Corporate Domination


Background Info and Links

I’m Not Your Product

The Sanders Institute

Refund America Project - complete details on the Wall St. induced ‘debt crisis’ in Puerto Rico

America as it should be: a place where hard work is rewarded, everyone participates, and everyone enjoys a fair share of our collective prosperity.

5 points:

Stop offshore tax dodging which costs the US and developing countries more than $100 billion each year.

Raise the minimum wage so that working families can make a living wage.

Fight discrimination of all kinds and ensure equal pay for equal work.

Build and invest in a social safety net for everyone.

Ensure every person has access to affordable, high quality healthcare and education - which can only be achieved by a more progressive tax system rather than the harshly regressive system we have today.

See Oxfam entry of 1/15/17.

“Capitalism has outlived its usefulness. It has brought about a system that takes necessities from the masses to give luxury to the classes. Call it what you may, call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God’s children.”
Martin Luther King

Neo-Liberalism: “Free-market” ideology that pushes austerity, privatization, and deregulation for corporations at the expense of the public good. Neoliberals aim to turn people into consumers and replace human rights with private property (corporate) rights. For them, the idea of ‘the commons’ has no place...give public land, water, etc to corporations and then let them charge people for the use of what used to be their own. We’ll probably be paying for the air we breath at some point.

Internet Noise - On 3/28/17, Congress passed a law making it legal for your ISP to track and sell your personal activity online. Running “Internet Noise” will fill their databases with noise.


CNBC: Facebook admits it ‘Made Mistakes’ After Top Exec Appeared at Kavanaugh Hearing - Facebook continues its now 15 year apology tour.


Reuters: Amazon Raises Minimum Wage to $15/Hour, Urges Rivals to Follow - Essentially Bernie Sanders shamed Bezos into doing this. And it sets a big precedent.


Socialist Alternative: Strikes Begin to Spread - Workers Beginning to Fight Back - “This decade started with the Wisconsin uprising in 2011, which had enormous potential, but was derailed by a combination of the labor leadership and the Democratic Party.”

And ever since, both the Republican and Democratic Parties have done everything they can to stifle working people’s and union members’ advances. Republicans criticize and denigrate the movement, while Democrats have initially ignored the movement (Occupy, UFCW organizing at Walmart, strikes by fast food workers, teachers, nurses, communication workers), and then join with, and eventually subvert the movement into support for Democratic party stalking horses who initially adopt the rhetoric of movement leaders, but then once elected turn that support over to their corporate masters. Examples of this are:

  1. -Elizabeth Warren constantly and loudly proclaims that she is bonafide progressive and yet when she had a chance to strike a blow for progressives she dodged on endorsing the most progressive candidate since FDR, and then passionately campaigned for Hillary Clinton, and by doing so she fully participated in the DNC’s rigging of its primary against Sanders. Later she complained loudly about that rigging as if she had nothing to do with it. She continues today to comply with neo-liberal corporate desires. She was “MIA during the fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline, saying nothing as thousands of unarmed, peaceful Native Americans and environmental activists were illegally arrested and shot at with tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, freezing water, and grenades by de facto oil police in North Dakota. She finally chose to speak out against the DAPL on the same day that the Army Corps of Engineers denied a crucial permit for the pipeline’s completion.” She is “a one-trick pony that steals the show by yelling at bankers during congressional hearings, but isn't trusted by the movement to do much more.” (from the CNBC article cited above)

  1. -Obama’s 2008 campaign pledge not to allow off-shore oil drilling, to “tax the multi-billion profits of oil companies” and “investigate of possible market manipulation in oil markets”. He also proposed increases in energy fuel standards and $150 Billion in investments to provide clean/renewable energy. However once elected he renamed McCain/Palin’s “drill baby drill”, as his own “all of the above” and did not implement any of these pledges.

  1. -He pledged to investigate possible wrong-doing by the US government and telecommunication company’s in regard to warrantless wire tapping, and protect whistleblowers. Once elected, he never mentioned this subject again and instead threw the door open to universal, warrantless wiretapping and prosecuted 3 X more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all previous presidents combined. Government insiders who leaked classified data were repeatedly issued get-out-of-jail-free cards. His pledge to become the most transparent administration in history was forgotten soon after his election.

  1. -During the first months of his campaign, he pledged to get us out of Iraq within 16 months after his election (or May, 2010). In the end our troops left Iraq (the first time) in December, 2011, precisely as George Bush’s original SOF agreement with the government of Iraq had originally stipulated.


Truthdig: The Surest Sign Yet Billionaires Are Building an Oligarchy - A list of the 0.1%-ers who are buying up news media so they can control the message and shut out dissenting views.


Reuters: A Year After Deadly Maria, Puerto Rico Still Struggles With Aftermath - ...mostly due to the dishonesty of Goldman Sachs in 2007 and Here. Trump is still disputing the death toll which the New England Journal of Medicine (table S4), has estimated the number at 4,645.


Intercept: Hurricane Colonialism: The Economic, Political and Environmental War on Puerto Rico

UK Guardian: A Year After Hurricane Harvey, Cleanup Workers Still Unpaid


UK Guardian: I Worked in an Amazon Warehouse. Bernie Sanders is Right to Target Them


Vice: Rich People Broke America and Never Paid the Price


Intercept: Sheryl Sandberg Misled Congress About Facebook’s Conscience - Facebook’s false 14 year apology tour continues, while nothing really changes with their business model. They want as much of your personal information as possible, and the personal information of all of your ‘friends’ so they can sell it, and Here, Here. Then they make a few cents each time anybody clicks on an ad. Meanwhile, they keep you hooked on dopamine-‘Likes’.

UK Guardian: How I Survive: American Teachers and Their Second Jobs

Democracy-NOW: As Amazon Hits $1 Trillion in Value, Its Warehouse Workers Describe Slavery Conditions and Here


LATimes: Like Frogs in a Slowly Boiling Pot, Americans Are Finally Realizing How Dire Their Labor Situation Really Is


In These Times: In Historic Move, Los Angeles Educators Vote to Strike - Per the article: Wages are at the bottom of the teachers’ priority list. All they want is the resources they need to do their jobs. Because of budget cuts, the teacher-student ratio has gone from 1:20 in 1999 to 1:46 today; school librarians and nurses have been eliminated. Legislators in both blue and red states keep cutting and cutting and then claim that public education doesn’t work. The teachers in this union “understand that in order to take on the powerful pro-corporate, pro-privatization agenda of Betsy DeVos and the corporate charter big-money interests, their union has to be strong and  strike-ready.”


In These Times: Low Wages and No Stability: How Amazon’s Use of Perma-Temps Is Hurting Workers


LA Times: Thousands of Amazon Workers Get Food Stamps, Medicaid and public housing. Bernie Sanders Wants Amazon to Pay For Them. - The salaries that Jeff Bezos pays his employees are shockingly low.

He makes more in 10 seconds than Amazon’s average yearly salary. Bernie Sanders: “Think about how hard that family member has to work for an entire year, the days she or he goes into work sick, or has a sick child, or struggles to buy school supplies or Christmas presents, to make what one man makes in 10 seconds.”

Amazon made $5.6 Billion in profit last year, and paid zero in taxes. The Rethug tax cuts will give it at least $1 Billion more. It gets $Billions in tax breaks, from cities that debase themselves in service to Emperor Bezos. See entry of 1/19/18.

Bezos has been the richest person in history for quite some time now. He added an additional $33B - or $275M per day - to his net worth during the first 5 months of this year. Don’t know about you, but I think he can afford to pay his workers enough so that you and I don’t have to subsidize their health care, diet and housing costs.


Forbes: Senator Warren’s Ben Franklin Capitalism - A great article, but very long. Here’s Sen. Warren grandstanding again with a bill that doesn’t have a prayer in the world, with much help from NBC and Forbes Magazine - both very large Hillary Clinton supporters in the 2016 election, and who presumably will continue that support for the Dem nominee in 2020. Maybe this gives Sen. Warren the inside track among the corpora-Dems for that nomination? Maybe the faux-progressives corpora-Dems have decided to tack in this direction just long enough to get the sheep to the polls?

But the reason I liked this article: It picks apart all of the reasons why all of the neocon defenses of the status quo (supply-side trickle down voodoo economics, slippery slope to communist dictatorship) are pure garbage.

While discussing the false notion of neocons that unrestrained capitalism will solve all woes:

The US, which has the worst inequality, second-highest poverty and highest incarceration rates, as well as the worst health and mediocre education outcomes relative to the rest of the developed world while careening from bubble to bust and bubble to bust like a manic-depressive, is doing just fine where ‘creating economic value’ is concerned. Meanwhile Germany, whose economy, education system, and social safety net are the envy of most of the world in part thanks to its pragmatic, can-do, Warren- and formerly American-style corporate social contract, is simply ‘burning value.’”


UK Guardian: US Bosses Now Earn 312 Times Average Workers’ Wage - In 1965, the factor was 20X. Average CEO raise last year: 17.6%. Average Salary: $19M.


UK Guardian: The Forgotten Americans: Puerto Rico After Maria - Refund America  JunteGente See entries of 6/6/18, 9/26/17, 7/15/16.


Democracy-NOW: A Threat to Global Democracy: How Facebook and Surveillance Capitalism Empower Authoritarianism

Socialist Alternative: Movie Review: American Socialist: The Life and Times of Eugene V. Debs - Short article about a very interesting life.

Debs: “the master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose – especially their lives.”

“What is socialism, merely Christianity in action.”


Public Citizen: Corporate Impunity: “Tough on Crime” Trump is Weak on Corporate Crime and Wrongdoing - An almost comical report. Trump has radically cut back what little federal oversight there was before from the EPA (the air we breathe and the water we drink; penalties are down by 94%), FDA (the food we eat; down by 43%), etc. For corporations, it’s grab whatever you can very quickly and stuff it in your pockets while you have the chance. Interesting poll: Despite the messaging by both R & D politicians, Americans across the political spectrum favor (about 9:1) strict regulatory enforcement of large corporations.


UK Guardian: Google and Facebook Are Strangling the Free Press to Death. Democracy is the Loser - Google is actively steering traffic away from independent journalists the same way they steer shoppers towards goods that they will get a cut of. Google has about $100 Bn cash in the bank. Not only will they use that money mostly for buybacks, but it provides them plenty of money to ‘bid’ in their silly PLA auction - that the Director General of Europe imposed upon them along with the $5Bn fine. The result is that Google still owns and sells almost all ad space on the net and only ‘sells’ that to itself or the highest bidder.

Small startup companies or companies that actually might try to go head-to-head with them are squashed. Result: monopoly power over the advertising market across the entire web - the very thing that anti-trust regulators are supposed to guard against. Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple are the current day robber barons in the same way that John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, Cornelius Vanderbuilt, Andrew Carnegie, Thomas and Andrew Melon, were the kings of the Gilded Age.

UK Guardian: Over $118Bn Wiped Off Facebook’s Market Cap After Growth Shock

Reuters: Amazon’s Face ID Tool Mismatched 28 Members of Congress to Mugshots: ACLU - Are they sure those were mismatches?


Time/Money: Jeff Bezos is Now $50 Billion Richer Than Any Other Person in History - From Jan. 1 through May 1, his net worth increased by $33 Billion, or $275 Million every single day.

Bernie Sanders: Meanwhile, thousands of Amazon employees are forced to rely on food stamps, Medicaid and public housing because their wages are too low. And guess who pays for that? You do. Frankly, I don't believe that ordinary Americans should be subsidizing the wealthiest person in the world because he pays his employees inadequate wages.

In These Times: Amazon is One Step Closer to Taking a Cut On Literally Every Transaction - “In two years Amazon will have completely crushed our 25 year internet business. We just hope to hold on till our kid is thru college. Then, we expect our business will fail.”


Intercept: Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, JC Penney, The Children’s Place and H&M Pay Ethiopian Garment Workers Less Than $1 Per Day - Slavery? Technically no, but what’s the difference? At least it’s not Bangladesh, and Here.

From the article: The capitalist says to the workers regarding their slave wages: “We shouldn’t focus on present things, we should think about the future,” he said in a speech on a factory floor when the park opened, according to a worker who attended.” Meanwhile the capitalist himself focuses on his short term gain as he rips the workers off and pockets the profits.


Socialist Alternative: Socialist Ocasio-Cortez Stuns Democratic Party Establishment - “Socialist Alternative has consistently argued that the sharp divisions between the base of the Democratic Party and the dominant corporate wing of the leadership reflect the deep social crisis of capitalism, the loss of faith in its institutions, and the raging anger among working-class and young people against ever widening inequality.”

Common Dreams: After Long Career Bailing Out Big Banks, Obama Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner Now Runs Predatory Firm That Exploits the Poor for Profit


NBC News: Ballooning National Debt Could Hurt US Economy, Increase Likelihood of Crisis - The Trump tax plan will deliver $1.5 Trillion in total tax cuts. 80% of that, or $1.2 Trillion will go to the 1% by 2028,  and we get the crumbs, maybe...depending on your tax bracket. Initially, households making less than $20,000/year will get tax increases. Tax increases will gradually creep up the income scale until in the last year of the law, everyone making $75,000/year or less will experience increased taxes. At the end of its life, in 2025, all individual deductions will ‘sunset’, and only those tax cuts for corporations and the 1% will remain intact...forever.

According to this article, because of this law the national debt will equal GDP by 2030 - it’s now about 78% of GDP - and will double by 2048. Obviously, the Rethugs did an about face. They all claimed to be ‘fiscal conservatives’ prior to this law. They should never make that claim again, and should be called on it if they do.


NYTimes: Koch Bros. Are Waging A War Against Mass Transit, And They Are Winning


Democracy-NOW: Blistering UN Report: Trump Administration’s Policies Designed to Worsen Poverty & Inequality - Here’s the UN report. Some amazing statistics: 40 million Americans live in poverty, 18.5 million in extreme poverty, 5.3 million live in ‘3rd world conditions’, the highest rate of income inequality among Western countries. 4 out of 5 Americans have faced homelessness, near-poverty, no work sometime during their lifetimes.

Even the working poor now face cutbacks in food stamps, housing subsidies, and other safety net programs.

America currently has the shortest ‘healthy life expectancy’ in the developed world, even lower than that of China. We have the worst overall level of healthcare, and the highest level of child poverty in the Western world, more than half of America’s school children live in poverty, and Here, and Here. They go to bed hungry every night, and Here. We are the only country on earth not to have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We have the highest rate of child mortality in the developed world.

Congress came close this year to eliminating the CHIP program, which would have thrown additional millions of children into chronic hunger. These actions along with arbitrarily removing voters from voter rolls, are setting the stage for the end of democracy and eventual upheaval.

And how does tax policy fit in?

tax policy is being used as a way to shift massive resources to the wealthy, to the best-off corporations, and away from the people who really need it. And, of course, the tax cuts are being paid for, in part, by some of the savings that the administration has consistently predicted will come from less people on food stamps, less people getting housing subsidies and so on.”

Trump and the rethugs are despicable, but given the fact that the Clintons made safety net programs into block grants and turned them over to the states, and Here, the middle class was essentially destroyed during the Obama administration, and no democrap has talked about poverty in 2 generations (Bernie is not a democrap), responsibility for this state of affairs belongs to both parts of the duopoly party.


Reuters: In Puerto Rico, New Hurricane Season Threatens the Elderly

McClatchy: Company Owned by Chinese Government Awarded Another Contract At Trump Development


Center for Economic and Policy Research: Puerto Rico’s New Fiscal Plan: Certain Pain, Uncertain Gain - Puerto Rico is due to receive a large influx of funds in the form of disaster relief. Instead of using it to rebuild PR’s infrastructure, the Financial Control Board plans to put a large portion of that money away to pay debt service to Wall Street banks. See entry of 6/6 for links and more info.

Black Agenda Report: Enclosure, Dispossession and Disaster Capitalism in Antigua and Barbuda - Robert Di Niro is the consummate disaster capitalist.


New Yorker: One Koch Brother Forces the Other Out of the Family Business - A great read. Charles Koch is who actually runs America. Mike Pence, Scott Pruitt, Mike Pompeo, Betsy DeVos all work for him, along with most elected Rethugs. Despite the Koch Bros. initial opposition to Trump, Trump is essentially implementing the Koch agenda. Capitalism IS the problem.


Democracy-NOW: Naomi Klein: Deaths From Hurricane Maria Were State Sponsored Mass Killing - Trump told everybody how lucky they were that only 17 people died, then tossed out some paper towels and left. Almost 4 times the number of deaths, and Here, as Hurricane Katrina, and still rising.  The average Puerto Rican was exposed to 80 days without electricity and 40 days without water. The cable news networks covered Roseanne for over 10 hours on the first day, the Hurricane Maria death toll for 30 minutes, and Fox spent a total of 48 seconds on Maria.

Puerto Rico already had a crumbling infrastructure (electricity, roads, water treatment facilities, etc.) before Hurricane Maria hit. This lack of infrastructure was caused by a deal worked out between Goldman Sachs, the politicians of Puerto Rico, Wall St. and politicians in Washington DC both R & D. PR’s actual debt load was moderate until the crash of 2008, when already taxpayer-bailed-out Wall St. banks forced it to refinance that debt at an effective rate of 785%, and Here, and Here. Then Congress passed the PROMESA act, signed by Obama, which essentially replaced the PR government with a Washington picked Financial Control Board “La Junta”, picked by Obama, the purpose of which was to force draconian austerity onto the people of PR in order to make sure that Wall St. firms reap a financial windfall. Since then, thousands of have died from the lack of access to health care, and the lack of clean drinking water. The entire population of 3.4 million suffers from lack of adequate roads and lack of communication due to cell phone outages.


Reuters: UN Human Rights Investigator: America’s Poor Becoming More Destitute Under Trump


Media Matters: Dozens of Local Fox Affiliates Run Misleading Segments Pushing Social Security Benefit Cuts - There is no immediate crisis that has just been discovered. SS is viable under current rules until 2034. Removing the ‘cap’ OR a 2.76% increase in payroll taxes would keep SS afloat for 75 years. Fox news is flat out lying when it says that a benefit cut or raising the retirement age is inevitable.


Bloomberg: Trump Tax Cut Is the Gift That Keeps on Giving - “First quarter results show that corporate America’s savings are better than expected.” Way better. $300 Billion more than the Joint Committee on Taxation’s original estimate.

“...companies are passing little of those tax savings along to employees or customers...A number of companies have not been all that enthusiastic to point out how much of their recent income growth has been coming from tax savings. Home Depot Inc., for instance, reported a $390 million increase in quarterly profits”...$372 million of which came from the Rethug tax cuts. Home Depot’s quarterly report says the increase was due to: “solid results in all markets and categories”. Right. Pants on Fire!

A box chart at the bottom of the article shows the percentage of first quarter profit increases that came from the tax cuts for 26 of the largest corporations. It is obscene to think that this is money taken away from hard working Americans to pay more bonuses to millionaire/billionaire C-level employees and Boards of Directors of the these large corporations in America. And now they will be coming for the safety net: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food-stamps, housing subsidies, CHIP, etc. for people who are just barely getting by.

Ghion Journal: Corporate Privilege: Premeditated Murder, Civil Fines and Miscarriages of Justice


UK Guardian: Zuckerberg Set Up Fraudulent Scheme to Weaponize Data, Court Case Alleges


UK Guardian: “Recipe for Authoritarianism”: Amazon Under Fire for Selling Facial-Recognition Software to Police - Amazon developed this software mostly courtesy of the American taxpayer. Amazon is clearly in violation of the Anti-Trust laws that are on the books, and Here. This is about just one way that Amazon seeks to constantly snoop in its customers. As more and more money flows up to the super-rich, Bezos understands that the working poor is becoming a larger segment of the population, so he markets directly to them, and in the process runs small start-up companies out of business. Facebook, Amazon and Google are not friends of the American people.


CBS News: How Did Google Get So Big? - Google is a monopoly in internet searches and in search advertising, but like with Facebook and Amazon, the Justice Dept. and the FTC are not enforcing Anti-Trust laws. Whenever Justice Department staff recommend that any of them be sued for anti-competitive behavior, political appointees at the top reject the recommendation. Most of this activity happened under the Obama administration.

Google knows everything you do on the web and it controls what it lets you see to either assets that it owns or advertisers who pay them the most money. Google searches don’t necessarily deliver the most pertinent content based on your search request, it delivers what it wants you to see. It has the power to snuff out any competition. My suggestion: make your regular search engine.


In These Times: Seattle Just Showed How to Rein In Amazon - And the Company is Going to War - Courtesy of Kshama Sawant and  Socialist Alternative.


New Yorker: William Barber Takes on Poverty and Race in the Age of Trump


The Street: Apple, Microsoft and Google Are Sitting on Stupid Amounts of Cash - Google has $100 Bn in cash. It will probably use most of it for stock buybacks.


Time/Money: Jeff Bezos Makes More In 10 Seconds Than The Average Annual Salary of One of His Employees


UK Guardian: The Teachers’ Strikes Prove It: The Media is Finally Seeing America’s New Labor Landscape


Intercept: Amazon Gets Tax Breaks While Its Workers Rely on Food Stamps, New Data Shows - From the article: “The American people are financing Amazon’s pursuit of an e-commerce monopoly every step of the way: first, with tax breaks, subsidies, and infrastructure improvements meant to lure fulfillment centers into town, and later with federal transfers to pay for warehouse workers’ food. And soon, when the company begins accepting SNAP dollars to purchase its goods, a third transfer of public wealth to private hands will become a part of the company’s business model.” It is not your friend.

Dallas News: Amazon’s Median Pay for Its 560,000 employees is Shockingly Low


Common Dreams: ‘Astronomical’ Cost of War: Average US Taxpayer Sent $3,456 to Pentagon Last Year and Just $39 to the EPA


AP News/Yahoo: Facebook is Tracking You Whether You Use It or Not


Democracy-NOW: Facebook Doesn’t Sell Your Data. It Sells You. - All 2 billion Facebook users are targeted by advertisers who pay for access to the users’ personal information, using psychological profiles to target ‘vulnerable’ marketing victims, and Here. It’s all allowed in the Facebook agreement, though most users don’t know it. Facebook has repeatedly apologized for 14 years for doing this, repeatedly saying they are going to stop it. But they don’t. In this latest episode, Facebook sold access to users’ data to not one, but hundreds of apps. Those apps were allowed to scrape voluminous data not just from the users of those apps, but from all of their friends as well. Cambridge Analytica was just one of possibly thousands of apps who were provided this private user data. And even on Zuckerberg’s latest apology tour, he has repeatedly spoken disparagingly about companies, such as Apple, that have a strong track record of protecting users’ privacy. From the Vox article:

After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it came to light that Facebook had been downloading and keeping all the text messages of its users on the Android platform—their content as well as their metadata. On Apple phones, however, Facebook couldn’t harvest people’s text messages because the permissions wouldn’t allow it.

Facebook’s 2 billion users are not Facebook’s “community.” They are its user base, and they have been repeatedly carried along by the decisions of the one person who controls the platform. These users have invested time and money in building their social networks on Facebook, yet they have no means to port the connectivity elsewhere.

This isn’t a community; this is a regime of one-sided, highly profitable surveillance, carried out on a scale that has made Facebook one of the largest companies in the world by market capitalization.

Nor do people have any means to completely stop being tracked by Facebook. The surveillance follows them not just on the platform, but elsewhere on the internet—some of them apparently can’t even text their friends without Facebook trying to snoop in on the conversation. Facebook doesn’t just collect data itself; it has purchased external data from data brokers; it creates “shadow profiles” of nonusers and is now attempting to match offline data to its online profiles.

So, here’s the thing. There is indeed a case of Stockholm syndrome here. There are very few other contexts in which a person would be allowed to make a series of decisions that have obviously enriched them while eroding the privacy and well-being of billions of people; to make basically the same apology for those decisions countless times over the space of just 14 years; and then to profess innocence, idealism, and complete independence from the obvious structural incentives that have shaped the whole process.

Facebook’s 2 billion-plus users are surveilled and profiled, and their attention is then sold to advertisers and, it seems, practically anyone else who will pay Facebook—including unsavory dictators like the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte. That is Facebook’s business model. That is why the company has an almost half-a-trillion-dollar market capitalization, along with billions in spare cash to buy competitors.

Surveillance and data harvesting is the Facebook business model. It can’t be trusted to regulate itself, and Here. It uses a social-validation feedback loop, and subliminal stimuli and advertising to keep its users hooked. It is not your friend.

It is clear what needs to be done and Here, but right now politicians don’t have the guts to go up against the data brokers.

A responsible social media site should: 1. Share your personal data with others only after you have provided your affirmative informed consent via an ‘opt-in’; 2. Make it easy for you to ‘opt-out’ if you should then change your shouldn’t have to be a settings wizard in order to accomplish that task; 3. If you decide to leave the social media site, you should be able to take all of your media with you. Facebook does not provide any of those three options now, and they will not change just because of this latest dust-up.


NYTimes: In 83 Million Eviction Records, A Sweeping and Intimate New Look At Housing in America


Reuters: Sagging School Funding Fuels US Teacher Protests - Neo-libs in both parties have been stripping money from public schools for decades, in an effort to discredit their ability to educate students. Their goal is to provide opportunities for charter schools to step in and turn education into another for-profit opportunity for the 1%...not to mention move us back towards total re-segregation.


CNBC: Amazon Is A 21ST-Century Railroad: Anti-Trust Expert - People today do not have the historic perspective to understand what this means, and how dangerous it is for Amazon or any one company to have this much power over the market. It seems like a cheap place to shop now, however they are running smaller, innovative companies out of existence so they can become the entire market and subsequently gain the power to limit consumer choice and set prices at will. Here’s a short timeline that examines such cases in past American history.


Reuters: Oklahoma Teachers Walk Off Job Over Pay, And Schools Reeling From Decades of Budget Cuts - Workers of the world, UNITE!


Fast Company: Andrew Yang Wants You To Vote For a $1,000-A-Month Basic Income in 2020


Pacific Standard: Inside the Tax Bill’s $25 Billion Oil Company Bonanza - Highlights: Oil/gas companies (the most profitable industry in history) are among the greatest beneficiaries of the $1.5 Trillion tax bill. Pitched as a ‘boon for workers,’ in fact the biggest winners will be large corporations, with 53% of the tax bill’s initial benefits going to the wealthiest 1% of Americans and 30% to the top 1% (many of whom now populate the Trump administration). That is just in the first year. In 10 years, the top 5% will get 85% of the benefits, permanently. You and I will get a tiny, temporary tax cut...maybe.

17 oil and gas companies reported a total one time initial benefit of $25 Billion. Exxon alone will reap a $6 Billion bonanza the first year. The company building the Dakota Access pipeline will get $1.53 Billion. Most of them will pay no taxes this year, and instead will receive $Millions in tax refunds, courtesy of the American taxpayer. The sub-sector of the oil/gas companies that participate in fracking will be the biggest over all winners of the group.

All of their corporate tax rates will then be reduced by 40% in perpetuity. Exxon, for instance, will experience an effective tax rate drop from 3.7% to -85.6%.

Destroying the earth now turns out to be more profitable than ever before.


UK Guardian: “Utterly Horrifying”: Ex-Facebook Insider Says Covert Data Harvesting Was Routine - The loophole that gave Facebook permission to sell access to users’ private information without the individual user's knowledge was buried deep in the terms and conditions...that of course nobody ever reads. Facebook says they are “shocked, shocked!!” to find that outside sources were using this private data inappropriately, but that now everything is fixed up nice and tidy so that can never happen again. Somehow I doubt it.

In the end, Facebook curtailed this particular loophole not because of concern for users’ privacy, but because they realized they had been selling this access too cheaply as outlined in the article.

This is not about Russian meddling, it’s about the way that Facebook works, which is based upon creating a social-validation feedback loop to push various advertisements at users and to steer them to the advertisers’ websites. Facebook then gets a little money every time a user clicks on an ad.

Anything you put on Facebook belongs to Facebook - not you. It can never really be truly deleted and they can do whatever they want with it.

Silicon valley is not our friend. Computers are great for processing large amounts of data, but not much else.


CNN: Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes: US Needs Universal Basic Income


Business Insider: Income Inequality Is Growing Across the US - Here’s How Bad It Is In Every State


New Republic: Is Amazon Too Big to Tax? - It paid zero dollars in tax last year on $5.6 Billion in profit, and then got $Billions more in mostly secret tax breaks.


Reuters: White House Reaches Informal Deal with Boeing for Air Force One - Trump said he was going to cancel the order during the campaign. Boeing spokesman: “President Trump negotiated a good deal on behalf of the American people.” What a farce.


Common Dreams: America’s Richest 2% Made More Money in 2017 Than the Cost of the Entire Safety Net


Intercept: The Stock Market Swings Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Our Rigged Economy - Synopsis: The 1% don’t like full employment - usually defined as about 4-5% unemployment. That’s because they can’t treat their employees like slaves anymore. If they do, the employees can go work for someone who treat’s them more fairly, or they can organize and go on strike.

Every structure in our economy is geared towards insuring that wages never go up. Trump’s new Fed Chair appointee’s only job is to keep “the boot on the neck of wages.” The Fed will raise rates and claim it’s to stop inflation - for which there is only a very flimsy evidence for any correlation - but the real reason is to keep the 1% on top.


Reuters: US Consumer Protection Official Puts Equifax Probe on Ice - Because this will probably get Equifax off the hook for a multi-million dollar fine, it’s another example of #CorporateWelfare.


NYPost: Tech Giants Are the Robber Barons of Our Time - Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon know more about your personal habits than you do, and they use this information to modify your internet experience in an effort to keep you hooked and incessantly hammer you with overt and subliminal advertising and stimulation. In so doing, they are stifling entrepreneurial innovation by small start up firms and they are driving smaller individually run retailers out of existence. These are monopolies and they need to be broken up under anti-trust laws already on the books.


New Republic: The Amazon Sweepstakes Racket - Hundreds of cities debase themselves in order to please Emperor Bezos. But this is now standard practice for cities who feel they have to court large companies in order to look ‘open for business’. It is a net-negative proposition for cities because corporations extract subsidies, while cities lose revenue that would otherwise go to education or infrastructure that would benefit the common good of the people. Sick.


Democracy-NOW: How Trump’s Deregulatory Push Is Harming Workers, Muzzling the EPA Scientists and Unleashing Pollution


Black Agenda Report: Oligarch Jeff Bezos - Not only the richest man on earth, the richest man ever. “In a Bezos-run world every worker will be impoverished, every level of government will subsidize corporations, and an anyone who speaks out will be discredited and under surveillance.”


Alternet: Some Cities Aren’t Waiting Around for Trump to Gut Net Neutrality - They Are Building Their Own - The catch phrase: “Fiber to the Home.” Right now, before the FCC guts net neutrality, the US still has one of the slowest and lowest capacity internet services in the developed world. After net neutrality goes away, it only gets worse. Countries like Sweden, Norway, Japan and S. Korea have ‘gigabit symmetrical service’ serving up data 100 times faster than what we have in the US at about one seventeenth the monthly cost. Check out this interview to learn more.

NYTimes: Democraps and Rethugs Work to Loosen Banking Rules - Working for big banks but not people. No Difference.


UK Guardian: Bernie Sanders: Let’s Wrench Power Back From the Billionaires - A five minute read that encapsulates Sanders’ philosophy and solutions. Bernie references the Pope’s 2013 speech attacking the worldwide ‘cult of money.’ It also made me think of the Pope’s 2015 speech naming capitalism ‘the dung of the devil’ and calling it the new cult of the golden calf and worship of mammon; and the column in the AJC on Saturday pointing out that there was a lot more to Dr. King than ‘I Have A Dream.’


Intercept: First France, Now Brazil Unveils Plan to Empower the Government to Censor the Internet in the Name of Stopping “Fake News” - Great example of governments working with large corporations to spread corporate propaganda and limit dissent. Fascism.


CNN: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Now the Richest Person in History

International Business Times: Trump Administration Waives Punishment For Convicted Banks, Including Deutsche - To Whom Trump Owes $130 - 300 Million


Intercept: “Black Mirror” Reveals Our Fear of Robots and Algorithms We Can’t Control - From the article:

The potential of automation to wipe out millions of U.S. jobs and artificial intelligence’s potential to undermine democracy have been well-documented. Instead of developing new technologies to achieve acknowledged public goals, we have begun to take technological advance as an end unto itself. Without a strong cultural and political context to determine what should be invented and why, we risk undermining both our civic culture and our democracy in the face of powerful new technologies that operate according to their own logic.

In the last 10 to 15 years, many long-held social and political norms have been washed away by technologies that have helped contribute to a crisis of faith in American democracy. Silicon Valley companies have been remarkably opaque about the future implications of their research and development programs, which, among other things, many Americans plausibly believe will lead to the loss of their jobs.

We have already sacrificed much of our personal autonomy to technologies whose underlying philosophies were unclear when they were introduced to the public. There is a growing backlash to this kind of corporate authoritarianism. Calls to break up tech companies under federal antitrust laws are increasing, while disillusioned former Silicon Valley executives have become increasingly vocal about the negative social side effects of the programs they helped develop. Technological utopianism is slowly giving way to an acknowledgement that technologies aren’t value-neutral, and it’s the role of a functioning society to govern how they are utilized. If the nightmare future depicted in shows like “Black Mirror” can be avoided, it will only come by asserting public oversight of the Silicon Valley companies whose policies are dictating the future shape of our societies — as well as our personal lives.”

Advances in technology, which obviously are all enabled by research funding from the federal government, should be used for the public good, and not to control the public and line the pockets of technology company professionals.


BBC: Is This the Year ‘Weaponized’ AI Bots Do Battle? - The real question should be how many jobs will they take? And with all of the profits they will make for their corporate masters, should we begin to think of ways to change our economic system? Should we consider a guaranteed wage for those put out of work? Single Payer health care? Lets make the robots work for all of us.


Bloomberg: Bumper Year: World’s Wealthiest Became $1 Trillion Richer in 2017 - This was before their recent $1.5 Trillion entitlement program, aka the new Tax Plan.


The Hill: Trump Told Friend at Mar-a-Lago “You All Just Got A Lot Richer” After Tax Bill Passed


Trump Tax Plan signed into law today. Here is a good run down of it’s provisions and how they affect you. Total tax reduction is $1.5 Trillion, 80% of that, or $1.2 Trillion goes to the 1%. We get the crumbs.

Mother Jones: Here Are Some Other Things We Could Have Accomplished With That $1.5 Trillion Giveaway to the Ultra-Rich - Make college free to all. Wipe out all Student Debt. Completely repaire all of US infrastructure. Universal pre-school with $1 Trillion to spare. Universal housing vouchers for all with $1 Trillion to spare. 100 plus years of children’s health care funding. Fight global warming. Build 15 new space stations. But all of that would have been ‘unrealistic.’

SF Chronicle: GOP Tax Plan Is A Triumph of the American Oligarchs


WGBH News: Why Jill Stein Isn’t Worried About the ‘Investigation’ Into Her Campaign - This is a tough interview and Stein knocks it out of the park. The Dems are attempting to smear her campaign, but it’s only going to backfire on them.

UK Independent: Donald Trump Accidentally Admits the Republican Tax Bill Was Deceptively Sold As a Boost to the Middle Class - Trump just can’t keep his trap shut. He exults in his own victories, and attempts to smear others in his defeats - of which he has had many so far - the opposite of a true statesman. Pitiful.


CNN: White House, GOP Celebrate Passing Sweeping Tax Bill - By getting rid of the mandate, it probably also means the end of Obamacare. Bernie Sanders: “Republicans are celebrating raising taxes on working families to give tax breaks to billionaires, corporations, private jet owners and themselves. Remember that.”


NPR: Charts: See How Much of GOP Tax Cuts Will Go To the Middle Class - In 2027, households earning $1 Million or more will get 82% of the total benefits from this bill. Just 26% of Americans approve of this plan. Time for a new party. These two suck.

Intercept: Corporations Say Publicly They’ll Pocket the Tax Cut, But Republicans Aren’t Listening

Robert Reich: Triumph of the Oligarchs - “Before the new Trump-Republican tax hoax, blue states had been sending more tax money to Washington than they got back, while red states were sending less than they got back. Starting January 1st, the blue-to-red state subsidy will be even larger.”


Vox: The Republican Tax Bill Gives the Top 1%, 83% of the Gains - That’s in the final year, when 53% of Americans will pay more in taxes. Even in the first year of the bill, the richest 20% will get 67% of the tax gains. This is as per the bipartisan Tax Policy Center study.

This does not count the cost of the repeal of the individual mandate, which will cost 13 million Americans their health insurance, and save the federal government $338 Billion - another tax increase on the poor and sick to help pay for the savings for the top 1%.

The only 2 parts of the bill that are permanent are a 40% reduction of the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21%, and to help pay for that there is a permanent, slower-growing inflation measure, which again will increase taxes on the poor to pay for tax savings for the 1%. The pattern here is tax the poor in order to give welfare to the rich.


Robert Reich: A Guide to Why the Rethuglican Tax Plan is a Disgrace - In addition to what Reich points out in this article:

Current corporate tax rates in the US are already the 4th LOWEST of any developed country as a percentage of GDP.

Corporations currently pay an effective tax rate of less than 20%. Many pay no tax.

Corporations are already sitting on $2.5 Trillion in cash. They will only use further tax cuts for stock buybacks (which were illegal until Reagan) and larger executive salaries as they are already doing - not investing in new jobs for the middle class.  Stock buybacks are only good for executives for 3 reasons: 1. They increase ‘earnings per share’ on which most exec bonuses are calculated, 2. By reducing the number of shares in circulation, they drive up the share price, another bonus trigger and 3. increased share price also allows execs to sell their shares at an artificially high price.


Human Rights Watch: UN: With Passage of Tax Law, US Becomes World’s Champion of Extreme Inequality

Intercept: Killing Net Neutrality Has Brought On a New Call for Public Broadband

Common Dreams: Millionaire’s Viral Video Explains Why New Tax Plan Will Cut His Taxes, But Not Yours


Reuters: Disney to Buy Fox For $52 Billion - This brings the number of corporations that control most of American media down to 4, from 50 in 1983, and 6 in 2012. No wonder we keep hearing repetitive phrases from all cable, print and radio talking heads. Abortion, Gays and Guns are used as wedge issues to divide Americans. Medicare for All is said to be unrealistic and pie in the sky. “A tax cut for all Americans...” “War on Terror!!!” “ISIS!!!” “WMDs!!!” Celebrity/Super Rich Interviews - but never average working people. Americans are trained to worship the rich (our true religion), agree on whatever they say, and never question their true motives.

Reuters: US States Sue Trump Administration For Not Granting Student Loan Relief -  Not surprising when the Sec. of Education made $Billions through for-profit, unaccountable charter school schemes.


Consumer Watchdog: Google, Amazon Digital Assistants Patents Reveal Plans for Mass Surveillance - From the article: “Digital assistants can be “awake” even when users think they aren’t listening. The digital assistants are supposed to react only when they “hear” a so-called “wakeword.” For Amazon Echo it’s “Alexa” and for Google Home it’s “OK, Google.” In fact, the devices listen all the time they are turned on – and Amazon has envisioned Alexa using that information to build profiles on anyone in the room.”

They can listen to conversations in the room to target marketing to you. They can monitor when you’re home, how much TV you watch, how much sleep you get, who you wake up with, your hygiene habits, when you shower, when you flush the toilet, and with Nest cameras can monitor the books on your bedside table and the logos on t-shirts that you wear. They can then share the data with retailers, utility companies, insurance companies, etc. Hackers and identity thieves can easily access the data collected.


Reuters: Apple Aims To Block Climate, Rights Proposals With Quick Use of SEC Guidelines


Reuters: How Monsanto’s GM Cotton Sowed Trouble in Africa


NYTimes: We Can’t Trust Facebook to Regulate Itself - 5 months after this was published, this very issue blew up in Facebook’s face.


Truth-Out: Trump’s Pick for Health Secretary Led Company That Jacked Up Insulin Prices


Medium: Friendly Reminder That Jeff Bezos is Trying to Take Over The Universe


NYTimes: How Business Titans, Pop Stars and Royals Hide Their Wealth - Paradise Papers - This is not available to you or I. Shameful.


Democracy-NOW: Former Greek Finance Minister: Global Capitalism & How Trump’s Tax Plan is Class War Against the Poor - Also see this informative TED talk where he clearly explains just why democracy and capitalism are diametrically opposed.


Politico: How The Koch Are Trying to Shake Up Public Schools One State At A Time - Their, and Betsy Devos’ favorite tool: Charter Schools


Business Insider: Amazon and Walmart Battle For the ‘Permanent Underclass’ Market, Revealing a Dark Truth About the Death of the Middle Class - The big retailers realize that more and more families are permanently falling into a subsistence life style and its going to stay that way. At some point it will dawn on Americans that it was not such a good idea for Amazon, Google and FaceBook to own everything and for Walmart to destroy all of the mom-and-pop small retailers.


Truthout: Fifty-One GOP Senators Just Voted to Cut $1.5 Trillion From Medicare and Medicaid to Give the Super-Rich and Corporations a Tax Cut


NYTimes: Silicon Valley is Not Your Friend - A very informative 12 minute read, with some good links. Facebook, Amazon and Google are the enemy. See Here and Here.

Now that Google, Facebook, Amazon have become world dominators, the questions of the hour are, can the public be convinced to see Silicon Valley as the wrecking ball that it is?...

...the extreme concentration of wealth and power is a threat to our democracy by making some people and companies unaccountable.

In addition to their power, tech companies have a tool that other powerful industries don’t: the generally benign feelings of the public. To oppose Silicon Valley can appear to be opposing progress, even if progress has been defined as online monopolies; propaganda that distorts elections; driverless cars and trucks that threaten to erase the jobs of millions of people; the Uberization of work life, where each of us must fend for ourselves in a pitiless market.

As is becoming obvious, these companies do not deserve the benefit of the doubt. We need greater regulation, even if it impedes the introduction of new services. If we can’t stop their proposals — if we can’t say that driverless cars may not be a worthy goal, to give just one example — then are we in control of our society? We need to break up these online monopolies because if a few people make the decisions about how we communicate, shop, learn the news, again, do we control our own society?”


NYTimes: Why Corporate Tax Cuts Won’t Create Jobs - This is a great, short primer for discussion with anyone who thinks they will.


People’s Policy Project: New Fed Data: Top 10% Now Own 77% of Wealth

LATimes: GOP Tax Plan Would Benefit Super-Rich the Most, Analysis Finds - From the article: “Taxpayers in the top 1% (incomes above $730,000) would receive about 50% of the total tax benefit (in the first year); their after-tax income would increase an average of 8.5%.” Their benefits would then rise over time. This group would get 80% of the total tax benefits from the GOP plan after 10 years. “The ultra-rich would top that. People with incomes of more than $5 million would have nearly 10% more after-tax income under the plan in 2027.

Lower-income households might see a modest gain from the increase in the standard deduction to $24,000 (for couples). But they’d lose out from the repeal of all personal exemptions for them and their dependents. As other experts have noted, the combination of these two factors could well mean a tax increase for lower- and middle-income families with two children or more.

With a proposed additional deficit of $1.5 Trillion in the first year, and possibly $8 Trillion over the next 10 years, the Trump tax plan will prove a day of reckoning for Rethug Deficit Hawks.


Americans For Tax Fairness: Updated: Trump’s Unpaid-For Tax Cuts May Total $5 Trillion in New Tax Plan


ABC News/Washington Post Poll: Two/Thirds of Americans Say Large Corporations Pay Too Little Tax - While the statutory tax rate for corporations is 35%, the rate they actually pay is less than 1/2 of that, and that’s on the profits that they book in the US. They currently have stashed about $2.4 Trillion in overseas tax havens. If they brought those profits back, they would owe $700 Billion in unpaid taxes. Almost half of off-shore profits are held by health care corporations and information technology corporations.

Democracy-NOW: Puerto Ricans Call for Aid Amidst Catastrophe: “We’re American Citizens. We Can’t Be Left to Die.” - During the Obama Administration, Puerto Rico was forced to sign a series of “Capital Appreciation Bonds,” which work exactly the same as payday loans. Control of the country was taken over by a ‘control board’ appointed by Obama to inflict austerity measures on the country. These loans were negotiated by the big Wall St. banks, primarily Goldman Sachs - the same exact people (Gary Cohn, Steve Mnuchin, Jay Clayton) who now serve on Trump’s cabinet. The vast majority of the money that Puerto Rico now owes is interest, not principle. They are being forced to pay an effective interest rate of 785%. Puerto Ricans are now literally starving while Wall St. “investors” make $Billions. Both Retugs and Democraps had a big hand in this and now look the other way.


NYTimes: The Law Strangling Puerto Rico


Robert Reich: Why We Must Raise Taxes on the Corporations and the Wealthy, Not Lower Them


Open Markets Institute: To Address Inequality, Let’s Take on Monopolies


Intercept: Government by Goldman


Jacobin: An Organizing Seat in City Hall - Socialist Alternative candidate for Minneapolis City Council Ginger Jentzen talks about the struggle for a $15/hour min. wage in Minneapolis and her campaign to represent working people. Minneapolis is an example of a city run by contemporary liberal Corpora-Dems, who talk about how they hate Donald Trump and use terms such as “inclusivity,” and then jet off to country club fundraisers to court $Millions from local developers. At first all of the Corpora-Dems said that increasing the minimum wage would be “illegal” under the city charter, up until Socialist Alternative put thousands of people in the street. Then they increased it.


Black Agenda Report: Charter Schools: A License to Steal


Real News: Corporate Dems Have a Vested Interest in Not Listening to Workers


Common Dreams: As Tech Giants Threaten Democracy, Calls Grow for New Anti-Monopoly Movement


NYTimes: Google Critic Ousted From Think Tank Funded by...Google - Once they accept Google money, so called independent think tanks become nothing but Google mouthpieces. The New America Foundation is no exception.


Career Builder: Living Paycheck to Paycheck Is A Way of Life for Majority of US Workers - Didn’t used to be, and doesn’t have to be.


Economic Policy Institute: Corporations’ Effective Tax Rate: 13% - And very few pay even that, since they move their headquarters overseas specifically to avoid paying any tax, while most American workers making minimum wage cannot afford to rent a 1 bedroom apartment.


Quartz Media: Amazon Owns Whole Collection of Secret Brands


NYTimes: Wall Street, Climbing Sharply, Skips Washington’s Soap Opera - What’s going on at the Trump White House and even more so the fake conspiracy theories surrounding Russia-gate are nothing more than a form of highly dramatized and affected Kabuki theatre. Trump is serving the oligarchs well, and they are happy to keep it that way. But the stock market is entering bubble-land. It won’t last.


Real News: Trump Stacking the NLRB to Favor Corporations - Looks like I’m going to have to start a new page: “Things Trump’s Been Doing Behind the Scenes While We Focused on the Madcap Adventures of His White House Staff.” For now I’m keeping up with them on the Trump Cabinet/Actions page, navigable via the Politics page.


Nation of Change: In the Last 40 Years, CEO Pay Has Risen 937%; Worker Wages 0% - The Study. Couple that with the fact that all income gains since the 2008 meltdown have gone to the top 1%, and you have the recipe for a real revolution. To the pitchforks!


Democracy-NOW: Trump’s Re-Negotiation of NAFTA Begins to Resemble TPP


Human Rights Watch: The World Bank’s Investment in Forced Labor

Democracy-NOW: Charter School Billionaire Betsy Devos Undermines Civil Rights and Favors Predatory Lenders Over Students - With the elimination of the enforcement powers of the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, the elimination of any protections against campus rape, the elimination of the “borrower defense rule” and the Education Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid, Devos and Trump are attempting to eliminate public schools and replace them with for-profit non-accountable ultra-right-religious private charter schools at all levels, encourage segregation, and put lenders in charge of collecting student debt. Any form of ‘student aid’ is being eliminated so that education opportunity will be totally eliminated for the most vulnerable and the poor. This will put us back before Brown vs Board of Education and education in this country will return to the days of separate and un-equal education systems.

But the evening news will be consumed with the daily circus of the latest Trump antics and the Trump/Russiagate conspiracy theories.


Intercept: Financial Advisers Want to Rip Off Small Investors. Trump Wants to Help Them Do It. - If you don’t read this now, then definitely do so the next time you get one of those flyers in the mail that invites you to a free fancy steak dinner where you can learn more about financial and/or retirement planning.


UK Independent: The Rich Are Getting Richer, And the Young Are Losing The Most


Intercept: Congress Trying to Sneak Through Major Giveaway to Defense Contractors - #CorporateWelfare


City Lab: How Income Inequality Makes Economic Downturns Worse


Tax Policy Center: Trump’s Tax Plan Would Cut Revenue (and thus increase the deficit) By $7.8 Trillion - After tax income increase for low-wage earners, earning less than $25,000 per year: 1%. For those making $50,000 to $86,000, an after tax income increase of 3%. For those earning over $732,000 (the top 1%) would get an after tax income increase of 18% and those the top 0.1%, earning $1.6 Million per year, would see an after tax income increase of 20%. 40% of the benefits from Trump’s tax plan would go to the top 1%.


NYTimes: The Deep Industry Ties of Trump’s Deregulation Team - Trump’s “deregulators” are working in secret creating riches for themselves and their clients. #CorporateWelfare


Common Dreams: The Fortress World of Capitalism vs. The Beautiful Possibilities of Cooperation


Common Dreams: “We Will Be Fearless”: Teachers Vow to Defend Students From Trump and Devos - President of National Education Association delivers scathing speech defying Trump’s plan to privatize the American education system through the proliferation of charter schools.


ABC News: Dakota Access Security Firm Operated in ND Without A Proper License, Board Says - See entries of 6/3 and 6/1. They coordinated their activities with local law enforcement in service to the firm building the pipeline. They applied for a license to carry out security services in ND, were turned down, but then did it anyway with the full knowledge of all three parties. They turned attack dogs on peaceful demonstrators exercising their Constitutional rights. They sprayed water hoses on demonstrators in sub zero temperatures. They shot and severely injured demonstrators with rubber bullets to the face and tear gas canisters, with one demonstrator probably losing her arm. They infiltrated groups of demonstrators and hacked into their email servers, gathering information considered derogatory “to be used at a later time.” All of the above would have been illegal if done by law enforcement. At worst they will pay a small fine as a cost of doing business and this type of behavior will become the new normal. This is what America has come to.


Bilaterals: US In Trade Talks With Asian Nations to Replace TPP


Mail & Guardian: Brics Meet At Key Point in Battle Against Global Inequality


UK Independent: Global Inequality Much Worse Than Previously Reported, When Hidden Offshore Assets Are Taken Into Account - To the pitchforks! Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos: Come Clean!

The Hill: GOP Chairman Seeks Tax Reform Recommendations - ...from “industry groups.” He’s not going to hear anything about making the super-rich pay a 40% tax rate like most of the rest of us, or forcing huge corporations and the very rich to pay the $750 Billion they owe on assets hidden abroad, or getting rid of the carried interest loophole for hedge fund managers, large real estate investors and high paid lawyers, or nixing the $600 Billion tax cut for the rich in Trumpcare (on top of the $400 Billion tax cut for the rich during Bush’s first term), or replacing #CorporateWelfare with infrastructure jobs.


Common Dreams: The 5 Richest People Own As Much As the World’s Poorest 3.75 Billion - Get out the pitchforks!


City Lab: The Hourly Wage Required to Rent A 2-Bedroom Apartment - Rent is affordable in only 12 counties in the USA.

Democracy-NOW: House Votes to Repeal Financial Regulations of Dodd-Frank - ...while everyone was focused on James Comey just a few steps away.


Medium: Bernie Sanders: Why Trump’s Public-Private Partnership Model Is Good For Wall St, But Bad For America

Charlotte Observer: Lowe’s Lays Off 120, Will Send Jobs to India - I thought Cheeto-Man said this wouldn’t happen.


Occupy: You Get What You Pay For: If Money is Speech, Can Democracy Work?


Intercept: Standing Rock Documents Expose Inner Workings of Surveillance-Industrial-Complex - An example of how a very large corporation, in cooperation with publicly funded law enforcement, will use disinformation campaigns, fabricated leaks to the press and political connections to attack the very citizens who pay the salaries of law enforcement, and to create propaganda and lies that ‘justify’ abuse of those very citizens to achieve more profits. TigerSwan portrayed the peaceful protestors as violent, drug using “diviants” and “jihadists”, when the truth is that TigerSwan was the violent party, turning attack dogs on the protestors, spraying them with water in sub-zero temperatures, and shooting tear gas canisters directly at protestors, blowing one woman’s arm off. We apparently now live in a corporate run totalitarian state.


Grist: Paramilitary Tracked and Targeted DAPL Opponents As “Jihadists” - “How do people feel about mercenaries being deployed on U.S. civilians for the benefit of an oil corporation?! My intention, my hope is that people wake up to the reality that what we’re seeing right now are incremental steps to a totalitarian reality.” 

TigerSwan situation report of 10/16: “social media cell has harnessed a URL coding technique to discover hidden profiles and groups associated with the protesters allowing the firm to access private social media information. … Self-incriminating information can be gathered on protesters to be used at a later date.”

All of this information will sooner or later be shared with DHS, and private corporations to keep tabs on and manipulate private citizens who don’t happen to agree with corporate initiatives. The founder of TigerSwan, James Reese, has on numerous occasions worked with Blackwater (now known as Academi), and owned by Eric Prince, brother of current Sec. of Education Betsy Devos. James Reese is currently a top candidate to replace James Comey as Director of the FBI. See entry of 5/27 & 5/30.

Counter Punch: Poverty Fuels European Extremism - Throughout Europe, including Germany which still has a relatively strong economy, neo-liberal policies are causing greater and greater inequities in wages and wealth. The neo-liberal promise of higher wages and better jobs never materializes. Neo-liberal policies have no track record of improving any economy. It only leads to extremist parties arising on both left and right, as we are seeing here in America as well. Extensive empirical evidence shows that Keynesian policies and an end to stock buybacks are the only avenues to improved economies for everyone.


McCleans: Ontario to Raise Minimum Wage to $15/Hour - Remember where this all got started.

Tech Dirt: Congress Fast-Tracks Bill That Gives DHS Agencies Access to NSA Collections - Between Bush and Obama, the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution has been completely shredded, just in time for Trump. DHS Fusion Centers, which are routinely used by large corporations to get dirt on their critics and Here, Here, will now have access to all electronic communications from around the world, and Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, which are collected in the NSA’s giant $2 Billion, 20 terabyte per minute, 12+ exabyte data center, and Here. This information will also be very useful for the new Ministry of Propaganda.


Intercept: Leaked Documents Reveal Counterterrorism Tactics Used At Standing Rock to “Defeat Pipeline Insurgencies” and Democracy-NOW - The cooperation between public law enforcement (paid for by all taxpayers) with private security firms to protect private corporate interests and eliminate public protest supposedly protected by the Constitution is chilling to say the least. It is one of the fundamental conditions defining fascism. The DAPL protestors were simply attempting to protect lands already guaranteed to them by the US government, and there were alternative routes that would not have endangered Native American land. Obama gave lip service to this approach, but apparently never had any intention to carry through - an action typical of his entire time in office. Compare the repressive measures used by our government in this case with the light hand used against the heavily armed Bundy protestors.

Socialist Alternative: On The Verge of Victory How ‘Fight for $15’ Was Won in Minneapolis - It all started Here.


ProPublica: The Beleaguered Tenants of Kushnerville - This whole family is a bunch of low-class miscreants.


Broadcasting Cable: FCC Commissioner: Only Silence Will Kill the Internet


Newsweek: Private Prison Company GEO Group Gave Generously to Trump; Now Has Lucrative Contract


Bureau of Investigative Journalism: Big Pharma’s Pollution Is Creating Deadly Superbugs While the World Looks the Other Way - These bugs are worse than MRSA and can alter their own DNA in response to various types of treatment.


Robert Reich: Trump and His (6) Banksters Seem to Think Americans Have Forgotten What They Lost in 2008 - 6 Goldman Sachs execs on his cabinet now: Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, Sec. of State Gary Cohn, Sec. of Treasury Steve Mnuchin, Dep. Sec. of Treasury James Donovan, SEC Chair Jay Clayton, Dep. Natl. Security Advisor Dina Powell. Goldman finally admitted in 2016 to having defrauded investors during the 2007 - 2008 meltdown, and paid a $5.1 Billion settlement. Of course, it was a sweetheart deal and not one executive went to jail - while Americans lost their jobs, homes and savings.

Black Agenda Report: Study Shows School Vouchers Hurt Students - But Trump and DeVos Couldn’t Care Less - #CorporateWelfare. As always, the Democrap, and Koch Bros. neoliberal stalking horse, Corey Booker, is at the lead of this charge.


Common Dreams: Opposing Trump’s “Moral Chaos,” People’s Budget Offers Roadmap For Resistance - Sorry to say, this is an annual donation-raising exercise for the Congressional Progressive Caucus. You won’t hear another word from them about this outside of their effort to use it to get contributions. The Green New Deal and Green Party Platform continue to support a more realistic initiative.


Intercept: Wall Street Firm Paying Obama $400,000 Faced Internal Controversy After Pocketing Huge 9/11 Settlement


Economic Policy Institute: Why America Needs a $15 Minimum Wage - A good article, but it mis-states where this all started.

Common Dreams: Goldman Sachs Execs Roll Out  Trump’s Tax Cut Plan for the Ultra-Wealthy

Alternet: Robert Reich: 5 Reasons Why Trump’s Corporate Tax Cut Is Totally Moronic

Common Dreams: Obama’s $400K Speech to Wall Street Fat Cats - Payday for Obama. He took care of them during his administration and now they are taking care of him. This was the plan from the very beginning.


Science: The Fading American Dream: Trends in Absolute Income Mobility Since 1940 - Children born since 1980 have almost no chance of earning more than their parents did, whereas children born around 1940 had a 90% chance of doing so. The solution: a steeply progressive income tax that would more equitably distribute wealth and truly create opportunities for investment and prosperity.


UK Independent: US Has Regressed to Developing Nation Status, Per MIT Economist


The Atlantic: How “School Choice” Turns Education Into A Commodity - Just another form of neoliberalism that hurts good education for all - a necessary feature of a successful country. File under Charter Schools.


Vox: New Poll Shows What Americans Really Think About Taxes: The Rich Should Pay More


New York Magazine: Trump Budget Director Admits Their Goal is High Inequality, Not Low Deficits


Americans For Tax Fairness: Talking Points on Donal Trump’s Tax Plan - File this under #CorporateWelfare.


Democracy-NOW: Noam Chomsky: Trump Administration is Aiming To Decimate All Programs To Help Working People


AJC: Big Tax Breaks Given to Large Corporations At Taxpayer (schools, services, infrastructure) Expense - #CorporateWelfare


Alternet: The Rich Pay Fewer Taxes Than The Poor and Get More Services - #CorporateWelfare It’s the rich and corporations that receive the most ‘entitlements’/‘welfare’. Between deductions, exemptions, exclusions, credits, capital gains, loopholes, underpayments, tax havens, corporate tax subsidies/credits, the total exceeds $3 Trillion. That’s 3 X more than the US deficit, or 3 X the amount of total conventional welfare expenditure, and enough to guarantee a full time job for every middle-class household in America.


Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy: The 35 Percent Corporate Tax Myth - File this under #CorporateWelfare. In the period studied, 2008 - 2015, 18 of the country’s most profitable corporations paid nothing in taxes. 100 corporations had at least one year in which their tax bill was zero or negative (refund). The study examined only the corporations that were consistently the most profitable over the eight year period. As a group they paid 21.2% in taxes, just over half of the statutory 35% rate. Collectively they received $513 Billion in tax breaks over the period studied. How did they do it? Loopholes in the tax code, industry specific subsidies, the ability to write off executive stock options, etc.

One Example:

In the US, oil companies - the most profitable enterprises in the history of the world - receive about $40 Billion in annual subsidies, and Here. Worldwide, they receive about $1 Trillion yearly.


ProPublica: Florida to Examine Whether Charter Schools Underreport Dropouts

Democrat & Chronicle, Rochester, NY: Decision-Makers Skip NY Nuclear Bailout Hearing - More #CorporateWelfare. The Public Service Commission saw no point in attending a hearing with politicians because the PSC has already ruled that ratepayers are going to bail out the private corporation Exelon to the tune of several $$$Billion over the next 11 years. And just as soon as the PSC members finish their terms, they no doubt already have cushy jobs lined up at Exelon until they retire.


Frontline: How the Deck is Stacked


NYTimes: Trump to Seek $54 Billion Increase in Military Spending - Cuts to come from environmental, educational, science and poverty programs. Current US defense spending is already over $850 Billion (including Veterans’ Services, and Foreign Military and Economic Aid), more than the total defense spending of all other countries on Earth combined. There is only one group of people that benefit from this: the Boards of Directors and C-level employees of defense contracting corporations. It’s just another form of #CorporateWelfare - entitlements for the rich.


Democracy-NOW!: “For Profit President”: A Look At How Trump is Pushing Wholesale Corporate Takeover of the Govt - Public Citizen Report. Corporate Cabinet

TruthOut: More Republican Handouts to the Rich


Truth-Out: Authentic Hope in the Twilight of Failed Neoliberal Capitalism - Interesting. The opposite of retrotopianism.

“...a focus on responding to local conditions with solutions that have the potential to be scaled to connect with larger movements...

a national movement to preserve heritage seeds among Mexican campesinos stands out as having enormous global potential...

a global network of hackers who educate university students on truly disruptive tech social innovation to address economic inequity...

residents partner with tech experts to solve problems specific to their barrio with locally appropriate technology...

"trafkintu" that mirrors the seed exchanges I found in Mexico. In premodern Mapuche culture, there were regular trafkintu to allow different tribal branches to share knowledge and goods, including food and seeds. In this native economic model, seeds were considered to be gifts, and the exchange was an expression of friendship to build communal bonds among tribes. There was no quid pro quo. This native social-economic tradition is being revived across the Andes as a de facto counterweight to the corrosive ethos of modern consumer culture...

requires major changes in the way political strategy is conceived and executed on the left. Creating a civic life strong and diverse enough to counter and supplant the current destructive ethos of globalized neoliberal capitalism requires full political engagement of a kind that is very different from simply voting...

cynically hip capitalist modernity...

Outdated industrial-era thinking that insists on using assembly-line factory models as the primary reference point does nothing to inspire or illuminate the kinds of small scale, often joyful civic actions and creative mindset that are necessary to advance humanity's cause...

The paucity of new ideas about work and play on the left is already at a crisis point. Global capital has outflanked ossified leftist political theory by inventing a so-called "sharing economy" in which human subjectivity itself has become the product. Under this new "cognitive capitalism," even the interactions of friendship and hospitality have been monetized as commodities...

emerging collaborative civic sensibility...authentic sharing and vibrant communal attachment to life in the elaboration of a common cause with others. They are also the opposite of retrotopianism.


Intercept: Bank/Corporate-Protector That Obama Placed At The Top of the SEC, Returns to Her Happy Place


Real News: Upward Distribution of Wage Income Behind Social Security’s Shortfall - Synopsis: The last time the Social Security cap was changed was in 1983. The cap was set at the point where 10% of wage earners were above the cap of $127,000. Today 20% are above that cap. When Rethuglicans claim that Social Security is underfunded and is about to fail, they never mention this. Bottom line: Remove the cap and Social Security will be funded well beyond any actuarial projection. Here’s a tool that shows when the wealthiest Americans stop paying into Social Security.


Real News: Greek Creditors Demand New Austerity Measures, Is Grexit Back on the Table?


Kansas City Star: Grieving Moms, Wives Form Front Line Against CTE at Super Bowl - Why is this entry under Corporate Domination? Follow the publicity, celebrity...and the money.


Truth Out: Trade Deal Proponents Double-Down In Defense of Harmful Trade Policy - An important study. Synopsis: In answer to those who say that the loss of manufacturing jobs is not due to trade agreements such as NAFTA, but rather is a result of automation:

All according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: Despite the fact that the pace of automation in the US has been climbing steadily since 1970, the number of manufacturing jobs fell only 0.5 million (about 3%) from 1970 to 2000. From 2000 when NAFTA was signed into law, to 2007 just prior to the economic meltdown, the number of manufacturing jobs fell 3.4 million.

The three states that determined the Trump victory, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan lost a total of 800,000 jobs or about 30% of their original total. Those people were hurting and they were pissed and they were not about to vote for more of the same. “Trade policies supported by the leaders of both parties had a devastating effect on the lives of millions of workers and their families...Denying this reality is not a promising path for winning back the support of these voters, although it may make the people who benefited from these trade policies feel better about themselves.”


UK Guardian: Capitalism As Species Destroyer


Waging Nonviolence: The History of Anti-Authoritarian Struggle Is Worth Repeating

PBS Independent Lens: Today Only 5 Corporations Own Most News Media - Down from 6 in 2012. When you start hearing a chorus of media all chanting the same phrase (such as ‘weapons of mass destruction,’ or ‘fake news,’ or ‘hacked the election,’ or ‘civil rights icon’), it’s called neuro-linguistic programming. MSM uses this technique all the time.


CNN: Nobel Economist: One-Percenters, Pay Your Taxes


OXFAM: Just 8 People Now Have The Same Wealth As The Poorest 3.6 Billion - A 2 minute read with some very interesting links.

“Capitalism has outlived its usefulness. It has brought about a system that takes necessities from the masses to give luxury to the classes. Call it what you may, call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God’s children.”

Martin Luther King


Washington Post: As Socialist Venezuela Collapses, Socialist Bolivia Thrives. Here’s Why. - Socialism doesn’t explain either situation. Only pure Keysnesian economic theory does.


Truthdig Chris Hedges: Defying Donald Trump’s Kleptocracy - If left uncontested, he will usher in the final stage of capitalism and the complete destruction of our society. He will fleece the government and the people. He is “impulsive, ignorant and inept.”

Corporate Domination 2016

Forget about income and wealth inequality, #CorporateWelfare, defunding public education, crumbling American infrastructure, the lack of difference between the only 2 major neo-liberal war parties that we’ll ever get a chance to vote for, the dysfunctional health care delivery system, drone murders, perpetual war. Just focus on what’s  

               REALLY SCARY RIGHT NOW!!!!!

Whether the concern is climate, labor, finance, war, food/water shortage, environmental destruction, lack of adequate/equal health care, or LGBT issues, the root cause is the same: unregulated, out of control corporate capitalism. It’s not working and it keeps getting worse by the day.