Corporate Domination


Background Info and Links

The Sanders Institute

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.

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.


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


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.


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.

“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


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?


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.”


Washington Center for Equitable Growth: Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States - Wonky, but the authors account for 100% of national income in all segments of the population from 1913 up to today. In the period since 1980, income for the bottom 50% has stagnated. Income for the 50 - 90% has increased 40%. Income for the top 1% has increased 2,700%.


Intercept: Apple CEO Tim Cook Met With Trump to ‘Engage’ on Gigantic Corporate Tax Cut - Another $50 Billion of #CorporateWelfare. The folks that voted for Trump won’t see a penny.


Investing.Com: Harvard/Princeton Study: 94% of All New Jobs During Obama Era Were Part-Time - This is ‘Obama’s legacy.’


ProPublica: Trump’s Pick for Labor Secretary Wrote a Deregulatory Manifesto - I just hope the working class folks who voted for Trump are paying attention.


Black Agenda Report: Trump’s Education Pick Will Continue Chartered Destruction of Public Schools - DeVoss-backed charter schools in Detroit created nothing but chaos and performed no better than the public schools they replaced. But the corporate investors made $millions.


HuffPo: Is Capitalism Morphing Into a Means of Servitude? - “The Smith of economics is the author whose writings are abused to elevate the self-interest motive that is the basis of utility and profit maximization at any cost to society, including the impoverishment and exploitation of fellow human beings.

Modern capitalism has developed institutions ... such as the unlimited accumulation of private property and wealth, extravagant and opulent consumption, highly unequal distribution of income, massive poverty, increasing financial and economic exclusion, and the adverse impact of environmental degradation.

Its modus operandi is unjust wars, oppression, the curtailment of democratic values and limited access to healthcare and retirement benefits with little provision for those who cannot provide for themselves.”


Washington Post: Trump to Name Goldman Sachs Veteran, Gary Cohn, to Head National Economic Council


Intercept: Donald Trump’s Labor Secretary Pick Wants More Cheap Immigrants in American Jobs


Intercept: Hillary Clinton’s “Corrupt Establishment” Is Now Advising Donald Trump - So much for his “working class” voters.


Naked Capitalism: Bigger Cities Benefit the Rich, Harm the Poor

Wired: This ‘Bank For The Poor’ Could Hold the Key to Ending Poverty and Inequality


UK Guardian: Inequality: Seedbed for Disharmony

UK Guardian: OECD: Income Inequality Still At Record Levels


Black Agenda Report: Obama’s Musings on ‘False Narratives and Fake Stories’


Intercept: Hedge Fund Managers Expect A Return On Their Investment In Donald Trump


Paywatch 2016: CEO-to-worker pay ratio: 335:1. Fortune 500 companies don’t pay taxes on $2.4 Trillion - enough to build a hospital, high school, library, day care center, bus terminal, community center, and fire station in 7,908 communities. For every domestic job lost, US multinationals create seven jobs overseas. Corporate profits rise while corporate tax revenues fall. US corporate tax rates are 10th lowest out of 32 OECD countries. Corporate CEO pay is highest at companies that have ‘inverted,’ moving their nominal corporate headquarters overseas.


UKGuardian: Thomas Piketty: We Must Rethink Globalization, or Trumpism Will Prevail - “Let it be said at once: Trump’s victory is primarily due to the explosion in economic and geographic inequality in the United States over several decades and the inability of successive governments to deal with this.”

“It is time to change the political discourse on globalization: trade is a good thing, but fair and sustainable development also demands public services, infrastructure, health and education systems. In turn, these themselves demand fair taxation systems. If we fail to deliver these, Trumpism will prevail.”

Piketty is the Associate Chair at the Paris School of Economics and the Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics, and the guy who wrote “Capital in the 21st Century”, the definitive and already classic work explaining the nature of wealth and income disparity, which, after climate change, is currently the most existential threat to our global society. Here’s a short (5 minute read) summarization of the book and its implications.


Counter Punch: TPP Is Dead - With the adjournment of Congress, it appears this fight is over. Score another victory for the people.


Reuters: For-Profit Colleges Could Prosper Under Trump: Barron’s


NPR: Yanis Varoufakis, Former Greek Finance Minister: Is Capitalism Compatible With Democracy? - No. Not the type of poorly regulated capitalism we have. It invariably leads to a few very big winners and a lot of losers, which then leads to what we have today: oligarchy and Here - rule by the rich. The entire interview is worth a listen/read...about 10 minutes. Here are a couple of excerpts:

VAROUFAKIS: In the West, we mistakenly believe that capitalism begets inevitably democracy. It doesn't. Allow me to point out an interesting paradox that is threatening our economies as we speak. I call it the twin peaks paradox. One peak is the mountain of debts that is - has been casting a long shadow over the United States, Europe, the whole world. But few people discern its twin, mountain of idle cash belonging to rich savers and the corporations, too terrified to invest it into the productive activities that can generate the incomes from which you can extinguish the mountain of debts.

The result is stagnant wages and consequently low aggregate demand, which in a never-ending cycle reinforces the pessimism of the investors. This is my quarrel with capitalism, its gross wastefulness. The more capitalism succeeds in taking the demos out of democracy, the greater the waste of humanity's wealth.

RAZ: So essentially what you're saying is that the notion of power residing in the people in a democracy is a smokescreen and that a capitalist system ultimately means that power will reside in the hands of corporations?

VAROUFAKIS: Well, you just stated it...The reality is there is a huge tension between capitalism and democracy...So in capitalism the whole point about profit maximization is all about monopoly power. There is a quest for monopoly, which is exactly the opposite of what democracy's all about.

VAROUFAKIS: can be in government today and not in power because power has migrated from the political to the economic sphere which is separate. Earlier this year, while I was representing Greece, the newly elected Greek government in the eurogroup as its finance minister, I was told in no uncertain terms that our nation's democratic process - our elections - could not be allowed to interfere with economic policies that were being implemented in Greece. At that moment, I felt that there could be no greater vindication of some recalcitrant friends of mine who kept telling me that democracy would be banned if it ever threatened to change anything.

VAROUFAKIS: History, as far as I'm concerned, is what happens when two forces clash - one is technological innovation which constantly destabilizes the existing order, and the second force is the social relations of production and the power relations production. And the result of this clash between the power relations generates history, but that, of course, I didn't invent this historical theory. This is Karl Marx. But think about it. Capitalism burst upon the scene historically in the 18th century in England, so we must never imagine that capitalism is a natural system of doing things. It is just one phase of human development. It will certainly pass.


Common Dreams: The American Way: Socialism for the Rich, Free Enterprise For the Rest - #CorporateWelfare. Other examples: IRS chooses not to pursue big donor corporations to the tune of $Tens of Billions of taxes owed. Current Treasury Sec. Lew previously worked for Citigroup in the division that helps large corporations set up foreign accounts to avoid US taxes, and even set one up for himself. Every Democrat presidential candidate says they plan to get rid of the carried-interest tax loophole, but they never do it. The rich bribe Congress to allow them to avoid $Billions in taxes by putting large pieces of real estate into trusts. They hide $20-30 Trillion from US taxes and Here. They bribe Congress to flow $Billions to for-profit colleges. Large corporations pay nothing in taxes on hundreds of $Billions in profit and instead extract tens of $Millions from the US Treasury in subsidies. The most profitable corporations in history pay no taxes, and instead reap $Billions in tax subsidies and Here, all while they destroy our planet. They use multiple methods to shelter their income and Here. Banks are still using taxpayer-backed money to invest in derivatives and Here. Corporations are allowed to avoid hundreds of $Billions in taxes on profits from using money that is supposed to be held in their reserves to pay bonuses and dividends and Here. Pharmaceutical companies are allowed to charge many times the cost of developing drugs plus a fair profit - drugs that sick people need to survive. These are the true “entitlement programs.” Yet in the richest country on earth, over 1/3 of American children live in poverty. It is one subject, along with climate change, that the corporate media never covers.


Open Secrets: Millions in Political Donations Fueled by Matching Bonuses at Boston Law Firm - A prohibited, and probably illegal activity benefitting Harry Reid, and Elizabeth Warren - ‘the crusader’.


Black Agenda Report: New Layers of Dirt on Charter Schools


The Nation: Why Americans Are In Revolt

NYTimes: A Constellation of Influencers: Behind the Curtain At Teneo - You too can become a ‘thought leader.’ This is how the country is run now.


AJC: It’s Teachers Union vs The Unknowns In Georgia Charter School Takeover


ProPublica: How Airline Executives and Democratic Power Players Have Made Flying Even More Miserable - I will never understand how people pay huge fees in order to allow themselves to be treated like cattle. Another campaign promise broken by Obama, and today Hillary is telling the same lie.


Occupy: New Report Exposes World of Offshore Corporate Tax Avoidance - One of Hillary’s campaign pledges is to make the wealthy and large corporations pay “their fair share.” But that’s probably just one of her ‘public positions.’

DW: Income Inequality Reaches New High in Germany


Black Agenda Report: Obama’s Legacy On Financial Crime: It’s No Crime for Corporations to Steal From the Public or the Poor


Black Agenda Report: Georgia’s Governor Wants To Turn His Public Schools Into Post-Katrina New Orleans - Gov. Deal and his high-contributing charter school sugar daddies would like nothing more than to turn GA schools into centers for profit. Vote No on Amendment #1.

The governor then gets to fire up a virtual school district stretching across the entire state, a district in which he alone appoints all the officials on whatever basis at what ever salary suits him. OSD lets the governor create up to a hundred new charter schools in his virtual district to eat the funds which used to go to those public schools. The new OSD charter schools will make fortunes for their investors and contractors, who have already and will continue to donate generously to the governor and his friends.”


The Balance: Reasons for US Income Inequality


Truthdig: Chris Hedges: The Most Brazen Corporate Power Grab in American History


NYTimes: Today’s Inequalities Could Easily Become Tomorrow’s Catastrophe


NYTimes: Obama Readies One Last Push for TPP - One group that neither the Rethugs nor the Dems represent is the American working class.


AP: Income Inequality: Why It Matters - Average yearly income of the top 1%: $1.36 Million and rising rapidly, having climbed 7.7% in the last year, over twice the rate of everybody else. Total income of the top 1% is 22% of all income. Average yearly income of everybody else: $48,768, less than it was in 1998 adjusted for inflation. The middle class is disappearing. Jobs and taxable corporate income are leaving the country. This slows the economy rather than creating jobs. A rising tide does not lift all boats. Supply side economics has never worked, is BS, and has been ever since Reagan first promoted it in 1980 (almost 40 years ago). The only economic policy with verifiable empirical results, and that has been recognized as valid since 1936 by academics is Keynesian. All the rest is hog wash.


Democracy-NOW: Why Did Clinton Just Tap a Pro-TPP, Pro-KXL, Pro-Fracking Politician to Head Her Transition Team? and Intercept


Politico: Obama Puts Congress on Notice: TPP Is Coming - This is just standard OP for dems and rethugs. Obama is giving a present to both international corporations and to Hillary. Now she can maintain that she is against it - after she was for it - because it will already be done when she takes office. Despicable!


Alternet: Robert Reich: Why a Tax on Wall Street Trades is an Even Better Idea Than You Know


Motherboard: Chevron Wins, But Ecuador’s Amazon Remains an Unmitigated Environmental Disaster


UK Guardian: I Could Only Afford to Live In A Truck, But Was Ineligible For Food Stamps


Democracy-NOW: First Evidence Surfaces of Foreign Money Pouring into US Elections After Citizens United and Intercept - While it’s kind of amusing that this Chinese corporation wasted $1.3 Million on the Jeb Bush campaign, keep in mind that it was a stroke of luck that led these reporters to this particular donation and there are probably hundreds of other examples of this that can’t be uncovered because of the way that the Citizens United decision was rendered.

When the principles in the corporation were reached by reporters for comment, they immediately offered a $200,000 bribe for the story to be killed. Within this article the reporter gives an easy ‘road map’ for how foreign entities can contribute unlimited amounts to US elections because of Citizens United. Here’s the Memo.


Salon: Saving Lives With the Minimum Wage - Multiple public health benefits would accrue from raising the minimum wage.


McClatchy: Obama ‘Predicts’ TPP Will be Ratified During Lame-Duck Congress - Now that the Rethug nominee is self-destructing, the Democraps feel a little safer in revealing their true intentions. Screw them all forever!


Seattle Times: How Corporate CEO’s Score $0 Property Tax Bills - ...then flip the houses for a profit. Wish I could do that.


CNN: Terry McAuliffe: Hillary Will Flip-Flop on TPP - I think we all already know this, but it really doesn’t matter because Obama is going to give it, as a parting gift, to his corporate masters during the lame duck congress. So Hillary won’t even have to bother. That’s just what Dems (and rethugs) do. Never listen to what they say.


Democracy-NOW: Who Should Bernie Voters Support Now? Reich vs Hedges - Chris Hedges: “reducing the election to personalities is kind of infantile at this point. The fact is, we live in a system that Sheldon Wolin calls inverted totalitarianism. It’s a system where corporate power has seized all of the levers of control.

We’ve seen, under Obama, an assault against civil liberties that has outstripped what George W. Bush carried out. We’ve seen the executive branch misinterpret the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act as giving itself the right to assassinate American citizens, including children. We have bailed out the banks, pushed through programs of austerity. This has been a bipartisan effort, because they’ve both been captured by corporate power.

We have undergone what John Ralston Saul correctly calls a corporate coup d’état in slow motion, and it’s over. We’ve got to break out of this idea that we can create systematic change within a particular election cycle. But on the issues of climate change, on the issue of the destruction of civil liberties, including our right to privacy—and I speak as a former investigative journalist, which doesn’t exist anymore because of wholesale government surveillance—we have no ability, except for hackers.

Clinton has a track record, and it’s one that has abandoned children. I mean, she and her husband destroyed welfare as we know it, and 70 percent of the original recipients were children. What we are seeing now is furious spin—I listened to Ben Jealous just do it—from the self-identified liberal class. And they are tolerated within a capitalist system, because, in a moment like this, they are used to speak to people to get them to betray their own interests in the name of fear.

It's just a monstrosity what we’ve done; 350,000 to 400,000 people locked in cages in this country are severely mentally ill. Half of them never committed a violent crime. That’s all Bill Clinton. Sixty percent of the Democratic senators voted for the war, including Hillary Clinton. The idea that somehow Democrats don’t push us into war defies American history.

I think we have to acknowledge two facts. We do not live in a functioning democracy, and we have to stop pretending that we do. You can’t talk about—when you eviscerate privacy, you can’t use the word "liberty." That is the relationship between a master and a slave. The fact is, this is capitalism run amok. This whole discussion should be about capitalism. Capitalism does what it’s designed to do, when it’s unfettered or unregulated—as it is—and that is to increase profit and reduce the cost of labor. And it has done that by deindustrializing the country, and the Clinton administration, you know, massively enabled this.

We have responded to surplus labor in our deindustrialized internal colonies by putting poor people of color in cages all across the country. Why? It’s because surplus labor—corporate entities cannot make money off of surplus or redundant labor. But when you lock them in a cage, they make $40,000 or $50,000 a year. This is the system we live in.

We live in a system where, under Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, the executive branch can put the soldiers in the streets, in clear violation of the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, to see—carry out extraordinary rendition of American citizens who are deemed to be "terrorists," strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military facilities, including in our black sites. We are a country that engages in torture.

We talk about building movements. You can’t build movements in a political system where money has replaced the vote. It’s impossible. And the Democrats, you know, their bedside manner is different from the Republicans. You know, Trump is this kind of grotesque figure. He’s like the used car salesman who rolls back the speedometer. But Hillary Clinton is like, you know, the managers of Goldman Sachs. They both engage in criminal activities that have—and Clinton’s record, like Trump, exposes this—that have preyed upon the most vulnerable within this country and are now destroying the middle class. And to somehow speak as if we are in a functioning democracy, or speak as if there are any restraints on capitalism, or speak as if the Democratic Party has not pushed forward this agenda—I mean, Obama has done this. You know, he has been as obsequious to Wall Street as the Bush administration. There’s no difference.

The two insurgencies, both within the Republican Party and the Democratic Party were against figures like Hillary Clinton, who spoke in that traditional feel-your-pain language of liberalism, while assiduously serving corporate power and selling out working men and women. And they see through the con, they see through the game.

When you dispossess that segment, as large as we have—half the country now lives in virtual poverty—and you continue to essentially run a government that’s been seized by a cabal, in this case, corporate, which uses all of the machinery of government for their own enrichment and their own further empowerment at the expense of the rest of the citizenry, people finally react.

I don’t think it makes any difference. The TPP is going to go through, whether it’s Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Endless war is going to be continued, whether it’s Trump or Clinton. We’re not going to get our privacy back, whether it’s under Clinton or Trump. The idea that, at this point, the figure in the executive branch exercises that much power, given the power of the war industry and Wall Street, is a myth.”


Black Agenda Report: Obama & Clinton Collude (with Rethugs) to Ram TPP Through Lame-Duck Congress - It’s what Dems and Rethugs do. Never listen to what they say. Only watch what they do.


Democracy-NOW: Wall St. and Washington Pols Institute a Pay-Day Loan for Puerto Rico - The Wall St./Washington cabal has forced a loan on Puerto Rico which will force PR to pay an effective 785% interest rate. In addition they have created a federally appointed control board to run the country. Colonialism at its worst.


Fortune: Income Inequality is Killing In US is Killing the Traditional Family

TPP Coalition: Gov. Pence Urges Indiana’s Congressional Delegation to Support TPP - Dems and Rethugs are in agreement behind the scenes as usual.

Kshama Sawant: REI Workers Rally for Right to Unionize


Opensecrets: Clinton and Wall St.: What’s the Deal, Really? - ...about $4.5 M. She’s the Wall St., Walmart, warmonger candidate.

Black Agenda Report: The Obama Legacy Part III: Destroying Public Education As We Know It - #CharterSchools

HuffPo: 1 Obscene Statistic Helps Explain Why Income Inequality is So Bad - Chief executives with $15+ Million yearly salaries say they can’t afford to pay their workers $15/hour.


Common Dreams: Anti-TPP Amendment Fails At Heated Dem Platform Meeting - This only helps Donald Trump. Once again, the top leaders of the Democratic party show that it’s more important to them to control the party than it is to win the election. TPP is hugely unpopular with the American people. If Hillary is against it as she now says she is, why won’t she allow this plank in the platform?


Truthdig: Public Education Advocates Are Wary of the Democratic Party Establishment, and Here’s Why - file under charter schools

NYTimes: Investors Get Stung Twice by Executives’ Lavish Pay Packages - See related articles Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here. Here is how these lavish pay packages and buybacks can reduce the value of your nest egg. Stock buybacks were considered to be price manipulation and were illegal until Reagan’s SEC Chairman appointee John SR Shad changed the rule.

“Since 2004, companies have spent nearly $7 trillion purchasing their own stock — often at inflated prices, according to data from Mustafa Erdem Sakinc of the Academic-Industry Research Network. That amounts to about 54% of all profits from Standard & Poor's 500 index companies between 2003 and 2012, according to William Lazonick, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.”

Executives can use stock buybacks in 3 ways: 1. They increase earnings per share, which can trigger bonuses for the executives. 2. They can bump up the stock price, which allows the executives to sell their stock options at a higher price. 3. They can prevent the dissolution of the stock price if executives decide to sell large blocks of stock options.


Bill Moyers: The Democrats Ignore the 500-Pound Lobbyist In the Room


Mintpress: US Income Inequality Reaches Highest Level in History - “...while President Obama claimed in 2013 that income inequality was the “defining challenge of our time,” his policies have made no meaningful contribution to addressing it.” That’s what Dems - and Reps - do.


ProPublica: New Jersey’s Student Loan Program is ‘State-Sponsored Loan Sharking’

NYTimes: In New Jersey Student Loan Program, Even Death Brings No Reprieve


NYTimes: US Criticizes Burma Over Human Trafficking - State Dept. criticizes, right after Treasury has opened the door for business. This comes just on the heals of the upgrade of Malaysia just last year by the State Dept. in order to grease the wheels for the TPP agreement. Slavery? Who cares? Great to criticize past slavery, but never mind about the slavery going on today that is effectively enabled by Obama/Clinton and those that support them, and Here, Here, and Here.


Washington Post: Obama and Sanders Battle Over TPP and the Democratic Platform - Obama states that he will ‘not allow’ the Democratic platform to oppose TPP. He says he will ‘lean on’ the platform committee to include language supporting TPP. This is blatant, full-on corporatism, and against what the majority of the Democrats want and what the majority of American people want.


NYTimes: More School Choice for Detroit’s Children, Not Better Schools - Charters only make their owners richer.


Democracy-NOW: Making Sense of Brexit: Paul Mason on Britain’s Growing Economic and Political Crisis - Synopsis: There are some minor issues at play here, such as: xenophobic anti-immigration sentiment; even though 74% of young voters voted to stay only 35% of them actually voted; in small industrial towns wages and living standards are down which they blame on EU policies; Scotland, N. Ireland and London voted to stay but were in the minority. All of these factors played into the vote. But the main, overriding problem is that neoliberalism, with its reliance on austerity as the solution to every economic problem (which conveniently enriches those at the very top), is destroying the EU from within. Brexit is just one symptom. There is not one shred of empirical economic evidence throughout history that indicates that austerity will help a depressed economy. It will, however, eventually lead to revolution. And revolutions are not pretty.


NYTimes: When You Dial 911 and Wall Street Answers - This is where ‘out-sourcing’ critical community services will get us. Many like to say that government can’t get anything right. This article shows how the capitalist model just doesn’t work in certain areas. I’d rather have a well-meaning bureaucrat looking after me than a greedy, sociopathic private equity firm any day.


Intercept: FBI, DHS, Secret Service, Police Harassing Peaceful Protestors at Their Homes Prior to Republican National Convention


Stat News: The Growing Diet Divide Between Rich and Poor in America - Neoliberalism is slowly killing us all.


Telesur: Unidos Podemos Smashes Spain’s Two Party System


Truthdig: Neoliberalism Will Soon Force Americans to Leave the USA


Daily Kos: Economic Policy Institute Posts Report Showing - Again - That Income Inequality is a Big Deal


NYTimes: US Court of Appeals Backs Rules Treating Internet as a Utility - This is a big step forward for consumers and small businesses, but the ruling will be appealed by the big ISPs and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association to the Supreme Court.

USA Today: House Approves Koch-Backed Bill to Shield Donors’ Names - Proponents say it’s about ‘free speech,’ but it’s nothing of the sort. If it were about free speech, these same people would be clamoring for an end to the US government collection of all communication data worldwide. It’s about keeping secret the names of those who would like to completely control our government, even if they are from another country.


Engadget: Google Lends Support to the Controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership


Frontline: Why the Middle Class Matters - In 1971, 70% of Americans were middle class. That has now dropped to 50%. Most of that 20% difference moved down. Very few moved up, but they got a lot richer. 67% of our economic activity is driven by people buying stuff - consumption. The middle class does most of that consumption. People above middle class use a very small percentage of their wealth buying stuff - except for their conspicuous consumption - big houses, fancy cars, etc. The rich mostly invest in financial instruments which do not create jobs. The poor are just trying to get by. The economy slows as people drop below the middle class - perpetuating the downward cycle.

Economic Policy Institute: Progressive Redistribution Without Guilt: Using Policy to Shift Economic Power - It is slowly beginning to dawn on research and academic economists that policies of austerity do nothing for economic growth or to reverse the widening gap between the very, very rich and the poor and middle class. Those policies just funnel the wealth up the ladder to the very top and leave 90% of the people further and further behind. We’ve been trying this little ‘supply-side,’ ‘trickle down’ experiment for almost 40 years and it has failed every time. Economists are returning to the Keynesian view. As this realization becomes more and more mainstream, more politicians like Bernie Sanders will come ‘on line.’ It’s a long article, but the major points are covered in the first four paragraphs. Also so see Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here.


NYTimes: Panama Papers Show How The Rich Conceal $Millions

IMF: Neoliberalism: Oversold? - That the biggest driver in the world of neoliberalism would publish a paper with this title is eye-popping to begin with. It’s conclusions: The neoliberal agenda has not delivered as promised.

And in addition:

  1. The benefits in terms of increased growth seem fairly difficult to establish when looking at a broad group of countries.­

  2. The costs in terms of increased inequality are prominent. Such costs epitomize the trade-off between the growth and equity effects of some aspects of the neoliberal agenda.­

  3. Increased inequality in turn hurts the level and sustainability of growth. Even if growth is the sole or main purpose of the neoliberal agenda, advocates of that agenda still need to pay attention to the distributional effects.”

A change in direction?


AlterNet: Noam Chomsky Blows the Lid Off Latest Corporate Trade Deal - These are not ‘free trade agreements.’ They are investor protection agreements. Multi-national corporations would have the right to sue governments for the loss of future profits in a supra-national court run by their own lawyers. Environmental and worker protections would be illegal. The trade deals make it impossible for governments to address climate change or safeguard public health. Essentially they are corporate takeovers of national governments...just like now except it would be official.

AJC: Inside the Largest Charter School Theft In Georgia History

NYTimes: Sharp Fall in US Hiring Saps Chance of Fed Rate Increase - 38,000 jobs added vs. a monthly average of 240,000 for the last two years...and previous months have now been revised down. “Despite the anemic job gains, the official unemployment rate, (which is based on a separate survey of households), fell to 4.7 percent, its lowest point in nearly a decade. But the decline was primarily a result of Americans dropping out of the labor force rather than finding new jobs.“Boy, this is ugly,” said Diane Swonk, an independent economist in Chicago. “The losses were deeper and more broad-based than we expected.” Jobs seekers drop out of the labor force only when there are no jobs to be found. Capitalism is not working. Keynesian economics still holds. The only thing that’s going to reverse this is the reversal of various “free trade” agreements and revising our tax structure to be more like that of the 40s and 50’s, and the elimination of various tax avoidance tactics used by those in the highest income and wealth categories. That added revenue could then be used to improve the infrastructure of the country, and for massive increases in construction of renewables, free education through the undergraduate level, and single-payer healthcare for all. Neither one of the major party candidates have a clue about that. It’s going to take a political revolution, or we’ll be stuck in this cycle forever.


Open Secrets: Wall Street’s Fab Five House Politicians Most Reliant on Wall Street


NYTimes: Behind the Scenes, Billionaires’ Growing Control of News - Another facet of the control large corporations have over the news and thus the zeitgeist. See also entry below of 5/7.


Socialist Alternative: Can The Democratic Party Be Reformed? - A short history of how the ups and downs of the labor movement, especially in the 30s and 40s, have shaped the policies of both major parties in the US, followed by a comparison of labor conditions in other OECD countries. The conclusion is that only with a strong labor party, the infrastructure for which is now in place, to a large extent because of the Sanders campaign, can the root causes of income and wealth inequality in this country be eradicated.


ZeroHedge: Stock Share Buybacks Now Bought Out - American Enterprise In Decline


Open Secrets: Hedge Fund Megadonors Capitalize on Offshore Opportunities - $400 Billion camped out in the Caymans, well away from US taxation. Here’s a little secret: They don’t pay their fair share. This article highlights 7 individual hedge fund managers who have given $60 Million to US politicians of both parties just since the beginning of 2015. You can get in on this, but only if you have at least an extra $5.4 Million minimum investment lying around somewhere.


HuffPo: Bernie Sanders Calls Out MSNBC’s Corporate Ownership -- In Interview on MSNBC - 6 corporations control the vast majority of everything we see, hear and read.

Comcast owns NBCUniversal owns MSNBC, NBC, Bravo, USA, other channels

Time Warner owns CNN, HBO, Time, Warner Bros.

News-CORP owns Fox, WSJ, NY Post and the top newspaper on 3 continents

Disney owns ABC, ESPN, Pixar, Miramax, Marvel Studios

Viacom (majority owner Sumner Redstone) owns MTV, Nick JR, BET, CMT, Paramount Pictures

CBS Corp. (majority owner Sumner Redstone) owns Showtime, The Movie Channel, FLIX, Smithsonian Channel


ESMT Berlin: Where Did The Greek Bailout Money Go? - To bailout the banks, this study concludes. Of the $246 Billion in bailout funds, 5% went to the Greek budget, 95% to German banks. Here is Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz’s take on the issue and ex-Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. Meanwhile German banks facilitate tax avoidance for large corporations and rich investors.


RT News: TTIP Risks to Health & Environment, US Pressure on EU Revealed in Secret Docs Leaked by Greenpeace


Democracy-NOW: “The Incomplete, True, Authentic and Wonderful History of May Day” - Happy May Day! Go outside and dance around the Maypole! “Hooray, Hooray, the 1st of May! Outdoor Loving Begins Today” May Day of the modern era began in Massachusetts in 1627 with Thomas Morton, and then was reprised by the Haymarket Affair, and led to the establishment of International Workers Day. The Puritans hated May Day. Odd that they came over on the Mayflower.


Salon: Robert Reich: Wealth Inequality Is Even More Devastating Than Income Inequality

On-Point: Interview with James M. Stone - A very interesting 45 minute interview with a former lecturer in Economics at Harvard, founder of the Plymouth Rock group of insurance companies, former chairman of the CFTC, former insurance commissioner of Massachusetts, and author. America is in danger of becoming an aristocracy of wealth. His “5 Easy Theses” are: 1. Fiscal Balance, 2. Inequality in wealth and income, 3. Education, 4. Health Care, 5. Wall Street out of control. The 10 largest banks in America now hold open positions on $300 Trillion of derivatives - more than just prior to the 2008 collapse. None of them are on the official TBTF list. The ‘notional value’ of worldwide derivative trading is $700 Trillion, over 10 X the total amount of world economy. Banks today are bigger and more opaque than ever. Just one of his ‘5 Theses.’

Democracy-NOW: Former Greek Finance Minister: Massive IMF Bailouts are “Ponzi Austerity” Scheme - The current message being peddled to the public is that negotiations have broken down because Greece is resisting structural reforms. In reality, the IMF and Germany/France are grappling over whether the approach should be to bail out the French/German banks or create a realistic path that would allow Greece to emerge as a stable country. Greece is just a bystander in this fight. Greece would never have been in this situation in the first place without the intervention of Goldman-Sachs.


Other Words: The GOP’s 2-Pronged Assault on Women -  This article does a good job of pointing out the GOP’s positions, but we should also keep in mind that the Clinton’s 1996 ‘welfare reform’ program - PRWORA - changed welfare from a federal program to state block grant program. Since that time, the percentage of eligible homes - mostly single mother’s - receiving cash assistance has dropped from 68% to 26%.


Aljazeera: American Democracy is Rigged - Interesting article comparing our ‘democracy’ to that of N. Korea and Iran.


Yahoo: 35,000 Germans Rally Against TPP On Eve of Obama Visit


Reuters: Support for TPP Plunges in US (18%) and Germany (17%)

Frontline: Senator Warren Slams Wall Street’s Top Cop - When Obama appointed M. J. White to head the SEC, his smooth delivery had all of the stenographic MSM press repeating his message that Wall Street should be quaking in their boots in fear of her tough enforcement that was just around the corner. “Don’t mess with Mary Jo.” In reality she worked for the biggest law firm on Wall Street specializing in getting Wall St. bankers off the hook - and back to that law firm is exactly where she’s going when her stint at the SEC is over - exactly the same career path as ex-AG Holder. JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon called Mary Jo ‘the perfect choice.’ It’s a revolving door. The real purpose of her appointment was to play out the clock on the statute of limitations for big bank fraud before the crash - and protect them from meaningful regulation in the meantime, and Here, Here. Credit to Sen. Warren for pointing this particular issue out, but really she’s just grandstanding in an effort to put herself in position to do the same thing later. Here’s a lady with the right answer, but oddly when she came to testify before Congress, Sen. Warren was repeatedly not available. That’s just what dems and rethugs do.


USA Today: More than 900 ‘Democracy Awakening’ Protestors Arrested In DC

Democracy-NOW: Mass Civil Disobedience Planned on Capitol Hill to Cap Week of 900+ Arrests

The Nation: Today is Tax Day - Corporations Are Avoiding Enough Money in Taxes to Pay For Health Care for 2 Billion People


Intercept: We Could Shut Down Tax Havens If We Wanted To - From article: Corporations and their execs save at least $330 Billion per year.


Telesur: Greek PM Blames IMF for Bailout Delay - See entry of 4/2.


NYTimes: Regulators Warn Top 5 Banks They Are Still Too Big To Fail - So it seems the regulators agree with Bernie. No other candidate has dared suggest that these banks need to be broken up.


NYTimes: Sweetheart Deal for Goldman - The announcement was for a $5.1 Billion settlement. But when tax incentives and outright credits are counted...“They appear to have grossly inflated the settlement amount for P.R. purposes to mislead the public, while in the fine print, enabling Goldman Sachs to pay 50 to 75 percent less,” said Dennis Kelleher, the founder of the advocacy organization Better Markets, referring to the government announcement. “The problem all along, with all of these settlements — and this one highlights it even more — is that they are carefully crafted more to conceal than reveal to the American public what really happened here — and what the so-called penalty is.”


Matt Taibbi: Why the Banks Should Be Broken Up - Short, simple summarization.


Bernie Sanders Press Release: This Is How We Break Up TBTF Banks - In the first 100 days.

CBS News: New Ford Plant Will Create 2800 New Jobs -- In Mexico


Democracy-NOW: Panama Papers: World Leaders Exposed in Massive Tax Evasion Scheme - A 2015 study found that the top 500 US companies keep $2.1 Trillion in tax havens, avoiding hundreds of billions in taxes.


Think Progress: Massive ‘Panama Papers’ Leak Begins to Unravel the Secret Networks Global Elites Use to Stash Their Money

BBC: Panama Papers: Mossack Fonseca Leak Reveals Elite’s Tax Havens and Telesur and Here


HuffPo: Greece Demands IMF Explain ‘Disaster’ Remarks In Explosive Leak


NYTimes: Jobs and Wages Notch Gains As the Economy Tries to Heal - Better than losing jobs but not all that rosy.

From the article: “Even with improvement of the past six months, the proportion of Americans in the labor force remains significantly below where it was when the recession began at the end of 2007...while some of the highest-paid employees on Wall Street and at many leading companies have enjoyed big jumps in compensation, most workers have experienced only very modest wage gains, heightening worries about income inequality. The American economy still faces fundamental headwinds that are not likely to abate soon — like a persistent trade gap, low productivity and the long-term erosion of factory jobs that provide an economic lifeline to workers without a college degree.

In fact, the manufacturing sector was one of the few weak spots in the economy last month, losing 29,000 jobs.

But companies in the business of providing health care, leisure and hospitality and retailing each gained more than 40,000 jobs in March...

The overall unemployment rate rose to 5 percent last month, compared with 4.9 percent in February.”

So if you’re working in the service sector for tips or on commission, things are looking up. But manufacturing jobs are still headed overseas.

And if you’re working on Wall Street...let the good times roll and everyone else can just eat cake.


The Nation: Distinguished Professor of Economics and Co-Director of Political Economy Research Institute Univ. Mass: The Sanders Economic Plan Will Make the US Economy Great Again - A detailed breakdown of the Sanders plan and why his critics (most of whom supported each of his proposals until he began to threaten Hillary) are dead wrong.


NYTimes: In Yahoo, Another Example of the Buyback Mirage - Over the past 40 years, corporate profits have risen from 6% to 12% of GDP, an extra $1 Trillion per year. During this time, jobs and salaries have been flat. Instead of using these extra profits to pay employee overtime or health care, or develop corporate infrastructure in order to increase domestic manufacturing and thus more jobs, most of these profits have been used for corporate buy backs. Why? To artificially increase profit and dividends per share, and thus share price - which is what C-level and Board of Director salary/bonuses are based on. So by manipulating an accounting trick, people with no real concern for the health of their companies and much less for their employees, have converted profits, part of which should go to employee wages, into their own casino slush funds. Now, as this article points out, studies are showing there is no business justification for this practice - no matter how hard corporate spokesmen try to spin it.


Seattle Weekly: Kshama Sawant Lays Out Why We Are So Over Capitalism

Black Agenda Report: Good News, Bad News As Post-Obama Fight For Public Education Goes Local


MoJo: Humanitarian Raid: The World Bank is Supposed to Help the Poor. So Why Do So Many of It’s Investments Underwrite the Oligarchs?

MoJo: The Disturbing Reason Why Charter Schools May Have Higher Test Scores - They don’t serve special needs kids and find reasons to kick out those who perform poorly on test scores - which in-turn complements the for profit prison industrial complex and leads to re-segregation of schools, rendering Brown v Board of Education moot.


Political Economy Research Institute: The Revenue Potential of a Financial Transaction Tax - Research shows that this key Sanders proposal would bring in at least $300 Billion per year from the very people who need to be contributing to the country that has made them so rich.


Bill of Rights Defense Committee: What We’ve Learned About Surveillance of Black Lives Matter - The fascist state that we are becoming, at the service of major corporate interests, is in the process of criminalizing the First Amendment.

ProPublica: How David Rubenstein Helped Save the Carried Interest Tax Loophole - #CorporateWelfare.


Crop Protection News: Farmers Union Head Skeptical of TPP


Economic Policy Institute: US Trade Deficit with TPP Countries Cost 2 Million Jobs in 2015, With Job Losses in Every State


HuffPo: Democratic Party Chairwoman Joins Ranks with Rethugs to Gut CFPB’s Regulations on Payday Loan Sharks - The same person who structured Democratic debates so they would reach the fewest number of people possible, and one of the many New Democrats, Here, Here, and Here, who have schemed in numerous ways to cripple Bernie Sanders’ campaign. Notice that Elizabeth Warren, who started the CFPB, has had nothing to say. No Difference!

New Yorker: Why is the Spanish Government Afraid of a Puppet Show?


Salon: The FDA Now Officially Belongs to Big Pharma


ProPublica: Who’s Regulating For-Profit Schools? Execs From For-Profit Colleges


On Message: Democratic Party Primary Survey: Two Thirds of Democratic Voters Prefer Socialism Over Capitalism - Most respondents favored Single Payer health care, free tuition at public colleges and universities, and more government regulation of private corporations.


Democracy-NOW: Michigans Water Wars: Nestle Pumps Millions of Gallons for Free While Flynt Pays for Poisoned Water - An incredible story.


Salon: Thomas Piketty Says Bernie Sanders Can “Change the Face of The Country” - Author of “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” the seminal study of our current economic system, which  shows how wealth and capital tend to flow to the top 1%, just as Karl Marx predicted. Piketty has an optimistic view of what Bernie has already accomplished.


Truthout: How the United States’ Two Major Parties Helped Destroy Democracy - “Democracy describes today's America by only the most facile standards. It has never really described America anyway. Plutocracy is the accurate word. And our plutocratic overlords keep us in a hamster-wheel choosing which lieutenant we will take orders from next for practical reasons.” This scientific study shows that what the majority of Americans want is never made into law, but what the 1% and corporations want is passed every time. We live in an plutocracy, not a democracy.


ProPublica: The Executive Pay Cap That Backfired


CBS News: Speaker Ryan: Not Enough Votes for TPP Trade Deal - If true, this is a major bit of news, and all due to grass-roots actions. When people tell you ‘it doesn’t matter’ and ‘there’s nothing you can do to change anything’ think of this. Whether or not TPP is defeated, a movement is building.


Forbes: Unless It Changes, Capitalism Will Starve Humanity by 2050

Truthout: Without Paper Ballots, Fear of Vote Rigging Clouds 2016 Primaries


Matt Taibbi: The Vampire Squid Tells Us How to Vote

Act.TV: Water is a Human Right? Not Everyone Agrees


Bill Moyers: Elizabeth Warren Recalls A Time When Big Donors May Have Changed Hillary’s Vote

William K Black: Hillary, The Banksters Committed ‘Fraud,’ Not ‘Shenanigans’

Popular Resistance: Mass Protests Shut Down Auckland As TPP is Signed - As well at throughout the US and the rest of the world.


UPI: US, 11 Nations Sign TPP, Sanders Vows to Kill It If Elected

International Business Times: Elizabeth Warren Defends Bernie Sanders From Goldman Sachs Criticism - “You’re telling me that something changed between the 1980s, when more than a thousand people got prosecuted in the Savings and Loan crisis, but by 2008, a far bigger financial crisis involving far bigger and bolder frauds, that no one was legally responsible for that? That’s just not possible.” Something this web site has been pointing out since October, 2011 - a must-read entry. I’m glad E. Warren is pointing this out, but it seems a little late to be getting headlines for it.


The Intercept: Pharma Execs Worry About Presidential Candidates Demanding Reform - Only one of them actually means it. Hillary uses the Goldilocks approach - not too hot and not too cold, but just the right amount of faux-populism. But not to worry BigPharma and Wall Street ‘get it’ and Here.

NYTimes: Martin Shkreli All But Gloated Over Huge Drug Price Increases, Memos Show - The weasel has hired the criminal defense attorney to the stars and will probably plead the 5th on Thursday’s Congressional hearings.


LATimes: Too Poor to Retire, Too Young to Die - And 1/3 of American children live in poverty, while the ultra-rich can afford to hire teams of lawyers, accountants and financial wizards to their #CorporateWelfare rolling...and Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, and on and on. But no politician, except one, will talk about it. Voting is of minimal importance, Organize or Die.


Tufts University: Trading Down: Unemployment, Inequality and Other Risks of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement - Study indicates TPP will result in the loss of 448,000 American jobs, a decline in labor’s share of income, and a decline in the GDP.


MSNBC: TPP Provisions Would Undermine Environmental Efforts

Democracy-NOW: The 1% Economy; The World’s Richest 62 People Now Have as Much as Poorest 3.6 Billion and Here


Democracy-NOW: Dark Money: Jane Mayer on How the Koch Bros. & Billionaire Allies Funded the Rise of the Far Right and DeSmogBlog and Fresh Air - Their father started the John Birch Society and built oil refineries for Hitler and Stalin.


BBC: Davos: DiCaprio Attacks ‘Corporate Greed’of Oil, Gas and Coal Companies


Common Dreams: New Extremes In Wealth Inequality Demand Action - The global 1% now own more than everyone else combined. 62 people own as much as the bottom 50%.  Oxfam report: “"Women make up the majority of the world’s low-paid workers and are concentrated in the most precarious jobs," the report states. And compounding global inequality is the fact that such low wage workers in almost all developed and most developing companies are receiving a falling share of national income, while profits are increasingly concentrated in the hands of those at the top.”


UK Guardian: An Oligarchy Has Broken Our Democracy. It Must Be Dislodged.

Common Dreams: Davos and Its Threat to Democracy - The 0.01% meeting to decide how they’re going to divvy up the spoils from their ‘free trade’ agreements. The output will be similar to this 2010 document “Global Redesign Initiative.” How the global elite intend to turn the world into their own corporatocracy  “The sovereign state is obsolete.”


Medium: Organize or Die - A great 10 minute read on the limitations of voting. Howard Zinn: “Voting is marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.”

The Hill: Obama Expected to Push Congress to Pass TPP


Salon: The Defining American Crisis Our Corporate Media Still Can’t Be Bothered to Cover


Common Dreams: Bernie Sanders’ Plan to Tame Wall Street Riles Team Clinton

Democracy-NOW: Mystery Meat: After WHO Ruling, US Tosses Meat Origin Labeling


CBC: Keystone XL Rejection Triggers TransCanada Suit Under Provisions of NAFTA - An example of the type of suit that will be made even more powerful under TPP if it is allowed to pass.


Intercept: I Was Wrong: Big Banks Actually Are Exactly Like Counterfeiters - Frauds: 1. Make millions of liars loans to people with no ability to repay; 2. Bundle these loans and sell them as legitimate bonds; 3. Rate this trash as AAA+; 4. Resell these trash bundles to unsuspecting investors and then bet against them; 5 Robo-Forge foreclosure documents by the tens of thousands in order to illegally throw American families out on the street. There was no shortage of fraud, no matter what Wall Street servant and sycophant Obama may have said.

Corporate Domination 2015

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.