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Using IT for Political Advocacy

February 27, 2017 Leave a comment

senate-house20seals

While many citizens choose Twitter and/or Facebook to advocate for important causes (or just vent), it’s definitely not the only weapon in the advocacy arsenal.

Countable and VoteSpotter are two apps enabling social advocates and political junkies to obtain info regarding issues and bills, so citizens can respond in real time to their elected officials.

We need everyone to fight for our Rights. Please contact your elected officials and tell them what’s important in your life. Remember, they work for you.

Do the elected officials in Washington stand with ordinary Americans – working families, children, the elderly, the poor – or will the extraordinary power of billionaire campaign contributors and Big Money prevail? The American people, by the millions, must send Congress the answer to that question. -Bernie Sanders

 

 

 

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Traveling? Beware of Credit Card Fees

March 31, 2015 3 comments

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Planning on traveling, I had to make a few important phone calls. You would think the calls were to family and friends, but no, I had to contact my bank and credit card companies. After a barrage of interrogative questions from a financial representative asking where I was going, when I was going, and when I was returning, I finally gave out to my interrogator. “You do not need to know exactly when I’m leaving and returning, you only need to know an approximate time frame for each destination. To be frank, I’m uncomfortable about telling anyone that I’m leaving my home on specific dates. In addition, the likelihood of me using your credit card after finding out about 3% fees for each use are slim to none.” And with that, I was finally able to end the call. Thankfully, my debit card company advised me of no fees and was less inclined to act like a stalker regarding my travel plans.

So, with spring break and summer travels coming up, I thought it was a good time for a travel-reminder blog post about credit cards and debit cards. Because card fraud is a concern, consumers should contact financial institutions to ensure out-of-the-area transactions will not be declined. Furthermore, you should ask the following questions to ensure the best rates and avoid fees for foreign travel:

  1. Are there foreign transaction fees? Do the fees apply to purchases and/or cash withdrawals?
  2. What charges apply to purchasing foreign currency directly from a financial institution?
  3. What is the purchasing process to buy foreign currency prior to departure?

Prior to my travel dates, I found out that my two credit cards had 3% foreign transaction fees, but my debit card did not. You can find some helpful information regarding changes in credit card fees in the article, Cards with no foreign transaction fee cards surge. In short, don’t subject yourself to unnecessary fees and let financial institutions know they’re losing out on your business; otherwise, you can pretty much count on having your pocket picked!

Nobody had a credit card when I was a kid. No one had credit card debt. But these big companies and banks wanted to know how to get more money out of people – get them charging things.-Michael Moore

Categories: Money Tags: , ,

Consumer Politics: BuyPartisan

February 28, 2015 Leave a comment
Spending while Supporting Your Ideals

Spending while Supporting Your Ideals

I’m fessing up. There are products I like that I no longer buy. Why? Because I know where the company’s profits go. Now, my purchasing power no longer supports a political party that is not in line with my political beliefs.

More consumers can take advantage of the power of the purse by using the “BuyPartisan” mobile app. With a simple swipe of a product’s barcode, you can find information regarding “political donations of the CEO, Board of Directors, PAC’s and employees of the company you are buying from.”

In short, money is power, so support companies with your ideals when spending your green.

It is money, money, money! Not ideas, not principles, but money that reigns supreme in American politics. – Robert Byrd

 

 

There is Still Time to Rise Up Against Income Inequality

March 10, 2013 8 comments

Income in America Out of Balance

“A Harvard business prof and a behavioral economist recently asked more than 5,000 Americans how they thought wealth is distributed in the United States. Most thought that it’s more balanced than it actually is. Asked to choose their ideal distribution of wealth, 92% picked one that was even more equitable.” -Mother Jones Article: It’s the Inequality, Stupid

Obviously, our system is broken, but there is still time to fix it by rising up against income equality. It’s important to take the time to contact your elected officials, speak with your neighbors, and advocate with and for our communities. Together we can fight against the rising income equality in our country, and a way to start is by speaking up in support of living wage initiatives, and signing petitions such as the “Time for a Raise” Petition.

Once upon a time, the benefits of American life were bountiful, but our unions are being trounced upon by corporate interests. Full-time workers are living in poverty while corporations are getting subsidies, and taxpayers are picking up the tab for all of it.

So, please start your own raise awareness campaign:
-Support living wage initiatitives
-Invest in products made in the USA
-Support unions, local businesses, and artisans
-Contact your elected officials, and speak about the lack of job investments

Lastly, I want to thank you for your activism; it’s important that we all do what we can to extinguish apathetic tendencies, and promote opposition to income inequality in order to have equal opportunity for us all.

“There can be no peace as long as there is grinding poverty, social injustice, inequality, oppression, environmental degradation, and as long as the weak and small continue to be trodden by the mighty and powerful.”
-Tenzin Gyatso, The 14th Dalai Lama quotes (Dalai Lama, b.1935)

Links and Tips to File Taxes for Free

February 28, 2013 43 comments

IRS freefile_banner

Photo credit to Google Free Images

It’s tax time, and I’m here to offer a couple of links and tips to help lower-income earners get their taxes done for free. Yes, for free. To start, you will need to go to the IRS website which offers links to free file companies, but don’t pick one right out of the gate! After taking a look at what is offered, then go to your home state’s Department of Taxation and Finance website, and review the tax professionals listed there so you can ensure that the company you choose will be able to do both your federal and state taxes. This will save you time in having to reenter the information.

Secondly and more importantly, after you complete your federal taxes do not click on the link to start your state taxes; instead, go back to your state website and pick the company you used to file your federal taxes. It’s an extra step, but this will save you money. If you do not do this, you will most likely be charged for filing your state taxes and/or you will have to contact the company directly to see if you can get a promotion code to waive the charge.

Lastly, please ensure you have the most up-to-date information available regarding filing your tax returns, deductions, tax scams and phishing by reviewing your state’s home page as well as the IRS homepage.

May your tax filing be easy, fast and a plentiful return!

The tax man’s taken all my dough,
And left me in my stately home,
Lazing on a sunny afternoon.
And I can’t sail my yacht,
He’s taken everything I’ve got,
All I’ve got’s this sunny afternoon…
-Ray Davies of The Kinks singing “Sunny Afternoon”

Categories: Money, Taxes Tags: , ,

Produce the Note! The Rallying Cry Against Foreclosure

March 30, 2012 10 comments

There’s hope for some, and it’s all about saving one’s home.  Foreclosure is no longer the end all; instead, there appears to be a couple of options from squatting in your own home to an offer from at least one bank to rent your own home.

I was watching The Rachel Maddow Show  when I first heard about Representative Marcy Kapture who rallied the cry on the house floor:  “I say to the American people you be squatters in your own homes.  Don’t you leave!”  This statement made back in 2009 has gained steam not only from the dire straits of those who are losing their homes today, but was founded and fought for by those who protested against the loss of their homes in the past: Foreclosures and Evictions from Depression to Recession.

Now, the new rallying cry is Produce the Note!  After all the fraud spurred by greed, it appears that many may have a chance to save their homes because mortgage brokers failed to secure the proper documents to prove your home is no longer yours.  In light of this information, it’s not surprising that at least one bank is offering the option to rent you your own home.

Call me a skeptic, but I believe the main reason why the rental option is now on the table is two-fold: the bank wants to make money until they can actually sell your home, and more importantly if you sign a document now there is an actual record.

You can find more information about the Occupy Our Homes movement via a host of media outlets inclusive of  Mother JonesSalon.com and Truthout.org while FindLaw offers specifics regarding “Produce the Note” tactics.

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent they conquered.”  Thomas Jefferson

Free Money, Back Taxes and Phishing…Oh My!

February 25, 2012 2 comments

Photo credit to Google Free Images

Well, it’s that time of year again, and I’ve noticed an uptick in a couple of beneficial programs as well as a warning regarding phishing so I thought I would share them with you.  First off, we have a tax refund alert for those who did not file in 2008; in addition, there is free money for those who will save their tax refunds, and lastly a reminder to not fall prey to an IRS phishing scam.

IRS 2008 Tax Refund alert: calling all low wage earners from 2008 who didn’t make enough to file their taxes, but paid taxes throughout the year.  You can still claim your tax refund by April 17, 2012; if not, it goes back to the US Treasury.  For further information, please check out this article from ABC World News Tonight.

Free Money Newsflash:

New York City’s SaveUSA program offers an incentive to save at tax time. At select Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites throughout the City, you may have the opportunity to open a SaveUSA account when you file your taxes. Save at least $200 of your refund for a year and earn 50 cents for every $1 you save. Save $1,000 for the maximum $500 match.”

And it appears this program is getting around so check with your local tax representative for further information:

“Residents who save part of their 2010 tax refund for a year will get a 50 percent match for every dollar saved up to $1,000. The program, “Save USA,” operates in New York and is expanding into Newark, San Antonio and Tulsa, Okla.”

Now that you have ways to make money, please don’t fall prey to scam artists who are phishing for your green!  If you receive an email or text in regards to your refund delete it!  The IRS never emails or texts.  For more information, the IRS released the “Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2012.”  Believe it or not, the IRS tax site has great information including tax advocacy, local offices, and how to file for free.

I hope this information proves useful, and your refund is all you expected it to be and then some!

Let me tell you how it will be
There’s one for you, nineteen for me
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman

Should five per cent appear too small
Be thankful I don’t take it all
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah I’m the taxman

If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.

Don’t ask me what I want it for
If you don’t want to pay some more
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman

Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman
And you’re working for no one but me.

-George Harrison