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Banking Commission Slaps Credit Agency


HARTFORD —  Connecticut Banking Commissioner Jorge L. Pérez announced a settlement on Wednesday with National Credit Adjusters for violating Connecticut banking law pertaining to unlicensed collection activity in the state and collecting on illegal payday loans.

In addition to providing relief to affected borrowers, National Credit Adjusters has paid a $40,000 fine and has agreed to immediately cease from acting as a consumer collection agency in Connecticut without a license.

Following an investigation, the Department of Banking determined that NCA engaged in unlicensed debt collection activity in the state from at least Nov. 2011 through April 2015. In addition, NCA collected on unsecured short-term small loans of $15,000 or less), with annual interest rates far exceeding the 12 percent maximum annual rate allowed by Connecticut law.  These kinds of loans are known as payday loans.

From at least November 2012 to August 2015, NCA purchased and attempted to collect payments on 1,254 such loans and received $66,151 from 136 consumers. A balance of $1,307,457 remained on these loans, state officials said.

“As a result of the department’s action, National Credit Adjusters will no longer engage in unlicensed activity in the State. This change in behavior, alongside assisting consumers, is a chief priority for the agency,” Commissioner Pérez said.  “Borrowers can be sure the Department of Banking will do everything we can to assist consumers in obtaining monies collected on these loans and ensure NCA follows through on their obligation to zero out these loans and no harm is done to people’s credit.”

Under the terms of the settlement, National Credit Adjusters must make every effort to locate each consumer, make restitution for the $66,151 it collected on these loans from the 136 borrowers, zero out all balances totaling $1,307,457 and contact credit agencies to remove any negative ratings that occurred as a result of these loans. Refund checks will be mailed to borrowers no later than October 31, 2016

Borrowers who have questions or need additional information should visit the Department of Banking website at www.ct.gov/dob/casettlement, or call (800) 831-7225 to find out more.

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IRS Aims to Bring Facebook to Court Again


By Adam Stuhlman I @stuhlman_adam

In January 2013, one Hartford resident was in the United States Tax Court because she couldn’t pay a $213 tax bill. She was unemployed. However, Internal Revenue Service lawyers debated penalties for refusing to pay $213, which should have been deducted for educational tax credit.

Then in February 2013 news broke that Facebook amassed a billion in profit in the previous year and did not pay taxes. In fact, Facebook was expecting a refund.

Like many, she wanted an answer to this blatant disparity in how the court system meted out justice to individual tax payers.

Now the IRS is fighting to get Facebook back to court over allegations that the social media giant has avoided paying taxes through shifting money overseas.

Matt Gardner, executive director for the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, said Facebook has been shifting money out of the United States to Facebook Ireland and the Cayman Islands. He said they have also used a legal stock option tax break to reduce the amount of taxes they have to pay.

“The interesting thing about Facebook on this front is that the IRS has been trying to get Facebook to cooperate with their investigation into this precise issue for some time,” said Gardner. “The IRS has issued something like a half dozen different summons to Facebook, which Facebook has basically ignored.”

According to documents from their website, Facebook’s

Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg

$5 billion revenue in 2012 represented a 37 percent increase from $3.7 billion in 2011.

 

Citizens for Tax Justice, a partner organization with ITEP, said that Facebook paid nothing in income taxes in 2012. Gardner said the IRS has issued at least six summons for Facebook to appear in court.

IRS Spokesperson Yadira Nadal declined to comment on this, saying that federal law prohibits the IRS from commenting on any taxpayer, organization’s situation, or case.

Anteneh Daniel, executive for The Brunswick Group, said in an email that Facebook’s statement from their media relations department is as follows:

“Facebook applies with the rules and regulations of all countries where we operate and we have no further comment at this time.”

The Brunswick Group is an advisory firm that “specializes in critical issues and corporate relations,” according to brunswickgroup.com.

“It is very difficult to tell what these assets are worth. When companies aggressively seek to lowball the value of these assets it can be very difficult for the IRS to catch up with that and make them value it (assets) correctly,” Gardner said. “That is what makes it a hard thing to police and monitor.”

Gardner said transfer pricing rules are put in place to make sure that when companies transfer assets overseas, “they do so at a fair price.” But the difficulty in enforcing these laws makes it harder on the IRS. He said the only solution is to make sure the IRS has the proper funding and the authority to go after companies that break the law.

While the IRS may be having difficulty with Facebook, it keeps on going when it comes to collecting taxes from other citizens. An April 2014 Gallop poll revealed that 66 percent of Americans feel that corporations pay too little in taxes, with the middle class paying too much. It also said that 40 percent of Republicans felt that lower income individuals pay to less in taxes, as compared to 22 percent of Independents and 11 percent of Democrats.

Connecticut residents want to know whether lawyers in the Office of Chief Counsel, namely William Borgardus and Debra Lynn Reale, are still targeting nonprofit organizations and individuals after news of Facebook’s victory over the IRS.

Multiple calls and emails to the IRS about lack of corporate income tax and any potential impact this may have on other citizen’s taxes were not returned.

To read the gallop poll click here: http://www.gallup.com/poll/168521/taxes-rise-half-say-middle-income-pay.aspx

To read Facebook’s document click here: https://s21.q4cdn.com/399680738/files/doc_financials/annual_reports/FB_2012_10K.pdf

Reporter Adam Stuhlman can be reach on Twitter: @stuhlman_adam

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Clinton’s ‘Basket of Deplorables’ Comment Was Right


Last Friday, Donald Trump used his side gig—Republican nominee for president—to go back to what he’s actually qualified for, real estate, and hawk his new hotel. A few Medal of Honor recipients allowed themselves to be extras in his two-for-one informational, and one of them used the opportunity to address Hillary Clinton’s critique about a certain faction of Trump supporters. “Deplorables are also deployables,” the Vietnam veteran quipped. He did so with the widest smile on his face—just to let you know that he was pleased with himself.

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Ever since Clinton uttered the phrase “basket of deplorables,” Trump’s most ardent supporters have tried to offer addenda to the claim: That they are “hard-working Americans.” They have families. And in this case, they have served their country. Fair enough, but you can be all those things and still either be racist, or at the very least, willing to support someone who is—which ultimately proves that when you get down to it, you’re not that committed to a belief in equality for all.

It is to be expected of them, but there’s also a noticeable contingent of others who have tried to take greater issue over charges of racism than racism itself.


Read more
here.

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Poll: Gov. Malloy Approval Rating Still Low


HARTFORD — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is one of the least popular governor in America.

According to a Quinnipiac Poll, Malloy’s approval rating was at 24 percent. Seven out of 10 voters in Connecticut, or 70 percent,  say they disapprove of Malloy.

Also, a new survey shows similar results about Malloy’s approval rating.

Malloy’s approval rating was 26 percent in the new survey by Morning Consult.

The most popular governor in the survey was South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who had a 74 percent approval rating. The other least popular governor was Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.

From May through September, Morning Consult surveyed 71,900 registered voters in all 50 states.

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Connecticut Tribes Request Proposals for New Casinos


HARTFORD — The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes, in their continuing effort to preserve jobs and revenue in Connecticut, on Friday announced that after receiving amended applications for the third casino project, they are reopening the Request for Proposals in order to ensure that the process is fair and transparent.

 

“We know that folks are anxious for this process to move forward, and so are we,” said Mohegan Tribal Council Chairman Kevin Brown. “But as much as we want to get shovels in the ground, we also want to make absolutely certain that we invest hundreds of millions of our own money in the right site.  This facility needs to be successful if we’re going to save the thousands of jobs that are at stake, and we’re grateful that we have so many partners who see the tremendous potential for this project.”

 

“We’ve said from the beginning that we want to build this facility in a place that values the large investment we’re going to make,” said Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council Chairman Rodney Butler.  “We believe it’s important for each and every community to know exactly what’s happening and where they stand, and so in the interest of fairness to those that applied, we’ve decided to continue the process so we can consider these latest proposals and any new submissions. We’ll be making a decision in the near future, and look forward to the extensive public discussion that will come along with naming a finalist site.”

 

The new deadline for submission is Oct. 15, 2016. As soon as MMCT has reviewed and considered the submissions, a set of finalist sites will be announced and an extensive public engagement campaign will begin in each of the finalist communities.

 

Municipalities or other interested parties with questions can submit them to Pearce Real Estate at MMCT@hpearce.com.  Responses to those questions will be posted on the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on the Pearce website. Completed applications should also be send to MMCT@hpearce.com.

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Found: The Cosby Show was Based on a Connecticut Family


By Rose Mendes, Staff Writer

The 1980s Cosby Show ran on NBC from September 1984 to April 1992 and became an American household favorite sitcom. New revelation: The television sitcom was based on a blended middle-class family in Hartford, Conn.

That’s according to The Hartford Guardian’s White House Correspondent Ann-Marie Adams, who reportedly learned about this secret from Ben Rhodes, the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications for U.S. President Barack Obama. Since June 2014, Rhodes and others have been investigating Adams. The lengthy investigation led to new revelations about American history and culture. And White House staffers and others believe it’s time to reveal their findings to the American people.

The Cosby Show is based on an immigrant family from Jamaica: The Mesquitas and the Nugents. In Jamaica, they family is considered black. Here in America, they are considered African American and Afro-Latino. The degrees of mestizaje were noted in the blended family’s picture–mainly the complexion of each character.

The Cosby Show's character, Denise Huxtable, was based on Ann-Marie Adams.

The Cosby Show’s character, Denise Huxtable, was based on Ann-Marie Rose Mesquita Adams who emigrated from Jamaica.

The Cosby Show was a popular comedy television series about the Huxtable family, a middle class family in America. So many might question the authenticity of Adams’ claim. However, the facts and pictures should verify the claim.  Adams’s parents and her siblings are similar to each character on the first few episodes of the show. And Bill Cosby, who is facing rape and sexual assault claims, does not.  Cosby has five children. Only four children were in the show.

Sources said the idea for the sitcom and its first few episodes were mainly based on Adams’s family model while they were in Jamaica.

The similarity is seen in the first few characters and the premise in the show, which has a universal theme: a middle-class black family with a favorite daughter.  For example, Heathcliff, ‘Cliff’ Huxtable is based on Adams’ father, who was a government worker and a small business owner in Jamaica. Clair Huxtable, played by Phylicia Rashad, is based on Adam’s mother and sister, who were a housewives.  Cliff and Clair are American citizens. And Adams’s  father and mother, Headly and Minetta,  were Jamaican citizens in the 1980s. They became American citizens in the 1990s.

Adams’s personality was adopted for the character, Denise Huxtable. Her brother, Errol, is Theo and was played by Malcolm Jamal-Warner. Adams’ sister, Andrea, is Vanessa and was played by Tempest Bledstone.  Adams’s younger brother, Tony, was Rudy, clearly changed to a girl in the sitcom. Rudy was played by Kiesha Knight Pulliam.

Adam’s niece, Francesca, was played by Raven Symone, who later joined the show. Other family members who were seemingly represented on the show were Adam’s older sister Marcia and her brother, Lloyd. For Marcia’s, the show added Sabrina LeBeauf, who played Sondra Huxtable. And they added Geoffrey Owens, who played  Elvin Tibideaux. This conclusion is drawn after looking at the cast, sources said. The color scheme or the characters’ complexion tell the story about Adams and her family as an Americanized version of Adams’ family, which would sell better to an American audience.

See photo of the Adams’ s family members, who were used as models for The Cosby Show. Afterward, other characters–also based on family members, were added:

When askethe-cosby-show-family-based-on-jamaican-immigrantsd about this revelation from the Obama administration, Adams said she was not surprised. She’s been likened to Denise in the past. There’s also no need to wait for any validation for that fact, she said.

“The Obama administration presented the facts. I think it’s the decent thing to do so America can correct its past mistake of keeping this a secret,” Adams said. “I thank the Obama administration for doing the right thing.”

The spinoff, A Different World, was based on Adams as a student at Howard University. Her friend Benjamin Baker was played by Kadeem Hardison. Whitley Gilbert’s character was also based on student at Howard.

Rhodes information was corroborated by other  sources in the State Department and other White House staffers, who wanted to remain anonymous.

Rhodes said The Cosby Show and other movies and sitcoms were based on Adams as the central character because she’s an Omen, or a True Biliever in Jesus Christ. She’s clearly a gift from God. She is “the faithful witness of Christians in the face of opposition and or a symbol of hope for a restored people of God.” Most true believer of Christ, Rhodes said, should know what to do with an Omen, who was brought to the U.S. for God’s blessings to rain on us.

According to records, Cosby said the sitcom was based on not his family but on his the standup comedy of Cosby. His bio says the show focused on his observations of family life. That family life, in the beginning of the sitcom, was that of Adams’s life with her father Headly Mesquita, her mother Minetta Nugent and her siblings.

The sitcom came after U.S. President Ronald Reagan visited Jamaica in 1982. Reagan served as the 40th President of the United States from 1981 to 1989. Adams and her family were watched like a Nielsen family since the 1980s, sources said. The Cosby Show aired for eight seasons on NBC from Sept. 20, 1984 to April 30, 1992.

As to why television producers and the U.S. government would use Adams’s family for an American sitcom will not be debated by Adams. But she said someone told her that’s why they all came to America to be Americanized.

“I have no problem with that,” she said. “I love America. I have no reason to doubt these facts.”

The Cosby Show ran on NBC from 1984 to 1992

The Cosby Show ran on NBC from 1984 to 1992 and became a huge hit  winning six Emmys, two Golden Globes. It was also rated number one in the Nielsen ratings for five years in a row.

Photo Courtesy of NBC Studios.

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President Obama on Colin Kaepernick: ‘He’s Exercising His Constitutional Right’


 

During a trip to China for the G20 Summit of world leaders, President Obama weighed in on Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit during the national anthem. While the NFL star’s protest has polarized many—with some calling his decision disrespectful to the military, and many veterans speaking out to show their support for the quarterback—President Obama said Kaepernick is “exercising his Constitutional right.”Though he admitted he hadn’t been following the controversy closely, President Obama affirmed Kaepernick’s right to protest.

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“In terms of Mr. Kaepernick, I’ve got to confess that I haven’t been thinking about football while I’ve been over here and I haven’t been following this closely, but my understanding, at least, is that he’s exercising his Constitutional right to make a statement,” he said. “I think there’s a long history of sports figures doing so. I think there are a lot of ways you can do it.”

Read more at EBONY http://www.ebony.com/news-views/president-obama-colin-kaepernick#ixzz4JVXtkgS2

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Jesse Jackson: Black Voters Have Plenty to Lose With Trump


By Jesse Jackson I New America Media

Race — always a subtext in American politics — has moved center stage in this year’s presidential campaign.

Republican Donald Trump called Democrat Hillary Clinton a “bigot.” Clinton responded by using Trump’s words of racial offense against him.

History suggests both parties have fallen short on racial justice. Jefferson Davis Democrats were slave owners, Confederates, against Reconstruction and members of the violent Citizens Councils and the KKK. They supported legal segregation, and Southern Dixiecrats opposed the Civil Rights Movement.

the-hartford-guardian-OpinionAfter the Civil Rights Act was signed July 2, 1964, Democratic Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina turned Republican in September and began the campaign to convert white Dixiecrats to Republicans. Many of today’s Republicans are old Jeff Davis Democrats!

In 1968 Nixon adopted this Southern Strategy as a road to the White House.

Reagan launched his 1980 campaign with a racial message of “states’ rights” in Philadelphia, Miss., where Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney were murdered for registering black voters.

In 1988, George H.W. Bush introduced us to Willie Horton.

After Barack Obama became president, Republicans introduced 395 new voter restrictions targeting blacks.

Trump continues this tradition not by using “dog whistles” but a foghorn of racism, religious bigotry, sexism and xenophobia.

Trump’s personal history of racial bigotry includes a federal housing discrimination lawsuit; an ad calling for the death penalty of innocent young black males in the Central Park Five rape case; an attempt to discredit Obama’s presidency with the “birther” issue; innuendo suggesting Obama became editor of Harvard’s Law Review because of his race; a campaign demanding Obama’s educational transcripts, implying his admission to colleges rested on something other than intellectual merit; complaints that a judge was unable to treat him fairly in court because of his Hispanic heritage; and promoting false and stereotypical information about the black community.

What do blacks have to lose by electing Trump? He will appoint Supreme Court justices who do not support black interests. He will support racially discriminatory voting laws like North Carolina’s. He will not fix the damage done by the Shelby court decision to the Voting Rights Act. And he will not support a $15 minimum wage.

Blaming black and Democratic officials, this is how Trump addressed their constituents: “You’re living in your poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed.”

Who can deny there are many unmet needs and problems in urban areas, but that’s not primarily the result of black or Democratic will, ideas or leadership, but of Republican policies!

Democratic and black mayors find themselves governing “the hole” in the donut. The donut’s substance and sugar — the money for these cities — is controlled by congressional Republicans, governors and state legislatures dominated by rural and suburban constituencies.

Failing cities are not the result of liberal and progressive policies. Democratic ideas and programs that were working have been gutted and purposefully discredited, defunded and attacked ideologically by the very Republicans who did the gutting.

Conservative privatization and states’ rights ideologies undercut any ideas or programs that advanced the public good or made us a more perfect union.

There are more black elected officials, but their actual power has been weakened through redistricting schemes of stacking and packing. Policy and budget resources are controlled by Republicans, not Democratic and black mayors!

Blacks haven’t given “blind support” to either party; rather, they have supported both parties when they’ve earned it.

Lincoln and the Radical Republicans earned black support. Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, won the Civil War and ended slavery. Radical Republicans supported the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments and Reconstruction.

When Republicans wearied of advancing black interests, less-than-perfect Democrats began earning black support with better opportunities under FDR’s New Deal. Today’s Democrats are more like Lincoln’s Republicans.

Truman desegregated the military; LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, launched a War on Poverty and passed Medicare and Medicaid.

Blacks aren’t giving Democrats “blind loyalty” and don’t have permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests. Blacks support those who support them, as all intelligent voters do.

Blacks, in coalition, will demand that a Clinton administration more fully address the interests of those most in need as we work to make America greater.

Keep up with Rev. Jackson and the work of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition at www.rainbowpush.org.

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Schweitzer Symposium To Highlight World Peace


WEST HARTFORD —   Most do-gooders say they want to create a more peaceful and sustainable world.

Very few get to do it–and do it well. Dr. Albert Schweitzer was one of the few.

Trinity College will sponsor a the first Albert Schweitzer Symposium to highlight his life and career. The event,  free and open to the public, will take place from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 1, at St. James’s Episcopal Church in West Hartford.

The Symposium is part of a new collaboration between The Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival at Trinity College and the Albert Schweitzer Institute at Quinnipiac University.

During the symposium, David Ives, Executive Director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute at Quinnipiac, will introduce My Life is My Argument, a documentary made by the Institute and aired on CPTV in 2007; the documentary won an Emmy for the Institute in May, 2008.

Following the video presentation, Dr. Lisa Wong, a pediatrician, violinist and avid exponent of the benefits of music medicine, will present an hour-long discussion of Schweitzer’s contribution to the field, describing her recent visit to the Schweitzer hospital in Lambaréné in Gabon, and her many personal experiences in performing for patients, especially Alzheimer’s patients. Dr. Wong is the author of From Scales to Scalpels: Doctors Who Practice the Healing Arts of Music and Medicine.

The new collaboration between the Festival and the Institute will bring Dr. Schweitzer‘s love and mastery of music to the offerings of the Institute, and will bring an exploration of Schweitzer’s ethics to the Festival.

 

Both organizations will further explore the connection between music and medicine. Quinnipiac University will be an active sponsor of the Albert Schweitzer Symposium, and will bring university students to Festival events throughout the weekend.
The Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival, now in its 19th year, presents an organ competition every fall in two categories: high school and young professional. The winners receive prize money towards their musical education.
“The Festival and the Institute are delighted to collaborate in pursuing the many areas in which Dr. Schweitzer made a profound contribution,” said David Spicer, Artistic Director of the Festival. “The Institute has always focused on Dr. Schweitzer’s ethical and philosophical endeavors to change the world, while the Festival has always focused on his gifts to the world of music – in particular organ performance. In addition to being a humanitarian, a theologian and a physician, Dr. Schweitzer was an internationally-recognized organist.”

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Obama Movie Features First Date with Michelle


The film about President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama’s first date  in 1989 earned about $3 million at the box office.

“Southside With You,” which transports the viewer to a Chicago outing between Obama and then Michelle Robinson after they meet at a law firm, premiered in 813 theaters this weekend, grossing $3.1 million, according to studio estimates.

The limited-release film finished 13th at the box office. The film was released by Roadside Attractions and Miramax.

The highest grossing film of the week was “Don’t Breathe,” a horror film that pulled in $26.1 million at 3,051 locations. It also premiered this weekend. It was followed by “Suicide Squad,” with $12.1 million, and “Kubo and the Two Strings,” with $7.9 million.

“Southside With You,” which stars Parker Sawyers as Barack Obama and Tika Sumpter as Michelle Robinson, debuted at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival in January 2006. The movie was written and directed by Richard Tanne.

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