Populist Daily

Politics, Culture and American Life

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Trump: A Fantasy of Being President

August 10th, 2016 · 2016 Presidential Campaign, Democracy, Economics, General, Lobbying, Politics, Populism, taxes, The Budget, Trump vs HIllary, Wall Street, wars and militarism

Donald Trump recently laid out his economic policies in a speech in Detroit, Michigan. It is no surprise he did it there. Detroit is a disaster, created by a variety of mistakes, both from politically active but administratively unqualified Democrats and then from greedy, uncaring, arrogant Republicans who want basically to buy up Detroit and make a profit on it at the expense of the citizens, who are primarily black and poor.

Trump uses the term, “America First.” It is not a new term and that is why he uses it. It was first used by a large isolationist, somewhat anti-Semitic group  prior to World War II, up to 1941 that included such members as Charles Lindburgh, but also Justice Potter Stewart, General Robert Wood, President of Sears, Roebuck, and student members like Gerald Ford, Sarge Shriver and Jack Kennedy. It was a popular movement, with memberships in over 450 locations around the country. It virtually died with the 2500 men at Pearl Harbor. But it eventually became more and more problematic as news of Nazi and Japanese atrocities became more evident and as it took on more of an anti-Semitic image. Probably not a good image for Trump to emulate, given his own image of racism, warranted or not.

Let’s start with his comment that we have abandoned the policy of putting America first. He says that we no longer do, and that it has cost us trillions but we still have the money to resettle millions of refugees here. Well, we have resettled many refugees, although it may be “millions” over a long period of time unless you consider busloads of children from Central America sent here to avoid being murdered by gangs, who are then largely returned. Immigrants cost us money the first year they are here. After that, they make money for us. Those are facts from people like FAIR, the organization that tries to get rid of immigrants. And they are talking about illegal immigrants, not refugees who are often the intellectuals in a state that dictators want to bump off first.

And as far as China destroying our economy. It is not China. China has a right to build its own economy, where people make less than fifty cents a day by comparison with our standard of living. We, our corporations, are the ones sending jobs to China. Not Hillary Clinton. U.S. Corporations. And who supports them? George W. Bush and Dick Cheney introduced legislation, and with a Republican Congress passed legislation to give incentives to corporations sending jobs abroad. Is that virtually criminal, along with their other crimes? Hillary Clinton thinks so, as does the Democratic Party and Bernie Sanders. But Donald Trump not only does not thinks so, Donald Trump owns companies that manufacture products in China, just like Walmart and thousands of other firms in the U.S. [Read more →]

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The Koch Brothers, Trump and the Theft of the American Dream

July 4th, 2016 · 2016 Presidential Campaign, ALEC, Capitalism, Democracy, Fascism, Lobbying, Media, Politics, Populism, taxes

Please take a look at the Koch Brothers’ latest piece of propaganda–quite probably the worst and perhaps most consequential lie ever told in a television commercial, (in the right-hand column, under “From the Right.”) Watch it, and then read on.

“Look around…” it says. “…America is divided.” The title of the commercial is “It’s Time to End the Divide.” The divide? Who created “the Divide?” Who created the government that has virtually eliminated taxes for the rich and given us the largest income inequality in the world and in the history of this country? Did you? Did any of the roughly 300 million Americans who comprise one half of the divide? The Kochs and the other billionaires who gather at their meetings semi-annually to decide which politicians to support. They created the divide and they did it deliberately.

“With government and corporations picking winners and losers….” Who is the government? With 33,000 lobbyists for people like the Kochs, it is the corporations who not only decide winners and losers in business and income, they also, through one of the hundreds of Koch Brothers funded organizations, pick the politicians they support or actively try to defeat. The Kochs have elected a majority of Right Wing Congressmen and Senators and a majority of Right Wing governors, about 30 out of 50. All Republicans. Only one Democrat, as of last reading of the list was a member of the Koch Brothers-founded-and-supported ALEC organization, which basically buys state legislators.

ALEC puts corporate sponsors together with state legislators, takes them on trips to places like Palm Springs, then sets them down and tells them what legislation (which their lawyers actually write) they want to be enacted. That is why your cable bill is so high and why, in so many states, even the local community cannot even start its own Internet, even though they could easily do it and do it cheaper and make it faster. They write laws to prohibit anti-pollution regulations, for example. Which is why in the ALEC-owned, Republican state of Michigan a governor can substitute his own person instead of the elected representative of the people in any community, change direction, and, as happened, poison them with lead and toxic-tainted water.

But it goes on…”…(showing obvious poverty and unemployment scenes)…rigging the system against the People, creating a two-tiered society, with policies that fail our most vulnerable,dooming our poor to an unjust cycle of incarceration, stacking the deck against businesses that don’t get subsidies and tax breaks….(then an image of Abraham Lincoln)” These people are astonishing. THEY are the ones creating inequality, poverty and electing former Segregationists, White Supremacists, former KKK members to both state legislatures and Congress, using exactly these kinds of techniques. When the Fascists in Italy and the Nazis in Germany wanted to take over their governments, they were not the majorities. They did it by persuading the populations of those two countries that the inactivity, nothing being done, (which they had created by obstructing every piece of reasonable legislation) was the fault of the system, the current method of government, and more could be done in Trump-like fashion. This is the entire purpose of these commercials.

This brings us to Trump. Why don’t the Republican hierarchy like Trump? Is it his insulting manner? Well, have you seen any of the racist materials put out by the Right Wing Republicans or listened to any of the radio time from Rush Limbaugh or the banned-from-visiting-Britain, MichaeL Savage? Have you ever heard of Sarah Palin or Ann Coulter? So…no…it isn’t Trump’s language. It is just one thing. He is not beholden to other billionaires who have bought their candidates until now. He is a fellow billionaire, so many of his policies are my-way-or-the-highway, just as are theirs. But they have spent billions buying up Neo-Fascist politicians. They have a huge investment in controlling this country. And they are well on their way to doing so.

Now comes Trump. He starts talking about inequality even though he knows nothing–zero–about it. And when the hicks in Alabama who are finally waking up to the fact that the Koch Brothers have been buying politicians to play on their fears of blacks and their religious superstitions to elect people like those they have, like the Walmart-clerk mentality of most Republican congressmen, they see Trump as saying good things and…hey…he isn’t preaching to us to drop our beers and leave the NASCAR monotony early as those heathen Democrats want us to do. We can vote for our stuff and still not have to think or change our diets. This is Trump. He foils the Kochs because he has found a way to something one might call Trump-Populist-Stupid. And he is ruining all their well funded plans for the future.

And that does bring us to the future. All the bull shit in these commercials will work for the Kochs, even though they are peeing their pants about Trump. He is a billionaire. He’s not going to do anything for the people. Even the revered and populist sounding gentleman, and he is a gentle man, does very little for the People except find and support good companies here in the U.S., which, in itself, and to be fair, like the Koch Brothers, offers good wages and benefits families. This is perhaps, paradoxically, the best thing that billionaires can do, and the Kochs, Trump and Buffett all do it and do it pretty well. But there is a difference.

Buffett is not trying to do away with Social Security. The Kochs are. Buffett wants wage improvements for both society and for economic development. The Kochs have given hundreds of millions through Pacs and organizations like Americans for Prosperity to elect anti-union and right-to-work governors to keep workers at low wages by lying about how right-to-work will create more jobs. Sometimes it does because minimum-wage companies can flourish in states where wages are lower and people are therefore poorer. But those poor people cannot pay property taxes and therefore cannot fund good schools (which is why they are all the statistically worst educated in the country) or fund hospitals and roads. Society needs taxes to create decent public infrastructure to grow with each new era.

So are the Kochs evil? What we do know is that what they discuss in these commercials are the very things that their policies have created. So, what should we think of very rich people…unbelievably rich, by the way…who say they want to fix these things but clearly in their actions want to not only perpetuate them, but to hide the fact that they are. Once again, unfortunately, the best examples of people who have done this in the past were Fascists. Using propaganda to make the Jews the scapegoats as these people are using the poor as scapegoats. And then producing commercials like these to lie about it. Producing commercials saying that someone else….some isolated government and corporations (but not theirs)…are causing these problems and maintaining that they want to help.

They spend hundreds of millions a year…a drop in the bucket if you are worth 44,000-million (that’s what $44 billion actually is)…to buy up time in hundreds of universities around the country to have some shill make the same kinds of arguments for them that they make in these commercials. They founded the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the Mercatus Center and literally hundreds of organizations that fall under the aegis known as the Tea Party.

So, what to do? Spread the word. Read about the Koch Brothers. Read about their organizations. Read about ALEC. Prepare to elect and work to elect every Democrat you can find. In a Neo-Fascist party like the Republican Party, there is only obedience or exile. They vote in a bloc. Only with majority Democratic rule in the House and Senate can we break the cycle of Koch-funded obstruction and show the People what good government can do …and has done prior to Reagan… for them.

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The Sanders Revolution

February 24th, 2016 · 2016 Presidential Campaign, ALEC, Budgets, Capitalism, Corporations and Industry, Courts and the Law, Democracy, Economics, Fascism, Health Care, Human Rights, jobs, Lobbying, Media, Politics, Populism, Social Security, taxes, Wall Street

The world is changing  again. Instead of a 40-something running for President, we have two 60 or 70-somethings. Maybe it takes that long to learn that being purchased by a billionaire is not the only way to run for President.

The most significant event of the current 2016 run for the Presidency on either side (except for amateur night on the GOP side) is the revolution in government being suggested by Senator Bernard Sanders from Vermont. Long known as a Socialist, in recent years, at least after entering the Senate, he has become a force for true Populism in government. He is attempting to move the Centrist Clinton supporters to the Left, as well as the former Secretary of State herself. And why has this somewhat obscure and hardly ambitious Senator from a small state entered the race for President? Because these are critical times.

In 1981, Ronald Reagan was elected as the first Conservative, new Conservative as opposed to the old Reactionary  conservatives, in about  60 years. His policies were simple. The rich paid too much in taxes and lower taxes on the rich would generate more spending and eventually greater tax revenues. It never happened. It was, as George H.W. Bush said, “voodoo economics.” But once the rich and the major corporations got their hands on the levers of power that they gobbled up during the Reagan and Bush the Elder and Smarter administrations, there was no return to rationality.  [Read more →]

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A Nightmare in November

December 31st, 2015 · 2016 Presidential Campaign, ALEC, Budgets, Corporations and Industry, Courts and the Law, Democracy, Fascism, Health Care, Human Rights, International affairs, jobs, obstruction, Politics, Populism, Social Security, taxes, Wall Street, wars and militarism

Here is the real danger for 2016. We are at a tipping point. It is very likely that few Americans understand the calamitous potential of that single day in our history. Tuesday, November 8, 2016.  There is a very realistic scenario that describes what could happen. It will happen only if we fail as citizens.

Imagine, if you will, that a “Republican” candidate is elected President. Assume that the Senate is not restored to Democrats. Election issues, wholesale voter restrictions and fraud abound in all the states where Senatorial elections were crucial. Now the Republicans control the House and Senate, and…let’s say that the outcome is a kind of  Stephen King horror story—a Fascist-Republican is elected President. What can we know for sure will happen then?

Based on current and prior experience with the Fascist-Republican agenda, based on laws already on the books where they have had the power to enact them, we know that fifteen million more Americans will immediately lose their health care and rates on others will skyrocket. Forty of the fifty states will become back-alley abortion states. Taxes will be reduced on the top 5% of Americans with the top .1% receiving the greatest reductions. A strong warning will be sent to Iran, Syria, and Hamas,  that the Americans are coming, that American (poor and uneducated) boys are on the way. If they don’t volunteer, we’ll conscript them. The country will hurtle towards bankruptcy, as Bush-era deficits will return. Local police will become more militarized and belligerent. (Or they’ll be asked to leave.)  [Read more →]

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Social Security Revisited.

November 7th, 2015 · Fascism, Politics, Populism, Social Security, The Budget

On May 28, 2009, in this space, we published a well-researched article entitled, “Who Stole Your Social Security and Why?” The idea was to clarify the concept and the true status of Social Security. Because of the huge Republican propaganda campaign against Social Security, it is time to review the facts.

In recent years, citizens have contributed about a trillion dollars a year to Social Security. From its inception in 1935 until 2010, Social Security had always taken in more than it paid out. As a result, Social Security has a surplus in the trillions. The recent baby-boomer-caused deficits in annual Social Security budgets are relatively minor, an annual shortfall of about 4% or about four dollars of every thousand. Republicans have tried to create the image that the Social Security fund will soon go “bankrupt.” That’s a lie.

Reactionaries, now Conservative Republicans, (or more frequently identified as Fascist/Republicans) have tried to hi-jack Social Security from the very beginning. But it is not sustained by general tax revenue funds. It is supported with a separate, dedicated, payroll allocation. Since the Bush Administration, however, Fascist Republicans have come up with a more comprehensive way to end Social Security. They have created huge debt with which to bankrupt the entire government. And they are coming closer.   [Read more →]

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Putin

October 12th, 2015 · International affairs, wars and militarism

What is Vladimir Putin doing and why is he doing it? Putin has made his move into the Middle East. One of the most powerful, most calculating and richest men in the world, he has suddenly (it would seem) taken interest in the Middle East crisis. Russian air forces are attacking ISIL encampments in Syria, fighting against the enemies of Prime Minister Assad, of Syria. Coincidentally, he attacks the enemies of the U.S., which is also conducting air strikes against ISIL. So it would seem that for the moment we are on the same side. But that is certainly deceptive.

Remember that Putin has had his own Islamic problems. Some of his popularity and power comes from having defeated terrorists and separatists in the Russian Muslim state of Chechnya. The loosely affiliated but Russian-controlled state was effectively defeated by Putin-sponsored forces there by 2009. That hard-won victory helped to bolster his political image. The murder and mayhem in the long history of bad Russian-Chechnyan relations has given Putin a background that makes him quite capable of managing attacks in Syria. His main reasons, however, seem to have more to do with Europe than with the Middle East.

Let’s recall how Putin became the Prime Minister. He had been a middle-level KGB officer in St. Petersburg, (formerly Leningrad) where he was raised after the war. A bright student, he earned a degree from the law department of Leningrad University, in the mid-1970s and entered the KGB immediately. He became affiliated with the political organization of Anatoly Sobchak, the mayor of St. Petersburg, and after the fall of the Soviet Union, joined Sobchak in Moscow, “resigning” his position in the KGB. [Read more →]

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The foundations of American Neo-Fascism

September 21st, 2015 · ALEC, Capitalism, Corporations and Industry, Democracy, Economics, Education, Fascism, Human Rights, jobs, Lobbying, obstruction, Politics, Populism, taxes, wars and militarism

Hitler, above all, was a racist. He thought that interbreeding between different races was wrong, but not merely wrong—disastrously wrong. He thought that Darwin’s discovery of the laws of evolution extended to humans and races. He was an intelligent, fanatical  and evil man and his dedication to a Fascist world caused the deaths of 50 million people in slightly less than a decade.

In order to do that, he organized a country to build a strong military to expand the space of the Aryan race through military might. He was quite specific. His armies were to conquer territories and his other military forces were to murder the leaders and other individuals of the lesser races in those areas. It became more than theoretical. It became routine.

It was a simple plan if you were one of the favored race but pretty scary if you were not.

Today, Fascism or Neo-Fascism is not so scary. At least not yet. We have a Republican Party that believes–evident from their actions and their votes–that Blacks are inferior, lazy and cannot or will not learn. Creating the inferior minority and dividing the population is a hallmark of Fascism. The inferior group has inadequate social skills. They expect government to take care of them because they are the descendants of slaves. Remembering that a majority is 51% and that there are still 49% who do not accept what the majority thinks of something, this belief in inferiority, is the opinion of the majority in the South and a minority in the North. The Republicans call them “the poor” but we know what they mean. Blacks have been kept poor for a hundred years. In the United States, African-Americans have a median net worth that is ten times lower than Caucasians. [Read more →]

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Scott Walker, Enemy of the People; Dr. Ben Carson, Separator of Siamese Twins

September 5th, 2015 · 2016 Presidential Campaign, Budgets, Corporations and Industry, Economics, Education, Fascism, Health Care, Labor, Politics, Populism, taxes

Scott Walker is riding the Clown Car Express. He’s the evil clown, the one you always hear about who scares children. He is scary. He didn’t scare Wisconsin voters enough. They failed to recall him, although they should get credit for trying. When Walker took office, with all his talk about economic growth and job creation, Wisconsin was already doing well, with its publicly traded companies up 40% in value, bringing an increase of more than 50% in tax revenues.

Then Walker became governor. Over the next four years, Wisconsin’s economic performance dropped to 35th in the country, according to Bloomberg. The state has consistently fallen below Michigan, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota. Iowa is a farm state but Michigan isn’t nor is Illinois or Minnesota. [Read more →]

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Trump, Bush and Rubio — The Three Blind Mice of 2016

August 25th, 2015 · 2016 Presidential Campaign, Corporations and Industry, Education, Politics, Populism, Wall Street

There is so much hype about so little talent in the GOP’s “Race to Once More Losing the Presidency” that we thought it might be a good idea to take a look inside the Clown Car and provide a little truth to spread around on the floor to make it easier to clean up after them. So, here goes.

Donald Trump
Who is Donald Trump, other than the rarest of individuals who can go bankrupt in a casino where the slot machines are set at 96% for the House and 4% for the gambler? I don’t think this bodes well for a country that has experienced previous, and supposedly more conservative Republican Presidents, who have created $15 trillion of the $18 trillion in debt we currently have.

Who is he other than a four-time married mogul (or does that make him a womanizer, a woman lover or a trophy hunter or simply a guy with a slippery zipper?) Who is Donald Trump if not a nightmare to his barber or his hair stylist….and to how many has he said his favorite words: “You’re fired!” Donald Trump is a man about it is known that he was born in this country, in New York, perhaps in a run-down tenement slum. After all, wasn’t his father a slum lord who died and left his tenements to Donald, which would have made him a Slum Lord? From such lowly beginnings and attitudes on life did little Donald grow into a conniving, arrogant beneficiary of rising New York City real estate values.

Finally, is “the Donald,” a somewhat likable buffoon or a real dynamic businessman. Well, remember those casinos that he bankrupted? That’s not a problem for Donald. You see, the little known fact, and one that our mogul, our business leader, our presidential candidate does not want you to know is that for every million dollars worth of inherited or non-inherited real estate the estimable egotist owned in 1993, by 2007—just sitting there, no improvements—it was worth $7.7 million. Even the Great Real Estate Mouth could not lose enough to overcome that much profit. That’s right. Studies of real estate in New York City have shown an annual rate of growth of 15.8%. [Read more →]

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Hedge Fund Managers Are Coming for Your State Pension Funds.

July 16th, 2015 · Corporations and Industry, Economics, Fascism, government intervention, Health Care, Human Rights, Labor, Lobbying, Media, Politics, Populism, Romney, Social Security, The Budget, Wall Street

One of the most serious and largest scams now being perpetrated by the Republican Party on the American public is the “unfunded liability” state employee pension debate. The true story is essentially quite different from what they would have you believe.  The Republican governors have figured out that the best way to steal from the states is to go where the money is—to the state pension funds. There is substantial evidence for this. The public understands very little about managing pension funds. The corporate-owned media has kept the public in the dark about exactly what the pension “crisis” involves in each state. The same Wall Street swindlers who bankrupted many a pension fund in the private sector are now ready to loot public pensions.

The failure to fund pensions in the private sector became so common that the government set up a new agency in the 1970s to deal with it, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, whose function was simply to pay benefits to individuals whose pensions fail for lack of corporate funding. Is this a problem? In 2010 alone, the PBGC paid out $5.6 billion to the retirees of 147 corporations who failed to fund their pension programs. But that may not go on forever. The PBGC has a huge deficit of somewhere between $25 and $50 billion. What will happen long term seems to be anybody’s guess. In the meantime, many of these corporate raiders, men who borrowed against corporate assets and pocketed the money became rich. The funds that should have gone to retirees of private firms went to the investment brokers and so-called “turnaround” specialists. Companies like Romney’s Bain Capital simply borrowed money, bought failing companies, sold off assets, dumped the pensions on the PBGC and pocketed tens of millions in fees. Many of the new Republican governors people, like Romney and Rauner and Snyder of Michigan and Kasich of Ohio all came from Wall Street. They are in office for only two reasons—to break public unions and loot public pension funds. [Read more →]

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Rush Limbaugh and the Decline of Hate Radio

June 21st, 2015 · Corporations and Industry, Fascism, Lobbying, Media, Politics, Populism

How is Rush Limbaugh, the obscenely obscene radio personality, the voice of hatred and racism, doing these days? Is he still earning his $40 million a year for the billionaires and giant corporations? Is the Hillary hater…why does he hate her so much….still grinding out his insults? Does he still thing that bright young law students (as opposed to what seem to be his favorites—Caribbean teen prostitutes) should be called whores because they would like to have contraception?

Apparently not, according to someone who should know—the head of Limbaugh’s largest network, Cumulus Radio. According to Lew Dickey, CEO of Cumulus radio, 48 of the top 50 national radio advertisers have a “no-Limbaugh” order in their files, as do all the top national advertising agencies.

Limbaugh is toxic to advertisers. So good riddance, and—what took them so long? This vile cretin has been on the air since 1988. He hasn’t changed. He fawned over Reagan and Bush the Braver, who had two major recessions and accumulated $4 trillion in debt but attacked the Clinton Administration, including First Lady Hillary Clinton every single day, while the Clinton era became the largest sustained period of growth in the nation’s history and unemployment dropped below 4%. Limbaugh is a lying, thieving, irresponsible hate-filled  propagandist for the rich. He has made nearly a billion dollars working for oil men, global corporations, and purely Fascist billionaires.  [Read more →]

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Bruce Rauner: Money and Neo-Fascism

June 12th, 2015 · ALEC, Capitalism, Corporations and Industry, Democracy, Education, Health Care, Lobbying, Media, Politics, Populism, taxes, Wall Street

For those who don’t know, Bruce Rauner is the new Republican governor of Illinois. And money? We all know what money is. Rauner is all about money. Over a long career in finance, he has amassed a fortune, basically from scratch, of  somewhere between $300 million and a billion dollars.

You don’t make that kind of money without really focusing your attention on making that kind of money unless you are someone really talented, like JK Rowling, Michael Jordan or Bill Gates. So, in finance, without your own money, you use other people’s money to make money, sometimes losing it in the process. But the new Wall Street, men like Rauner always make sure that they, focused on money, always get paid, regardless of who wins or who loses. That’s Bruce Rauner.  Rauner can be accurately described as someone who made his money in typical Wall Street investment schemes.

Of course, Rauner now has more money than he can spend in several lifetimes and so he has decided to run something more important than pension funds. He has decided to run an entire state, all the people in it—his way. The people he wants to impress are not the citizens of Illinois, although he spent about $40 million more than his opponent, Dan Quinn spent to win them over. The people whom Rauner considers his peers are his fellow citizens but his fellow rich Republicans, like the Koch Brothers, the Sheldon Adelsons and the Donald Trumps of the world. His ticket to ride on that gilded train was punched when he won the governorship.

[Read more →]

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Governor Brownback, the Wizard of Oz

June 4th, 2015 · Abortion rights, ALEC, Budgets, Corporations and Industry, Democracy, Economics, Fascism, Health Care, Human Rights, jobs, Lobbying, Media, Politics, Populism, taxes

Has Kansas, under Governor Sam Brownback, become  second-rate, with a semi-Fascist government? The answer is in the history of the state since Brownback took over.

Remember this about Fascist governments, under which domination Kansas seems to have fallen. They are never unpopular when they are being installed by their masters. Even Hitler was very popular with Germans. The Neo-Fascists of today, like the Kansas legislators, like Karl Rove and like Governor Brownback understand how to grasp power from the citizens. Dick Cheney would never have been elected President. The Republican Party knows that they need stooges, like George W. Bush. In Kansas, that stooge may be Governor Sam Brownback. Or it may be that his brand of disregard for the middle class, the working class and the truly poor and powerless is the Kansas brand of Neo-Fascism.

Or it may be in Kansas, as it is in some other states, that millions of completely propagandized, brainwashed individuals lack the understanding that their freedom is being taken away. They vote for the Party that says that it wants to return citizens and the country to its prior “freedoms.” And what does that mean? In Kansas, it was pretty simple. It has meant cutting taxes for the rich and corporations, giving them more “freedom” to amass wealth. It means reducing funds for education, closing schools, firing teachers, juggling pension funds.  It means allowing the insertion of irrational religious ideas into secular schools. It means reducing the number of people who have access to health care—think of that—deliberately cutting off poor and in some cases destitute families from health care until they are so sick they come to emergency rooms, often with a death sentence from incurable disease. It means reducing the power of the intellectuals, the universities and the newspapers with mailings and events that pander to the top ten percent of society whose lives now seldom touch those of the lower economic classes. This is the kind of government that Sam Brownback has designed for the average citizen of Kansas.   [Read more →]

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Big Oil

May 26th, 2015 · Capitalism, Corporations and Industry, Economics, Labor, Lobbying, Politics, Populism, taxes, Wall Street

Every time you put gas in your car, you support Big Oil, the major oil companies, some of the largest global corporations in the world. To give an example, the top six oil companies take in about $100 billion a year in profits. Not sales. Not revenues. Profits. Among those, Exxon/Mobil in 2013 ranked 1st in the world in profits, Shell Oil ranked 7th, Chevron ranked 8th, BP ranked 30th and Conoco/Phillips ranked 50th and then only so low because it had previously sold off its refining operations.

 

In all, the value of publicly traded oil companies amounts to roughly $1.95 trillion. One out of every ten dollars of corporate securities held by institutions or private investors is in oil stocks. Oil is a very important component of our national economy. For example, public and private pension plans hold about $561 billion in oil and gas company stocks. IRAs hold another $348 billion. The numbers are not inconsequential. Because you buy oil products every day, you are involved, like it or not.

 

We might argue that the roughly 39% of individual stock ownership in oil companies, as opposed to the roughly 60% owned by institutions, like pension funds, could be more money than those individuals—some very, very wealthy individuals…should be entitled to. But if you want to change that now, even while those individuals are doing their best to impoverish you and turn your country into a Fascist, racist state, you’re on the short end of our political philosophy. Your only hope is to slap a tax on those individuals so high that it will finally be necessary to actually look to see how many billions they still have left.

 

It is not simply the income or wealth of the inheritors of oil company founders that is dubious. And, to be fair, some have given themselves to philanthropy in huge measures. Society does require equity between average income and the unrestricted  disbursement of corporate profits if it is to remain a flourishing democracy. The average oil company CEO makes $20 million a year. It is a highly complicated job. So, some incomes can become quite high. Charf Souki, for example, of Houston-based Cheniere Energy, a natural gas developer and marketer had an income of $171,949,280 last year.  [Read more →]

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American Stagnation

May 10th, 2015 · Budgets, Capitalism, Corporations and Industry, Economics, Fascism, jobs, Labor, Lobbying, Media, obstruction, Politics, Populism, taxes, Wall Street

America has never been richer. Private assets amount to over $80 trillion, more than four times the national debt and the GDP. Yet the United States is regressing. That is not the opinion of a populist editor. That is the opinion of some of our best and brightest economists, as relayed to you by a populist editor.

Dr. Larry Summers, Dean Emeritus of Harvard University, former Secretary of the Treasury under Bill Clinton, is worried. He is worried that our country is in decline. He doesn’t put it that way. He only mentions politics infrequently and somewhat noncommittally but the comments have clear implications. We are allowing Right Wing political forces to diminish the growth of the United States economy for reasons that can only be seen as personal greed. There are constant reminders of the fact that, underlying all government obstructions of jobs, of infrastructure improvements, of social services, is the reference to “no new taxes.” Since Ronald Reagan took office and reduced government revenues by cutting taxes from 70% to 28%, the United States has grown by about 90 million people, more than a third. But government revenues have gone from 20% of GDP to 18% of GDP. How much is that? The difference is equal to about $340 billion, roughly the same as our annual deficits.

Larry Summers is a man whose life since age 28 has been spent teaching and working in the field of economics. He has held top posts at major institutions of learning and top posts in government involving economic matters. And he thinks we are becoming stagnant. In its simplest interpretation, this means that government is doing nothing to instill a desire or a need for growth among private investors and is, in fact, restraining the natural emphasis on growth by entrepreneurs. And why? Again, it is politics. Billionaires do not need to invest and they do not want to pay more taxes. In its basic form, that is why we are stagnant. [Read more →]

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