Our reader-poll results are in, and this is how the various heads of state fared… [...]
One of the key issues that dominates political discourse today is that of the environment. Alongside terrorism and global poverty, it presents one of the most pressing topics in the political sphere. One of the single most potent factors in this debate is that of the Conservation Movement, the social movement that seeks to protect natural resources, including plant and animal life. This article is a short introduction to nature conservation with some tips about how you too can get involved. [...]
While the distance from London to New York may only be about 3500 miles, the difference between how each of the cities police their financial markets could not be further apart. These differences have become clearer when considering the recent legal filings that have affected corporate executives as well as fund managers.
Throughout history the differences between the markets in the United States and those in the United Kingdom have been fairly clear. In the United States laws against white collar fraud, overseas bribery, as well as insider trading were all aggressively enforced where as these laws were not aggressively enforced by the United Kingdom. However, recent misbehavior such as the recent financial crisis has caused legislators to crack down harder on financial activities. This is causing the difference between the regulations in the United States and the United Kingdom to become even starker.
Notably in the UK, as policies have become stricter, the base level effect has been to reduce the willingness of large institutions to offer Independent Financial Advice – meaning that the average citizen receives lower levels of service than ever. That may be an unintended consequence of regulation, but it’s certainly the reality.
Other Victims of the Differences
There have been several victims of these differences in laws. One of the victim’s was David Einhorn, the manager of Greenlight Capital. He was ordered to make a payment of €7.2 million by the Financial Services Authority – Now the Financial Conduct Authority, from the United Kingdom. He was ordered to pay this amount over allegations that it was not legal for him to sell their stake in Punch Taverns when it was learned that Punch Taverns was going to offer a round of equity financing. Greenlight Capital sold over eleven million shares of the company to cut its stake in Punch Taverns from 13.3% down to 8.9%. This helped Greenlight avoid €5.8 million of losses.
According to Einhorn he did not believe that he broke any rules as he was not an insider of the company as evidenced through the fact that he did not sign a non-disclosure agreement. He did agree to pay the fine as opposed to continuing the fight.
Insider Trading Definition
In the case above it is easy to define the main difference in US and UK law when it comes to insider trading. The charges against Einhorn were based on the UK law section 118 that make it a violation for an insider to purchase or sell shares based on insider information that is related to the investment being questioned. In the United Kingdom an insider is a person that learns confidential information through his employment or duties or that was obtained by another means and knows that it is inside information.
In the United States the idea of possession theory is rejected. Insider trading in the US requires the government to prove that the individual that has been charged is required to disclose the information based on the confidence and trust between the parties. In the case above, the matter would not have warranted the charges that were set by the United Kingdom.
This is just one example of where the laws between the United States and the United Kingdom are different. For those that are considering international trade it is important to become familiar with these laws.
Unfortunately, violent attack crimes in urban areas are on the rise. No one wants to think that they could be a victim in such a heinous act, but sadly, the probability that it could happen to you, or someone you know is very possible. In the United States alone, there is a violent crime attack every 22 seconds. That means that every 22 seconds, someone is injured or killed as a victim of a violent crime. The FBI defines a violent crime attack as any act by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting bodily injury. The four categories they use to classify these crimes are, aggravated assault, robbery, rape, and murder. The best way to ensure that you do not become a victim of these violent crime attacks is to be aware of what the dangers are, and how to protect yourself from being a victim.
Classification Of Violent Crime Attacks:
Aggravated assault is the most common violent crime attack. Over one and a half million people are assaulted every year. 75% of those assaults are reported in urban areas. Second to assault is robbery. Robbery is a violent crime attack that happens to over 500,000 people yearly, and almost always involves bodily injury or death. The third most common violent crime attack is rape. Women are especially susceptible and the statistics show that 1 out of every 6 women will suffer through this heinous crime at some point during their lives. Ranking fourth by the FBI as a common violent crime attack is murder. There are approximately 15,000 murders each year in the United States. Although the statistics for murder are lower than the other three types of violent crime attacks, it is still not very comforting to know that it could happen to you or someone you know.
There are many different things that people can use to protect themselves. Many are non-lethal and legal to possess on your person. By using a non-lethal means of protection it will allow you to get that extra minute needed to escape an attacker without having to resort to violence yourself.
Non-Lethal Defense Devices:
One protective device that people are carrying now days is a stun gun. A stun gun does exactly what the title suggests and when put next to an attackers skin, offers a high voltage that will stun the attacker. This immobile state will last for up to 10 minutes which will allow for ample time to run away. It will hurt but it is not lethal, and it will throw them back long enough for you to get away. Another means of protection is pepper spray. This debilitating spray causes the attacker to not only lose the ability to see, but also makes it difficult for them to breathe. Pepper spray can be sprayed many times at distances between eight and ten feet away which will allow you to defend yourself at a safer distance, perhaps, than using a stun gun. Taser guns are also very effective self protection devices. They work by shocking an attacker and causing them to lose control of their muscles. Many people choose the Taser gun as a self defense tool because it does not have to hit a specific part of the body, or be in close contact with the attacker to work.
Another option for a non-lethal self defense weapon is a tactical flashlight. Using the bright light of such a flash light you can blind a possible attacker long enough to run away or disable them with your stun gun,
Preventing yourself from becoming injured or dead is the most important thing you can do if you find yourself in a violent crime attack. Understanding that these things do happen far to often, and learning about the different ways of defending yourself could just save your life.
Outsourcing was and continues to be a hot topic. As more and more ADP American jobs get shipped overseas and with the American worker now being rapidly replaced by robots or machines, it seems that “outsourcing” and “offshoring”, although not he death knell for the economy it was once thought to be is still a hot topic and hotly debated ion Main Street and the corridors of American government.
The idea of outsourcing and offshoring became mainstream and a huge buzzword just a few years ago as everyone in business scrambled to get a Virtual Assistant after reading the groundbreaking book from Tim Ferris titled The Four Hour Workweek.
Although not everyone went out got themselves a virtual assistant or “VA” like Ferris suggested, but for the first time, Americans realized the full potential of outsourcing and offshoring their most mundane task like ordering flowers for the wife and calling to reserve a hotel in New York.
The trend soon found its way into American businesses seeking cost mitigation and increased efficiency.
Just last summer, one of the premier “American” companies announced that it will be trimming costs even further and outsource a further 70 information technology jobs to Infosys in India as a part of cost cutting measures.
The trend continues with many other large companies as reported by HFS Research last summer. They found that India is now the second most desirable region for expanding IT services for all companies largely due to its cheap labor costs.
But the trend may be changing. Chief information officers who used to send development and software work offshore to places like India are now wanting to keep that work nearby on the shores of America instead.
But there are some companies who have decided that outsourcing and “offshoring” can and should be done not by sending jobs overseas to virtual assistants and offshore workers, but can be done with workers right here in the United States, preserving jobs and keeping cost-conscious clients satisfied at the same time.
One such company is Standard & Poor’s the well-known credit rating agency is revamping their strategy to offshore their work to India and Asia, setting demands to keep workers close and within three hours distance from their Manhattan offices. Standard & Poor’s CEO is adamant about keeping workers here in the United States while maintaining good communication during daytime working hours as well.
When it comes to repetitive tasks using spreadsheets and software implementation, these types of businesses have been particularly susceptible to offshore. Bookkeeping and payroll services using outsourced employees has been the favorite of many American firms for years. The cloud bookkeeping company RQB from Bridgewater Massachusetts has resisted these trends building its business based upon American workers in its Bridgewater offices. For the cost outsourcing your bookkeeping, you can hire and American company to do the same and the same price instead.
Payroll services are another type of repetitive task that were one of the first American industries to Foley outsource accounting, bookkeeping and payroll to offshore sources in India. ADP, the leader in payroll accounting has recently begun to bring hundreds of those outsource jobs back to their campuses and employ American workers after a seven-year hiatus.
Even American universities such as Texas A&M has started to reverse the outsourcing trends in their administrative offices bringing employees back on the shores of America. Although Texas and is using outside companies to staff these positions, the jobs are securely back on US soil.
Although outsourcing is still hotly debated topic in the halls of Congress as well as Wall Street and Main Street as it has many political ramifications ever since the introduction of NAFTA in the early 90s, outsourcing trends may be reversing bringing American jobs back to American soil and further strengthening the American economy.
Whether you are simply getting new windows or planning an addition for your expanding family, finding a reliable competent contractor is always the first step to a satisfying and successful home improvement project. When you are choosing someone to be working on it, your home is one of your most valuable assets and you want to be cautious.
You will find many contractors that advertise on the radio, in newspapers, and on TV. Do not just go and add to represent the quality of the contractors work. It is always better to first try to get references from friends, neighbors, or co-workers who have had improvement projects done in their home. Be sure to get written estimates from everyone that you are considering, and ask them for an explanation of any price variations. Do not always go with the lowest bidder.
Depending on the complexity and size of your project, you may choose to have a few different contractors for the job. A general contractor would help to manage all aspects of your project including the hiring of subcontractors and supervising them, scheduling inspections, and getting all the building permits that are required. The general contractor also works with designers and architects.
Specialty contractors will install very specific products such as bathroom fixtures and cabinets. Architects on the other hand are used for major renovations such as designing additions and homes. If your project is going to require structural changes you may also want to hire an architect that specializes in doing home remodeling. If you hire a build/design contractor, they provide a one-stop service. These contractors will see your project through from beginning to end.
You need to be careful not to be tricked into hiring a less than reputable contractor. Not all contractors are on the up and up. Some signs to watch out for would be a contractor that is soliciting door-to-door, the contractor only accepts cash payments, they say that they have leftover materials from their previous job, and they try to pressure you into an immediate decision.
Be wary if the contractor does not have a business number listed in the local directory, if they ask you to pay for your entire job up front, they offer you discounts for finding them other customers, and they offer unusually long guarantees. Be sure that you interview each contractor that you are considering. Know how long they have been in business, make sure that they are registered and licensed with the state, ask them for all their references, and find out the types of insurance that they carry. Also ask if they will be using subcontractors as well.
Choosing the proper contractor to handle your home improvement project will help to save you a lot of headaches in the long run. Depending on the complexity and size of your project, you may choose to have a few different contractors for the job. A general contractor would help to manage all aspects of your project including the hiring of subcontractors and supervising them, scheduling inspections, and getting all the building permits that are required. These contractors will see your project through from beginning to end. Some signs to watch out for would be a contractor that is soliciting door-to-door, the contractor only accepts cash payments, they say that they have leftover materials from their previous job, and they try to pressure you into an immediate decision.
I try not to get too personal here at Grassroots America which is why most of you wouldn’t know I had a pretty bad accident riding my bike a few years ago. A guy in a pickup made an illegal left turn right when I was cycling through the intersection and took me out. I was laid up and out of action for several months but luckily I had my wife and family for support. I’ve fully recovered now but it wasn’t always a foregone conclusion that I would.
After I had recovered enough to leave the hospital I started the long and tedious process of getting compensated for all my pain and suffering related to the crash. I ended up with a structured settlement that was designed to pay my medical bills and provide enough monthly income that in case I couldn’t return to work I wouldn’t have to live as a pauper.
Fast forward five years and I was doing great. My body had healed and the psychological effects of the crash had worn off and I was able to start biking again. I also joined a hiking group that was going to make the trip to Everest the next year. For people who are serious about hiking, Everest is the holy grail. It’s the world’s tallest peak and those who make it will have achieved something truly remarkable.
While my body was on the way to being ready to join them my bank account was not. I was still receiving my settlement payments but it wasn’t enough to allow me to spend the $40k it would cost for the gear, travel, and guides needed to mount Everest. After thinking long and hard I decided to sell my structured settlement. Not the whole thing of course, but enough to allow me to go on this amazing journey.
Before I settled on selling I did a few things I recommend everyone do before making a major life decision. I made a list of pros and cons and went over them with my wife. The pros were easy, selling the settlement would allow me to climb mount Everest which would be the experience of a lifetime. I also believed going on the trip would allow me to finally move past my accident and prove that I was both physically and mentally healed. The cons were a little more difficult to come up with. Yeah, it was nice having the money coming in every month but I also had a job and didn’t need the payments to live off of.
In the end it wasn’t a hard decision and my wonderful wife fully supported me. I sold a portion of the settlement and a year later I made it to the Everest base camp. Totally worth it.
So when people ask me “should I sell my structured settlement?” I recommend they do their research, talk to their financial advisor and family, and think long and hard about what they’ll use the money for. It was a great option for me and I’d do it again in a heartbeat but only you know if it’s the best idea for you.
There’s no doubt that a nation’s political climate has an effect on the real estate market. Mortgage interest deduction and the overall health of the industry is ultimately anchored on the policy changes that legislators enact. You’ll find we have Republicans that refuse to bend over their advocacy in raising our taxes, while Democrats are hesitant to modify unsustainable entitlement government programs. The result of these political agenda often create dilemmas that would spell delays in economic reforms that eventually have an impact on the real estate industry.
Let’s start with the tax policies that control the real estate market. Often collected on the county level, real property tax rates vary at most at 0.2% to 0.5% of the home values in different states. We all know that the property tax stands out as the principal source of capital that sustains local education, fire and police protection, free medical services and the majority of other local infrastructure projects. If the local real estate market become too expensive for the middle class to afford, then these municipal services are doomed to become unavailable for everyone who needs them. Reforms in tax deduction clauses will surely encourage homeowners to take the bullet in mortgage interest and property tax payments if these values are made affordable for them.
Despite the US government shutdown, real estate advocates deem that these has no direct effect on their market. However, rural housing projects overseen by the Department of Agriculture saw delays in the process of income verifications. In short, politicians should stay focused in the middle class’ ability to afford the interest rates, if it becomes too expensive then policies should be enacted to manage the looming impacts on government services that rely on the funds attained from this. Mortgage rate payments with all factors included can easily be computed on this calculator.
Although home owners cannot expect a good tax reform law any time this year, it is still a crucial topic to be discussed extensively in the bipartisan political action committee. Beyond all the political misgivings about the current political and economic status on the national level, potential home buyers can take a positive take on this. If they seek hard enough, they might encounter a great deal when sellers become apprehensive as these people are eager to offer up their properties in a discounted rate.
Divorce can be super stressful. It’s hard to make the best decisions, when you mind is clouded by emotional turmoil. Unfortunately, even when your mind is distracted, you still need to pull the trigger and make important life decisions, like choosing the right lawyer
Finding the right divorce attorney is vital. Do you want the house? Full custody of the kids? If you even want a chance at getting what you want in a divorce, you need to make sure you have the best attorney. They will not only bring the right results, but they will keep you from stressing out and save you a lot of headache.
Many realize how important a divorce attorney is only halfway through the process. In fact, more times than not, when a divorce attorney takes over a case, it’s a case that has already been worked by a previous divorce attorney that didn’t work out.
Here are several tips to make sure that you pick the right divorce attorney the first time:
Prepare to Get an Attorney Early
Divorce doesn’t just come up suddenly. In fact, in a recent study 75% of divorcees responded that they knew the divorce was coming before their partner asked for a divorce. And, if you’re the one initiating a divorce, clearly you know exactly when you’ll need an attorney.
If you start meeting with attorneys early, you’ll get to meet them casually. This allows you to understand their personality and work ethic at a slower pace. This way, you can find a great lawyer when you aren’t strapped on time, and you can choose the lawyer whose best, not just the first lawyer that’s available.
Ask your Friends
Divorce happens in 50% of relationships. It’s a sad statistic, but unfortunately, that means half of your married friends could very well see a divorce down the road.
However, this also means that you have a network of trusted sources that can help you. It’s important that you find a lawyer you’ve had personal contact with, not just the lawyer you found on Google.
And you don’t have to ask just friends. Think about your professional network as well. If you have a therapist, a CPA, or another attorney from the past, they could very well have a good recommendation for you.
Hire an Attorney That Focuses on Divorce Only
Many attorneys feel like they are the jack of all trades, and can take on any case. This really means they are the master of nothing. If you want the best results for your case, you want the best attorney for the job. This means someone that specializes in family law or divorce. A specialist in divorce will know the ins and outs of the law and can handle your case with the most up-to-date knowledge of the industry..
Know Your Attorneys History
You should have a strong idea of the professional history and approach of your attorney. Have they practiced family law for a long time? How do they negotiatie? What’s their retainer?
All these questions are vital to getting the right attorney. If these tips have been helpful, you should take a look at Girolaw for a divorce attorney NJ. It will help you to get started on the right attorney for you.
The term “libertarianism” is one that is incredibly broad. It encompasses a wide array of complex and often conflicting ideologies and has a significant number of sub-categories and branches. In this short article I’m going to explore some of the core tenets of what can be generally described as a “libertarian world-view.” The intention of this discourse is meant to be practical, in the sense that it should form a useful tool for you to help develop and clarify your own political beliefs.
Fundamentally, a libertarian is concerned with balancing two specific societal elements: first, the maximum amount of freedom for the individual and second, the role of the state in governing individual actions. A libertarian wants individuals to have the freedom to follow their own values, consistent with a minimum amount of government intervention as long as they do not prevent others from doing the same.
Broadly, there are two categories of libertarian thought: there is the view (as exemplified by Ayn Rand and Ron Paul) that it is immoral to take any form of aggressive action towards another person, that harming anybody else is immoral in and of itself; the second view, that can be labelled a “consequentialist view”, is more closely aligned with the definition given in the second paragraph, in that aggression is permitted, by the state, when other individuals’ freedoms are violated.
Generally speaking, libertarians will argue that the only feasible justification for state intervention is when market arrangements fail to compensate an individual for the harm imposed upon them by a third party. A good example of this, relevant to today’s society, is that of environment. A libertarian would argue that it is justifiable for a government to impose legislation on an energy producer, such as a power plant, when that private entity has an impact on individuals in the surrounding area. On the other side of the environmental debate, a libertarian would argue against the public ownership, and thereby the responsibilities of maintenance, of natural spaces, such as Central Park. This is based on the core libertarian premise that: nobody maintains their property as well as the owner.
These ideas are closely tied in to a strong belief in property rights. In order to properly define “aggression against another individual” there has to be a notion of property. As an example, if I were to take your watch from your wrist, the only way that could be construed as an act of violence is if that action is understood within the context of ownership. If you do not own that watch, you have no intrinsic right to possess it. The libertarian idea of ownership is predicated on the premise of self-ownership. Following from this, ownership over land and objects is sustained by “mixing” our labour with those things that exist in nature, or those that are acquired through trade in a free market (this is called “legitimate title transfer”).
Libertarians tend to believe that the free market is one of the best agencies for alleviating poverty on a mass scale.
Continue this exploration of libertarianism in Part 2.
First of all let’s take a look at the basic facts. The Tea Party movement got its start in 2009. By taking advantage of several social media sites, and having messages with broad appeal, the Tea Party quickly gained popularity. The primary goals of the Tea Party are to reduce the national debt, reduce government spending and reduce taxes. The movement has traits of conservative, libertarian and populist beliefs. The name is taken from the Boston Tea Party of 1773, a pivotal moment in early American History.
Rick Santelli is widely accepted as having helped provide the launch for the Tea Party movement. On February 19, 2009, at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Santelli gave a speech against President Obama’s proposal to help home owners facing foreclosure. He argued that tax payers should not be forced to help “bail out” citizens who did not borrow money responsibly. He went on to say he would organize a Chicago Tea Party in July. Video of the speech was put on YouTube and went viral. While Santelli does not deserve all of the credit for forming the movement, he certainly provided the spark that gave it nationwide attention.
The Tea Party movement organized a series of protests throughout 2009 all over the country. They drew crowds well into the thousands and networks like Fox, CNN, and MSNBC began to cover the growing activity of the movement. In 2010, the Tea Party movement began endorsing candidates for elections. 138 congressional candidates were endorsed, all of the Republican Party. Of those, 129 were for the House of Representatives, and 9 were for the Senate. Overall, Tea Party candidates did not prove very successful. While their messages of low taxes were popular, they failed to gain traction with many mainstream voters.
Local Tea Party chapters play a more prominent role in state elections. In some cases, candidates have run, not as a Democrat or Republican, but as a Tea Party member. Candidates running as Tea Party members have not seen much success however. Since Tea Party members tend to be more conservative, they split votes with the Republican candidates, usually providing a victory to the Democratic candidate. This has been a major issue for many conservatives and the Tea Party has gathered criticism on this particular front.
Popularity of the Tea Party dropped after seeing little mainstream success in the 2010 and 2012 elections. In 2013, a scandal involving IRS officials specifically targeting Tea Party groups for audits, based solely on their political affiliations, was revealed. This scandal helped slightly revive the Tea Party and they received significant support, even from liberal leaning groups.
The upcoming 2014 elections will be a major test for the staying power of the Tea Party movement. Without a major victory, it seems the Tea Party will be unable to remain a viable power. Because the Tea Party lacks national structure, it seems unlikely they will be have a unified platform and may fade in popularity even further.
For further information, you can check out the official site of the Tea Party movement.
So you want to make a difference and you’ve decided to enter politics? Good on you. It’s not easy, and at each juncture your commitment to your ideals will be tested. But with the right mindset, and by following some simple steps (although you will definitely have to improvise along the way) you can set yourself up for a good beginning run.
Start Getting Involved
Whatever political stance and party that you associate with, there will always be some kind of community activity in your area. Whilst it’s not necessarily limited to campaigns in the run up to elections, local, state-wide and even presidential, these will form one of the biggest parts of your initial involvement. You’ll also want to join clubs, groups and community-based action groups to integrate yourself into the wider group of supporters. Grassroots movements are also, of course, always open to membership.
This doesn’t necessarily mean a college education, although that would definitely help. What you’re doing in the process of learning about the subjects you’ll be engaging with as you attempt to climb the political ladder is meeting tonnes of like-minded people, and beginning the networking that is going to be vital later on. If you are at college or university, get as active as you can in college politics. Now is the time that you’re going to start forming those all-important contacts.
Consider Becoming A Field Organizer
These are the people responsible for recruiting individuals for hep promoting campaigns and co-coordinating their activities. Hopefully, you’ve got some experience of this already through your involvement in local groups. There are numerous campaigns that you can get involved in, and there’s usually some kind of office that parties will be vying for. This is an important step in giving you a sense of the organization and leadership that’s required when running for public office.
Always Be Moving Up The Ladder
Becoming a director, even managing a campaign, are things that you should always be open to. Climbing the proverbial political ladder isn’t a clear-cut process, and as you become more involved you’ll be able to see the internal politics of your own organization much more clearly. That being said, the further you can rise internally, the more power, contacts and experience you’re going to have when you do first decide to run for an elected position.
Master Your Personal Charisma
Like it or not, you’re going to have to present yourself to people and persuade them that you’re better than the competition. Dedicate yourself to learning about public speaking and inter-personal skills. Work on your self-belief and your confidence. They’ll come to help you in the long-term.
Run for Office, But Start Small
When you come to run for office, all the skills you’ve learnt and the contacts you’ve made will come to serve you. Start off small: the school board and city council are two examples of offices that you can run for initially. You can then use your foundation of supporters to leverage your career towards bigger and better things in the long-term.