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 soon be paying for the air we breath.


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.


12/5/18


UK Guardian: Facebook Discussed Cashing In On User Data, Emails Suggest


12/4/18


UK Guardian: Why Did CNN Fire a Pro-Palestinian Commentator?


12/2/18


Salon: “Generation Wealth”: How the Rich Are Destroying Civilization - “And what I came to was that they revealed a kind of fundamental shift in the American dream, that we had gone from a dream that prized hard work and frugality and discipline, to a culture that elevated bling and celebrity and narcissism.”


11/24/18


UK Guardian: Parliament Seizes Cache of Facebook Internal Papers


11/21/18


UK Guardian: New Column From Inside Amazon: ‘They Treat Us As Disposable’


11/16/18


UK Guardian: Facebook’s Pretensions Have Turned it Into a Useful Idiot of the Right


11/15/18


New Yorker: Facebook and the Age of Manipulation


Truthout: Amazon HQ2 Won’t Improve Quality for NY or VA Residents


11/14/18


NYTimes: Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis


Common Dreams: The Frenzy Over Amazon’s HQ Is a National Embarassment


Democracy-NOW: Jeff Bezos Earns $191K Per Minute. Why are NY and VA Giving Him $3Billion of Corporate Welfare?


UK Guardian: NY City to Amazon: Drop Dead


11/13/18


Socialist Alternative: Fault Lines in the US Economy: Risk of Recession Grows - Like a drunken sailor, the US economy staggers between boom and bust. The oligarchs make money in both cases. Workers foot the bills.


11/11/18


CBS News: GDPR: The Law that Lets Europeans Take Back Their Data From Big Tech - From the article: Apple gets it. Facebook, Google, Amazon do not. Facebook has been apologizing for its practices with your private data for over 14 years. The Android operating system (Google & Chrome), Amazon and Facebook force their users to give the company the right to collect all of their personal information, and then sell it to whomever it wants, and in whatever form it wants, regardless of the reason.


When the European privacy advocate asked Facebook to send him all the data they had on him, they did. 1,200 pages of location history, events he attended, all of his contact information and his private Facebook messages, even the ones he thought he had deleted. “Today, Facebook collects information on people who don't even have an account. Google's Android software knows whether the user is walking, running, or riding in a car. And Amazon has patented algorithms that could be used on its Echo smart speaker to listen in on continuous conversations, and even read the mood of people in the room.”


The president of the lobbying body for big tech says “they would support giving Americans reasonable access to their information and some privacy rights now enjoyed by the Europeans.” When asked who owns the data, he dodged the question. It’s easy to smell the bait and switch coming.


Privacy advocate Jeffrey Chester: The companies have no intention of supporting a privacy law that actually would stop them from collecting our information and give Americans the same rights the Europeans now have.


10/31/18


UK Guardian: What Billionaires Want: The Secret Influence of America’s 100 Richest - And whatever billionaires want, billionaires get, every single time, regardless of the party in power. Working people don’t. Whether you call it oligarchy or plutocracy, democracy is dead, capitalism killed it, Citizens United was the final nail in the coffin, and Here, and Here.


10/26/18


Intercept: Tax Havens and Other Tricks Let US Firms Steal $180 Billion From the Rest of the World Every Year - Total hidden wealth is at least $7.5 Trillion, or about 8% of the assets of global financial households, and Here.


10/25/18


BAR: The Corporate Project to Erase Black People from Politics - “...the Democratic Party, dominated by Wall Street and the high-tech oligarchs in Silicon Valley. The party’s corporate leadership has no intention of yielding to demands for living wages, job security, single payer health care, and free universal college tuition, nor are they willing to lift the state of siege that has been imposed on Black America by the mass incarceration regime. The Democrats depend on the votes of Blacks and other minorities, and those whites that haven’t thrown in with Trump’s brand of white nationalism, but offer no programs that would substantially ameliorate deteriorating economic and social conditions -- nothing but more austerity and war.”


10/24/18


Democracy-NOW: Who’s Behind ICE? How Amazon, Palantir, Microsoft & Tech Giants Are Powering Trump’s Deportations - See entries below of 1/11 and 3/1/18 for a more complete explanation of how Palantir works with Prism, XKEYSCORE, and Medusa to capture every tweet, email, snapchat, Facebook entry, medical bills, credit card bills, phone bills, lawyer communications, vet bills, etc. and store that information in the NSA data center in Utah, and Here and Here. In the current example the focus is on how ICE, along with NSA, CIA and corresponding agencies in other countries, work together with private corporations to perform suspicion-less, warrant-less snooping on immigrants. But in reality it’s everyone.


10/17/18


CBS News: Nearly Half the Planet’s Population Lives on Less Than $5.50 per Day


10/15/18


Matt Taibbi: Three Colliding Problems Leading to New Economic Disaster - The 1,800 point DJI sell-off of 10/3 through 10/11 is just a mild preview of what’s to come. Once the insanity of Trump’s idiotic policies (see Ballooning US Budget Deficit just below, $12 Trillion in QE which all went to the banks, and now Trump starts a trade war with our biggest creditor) begin to sink in, austerity won’t just be for poor people anymore. This is well worth the 10 min. read.


Market Watch: US Budget Deficit Balloons to $779 Billion for Fiscal Year 2018 - Per Bernie Sanders, 4 Rethuglican policies are the reason: Bush tax cuts for wealthy $488 Billion, Trump tax cuts for the wealthy $164 Billion, Wars in Iraq/Afghanistan $127 Billion, Defense increases instituted since 9/11, $156 Billion.


Reuters: Business Jet Show Kicks Off Amid Optimism Over US Tax cut-Spurred Demand - Go pick yours up today.


10/5/18


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


10/2/18


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.


10/3/18


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, while approved 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.


9/24/18


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.


9/20/18


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.


9/19/18


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


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


9/17/18


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


9/11/18


Vice: Rich People Broke America and Never Paid the Price


9/5/18


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


9/3/18


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


8/31/18


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.”


8/29/18


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


8/24/18


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.


8/21/18


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.’”


8/16/18


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.


8/7/18


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


8/1/18


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.”


7/27/18


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.


7/26/18


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?


7/10/18


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.”


7/8/19


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.


7/2/18


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


6/26/18


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.


6/19/18


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


6/15/18


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.


6/14/18


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


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


6/13/18


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.


6/7/18


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.


6/6/18


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.


6/2/18


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


5/30/18


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.


5/25/18


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


5/24/18


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


5/23/18


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.


5/21/18


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 https://duckduckgo.com your regular search engine.


5/15/18


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.


5/9/18


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


5/7/18


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.


5/2/18


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


4/28/18


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


4/19/18


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


4/17/18


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


4/16/18


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


4/11/18


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 mind...you 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.


4/7/18


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


4/4/18


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.


4/3/18


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.


4/2/18


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


3/30/18


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


3/27/18


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.


3/20/18


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.


3/19/18


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


3/15/18


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


3/1/18


Intercept: The Powerful Global Spy Alliance You Never Knew Existed - First there was Prism. Then there was XKEYSCORE. Then there was the admission by the NSA that they had been using a perceived loophole in the FISA Amendments Act to surveil anybody they wanted to, with or without a warrant, whether or not they were in contact with foreigners, or suspected of any crime - despite James Clapper’s repeated lies to Congress to the contrary and Here, Here, Here, Here. Then there was Medusa - which facilitated the capture the equivalent of 1 million average sized emails every minute. Then there was Palantir to sort and search all of this data. And now there is this Global Spy Alliance article. Every phone call, text message, email, Snap Chat, Skype call, Facebook post, online comment, credit card purchase is saved and stored either in the enormous data store in Utah and Here which holds yottabtes of data (a yottabyte is one trillion terabytes), and costs about $40 million/year to maintain, or on multiple servers from multiple cooperating countries around the world. All this plus voice and facial recognitions systems have removed almost every smidgen of privacy from our lives - despite the guarantees of the 4th Amendment.

Also see entry of 1/11/18 below.


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.


2/27/18


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.


2/26/18


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


2/8/18


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.


2/5/18


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.


2/3/18


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.


1/21/18


Salon: A Psychology Research Explains How Social Media is Changing Us - “...what feeds the modern maw of Silicon Valley is your eyeballs.

The business path that the internet has carved is a model whereby the viewers of videos and readers of information are the product, rather than the consumer. This is how social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are able to provide their services for free: they observe your viewing habits and then sell your data to advertisers. The side effect of that business model is that it behooves these companies to keep you staring at their sites for as long as humanly possible. And in doing so, they’ve turned to industrial psychology to keep you hooked. We often throw around words like “addiction” to describe how people are affected by social media, but the truth is that this is these companies’ intent. (Multiple former social media executives have actually admitted this.)”

The Center for Humane Technology was formed to help individuals fight these addictive tendencies.



1/19/18


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.


1/18/18


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


1/17/18


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.”


1/15/18


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.


1/14/18


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.’


1/11/18


Reuters: House Passes NSA Spying Bill After Trump Tweets Cause Confusion - This extends for 6 years the warrantless, un-Constitutional, universal wiretapping program that Edward Snowden blew the whistle on in 2013, and that former US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied about repeatedly to Congress, and Here, Here, Here, Here. The NSA’s Prism program is currently obtaining, storing and listening to up to one billion phone calls, emails, faxes, text messages, tweets, etc. per day, and Here. Even if all they have is a human voice, they can identify that person, the phone he was using and exactly where they were when the made the communication. They then illegally share that data with thousands of corporations around the world. In addition, NSA programs XKEYSCORE, and Palantir allow it to sort through all of this data quickly and use it as they see fit with no oversight.


The clandestine organizations (NSA, FBI and CIA) overthrew the democratically elected, secular government of  Iran in the 1950s, which ultimately led to their current anti-US, dictatorial regime. They lied about the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964, costing almost 60,000 US casualties and untold suffering in SE Asia from the effects of Agent Orange. They overthrew most of the democratically elected governments of Central and South America, under every president from Johnson to Reagan. In the 1970‘s they provided intelligence and military assistance to the murderous Argentine regime during their ‘Dirty War,’ although the USA refuses to release secret documents that would better clarify its involvement. They aided in the overthrow of the democratically elected government in Chile, replacing it with the brutal Pinochet dictatorship.


They infiltrated MLK’s inner circle, denounced him and attempted to convince him to commit suicide. They infiltrated/disrupted numerous feminist, environmental, anti-war, and civil rights groups during the 60’s. They disrupted and eventually overthrew the duly elected government of Nicaragua in the 1980s. With help from the bulk of the news outlets in the country, they aided George Bush & Dick Cheney  convince the world that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, leading to still ongoing, countless millions of deaths. In each and every one of these operations, they have consistently lied before during and after their involvments. Each and every one of these operations has caused untold thousands, if not millions, of innocent deaths - all in the name of Capitalism.


As shown above, all three of the spy agencies in the USA have lied repeatedly to the American people to accomplish the goals of war corporations and other private corporations. None of this was about law enforcement. It was all about control.


1/10/18


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.


1/9/18


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


1/7/18


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.


1/5/18


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.




Corporate Domination 2017

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.