Friday, July 12, 2013

Burden of Debt, A Student’s Woes

Burden of Debt, A Student’s Woe

By: Julia Sieben /

The Student Loan Bill, Student Load Debt, and the Student Tuition Crisis are more than a one fold problem.  While the word war continues on Capitol Hill, it seems both sides of the isle are refusing to see the real problem our country faces with Student Debt.

Current arguments are revolving about the issue that was another can kicked down the road till after the 2012 Presidential Election.  Why? Because it would have looked unfavorably upon the incumbent as he stood in front of the masses of student and tried to explain why their student loans were about to double when we were in the middle of an unemployment/economic crisis.  Our unemployment levels were sitting at numbers that resembled the 1930’s depression, fuel and cost of living expenses were growing at leaps and bounds while workers’ income levels were stagnant if not falling.

Student Loan Interest Rates

The US House of Representatives passed a bill in May, more than a month before the deadline that would revamp how interest on student loans is avoid student loans doubling on July 1, from the rate of 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.  The bill the House presented pegged interest rates for government backed student loans to the 10-year Treasury note plus another 2.5%. The House bill was similar to the approach in President Barack Obama’s budget, which also tied the interest rates for student loans to the longer-term Treasury note.  Immediately Senate Majority Leader Reid shot down the bill.

At a press conference Speaker Boehner blasted Democrats across the dome for failing to act on the interest rate increase before it took effect on July 1st.

“The House has done its job and the fact is students are going to pay the price when they see the interest rates on their loans double. It’s time for the Senate to act,” Boehner told reporters. “When you have a bipartisan group in the Senate, who had a solution that was not far off from our solution and yet was shot down by the Senate Majority Leader, you begin to wonder whether they are looking for a solution.”

A bipartisan group of senators introduced a compromise bill at the end of June that was close to the House passed bill, but Senate Democratic leaders have not embraced it because it doesn’t include a cap for interest rates in the event that economic conditions change and interest rates spike.

The rates increased for students taking on new loans while Congress was out of town, and the Senate is expected to act on a yet-to-be-seen retroactive solution to make sure that students are not going to be hit with the 6.8 percent rate.

Student Loan Debt

Efforts to collect bad loans are faltering, according to credit analysts and government audits. It is the latest twist in a college debt crisis that is hanging over recent graduates and dragging on the broader economy.

In the first three month of 2013, $3.5 billion in government and private student loans went into default.  A reflection of the economy and the increased unemployment rate of college graduates; this is the highest increase in history.  According to the U.S. Department of Education, 6.8 million federal student loan borrowers are now in default, representing $85 billion in debt.

One such individual struggling with student loan debt, Jason Paskowitz said, “I take personal responsibility for the situation beginning, but personal responsibility does not mean you spend the rest of your life financially compromised.”

Jason Paskowitz, a financial analyst from Tenafly, NJ. Is 46 years old, but still owes more than $39,000. On loans he took out to finance his college education at Binghamton University in New York in the 1980’s.  Jason only borrowed $20,000, but after an illness during his first year at law school he was forced to drop out of school.  Jason went into default, with interest and fees pilling up.  Jason’s records show he has paid approximately $26,000. But still owes nearly twice the amount of the original principal, twenty five years after graduation.

Jason was hounded for years by collection agents, calling him every name in the book.  In 2008, Jason was hit with an “administrative garnishment” seizing nine percent of his debt through attachment of his salary and assets.  The collection agencies never gave Jason any of his legal options under the law.  “Their primary motivation is just to get as much as they can as quickly as they can,” he said.

Incentives aren’t necessarily aligned with protecting borrowers’ interests,  Converting a defaulted loan to a “rehabilitation loan”  rolls outstanding loan balances and fees into a new loan that removes the borrower from default and pays the collection firm eleven to fifteen percent of the outstanding loan balance. Collection agencies are reluctant to inform the debtor who has fallen in arrears due to illness or injury of their qualification of a possible disability discharge, because it wipes out the loan entirely and pays the collection firm a few hundred dollars in administrative fees.  “The Higher Education Act is a very complicated statute and debt collectors aren’t necessarily in the best position to explain options to borrowers.”

Spokesman Chris Greene says the Department of Education is keeping tabs on the collection firms and looking out for borrowers’ interests with a “one-stop” portal for complaints about the firms at
“Our entire approach to default collections is structured to encourage full repayment while ensuring borrowers understand both the consequences of their failure to repay and the options available to help them get out of default.”

For the 2011-12 school year, students and their families borrowed $76 billion to pay for college, according to the Pew Research Center.  Americans owe a total of nearly $1 trillion in student debt.

From 2004 to 2012, the number of people getting student loans and their average debt has both increased by 70 percent. Student debt is the only kind of household debt that continued to rise through the Great Recession and has now the second largest balance after mortgage debt. Currently, nearly 40 million people owe an average of $26,000 after graduation.

Reverse racism is alive and festering in America 
thanks to Obama and his ilk..
just ask George Zimmerman.
Limbaugh: Zimmerman Case Reduced to 'Show Trial'
By Wanda Carruthers
  / Newsmax

Prosecutors are so anxious to find George Zimmerman guilty of something, they have turned the case into a "show trial," Rush Limbaugh charged on his radio show.

"The fix was in on this thing from the very first moment," he said Thursday."I just think it's outrageous," he added.

"The only important thing in a show trial is pleasing the people in power and giving the unwashed masses a lesson. Show trials have nothing to do with dispensing justice — they're all about dispensing social justice, which is usually the polar opposite."

Limbaugh was particularly incensed that the prosecution is now asking that the jury be allowed to consider verdicts of manslaughter or third degree murder based on child abuse as victim Trayvon Martin was only 17 when he was killed.

Judge Debra Nelson has agreed to allow a manslaughter verdict but has yet to make a decision on the third-degree murder charge.

Defense attorney Don West has already called the maneuver "outrageous" and Limbaugh agreed.

"We're in a show trial. This isn't about justice," said Limbaugh. "Eric Holder goes down there and ratchets up public opinion with Reverend Al. The president says, 'If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon,' thereby injecting race into a story that may not have been about race at all.

"The only reason this trial is taking place is because the media is invested in a guilty verdict, and the race hustler industry, including the attorney general, flew down there the minute this case happened, when Zimmerman wasn't charged.

"The regime saw an opportunity to turn something into a profoundly racial case for the express purpose of ripping the country apart. "

More Blood On Obama’s Hands

By:  / Personal Liberty Digest

More Blood On Obama’s Hands
Very soon, a six-member jury will decide George Zimmerman's fate.
The overhyped and superfluous George Zimmerman trial is winding down, and Florida’s law enforcers are growing antsy. That’s because they’re seeing in social media and hearing from the streets that if Zimmerman is acquitted in a trial that never should have been held to begin with, blacks will riot and kill whites.

If there are riots and people are injured and property is damaged, President Barack Obama and his Department of Justice will be to blame. The blood will be on their hands.

In the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting, Obama claimed that if he had a son, Trayvon Martin is what he’d look like. Then the DOJ dispatched its Community Relations Service (CRS) team to Florida to hold “marches, demonstrations, and rallies” on Martin’s behalf. According to documents obtained by Judicial Watch, the DOJ spent more than $3,800 to incite racial tensions in Sanford, Fla., and oust the police chief because Zimmerman was not charged immediately in Martin’s death. One of the rallies sponsored by CSR was headlined by the notorious race-baiter Al Sharpton. CSR-sponsored rallies went on for a couple of weeks; and if sparking unrest was the goal, the money was well-spent.

Recall that Sanford police investigators believed Zimmerman acted in self-defense. Former State Prosecutor Norman Wolfinger said he would take the case to a grand jury. But he recused himself after Obama’s and the race baiters’ work, aided by the mainstream media propaganda machine, began to bear fruit and the demonstrations began to intensify.

Special prosecutor Angela B. Corey, appointed to replace Wolfinger, initially indicated she would take the case to a grand jury but changed her mind. Conventional wisdom holds that a prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich. Her decision to avoid the grand jury indicated she knew she had no case. And that’s exactly what the prosecution has presented.

Guessing what a jury will do — especially a jury made up entirely of women — is a fool’s errand. But based on the case presented by the prosecution, it’s evident that Zimmerman acted in self-defense and should be acquitted.

If that happens and Rodney King-style riots or attacks on whites begin, Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder will be to blame. But maybe that’s what they wanted all along.

Saudi Arabia targeting Iran and Israel with ballistic missiles

From Jihad Watch / Posted by Robert Spencer

Preparing for two very different jihads. "Saudi Arabia 'targeting Iran and Israel with ballistic missiles,'" by Colin Freeman in the Telegraph, July 10 (thanks to No):
Saudi Arabia is targeting both Israel and Iran with powerful ballistic missiles, new satellite photography shown by military experts to The Telegraph suggests. 
Images analysed by experts at IHS Jane's Intelligence Review has revealed a hitherto undisclosed surface-to-surface missile base deep in the Saudi desert, with capabilities for hitting both countries.
Analysts who examined the photos spotted two launch pads with markings pointing north-west towards Tel Aviv and north-east towards Tehran. They are designed for Saudi Arabia's arsenal of lorry-launched DF 3 missiles, which have a range of 1,500-2,500 miles and can carry a two-ton payload.
The base, believed to have been built within the last five years, gives an insight into Saudi strategic thinking at a time of heightened tensions in the Gulf.
While Saudi Arabia does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel, it has long maintained discreet back channel communications as part of attempts to promote stability in the region.
The two countries also have a mutual enemy in Iran, though, which has long seen Saudi Arabia as a rival power in the Gulf. Experts fear that if Iran obtains a nuclear weapon, Saudi Arabia would seek to follow suit.
Analysts at IHS Jane's believe that the kingdom is currently in the process of upgrading its missiles, although even the DF3, which dates back to the 1980s, is itself potentially big enough to carry a nuclear device.
The missile base, which is at al-Watah, around 125 miles south-west of the Saudi capital, Riyadh, was discovered during a project by IHS Jane's to update their assessment of Saudi Arabia's military capabilities.
It serves as both a training and launch facility, with the missiles stored in an underground silo built into a rocky hillside. To the north of the facility are two circle-shaped launch pads, both with compass-style markings showing the precise direction that the launchers should fire in.
The Chinese-made missiles, which date back to the 1980s, are not remotely-guided and therefore have to be positioned in the direction of their target before firing.
"One appears to be aligned on a bearing of approximately 301 degrees and suggesting a potential Israeli target, and the other is oriented along an azimuth (bearing) of approximately 10 degrees, ostensibly situated to target Iranian locations," said the IHS Jane's article, which is published on Thursday.
While the lorry-launched missiles can theoretically be fired from any location, the idea of having pre-planned directional markers is to ensure that they can be deployed in accurate fashion as quickly as possible, said Allison Puccioni, an image expert at IHS Jane's.
"There is a marked out spot for the launch truck to park in, which will facilitate an expedited launch," she said.
Robert Munks, deputy editor of IHS Jane's Intelligence Review, said: "Our assessment suggests that this base is either partly or fully operational, with the launch pads pointing in the directions of Israel and Iran respectively. We cannot be certain that the missiles are pointed specifically at Tel Aviv and Tehran themselves, but if they were to be launched, you would expect them to be targeting major cities.
"We do not want to make too many inferences about the Saudi strategy, but clearly Saudi Arabia does not enjoy good relations with either Iran or Israel."...
No kidding, really? That's why they pull in the big bucks over at Jane's: for incisive analyses like this one.

Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and Charlie Rangel are all very concerned. They are all losing sleep about the potential demise of the Republican Party if an illegal alien amnesty bill is not approved by the House.

Republicans, of course, have good reason to be concerned about the party’s lack of appeal with Hispanic voters. About 70 percent of Hispanics vote Democratic. However, this is not a new phenomenon. Hispanics are traditionally a Democratic constituency. What has changed in recent years is the size of the Hispanic electorate, which has turned the gap between 70 percent and 30 percent into a chasm.

The Republicans’ failure to attract large numbers of Hispanic votes has little to do with the party’s stance on immigration, and everything to do with economics. Hispanics, as a group, are significantly poorer than the population generally. In 2009, median U.S. household income was $60,088 compared with just $39,730 for Hispanic households. Low-income voters – people who pay little, if anything, in federal taxes and who are more likely to depend on government programs and services – tend to vote for Democrats.

They also tend not to have amnesty for illegal aliens at the top of their political wish-lists. Exit polling, last November, found that the economy was the most pressing issue for 59 percent of Hispanic voters. A mere 6 percent of Hispanics said that immigration policy was a determining factor in deciding who to vote for.

Not surprisingly, folks like Schumer, Pelosi and Rangel are more than happy to have the Republicans chase after the 6 percent while ignoring the 59 percent. What is surprising is that many key Republicans – John McCain, Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan, and Karl Rove, to name a few – seem to think that pandering on immigration is the party’s path to political salvation.

Ironically, opposing amnesty for illegal aliens and massive increases in new permanent and temporary immigration would give Republicans a far better chance to woo the millions of Hispanics who cast their votes based on economic interests.

Republicans could make a very credible case that limiting immigration and enforcing laws against illegal immigration is the best prescription for Hispanic advancement. So long as millions of new immigrants flood into our already soft labor market, struggling American workers will have a harder time finding jobs or improving their wages. Given that new immigrants –legal and illegal – disproportionally congregate in communities and sectors of the labor market already occupied immigrants it is they who bear the greatest economic brunt.

Amnesty for illegal aliens would disproportionally affect Hispanic workers. While some 8 million illegal aliens are believed to be working in the U.S., they are limited to a small subset of jobs offered by employers who are prepared to break the law. After amnesty, current illegal aliens would be legally entitled to compete for nearly every job in the U.S. economy. Moreover, because the Senate-passed Gang of Eight bill exempts employers of amnestied aliens from their health care obligations under Obamacare, employers would have a $3,000 a year incentive to hire them instead of Hispanic citizens.

The adverse impact of mass immigration on Hispanic voters is not limited to jobs and wages. Among the other issues that rank high on the list of Hispanic voters’ concerns is the quality of education their kids receive More often than not, the children of recent immigrants crowd into underperforming schools in communities with large minority populations. Often this means diverting scarce educational resources to meeting the special language and other needs of these new arrivals, placing already at-risk students at an even greater disadvantage.

As the immigration debate moves to the House, the challenge for the GOP is to define what they are for, not just what they are against. It’s time for Republican leadership to articulate how reducing immigration and enforcing existing laws will allow free market supply and demand to bid-up wages and improve job prospects for all Americans. That’s an appealing message for Hispanic voters whose votes are driven by economic concerns and a winning strategy for a party in search of a solution.

They’re calling it the “Large Retailer Accountability Act” that would force big box retailers to pay minimum wage of $12.50 in Washington D.C. Currently minimum wage in the District of Columbia is $8.25, which equals $17,160 a year. If that sounds low consider zero is a much lower sum and what many earn in D.C. now is significantly less. Take Ward 8 in Washington D.C.:
> 94% Black
> 38% poverty rate (highest in 30 years)
Washington has the third highest income inequality gap in America after Atlanta and Boston:

> Top fifth earn $473,000 (national average is $292,000)
> Bottom fifth earn $9,100

How good does $17,160 a year look to someone earning $9,100? How good does having any kind of job feel when you haven’t had a job in years or maybe never (In Spain 20% of adults under the age of 30 have never had a job- never!)? How do you hone skills from getting up on time to learning and fulfilling responsibilities to paying for stuff earned by the sweat of your brow without some kind of entry level job?

How dare politicians behind this bill use the word “accountability” when all they’re looking for is a way to shake down Wal-Mart, to make business a villain, to deflect from their shortfalls and to keep Americans tethered to government dependency. It’s despicable that jobs and less expensive things like flat screen televisions and groceries would be denied to the less fortunate in Washington for a bunch of reasons - all political.

We’re talking about Boomtown USA where unemployment is 5.5% because federal spending has doubled in the past year.

The haves are loving life, the have-nots are mired in the same muck as yesteryear but forced to watch prosperity around them. Not only are there a lot of haves in D.C., but five of the ten richest counties in America surround the District (see table).
The haves will not see their fortunes altered a bit without the three Wal-Mart stores on the drawing board. I guess their message to their poor neighbors, whom they never see but hear about, is:

“Eat cake and blame capitalism, republicans and greed.”

And that’s what the poor will do, eat bad food and hate on successful people instead of hating on the game of politicians, the politicians that get a free pass each time. In the meantime Washington D.C. will keep looking to tax businesses, as it already can claim the second highest per capital tax of all but one state in the nation.

Last night the DC city council voted 8-5 to hike the minimum wage on big box retailers, not unionized grocery stores and/or fast food restaurants. It’s a sad day for the poor in the nation’s capital.

This kind of campaign also skews reality for people with the least amount of work skills. By telling them they deserve more money it undermines nature or the natural reaction to need. The greater work skills, the greater the income, the harder you work the greater the income but these days people are falsely being told the least skill and effort results in higher income anyway. This has reduced individual accountability at work, even as expectations for more money increases.

A recent poll by Kelly Services (KELYA) points to why western nations have fallen on slow growth and lost prestige. Individual performance isn't important anymore as people are getting paid anyway. So, it is absurd pay or no pay for the people that need jobs most in Washington.

Ben In Relax Mode

The FOMC minutes seemed pretty clear to me. The Fed is going to taper its asset purchases but not hike rates for a long time.

Key Points

Growth of economic activity was projected to strengthen further during 2014 and 2015, supported by accommodative monetary policy; waning fiscal restraint; and ongoing improvements in household and business balance sheets, credit availability, and labor market conditions.

In their discussion of monetary policy for the period ahead, all members but one judged that the outlook for economic activity and inflation warranted the continuation of the Committee's current highly accommodative stance of monetary policy in order to foster a stronger economy recovery.

Then there was that presentation with questions and answers after. Bernanke let it be known a lower unemployment rate would have to be the real deal, not people fleeing the jobs market or a bunch of temp jobs which he said currently "overstates" the health of the labor market.

Bernanke seemed relaxed, and I suspect he's hoping it's contagious.
Will justice be served...probably NOT in this courtroom
By: Diane Sori

Yesterday, the railroading of George Zimmerman continued as the prosecution presented closing arguments, and the judge pulled a maneuver proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is biased in favor of the prosecution. But first, here are some interesting tidbits that NEVER made it into evidence at this farce of a trial:

First, The Retreat at Twin Lakes where Trayvon Martin was killed is a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, gated townhome community that’s about 49% non-Hispanic white, 23% Hispanic (of any race), 20% black, and 5% Asian, according to the latest Census figures.

These demographics in and of themselves should prove to anyone with even one working brain cell that Trayvon Martin was NOT racially profiled and targeted simply because he was black as black faces were quite common in the community.

And these figures should have been given credence to the defense’s request to throw out the prosecutors entire case, and would have if the judge trying the case was fair and impartial…which Judge Debra Nelson is NOT as she has denied 99% of the defense’s requests of things they wanted to be brought into evidence.

Second, George Zimmerman called the police 46 times in the years leading up the night Trayvon Martin was killed, but as far as the cops were concerned 46 times was NOT an excessive amount in a neighborhood riddled with petty crime. And adding to this is that within the previous 14 months there had been at least eight reported burglaries, several of which involved young black men.

And while the police might NOT have been concerned about those numbers the residents were…so much so that the September before the killing Zimmerman himself started the all volunteer Neighborhood Watch and became the so-called captain. Zimmerman was on the lookout for outsiders…for people who looked like they did NOT belong in the community…people…NOT specifically black people but ANY person who dd NOT look like they belonged there.

Third, with the past history of a neighborhood riddled with both petty and even with more serious crime, Trayvon Martin raised red flags that fateful rainy night NOT for the color of his skin but for his suspicious and cavalier attitude and demeanor as he walked NOT on the sidewalks or even in the street but because he was sauntering in the back of homes, weaving in and out of the shadows.

In fact, in an interview with Sean Hannity, Zimmerman himself said, “I felt he was suspicious because it was raining. He was in-between houses, cutting in-between houses, and he was walking very leisurely for the weather…It didn’t look like he was a resident that went to check their mail and got caught in the rain and was hurrying back home. He didn’t look like a fitness fanatic that would train in the rain.”

That’s because he was none of those…and notice George Zimmerman made NO mention of Trayvon Martin’s color. He made NO mention of color at all until asked by the police, after he called in, if he had gotten a good enough look to verify the race of the suspicious person, and only then did he say that he ‘thought’ Trayvon Martin might be black, but said that AFTER the police asked him NOT before…more proof that Zimmerman did NOT racially profile and target Trayvon Martin because he was black.

Fourth, Florida has a ‘Stand Your Ground” law, which allows people who believe they’re in danger to respond with deadly force, and that’s what Zimmerman did after having been straddled by Trayvon Martin, having his nose broken by Trayvon Martin, and having his head pounded into the concrete by Trayvon Martin. But the prosecutors have portrayed George Zimmerman as an angry racist who willfully profiled and tracked Trayvon Martin down to deliver vigilante justice after ‘mistaking’ him for a burglar, which is pure crap as Zimmerman’s account, which he gave freely to the police immediately after the shooting…gave without even asking for a lawyer…has been consistent and unwavering…and most importantly, it corroborates the forensic evidence given at the trial by the experts…experts who told how Zimmerman could very well have been in fear for his life due to how he was being beaten by the almost 6 foot tall, muscle bound Trayvon Martin.

Now to yesterday’s courtroom shenanigans…after the defense stressed they wanted the jury to only consider a second-degree murder charge as well as a NOT guilty verdict, this biased judge in trying to give the jury every possible chance to convict George Zimmerman of something, especially since it looks like the second degree murder charge is going nowhere (to be convicted of second degree murder the jury must find beyond a reasonable doubt that George Zimmerman acted with spite, malice or ill will without regard for human life, which the prosecution has in NO way proven and they know it), Judge Debra Nelson, as expected, ruled that in addition to second degree murder, she will instruct the jury on the lesser included offense of manslaughter, as required by Florida case law.

Manslaughter involves criminal negligence NOT intent (defined in Florida as the unlawful killing of a human being without malice like in vehicular homicide), and brings with it a maximum 25 years in prison…the amount of time being determined by the judge…and you just know this biased judge would throw the entire 25 years at Zimmerman…and get a warm fuzzy feeling doing it.

After rightfully throwing out the prosecution’s attempt to add into the mix a laughable charge of third degree felony murder based on child abuse…if that was child abuse they need to charge his parents with negligence for letting that ‘child’ wander the streets after dark…the prosecution went into a 3-hour bloviation-fest twisting and distorting the facts in this case, including bringing in a dummy to try and disprove the expert’s testimony of how the trajectory of the bullet and George Zimmerman’s injuries were consistent with Zimmerman’s account of how the struggle happened.

This is NOT a trial but a circus of the absurd…but at least there are major grounds for appeal, including the judge’s conduct, due process violations, and misleading the jury, if George Zimmerman is found guilty of anything.

And so today, Zimmerman’s lead attorney Mark O’Mara will spend up to three hours giving a closing argument to counter the prosecution’s bloviations of lies but what is quite unfair, and something Florida needs to change, is that the prosecution will have as long as one hour to give a rebuttal argument…getting in the last word.

And then George Zimmerman’s fate will be in the hands of the six jurors…jurors who most likely won’t have the facts guiding their verdict, but will have in the back of their minds that if they acquit George Zimmerman (as they should) the small, vocal, militant, black minority (led by the New Black Panthers with Barack HUSSEIN Obama, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Eric Holder, Louis Farrakhan and their ilk cheering them on) will take to the streets and do what they do best…riot.

So an innocent man will probably be sent to jail NOT for being guilty but because fear ruled better judgment, and the the words ‘liberty and justice for all’ will be turned into a mockery, as the Obama initiated race war will go on.

And tonight I will say a prayer that I’m wrong.