Showing posts with label Currency/Money. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Currency/Money. Show all posts

March 9, 2017

Follow The Money!!Trump with Iran $$ thru Azerbaijan and Military Guard

The Trump Tower Baku never opened. Trump partnered with an Azerbaijani family that U.S. officials called notoriously unethical.Photograph by Davide Monteleone for The New Yorker 

There are some main media reporters looking this up but no one gathers it together like Rachel Maddow of MSNBC.  I listened to her reporting on this for a couple of her programs and lots of things made sense and some of it was easily traceable. That is why Im posting this article that came to the Idaho State Journal down below. No name but with most of the facts mashed together to get someone to look into any part of this or more interesting, all of it and see something is wrong with the picture at the White House.  You need to do the simple leg work and google about this and only go by main sources on the main media (no I don’t mean Breibart because even though they are now connected to the White House thru Steve Bannon, that does not make them main line, they are still and they proudly would agree to the right of the right with their own set of alternate facts). 
Just search Trump and Iran or Trump and Iran money, hotels never opened or any of the names in this article.

One of the things you will find is that Trump is involved in anything around the world that smells of money. This would not surprise anyone because he has business all over the map. There was one point on Trump business life where he screwed up big and was going down fast like a gold fish in the toilet bowl.. This was around 2005 when he failed in the casino business. He was so hard up for money he would do anything from cameos for Playboy to get involved with TV producing. Around that time there was an influx of money and there is no place where you can find legally where it came from unless you are an expert at this or you are the government with subpoenas and his tax returns of where some of that money might have come from.  

As you know, you don’t get money for free. You can get a loan but you need collateral and when you need a billion or so, where would it come from and what collateral would you have if you are going broke?

We have just entered an unlit tunnel of dirty money and dirty politics on the backs of the country as a whole when Trump entered the WH. Things are not getting better and Im sure you already are starting to get a little grumbling from your tummy when you think about it. That is if you have money invested (not millions) that can be lost thru your IRA or bonds, etc. Or you have a pre-existing condition and you are in your 50”s making less than 25k a year or you have a son or daughter in the military or simply if you care that the county that we built is loosing everything that made it great and it was never about how many nukes we had and how many times we can nuke the world over
( with the important people going to the undisclosed locations to start over again, at least they think so and they have the capabilities underground and soon in outer space).

If we demand the truth we will get most of it. The only tool you have on your hands left since your vote is gone, is the politicians in Washington that want very badly to get reelected every two years (the house) and the senators due for reelection. If pressure is put on this people they will do the oversight over the white House but it wont be easy because the voting public decided to give the house and the senate and the white house to the Republicans. But if enough truth comes out like in Watergate you will see this corrupt tree shake and you will be amazed at the few monkeys that might come down kicking, screaming and running for their lives.

We need Congress to get serious about investigating President Trump’s Russian connections now. I think we need an independent, 9/11 style commission to handle this investigation. More of President Trump’s Russian connections are being revealed each day. The recent story in the New Yorker by Adam Davidson is particularly troubling. Trump’s hotel deal in Azerbaijan, a notoriously corrupt State, is linked through Ziya Mammadov, the Transportation Minister of Azerbaijan, to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. The US has sanctioned the Guard as a terrorist entity. It sponsors and supports terrorism materially and financially all over the Middle East. The Trump organization entered this hotel deal in Azerbaijan in 2014, and reported receiving $2.8 billion before he backed out of the real estate project a month after the 2016 election.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act forbids an American company from participating in a scheme to reward a foreign government official in exchange for material benefit or preferential treatment. But the Trump Organization may have broken the law in its work with the Mammadov family. The law even made it a crime for an American company to unknowingly benefit from a partner’s corruption if it could have discovered illicit activity but avoided doing so.

Then there is Trump’s association with Dmitry Rybolovlev, the Russian Fertilizer King. He sold this Russian oligarch a house in Palm Beach, Florida and pocketed a cool $60 million profit on the sale. Neither he nor Rybolovlev ever lived on the property. This sale appears to be a thinly-veiled money laundering transaction to funnel money from Russia to Trump. In addition, Deutsche Bank in Germany was busted for laundering more than ten billion dollars out of Russia and into places like New York. This stood out because Deutsche has also loaned more than a billion dollars to Donald Trump, who just happens to be based out of New York, even at a time when the bank was struggling and Trump was viewed as a poor loan risk by every other bank out there. It turns out Deutsche was funneling that money through Bank of Cyprus. Guess who owns a 9.9% share in Bank of Cyprus? Dmitry Rybolovlev. We can now draw a direct line of more than a billion dollars flowing from Russia, through Rybolovlev, to Donald Trump.

Senator Sherrod Brown has said that: “Congress and the Trump administration has a duty to examine whether the President or his family is exposed to terrorist financing, sanctions, money laundering and other imprudent associations through their business holdings and connections.” We agree with the Senator. It is WAY past time for Congress to insist that President Trump release his tax returns: or if he refuses to do that, Congress needs to subpoena those returns from Treasury.

July 25, 2016

These are the Corporate Sponsors that Mingled and Paid for Cleveland

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) poses with two employees at Pfizer, one of the sponsors of the RSLC event in Cleveland.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) poses with two employees at Pfizer, one of the many pharmaceutical industry sponsors of an RSLC fundraising event in Cleveland. (Photo: Ashley Balcerzak,
House Speaker Paul Ryan’s impassioned speech to unite the GOP on Tuesday was not the last he would give in Cleveland. A national Republican organization brought in the big guns for their fundraiser, with Ryan headlining the event to inspire donations.
In the tranquility of the Cleveland Botanical Gardens on Wednesday, miles away from the madness surrounding the Quicken Loans Arena, Ryan stressed the need to coordinate and strengthen the Republican party on the federal, state, local and federal levels. His audience? A bevy of state legislative leaders rubbing elbows with industry interests. 
The afternoon of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres was organized by the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee, part of the Republican State Leadership Committee, a national 527 political organization that aims to elect down-ballot Republicans.  
The two-hour catered event treated politicians and their corporate guests to salmon-wrapped asparagus, watermelon topped with bleu cheese and edible flowers, and two open bars. (Note to watchdogs: This probably was ethically fine for Ryan and any other federal lawmakers there.) Republican officials and representatives of GOP-aligned big money groups like American Crossroads milled about chatting with corporate officials representing some of the biggest corporations in the country, from industries as diverse as tech and retail to fossil fuels and private prisons.
The Republican State Leadership Committee brought state level politicians together with industry special interests for a fundraiser at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. (Photo: Robert Maguire, CRP)
The Republican State Leadership Committee brought state level politicians together with industry special interests for a fundraiser at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. (Photo: Robert Maguire, CRP)
Reporters for the OpenSecrets Blog were not on the invitation list, but were able to gain access to the event. 
“Your help, your donations, your efforts to help in our states to maintain these majorities to continue to move us forward, is extremely important,” said Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, kicking off the event. “And by the way, before you go, make sure you see us again to see how much money we can get from you.”
Together, the more than two dozen corporations and organizations sponsoring the event have given $12.4 million to the RSLC’s efforts since 2013. More than half of that came from just two donors: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, $5.4 million, and the Altria Group, which gave nearly $1.2 million. 
Republicans are not alone in raising cash from corporations that hope to curry favor with legislators who will be formulating policies that will affect their bottom line. The RSLC’s analog on the left, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, raises millions from unions and corporations, and Democratic leaders will almost certainly be wooing these groups next week in Philadelphia. 
Very few of the sponsors at this morning’s RSLC event, however, have been as generous with the DLCC. In all, those same sponsors only gave $2.3 million to the DLCC since 2013, and 11 have not given a single contribution to the Democratic group in that time frame. On average, the corporations sponsoring the Paul Ryan event favor the RSLC more than eight to one over the DLCC, with only four companies — Wal-MartAT&TMonsanto, and Microsoft — having a near even split in support for both. 
Early in his speech, Ryan gave a nod to fossil fuel interests present, such as the American Coalition for Clean Coal and Electricity, a sponsor, and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, on the invitee list, in the middle of a metaphor about government effectiveness. 
“In the House we sort of see ourselves at the bottom of a ship, shoveling coal into the engine,” Ryan said. “By the way, there’s nothing wrong with shoveling coal into an engine. Shout out to coal country,” he said, as the crowd burst into applause. 
Ryan concluded by emphasizing that the party needs resources to “make sure the down ticket stays strong” and maintain a “big and deep party” on all levels of government.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) headlined the RSLC event, expressing the importance of resources to Republican efforts.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) headlined the RSLC event, expressing the importance of resources to Republican efforts.
Big Pharma had a strong showing, with event backing from Astellas PharmaPfizerNovartis and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. The pharmaceutical manufacturing industry as a whole has been a big supporter of the RSLC, giving more than $3.4 million since 2013. 
Other notable sponsors include two of the largest private prison corporations, Corrections Corporation of America (which gave $53,000 since 2013) and the GEO GroupOpenSecrets Blog reporters also spied nametags laid out for foreign dignitaries, including Nigel Farage, Brexit leader and former head of the U.K. Independence Party, and Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S.

March 26, 2016

The Countries with the Most/Least Income Inequality

You’ve heard statistics about how 10 percent of America owns 75 percent of the wealth and that the top 1 percent makes nearly 20 percent of all income. But is American prosperity really so unequal compared to the rest of the world?
In order to see how America stacks up against other nations, FindTheData turned to the Gini ratio. Developed by sociologist Corrado Gini in the early 20th century, the Gini ratio describes a country’s income distribution on a scale of zero to one. A Gini ratio of zero indicates that every person in the country makes exactly the same amount of money. A Gini ratio of one means that just one person makes all the money.
The United States' ratio? 0.41. Proportionally, this means the top 20 percent of earners make about 46 percent of the total national income.
While that might sound fairly unequal, America is actually near the middle of the pack compared to the rest of the world. Among the 88 countries we analyzed, the average Gini ratio was 0.38. For comparison, consider that Brazil’s Gini ratio is 0.53, where the top 20 percent make 57.2 percent of the wealth. South Africa’s Gini ratio is even higher, at 0.65   {USE Your Cursor Over Map}

June 1, 2013

Gay and Money-Who Has It?} Is it True We Have it?

Barbra Raab a fair voice going by what the numbers are telling her not what she was wishing the numbers should be


By Barbara Raab, Senior Producer, NBC News
When gays and lesbians are featured in popular culture, what do we see? White, wealthy women who host talk shows or affluent men doting on their kids -- like Mitchell and Cameron from "Modern Family." So it’s no wonder that the conventional wisdom is that gay people in America have tons of money and fewer economic struggles than the rest of the population.
But the truth is significantly different.
“I think people are surprised there are any poor gay people,” says M.V. Lee Badgett, professor of economics and research director for The Williams Institute, a national think tank at UCLA Law School researches sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy. “This ‘myth of gay affluence’ has been around for a long time. It gets in the way of people even imagining that LGBT people can be poor.”
On Monday, the Williams Institute will release a detailed study about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their real economic status. Drawing on recent data from four different sources, the report finds a sexual orientation “poverty gap”: LGBT Americans are more likely to be poor than heterosexuals, with African-Americans and women particularly vulnerable.
Badgett spoke with NBC News about the results of the study, "The Gay Affluence Myth: New Research on LGBT Poverty."
Let’s start with a very basic question: Why measure LGBT poverty at all?
What people think they know is that gay people are pretty well-off economically. We don’t see poor LGBT people on television, we don’t see them in movies, we don’t see articles about them when discussions about marriage show up in the newspaper. But it doesn’t mean they’re not there. It just means we haven’t looked for them. And we haven’t looked for them because we think they’re not there.
The government measures poverty for a lot of other groups. What are some of the challenges and difficulties in trying to measure poverty among the LGBT population?
The biggest issue is that LGBT people are invisible in most big surveys. The biggest surveys that the Census Bureau does have asked no questions about sexual orientation or gender identity. Every survey has questions about race, about marital status, about disability, about ethnicity, about whether people have kids – all these things that matter in people’s lives and influence people’s vulnerability to poverty – but they don’t ask whether you’re lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in most surveys. They have started asking about household relationships in ways that allow us to identify people who are living with an unmarried partner of the same sex. That’s created a big statistical revolution in terms of LGBT research but there still are a lot of people who are left out.
Now to some of the conclusions: You find a “gay poverty gap” in America, especially for certain subgroups of gay people.
Yes. There are lots of people in same-sex couples who are poor, and that is an important takeaway. The gap is clear in the raw data for some of these comparisons. For example, for lesbians, if you just look at the poverty rate for women in same-sex couples (7.6 percent), it’s higher than the poverty rate for women in different-sex couples (5.7 percent). For gay men, it’s a little more complicated a story, and race plays a big part. The economic status of lesbians is quite different and often more vulnerable compared to men. It’s a reminder of just how much of an important role gender still plays in determining people’s economic outcome.
Another conclusion is that children of LGB parents are especially vulnerable to poverty. With a poverty rate of roughly 20 percent among children living with gay parents, they are almost twice as likely to be poor as in married opposite-sex couple households. The gap is even bigger for children living with African-American same sex-couples. Why is that?
It’s always shocking to me to see these figures for kids, and the higher poverty rates for the households that have kids. The burden that seems to happen for African-American same-sex couples and their kids is very troubling. It could very well be because of where they live. A lot of those families live in areas with high poverty rates, in the South in particular. African-American people in same-sex couples earn less than white people in same-sex couples, and they earn less than married different sex couples across the board. Those are the things I think are most likely to explain it.
The issue of kids comes up all the time, and we do worry that it will be seen that same-sex couples aren’t good parents, aren’t fit parents, or that African-American same-sex couples aren’t good parents or fit parents. The economic situations that people find themselves in don’t reflect their fitness at being parents. It just reflects how hard it is for them to raise their kids and shows there’s a need for support, including the right to marry and to strengthen their family’s economic situation or to make it more secure by being able to tap into all the benefits that come with marriage.  
The government safety net – cash welfare and food stamps in particular – seems to play a bigger role for LGB poor people and couples than for other poor Americans, according to your research. Does this suggest that the safety net is particularly hospitable to LGB people?
It's probably just the opposite. LGBT people and their families have problems fitting into definitions of family and the regulations, so they may not get a very supportive reception when they come and try to sign up for benefits.
We think there’s something else going on. It could be they are more likely to need the benefits – they may be even more poor than we can see in our data – or it could be that they’re seen as more eligible, because [in most states] they can’t marry. The government may not recognize their relationships when they come in to apply for these benefits. That means that if the spouse with lower income or lower assets applies, they don’t have to [consider] the other person’s income and assets, so they’re more likely to be eligible for those benefits.
Do your findings suggest that policymakers need to adjust their approach to preventing poverty, or to helping people gays and lesbians get out of poverty?
Yes. Making sure that the systems are welcoming and understanding of the life situations of LGBT people is very important. If they feel like their relationships are going to be looked down upon or they’re stigmatized in some other way, they might need those benefits but be unwilling to go in and apply for them.
The findings also suggest that there are other kinds of things to prevent poverty that need to be addressed. For instance, we don’t have any protection against discrimination against LGBT people at the federal level. Only 21 states outlaw discrimination for sexual orientation and 16 states for gender identity. People who lose jobs because of discrimination are very likely to run into problems with poverty. If they don’t have incomes, they will be a whole lot poorer. So, nondiscrimination laws are very important.
Also, marriage is designed to give people a framework for living their economic lives together as well as their family lives, and when people in same-sex couples don’t have access to that framework, then they are automatically deprived of certain kinds of economic supports. Not having the right to marry makes people more economically vulnerable as well.

May 5, 2013

CIA Will Continue to Pay Cash to Karsai (He said for the Poor)

Karzai told the Associated Press he's been receiving monthly payments from the CIA for more than a decade as part of U.S. assistance to his government. He said he's been told that regular source of funding will not be cut off.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Saturday he's been assured by the CIA's Kabul station chief that regular cash payments to his government will continue after a New York Times exposé created a scandal in his country and the United States. 

“The help and assistance from the U.S. is for our National Directorate of Security. That is state-to-state, government-to-government regular assistance,” Karzai said, according to the AP. “So that is a government institution helping another government institution, and we appreciate all this assistance and help, all this assistance is very useful for us. We have spent it in different areas (and) solved lots of our problems.”
The New York Times first brought the payments to light last weekend. The newspaper estimated that the cash transfers, which were brought in plastic bags and suitcases and referred to as “ghost money” by Karzai aides, totaled tens of millions of dollars since the U.S. invasion of 2001.

The report created a firestorm of controversy in Afghanistan, with opposition lawmakers calling Karzai a traitor for accepting money from a foreign government without any accountability.
"These payments highlight President Karzai's lack of loyalty," Sayed Fazel Sancharaki, a spokesman for the opposition National Coalition, told the Agence France-Presse. "It's very unfortunate that such money is given in a non-transparent way and by foreign intelligence agencies.”

U.S. lawmakers, for their part, demanded an explanation, saying such opaque payments “promote corruption.” 
“Our support for the Karzai administration should have evolved long ago into regular and more sustainable efforts that are fully coordinated across the government and are calibrated to ensure collaboration with U.S. policies,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote in a letter to President Obama on Thursday. “The alleged arrangements make accountability impossible and promote corruption at the top levels of the Afghan government, as well as break trust with the American taxpayer.
“Please provide an explanation, with a classified annex if necessary, for how this alleged policy fits within overall U.S. objectives in Afghanistan.” 

August 14, 2012

The 'Mormon Church' Breaks { $7 } Billion Every Year

 What the F* Do They Do With It???

They Take They Don’t Pay!Can You Help Them Out??

We all know that Mitt Romney is rich, but just how much does his church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, get within a year? Oh, just about $7 billion. You know, about the size of the entire Moldova's entire gross domestic product. The figure comes from a Reuters report wherein the news organization, alongside sociologist Ryan Cragun, examined church records to estimate the amount, which is derived from tithes — part of the practice of members giving 10 percent of their income — and "other donations."  
While Moldova, the tiny country wedged in between Ukraine and Romania, only has a population of 3,656,843 (including two bronze medal-winning women weightlifters), according to July 2012 estimates, the Mormon church says it has 14 million members worldwide. That said, Reuters notes that only "active members are most likely to tithe, and the result is that from a financial standpoint at least, the church remains largely a venture of active American members." 
So there you go: the Mormon church brings in as much money each year as a small country's economy, and that is largely due to rich Americans. 

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July 24, 2012

Myth or Truth } Gay Men Richer Than Straight Men??


“Spending is quick, earning is slow.” – Russian proverb 

According to a new national survey conducted online byHarris Interactive, nearly half (48%) of gay and lesbian adults report they like to keep up with the latest styles and trends. This is compared to only 38 percent of heterosexual adults.

Taking a look only at gay men in the sample:

  • More than half (53%) report they like to keep up with the latest styles and trends, compared to fewer than one-third (30%) of heterosexual men.
  • Nearly half (49%) report they tend to upgrade to the latest model or version of a product, compared to 35 percent of heterosexual men.
Apparently, the image of gay affluence lives on. But what do these spending habits reveal? Are gay men wealthier than straight men? Or do they just have the queer eye for shopping?

In a Queercents interview in 2006, Bob Witeck and Wes Combs provided an explanation: 

Because only about 20 percent of gay and lesbian households have children in them, we tend to have more discretionary income. What others spend on child care related costs we often spend on ourselves (or save.) In many cases we are also dual income households, which coupled with no children gives us more money to spend than the average consumer.
But John W. Stiles at OutSmart begs to differ and gives his take on the myth: 

So we get all of the harm of appearing wealthy, without any of the fun (or security) of actually having the money in our pockets and bank accounts.
Appearance can be deceiving. Consider this guest post awhile back at Queercents from an enterprising twentysomething gay guy in Houston: 

I’d probably be rich (really rich, not just rich in appearance) right now if I’d learned earlier that I must live on far less than what I make, and invest the difference, if I ever want to achieve financial security. 

Most of my friends are in the same boat - actually, most of my friends are in worse shape (simply because they haven’t stopped to think about their situation.) I have several buds that earn far above the national income average, they drive Lexus and Mercedes cars, and live in trendy downtown lofts or townhouses. But, many of them owe thousands of dollars in credit card debt - just keeping up with the interest payments on those cards keeps them from getting caught up financially… I believe that gay guys are particularly prone to the “keeping up appearances” syndrome. Gay men just seem to really, deeply worry about what their peers think of them - whether it’s how they dress, their physical appearance, or their financial situation.

In the case of finances, keeping up appearances can be very dangerous. Instead of truly striving for financial security by avoiding consumer debt and paying down mortgage debt, many gay men feel compelled to “show off” their relative “wealth” by purchasing cars and clothes and homes and trips and all kinds of things they can’t afford. I’ve done it myself, and you probably know others who’ve done the same thing. You may even be doing it right now.
This tendency isn’t confined to the US. In the UK, a writer at GayFinanceponders the same: 

Luxury used to be something that was exclusively for the rich. That’s not the case any more. With increasing affluence, more of us can afford the kind of things that used to be strictly for the Rockefellers. We don’t just go abroad, we go on adventure holidays to New Zealand or Africa. We don’t buy clothes, we buy designer labels… 

But too many of us have a “live today, pay tomorrow” attitude. Keeping up with the Joneses can be costly and it’s all too easy to max out the credit card - especially on holiday or at Christmas. If you’re in serious debt or think you might be a “shopaholic”, you should seek help from a debt counsellor.

But even people who don’t have a problem with debt may be spending all their income without thinking about the future. Yes, you can afford the things you like now, but wouldn’t you like to be able to afford them when you’re 60 as well? All too often I meet guys in their late 30s who earn good money and enjoy an affluent lifestyle but who have no savings or investments at all. What do they think they’ll live on when they’re older?
What do you think? Why are gay men different than their straight counterparts when it comes to keeping up with the latest trends and styles? And what does this mean in regards to their wallet? Feel free to comment over at the Queercents post. 

Photo Credit: iofoto

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June 23, 2012

The Church is Loosing Donations Two Years in a Row

For the second year in a row giving to churches and religious organizations have dropped steadily.
This writer believes than this is a by product of when religions stop being religion and become a political party.  In a faith you will have people of different political beliefs.  The church and by the church I mean all of them regardless of religious dogma have abused the power of the pulpit by using the money that is donated by the faithful for the church expenses and in many cases to help the poor with programs of soup kitchens, pantry etc. When that money is sidetrack to help a political party or to defend it self in court by the misdeeds of the pastor or priest, one has to be really hard headed to continue to give for causes that have nothing to do with the god, the church or the poor.

Why is religion having a hard time?  According to the Christian Monitor,
“Declining attendance at religious services is part and parcel to the issue” of struggling to maintain or increase giving levels, says Robert Evans, a Philadelphia fundraising consultant for nonprofits and an author of the Giving USA 2012 report. “If you have fewer people coming through the front door, then how do you do it?”
But despite cutbacks in giving, religion remains America’s favorite charitable cause. With $95.88 billion in donations, faith-based organizations still collect far more than any other nonprofit segment. A distant second is education with $38.9 billion, followed by human services at $35.4 billion.
Yet religious institutions could be witnessing the start of a long-term slide, observers say. Precipitating factors, such as a weak economic recovery, portend more financial stress and hard choices about where institutions should cut in years ahead, according to David Roozen, director of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut.
“The recession exacerbated downward pressure on church finances,” Mr. Roozen says. “You’ll likely see a continuation of this” as unemployment and wage stagnation limit how much churchgoers can give.
Large congregations have fared best in the recession’s aftermath, Roozen says, as they consume a larger share of a shrinking pie. Slumping donations have translated into painful staff cuts for small congregations and denominational offices. In one telling sign, the United Methodist Churchthis year did away with its longstanding policy of guaranteeing appointments for clergy as churches come to rely on fewer pastors and part-timers for ministry.
Shrinking attendance isn’t all that’s hampered the faithful’s fundraising efforts, according to Mr. Evans. Religious institutions have largely failed to keep pace with other types of organizations, such as colleges and hospitals, in deploying professional development teams. Synagogues that employ professional fundraisers have found the investment pays off, Evans says, but most congregations have no one trained in the art of asking for money.
“There’s no donor fatigue,” says Evans, who is managing director of EHL Consulting Group. “But houses of worship ... need to fine-tune their message more strongly for the people who want to make this a better country.”
What’s more, religious institutions are exempt from financial disclosure requirements that bind other nonprofits. As donors become more discreet and sophisticated, Evans says, they’ve come to expect more transparency than religious bodies are used to supplying. Donors who value transparency might therefore respond more favorably to nonreligious appeals.

April 11, 2012

Newt’s Check Bounced to Utah As Fee For Running

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich may not appear on the ballot for the June 26 Utah primary, after a $500 check - the required filing fee - bounced, an official said.
State election director Mark Thomas told ABC News that a $500 check given by the Gingrich campaign to secure his place on the Utah ballot bounced on March 27.
"Our office immediately attempted to contact the campaign and the designated agent but no phone calls were returned," Thomas said. "We also asked the state Republican Party to assist us, but they also could not get into communication with them, although I do not know how they attempted to contact them."
One source close to the campaign told ABC News that the Gingrich campaign recently changed finance and accounting staff. The designated agent who filed the paperwork for the campaign was Wallace Woodruff "Woody" Hales, though Hales still works for the Gingrich campaign.
If the fee is not paid by April 20, Gingrich will be disqualified from the ballot.
"Our office certifies the candidates to the county clerks on April 24," Thomas said.
The check bounce comes as no surprise as Gingrich confirmed a debt of almost $4.5 million to ABC News on Tuesday. The last Federal Election Commission report from February showed a debt of less than $2 million.
Gingrich told ABC News today that the debt increase was because the campaign got "very excited in Florida" after his South Carolina win.
"Romney spent $20 million in Florida in three weeks and I think some of our guys decided to try to match him and we didn't have Wall Street," Gingrich said. "I am going to spend some time paying it off. It is something I have done several times in my career."
Gingrich said his campaign did "exactly what a conservative should do" who is in debt.
"We cut our expenses, we cut our staff, we are now in the process of paying it off but I think what happened is, they got really involved in the fight in Florida and didn't stop and just say to themselves, 'Wait a second.' I can beat Mitt Romney in ideas, I can't possibly compete with him in money," Gingrich said.
On the day Rick Santorum suspended his campaign, Gingrich sent an email to supporters saying he was "the last conservative standing." The campaign emailed to voters that the goal was to achieve 12,000 donations by midnight.

February 16, 2012

Romney Signed Anti Porn Pledge, He Accepts Money From SM Porn Site Owner


Last October, Willard Mitt Romney joined fellow GOP presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich in signing an anti-pornography pledge with Morality In Media, the “leading national organization opposing pornography and indecency through public education and the application of the law.”
In a written statement, Romney pledged, “(I)t is imperative that we cultivate the promotion of fundamental family values. This can be accomplished with increased parental involvement and enhanced supervision of our children. It includes strict enforcement of our nation’s obscenity laws, as well as the promotion of parental software controls that guard our children from Internet pornography.”
However, Think Progress reports that campaign filings from last September show Romney accepted the maximum campaign contribution of $2,500 from Dean Staton, the chairman of Friends Finder Networks, Inc., a company that owns (among other properties) Penthouse,, and Filings also show that Romney accepted $2,000 from Stanton and $2,300 from company CEO Mark Bell during his failed run for president in 2008.
The President and CEO of Morality in Media, Patrick Trueman, has issued a statement to Think Progress that asks Romney to return the money from Stanton:
"While Governor Romney cannot police all activities of his donors to determine whether to accept or reject donations, he would do well to return contributions from those like Daniel Staton who are know [sic] to own obscene or hardcore pornography websites once such contributions are called to his attention. We have no reason to disbelieve Mr. Romney regarding his pledge."
Think Progress has previously reported that right-wing campaigns like Morality in Media's seek to ban pornography outright, rather than enforce existing obscenity laws.
Romney's campaign has not responded yet to MIM's request to return the contribution.

December 27, 2011

Same Sex Partners Will Loose Big $ on Income Taxes

Kenneth Weissenberg and his spouse, Brian Sheerin, pay an extra $5,000 a year in taxes because they are unable to file jointly as a married couple. 
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Same-sex spouses are paying as much as $6,000 a year in extra taxes because the federal government doesn't recognize gay marriage, according to an analysis conducted for CNNMoney by tax specialists.
While marriage provides tax benefits for many heterosexual couples, same-sex families don't enjoy the same perks because they are not allowed to file their federal returns jointly. 
The imbalance persists despite increasing acceptance of gay marriage as a legal right. More than 12 states now grant full or partial marriage rights to same-sex couples, and a recent Gallup poll showed -- for the first time -- that a majority of Americans favor gay marriage.
But not the federal government, which is constrained by the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. Even as more same-sex couples are able to file jointly at the state level, they are still forced to file as single when submitting federal returns to the IRS.
This means they can't combine their income and deductions to take advantage of lower tax rates. It's also harder for them to qualify for certain tax breaks because the credits phase out sooner for single filers.
"It's costing these families thousands of dollars a year, as well as the emotional pain and suffering," said Ken Weissenberg, a partner at accounting firm EisnerAmper who is in a same-sex marriage himself.
Why gay couples pay more: To zero in on the tax bill gap between same-sex families across the country, CNNMoney asked H&R Block to crunch number comparing same-sex and heterosexual families according to a variety of scenarios. (Check out H&R Block's methodology)
One scenario involved families with one spouse earning $100,000 and the other spouse staying at home with the family's two kids.
In the same-sex family's case, the working spouse files as "head of household," and the stay-at-home spouse is considered a "qualifying relative."
Say that couple reported no other income or deductions. In that case, the same-sex household's federal tax bill is $15,199, which includes tax the head of household must pay on health insurance premiums to cover the stay-at-home spouse. That's $4,543 higher than the straight couple's liability.
Why? Because the "head of household" designation comes with some disadvantages.
Filing as "head of household" instead of "married filing jointly" exposes more income to a higher tax bracket. Plus, standard deductions, which are given based on the filing status to taxpayers who don't itemize deductions, are lower for a head of household than they are for married couples filing jointly.
And then there are the kids. When a child tax credit is claimed, the gap between same-sex households and married couples can grow even wider.
The heterosexual couple in H&R Block's example is able to claim the full $1,000 child tax credit for each kid. But the credit phases out sooner for families claiming "head of household." So in this case, the cost of being unable to file jointly comes out to $6,043 for same-sex households.
The one exception where same-sex spouses can actually come out ahead is the so-called marriage penalty. For some same-sex spouses in the higher tax brackets who work and have no children, filing tax returns using the "single" status makes the liability a little lower than that of heterosexual married couples. Still, "single" status is typically less advantageous than "married filing jointly."

They tried to deduct what?!

Other factors driving up the bill: It's not just income taxes that are costing same-sex couples more.
Many same-sex spouses don't qualify for the same marital exemptions given to other families for inheritance taxes and gift taxes. In addition, same-sex households receive lower tax exclusions for capital gains on the sales of a home (unless the home is jointly owned and each spouse qualifies for the exclusion).
All of this is not only costing same-sex couples more, but it's a paperwork and compliance nightmare.
Same-sex families who live in states where gay marriage is recognized typically have to fill out up to four separate returns -- including mock federal returns -- to cover both their state and federal taxes. Plus, hiring a tax preparer to take on these more complicated returns tends to be significantly more expensive.
"But it shouldn't stop anyone from getting married," said Weissenberg, who says he pays an extra $5,000 in taxes per year simply because he is in a same-sex marriage. "If I had to pay twice as much in taxes to be married to my husband, I would."

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