Monday, September 27, 2010

Worthy Dead or Alive

It is no secret that businesses can and do take out life insurance policies on individuals working for their company. It is a common practice to insure the lives of key personnel including executives, partners, and people deemed “essential”, so in the event of their death, the company will have income enough to keep the company afloat or to hire someone with equal knowledge and value. This type of policy is called corporate-owned life insurance or COLI. The value of the policy is generally based on the compensation or expertise of the deceased. It is not meant to add to a company’s profit or bottom line.

In April 2002 the Wall Street Journal ran an article written by staff reporters Ellen E. Schultz and Theo Francis entitled “Companies Profit on Workers' Deaths Through 'Dead Peasants' Insurance”, something at the time was deemed “as widespread as it is little-known”.  The article cited the case of Felipe Tillman of Tulsa, Oklahoma who at 29 years old, died of complications from AIDS.  Felipe had not purchased life insurance but the company he worked for CM Holdings Inc did. The company received a death benefit of $339,302 in Felipe’s name even though his employment ended before his death.

Here is what is known about Dead Peasant Insurance:
  • It provides a tax break to companies that purchase the policies.
  • Companies may take out loans using the cash value of the life insurance policy as collateral.
  • Companies have used death benefits to make good on executive bonuses.
  • Policies are now written on lower level or “rank and file” employees at amounts that far out way their salary or seniority.
  • A death benefit can be paid to the company even when the employee no longer works there.
  • Younger employees who die offer larger payouts than older workers due to actuarial computations that figure they are less likely to die young therefore “the same premium amount buys more coverage for them.”
  • Though this practice began to boom in the 1980’s, employers were not required to tell employees until 2006. Even still these policies are often done without the employee’s knowledge.   

Some people find this practice acceptable and perfectly within the right of employers. They argue if the company pays the premium then the company should get the benefit. Others would say that their primary objection is the fact that companies have deducted the interest expense for loans from COLI policies from their taxes. However Congress has stepped up on restricting these instances where the interest is allowed to be tax deductible. Then there are those who find the practice appalling and several families have been successful in suing companies for taking out policies on employees without their knowing.

For those that are appalled, you may decide to take a stand and boycott the list of companies that maintain such a practice. If so, be prepared because you will likely not be able to cool or heat your home, use your credit card, talk on the phone, or clean your home, and if you like your whites whiter than white then “forgetaboutit”.   

Many companies track the employees who have left their employment, but anticipate receiving a death benefit by checking the Social Security Administration's database of deaths. So, if you are unsure whether or not you have value and worth – simply because you exist, all you have to do is ask your current or previous employer to find out if you are lucky enough to be on their list.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An Evening with Michael Bernard Beckwith and Robert Thurman

On the night of this event, 400 or more people were in the audience and my view was obscured, so I took notes. During intermission I had the chance to speak with Michael. It was the best I'd heard of him and Robert Thurman was incredible as well. Please share your comments and thoughts. Peace and Blessings. Bukeka

An evening with Robert Thurman-Theologian and First Monk ordained in the West and actress Uma Thuman's father AND Michael Bernard Beckwith founder of Agape International and starred in The Secret. The evening presented by  Beyond Words publishing at Trinity Episcopal Church in Portland, Oregon September 10th 2010

B - Beckwith 
T - Thurman

T-About awakening  "Wake up and don't go back to sleep".

T says this is a Beckwith saying he likes."Ask what makes you come alive and then go do that."

T- "Reality itself is alright. We are capable of understanding reality as bliss. How we understand reality matters".

B-Awareness is an event that takes place in consciousness. An insight a revelation. Michael's awareness of God came to him as "Love/Beauty/intelligence"

Jettison the grit and the dirt. We are radically unique. Surrender yielding to the next stage of our own evolution.

Deep inquiry that informs our actions.

T-Points to  Beckwith qoute "We're alight already."

Suffer or joy we're alright already. Part of Americans suffering is due to not feeling at home in this country because it was taken by  committing genocide.

Analysis of the mind- to free ourselves we must understand our suffering.

When I have the experience of reality. You realize you are everybody else. Buddha says about his enlightment "It was the opposite of what I expected." He had to understand suffering in order to know the way to happiness and he had to come the realization that this was  what he wanted and chose to experience. This was enlightenment.

It's all bliss including Frustration.  Buddha sees all the world as a mother sees her only child. Wanting to care for  her suffering child.

You vs the Universe is suffering.

B-individual means undivided.

Equanimity-this is key

T-Why jesus was woman
Could whip a meal for huge crowd in minutes.
Hung around a bunch of guys and taught them what she knew,  and they still didn't get it
After you die there is work still to be done.

B-imagine yourself living just as you are for all eternity w/o transformation. This is hell.

Profound happiness is compassion for others.
The lack of altruism causes suffering. Human life develops empathy for others. Skin is not the boundary.

T-The mother/child relationship the ability to experience love in a profound way. Imagine Dick Chaney as a loving mother. Jokingly T says Imagine suckling from his teet to demonstrate knowing the Divine nature of Chaney-big audience laughter-B says there's no way he can imagine that. They joke about that several times throughout the presentation.

B-Insight are these qualities kindness, empathy, longing to be released. Reality is a state of Nirvana. Altered state is anger and separation.

T-We have to love the evil doers.
B-anguish and bliss so close together. One day he became aware of every mistake he ever made. "Then in an instant I saw myself as seen by the infinite and my suffering went away. I thought I was fine and then it happened again the next week" answer is continuously see ourselves as the Divine sees us.

T-one of things he does that is amazing. When he Da Li lama is depressed he comes out of  it through compassion.

B-I'm in divine flow of all needs met

Look up-Healthy economist
Enlightened economist
(Columbia University)

We're here to help society evolve.
Based on questions from audience:

T-Question about Withdrawing  politically
The way we understand evil is to recognize it within ourselves. That means we will not hate. They can in a loving way be political. Be compassionate.

B-Compassion is the highest form of love. How can we help evolve without the attachment to the outcome.

Non-attachment: being involved without attachment to the outcome. It is not detachment. Detachment is apathy.

Question about being afraid to die. Death is only a  choosing to release life. Most people afraid ro live.

T-People are great escapist. They create nonsense as if  there is no consequence. They get tied up in fate and nothingness. Everyday choose the slightly better than slightly worse. It all matters. We're really scared of living.

B- Fatalism: Projecting unresolved issues and calling it their future.

Question on celebrating life.
We are celebrants of the divine. We have to choose celebration. For existence itself.

B-There are trials....but be of good cheer.

T-Being of good cheer, anger is obstruction of the throat. Contribute to the good before you get angry. If you can do something about a bad situation why get angry.

B-Sacred activism


T-morning take few minutes to focus, dropping away from anxiety. What can I do for others. I am shaping my world vision but not for too long a time. Minimal meditation before sleeping review the day. Resolve that the dreams you have  will be loving. Advice on time: Keeping them short.

Stop your meditating while you enjoy it. Don't push yourself to go a long time.

B-What is meditation paying indescribable attention to what is real what is divine. Awareness/Intention (why am I here doing this) load in the freshness (this is the first-time I ever seen this, felt this....) developing a capacity to listen. Not just with your ears but with your whole being. My awareness of  my breath. Meditation is: Being available to a deeper awareness of connectivity.