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

June 23, 2020

Coins Are The New Toilet Paper

 What's Scarier: No Toilet Paper or Wiping With One of These 5 ...
Just as supplies of toilet paper are finally getting back to normal, the coronavirus has triggered another shortage of something we typically take for granted: pocket change. 
Banks around the U.S. are running low on nickels, dimes, quarters and even pennies. And the Federal Reserve, which supplies banks, has been forced to ration scarce supplies.
"It was just a surprise," said Gay Dempsey, who runs the Bank of Lincoln County in Tennessee, when she learned of the rationing order. "Nobody was expecting it."
Dempsey's bank typically dispenses 400 to 500 rolls of pennies each week. Under the rationing order, her allotment was cut down to just 100 rolls, with similar cutbacks in nickels, dimes and quarters. 
That spells trouble for Dempsey's business customers, who need the coins to stock cash registers all around Lincoln County, Tenn. 
"You think about all your grocery stores and convenience stores and a lot of people that still operate with cash," Dempsey said. "They have to have that just to make change."
Rural banks in particular seem to be getting shortchanged, according to Colin Barrett, CEO of the Tennessee Bankers Association. 
Rep. John Rose, R-Tenn., sounded the alarm last week during a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee.
"My fear is that customers who use these banks will react very poorly," Rose said. "And I know that we all don't want to wake up to headlines in the near future such as 'Banks Out of Money.' " 
The congressman warned that if businesses are unable to make exact change, they'll be forced to round up or round down, "in a time when pennies are the difference between profitability and loss."
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell assured Rose that the central bank is monitoring the situation closely. 
"We're working with the mint to increase supply, and we're working with the reserve banks to get that supply where it needs to be," Powell said. "So we think it's a temporary situation."
The U.S. Mint produced fewer coins than usual this spring in an effort to protect employees from infection. But the larger problem — as with many other pandemic shortages — is distribution. 
During the lockdown, many automatic coin-sorting machines that people typically use to cash in loose change were off-limits. And with many businesses closed, unused coins piled up in darkened cash drawers, in pants pockets and on nightstands, even as banks went begging.
"The flow of coins through the economy ... kind of stopped," Powell said.
The Fed chairman stressed that this clog in the financial plumbing should clear quickly, now that businesses are reopening, and that supplies of coins should soon be back to normal.
In the meantime, Dempsey, the banker, has secured an emergency stash of coins from some of her business customers who run vending machines and laundromats. 
While a growing number of people rely on credit cards or smartphone apps for many transactions today, the coin crunch is a reminder that sometimes you just need change. 
"Cash is still king, I guess," Dempsey mused.

August 31, 2018

California Voted to Treat The Poor in The Courts The Same as The Rich: No Cash Bonds

 How many thousands you said, your honor? No problem!


California’s newly signed law abolishing money bail makes the livelihoods of thousands of bail bondsmen obsolete – and in Sacramento, which is dotted with colorful figures from the industry, many are frustrated by the move.
There are 3,200 licensed bail bondsmen in the state and the industry accounts for at least 7,000 jobs, according to Maggie Kreins, vice president of the California Bail Agents Association. .
“Bail bondsmen are insurance agents,” said Topo Padilla, president of the Golden State Bail Association and Sacramento bail bondsman. “We issue an insurance policy to the court guaranteeing a person’s appearance in court. If a person fails to appear in court, the bail industry goes out and returns people to the court. If we fail to return the person to court in time, we pay the full amount of the bond.”
The new law, SB 10, replaces the money bail system with a “risk assessment” of an individual’s likelihood of returning for court hearings and their chances of getting arrested again. Those who are deemed “low-risk” would be released with the least restrictive non-monetary conditions possible, while “medium-risk” and “high-risk” defendants could be held awaiting trial. 
"Really and truly a bail bond is nothing more than accountability,” said Greg Padilla, who owns Greg Padilla Bail Bonds in Sacramento. “That’s all it is.”  
The new law faces strong opposition from the bail bond industry, which moved to block the law Wednesday by introducing a referendum drive, asking voters to delay and ultimately overturn SB 10.
“With a stroke of a pen, this bill eliminates the bail bond business,” Topo Padilla said. 
Topo co-owns Greg Padilla Bail Bonds with his father, Greg, who has been in the industry for nearly 40 years.
Bail bonds is a family business for the Padillas, spanning three generations. Greg’s wife, son and grandson work in the bail industry. His son, Leonard Padilla, made an illustrious name for himself as a bail bondsman and led a life that is sometimes stranger than fiction. 
Leonard isn’t chasing people who jumped bail anymore, but his father still runs the business from his storefront directly across the street from the Sacramento County Main Jail.
“By October 1 of next year, we’re gone,” Greg said of SB 10. “So we just have to go find a job.” 
He has 14 full-time employees and two locations in downtown Sacramento. He said he didn’t know how they would fight SB 10 but he know people are looking into ways to do it. 
Tony “The Tiger” Lopez, another notable Sacramento bail bondsman, isn’t sticking around to see what happens. He’s closing up shop. leaving the bail bond business and moving out of state, he said. 
“By next year, it’s over, it’s a wrap, we’re done,” he said.  Lopez has been a bail bondsman for 19 years, taking up the business after a career as a professional boxer where he was a three-time World Boxing Champion.
“Who’s going to chase the people who don’t show up to court?” he said. “If they don’t show up, on my dime and our dime, we chase them . . . Anywhere they go we go, because if we don’t find them we actually pay that bond cost.” 
SB 10 replaces bondsmen with county-funded teams that are responsible for finding people who don’t show up on their court date.
“It’s stupid, there’s no other word for it, it’s just stupid,” he said. 

March 30, 2017

$Money$(Russian Linked?) Being Pumped to Gorsuch Appt.


This story posted by  on Esquire
The original tittle  Finally the Democrats are getting how politics work

There's been a lot of stirring on the Neil Gorsuch front. More and more Democratic senators seem disinclined to allow the Senate to give his nomination a vote. Chuck Schumer seems immovable on the subject. (The same cannot be said, alas, for Claire McCaskill, who seems distressingly ambivalent on the topic. My guess? She goes over the side.) Meanwhile, the Republicans are unsure whether or not they want to blow up the filibuster to install Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. (My guess? Boom!) A lot of this ambivalence, I believe, is rooted in their vestigial conscience as a party.
They know what they did to Merrick Garland. They know why they did it to Merrick Garland. At some level, they know how ridiculous their whining about how roughly Gorsuch has been treated sounds to anyone with a short-term memory that extends back to 2015. The longer this stretches out, the more time their vestigial conscience has to work on them. At the same time, Schumer's argument that a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should not be doled out by a president who is under FBI investigation is beginning to bite just a little. People are getting a little antsy about the amount of dark money pushing Gorsuch's case. And Gorsuch did himself no favors by trying to bury the Senate Judiciary Committee under an avalanche of smug non-answers. (Dark money? What's that? Is that trying to find the pants in which you left your wallet?) There's more going on here than there was a month ago.
So the job of bucking up the Senate majority is left to its good friends outside the caucus room. For example, the National Rifle Association has stepped up bigly. It's in for a million bucks, which, of course, will not cause Gorsuch to sacrifice his ability to judge a gun control case fairly. You can also tell how nervous Gorsuch’s supporters have become because, once again, we are seeing the Keep The Powder Dry argument floating through the discourse. This is the political strategy by which Democrats give the Republicans what they want on the assumption that they will be able to assert their power at some vague point in the future. The only minor flaw in this plan is that it never works. The Democratic Party must have an airplane hangar somewhere filled to the rafters with dry powder. Nonetheless, the idea is back again. Here’s some superb concern-trolling from a former Republican flack, brought to us by Tiger Beat On The Potomac:
The problem for Schumer and his caucus is this: Republicans are not bluffing when they say Gorsuch will be on the court one way or another. The squishes, the institutionalists, even the erstwhile "Gang" members are unwavering in their support. Gorsuch is well-qualified for the job, acquitted himself admirably by any measure, and if an unprecedented partisan filibuster is the only thing standing between him and the bench, the Reid Rule will be invoked for the second time.
Here it comes…
But saying Republicans have the political will to put Gorsuch on the court is different than saying there are 50 GOP senators who are otherwise prepared to end the filibuster. Their appetite is entirely a function of circumstance. Were Democrats to lay off Gorsuch, keeping their powder dry for the future and maintaining the moral high ground, it would be rather easy to imagine the Susan Collinses, John McCains and Lindsey Grahams of the world getting cold feet with a lesser Trump pick, particularly one who shifts the balance of the court rather than maintaining it. Which is to say that Gorsuch's nomination is something of a perfect storm for GOP procedural fortitude. Only seeing such a model jurist held hostage to cynical political whims would be enough to compel the righteous indignation necessary to go nuclear.
And then comes the point where the author shoots his own argument through the head, and gives anyone with that aforementioned short-term memory a chance to tell the author to piss off.
(I'll pause here so my friends on the left can let out a primal scream for poor Merrick Garland.)
Piss off.
What happened to Garland—who couldn't even get a private meeting with a single Republican senator—changed the political context irreparably. Because of that, you can't just tell the Democrats that it's to their advantage to wave off what was done to Garland, much less to roll over for Gorsuch, without sounding naïve or ignorant. History tells us that the fight for which the Democrats "keep the powder dry" never occurs. Recent history tells us that there is no compelling political reason to put Neil Gorsuch on the court ahead of Merrick Garland. If the Republicans want to blow up the filibuster to do it, they should suck it up and take the political risks that doing so entails.
(I'm not entirely sure that those risks are that great, at least in terms of getting Republican senators re-elected.)
But one thing that makes me feel good about the building resistance to Gorsuch is that the Democrats in Congress seem at last to be bridling at the notion that "bipartisanship" is primarily the responsibility of their party, that they don't necessarily have to be the grown-ups in a room where childish vandals roam free, and that, sooner or later, the Republicans have to take responsibility in real time for the damage they do. Chuck Schumer is under no obligation to salve the consciences of the people who stiffed Merrick Garland—and, by the way, there is no requirement that the Supreme Court be "balanced" ideologically—by giving them exactly the result they wanted a year ago.
Touch off the powder for a change.

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.” 

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