MONEY: Pensions are at risk! (Updated)

U.S. companies face $409 billion pension deficit: study
    * Wednesday January 7, 2009, 5:35 pm EST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Volatile markets have saddled U.S. companies with a $409 billion deficit on pension plans, reversing a $60 billion surplus a year earlier, and will cut into earnings in 2009, consulting firm Mercer said.

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Put aside the obviously corrupt Enron-type organizations like the State of New Jersey, GM (who wags call “a sick insurance company that happens to make cars”), and the other “captive of union contracts” companies, that make no pretension of even trying to honestlly fund their pension obligations.

This presents a problem for both companies and all of their pensioners. If the company doesn’t make money, the federal Pension Guaranty fund will eventually be saddled with it. Think the Delta pilots getting screwed.

(You weren’t still living in the illusionary world of the “gold watch” era. Were you? Where “companies” felt a moral obligation for the promises they made. Silly rabbit. That went down the drain with all the other ethos that made America great.)

So if you are owed a pension obligation, you better get vocal.

Better yet, like the Social Security Ponzi scheme, plan for it to not be there. It probably won’t!

Sad, but true.

You can only count on the gold coins in your back yard for your “retirement fund”. And then you have to pray you don’t get Alzheimer’s and forget where you buried them.


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John Celenza on Facebook commented: “But haven’t pensions always been at risk? Invested as they were in stock. duh.”

My response:

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No, there is risk. And there is gambling. Back in the “gold watch” era companies, like AT&T and IBM, incorporated subsidiaries whose whole job was to pay those pensions. (That prevented things like Delta pilots getting screwed.) They staffeded it with execs nearing retirement to watch the pot. And they took it as a moral obligation to pay those and fully funded them. In IBM’s case, I know they over funded them to be certain. I suspect AT&T did the same thing. Today, it’s completely different. It’s gambling.  Except where there is not even a pretense of doing the right thing, that’s just fraud. imho!

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RANT: Officials at Occidental College challenged on Obama

Eligibility battle rages on 3 fronts
Court, Congress and college challenged on constitutionality
Posted: January 18, 2009
12:05 am Eastern
By Bob Unruh

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Officials at Occidental College in Los Angeles, Calif., have been served with a demand to produce records concerning Barack Obama’s attendance there during the 1980s because they could document whether he was attending as a foreign national – in one of three fronts now established by those contesting the president-elect’s constitutional eligibility for the Oval Office.

The Supreme Court and Congress also both are being challenged to address the worries that Obama doesn’t meet the requirements of the U.S. Constitution that the president be a “natural born” citizen.

WND has reported on a long list of legal cases raising questions over the issue, and several of those have reached the U.S. Supreme Court already. Justices have so far declined to give any of the cases full hearings on their merits, but another conference remains on the Supreme Court docket for Jan. 23 on the issue.

“If Obama is sworn in as president, we will file a Petition for Writ of ‘Quo Warranto,’ a case that will challenge Obama as being ineligible to serve as president because he is ‘not qualified,'” said Philip J. Berg, a lawyer who has brought several cases to court. Berg, whose information is on his website, indicated the issue isn’t going away.

Orly Taitz, a California lawyer whose dispute remains pending before the high court, agreed, noting that one of the hearings already is scheduled for the days following Obama’s inaugural on Tuesday.

Taitz said her arguments rest on precedents from both the California Supreme Court, which years ago removed a candidate for president from the ballot because he was only 34, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s affirmation of that ruling. The Constitution requires a president to be 35.

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The biggest question was why, if a Hawaii birth certificate exists as his campaign has stated, Obama hasn’t simply ordered it made available to settle the rumors.

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Why indeed? What’s to hide? Why not?

On Tuesday, do we have the final nail in the Constitution?

If at some point down the road, like all the other Presidential “dirty linen” it comes out that he was not a US citizen, it will proove Spponer correct about the Constitution.

Fascinating stuff!

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SERVICE: Cell phone transforms into a personal security device

My Mobile Witness, a groundbreaking new cell phone service that turns your cell phone into a personal security device. My Mobile Witness stores photos or text and warehouses the information for use only by law enforcement authorities. The breakthrough technology is fast and simple to use: an individual takes a photo or creates a text message and sends it to their individual account where it is stored in the My Mobile Witness digital vault. The photo is time-stamped and stored on a site accessible only to law enforcement officials who have limited “active case” or subpoena access to the information when the images may be relevant. Think about getting that license plate of the hit-and-run you just saw.

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I think about the youngsters meeting in a bar. Their wingman can take serendipity pics to establish exactly who they were leaving with.

May sound crude. Maybe I’ve seen too many “Law And Orders” episodes. But makes sense to me.

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