Friday, December 19, 2014

The Matrix of Plunder - 3

Pensions down the Plunder hole
Regular readers know that Dredd Blog, for years, has been observing and reporting on the plundering of the American People.

Plunder by the epigovernment, through the actions of their lackeys in federal and state governments (The Elections of Pontius Pilots).

Yes, Dredd Blog has been doing so for years (e.g. The Graphs Of The Age Of Plunder, 2, 3; Riders On The Storm ... Of Plunder, 2; Banker Jekyll Will Hyde Your Money, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11).

In today's post Dredd Blog is warning Americans that plunder is still happening to them (see the video at the bottom of the post for more info).

Basically, pensions of retired people can now be cut by as much as 60% under new laws passed in the "new budget."

If pension overlords think that the pension funds are encumbered (by their bad investments on Wall Street), then they change your life:
The legislation permits deep pension cuts to retirees in certain financially-troubled multiemployer plans. Financially-troubled plans are plans expected to not have enough money to pay 100% of benefits within 15 and, in some cases, 20 years. There are instances where the cuts could be more than 60% of a participant’s benefits. To find out how much your benefits could be cut use this calculator.

The decision to cut benefits is made by plan trustees, who are typically more aligned with active workers and employers than with retirees.

Retirees who are age 80 or over, or who are receiving a disability pension, are not subject to benefit cuts. Retirees ages 75-79 are subject to smaller cuts than retirees under age 75.

How big or small the cuts are for those under age 75 is determined by the trustees. The cuts are subject to certain legal limits, the most important of which is that benefits cannot be cut below 110% of the amounts that the federal pension insurance agency guarantees.

Plan trustees decide how to allocate the cuts. For example, they can cut retirees’ benefits more than those of active workers, and they can decide whether and how much to reduce survivors’ benefits.

Plan trustees are required to reduce the benefits of participants whose employers went out of business (or withdrew from the plan for other reasons without paying all of their obligations) first, before they reduce the benefits of any other plan participants. This will mean that those retirees whose companies went bankrupt will have greater reductions than other retirees.

UPS retirees in the Central States Teamsters plan are given special protection: their benefits are last in line to be cut. This provision is reportedly the result of a last-minute deal that will save UPS an estimated $2 billion that it would otherwise have been contractually be required to pay to its retirees.

There is no provision for automatic restoration of lost benefits if a plan’s funding status improves.

A trustees’ decision to cut benefits can only be reversed by the Department of Treasury, and then only if the Treasury concludes that the decision is based on a determination that is “clearly erroneous.”

Before cutting benefits, the trustees must provide information to all plan members about the cuts, and plans with 10,000 or more participants must appoint a retired plan participant to represent the interests of pensioners. The trustees appoint this representative and can even appoint a trustee or former trustee of the plan.

Plan trustees must allow all participants to vote on cuts before they are
Pirate Blackbeard
implemented. However, this right is largely illusory. First, a majority of all workers and retirees in a plan – not just a majority of the ones who vote – is required to block cuts. Thus, a vote to block cuts fails even if 100% of those voting oppose the cuts, if only 49% of participants actually vote. Moreover, ballots can be distributed by e-mail, which means that retirees who don’t use the Internet might not vote.

Even if all participants vote against cuts, the Treasury Department, in consultation with the Department of Labor and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC, the federal pension insurance program) can override the vote and uphold the trustees’ decision to make cuts if it concludes that the plan’s insolvency would increase the PBGC’s projected liabilities by $1 billion or more.

The insurance premiums that multiemployer plans pay to the PBGC are increased from $13 to $26 per participant per year. In contrast, premiums paid to the single-employer plan program are between $57 and $475 per participant per year.

Retirees, widows, and widowers whose benefits are reduced cannot bring a lawsuit under the federal private pension law, ERISA, to challenge the legality of the reductions.
(Pension Rights Center, emphasis added). If you "[r]etirees, widows, and widowers" don't like the pain you feel when your pension is cut, you can't sue for redress (You Are Here).

And if you get mavericky and begin to do the marching in the streets thingy, first think about what they spent your plundered pension money on, and be careful (Will The Military Become The Police? - 10).

All we citizen journalists can do is inform you, as Dredd Blog has done for free for years (you are welcome).

You have even been warned that psychopaths are running the show, and that they are dangerous to your freedom:
... the U.S. is becoming a Plutonomy – an economy dependent on the spending and investing of the wealthy. And Plutonomies are far less stable than economies built on more evenly distributed income and mass consumption.
A new report by the U.S. Army War College talks about the possibility of Pentagon resources and troops being used should the economic crisis lead to civil unrest, such as protests against businesses and government or runs on beleaguered banks.

“Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security,” said the War College report.

The study says economic collapse, terrorism and loss of legal order are among possible domestic shocks that might require military action within the U.S.
(The Homeland: Big Brother Plutonomy). The ones who are directly plundering pensions are also psychopaths:
One out of every 10 Wall Street employees is a clinical psychopath, the CFA Institute (an investment and financial analysis organization) reports in the latest issue of CFA Magazine. That makes psychopathy 10 times more prevalent among New York’s financial elite than among us plebeians, for which the accepted statistic is a more palatable one in 100. [Update]
(When You Are Governed By Psychopaths, 2, 3, 4). That is all we citizen journalists can do is warn you.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Video clip link.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

On This Date Five Years Ago

Occasionally we take a look at the past on Dredd Blog to see how much things are the same or how much things have changed.

One thing going on back then that we did not know about, which we know now, is that psychologists, who are supposed to be doctors were torturing people as if that was their calling (Psychologists Torture).

The ground is still shaking from those revelations, so lets look at a couple of posts from this date in 2009:

The AP is reporting that Iran seized Oil Well # 4 which the Iraqis claim as theirs.

It is a border dispute in theory, but the reality is that it is an addiction dispute.

Drug dealers are very territorial and drug users are very dangerous.

Oil addiction and Copenhagen are linked in the sense that oil addiction is the disaster that is causing the impending climate disaster governments of the world seem too weak to prevent.

Oilah Akbar is the real religion behind all this madness.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Senator Dorgan presented a bi-partisan amendment to the health care bill to truly reform health care.

It was a bi-partisan amendment with co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle:
Dorgan and Snowe introduced bipartisan legislation that had over 30 Senate co-sponsors in the last session of Congress, including President Obama and Senator John McCain.
(Dorgan Amendment [Wayback Machine version here]). One segment of health care is prescription drugs, which was the focus of Senator Dorgan's Amendment:
... American consumers are charged the highest prices in the world for the same medicines that are available in other major, industrialized nations at a fraction of the cost. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the Dorgan–Snowe legislation will save U.S. consumers more than $50 billion over the next decade.

The legislation will allow American consumers, pharmacies and drug wholesalers to import FDA–approved prescription drugs at the substantially lower prices available on the world market.
(FAQ About Amendment [Wayback Machine version here], emphasis added). Americans are treated unfairly by Big Pharma. A post yesterday shows the vote, which reveals who is serious about health care reform and who is not.

Those who voted against this amendment, including prominent democrats, are serious about getting money from Big Pharma for their election, but not about health care reform. Their vote exposes them.

Governor Dean is correct that the Senate Version of the health care legislation does not pass the smell test and should be rejected in favor of the House Bill.

It was a two-post day back in 2009 on this date.

As we look back, some things are still the same today as they were back then.

Suicide Ride, by Bodeco

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dinosaur Discovered: Peaceful Co-existence With Our Neighbors!


Wow, who would have thunk it?

Peace with Cuba after all these dark years of un-neighborly feuding!

A change of course away from the W direction to make Give Peace a Chance no longer just a song, no, it is active politics, diplomacy, and national policy!

You young people who do not remember the Cuban Missile Crisis (The Most Dangerous Moment in Recorded History), you young people who don't remember a year without war, may be asking "what is peace like?" and you might wonder "what is peace?"

Well, it is the way to not always be paranoid, to not always be spending bridge-fixing-money on weapons of mass destruction, a way to befriend other nations around the
Cuba without Gitmo !!
world, a way to bring the common good to the people everywhere.

It is the "other" option, the way out of constant war, the way out of bringing death and destruction to living people, which you have seen year in and year out.

It is a way to be healthier in our minds and hearts, a way to breathe easier each day.

But brace yourselves for the warmongering, torture loving, cultural dogs who walk among us who hate peace.

They will froth at the mouth for awhile, they will snarl with rabid words of hate.

They thought that the dinosaur we call peace was just a myth.

Resist them!

We may even be able to get rid of torture on the island of Cuba now ... yes! ... CLOSE GITMO ... the darkest place on the beautiful Caribbean isle.

Give peace a chance!

Give Peace a Chance, John Lennon

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Rap About The Oil-Qaeda Rapture

Immunity from sea-level rise?
The feudal world entertained the notion of immunity for the exceptional people.

Those special people were the kings, lords, and vassals, people who were given social immunity all the way from "the king can do no wrong" down to various tax exemptions and the like.

In the extreme they were thought to have immunity from the mystical worldly ills that plagued the lowly classes, the serfs.

When things got bad on the Earth, because of the doings of the special people who
Taking the heaven bus?
controlled society, they could take the heaven bus.

Because of their special immunities, up into the clouds of heaven they were expecting to go.

Inspired by hopium mixed with steroids, they awaited a feudal Rapture.

The exceptional ones would leave the lowly classes on the surface of the planet to fend for themselves, since the exceptional ones were the better people of the earth, and the heavenly places were only for the exceptional people.

In short, there was no accountability for those who could do no wrong, because there was nothing to be held accountable for (Choose Your Trances Carefully - 2).

That is the attitude of immunity, now modernized, that Oil-Qaeda has in today's world of rising sea levels and rising heat around the globe.

They of Oil-Qaeda provide the means of attaining the disaster being caused by the pollutions of oil (The Peak of Sanity - 3), but somehow surmise that they should be immune from their social wrongs (Sovereign Impunity: A Child of the Supreme People).

They, like Jim Jones of Jonestown, surmise that they can facilitate the demise of industrial civilization without guilt (MOMCOM's Mass Suicide & Murder Pact, 2, 3, 4, 5).

For the less faithful, concerning the Freedom From Global Warming Rapture, there is always denial (The Exceptional American Denial).

For the rich banksters and the oil barons of Oil-Qaeda, there is $evolution$ (Rich 'may evolve into separate species').

Some history of propaganda ...

Monday, December 15, 2014

Epigovernment: The New Model - 10

Tu no lo sabes
Many people feel that the officials in political government are merely fronts that do the bidding of some unseen group.

That thought occurs so often because those politicians are not seen as working for the betterment of the citizenry (the 99%); but, at the same time, "this could not be the reality" the citizenry also surmises, even though the father of public relations (spin & propaganda) declared that to be the true case (The Ways of Bernays).

I feel a bit playful today, so I thought I would do a parody of a once-popular song's lyrics to 'splain some of these things (the actual lyrics and the actual song are at the bottom of today's parody format):

I Write The Wrongs

I've been alive forever
And I scripted the very first wrong
I put the words and the policies together
I am epigovernment and I write the wrongs

I write the wrongs to make the whole world cling
I write the wrongs of Rove and political queens
I write the songs that make the young girls cry
I write the songs, I write the wrongs

My home lies deep within you
And I've got my own place in your soul
Now when I look out through your eyes
I'm young again, even though I'm very old

I write the wrongs to make the whole world cling
I write the wrongs of rove and political queens
I write the songs that make the young girls cry
I write the songs, I write the wrongs

Oh, my script makes you dance
And gives you spirit to risk a chance
And I prepared lock 'n' load so you can reprove
Dogma fills all thought, well, that's my place to start

It's from us, it's for you
It's from you, it's for us
It's an empire's symphony

I write the wrongs to make the whole world cling
I write the wrongs of Rove and political queens
I write the songs that make the young girls cry
I write the songs, I write the wrongs

I write the wrongs to make the whole world cling
I write the wrongs of Rove and political queens
I write the songs that make the young girls cry
I write the songs, I write the wrongs

I am epigovernment and I write the wrongs

I Write The Songs
(written by Bruce Johnston)
(lyrics link)

The Barry Manilow version

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.