Donations To Occupy Wall Street Are Now ‘Tax Deductible

The $500,000 in donations collected by Occupy Wall Street is drawing the attention of many people.

The “residents” of Zuccotti Park heard about the huge sum of money and during the regular “General Assembly” meetings, arguments have broken out over how the money is being allocated.

Our own Buck Sexton speculated on GBTV last Friday that the IRS might take a look at the situation. After all, this is not an official non-profit organization and they have raised over a half million in funds and accumulated untold amounts of goods (non-perishable foods, sleeping bags, goggles, etc.)

Perhaps the “leadership” at OWS realized their finances were a liability and they have formed an alliance of sorts with a Social Justice non-profit group that will collect the money for them. Enter, the Alliance For Global Justice (AfGJ).

Read more here.

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Assad threatens regional war if Syria attacked by west

This is part bluff, part belief that Iran would come to his aid if the west decided it had a “responsibility to protect” Syrian civilians.

Telegraph:

In his first interview with a Western journalist since Syria’s seven-month uprising began, President Assad told The Sunday Telegraph that intervention against his regime could cause “another Afghanistan”.

Western countries “are going to ratchet up the pressure, definitely,” he said. “But Syria is different in every respect from Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen. The history is different. The politics is different.

“Syria is the hub now in this region. It is the fault line, and if you play with the ground you will cause an earthquake … Do you want to see another Afghanistan, or tens of Afghanistans?

“Any problem in Syria will burn the whole region. If the plan is to divide Syria, that is to divide the whole region.”

[…]

President Assad admitted that “many mistakes” had been made by his forces in the early part of the uprising, but insisted that only “terrorists” were now being targeted.

“We have very few police, only the army, who are trained to take on al-Qaeda,” he said. “If you sent in your army to the streets, the same thing would happen. Now, we are only fighting terrorists. That’s why the fighting is becoming much less.”

On Friday alone, however, opposition groups claimed that 40 people were killed by the regime, and government troops shelled a district of Homs, a centre of opposition.

If Assad is seeking to divide the west by claiming the protests are staged by terrorists, it won’t do any good. First of all, no one believes him. Secondly, even if it were true, many if not most diplomats at the UN, the EU, and even in America wouldn’t mind seeing the Muslim Brotherhood take over for Assad.

The Christians and Alawite minorities in Syria have every right to fear a Sunni takeover. Despite the apparent secular nature of some of the opposition to Assad, it would be the Islamists – as has happened everywhere else – who would gain the most in Assad’s overthrow.

Planned Parenthood Rejects Cain Claim Abortion Clinics Are Aimed at Black ‘Genocide’

Planned Parenthood is fighting back against a claim by Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain that abortion clinics are put in African American communities as part of a “planned genocide” to kill black babies before they are born.

Cain stood by his statement when questioned about it on Sunday, saying he would direct people to the words of Margaret Sanger, the late founder of Planned Parenthood and a supporter of eugenics.

“Seventy-five percent of those facilities were built in the black community. In Margaret Sanger’s own words, she didn’t use the word ‘genocide,’ but she did talk about preventing the increasing number of poor blacks in this country by preventing black babies from being born,” Cain told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“It is simply unacceptable for those who oppose legal abortion to use inflammatory and divisive language based on race to push an ideological agenda,” Veronica Byrd, director of African American media for the Planned Parenthood Action Fund said in a statement responding to Cain’s remarks.

“Hermain Cain is wrong on the facts and clearly out of the mainstream in his attack on Planned Parenthood,” Byrd said.

Byrd also pointed to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, an organization dedicated to sexual and reproductive health, that shows fewer than one in 10 abortion clinics are located in predominantly African-American neighborhoods.

Read more here.

The Right to Poo and Van Jones Skepticism: Just Another Day at OccupySF

As I noted in my previous post with the self-explanatory title “Excrement, urine, vomit and tampons” mark new site of OccupySF, San Francisco’s municipal health department recently cited the OccupySF encampment for numerous sanitation violations. But an article that subsequently appeared on SFGate claimed that by noon on Thursday, OccupySF was “an utterly transformed encampment” that was no longer “a crash pad for chronically homeless people, with a contingent of activists thrown in”:

Suddenly, there were people who looked more like office workers than hippies strolling among the 50 tents pitched on the concrete and grass. Tourists gave high-fives to the campers. A group resembling yoga instructors set up a huge rug and spent the afternoon meditating.

Overnight, it went from Rainbow Nation redux to a kind of cross between an antiwar demonstration and a company picnic.

By happenstance I passed by OccupySF while doing errands later that same day (Thursday afternoon), and I took the opportunity the check out its latest location (my previous coverage of OccupySF had been at its three earlier locations, before it moved to the Embarcadero). But what I saw during my ten-minute visit just before nightfall didn’t jibe at all with the SFGate description of the encampment as “relatively tidy.”

Read more here.

USDA Predicts Surging Food Prices in Coming Year

The USDA has released their projections for food price inflation in 2011/2012, showing troubling forecasts that may send you to the grocery store today, before paying higher prices tomorrow. The report shows that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all food increased 0.8 percent between 2009 and 2010, and is forecasted to increase 3.5 to 4.5 percent in 2011.

Items that are expected to inflate the most include beef, cooking oils, and seafood. Processed vegetables and beverages were projected to to see smaller changes in the CPI. The Wall Street Journal notes that “the midpoint of the new USDA outlook signals the sharpest acceleration in the food inflation rate from one year to the next since 1978, and makes the increase itself the biggest since 2008, when prices rose 5.5%.” While things may seem bleak for the rest of the year, the USDA projects that prices will rise only 2.5 percent next year.

The report also found that food-at-home prices increased 0.3 percent, the lowest annual increase since 1967, while food-away-from-home prices rose 1.3 percent in 2010. Total food expenditures for all food consumed in the U.S. were $1,240.4 billion in 2010, a 3.4-percent increase from $1,199.8 billion in 2009. Spending on food away from home accounted for 47.9 percent of total food expenditures in 2010; spending for food at home accounted for 52.1 percent.

Bloomberg Business Week notes that the Bureau of Labor Statistics earlier this month said consumer food costs rose 0.4 percent in September, capping a 12- month gain of 4.7 percent.

Read more here.

Wrong Turn on the Way to Circus Spawned Wall Street Occupation

age, the enigmatic Occupy Wall Street protest has from the beginning appeared like a well-orchestrated, well-funded endeavor, complete with paid organizers, lawyers, equipment and supplies, medical station, pretty maps, website, Twitter, lots of cardboard and Sharpie pens on hand, and a toll free information number.

But looks can be deceiving. In an effort to establish just who is behind the movement, how it began, and its actual goals, we caught up with one of the first on the scene and it turns out the protest was not planned. A group of young, unemployed college graduates were heading to the circus to look for work. They took a wrong turn, and ended up on Wall Street. Things have merely snowballed since then.

John Stringer is a 24 year old from Philadelphia. He and a gaggle of friends were attempting to navigate their way to the circus without the use of any GPS, because they shun all man-made goods, so they took the train for a while, then a car, then hired a taxi, and somewhere along the line took at least one wrong turn. “We were trying to go to the circus, because…well, because it’s fun! And because, maybe they’d give us jobs, because, like, no one else will. And we, like, we have tattoos and s**t, and like, our clothes aren’t from Brooks Brothers, so no one will hire us to do normal s**t. But f**k it, we don’t want to do normal s**t anyway! We’re like snowflakes. We are all unique. The circus appreciates that, but like, now, we’re getting fed so we’ll stay here and hold up some signs until they run out of food to give us. Maybe we can stay here all year. This is so cool, man.”

Read more here.

Adult Babies

Last Thursday was officially “Diaper Need Awareness Day” in the State of Connecticut. Were you aware of it? There are so many awareness-raising days, it’s hard to keep track. Maybe we could have an Awareness-Raising Day Awareness Day. At any rate, the first annual Diaper Need Awareness Day was proclaimed by Dan Malloy, governor of the Nutmeg State, and they had a big old awareness-raising get-together in New Haven. It’s not clear yet whether they’ve got an official ribbon. We’re running a bit low on ribbon colors these days: It’s not just pink ribbons for breast cancer, but also teal for agoraphobia, periwinkle for acid reflux, pink-and-blue ribbons for amniotic fluid embolisms, and pinstripe ribbons for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. We could use a Ribbon-Hue Awareness Day to raise awareness about how we’re falling behind in the race for more ribbon colors.

If you’re wondering what sentient being isn’t aware of diapers, you’re missing the point: Connecticut representative Rosa DeLauro is raising awareness of the need for diapers in order to, as Politico reported, “push the Federal Government to provide free diapers to poor families.” Congresswoman DeLauro has introduced the DIAPER Act — that’s to say, the Diaper Investment and Aid to Promote Economic Recovery Act. So don’t worry, it’s not welfare, it’s “stimulus.” As Fox News put it, “A U.S. congresswoman in Connecticut wants to boost the economy by offering free diapers to low-income families.” And, given that sinking bazillions of dollars into green-jobs schemes to build eco-cars in Finland and a federal program to buy guns for Mexican drug cartels and all the other fascinating innovations of the Obama administration haven’t worked, who’s to say borrowing money from the Chinese politburo and sticking it in your kid’s diaper isn’t the kind of outside-the-box thinking that will do the trick?

In fact, the federal government already provides free diapers for at least one lucky American. Stanley Thornton Jr. of California receives Supplementary Security Income disability checks from the Social Security Administration in order to sit around the house all day wearing a giant diaper and a giant onesie, sucking on a giant pacifier and playing with a giant baby rattle. Stanley Jr. runs a website for fellow “adult babies” called BedWettingABDL.com. I believe I first heard of the “adult baby” phenomenon some years ago in London. If memory serves, there was a club, and the members lay around in giant cribs being read bedtime stories by a bosomy nanny. Minor celebrities and possibly backbench Tory members of Parliament may have been involved. In those days, it was what we called a “fetish” and you had to do it on your own dime. Now it’s a “disability” and the United States government picks up the tab. And, if that’s not progress, what is?

Sen. Tom Coburn happened to catch Stan with his babysitter and fellow disability-check recipient on a reality show, and wondered how a chap capable of running a popular website and doing such complicated carpentry jobs as his own giant highchair could be legitimately classified as “disabled.” But the Social Security Administration said Junior qualifies, and Senator Coburn was condemned as heartless: Why, if those mean Republicans got their way, the streets would be crawling with giant babies bawling, “I want my mommy!” Conversely, if Congresswoman DeLauro gets her way and the stampede for government Huggies gets going, Stanley Thornton Jr. will still be entitled to park his giant pedal car in the disabled space while the penniless single mom from Hartford has to leave the Toyota at the back of the lot and hike in.

Read more here.