My brother is in an Auto Insurance Commercial for 2 seconds…and they payed him over $3000 for it, God bless Unionized labor. :)

So, as some of you may know, my brother recently moved to the Los Angeles, California area.  Some of you may also know that my brother is an avid fan and player of “soccer” (football), by pressing play below you can see a local insurance ad that he and his teammates were asked to “stand in for.” (he is the dude in orange flipping the coin and the only guy form his team to actually be in the ad. (he was a very lucky man for this, as you will see.))

The crazy part is not that my bro was asked to be in a local commercial in L.A., but rather that the piece of paper he signed in compliance with California’s unionized laborforce of Actors ended up entitling him to over $3000.00 in “suprise” checks in his mailbox for his unexpected “role” as a “principle” for 2 seconds in the resulting local auto insurance company ad.  Amazing. (the ad IS slated to air over 2000 times on cable in California/WestCoast markets, but still seems like a nice chunk of change for 2 hours “work” :) to me!)

While this is clearly an example of some rather unlikely “right place at the right time” luck and seemingly outrageous pay for 2 hours of “work”  :), I also see this as just one small example of how a nationwide/trade-wide return to the American tradition of Unionized Labor membership may soon help all working Americans regain fair value for their labors and hopefully a “LIVING WAGE” for anyone willing to work 40+ hours every week.  The point I want you all to see is that what happened to my brother here would never have been possible were it not for the long history of hard work, stubborn willpower, and years of sacrifice and organizing of thousands of people for many years.  People who had the courage, the optimism and the self-respect to fight for their own financial rights in the face of overwhelming structural/legal forces that have long been fostered to boost corporate profits at the expense of worker wage/living incomes.

The “Union-made” rule/regulation by which the corporation/production company/insurance company had to play by in California in this case is what allowed for my brother, the “worker” to be paid so handsomely for his “work.”

“Corporate Personhood,” 1886, and the end of American Government “Of, For and By the American People.”

Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, 118 U.S. 394 (1886) was a United States Supreme Court case dealing with taxation of railroad properties. The case is most notable for what it did not hold, but was later misunderstood to have held–namely, that juristic persons are entitled to protection under the Fourteenth Amendment.

This misinterpretation was the beginning of the end of government for, by, and of the people in the United States of America and the sitting president, Grover Cleveland knew it then when he said in his 1888 state of the Union address:

“As we view the achievements of aggregated capital, we discover the existence of trusts, combinations, and monopolies, while the citizen is struggling far in the rear or is trampled to death beneath an iron heel.

Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters.”



–Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United States of America

3 December, 1888

Found this interesting quote in Grover Cleveland’s 1888 ‘annual address to Congress:’

(given in a joint session of Congress)…(following the 1886 Santa Clara County Court Decision, which paved the way for Corporations enjoying 14th Amendment Protection and “corporate personhood.”)

U.S. Wholesale inflation jumped at more than twice the expected rate, meaning prices have risen at the fastest pace in 27 years over the past 12 months

“NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks headed for a sharply lower open Tuesday after a steeper-than-expected jump in wholesale inflation raised fresh concerns about the drag rising prices are having on the economy.

The Labor Department’s Producer Price Index showed inflation pressures faced by companies increased in July at more than double the expected rate, rising 1.2 percent. Wall Street forecast a 0.5 percent increase, according to Thomson/IFR.

The increase means prices have risen in the past 12 months at the fastest pace in 27 years and follows figures released last week showing consumers are also facing rising inflation.

A Commerce Department report on July housing starts, meanwhile, showed that construction of homes and apartments fell to the lowest level in more than 17 years. Starts fell to an annual rate of 965,000 units for July; the figure was higher than the rate of 950,000 units analysts had predicted on average but didn’t appear strong enough to quell investors’ worries about the sector.

The weakness in housing has not only imperiled home builders and suppliers but has left financial companies reeling over how to cope with soured mortgage debt.

Following the reports, Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 106, or 0.92 percent, to 11,393. Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures declined 12.50, or 0.97 percent, to 1,269.80, while Nasdaq 100 index futures fell 16.25, or 0.84 percent, to 1,927.25. Futures weakened after the reports.

Bond prices were down after the economic reports. While investors ordinarily seek the shelter of government debt when bad news arrives, inflation is just as bad for bonds as stocks because it can eat into the more modest returns Treasurys usually show. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, rose to 3.83 percent from 3.82 percent late Monday. The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices fell.

The latest readings don’t reflect all of the pullback in oil seen since mid-July. Oil is down more than $30 a barrel since its July 11 peak of $147.27. Light, sweet crude fell 51 cents to $112.36 a barrel in premarket electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Retailers reported mixed quarterly results, adding to investors’ uncertainty about the economy.

Home Depot Inc. reported a 24 percent decline in its second-quarter earnings but topped Wall Street’s expectations. The nation’s largest home improvement retailer reiterated its forecast for the year amid a weak housing market.

Target Corp. said its second-quarter earnings fell 7.5 percent but topped Wall Street’s expectations despite continued weak sales amid a challenging economy.

Saks Inc. is reporting a wider-than-expected loss in the second quarter as its affluent shoppers cut back on apparel amid a slowing economy. The luxury goods retailer also issued a downbeat forecast for the year.”

Global inflation a problem, oil hits another record high on Friday!

Read this on the International version of the New York Times today:

“We were flabbergasted to see how many countries around the globe have inflation running in the double digits,” he added. “We found around 50 countries. And we probably missed some more where data are hard to come by.”

With heavily populated countries such as India on that list, they represent 42 percent of the world’s people grappling with soaring prices that threaten to crimp economic growth.

Oil prices hit another record high above $142 per barrel on Friday, while flooding in the U.S. Midwest, where much of America’s corn and soybeans grow, sent grain markets to record highs.

That will surely stoke already high food and fuel prices and hit emerging markets particularly hard.

India raised interest rates twice in June and economists think more increases are imminent after inflation hit its highest level in more than 13 years in mid-June.

Mexico’s central bank raised its key interest rate on June 20 for the first time in eight months. That surprised many economists, who thought Mexico would keep borrowing costs unchanged because of concerns that weakness in the United States, its top trading partner, would hurt the economy.

Given the widespread price pressures, it is little surprise that the Fed vice chairman, Donald Kohn, stressed that tackling inflation required an international response.

“Policy makers around the world must monitor the situation carefully for signs that the increases in relative prices globally do not generate persistently higher inflation,” Kohn said in a speech last week.”

Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address inspires American Patriots

Some inspiration for us as we begin to engage citizens in restoring a citizen run Democracy:

Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Address, November 19, 1863:

“…that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain

that this nation, under God,

shall have a new birth of freedom

,

– and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

….Just something to think about.

Private Equity buyout tax loopholes make the rich richer but might hurt average Americans.

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*Based on Henry Kravis’s 2006 income of $450 million as reported in Forbes magazine. Calculated at a tax savings of 21.45% (35% income tax + 1.45% Medicare Tax 15% carried interest paid), Henry Kravis saved approximately $96 million in taxes in the year 2006.

Dollar sets record low against the euro after Carlyle Group fund defaults on $16.6 billion of debt; Gold hits record high as investors seek shelter.

Published in original form on March 13 by Bloomberg.com (see entire article by clicking here):

“– The dollar fell below 100 yen earlier today for the first time since 1995 and set a record low against the euro after a Carlyle Group fund defaulted on about $16.6 billion of debt, adding to turmoil in financial markets.

The dollar fell to almost one-for-one with the Swiss franc and slumped against the British pound. The drop came as Carlyle said lenders will seize the assets of its mortgage-bond fund, a day after Drake Management LLC said it may shut its largest hedge fund, spurring concern that losses will widen. The tumble in the world’s reserve currency drove gold to a record above $1,000 an ounce as investors sought shelter in the metal.

“The weakening, in reality, is a reflection on how the world is measuring the U.S.,” said Thomas Sowanick, who helps manage $10 billion as chief investment officer of Clearbrook Financial LLC in Princeton, New Jersey. “Until there is a unified central bank effort to support the dollar, the path of least resistance will be down.”

The dollar fell to 99.77 yen, the lowest since October 1995, before trading at 100.68 at 4:20 p.m. in New York, from 101.79 yesterday. The dollar touched $1.5626 per euro, the weakest since the European currency’s debut in 1999, and was at $1.5622, from $1.5551. It slid to a record 1.0045 Swiss francs. Japan’s currency advanced to 157.27 per euro, from 158.30.

The U.S. currency fell against a basket of six major trading partners to the lowest since the index began in 1973. The Dollar Index traded on ICE Futures in New York declined as low as 71.795. The dollar dropped to $2.0320 per pound from $2.0270, touching the weakest since December.

`So Many Holes’

The dollar pared its losses as stocks reversed a decline, after Standard & Poor’s said the end of subprime-related losses is “in sight” for large financial institutions. The S&P 500 index rose 0.5 percent, after earlier losing as much as 2 percent.

“The dollar is trying to find a floor here,” said Alan Kabbani, a senior currency trader at Wachovia Corp. in Charlotte, North Carolina. “The boat has so many holes that it takes a while to fix it.”

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson reiterated support today for a “strong dollar” that reflects economic fundamentals, after President George W. Bush yesterday said the U.S. currency’s drop was not “good tidings.”

Person George W. Bush
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