Sunday, March 1, 2015
|The county liked this view so much, they decided to take it.|
Last week, I received a letter from a law office I'd never heard of in a nearby city. It was written with all kinds of legal terms and the special mumbo-jumbo lawyers use to intimidate and obfuscate. At first, I thought it must be some kind of scam because it claimed they were going to foreclose on my property and I had a week to pay up.
The pay-off was $295. After doing a little research and calling around and going online to check out things, I discerned the lawyer's office was real. I called the number on the letter and spoke to a woman who assured me that the contents were valid and that if I didn't pony up with $295 that they were sending out the local Sheriff to inform me of their intentions.
Well, the Texas State Tax Code says a tax lien follows the property but not necessarily the past owner(s). In other words, since I was the new owner, the law stipulated that the state could not only come after me for the previous owner's tax court debt, but could also summarily foreclose on the property. And that's what was about to happen. By the way, the lien was issued four days after I closed on the property -- that's why the title company didn't find it on record.
Welcome to the gulag.
So, what did I do? Did I lose my house to the statist tyrants? No, not this week. I called the original owner and told him what was happening. He claimed he had no knowledge of what was going on and that his wife took care of all that business. Subsequently, he mailed me a check for the money in question which I deposited, then wrote a personal check for the same amount and gave it to my title company in the midst of a blizzard (true dat) and they, in turn, sent the money to the county tax court and an electronic message to the lawyer's office begging for forgiveness. I need to insert here that the previous owner was no longer obligated by law to pay -- his court costs and citations had became a part of the overall tax bill. To his credit, he did the right thing and did not hang me out to dry.
This incident fits in nicely with my thesis that lawyers performing in a corrupt and unjust system are just as guilty themselves. Anyway, with a little luck, I will not get served with an eviction notice tomorrow. Of course, in these times, you can never be sure. You think you own your property? Not so much.
Posted by TommyBoy at 12:05 PM
Friday, February 27, 2015
A gridded ion thruster uses electrical energy to create, accelerate and neutralize positively charged ions to generate thrust. The discharge chamber is responsible for the creation of ions when neutral atoms and electrons collide while the magnetic field containing the electrons increases ionization efficiency.
The screen and accelerator electrodes accelerate the ions to extremely high speeds using electric fields. The neutralizer provides additional electrons to balance the overall charge being ejected from the thruster and keep the spacecraft electrically neutral.
Posted by TommyBoy at 2:34 PM
Thursday, February 26, 2015
The world's largest stockpile of gold can be found five stories underground inside the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's vault and it holds 25% of the world's gold reserve (540,000 gold bars). While it contains more gold than Fort Knox, most of it belongs to foreign governments. At least, we think it's there. The head of the Federal Reserve will not allow an audit.
Posted by TommyBoy at 1:05 AM
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Since the American drug war has been such a demonstrable failure, why does it continue to be so strongly supported by the American political and legal establishment?
One glaring reason is corruption, in both the moral and legal sense. It is the corruption that comes from political pressure - with its rewards and punishments - and the corruption that comes from hard cash.
For example, the Drug Policy Alliance notes that the war on drugs includes a $9 billion prison economy, not to mention more billions in homeless shelters, healthcare, chemical dependency and psychiatric treatment, etc. Each one of these industries - as well as the employment of cops, judges, probation officers, etc - would be severely hurt should America decide to give up the so-called war on drugs. This doesn't justify the madness but it is important to remember that we have created a multi-billion dollar economy based on our failed drug policies.
Beneficiaries of the drug war include prison architects and contractors, corrections personnel, policy makers and academics, and thousands of corporate vendors who peddle their wares at the annual trade-show of the American Corrections Association - hawking everything from toothbrushes and socks to barbed-wire fences and shackles.
Multi-national corporations run the show by winning tax subsidies, incentives and abatements from local governments -- robbing the public coffers and depriving communities of the kind of quality education, roads, health care and infrastructure that provide genuine incentives for legitimate business. The sale of tax-exempt bonds to underwrite prison construction is estimated at a whopping $2.3 billion annually.
Corporations that appear to be far removed from the business of punishment are intimately involved in the expansion of the prison industrial complex. Prison construction bonds are one of the many sources of profitable investment for leading financiers such as Merrill Lynch. MCI charges prisoners and their families outrageous prices for the precious telephone calls which are often the only contact inmates have with the free world. Many corporations whose products we consume on a daily basis have learned that prison labor power can be as profitable as third world labor power exploited by U.S.-based global corporations. Both relegate formerly unionized workers to joblessness, many of which wind up in prison. Some of the companies that use prison labor are IBM, Motorola, Compaq, Texas Instruments, Honeywell, Microsoft, and Boeing. But it is not only the hi-tech industries that reap the profits of prison labor. Nordstrom department stores sell jeans that are marketed as 'Prison Blues,' as well as t-shirts and jackets made in Oregon prisons."
Far more serious, however, is the role that illegal corruption plays. If one is to believe the media and scholars, it would appear that the drug industry - by UN estimate a $400 billion global business - is the only commercial sector in the country that doesn't buy politicians. In other words, the drug trade is the only honest trade when it comes to politics.
Further, the collateral beneficiaries of the drug trade - of which money-laundering banks would be a prime example - are exempt from examination as well, unless their misdoings occurred in some foreign land like Mexico or Colombia.
To cover such a story is exceedingly difficult and rarely rewarding. When the Review tried to report some of the connections between Bill Clinton and the Arkansas drug trade we discovered that even many journalists just didn't want to hear about it. It was so much easier to describe the story as "just about sex," one of the biggest media myths of the 20th century.
Mike Rupert, a detective turned writer, gives one example of the stories begging to be covered with the same energy as, say, the misdeeds of Jason Blair. In an interview, he was asked, "Who benefits most from an addicted inner-city population?"
HUD, easily the second most corrupt government agency next to the Pentagon, is an extraordinarily comfortable ecosystem for would-be collateral beneficiaries of the drug war, but these days it's hard even to get the legal things at HUD covered in the press.
There is, of course, a rousing business in corruption at the lower levels. For example, Drug Facts reports that half of all police officers convicted as a result of FBI-led corruption cases between 1993 and 1997 were caught for drug-related offenses. But far more significant corruption remains buried.
One way to get a hint of how the drug trade may have corrupted our political system is to look at other countries. For example, the UN Drug Control Program reported in 1998, "In systems where a member of the legislature or judiciary, earning only a modest income, can easily gain the equivalent of some 20 months' salary from a trafficker by making one "favorable" decision, the dangers of corruption are obvious." An World Bank survey in 2002 found that bribes are paid in 50 per cent of all Colombia state contracts. Another World Bank report estimated the cost of corruption in Colombia at 60 per cent of the country's debt.
The war on drugs is, in fact, a war to sustain the drug industry and its collateral beneficiaries. America's drug czar is also the country's biggest drug lord, because without his phony battle, the artificial economy of prohibition would collapse and with it the industry he falsely claims to be fighting.
While clearly, many of the drug warriors in politics and the law are driven by myopic, infantile evangelism, we must bear in mind that for many others, fighting drugs is as much a business as dealing them, a cash business never reported to the IRS. It is long past time to discover who amongst our leaders are merely stupid and who are themselves drug war criminals.
In large part, this article was taken from an article by Sam Smith at The Progressive Review.
Posted by TommyBoy at 11:03 AM