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Posts Tagged ‘MONEY’

     Five pirates from Somalia drowned after they left the ship that they had been holding for ransom for approximately two months.   The pirates small boat capsized and sank along with the money.   The ship that the pirates had captured was the Sirius Star and the ransom was for approximately $3 million dollars.  Three other alleged pirates spent hours swimming to land. 

       The pirates had to have been congratulating themselves about receiving that amount of money.  In Somalia, the people are very poor…most of them are living on humanitarian aid.  Many of these ships that have been targeted, by pirates, have been in this area in the Gulf of Aden.   Somalia is a country that has not had proper governmental leadership since the early 1990’s.  It must be awfully tempting to see all of these ships travel through the area loaded with multi-million dollars of  crude oil and not see it as a way to grab their share of the money for themselves.  Piracy has become a huge problem.

         Just this past week the United States Navy has announced that they will be utilizing an anti-piracy taskforce to combat the issues such as the hostage situations that face the ships that must travel through those international waters.

          Piracy in today’s world is not the piracy of the movies.  It is not some swashbuckling, romantic way to see the world.  It is quickly becoming a form of terrorism that attempts to hold the world of commerce hostage to pay up or be caught in the web of the pirates that feed off of the traffic that must pass through on their way to pick up and deliver merchandise from one nation to another. 

         One has to wonder, do the people who contemplate becoming pirates consider the possibility that they could end up on the bottom of the ocean right along with their stolen treasure?  Maybe some of the area nations could come up with a way to build up the infrastructure of Somalia so that the temptation to take from those who have so much would no longer look like a good way to earn a living to those who have so little!  Stealing is not a good option.  But those nations who are rich in natural resources could invest some of their money into those countries who seem bent on surviving any way that they can.

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      With 2008 behind us…and the new year stretching out before us…many consumers are trying to figure out how to hang on to what they already own and trying to stretch the money that they have to meet their obligations.  As you can imagine…getting consumers to go out and spend money at a time when job loss is at an all time high and debt load is always threatening to tip the balance of the family budget is all but impossible.

        An automobile company has taken a new tactic…in fact…probably setting a new standard for other automobile companies in trying to get the public to strengthen their confidence in the economy by purchasing a new vehicle.  All of the old tried and true tactics such as 0% financing and cash back refund programs are not inspiring the consumers to run right out and add to their debt load in such uncertain times.  Sales of new vehicles has fallen since 2007 quite dramatically.  Hyundai has tempted the public to purchase through a new sales tactic; one that sort of tempts people to extend themselves financially.

        This is fine and good as long as the consumer doesn’t over extend their financial obligations.  I suspect other automobile companies to offer something similar to increase their sales.  The deal is this…Hyundai is offering to take the vehicle back without repercussions under certain circumstances.

        If the vehicle purchaser should lose their job within the first year after purchase…they can return the vehicle and walk away from their obligation up to $7,500.  Or if the purchaser should become disabled or lose their income involuntarily, the offer is the same…they can walk away from the loan and return the vehicle. 

         One thing is probably sure…this will more than likely increase sales…but, one would hope that the lenders have learned a little something-something from the financial crisis and make sure that the consumers that they extend vehicle loans to are in a position to purchase without overextending themselves financially.  This absolutely can not be allowed to contribute to the negative situation that this country has found itself in.  One thing we do not need is to find that the new deal allows people to put themselves into deeper financial hardship that results in an increase of repo’ed vehicles.   Will this sales tactic inspire those in a position to purchase and add to the consumer confidence that businesses and governmental leaders are desperate to see?  Only time will tell!  What are your thoughts on the subject?

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        Donald Peters won, and he won big!  It was his luckiest day…and his most unlucky day as well.  On November 1st Donald bought a lottery ticket in Conneticut; and he won $10 million dollars.  Can you believe it?  He was a retired factory worker; I am sure that money could come in handy after all those years of working hard.  He bought two tickets…but, he didn’t cash them in.   Someone else did…and they did it just this past week.   It was Donald’s wife of 59 years who cashed the ticket in.

       Why her, and not him, you may ask?  Hours after buying the winning ticket he went home and  had a heart attack.  Donald died…and his family grieved; not even knowing of the winning ticket that sat unattended, in the home, while they went about mourning the loss of the man they loved.

        While some would say the man was lucky to purchase a winning $10 million dollar lottery ticket…others would say if it weren’t for bad luck….he would’ve had no luck at all.   You see, the purchase of these tickets was a tradition that he and his wife shared for 20 years.  While he won the lottery, he didn’t get to celebrate…he didn’t even know that he won the money, let alone get to spend a dime of it!

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       People are funny; when things get tight…their fists often get tighter; but not always.  This year, like no other year in recent memory, people are hurting.  They are hurting in many areas financially.  Many have lost their homes, their jobs, their savings…along with medical coverage.  It is a difficult time for many in our nation.

        Most everyone has something that they have been blessed with that they no longer use.  Those things that you have been blessed with and no longer use just might be terribly useful to someone else.  Have extra blankets (or sleeping bags) in the closet or attic that you have no use for?  Someone else has need for them; donate it to a shelter, a church, or an agency that gives to those in need.  Don’t forget places like the Salvation Army or Goodwill.  Let’s challenge ourselves to find ways to have a positive impact on those around us.

         What about checking out deals, when you grocery shop, that make use of buy one get one free…then, donating that extra item to a food pantry?  In fact, things people often run out of and have a hard time replacing are necessities such as laundry soap, shampoos/conditioners, toothpaste, dish soap, toilette paper; when money is limited…having those things donated to a food pantry can really be a big help.  Maybe you have a baby or toddler that has outgrown their diapers or pullups…and you have a partial package left; donate it, don’t let it set on a shelf somewhere unused.  What good are those items doing sitting there collecting dust?

          Do you have warm clothes that either don’t fit, things that aren’t your style; or, perhaps you just have an extra set of clothes that you could pass along?  What about coats or boots, mittens or hats/scarves?  Items such as these are desperately needed in colder temperatures and climates.  The fall and winter weather is unforgiving if a person is not sheltered and dressed appropriately for cold temperatures.  Children and adults are both in need; so, please check your closets and storage areas for things that you are not using.

          Here is another idea; have you had a tree fall on your property that you would like removed?  Offer it to those who heat their homes with wood for free…just for the taking.  Wow…how wonderful to get it removed and bless someone else with the wood who could use it to heat their homes. 

          So you say…you don’t have anything physical to give.  How about donating your time or possibly a service like raking leaves/shoveling snow for an elderly person who you know isn’t able to do it for themselves?  Maybe you could offer to get their mail so they don’t slip on the snow and ice or offer to run some errands for them.  There really are so very many ways to help another person who is in need. 

          Think about the homeless who are living on the streets.  Do you perhaps have a shelter or tent that is not going to be used in the near future?  Can you live without it?  Find an agency or charity that will use it to house those folks who cannot or will not live in a shelter.  We have many veterans and run-aways who live under bridges and tunnels all around this nation.  Is a tent or a shelter from your basement or garage an ideal place to live?  No but, it may just keep someone safer from the extreme elements, temporarily, until they can get back on their feet.

           Are any of these suggestions going to cure the ills our nation is facing; probably not…but, it may just help communicate caring to someone who is feeling desperate and alone.  Think about what you can do to help someone who has it a bit worse than you and yours.  Your donations could mean the difference between life and death for someone; and it doesn’t have to cost you more than a bit of compassion for others!

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      It looks as though Madonna and Guy Richie are going to get a preliminary divorce decree on Friday…just over six weeks ago they announced that they were filing for divorce.  That is a quick release divorce no matter what country you live in.

      Resolving matters in a divorce is no easy task if there is money, property and time with children to be addressed.  It appears that they have been able to work out those details.  Madonna has her daughter Lourdes with her ex-boyfriend Carlos Leon.  Then, she and Guy will be sharing time with their two young sons Rocco who is eight years old and the young son that Guy and Madonna adopted from Malawi, David.  Children need quality time with both parents to be well-adjusted and healthy.

       No matter who you are, rich or poor…divorce is painful and disruptive.  Let’s hope that all may live in peace and love while raising their children to adulthood.

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       Baby don’t cry…it is not your fault.  When you are old enough to know your story…know that it is not your fault.  It has happened for generations…people abandon their children.   It is wrong, but they do it for many reasons…all sad reasons, all heartbreaking…but, what it comes down to is a lacking.

        A lacking of something that is required to parent you little one.  Some parents are lacking money, some are lacking appropriate housing or clothing, some are lacking parenting skills.  Even worse, some are lacking a very basic, important connection…a bonding of parent to child; it is called love.  This is not normal.  This is not your fault.  The lacking is theirs and theirs alone; don’t let it define you.  Their failure to provide what you need does not wipe away your right to have those things that children need to grow and be whole.   You deserve to have what every child should have…love and acceptance. 

       There are many who would adopt you; love you and give you everything you need to be successful in life.  It is sad that your birth parents could not for whatever reason of lacking, be the people to give you what you need.  However, when you are able to read and understand it all…hopefully, you will have been adopted and cared for appropriately.  I hope that you received that love; and, now know that you are part of a family who wanted you, and needed you to be part of them.  The parts of you that feel empty or unfulfilled, because of the unknowns about your birth family, probably will never be fully satisfied.  Let it be enough to know that the circumstances that lead to your being abandonned are not a statement of anything that was wrong with you as a person.

         A small newborn child was abandoned in Charlotte, North Carolina in the last few days.  Children are being abandoned all around the world.  There are many who would love these children were they to enter into the foster/adoptive legal system in the right kind of way.  Why are parents dumping their children?

        When you are able to read this, or some other piece that addresses such issues…and  you have learned about your abandonment; don’t try to seek further information.  It will only hurt you more.  There are no answers that will satisfy your heart’s desire to be loved and accepted by the people who gave you up.  For each answer that is given to justify such actions will just trigger another “what if you had done this or that…could you have kept me then” question.  It is a never ending circle of emotional hurt.   

        It is not a reflection upon you…babies and children are easy to love.  You have done nothing wrong to be rejected…it is a fault inside of that person that by some miracle was able to give you life.  Unfortunately, abortion (infant death) is an option in today’s world..so, choosing life was a very positive thing.   Maybe that is the most that they had to give you; LIFE, it IS an important gift. 

       Your true source of life comes from God above.  You are here in this world because he values you…you are here for a purpose.  Discover what your purpose is and live it to the fullest…do not be destroyed by feelings of rejection or inferority.  You are worthy of all the best that life has to give you.   Your beginnings do not have to set a  negative standard for the rest of your life.  Take your gift and all that you have been able to receive and enjoy since the time of your birth and make something of yourself.  Be a giver, be an encourager…be the embodiement of what your birth parents lacked.  Be a giver and a receiver of Love.  Do you think that the impact of your birth can make a positive difference in the world?   I do, every life has value to offer the world.  Reader, do you know someone who has been rejected or abandoned…were they able to turn their difficult beginnings into a positive, productive life?

      

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        How many of you have ever had knowledge of an emergency situation where someone is bleeding profusely?  Emergency training teaches to apply pressure; or, to use a tourniquiet to temporarily stop the blood loss.  It is no different with our financial crisis; yet, apparently in a move that goes against common sense…we are bleeding green…sending more and more money to problematic areas that are already bleeding out.

           What we need is a check and balance here…someone to triage…find out who we can afford to let go on to their great reward.  We can’t save everyone here financially speaking.  So, if we are going to attempt to try to turn the tide with this financial mess…we need to find the most effective way to pump money back into the economy in a way that is going to repair the situation.  Not prolong the agony.  Those companies that would abuse the help provided them should be held accountable.  The governmental leaders who are in charge should be held accountable if they fail to serve honorably; by not keeping track of the ebb and flow of the bailout plan.  It should be considered a crime to fail at accounting for each and every dime of the bailout money that does not produce a positive outcome on the economy.  It would challenge those who benefit from the rescue plan to strictly monitor the use of such money entrusted to them!

         Americans are angry about this whole situation.  They are struggling and there is no safety net waiting for them when they fail financially…so, their expectations of our leaders who are guiding the ship in regards to the bailout, are high.  Those expectations are not currently being met…and Americans have had their fill of leaders and organizations who abuse their power and influence over our society.  The impact of such irresponsible behavior is what has brought us to this place and time in history; it is unacceptable.

         Allegedly, reports have surfaced, twice now, on AIG as having pricey get-to-gethers since they have come knocking on the government’s door begging for bailouts to keep them from filing for a $150 billion dollar bankruptcy.  This is seen by many as an excessive fly- in- your- face disregard for the sacrifices that tax payers are taking on, by dolling out the $40 billion dollars that the treasury has set aside to help put AIG back in black.

          What is madness is that this kind of behavior seems to go without consequences except to the country as a whole.  We are drowning in poor choices, in excesses that failing business expect others to dig them out of.  If a small business owner took on that kind of attitude…there would be nothing but financial ruin in their future…not a reward of an all expense paid trip to a spa on the taxpayers!

           The average American is drowning as well.  There are no individual life rings being tossed to the middle class taxpayer.  We are being hit from all sides by the economy, taxation, educational funding, rising cost of living bills, home heating costs, gasoline, medical costs; and still, more and more people are loosing their jobs or their investments.  Home foreclosure is at an all time high.

           How in the world are taxpayers going to pay more to bailout anyone when they are barely keeping afloat themselves with the drain on their incomes?  If people don’t have jobs, they can’t pay taxes.  Common sense dictates that we examine closely where all of this bailout money is coming from; and, limit those who are benefitting from the rescue money. If some business or organization is not being fiscally responsible they should not then be given a blank check to continue the party.  

        This is not a free for all…We need someone in a position to regulate the flow of green; apply some pressure.  We are living in an unprecedented time of national debt…it just makes sense to be watching our bottom line.  There is nothing wrong with taking a little time to evaluate the situation and make an informed decision about the best way to tackle this mess.   Remember Russia and the collapse of their union?  Are we looking to make history as the next nation to collapse from the inside out?

          

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      I have been thinking about leadership alot lately and it’s direct connection to success or failure.  Leadership whether it is in government, business, organizations, religions, education or, in personal relationships is very important.  Not everyone can be an effective leader.  There are more followers than leaders; so it is extremely important to follow the right person. 

       Whether a leader is skilled in certain areas determines how successful his/her leadership is.  Leading is not for the fainthearted; you can’t please everyone or, be their friend.  Some of the decisions a good leader has to make are extremely unpopular.  You can have productive relationships though, that are built out of respect, authority, compassion and hard work.  Those who are under your leadership have to know that you are informed and that you respect & understand their sacrifice to get the job done. 

        A good leader knows how to inspire, how to instruct, how to encourage, and how to redirect someone who is misguided, ill informed, has a poor work ethic or is saturated in a poor attitude.  A good leader knows when to use incentives and when praise or recognition will be more effective. 

        I know our country is in the midst of some deep and difficult issues.  Positive and productive leadership has never been more important.  A good leader also recognizes when they are out of their league and seeks a higher counsel…someone who is an expert in the area of concern.  I hope that those who are taking the reins of government leadership in our country are willing to lead with proper education and guidance… it is not a failure to admit that you don’t know all of the answers; it is a failure to not be willing to be educated in those areas.  We have much to accomplish and overcome in a short period of time.

        There is a great new book out by Lee Iacocca on leadership called, Where Have All Of The Leaders Gone?  I recommend reading this one.  This book gives some great advice on leading.  It also gives a bit of background information on the automotive business. 

         With the financial crisis hitting our country and the obviously failing auto industry…Lee’s book is timely.  I suggest that the new President elect Barack Obama consult with Mr. Iacocca on any proposed government bailout loan of the auto industry.  There has been some criticism about President Bush’s alleged lack of response to the auto industry’s struggles.  Now, if the American auto industry fails to succeed…we all will suffer the consequences.  I think that we already have been …but, it is only going to get worse without addressing the issue in a real purposeful way.  They are many businesses and employees who will be affected in a trickle down kind of action if and when the auto industry hits the roadblocks. 

        It would be wise to remember that whenever one major industry fails it generally has a domino effect on those sub-supportive businesses that supply the chain of industry.  We need to figure out some answers before we are all out of jobs.  We must demand competent leadership and hold them to a higher moral & ethical standard of conduct.  We are tired of those in business and industry who are content to take the money at the top and move on when they get their rewards…not caring about the outcome for those under their leadership.  Enough of the high salary CEO’s (or politicians) who don’t look long-term at the consequences of their decisions and their actions.  Americans must demand success in our leaders because the potential impact of failure is unacceptable!

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      This is interesting news to me; and, not altogether unhappy news, it has come to my attention that as a direct result of the financial crisis in this country…we are all going to be receiving less junk mail in our mail boxes!  Isn’t that wonderful?  It is just sad that it took something of this nature to reduce all of these unwanted solicitations. 

       Now, I have to admit, i hate junk mail.  It piles up and seems to breed when I am not looking, before I can dispose of it.  I could build a miniature high rise building with the stacks of envelopes that I get each week.  It is frustrating, as my shredder is broken; and, many of those envelopes are attempts to get me to sign up for credit cards, home equity loans; and or, other means of putting me further and further in debt. 

       Hello people, where is the common sense here?  I hate getting those pieces of mail; because, if you open them up…they have multiple spots on the applications with personal name & address information.  As I said, without a shredder…i must hand tear them into small pieces so that no one else can activate them if they come across the applications.  That is highly annoying to have to go through all of that extra work because of no fault of my own.  However, it is necessary with all of those warnings that we all hear about on the news programs of identity theft.  It is too easy for someone with ulterior motives to make use of that private, and personal information they find inside of those envelopes that everyone tosses away.

        It also goes against my growing sense of green living.  There is no reason to slaughter thousands of trees a year just to bombard people with mail that they don’t want or need; which only ends up in landfills anyway.  I want to protect the environment and be a good steward of the world that we live in.   Let’s take a moment and compliment those companies that are cutting back on wasting trees and money by curbing the direct marketing sales envelopes that we all receive.  Thank you for cutting back, I want to encourage you to continue this practice even when the economy improves!   I admire your leadership in this area of your business (yes, i know you are mainly doing it to save money…that is ok…we both benefit).

         Of course, we all want the financial world to get back on it’s feet.  Let this small step of reducing unwanted mail be the first positive step in the right direction, as far as using common sense, in the business world.  I believe that the impact is far reaching.  I for one, appreciate the fact that I will get less unwanted mail.  How do you feel about the matter?  Will you respect a company for taking this step?

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       Slavery exists even today; i know that that sounds like an inflammatory statement but it is true.  It is just not talked about in any kind of real, life changing way.  I read a book recently which opens up a whole new way of looking at the world.  It is rather frightening.  Slavery exists today in what is called, modern day slavery….human trafficking.  People are bought and sold all over the world…but, it is not a subject that has been addressed in the fullness that it needs to be; to face it and, attempt to overcome it.

        The book is called, A Crime So Monstrous; it was written by author Benjamin Skinner; published in 2008.  He has traveled to places around the globe to educate and inform the world of the human injustice that is perpetrated against those who are vulnerable, and can not fight back without help.  It is a moral call to action.  Once your eyes have been opened up to the extent of the evil that is human trafficking…you will never look at the world in the same way.  Children, women, men, young and old…it doesn’t matter…crimes against humanity should never be tolerated.

        So what is modern slavery-human trafficking?  It is the forced sale of human beings to be used and abused.  There are many forms of it…from sexual slavery, prostitution, forced labor, to forced child marriages and the list goes on.  There are very real networks that cross continents buying and selling humans against their will; it impacts well over 800,000 individuals a year.   Sometimes repeatedly; without concern for the well-being of those who are being transferred like a piece of property.  It is illegal, it is immoral and it doesn’t stop there…sometimes, in many cases it is multi-generational.  In those cases, debt forces multiple generations to work to pay off debts…doing hard labor, with little or no pay.  In conditions not suitable for proper human living conditions.  Often, violence is used to coerce people to do things against their will.  They do not get proper food, shelter, health care or healthy human interaction.  It is not right.  Many of the victims are the most vulnerable in society…the weak, the poor, the disabled, the homeless, and those who are without protectors.

        Do you think it doesn’t affect you?   What if it was happening in your town?  What if it was in your neighborhood?   What if one of your loved ones came up missing?   Missing family member…what if they have become one of the invisible slaves bought and sold for someone else’s gain and pleasure?  People who patronize the prostitutes on any street, in any country, around the world did you ever wonder if …are they doing it because they want to?  Or, are they being forced to perform as a prostitute because they are in fact, someone’s slave?  If you purchase their services…you could be part of the problem. How about people who purchase the servant to cook, or clean in their business or home, especially those  individuals not legally present in that country; are they working for them willingly, or have they been bought and paid for?  

         Our country, the United States of America, is involved in war.  Our military men and women have seen things in other countries that would shock you.  In some of those countries, when war breaks out…rape is used as a tool to destroy cultures and to break down the resistance of the opposing fighters.   Our military men and women have seen what happens to the women in those countries that have been warring with one another when they have gone in to establish some kind of peace-keeping.  Women and children, as well as men, are raped and used horribly.  Some of them never recover, physically or emotionally.   This is unacceptable behavior…no matter what country it takes place in.  These are issues to think about.  No-one is guaranteed safety from these predators.  http://www.humantrafficking.org/updates  This is a global issue.  It affects us all.  If you met one of these individuals in person… how you could be unaffected?  Yet most of us live our lives unaware of their plight.  Their stories of abuse would horrify you. 

         Many of the hotbeds in the modern day slavery networks, are on the news everyday…either they are points of travel destinations, or glamour spots that the rich and famous travel to and from…others are known for their sexual tourism…PLEASE STOP FEEDING THE MONEY MACHINE.   Someone’s “tourism” is someone else’s nightmare!!!   Do some research…don’t travel or support countries that are known for trading the services of human beings, illegally, for money.  Governmental leaders must take a stand and enforce those who would disregard the value of human lives by their inaction.  We must expect legal consequences and demand it from the authorities who can make a difference.

         Ben Skinner’s book, A Crime So Monstrous, touches on some of those people and their situations.  It breaks your heart.  And yet, you know that it is just a way of outlinning the scope of the problem.  You can find out more about the book here:  www.simonsays.com  It is also available as an e-book.  Take the time to educate yourself…read it; and, understand how this affects us all.  We need to stand up and demand that our leaders help to wage a war against those who would commit crimes against humanity in such a vile, and dehumanizing way.  Thank you to those who fight the fight against such inhumanity in our world.  

See possibly related story:  http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/WireStory?id=6081857&page=1 or http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=6121646

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