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Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Teacher Speaks Out for Common Sense Gun Control

February 15th, 2018 · Education, General, Human Rights, Lobbying, Populism

A teacher from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school where 17 students were murdered and at least a dozen others were wounded by a gunman with an AR-15 automatic rifle speaks out on behalf of all teachers and mothers and fathers and concerned, decent citizens everywhere.


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Her message is clear. To hell with claims about the Second Amendment. To hell with claims that we all have a right to own automatic weapons and carry handguns around. This is the reality. Listen to what she says and write your Congress person or your Senator–NOW!

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Impeachment!

February 2nd, 2018 · Courts and the Law, Democracy, Fascism, General, Politics, Populism

by
Joseph D. O’Shaughnessy

I am going to go through the just released Nunes memo, but I will give you my conclusion about its release, about what it said, about the propaganda being released by every Right Wing web site and media outlet in the country. And I will tell you why Nunes, a lackey, a political prostitute, a man of not only low character, but virtually no character, released the memo over the objections of almost every reputable law enforcement or intelligence agency in the country.

There is only one reason and one possible reason—Donald Trump is guilty of working with the Russians to interfere in our election process, quite possibly leading to his election. Nunes knows, and the President knows, that unless he can discredit everyone with honest and dignity and respectability in law enforcement, with these exaggerations and speculations…he will be impeached.

Consequently, and reluctantly, I now say—we must all—all of us, to save this Democracy—call for his impeachment before it is too late. Write your Senator. Call your friends and tell them to call their Senators–both Democratic and Republican.

Mike Pence is a Conservative and a Right Wing, pay-to-legislate Republican, beholden to the billionaires. But even as that is our option, we must not let this pass. Or we will surely sink into Fascism. And—please—think of what Fascism will mean—total loss of control of our government to one small group of very rich men, and generals and radicals, like White Supremacists and Nazi thugs and gangs now organizing because of this President

In the past, Fascism has cost tens of millions of lives—not the least of which were by those citizens of the countries that were Fascist. The only people who will come out of this whole…no matter what happens, are the hated Koch Brothers. Unless, for some reason a crazy person should assassinate or blow them up. But, hopefully, our tragedy will end before something like that happens.

Now here is the essence of the memo and you decide.

1. The Nunes Committee begins with the accusation that the FBI obtained a FISA warrant to go after information about Carter Page, one of Trump’s associates, for his connections with the Russians involving the U.S. election. Why is Carter Page important? Why do they want to make the warrants by the FBI seem so prejudiced? Because Page doesn’t want to go to jail. And what we don’t know, but what is almost as certain as if he had just gone through a red light at 80 miles an hour…is that he can put Trump in the room or, at the very least, prove that Trump was involved—and the whole Republican house of cards comes tumbling down.

2. The Nunes committee, that is Nunes and the other Republicans, including Paul Ryan, have brought Christopher Steele into this. Steele’s involvement was not political. Steele is a British Intelligence agent. Why do I not say “former” British Intelligence agent? Because I know something about Intelligence collection and I know some things about British Intelligence. So let’s just say two things about this. One, Intelligence agencies don’t want this kind of information out. They don’t want people knowing who is doing what. Nunes is the head of the House Intellignce committee. He knows this, even if he is criminally stupid and arrogant—he knows this is exactly what the Intelligence agencies to do not want. So he thinks, in his tiny little mind, that this will provide or thought it might provide some leverage. It won’t.

3. The memo cites such irrelevant stuff as an article by Michael Isikoff in “Yahoo News” and use the name of Perkins Coie, the law firm behind the second name, Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson and connects the information about Page to the Hillary Clinton Campaign. While it is true that Steel was paid by this group for information that he had previously come upon in his official responsibilities—it doesn’t change the nature of the information—which, remember, was collected long before. Fusion was paying not for information that Steele collected but information that Steele already had. If Mister A commits a crime, whether Mister B or Mister C pays to get information about that crime to law enforcement does not change the guilt or innocence of Mister A. But Nunes would like you to believe…because he thinks you are stupid or easily manipulated..that it does. [Read more →]

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Face it, Folks. We Now Live in a Neo-Fascist Society.

January 20th, 2018 · Fascism, Politics, Populism

by
Joseph O’Shaughnessy

The attacks on the people will begin to increase now. The hugely wealthy backers of the Republican Party got what they wanted….more money . They will use it to fund more radio and television and Internet programs and ads and videos and articles attacking the Left, the Liberals, the Progressives and the Populists. They will do so for one very good reason, at least to them. More money.
The simple math is this. Even if only pay 20% taxes…which many, many more very wealthy people now will—you still pay $200,000 in taxes on $1,000,000 in income. No one wants to pay taxes. The richer you are the more you pay. So the more it upsets you.
Corporations will now have much more money to use lobbying and giving to Pacs that will support Republican legislators. The battle is going to get harder to keep from losing the Social Security and Medicare you paid for or now pay for to those who don’t like paying all that money in taxes.
Since Ronald Reagan, we have had all kinds of economic theory and various excuses about the inefficiency of government. It is all crap. The real battle is over who pays how much in taxes. And the rich just won a huge battle because the hicks still don’t get it. They are still worried about whether they can keep your daughter from having an abortion while the rich will get one anyway and in the meantime you lose the ability to live indoors in your old age.
So the ignorant and or the stupid in our society, who were identified and isolated and used by both the Republican Party and the Russians, allowed them to rig an election. (Yes, the Russians. Find “Frontline” on YouTube and you’ll get the truth. You don’t need to wait for Mueller to indict Trump.) [Read more →]

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2017 in Review: The President Doesn’t Live Here Any More!

December 19th, 2017 · General

By
Joseph D. O’Shaughnessy

The calendar reads January 2017. I try to burn the calendar but it will not burn. With great apprehension, I attempt to remove the pages, to hold back time. But the pages keep coming, like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, day after day, month after month. Each new day brings new terrors, new…tweets.

It is the Chinese year of the Pig. No, it isn’t. Still, I feel like it is the year of the pig and I am the pig and about to be slaughtered. I squeal like a pig. But no one comes.

The Beginnings

The Inauguration itself is not mega, it is yotta. That is, septillions and septillions of people crowd onto the Washington Mall, down the avenues, flow out onto the expressways, flood the interstate as far down as West Virginia and as far north as Camden, New Jersey. People are rubbing up against each other as far south as Birmingham, Alabama, including Republican Senatorial Candidates with teenage girls.

From the Washington Mall, it is not easy to see the President. The crowds are more massive than they have been since Harry Truman left the podium and tried to swim the Potomac at 14th Street. The entire Alt-Right, supremacist population of Idaho is in attendance. The non-establishment rich are there, those worth over one billion dollars who can prove their ancestry in the U.S. is no earlier than 1912. Over a thousand active and former NFL players are there, largely unseen, as they are kneeling.

So it is difficult to actually see the new President. One catches occasional sounds. Now and then one can dimly see that wisp of light-orange candy-cane hair flying in the icy breeze, and occasionally hear an inaugural phrase or two: “Get them out…out…out! Get them out!” Then a return to the dramatic points of his speech, “…and, after she is jailed, those freeloaders and rapists…” and then his words lost again across the megalopolis that Washington has become as a result of the massive crowds drawn by this epic charismatic leader. Then more words in the air…“the rocket man and those rag heads had better….” and “…this rotten, broken down country…” and then the words lost again in the wind.

Next to him, in the glow of his radiant citrus hair, which lights the first several rows of stunned onlookers like a campfire, the beautiful reptilian First Lady stands respectfully like a bulimic Brunhilde ready to fall on her shield for her lord and master. She does not fall, or move or smile or blink or, some say, exhale, which seemed odd and draws stares and some pointing, which distracts from the speech.

Some perceive the massive crowds to be a delusion or perhaps inflated by the several million women marching in the Capitol, many with large signs on which are merely written the initials, “WTF?”

After the bands and the parades and the speeches and after the massive crowds have dispersed to states and foreign lands and other planets, the business of the new government begins. The President reviews nominees for his cabinet, or “Billionaires’ Row” as it becomes known. The names are assembled by a crack team of Trump management experts, headed by the Chef at the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C., the concierge at the Trump Hotel and Tower in Bali, and the head housekeeper at the Trump Hotel in Borneo.

January

Trump names as Secretary of State, multi-millionaire Rex Tillerson, fresh from the oilfields, and the only Secretary of State to take the oath while wearing cowboy boots and sitting on a horse.

Next, Trump chooses as Secretary of Defense, retired four-star general James “Mad Dog” Mattis (listed by the White House as merely “impoverished”) known for issuing field commands so loudly that the enemy, hearing the sound across the battlefield, simply stopped, dropped their weapons and ran…hence his other nickname “Loudmouth” Mattis.

Trump picks multi-millionairess Elaine Chao (bio says “comes standard with interpreter”) as Secretary of Transportation. Best known as the former Secretary of Labor in the Bush Administration, which she shuts down for renovation…for 8 years.

Chao is the daughter of an as-yet-to-be-indicted billionaire ship owner, who operates under the alias, Whang Dang Chang Chao and made his fortune playing Chinese poker, the rules of which are only known to priests of the royal chamber of the Ming dynasty.

Trump invites James Comey, the head of the FBI, to dinner at the White House but feels “dissed” when Comey leaves without eating dessert. Comey maintains the meringue was not cooked properly. Trump says it was soufflé. This will escalate into further conflicts.

Nominations for the 89th Academy Awards are announced. “La-La Land” is nominated in numerous categories, including Best Picture. Democrats spread the rumor that it is a musical version of “The Art of the Deal.”

Nevada legalizes recreational marijuana. Immigration jumps 48%.

Technology begins to take over new product introductions. Testing the new virtual assistant, Alexa, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey says into the device: “Alexa, get me a pony.” Alexa does not respond. Christie insists: “Alexa, get me a horse.” Alexa replies: “Horses don’t come that big,”

The United States Intelligence Agencies jointly issue a report stating that the Russians, under orders from President Putin, have launched cyber attacks against the United States political system. President Trump denies any collusion with Russians and says he will only believe it if Sean Hannity reports it on Fox News.

At the end of the month, Trump nominates Neil Gorsuch as a candidate to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court that had been held open for an entire year by the Republican Senate, waiting for a Republican President. On signing the nomination, Trump asked, “Whatever happened to Scalia?” [Read more →]

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Republican Tax Cut Passes. Woe to All Americans

December 2nd, 2017 · Politics, Populism

by
Joseph O’Shaughnessy

It is done. The Republican/Neo-Fascist tax cuts are ready to go to the House, which has already passed tax cuts and will be, if that is possible, more friendly to the rich and harder on their own constituents.

The billionaires and global corporations, the money behind the Neo-Fascists–have won. It is as simple as that. The rich will get richer. You and I and all the average citizens in this country will pay the bill–in Medicare cuts, in Social Security cuts and, over time, in the complete removal of health care for the poor and needy children.

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That’s what you voted for when you voted in Republican senators in Pennsylvania and Ohio and Wisconsin and the Republican governors in Michigan and Ohio and Wisconsin….all in the bag, all paid off by the billionaires to restrain voting options and cut the voting rolls among average and poor citizens. The winners spent vast sums…millions and millions of dollars to buy these Republican/Neo-Fascist cretins, these scum bags, these phonies and liars who would sell you the American citizens out for a mere re-election to Congress. You’ve been lied to, cheated, and now you will be further drained of resources. [Read more →]

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Say “No” to Tax Cuts for the Rich

December 1st, 2017 · Fascism, Medicaid, Medicare, Politics, Populism, Social Security, Taxes

by
Joseph O’Shughnessy

Call your Senator as soon as you have finished reading this, or before, if possible, and urge him or her…under pain of losing your vote, because re-election is all that matters to them, to vote against the Trump Republican tax bill.

This is not only your last chance to stop a further, huge shift of wealth to the top 1%…it may be your last chance to control anything in your life having to do with the government.

This tax bill will do one very significant thing that will influence your life. It will provide about a thousand people who are richer than you can possibly imagine, who are already spending about a billion dollars every election cycle to keep you in your economic place, and, to insure that you stay there, to actually reduce your economic status.

Don’t ask why they would do such a thing. Why is Donald Trump President of the United States? Why do bilionaires need more than on jet plane and half a dozen luxury homes? Why does a couple with no children need a home with 42 rooms?

Don’t ask “why” when we’re talking about greed. A man in 1929 on Wall Street jumped off a building because he thought he was broke…with only $18 million left to his name! A woman with many needy relatives left here fortune of (only) $20 million to her dog! The governor of Illinois makes $91 million a year, while governor, has 9 homes in top places in the country, like Central Park in New York and on the ocean in Florida…and yet wants to deny teachers their pensions! That’s why he ran…and to deny government workers their rights to join a union to get better wages…(which raises wages for everyone, by the way.)

If the Right Wing billionaire class gets its hands on another trillion dollars…because that is what we’re talking about…they will immediately fund every Right Wing Republican who promises to follow their lead. What does that mean? [Read more →]

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A Republican Defends the Counterfeit Trump Tax Plan

November 24th, 2017 · Politics, Populism, Social Security, Taxes, Trump

by
Joseph O’Shaughnessy

Peter Roskam, House of Representatives member from the 6th District of Illinois, was interviewed recently on public television about the new Trump-Republican tax plan. We’ve taken the liberty of abbreviating and responding to his comments–and inserting some facts. We have more follow up after the video. Read the details and share them with others.

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There is no big movement towards a tax cut or even much towards tax reform…which, by the way, this so-called reform plan does not do. Where was the big uproar over “reforming” the tax code? What group of CEOs suddenly marched on Washington with placards that read “Lower our Taxes,” “Bring Our Money Home!” The facts are pretty clear. Corporate profits have never been better and Wall Street hits new highs every day. This after years of deliberate Republican neglect.

The Republicans, under racist and Neo-Fascist leaders, like Mitch McConnell, said on the very night after President Obama’s inauguration, that they would not allow one piece of legislation to pass. They didn’t say that they would prohibit every piece of legislation “…except for those important to the people, to keep them healthy, to keep them employed.” They obstructed all legislation that would make the Obama Administration successful and that restricted economic growth and that reduced the number of jobs and the increases in wages for the American worker. They filibustered 400 pieces of legislation from becoming law. But it gets worse. [Read more →]

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Republican Tax Plan: Huge Tax Gains for the Rich. Huge loss for the Middle Class

November 13th, 2017 · Politics, Populism, Taxes

by
Joseph O’Shaughnessy

If you live in a middle western state, like Illinois, you will hear self-serving radio commercials praising Republican House members for the…presumed…tax  plan now in Congress. The Republicans are trying to get out in front on this issue…a tax cut that is going to make the rich richer and the poor…if not poorer…no better off.

Some people are not happy about it.  Congressman Ric Larsen of Connecticut is fuming over the fact that it will damage the lives of many Americans, pretending to give them minimal tax cuts, while removing many of their biggest deductions. Jared Bernstein, a distinguished economist, says that in the long run he and other economists feel that it will create huge debt, only for the benefit of the rich. Finally, Bernie Sanders lays it all on the line…who is behind the tax cuts…who benefits and why.

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If your income is under $24,000, you probably do not pay income tax anyway. But if you are a hedge fund manager on Wall Street, you could likely get a tax cut that would increase your income by more than $200,000. That will not create new jobs. Hedge fund managers and others in the financial field do not create more jobs…unless you work in Wall Street. [Read more →]

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How Putin Helped Republicans Put Trump in the White House

November 5th, 2017 · Fascism, General, Trump

by

Joseph O’Shaughnessy

The outstanding PBS documentary series FRONTLINE has produced a documentary that explains Putin’s role in the Trump election. We have tried to edit it down to manageable scale so you can see what happened.

It will also help explain why President Trump’s campaign is under investigation. The video is long but very important. After the video, we have tried to reveal how others try to suppress the vote and take over our democratic election process using both wealth and stealth.

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Putin isn’t the only one trying to sew dissent and division among Americans. There are very powerful forces, enormously wealthy individuals, like the Koch Brothers and others whose goal is to control our Democracy. And how are they doing it? By purchasing the loyalty of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate of the United States to their causes, which are directly opposed to your causes. For one example, they do not like the growth of government. The reason they do not is that, despite the fact that they pay only about 15% of their income in taxes, they see no reason to pay even that much. After all, it comes to millions of dollars a year. Of course they are left with billions after they pay their taxes, amounts that they could never spend and could only invest with the greatest of difficulty.

Beginning in about 1990, the Citizens’ United political Pac began lobbying and then suing in federal courts to overturn all legislation prohibiting billionaires and millionaires from spending as much as they wanted in elections. The Koch Brothers, the principal culprits, and like-minded friends fought for and finally won their case with a Republican 5-4 majority in the Supreme Court. [Read more →]

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Fascism. It Can Happen Here. In Fact, It Has Happened Here.

October 24th, 2017 · Capitalism, Democracy, Fascism, General, Politics, Populism

by

Joseph O’Shaughnessy

There is an old adage that used to be said about many things in this country that were out of the mainstream “Well, yes, that happens over there. But it can’t happen here.”

It can’t happen here, we thought, because we have the vote. We would always vote those bastards out. You know the kind. The ones who would not accept immigrants from Italy or Ireland or Iran or China. The kind who made jokes about Jews behind their backs. It will take a while, we thought, but we are inexorably moving toward the day we will be a better…a truly good society.

But not all of us and not at all times. Yes, we eventually ended lynching. And now we have…and we do have it…irrational, excessive police brutality. And we’re trying to end that. So, it can happen here…all kinds of bad things do happen here.

But Fascism is a problem of another magnitude. Because Fascism says the following: I want to control a political party that runs the entire country without objection. I the leader want to run it my way…no matter what anyone else wants. I, the Fascist, …being a million or two or ten…of the entire 300 million population want all the political power. Here’s what it looks like when it gets big enough. Just watch.

Does this remind you of anything? “Take our country back!” “Make American Great Again!” For whom? For those “Patriots” who will pander to the rich who want to pay no taxes? To the Republicans in Congress who have already voted to remove health care protections from 30 million Americans and want to come back and take it from even more poor working citizens? Who are they talking about in this film? White, Anglo-Saxon Protestants….a group self-identified as those who are the “Right Kind of People.” Not, of course, the unions, as they attempted to fool the people in 1939…Hitler disbanded the unions in Germany and put the leaders in concentration camps.

And what about the symbols? The huge ceiling-high portrait of George Washington. Fascists always appeal to “patriotism.” It is a false sense of patriotism…the kind where you are either with us…or a traitor. And traitors are punished. It is a society in which everything is politicized, from the way you salute the flag…there is one accepted way…to the way you want people to live in their own homes.

We are not talking about the kinds of small-time sycophants who stood on that stage and laughed while a man who came to protest a system that was genocidically murdering his relatives in Auschwitz was beaten by a gang of thugs. These cyphers who merely stood on the stage in uniform were not the worst of the Fascists. We must remember that for every rally that Fascists held in Europe, there were legislators and judges who had quietly voted to remove all the rights and protections of  the citizens. One by one, they stripped citizens of their rights and eventually their freedom. If you think that the people in Madison Square Garden that night would not have stripped American citizens of their rights, then you are dangerously naive.

I have lived in Germany. They are among the finest people in the world…decent, honorable and deeply compassionate, with a wonderful good humor. But they are the same people, the same ancestors, the same blood running through their veins, the same background and history. But they were baited lied to and propagandized into the same kinds of robots that you watched lift their arms in that film. They were turned into a monstrous political party sworn to an ideal of insensitivity and cruelty and exclusion and, ultimately, an unreasonable hatred of others–people whom, for the most part, they had never even known. They were propagandized repeatedly, daily, with no opposing viewpoint to believe that they were superior and others were wrong. In 1939, they were the people seeking power. Today, the majority of Americans are closer to them…we elected their President…than the image in which we have always seen ourselves. Unless we change, we will become those people.

It can happen here. Now you have seen it.

Today, we have those in power… in the Senate, in the House, in the Supreme Court and in the Presidency…and in 31 states at least…who work for powerful forces, men who believe that they, not you, deserve the fruits of this nation. Stockholders, not citizens are those who should run this country. They have purchased almost an entire political party to do so. They have the power and the funds to buy the television and radio commercials to persuade a majority of people to keep their candidates their legislators in power.

It will continue and get worse unless we resist. We saw the inklings of a revolution in politics last year, in the Sanders campaign. A true Populist, not, like Trump, a Fascist parading as a Populist, Sanders offers real solutions to the problems besetting the Middle Class. He offers a progressive, Populist plan to restore government to the people and, yes, take it back from those who work for billionaires and giant corporations who want to have more tax cuts for their extremely rich stockholders and send more jobs abroad.

It is time to wake up. The country is already in the control of one political party from local government through the Presidency, and with Neil Gorsuch on the  Supreme Court, the most dangerous government ever in office in this country.

Watch the film again. Send a message to as many others as possible to watch it, either here or on YouTube. We are all in danger and the money from one more tax cut may be all the American Republican oligarchy needs to stamp out opposition forever.

 

 

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Politics for Dummies: Populist versus Fascist

October 5th, 2017 · General, Politics, Populism, Taxes, Trump

by Joseph O’Shaughnessy

We spend a lot of time in this country identifying people and things, like fads and trends. It is not difficult to do because a.) they’re usually pretty insignificant and b.) they last until the next big news event and are forgotten. We are the ultimate “disposable” society. We have very few permanent assumptions and those that we do, are flawed. I’ll give you an example.

For most of the last 35 or so years, our government has run on the economic principle that by lowering taxes, we will increase business activity and therefore increase government revenues in the long run. The majority of American voters accepted this as truth. But it is not. Tax cuts of themselves do not generate greater economic activity leading to greater government revenues. In fact, exactly the opposite happens.

Over the last 35 years, we have gone from an $800 billion national debt to a $19 trillion national debt. This happened even though we cut government spending several times, including about 9 percent across all of government starting in 2013.

The problem with our government and our national debt is that the rich pay less in taxes than any time since the early days of the 20th Century when the robber barons simply plundered society for their own affluence.  This time, it started with Ronald Reagan. A good President in some ways, he was unfortunately the tool of major corporate interests and Conservative millionaires and billionaires. In addition, his wife was their very strong advocate.

Not everyone was fooled. George H W. Bush, an intelligent and well educated man, but crushed in the 1980 Republican campaign by the Reagan propaganda machine, tried to get the facts out to the voters. But they were in the grasp of the Reagan charisma and believed the Reagan fairy tale (which perhaps he also believed.) Listen carefully to what George H. W. Bush says in this one-on-one debate against Reagan.

 

What George Bush said was extremely significant but lost in the gibberish and sloganeering in Reagan’s response, which the people applauded. What Bush was saying was this: Kennedy cut taxes from a top rate of 97% down to 74%. It was a good idea at the time, and cut taxes by $11 billion on the rich. But the net loss in revenue was about $4 billion not an increase. When Kennedy did it the rich were paying too much, and importantly there was no deficit. But at the time that Reagan was proposing it, the budget deficits were just beginning to grow. That meant that Reagan’s plan, which Bush had earlier called “voodoo economics” far from increasing revenues, would cost government $25 billion per year and even more over time. [Read more →]

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Trump Tax Cuts Versus Your Social Security and Medicare

September 29th, 2017 · General, Politics, Populism, Social Security, Taxes

Perhaps it is time for the big battle. Perhaps it is time to have an all-out war against the Titans.

Trump and McConnell, the would be Fascist and the already Neo-Fascist who run the Republican side of politics in this country want to cut your taxes slightly to delude you into thinking that they want to make life better for you.

The foundations and PACs are ready to pour money into tax cuts. Why? No matter which taxes get cut they make money. If corporate taxes go down, they make money. If estate taxes go down, they make money. If top rate taxes go from 39.6%, which they are now, to 35%, in this new “only 3 brackets” scheme of Trump’s, they make big money. And if capital gains rates go down even a fraction of a point, they make millions.

Here is one billionaire. Listen to his thoughts on more tax cuts for the rich.

 

Many wealthy families…people in the top one percent of income and wealth understand that government must have sufficient funds to function, and the largest amount of income must rationally come from those who have most. We all pay the same tax rates at every bracket. But at some point, the vast majority leave off and those at the top of the income ladder, pay a little higher percentage, even though they often pay an amount the turns out to be a much lower percentage. Still, they do pay enormous amounts in reals numbers. Statistically, however, it is never more than 2 bucks for Uncle Sam and 8 bucks they can put in the bank.

Remember also, that in many cases, these are businessmen or families who either built a company that they never expected to be worth billions (like Microsoft or Oracle or Facebook) or those who inherited already large corporations, like Koch Industries. At that top bracket, we allow all kinds of leeway for the super-rich to keep as much as possible. But when cutting taxes affects roads, streets, bridges, or the health of children and the very lives of the frail and elderly, it is time to say…enough tax breaks. We must have enough income to function.

So who are these super-rich who feel that they are over-taxed? Let’s just take one example.  Let’s take one organization called “Restore Our Future.”

It is a PAC, actually a super-PAC, an organization designed to put their people into office and keep your people, people like Bernie Sanders for certain, and other like Hillary Clinton..if possible…out of office.  By law, they can spend as much as they can afford.

In 2012 alone…just 2012…they spent $38 million trying to get the Republican nomination for either Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum. They didn’t succeed. So they gave $13 million to Mitt Romney. But that didn’t succeed. And it didn’t succeed despite the fact that they spent $88.5 million in the campaign AGAINST Barack Obama. [Read more →]

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Income Inequality and Taxation

September 21st, 2017 · Economics, General, Politics, Populism, Taxes

by Joseph O’Shaughnessy

What is income inequality and what does it mean to the average person? Does it matter to you or me if someone makes 20 billion dollars a year? Most average people, going through their daily routines, never think about how much someone else makes, only what they themselves earn. So let’s examine the concept of “income inequality” and see whether or not it has any influence on your life. Here’s a video that you may have seen. If you haven’t, it is a reality check on income in America. You may be astonished at what you learn.

Before we go further, let’s make a couple of assumptions. Can we just agree at the outset that no one should be concerned by large  fortunes or how they were earned (or even if inherited )…so long as it was legal? Nor should one worry about how the rich spend their money. The long, relatively proud history of the United States has rewarded independence and initiative and has always considered wealth–if not without envy by some–to be a sign of innovation, persistence and hard work. There is no reason to change those ideals. Let’s concede that we would all like to make a lot of money .

But the term “inequality” does have some inherent implications. It implies unfairness. Does it not imply that there are super-rich but also homeless and foodless among us. What about the idea of enough income among everyone to establish a fully functioning society, equitable to all who live in it?

The famous Austrian political scientist, Frederick Von Hayek would say that there is basically no such thing as being fair when it comes to the economics of large societies. The economic circumstances determine a great deal about who makes how much. If you try to change the economic formula, from free markets to controls–Socialism, for example–the evidence, he maintained, with some validity is that it simply won’t work. Economics dictates income. How much of that income each person should pay in taxes to maintain a working society is the question.

And it is always an extremely difficult personal judgment. In fact, Hayek says, it can’t be done. But he does offer a solution. [Read more →]

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Steve Bannon is no Populist. His own words prove it.

September 14th, 2017 · Fascism, General, Politics, Populism

by Joseph O’Shaughnessy

Steve Bannnon is no populist. In the Charlie Rose interview, part of which you can watch below, (although you should read the entire article first) he admits it by telling us that he is a populist and then describing the people with whom he associates. It is as if Goebbels said that he was a populist and then described his friends…Borman, Eichmann, Goering and, oh yes, Hitler. And then as if he went on to describe all their good works, like invading Poland and building small communities called concentration camps.

Charlie Rose quite cleverly lets him go on and on, rambling about his past successes, not realizing that some people are going to point out that all of those efforts were done to destroy the Middle Class, elevate the already elevated incomes of the Super-Right-Wing Rich, and to create lies and exaggerations that would elect Republicans. It is all about money, about getting it and using it to get more.

Bannon starts off talking about meeting with Trump with his mentor, David Bossie who founded Citizens’ United. Bannon says Trump understood the Tea Party, which makes sense, as the Tea Party is funded by his pals, the Right Wing billionaires, several of which are in his Cabinet.

It is not a grass roots movement. It never really was. It was a bunch of totally uninformed and deliberately misinformed citizens, organized by the Koch Brothers’ organization, Americans for Prosperity. The billionaires had decided that universal health care, while good for people, was bad for their tax bills in the long run. So we know that the Tea Party has long been a vehicle for the Right Wing of the Right Wing Republicans to protest against any kind of expenditure that will help the People. It is funded by the Right Wing Super-Rich to stop any spending on policies for the people, like health care.

The idea that either Bannon, or Trump is a populist is ridiculous. Bannon’s career was one of constantly attacking Democrats, who are all progressives and many, like Bernie Sanders, are on the extreme Left. In other words, he attacked politicians who are almost unquestionably themselves on the side of the People.

Bannon was part of a group that relentlessly attacked Hillary in particular for her support of human rights, civil rights, jobs, better wages, women’s rights and gay rights, as well as trying to prevent corporations from sending jobs abroad. He didn’t attack either George W. Bush or Dick Cheney who encouraged legislation actually designed to promote sending jobs abroad. In effect, Bannon attacked Hillary for being married to Bill Clinton. He blamed her for her husband’s trade policy, even though she had nothing to do with it, and even though it worked well until provisions were changed, just as was his tax policy and his anti-terrorist protections, after he left office.

Bannon says that he became involved with Trump while making a movie with Dave Bossie, one of the leaders of the ultra-Right Wing CPAC, Conservative Political Action Group. Bannon could often be found at CPAC meetings, along with the Koch Brothers and Rush Limbaugh. Not your basic Populists. Bossie had led the effort to enable the spending of unlimited funds by the richest Right Wingers in the country through Citizens’ United. He was funding a movie that Bannon wrote and directed, called “Generation Zero” in which Bannon blamed the Baby Boomer generation, the victims, not Wall Street, the culprits, for the Great Bush Recession. [Read more →]

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