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1  Getbig Main Boards / Politics and Political Issues Board / Re: Israel warns it may further expand Gaza operation on: July 20, 2014, 01:59:33 AM
Only savage, uncivilized beasts could cheer the deaths of little children, and the wholesale slaughter of their fellow man.
2  Getbig Main Boards / Politics and Political Issues Board / Re: 10 reasons why Ronald Reagan was the worst president of our lifetime on: July 20, 2014, 01:57:09 AM
So what you're saying is you club baby seals and have seal burgers on a regular basis? 

Hypocrisy has been a staple in the US diet for so many years... you guys actually believe your own BS.

If you Americans really understood the truth... you'd die of shame & embarassment at how easily you've been mislead, dumbed down, left ignorant & in the dark.
3  Getbig Main Boards / Politics and Political Issues Board / Re: Federal Judge Strikes Down California's Death Penalty on: July 20, 2014, 01:47:24 AM
What do you care? You have no problem having the government dictate anything else for every one.

I don't?  ...if you say so. Roll Eyes
4  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / Industry Business Technology Board / Re: Dropship Suppliments? on: July 20, 2014, 01:28:57 AM
Hey guys I just came across a cool business thing my buddy is doing, basically selling stuff on ebay that you can buy cheap on amazon, So I had the Idea to sell bodybuilding suppliments using this method.  Do you think it's a good idea?  Here is a link to the business He's involved in.

I have a few friends involved with DSDomination. They're killing it!
...but then again, they're the type that could take 3 toothpicks and turn it into a lumber yard.
5  Getbig Main Boards / Politics and Political Issues Board / Re: Federal Judge Strikes Down California's Death Penalty on: July 20, 2014, 01:21:57 AM
Because we should pay for them as well? Kill em.

Because your justice system is fucked up. The last thing people should want is the State or any other entity deciding who should live and who should die, ...especially not someone like you. They usually include those of lesser intellectual capacity among those to be culled. I'd be very afraid if I were you.

Wake up and look at the gov't you have. Do you really want them deciding who lives & who dies?
6  Getbig Main Boards / Politics and Political Issues Board / Re: How can you not help but love progressives? on: July 20, 2014, 01:16:03 AM
So now it's Obama's fault that there is a drought in California?  Roll Eyes

Water shortage in a desert? Who'd have ever thunk it? Roll Eyes
7  Getbig Main Boards / Politics and Political Issues Board / Re: Federal Judge Strikes Down California's Death Penalty on: July 20, 2014, 12:26:38 AM
It's about time!
8  Getbig Main Boards / Politics and Political Issues Board / Re: 5 NYPD cops choke unarmed man to death on: July 20, 2014, 12:23:28 AM

Im not defending the cops b/c it defintely looks like it was excessive but just do what they fucking say and after its done take up the complaints.

to be fair to the story as well this man has been arrested 31 times for various crimes including selling untaxed cigerettes...I know jagson thats a racist comment to you.

That's easy for you to say, ...but unless you've been repeatedly targeted & harassed, compliance with the constant humiliation & harassment is easier said than done. Patience with bad behaviour is easier to come by the first time it's encountered. Without recourse, it becomes intolerable. It's time to stop blaming the victims. He took a stand against the harassment, but it appears the agents of tyranny thought the $6 demanded by the State for an instrument of death was more important than his life.

9  Getbig Main Boards / Politics and Political Issues Board / Re: 5 NYPD cops choke unarmed man to death on: July 19, 2014, 02:48:57 AM
Two cops pulled off streets, Staten Island DA looking into death of dad of six after NYPD cop put him in illegal chokehold during sidewalk takedown

Officers Daniel Pantaleo and Justin Damico were both put on desk duty a day after the death of Eric Garner. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor de Blasio, who has postponed his Italian vacation, promised a full investigation at a City Hall news conference.

Published: Friday, July 18, 2014, 12:02 PM Updated: Saturday, July 19, 2014, 1:54 AM

A crisis over an unarmed man who died on a Staten Island street after a city cop grabbed him in a prohibited chokehold forced Mayor de Blasio to delay his Italian vacation Friday.

Officers Daniel Pantaleo, with eight years on the force, and Justin Damico, a four-year veteran cop, were both put on desk duty a day after the death of Eric Garner, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said.

Garner’s arrest and desperate pleas that he couldn’t breathe were captured on an exclusive Daily News video that de Blasio admitted left him “with a heavy heart.”

“It was very troubling,” he said at a City Hall news conference. “I watched it the same way a family member would watch it, and it was very sad to watch.”

View Exclusive Video, pictures & Eye Witness accounts at:
10  Getbig Main Boards / Politics and Political Issues Board / 5 NYPD cops choke unarmed man to death on: July 19, 2014, 02:46:53 AM
5 NYPD cops Choke unarmed man to death

Eric Garner said "It stops today", help us make these words during the last minutes of his life true,

sign this petition: ... ‪#‎itstopstoday‬ ‪#‎crookedcops‬ ‪#‎ericgarner‬ ‪#‎fatherchokedtodeathinpub lic‬

Eric Garner, 43, died Thursday after a sidewalk takedown by five (some in plain clothes) NYPD officers making an arrest outside a Tompkinsville beauty parlor. Garner, a 400 pound asthmatic, was slammed to the ground and the video shows his head being slammed against the sidewalk.

He screamed, “I can’t breathe!” SIX times………….. Within moments Garner, a married father of six children with two grandchildren, stopped struggling and appeared to be unconscious as police called paramedics to the scene.

The Staten Island district attorney is investigating death.

Read more:

THANK YOU to @Ramsey Orta for having the sense to videotape this entire encounter. You KNOW what they'd say if there was no video, "he choked himself"

<a href="" target="_blank"></a>.
11  Getbig Main Boards / Politics and Political Issues Board / Re: McCain: I'd Have Been 'Reluctant' To Start Iraq War If I Won In 2000 on: July 19, 2014, 01:33:32 AM
My ass...

This guy would blow the world up.

12  Getbig Main Boards / Politics and Political Issues Board / Re: Why Free-market Economics Is a Fraud on: July 19, 2014, 01:30:47 AM
No way me nor almost anyone on here is going to read all that.

The word 'nor' is one half of a paired conjunction and is inappropriate, unless accompanied by the word 'neither'.

eg: It's quite clear that neither politics nor proper English grammar are your strong suits.

That said, I'd like to suggest that perhaps you might not want to respond to posts unless you read them first.

Seriously, ...I'm very embarrassed for you.  Embarrassed
13  Getbig Main Boards / The Getbiggers Board - The Circus or the Zoo / Re: HEY SOUL CRUSHER...YOUR 5 MINUTES OF FAME LIVES ON! on: July 19, 2014, 01:18:02 AM
Didn't make .01 off it

Seriously? You made it to "The Today Show", ...and didn't parlay that into something... anything,
...other than an awkward flashback into male erectile dysfunction?  Grin

Did they at least fork out a limo ride to the NBC studio?

You know there is a guy who was filmed sleeping in the stands and is suing for $10,000,000 due to the public humiliation he suffered. Personally, between the two of you, I think you suffered far more public humiliation, ...but it could have been worse... they could have seen your GetBig posts.  Tongue
14  Getbig Main Boards / General Topics / Re: WARNING: CONTENT SO GRAPHIC IT COULD MAKE YOU CRY on: July 19, 2014, 01:09:31 AM
I have 3 elderly friends/neighbors I've adopted like that.  They all still live in their homes and maintain their large properties.  One is 90, one is 93 and one is 99.  The 93 & 99 year old still drive!  Shocked with no issues.  I love hearing all the stories and drinking wine with my WWII war bud.

I have a few elderly friends like that as well. It's really such a special relationship, that unless someone has shared or experienced something like this, they rarely are able to understand how mutually rewarding it is.

I can't tell you how beneficial it is to learn from others who have "been there, done that". They have sooo much knowledge, wisdom, and life experience, and being able to share it with others is so rewarding for them as well; emotionally & mentally, it keeps them young, ...especially when "viewing life through the eyes of a child."

Last month I was working on a DIY project, and discovered I didn't have the right tool, so I found my way to my elderly neighbour's house to see if I could borrow the right tool. We started discussing my project, ...and the next thing you know, I see his eyes light up, as he decides to start a business marketing my little project, building them from his little workshop. Smiley
15  Getbig Bodybuilding Boards / Industry Business Technology Board / Re: IRS slams Bitcoin millionaires with new tax rules… Is gold next? on: July 19, 2014, 12:20:52 AM
New York Just Released Its Bitcoin License, And They're Going To Change The Face Of Digital Currencies In The US
By Rob Wile JUL 17, 2014, 10:16 AM

The New York Department of Financial Services has released a draft for what the state's BitLicenses will look like, and they're going to change the face of digital currency commerce in the U.S..

The greatest change is that anyone using a New York-sanctioned Bitcoin or cryptocurrency service will no longer be anonymous. This was something Bitcoin's earliest users said was a key ingredient to the digital currency's appeal, but which DFS, as well as other lawmakers, expressed strong distaste for at hearings earlier this year.

Now, any business whose essential service is buying, selling, or processing Bitcoin will have to maintain records of their customers' names and addresses, and check them against the Treasury's list of bad actors.

The businesses will also have to maintain reserve Bitcoin assets equal to 100% of however much they are holding on behalf of customers, and get bonded-up "in such form and amount as is acceptable to DFS for the protection of the licensee’s customers." And they'll have to submit and publish a detailed consumer complaint policy that must include a provision allowing customers to pursue their complaint with DFS.

Finally, DFS will be conducting security audits on any firms with a BitLicense to prevent another MtGox-type hack from occurring. The former exchange, once the world's largest, lost hundreds of millions of dollars, over security issues.

This is likely to raise the cost of complaince considerably, and could eliminate some of the cost efficiencies that were also touted as key to Bitcoin's advantage over traditional forms of transaction.

The draft proposal makes New York the first government entity to propose comprehensive Bitcoin regulations, and are likely to serve as a model for other states and even federal guidelines, given New York's role as the vanguard financial authority outside Washington — DFS Superintendent Ben Lawsky, for instance, was a critical player in the recent penalties delivered against BNP Paribas for violating sanctions.  

Gil Luria of WedBush, which has been on the front lines among Wall Street firms in studying Bitcoin, says this ultimately good news.

"It will make it possible for Bitcoin companies to function in a regulated way which most of them have been seeking out," he told BI in an email. "It should help create the infrastructure to support the growth of the technology as new robust, liquid, US-based exchanges emerge."

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who are seeking to launch a Bitcoin ETF, told BI in a statement:

"We are pleased that Superintendent Lawsky and the Department of Financial Services have embraced Bitcoin and digital assets and created a regulatory framework that protects consumers. We look forward to New York State becoming the hub of this exciting new technology."

You won't need a license if you're a retailer accepting Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies as a form of payment.

Below is the full text. There will now be a 45 day comment period.


Framework Includes Consumer Protection, Anti-Money Laundering, and Cyber Security Rules for Virtual Currency Businesses

Proposed Regulations Submitted for a 45-Day Notice and Comment Period to Solicit Public Feedback

Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services, today announced that the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has issued for public comment a proposed “BitLicense” regulatory framework for New York virtual currency businesses. The proposed regulatory framework – which is the product of a nearly year-long DFS inquiry, including public hearings that the Department held in January 2014 – contains consumer protection, anti-money laundering compliance, and cyber security rules tailored for virtual currency firms.

Superintendent Lawsky said: “We have sought to strike an appropriate balance that helps protect consumers and root out illegal activity – without stifling beneficial innovation. Setting up common sense rules of the road is vital to the long-term future of the virtual currency industry, as well as the safety and soundness of customer assets.”

In accordance with the New York State Administrative Procedures Act (SAPA), the proposed DFS rules for virtual currency firms will be published in the New York State Register’s July 23, 2014 edition, which begins a 45-day public comment period. After that public comment period, the rules are subject to additional review and revision based on that public feedback before DFS finalizes them.

Additionally, DFS is today immediately publishing a copy of the regulations on the website Reddit. Earlier this year, Superintendent Lawsky hosted an “Ask Me Anything” forum on Reddit about DFS’ work on virtual currency regulation, which generated more than 1,200 public comments. Links to the proposed rules are also being tweeted out from the DFS Twitter handle (@NYDFS) and Superintendent Lawsky’s Twitter handle (@BenLawsky).

Superintendent Lawsky said: “We recognize that – as the first state to put forward specially tailored rules for virtual currency firms – continued public feedback will be an important part of finalizing this regulatory framework. We look forward to carefully and thoughtfully reviewing public comments on our proposal.”

The new DFS BitLicenses will be required for firms engaged in the following virtual currency businesses:
  • Receiving or transmitting virtual currency on behalf of consumers;
  • Securing, storing, or maintaining custody or control of such virtual currency on the behalf of customers;
  • Performing retail conversion services, including the conversion or exchange of Fiat Currency or other value into Virtual Currency, the conversion or exchange of Virtual Currency into Fiat Currency or other value, or the conversion or exchange of one form of Virtual Currency into another form of Virtual Currency;
  • Buying and selling Virtual Currency as a customer business (as distinct from personal use); or
  • Controlling, administering, or issuing a Virtual Currency. (Note: This does not refer to virtual currency miners.)

The license is not required for merchants or consumers that utilize Virtual Currency solely for the purchase or sale of goods or services; or those firms chartered under the New York Banking Law to conduct exchange services and are approved by DFS to engage in Virtual Currency business activity.

Key requirements for firms holding BitLicenses include:

  • Safeguarding Consumer Assets. Each firm must hold Virtual Currency of the same type and amount as any Virtual Currency owed or obligated to a third party. Companies are also prohibited from selling, transferring, assigning, lending, pledging, or otherwise encumbering assets, including Virtual Currency, it stores on behalf of another person. Each licensee must also maintain a bond or trust account in United States dollars for the benefit of its customers in such form and amount as is acceptable to DFS for the protection of the licensee’s customers.
  • Virtual Currency Receipts. Upon completion of any transaction, each firm shall provide to a customer a receipt containing the following information: (1) the name and contact information of the firm, including a telephone number established by the Licensee to answer questions and register complaints; (2) the type, value, date, and precise time of the transaction; (3) the fee charged; (4) the exchange rate, if applicable; (5) a statement of the liability of the Licensee for non-delivery or delayed delivery; (6) a statement of the refund policy of the Licensee.
  • Consumer Complaint Policies. Each firm must establish and maintain written policies and procedures to resolve consumer complaints in a fair and timely manner. The company must also provide notice to consumers, in a clear and conspicuous manner, that consumers can bring complaints to DFS’s attention for further review and investigation.
  • Consumer Disclosures. Companies must provide clear and concise disclosures to consumers about potential risks associated with virtual currencies, including the fact that: transactions in Virtual Currency are generally irreversible and, accordingly, losses due to fraudulent or accidental transactions may not be recoverable; the volatility of the price of Virtual Currency relative to Fiat Currency may result in significant loss or tax liability over a short period of time; there is an increased risk of loss of virtual currency due to cyber attacks; virtual currency is not legal tender, is not backed by the government, and accounts and value balances are not subject to FDIC or SIPC protections; among others.
  • Anti-money Laundering Compliance. As part of its anti-money laundering compliance program, each firm shall maintain the following information for all transactions involving the payment, receipt, exchange or conversion, purchase, sale, transfer, or transmission of Virtual Currency: (1) the identity and physical addresses of the parties involved; (2) the amount or value of the transaction, including in what denomination purchased, sold, or transferred, and the method of payment; (3) the date the transaction was initiated and completed, and (4) a description of the transaction.
  • Verification of Accountholders. Firms must, at a minimum, when opening accounts for customers, verify their identity, to the extent reasonable and practicable, maintain records of the information used to verify such identity, including name, physical address, and other identifying information, and check customers against the Specially Designated Nationals (“SDNs”) list maintained by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (“OFAC”). Enhanced due diligence may be required based on additional factors, such as for high-risk customers, high-volume accounts, or accounts on which a suspicious activity report has been filed. Firms are also subject to enhanced due diligence requirements for accounts involving foreign entities and a prohibition on accounts with foreign shell entities.
  • Reporting of Suspected Fraud and Illicit Activity. Each Licensee shall monitor for transactions that might signify money laundering, tax evasion, or other illegal or criminal activity and notify the Department, in a manner prescribed by the superintendent, immediately upon detection of such a transactions. When a Licensee is involved in a transaction or series of transactions for the receipt, exchange or conversion, purchase, sale, transfer, or transmission of Virtual Currency, in an aggregate amount exceeding the United States dollar value of $10,000 in one day, by one Person, the Licensee shall also notify the Department, in a manner prescribed by the superintendent, within 24 hours. In meeting its reporting requirements Licensees must utilize an approved methodology when calculating the value of Virtual Currency in Fiat Currency.
  • Cyber Security Program: Each licensee must maintain a cyber security program designed to perform a set of core functions, including: identifying internal and external cyber risks; protecting systems from unauthorized access or malicious acts; detecting systems intrusions and data breaches; and responding and recovering from any breaches, disruptions, or unauthorized use of systems.  Among other safeguards, each firm shall also conduct penetration testing of its electronic systems, at least annually, and vulnerability assessment of those systems, at least quarterly.
  • Chief Information Security Officer. Each Licensee shall designate a qualified employee to serve as the Licensee’s Chief Information Security Officer (“CISO”) responsible for overseeing and implementing the Licensee’s cyber security program and enforcing its cyber security policy.
  • Independent DFS Examinations: Examinations of licensees will be conducted whenever the superintendent deems necessary – but no less than once every two calendar years – to determine the licensee’s financial condition, safety and soundness, management policies, and compliance with laws and regulations.
  • Books and Records: Licensees are required to keep certain books and records, including transaction information, bank statements, records or minutes of the board of directors or governing body, records demonstrating compliance with applicable laws including customer identification documents, and documentation related to investigations of consumer complaints.
  • Reports and Financial Disclosures, Audit Requirements. Each firm must submit to DFS quarterly financial statements within 45 days following the close of the Licensee’s fiscal quarter. Each firm must also submit audited annual financial statements, prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, together with an opinion of an independent certified public accountant and an evaluation by such accountant of the accounting procedures and internal controls of the firm within 120 days of its fiscal year end.
  • Capital Requirements: Necessary capital requirements will be determined by DFS based on a variety of factors, including the composition of the licensee’s total assets and liabilities, whether the licensee is already licensed or regulated by DFS, the amount of leverage used by the firm, the liquidity position of the firm, and extent to which additional financial protection is provided for customers.
  • Compliance Officer. Each Licensee shall designate a qualified individual or individuals responsible for coordinating and monitoring compliance with NYDFS’ BitLicense regulatory framework and all other applicable federal and state laws, rules, and regulations.
  • Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery. Each Licensee shall establish and maintain a written business continuity and disaster recovery plan reasonably designed to ensure the availability and functionality of the Licensee’s services in the event of an emergency or other disruption to the Licensee’s normal business activities.
  • Notification of Emergencies or Disruptions. Each firm must promptly notify DFS of any emergency or other disruption to its operations that may affect its ability to fulfill regulatory obligations or that may have a significant adverse effect on the Licensee, its counterparties, or the market.
  • Transitional Period. Applications for the license will be accepted beginning on the date the proposed regulations become effective. Those already engaged in virtual currency business activity will have a 45-day transitional period to apply for a license from the date regulations become effective. The superintendent will issue or deny the license within 90 days of a complete application submission.

In August 2013, DFS announced its inquiry into the appropriate regulatory guidelines for virtual currencies. As part of an ongoing fact-finding effort informing that inquiry, the Department held public hearings in January 2014. In March 2014, the Department issued a public order announcing it will be considering formal proposals and applications for the establishment of regulated virtual currency exchanges operating in New York.

To view a copy of the proposed DFS BitLicense framework, please visit, link. Only comments formally submitted pursuant to the SAPA process will be considered in connection with the promulgation of the proposed regulations.
16  Getbig Main Boards / Politics and Political Issues Board / Re: Israel vs. Obama's boys on: July 18, 2014, 11:39:36 PM
NBC News Pulls Veteran Reporter from Gaza After Witnessing Israeli Attack on Children
By Glenn Greenwald17 Jul 2014, 12:43 PM EDT

Ayman Mohyeldin reports from Gaza City on killing of four Palestinian boys by Israel (credit: NBC News)

(updated below [Fri])

Ayman Mohyeldin, the NBC News correspondent who personally witnessed yesterday’s killing by Israel of four Palestinian boys on a Gazan beach and who has received widespread praise for his brave and innovative coverage of the conflict, has been told by NBC executives to leave Gaza immediately. According to an NBC source upset at his treatment, the executives claimed the decision was motivated by “security concerns” as Israel prepares a ground invasion, a claim repeated to me by an NBC executive. But late yesterday, NBC sent another correspondent, Richard Engel, along with an American producer who has never been to Gaza and speaks no Arabic, into Gaza to cover the ongoing Israeli assault (both Mohyeldin and Engel speak Arabic).

Mohyeldin is an Egyptian-American with extensive experience reporting on that region. He has covered dozens of major Middle East events in the last decade for CNN, NBC and Al Jazeera English, where his reporting on the 2008 Israeli assault on Gaza made him a star of the network. NBC aggressively pursued him to leave Al Jazeera, paying him far more than the standard salary for its on-air correspondents.

Yesterday, Mohyeldin witnessed and then reported on the brutal killing by Israeli gunboats of four young boys as they played soccer on a beach in Gaza City. He was instrumental, both in social media and on the air, in conveying to the world the visceral horror of the attack.

Mohyeldin recounted how, moments before their death, he was kicking a soccer ball with the four boys, who were between the ages of 9 and 11 and all from the same family. He posted numerous chilling details on his Twitter and Instagram accounts, including the victims’ names and ages, photographs he took of their anguished parents, and video of one of their mothers as she learned about the death of her young son. He interviewed one of the wounded boys at the hospital shortly before being operated on. He then appeared on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes, where he dramatically recounted what he saw.

Despite this powerful first-hand reporting – or perhaps because of it – Mohyeldin was nowhere to be seen on last night’s NBC Nightly News broadcast with Brian Williams. Instead, as Media Bistro’s Jordan Chariton noted, NBC curiously had Richard Engel – who was in Tel Aviv, and had just arrived there an hour or so earlier – “report” on the attack. Charlton wrote that “the decision to have Engel report the story for ‘Nightly’ instead of Mohyeldin angered some NBC News staffers.”

Indeed, numerous NBC employees, including some of the network’s highest-profile stars, were at first confused and then indignant over the use of Engel rather than Mohyeldin to report the story. But what they did not know, and what has not been reported until now, is that Mohyeldin was removed completely from reporting on Gaza by a top NBC executive, David Verdi, who ordered Mohyeldin to leave Gaza immediately.

Over the last two weeks, Mohyeldin’s reporting has been far more balanced and even-handed than the standard pro-Israel coverage that dominates establishment American press coverage; his reports have provided context to the conflict that is missing from most American reports and he avoids adopting Israeli government talking points as truth. As a result, neocon and “pro-Israel” websites have repeatedly attacked him as a “Hamas spokesman” and spouting “pro-Hamas rants.”

Last week, as he passed over the border from Israel, he said while reporting that “you can understand why some human rights organizations call Gaza ‘the world’s largest outdoor prison,’”; he added: “One of the major complaints and frustrations among many people is that this is a form of collective punishment. You have 1.7 million people in this territory, now being bombarded, with really no way out.”

Gazans may have no way out of Gaza, but at this point, Mohyeldin seems to have no way back in. After several requests, NBC executives have not yet provided any on-the-record statements; they will be added if provided.

Andrew Fishman contributed reporting to this story.

UPDATE [Fri]: The New York Times’ television reporter just reported on Twitter that NBC has “reversed its decision” and is now sending Mohyeldin back to Gaza as soon as possible:

NBC’s statement states: “As with any news team in conflict zones, deployments are constantly reassessed. We’ve carefully considered our deployment decisions and we will be sending Mohyeldin back to Gaza over the weekend.” About that, CNN’s media reporter Brian Stelter tweeted: “My read of NBC’s statement: an about-face that comes close to saying ‘we made a mistake.’” Much more about this on @CNNReliable on Sunday.)” Meanwhile, Mohyeldin himself tweeted the following:
17  Getbig Main Boards / Politics and Political Issues Board / Re: Why Free-market Economics Is a Fraud on: July 18, 2014, 10:49:09 PM
Still can't find a job without the government assistants huh?

Coach, do you actually read posts before you respond to them? Serious question.

ps: Spell check can help you as well.
18  Getbig Main Boards / Politics and Political Issues Board / Re: Why Free-market Economics Is a Fraud on: July 18, 2014, 10:21:11 PM
America's Biggest Scam - The "Free Market" System

Americans are constantly bombarded with propaganda of all sorts. Commercials, political ads, even the cable “news” — all of it carefully calibrated to influence the way we think and what we believe to be “true.” I’ve often imagined Nazi Reich Minister for Propaganda Joseph Goebbels smiling in his grave at the machinations of today’s United States.

One of the most deeply ingrained — and therefore most assiduously cultivated — American mythologies is that private enterprise always longs for free markets. This is true to such an extent that many market-friendly commentators reflexively support anything a corporate spokesperson says.

The same goes, in the opposite direction, whenever anyone in government or politics criticizes American enterprise.

But what if we’re being sold a load of bull? What if the primary enemies of American economic freedom are the very corporations that dominate our lives, and increasingly our politics and way of life?

The reality is that the U.S. economy has become grotesquely lopsided, with massive corporations operating as near-monopolies or oligopolies (uncompetitive markets) in sector after sector.

The U.S. Economy: Behind the Scenes

Since the early 1980s, corporations have consolidated control over dozens of U.S. industries, including cable, airlines, retail and agribusiness. Where once there were many small and mid-size businesses, today only a few goliaths remain.

These behemoths use their market power to extract economic value far in excess of what a competitive market would dictate. This “economic rent” — the return to market power rather than innovation or competitiveness — is transferred from consumers, workers and other entrepreneurs to rich executives and shareholders, driving the massive inequality that is the hallmark of today’s U.S. society and politics.

Indeed, America’s much-maligned “one percent” derives much of its lopsided wealth not from its intrinsic capitalistic prowess, but from its ability to purchase the laws and regulations it wants from our greedy political class. It’s not an exaggeration to say that much of corporate America invests as much in “rent-seeking” — a.k.a. lobbying — as in actual production.

Consider the $2.5 trillion U.S. health-care industry, which consumes a larger proportion of our GDP than any other country on earth. Rising health costs are rooted in a round of mergers that started in the 1980s, when competition regulations were relaxed under the Reagan administration. Most Americans today live in areas where there is little competition among hospitals, which are free to raise prices at will.

As a result, the prices charged for medical services bear no relation to the costs of production or the benefit to the patient/consumer. Market power redistributes hundreds of billions of dollars in wealth to the owners of health-care capital.

Consolidation among cable providers has enabled Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T and others to raise prices at three times faster than inflation since 2008. As a result, Americans now pay double or triple what consumers in other countries pay, for slower and less reliable broadband internet access.

In agriculture, consolidation and resulting monopolistic purchasing power has enabled firms such as Tyson to force down farm-gate prices and raise their own profit by dictating prices to farmers. The average farm price of a hog dropped 31% between 1989 and 2008, a period when the top four pork processors increased their market share from 45% to 63%.

The market power of consolidation and anti-competitive behavior also affects workers. Executives at Google, Apple, Intel, Intuit, Pixar and Adobe — who share dozens of board members — were caught in a secret agreement not to recruit one another’s employees, in order to suppress salaries. Tech workers who sued this cartel estimate the scheme reduced the salaries of 60,000 workers by more than $3 billion.

That’s money that goes into overstuffed One Percent bank accounts rather than be spent on goods and services in local economies.

Finally, the “opportunity cost” of this market dominance is the lost income and innovation of the tens of thousands of entrepreneurial small businesses, which never get off the ground or are given the opportunity to grow enough to create jobs in the face of unfair competition.

And yet, we hear little about this reality. Instead, we are treated to a daily barrage of attacks on immigrants, working people, the unemployed, minorities and others who are essentially powerless compared to the deep-pocketed, lobbyist-protected corporations that dominate our economy and politics.

Beyond Party Politics

Add all this together and you have a compelling argument that the decline of the U.S. economy isn’t as simple as we are led to believe. The very forces that invest so much to keep us focused on government as the source of our decline may well be the chief culprit, or at least co-complicit with the latter.

One of the critical pillars of the propaganda machine that successfully diverts our attention from this state of affairs, Wizard of Oz style, is the gladiatorial spectacle of Red vs. Blue, Republican vs. Democrat. We are told that the only route to salvation is to join one of these two tribes, which then dictate what we are to think. In their arrogance, they tell us theirs are the only roads we can take.

Many Americans have essentially ceded their ability to reason for themselves to highly-paid shills on 24/7 cable channels, spouting arguments that would make Reich Minister Goebbels giddy with admiration.

Both political parties are part of the mechanism that keeps America in a state of corporate oligarchy. The apparatus is designed to spread and control wealth only within itself. And that’s as far as the American Dream goes.

So what does that mean for wealth builders and those of us with a “sovereign “ state of mind, who are not resigned to the framework and refuse to become swept up in the downward spiral of the U.S. economy?

It means … find safe ground for yourself, your family and your hard-earned assets.
19  Getbig Main Boards / Politics and Political Issues Board / Why Free-market Economics Is a Fraud on: July 18, 2014, 10:18:45 PM
Why Free-market Economics Is a Fraud
by: Ian Fletcher

If there's one thing everyone in America knows, it's that free-market economics is true and free markets are best.

After all, we're not Communists, are we? They starved and lost the Cold War because they believed otherwise. And their watered-down European cousins, the socialists? More of the same, only less so. Even liberals get this nowadays. All hail the free market!

Trouble is, things "everyone" knows are often wrong. And this is no exception.

It's time to start getting honest about a very simple fact: Nobody, but nobody, really believes in free markets. That's right. Not the Republican Party, not the libertarians, not the Wall Street Journal, nobody.

Here's why: a truly free market is a perfectly competitive market. Which means that whatever you have to sell in that market, so does your competition. Which means price war. Which means your price gets driven down. Which means little or no profit for you.


Naturally, businesses flee perfectly competitive markets like the plague. In fact, the fine art of doing so is a big part of what they teach in business schools.

That's why businesses use strategies like product differentiation, so their competition is no longer selling the exact same product they are. That's why they use strategies like branding, so their buyers don't think the products are the same.

Businesses will, in fact, do almost anything to get out of the hell of pure head-to-head competition.

They don't do it because they're crooked; they do it because they have an intrinsic economic incentive to. Always.

This is part of the innate essence of capitalism. It is not a flaw or a defect. It is part of what makes the whole system go. It is part of what makes capitalism capitalism.

People are the same way. Consider your own career. Why do you get paid more than the minimum wage? (I'm hoping you do.) Probably because you have some skill that everybody else doesn't have. So you don't have to bid against every unemployed person in your area to hold your job. Just a few of them. Which pushes your wage above the legal minimum.

That skill of yours is what economists call a "barrier to entry" -- entry into the market for your job, that is. And if you're anything other than a damn fool, you'll cherish it like your very life.

I sure do.

Now let's consider the other side of the equation. We've looked at free markets in things you sell. Now let's consider free markets in things you buy.

Here everything gets turned around. If I'm buying something, I want the freest possible market in that product.

I don't, to take an example recently on my mind, want there to be only one market for live Christmas trees in my town. I want there to be two (or more), and right next to each other so I can easily comparison shop. And I want to shop for more-easily shippable goods on the Internet, if possible, where I can potentially find the lowest price in the entire world.

I want, in other words, every seller's nightmare. Which every smart seller will use every legal trick in the book to avoid.

As a result, nobody with any wits about them really believes in free markets. People believe in them when it's in their interest, but not when it's the other way around.

This is a systemic, structural condition, so anyone who tells you they believe in "free markets" is either lying, stupid, or hasn't thought the whole concept through properly.

The latter category is quite common. Many people do their thinking about political ideology in an entirely different -- and dreamily disconnected -- mental space than they use for managing real life.

Frankly, everyone I've ever met gets the truth well enough in practice, in their own personal life or in how they run their business, so I just don't believe anymore that anyone does believe in free markets.

Like any rational person, I'm open to counter-examples if anyone can show me any. But I've been asking around for a while on this, and haven't come up with much.

This is not just an esoteric point, still less yet one more example of the familiar fact that people are hypocrites in politics.

Here's why it matters. The political players in America today who claim to support free markets don't. They support free markets in the things their backers buy, but maximum barriers to entry in the things their backers sell.

For example, one of the great unnoticed achievements of the Republicans (and their Democrat collaborators) from Reagan onward has been to gut U.S. antitrust law. Having a monopoly, or a cozy oligopoly with friendly rivals, is one of the best barriers to entry around.

As recently documented in Barry Lynn's fine book Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction, American industry is now concentrated as it hasn't been since before the era of Teddy Roosevelt and his trustbusters. (There's a different kind of Republican for you, by the way. These truths are not liberal or conservative.)

Most Americans don't realize this has happened because, unlike in the old days of Standard Oil, oligopolies today are cunning about masking their existence.

To take just one example, America's eyeglass frame industry is now dominated by the conglomerate Luxottica. That's why frames are so expensive. And any company, like Oakley the sunglass maker, that tries to break into the market? They find themselves shut out of a Luxottica-controlled distribution system. And retailers are now afraid to receive distribution from anyone else, lest they be cut off.

It's a remarkably well-oiled scheme, and it has its parallels in many other industries. But the average consumer has no idea about this, because the range of brands, if not suppliers, in optical shops remains diverse.

We're fat, dumb and happy. We've been fooled. But behind the smiling mask of a hundred labels smirks a single monopolist.

But aren't there laws against this sort of thing?

Well, there sure used to be, enforced by unsung lawyers and bureaucrats (horrors!) at the Justice and Commerce Departments. Whom nobody considered very glamorous, but who were doing the rest of us a big favor. Talk about forgotten wisdom!

Consider some other examples:
  • Tyson in chicken
  • Smithfield in ham
  • Menu Foods in pet food
  • Frito-Lay in chips
  • InBev and MillerCoors in beer
  • PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and Nestlé in bottled water
  • Dickinson in medical devices
  • Microsoft in operating systems
  • Iron ore (three companies)
  • Aluminum
  • Cement
  • Railroads
  • Banking

The number of problems caused by letting monopoly power -- whose key consequence is known as "pricing power" -- is astonishing.

For one thing, this is a huge part of what ails American farmers. Family farmers are caught between the agribusiness monopolies who push up the price of their inputs (feed, seed, fertilizer, etc.) and the agribusiness monopolies who push down the price of their outputs. (The economists' term for the latter is "monopsony," with an "s" -- but it works the same way as monopoly.)

It's the perfect racket.

And it's no surprise that on the other side of the equation, "free" market politicians are very diligent in imposing genuinely free markets where this suits the interests of the multinational "American" corporations that fatten their campaign coffers.

This is done, of course, as a matter of high principle and sophisticated economic rationality. It's remarkably easy to make wonderful after-dinner speeches about free markets.

Let's start with labor. Post-Nixon Republicans have genuinely supported just about every policy designed to weaken the pricing power of labor. This starts with weakening unions and letting the inflation-adjusted minimum wage fall, but it doesn't end there.

You think Ronald Reagan got in 1986, and George W. Bush wanted in 2007, amnesties for illegal immigrants because they were nice, compassionate people? To ask the question is to answer it. Whatever the ultimate merits of amnesty as policy, for them it was about cheap labor, plain and simple.

The reality is that the past prosperity of America has never been based on pure free markets -- starting with the fact that we had the highest average income in the world in 1776 because the colonies had structurally tight labor markets due to the open frontier. (Europeans and other Old World peoples were trapped by the iron law of wages because they had nowhere to go.)

Free, or nearly free, markets do have their rightful place in many parts of the economy, and it would be foolish to sabotage them. But in other areas -- above all, in labor markets -- our prosperity was based on pricing power.

A number of areas other than labor also worked better thanks to a healthy dose of pricing power. Try advanced technology, for a start. The patent system, which is not natural, is a fairly recent invention, and does not de facto exist even today in much of the world, is one. Innovation doesn't come cheap, and without pricing power for innovators, few companies could afford it.

Even the existence of scale economies, which are intrinsic to modern, large-scale, capital-intensive industry, implies markets that are less than free. Why? Because scale economies intrinsically imply a small number of large producers and thus give rise to oligopoly, with the consequences mentioned earlier.

This is why most other industrialized nations aren't romantics about free markets, are honest about their frequent nonexistence, and focus their policies on taming the negative effects of oligopoly while capturing the positive ones. They understand, for one thing, that big corporations are necessary but often pirates, and focus on making them share their loot with their crews.

We, on the other hand, live in a state of denial about the piracy.

So the next time someone tells you to believe in "free" markets, just tell them you'll believe as soon as they do.

When pigs fly.
20  Getbig Main Boards / Politics and Political Issues Board / Re: Dutch found guilty of bosniak murders. on: July 17, 2014, 01:41:47 AM

Strange that this was going on while I was in middle school and I have no real memory of it. It seems even though it did have a presence in the press, it still didn't get too much. Crazy they're just now assigning blame. Also, any of yall think it was weird seeing "white" muslims?  Not that there aren't any, just not your usual.

I don't find the concept of White Muslims strange at all, ...but then again, I'm from Canada, where multiculturalism is the norm. We saw a large influx of white Muslims from the former Yugoslavia during the late 80's & early 90's. Then too, there are the many converts to Islam as well.

21  Getbig Main Boards / Politics and Political Issues Board / Re: Marine to remain in Mexican prison on: July 17, 2014, 01:31:06 AM
Same analysis.  Laws regarding illegal possession of firearms were not designed to target people like him, nor was prison designed for people like him. 

An absolute waste of resources and something that is contrary to the freedom we enjoy as American citizens. 

What freedom would that be? The freedom to be indefinitely detained... without charges? ...or worse?
22  Getbig Main Boards / General Topics / Re: WARNING: CONTENT SO GRAPHIC IT COULD MAKE YOU CRY on: July 17, 2014, 01:04:53 AM
Why did you have to f'ng post that?

 Cry Cry Cry Cry

Because I like to make grown men cry  Cheesy

Why did you watch it... despite the graphic warning? ...Because you needed a good cry!  Grin

It's good for men to get in touch with their emotions. Enjoy the tears... they're good for ya!  Tongue
23  Getbig Main Boards / Politics and Political Issues Board / Re: This is pretty damn cool on: July 16, 2014, 02:39:58 PM
Israel Student Union sets up "War Room" to sell Gaza Massacre

Students at the IDC Herzliya “war room,” seen here in a screenshot,
focus on posting propaganda justifying Israel’s attack on Gaza on Facebook.

As the death toll from Israel’s savage bombardment of Gaza continues to climb, Israel has once again turned to students to sell the slaughter online.

“Although they haven’t been called up to the army yet, they’ve decided to enlist in a civilian mission that is no less important – Israeli propaganda [hasbara],” Ynet’s Hebrew edition reported about a massive initiative organized by the Israeli student union branch at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC Herzliya), a prestigious private university.Hasbara war room “Hasbara,” literally “explaining,” is the term used in Israel for government propaganda aimed at overseas audiences.

“The goal is to deliver a very clear message to people abroad – Israel has the right to defend itself,” Lidor Bar David told Ynet.

Bar David, a student, and one of the organizers of the “war room,” adds, “We want people abroad who don’t know our reality to understand exactly what is going on here.”

At least 168 Palestinians have been killed since Israel massively escalated its attack on Gaza on 7 July. Eighty percent of the fatalities are civilians, according to the United Nations.

Thirty-six Palestinian children have been killed and more than 1,200 people have been injured. Thousands are fleeing homes fearing escalating Israeli attacks which have so far destroyed or severely damaged 940 homes, as well as numerous mosques, schools, businesses and charities.

A video accompanying the Ynet report shows rows of students beavering away at computers in a hall with a sign on its door saying “Advocacy Room” in English. In Hebrew, it says “Hasbara war room.”

While Ynet does not reveal specific government ties to this initiative, the National Union of Israeli Students, of which the IDC Herzliya student union is an affiliate, has a history of working on government-funded propaganda schemes, where students are recruited as the country’s “pretty face.”

“Organized lying”

Last year a “covert” Israeli government initiative came to light which planned to pay students for spreading propaganda online.

“The whole point of such efforts is to look like they are unofficial, just every day people chatting online,” Israel expert Dena Shunra told The Electronic Intifada.

“But in fact, these are campaigns of organized lying, orchestrated with government-approved talking points and crowdsourced volunteers and stipend recipients,” Shunra added.

According to Ynet, “The war room was opened in the afternoon of the first day of Operation Protective Edge,” one week ago, by the IDC Herzliya student union, and currently has more than 400 volunteers active in it, all students at the institution.

The IDC Herzliya “war room,” seen in a screenshot from Ynet video, is a continuation of earlier propaganda efforts.

Working in 30 languages, the students working this comment far target online forums including so called “anti-Israel” pages on Facebook and comments sections of online media. Tomer Amsalem, a second-year psychology student, acts as one of the war room’s graphic designers.

“In one of our graphics we show the treatment that members of [Hamas leader] Ismail Haniyeh’s and Abu Mazen’s [Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas] families received in Israel, to show we’re even humanitarian to the families of the Palestinian leaders,” he told Ynet.

“In another graphic we show the trauma of the children living around Gaza, which is expressed in drawings of Qassams [rockets]. Another example is a series of cities around the world, being attacked. For example, Berlin – we wrote in German ‘What would you do?’ with a background of Berlin being attacked,’” Amsalem added. Amsalem is quoted as saying that he sees his work in the “war room” as a civilian equivalent to being called up for military reserves. Inbal Deutsch, another psychology student who moved to Israel four years ago, responds to comments. She focuses on misattributed photos – photos occasionally circulated online that show scenes that are either not current or not from Gaza. Israel propagandists likely hope that by debunking such pictures they can sow doubt about all too common real pictures of atrocities currently being committed in Gaza.

24  Getbig Main Boards / Politics and Political Issues Board / Re: This is pretty damn cool on: July 16, 2014, 01:20:46 PM
I can understand if the photos may have been a bit too graphic to stomach, but was it really necessary to remove the video as well... rather than just simply removing the pics? I think not. It must have been an accidental oversight.

GAZA - What You're Not Being Told

<a href="" target="_blank"></a>

==> A Palestinian father's Reality <==

Palestine is an open air prison. This is shooting fish in a barrel. There's nothing cool about genocide,
...unless you are a student of IDC Herzliya.
25  Getbig Main Boards / General Topics / WARNING: CONTENT SO GRAPHIC IT COULD MAKE YOU CRY on: July 16, 2014, 12:43:40 PM
The below video is so graphic, real & raw, it has reduced even the most stoic to tears  Cry

WW II Vet caught a toddler in his backyard...

<a href="" target="_blank"></a>
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