and never since. And Social Security has Grice’s current address: Every year, it sends her a statement about her benefits.

“Their record-keeping seems to be very spotty,” she said.

Treasury officials say that before they will take someone’s refund, the agency owed the money must certify the debt, meaning there must be evidence of the overpayment. But Social Security officials told Grice they had no records explaining the debt.

“The craziest part of this whole thing is the way the government seizes a child’s money to satisfy a debt that child never even knew about,” says Robert Vogel, Grice’s attorney. “They’ll say that somebody got paid for that child’s benefit, but the child had no control over the money and there’s no way to know if the parent ever used the money for the benefit of that kid.”

Grice, the middle of five children, said neither of her surviving siblings — one older, one younger — has had any money taken by the government. When Grice asked why she had been selected to pay the debt, she was told it was because she had an income and her address popped up — the correct one this time.

Grice found a lawyer willing to take her case without charge. Vogel is exercised about the constitutional violations he sees in the retroactive lifting of the 10-year limit on debt collection. “Can the government really bring back to life a case that was long dead?” the lawyer asked. “Can it really be right to seize a child’s money to satisfy a parent’s debt?”

But many other taxpayers whose refunds have been taken say they’ve been unable to contest the confiscations because of the cost, because Social Security cannot provide records detailing the original overpayment, and because the citizens, following advice from the IRS to keep financial documents for just three years, had long since trashed their own records.

In Glenarm, Ill., Brenda and Mike Samonds have spent the past year trying to figure out how to get back the $189.10 tax refund the government seized, claiming that Mike’s mother, who died 33 years ago, had been overpaid on survivor’s benefits after Mike’s father died in 1969.

“It was never Mike’s money, it was his mother’s,” Brenda Samonds said. “The government took the money first and then they sent us the letter. We could never get one sentence from them explaining why the money was taken.” The government mailed its notice about the debt to the house Mike’s mother lived in 40 years ago.

The Social Security spokeswoman said the agency uses a private contractor to seek current addresses and is supposed to halt collections if notices are returned as undeliverable.

After hours on the phone trying and failing to get information about the debt Mike’s mother was said to owe, the Samondses gave up.

After waiting on hold for two hours with Social Security last week, Ted Verbich also concluded it wasn’t worth the time or money to fight for the $172 the government intercepted last month.

In 1977, Verbich, now 57, was in college at the University of Maryland when he took a full-time job in an accountant’s office. Because he was earning income, he knew he had to give up the survivor’s benefits his mother had received since his father died, when Verbich was 4. But his $70 monthly checks — “They helped with the car payment,” he said — kept coming for a short time after he started work, and Verbich was notified in 1978 that he had to repay about $600. He did.

Thirty-six years later, with no notice, “they snatched my Maryland tax refund,” said Verbich, a federal worker who has lived at the same address in Glendale, Md,. for 30 years and regularly receives Social Security statements there. The feds insisted that he owed $172 but could provide no documents to back up the claim.

Verbich has given up on getting his refund, but he wants a receipt stating that his debt to his country is resolved.

“I’ll put in the request,” a Social Security clerk told Verbich, “but in reality, you’ll never get anything.”

Grice was also told there was little point in seeking a waiver of her debt. Collections can only be halted if the person passes two tests, Clark said: The taxpayer must prove that he “is without fault, and [that] repayment of the overpayment would deprive the person of income needed for ordinary living expenses.”

More than 1,200 appeals have been filed on the old cases, Clark said; taxpayers have won about 10 percent of those appeals.

The Treasury initially held the full amount of Grice’s federal and state refunds, a total of $4,462. Last week, after The Washington Post inquired about Grice’s case, the government returned the portion of her refund above the $2,996 owed on her father’s account.

But unless the feds can prove that she ever received any of the overpayment, Grice wants all of her money back.

“Look, I love a good fight, especially for principle,” she said. “My mom used to say, ‘This country is carried on the backs of the little people,’ and now I see what she meant. This is really sad.”

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The US is too big to fail – Break It Up!
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Someone Had To Do It…

hillaryshoe

what happen
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Filed under Art, Hillary, Humor, Politics, Serendipity

who is this? #1

I’ll send you some crypto or something if you guess correctly
whoisshe

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and no fair if you use NSA or facebook recognition software Mr. Zuckerberg
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hint - there are songs written about her
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winner announced Saturday 3/22
answer: Grace Darling
come back next week to try again and win some of my stuff
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5 Comments

Filed under Art, education, History, Serendipity

satoshi nakamoto

sn

Satoshi Nakamoto stands at the end of his sunbaked driveway looking timorous. And annoyed. Standing before me, eyes downcast, appeared to be the father of Bitcoin. Not even his family knew.

more

forensics analyst

why people hate the media

newsweek HOAX

satoshi nakamoto

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#maxcoin

cpumaxcoin13

spenden ja!
mVHNQK5AfrS6449bTv7MtYCqcRCCntJTLd
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2014

tophat
Happy New Year
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here’s to the year of forming self-sustainable diverse communities

one by one
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January 1, 2014 · 6:22 pm

christmas 2013

1920xmas
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xmas
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Snowden’s Message

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Filed under Art, History, Serendipity

Satoshi

with the onset of digital currency…
whoissatoshi

the world wants to know
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Police Chief Asks to be Paid in Bitcoin, City Approves
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bitcoin Ron Paul
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Here’s what critics miss about Bitcoin’s long-term potential
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China
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India
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couple of kinks
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bitcoin – Under the Hood
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bitcoin
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Filed under Business, computers, debt, education, Health, History, International, Justice, Politics, psychology, Science and Technology, secession, Serendipity, Social Epistemology, Spread It!, Vigilance, War

Is the gold party over? (or rigged)

let’s hope not…

circa 2007
even the silver bugs were cheering back then

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The gold price crash is further evidence of market rigging

The Assault On Gold Update

Comex Gold Inventories Collapse By Largest Amount Ever On Record

155 Tons Of Paper Gold Sold In Just One Hour!


silver all gone?


Obama Signs Law Gutting Insider Trading Regulations For Congress

Gold Will Get The Last Laugh On Central Banks
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Christmas 2012

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Christmas Collection
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hari

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hello


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hey democrats!


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What democrats wanted was a Huey Long, what democrats got was Elmer Fudd.

Not With Barack
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Filed under obama, Politics, Serendipity, Take back Your Country

Three Words Radio


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Poetry Project – Comes To An End

the year long poetry project “Poieo” comes to an end with gratitude.

words on a page are dead until they are read – poieo a 365 day poetry project: anonymous strangers reading poems out loud and on the spot – Enjoy the art of poetry. Read a poem out loud to yourself and give it life –

I took the book and the camera and went outside. I walked the streets and no matter where I went I asked people if they would like to read from this book of poems while I filmed them.

To my pleasant surprise most people said yes.

What I like best about this project is at the very end, when people finish reading the poem, there is a wonderful expression on their face – there is a look of something genuine and innocent, something pure meeting threads of the self-conscience.

It’s nice to see people trying hard, struggling a bit, reflecting in the moment as they read and then seeing the transition from introspection clashing gently with reality.

I think this is why people like poetry, it lifts one up and out of the self – there’s just no helping it.

I hope you enjoy all these little beauties in your day.
playlist i
playlist ii
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