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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Your New American Dream - By James Howard Kunstler

    It's really something to live in a country that doesn't know what it is doing in a world that doesn't know where it is going in a time when anything can happen. I hope you can get comfortable with uncertainty.
    If there's one vibe emanating from this shadowy zeitgeist it's a sense of the total exhaustion of culture, in particular the way the world does business. Everything looks tired, played out, and most of all false. Governments can't really pay for what they do. Banks have no real money. Many households surely have no money. The human construct of money itself has become a shape-shifting phantom. Will it vanish into the vortex of unpaid debt until nobody has any? Or will there be plenty of worthless money that people can spend into futility? Either way they will be broke.
     The looming fear whose name political leaders dare not speak is global depression, but that is not what we're in for. The term suggests a temporary sidetrack from the smooth operation of integrated advanced economies. We're heading into something quite different, a permanent departure from the standard conception of economic progress, the one in which there is always sure to be more comfort and convenience for everybody, the economy of automatic goodies.
     A big part of the automatic economy was the idea of a "job." In its journey to the present moment, the idea became crusted with barnacles of illusion, especially that a "job" was a sort of commodity "produced" by large corporate enterprises or governments and rationally distributed like any other commodity; that it came with a goodie bag filled with guaranteed pensions, medical care to remediate bad living habits, vacations to places of programmed entertainment, a warm, well-lighted dwelling, and a big steel machine to travel around in. Now we witness with helpless despair as these illusions dissolve.
     The situation at hand is not a "depression," though it may resemble the experience of the 1930s in the early going. It's the permanent re-set and reorganization of everyday life amidst a desperate scramble for resources. It will go on and on until there are far fewer people competing for things while the ones who endure construct new systems for daily living based on fewer resources used differently.
     In North America I believe this re-set will involve the re-establishment of an economy centered on agriculture, with a lot of other activities supporting it, all done on a fine-grained local and regional scale. It must be impossible for many of us to imagine such an outcome - hence the futility of our current politics, with its hollow promises, its laughable battles over sexual behavior, its pitiful religious boasting, its empty statistical blather, all in the service of wishing the disintegrating past back into existence.
     This desperation may be why our recently-acquired traditions seem especially automatic this holiday season. Of course the "consumers" line up outside the big box stores the day after the automatic Thanksgiving exercise in gluttony. That is what they're supposed to do this time of year. That is what has been on the cable TV news shows in recent years: see the crowds cheerfully huddled in their sleeping bags outside the Wal Mart... see them trample each other in the moment the doors open!
     The biggest news story of a weekend stuporous from leftover turkey and ceremonial football was a $6.6 billion increase in "Black Friday" chain-store sales. All the attention to the numbers was a form of primitive augury to reassure superstitious economists - more than the catatonic public - that the automatic cargo cult would be operating normally at this crucial testing time. The larger objective is to get through the ordeal of Christmas.
     I don't see how Europe gets through it financially. The jig is up there. Lovely as Europe has become since the debacles of the last century - all those adorable cities with their treasures of deliberately-created beauty - the system running it all is bankrupt. Europe is on financial death-watch and when the money stops flowing between its major organs, the banks, the whole region must either go dark or combust. Nobody really knows what will happen there, except they know that something will happen - and whatever it is portends disruption and loss for the worlds largest collective economy. The historical record is not reassuring.
      If Europe's banks go down, many of America's will, too, maybe all of them, maybe our whole money system. I'm not sure that we will see a normal election cycle here in 2012. A few bank runs, bank failures... gasoline shortages here and there... the failure of some food deliveries to supermarkets in some region... these are the kinds of things that can bring down a political system drained of once-ironclad legitimacy. All that is left now is the husk of ritual - witness the failure of the senate-house "super-committee." The wash-out was so broadly anticipated that it was greeted with mere yawns of recognition. It would be like pointing at the sky and saying, "air there."
     This holiday season spend a little time musing on what the re-set economy will be like in your part of the country. Think of what you do in it as a "role," or a "vocation," or a "trade," or a "calling," or a "way of life," rather than a "job." Imagine that life will surely go on, even civilized life, though it will be organized differently. Add to this the notion that you are part of a larger group, a society, and that societies evolve emergently according to the circumstances that their time and place presents. Let that imagining be your new American Dream.

Posting-note by this editor:

What James wrote here was very heartfelt. His viewpoint here is what I believe will happen. We are in a very long term reset. The European Union is in the throws of what the US experienced in 2008--an economic meltdown. Their central bank is liquifying their banksta pals who will hoard the cash, pay off their bondholders, and leave the working stiffs to pay the bill.

Hard times in the US and Europe will take down the entire globe's economy. Now, if you are resourceful and adaptable, then you will do well. Those who are not, will become stressed.

Those in the Occupy Wall Street movement should grab hold of this viewpoint and demand changes in the government, and how we as a nation function in order to adapt to this new reset. This idea of accepting the reset as our future will go a long way for the movement to push for the necessary reforms that will restructure this nation.

A push for local economies of strength, local agriculture, local manufacturing, local control, localized alternative energy production, etc. will be the new America.

This Is One Reason Why We Have An #Occupy Movement Today!!

Alan Grayson speaking out about the FED lending Trillions of dollars to banks worldwide!!

Alan Grayson condemns Tea Party for ‘sadistic’ response to uninsured Americans in video below.

Angered by the “Let Him Die” chant at the Tea Party debate Monday evening, Keith and former congressman Alan Grayson discuss the appropriate response to this outrage. Grayson questions the Tea Party’s Christian ideology, saying, “They glorify and sanctify other people’s pain.”

( shown on 9-13-11)

Alan Grayson For President-2012

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Council Resolution Calls for Support of Occupy Wall Street

 By MATT FLEGENHEIMER 11-29-11 from the NYT
Three City Council members introduced a resolution Tuesday that would formalize support for Occupy Wall Street and its message condemning economic inequality.
“The Occupy movement is more than occupying a public square,” said Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, one of the resolution’s authors, along with Councilman Jumaane D. Williams and Councilwoman Letitia James — all Democrats. “It is about the frustration of the working class and the middle class who feel we have not received a fair share.”
The resolution describes a protest “fueled by disheartened New Yorkers” and calls on members to defend a peaceful approach to “the divisive economic and social realities facing our nation.”
Councilman Rodriguez said the resolution already had the support of 13 members, including the authors. He noted that councils in other cities, including Buffalo, Los Angeles and San Francisco, had presented similar resolutions of support in recent weeks.
Councilman Rodriguez and Councilman Williams were arrested during separate incidents this month in which they joined protesters in Lower Manhattan. On Nov. 15, shortly after the Zuccotti Park encampment had been evicted by police officers, Councilman Rodriguez was taken into custody a few blocks from the park, as demonstrators encountered barricades preventing them from reaching the park. Two days later, Councilman Williams was arrested as part of a group that sat down in the roadway at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge.
During his roughly 16 hours in custody, Councilman Rodriguez said, he missed an appointment at a school where he may try to send his young daughter. The councilman’s wife had issued just one warning when he left for Zuccotti Park in the middle of the night, he said: “Don’t get arrested.”

Sunday, November 27, 2011

This Is For All Occupy Wall Streeters Everywhere

Be inspired to continue to make the Change We CAN Believe In!!!!!!

Ben Does Life!!!!!!


Saturday, November 26, 2011

President Obama Is Behind The OWS Crackdowns!!!

The shocking truth about the crackdown on Occupy

The violent police assaults across the US are no coincidence. Occupy has touched the third rail of our political class's venality
US citizens of all political persuasions are still reeling from images of unparallelled police brutality in a coordinated crackdown against peaceful OWS protesters in cities across the nation this past week. An elderly woman was pepper-sprayed in the face; the scene of unresisting, supine students at UC Davis being pepper-sprayed by phalanxes of riot police went viral online; images proliferated of young women – targeted seemingly for their gender – screaming, dragged by the hair by police in riot gear; and the pictures of a young man, stunned and bleeding profusely from the head, emerged in the record of the middle-of-the-night clearing of Zuccotti Park.
But just when Americans thought we had the picture – was this crazy police and mayoral overkill, on a municipal level, in many different cities? – the picture darkened. The National Union of Journalists and the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a Freedom of Information Act request to investigate possible federal involvement with law enforcement practices that appeared to target journalists. The New York Times reported that "New York cops have arrested, punched, whacked, shoved to the ground and tossed a barrier at reporters and photographers" covering protests. Reporters were asked by NYPD to raise their hands to prove they had credentials: when many dutifully did so, they were taken, upon threat of arrest, away from the story they were covering, and penned far from the site in which the news was unfolding. Other reporters wearing press passes were arrested and roughed up by cops, after being – falsely – informed by police that "It is illegal to take pictures on the sidewalk."
In New York, a state supreme court justice and a New York City council member were beaten up; in Berkeley, California, one of our greatest national poets, Robert Hass, was beaten with batons. The picture darkened still further when Wonkette and reported that the Mayor of Oakland acknowledged that the Department of Homeland Security had participated in an 18-city mayor conference call advising mayors on "how to suppress" Occupy protests.
To Europeans, the enormity of this breach may not be obvious at first. Our system of government prohibits the creation of a federalised police force, and forbids federal or militarised involvement in municipal peacekeeping.
I noticed that rightwing pundits and politicians on the TV shows on which I was appearing were all on-message against OWS. Journalist Chris Hayes reported on a leaked memo that revealed lobbyists vying for an $850,000 contract to smear Occupy. Message coordination of this kind is impossible without a full-court press at the top. This was clearly not simply a case of a freaked-out mayors', city-by-city municipal overreaction against mess in the parks and cranky campers. As the puzzle pieces fit together, they began to show coordination against OWS at the highest national levels.
Why this massive mobilisation against these not-yet-fully-articulated, unarmed, inchoate people? After all, protesters against the war in Iraq, Tea Party rallies and others have all proceeded without this coordinated crackdown. Is it really the camping? As I write, two hundred young people, with sleeping bags, suitcases and even folding chairs, are still camping out all night and day outside of NBC on public sidewalks – under the benevolent eye of an NYPD cop – awaiting Saturday Night Live tickets, so surely the camping is not the issue. I was still deeply puzzled as to why OWS, this hapless, hopeful band, would call out a violent federal response.
That is, until I found out what it was that OWS actually wanted.
The mainstream media was declaring continually "OWS has no message". Frustrated, I simply asked them. I began soliciting online "What is it you want?" answers from Occupy. In the first 15 minutes, I received 100 answers. These were truly eye-opening.
  The No 1 agenda item: get the money out of politics. Most often cited was legislation to blunt the effect of the Citizens United ruling, which lets boundless sums enter the campaign process.

No 2:reform the banking system to prevent fraud and manipulation, with the most frequent item being to restore the Glass-Steagall Act – the Depression-era law, done away with by President Clinton [blogger's note: And Newt Gingrich, as Speaker of the House, at the time], that separates investment banks from commercial banks. This law would correct the conditions for the recent crisis, as investment banks could not take risks for profit that create kale derivatives out of thin air, and wipe out the commercial and savings banks.

No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors.
When I saw this list – and especially the last agenda item – the scales fell from my eyes. Of course, these unarmed people would be having the shit kicked out of them.
For the terrible insight to take away from news that the Department of Homeland Security coordinated a violent crackdown is that the DHS does not freelance. The DHS cannot say, on its own initiative, "we are going after these scruffy hippies". Rather, DHS is answerable up a chain of command: first, to New York Representative Peter King, head of the House homeland security subcommittee, who naturally is influenced by his fellow congressmen and women's wishes and interests. And the DHS answers directly, above King, to the president (who was conveniently in Australia at the time).
In other words, for the DHS to be on a call with mayors, the logic of its chain of command and accountability implies that congressional overseers, with the blessing of the White House, told the DHS to authorise mayors to order their police forces – pumped up with millions of dollars of hardware and training from the DHS – to make war on peaceful citizens.
But wait: why on earth would Congress advise violent militarised reactions against its own peaceful constituents? The answer is straightforward: in recent years, members of Congress have started entering the system as members of the middle class (or upper middle class) – but they are leaving DC privy to vast personal wealth, as we see from the "scandal" of presidential contender Newt Gingrich's having been paid $1.8m for a few hours' "consulting" to special interests. The inflated fees to lawmakers who turn lobbyists are common knowledge, but the notion that congressmen and women are legislating their own companies' profitsis less widely known – and if the books were to be opened, they would surely reveal corruption on a Wall Street spectrum. Indeed, we do already know that congresspeople are massively profiting from trading on non-public information they have on companies about which they are legislating – a form of insider trading that sent Martha Stewart to jail.
Since Occupy is heavily surveilled and infiltrated, it is likely that the DHS and police informers are aware, before Occupy itself is, what its emerging agenda is going to look like. If legislating away lobbyists' privileges to earn boundless fees once they are close to the legislative process, reforming the banks so they can't suck money out of fake derivatives products, and, most critically, opening the books on a system that allowed members of Congress to profit personally – and immensely – from their own legislation, are two beats away from the grasp of an electorally organised Occupy movement … well, you will call out the troops on stopping that advance.
So, when you connect the dots, properly understood, what happened this week is the first battle in a civil war; a civil war in which, for now, only one side is choosing violence. It is a battle in which members of Congress, with the collusion of the American president, sent violent, organised suppression against the people they are supposed to represent. Occupy has touched the third rail: personal congressional profits streams. Even though they are, as yet, unaware of what the implications of their movement are, those threatened by the stirrings of their dreams of reform are not.
Sadly, Americans this week have come one step closer to being true brothers and sisters of the protesters in Tahrir Square. Like them, our own national leaders, who likely see their own personal wealth under threat from transparency and reform, are now making war upon us.

The Walmart Syndrome

Here is a piece I wrote on 11-30-09, which is totally relevant today.

America is being sold out. The blue light special is not just for that coffee maker, 31” big screen HDTV, $7.00 slow cooker, or washed out denim jacket, but its ultimate purpose is to sell you out! Your wages will be placed on the shelf of CheapMart and sold off to the lowest bidder. The corporate elite want you to continue to buy their Chinese made cheaply made $10.00 wet/dry vacuums, or $20.00 power drill sets so they can bring down YOUR wages so you, too, can make those cheapie things, which would in return force your wages down to the bottom, even though you have an $800 plus home mortgage, $300 per month health care premium bill, along with your car payment, which you got for 0 down, 0 interest but $300 a month payment for 6 very long years. And then, there is YOUR credit card interest payment, if you still have a credit card and have credit—period—look at your interest payment. I won’t even go into your weekly grocery bill.

As you continue to over-buy your holiday gifts, you are bringing down your wages, your standard-of-living, and pumping your cash into the central bank of China boosting their enormous budget surplus, while your kids and grandkids will have to work-for-less in order to pay off the US budget deficit. Happy Holidays, Mr. and Ms. Consumer.

Keep feeding what it is you and your kids nag you to buy, instead of learning how to live with less.

The Teabaggers have been so busy resisting a government health care protection plan that would help cover them after their personal home drops into foreclosure and their lives fall into bankruptcy that they have forgotten to take their meds, which would control, or suppress their pervasive Walmart Syndrome that has infected their brains.

The Walmart Syndrome is a parasite that infects the brain, whereby knowledge and understanding becomes significantly impaired. It entered the United States virtually undetected by the CDC—Center for Disease Control, but has begun to affect many brains over the last 10 years. It turns the gray matter into fatty deposits, whereby the brain is unable to process sensible information because nerve pathways disappear and fail to allow for what is called an action potential---the ability for the nerve impulse to move down the nerve pathways for a functional and purposeful action.

What has happened is that U.S. corporations decided to shut down domestic operations, resulting in outsourcing, and the relocation of jobs over to China, and other low paying, and punitive-worker countries. In China, the U.S. corporations (we gullibly thought they were U.S. corporations) found new friends in China, which they embraced as investors. They called these new relationships multi-national US/Chinese corporations.

The U.S. corporation benefits from the generous legal system, which protects their patents, and copyrights, foreign national product dumping violations, as well as the generous tax system allowing write-offs, write-downs, deductions, and loopholes, as they abandon the American worker and U.S. economy for more lucrative returns.

China, a booming industrialized country, has pegged its currency to the dollar so their exports can sell in U.S. stores, such as Walmart, cheaper than domestically made products, what is left of them. Even though the Renminbi, (China’s currency) is artificially kept low, in spite of their booming economy and massive trade surplus, they, and their brothers-in-manufacturing-arms—U.S. multi-national corporations, like it is this way because the average working American, who is suffering greatly as a result of unemployment and underemployment because of job losses and plant closings, home foreclosures, debt payments, rising out-of-pocket health care costs, and stagnant or falling wages can buy the cheap Chinese/US corporate manufactured products.

Now, why do those hugely rich corporate ex-patriot executives love this arrangement? Well, after you and I buy the cheap Chinese stuff, those dollars head right back to China where their banks are flooded with U.S. greenbacks. What do they do with all our cash? The Chinese central banks buy U.S. Treasuries from the Federal Reserve Bank which monetizes those returned dollars to continue their zero percent lending practices to their broker dealers (mega-banks), who then use this cash to gamble at the Wall Street casino parlor increasing the stock prices of fortune 500 multi-national corporations stimulating others to join in on the scam. That means more bonuses, and higher executive salaries, as well as fattened business expense accounts. In addition, these mega-banks buy commodities manipulating the street prices, such as oil, gas, grains, etc. This enriches the corporate predator investment bank balance sheets, as well as the giving out of tens of billions of dollars in corporate bonuses. They also hand over billions in campaign contributions, through their 22,000 lobbyist brigades, to make sure that very little is done to interrupt their wealth-building machine.

Also, those Chinese central banks, sovereign wealth funds, and private equity funds jump into the Wall Street speculation and gambling game as the rich US/China industrialists and financiers push the stock prices higher and higher, in spite of the fact that the average American is slipping further and further down.

So, when the Teabaggers and others who head over to Walmart to buy some cheap stuff for the holidays, they are really rewarding those U.S. companies that sold-them-out. I guess it is like asking the neighborhood bully to come over for a free dinner, and then, inviting him to beat you up for dessert.

Now, do you feel better, yet?

P.S.—For those who need a reason to NOT spend their dollars at Walmart, here is a big one. Walmart does not screen or research the origination of their gold jewelry products. It has been stated that much of their gold product comes out of gold mines in the Congo, where women, and children are raped, abused, beaten and forced to endure horrible working conditions at gun point.

Thanks for reading, jerry

Friday, November 25, 2011

Europe’s Crisis May End in a ‘Violent Blow-Up’: Galbraith

Michael "Hosni Mubarek" Bloomberg

"Where man starts by burning books he ends up by burning people."

451 at Zuccotti Park

The cowardly, nocturnal destruction of more than 5,000 volumes of “the People’s Library” last week, a repository of knowledge gathered by the Occupy Wall Street assembly at Zuccotti Park requires the most vigorous push-back.   Mayor Bloomberg of New York ordered the destruction which was certainly coordinated with Wall Street and the White House.
Let the number 451 become his license plate; let it become his Social Security Number; let it become the password to his billions; let it become his total ID, for now the world knows him as the one who realized the dystopia of book-burning described in Ray Bradbury’sFahrenheit 451 (1953) known to every American high school student.
Or, one might liken the destruction at Zuccotti Park to the burning of the books in Germany in 1933.  The German burning inspired a comrade of 1968 to place at the site of the Nazi’s hideous deed a plaque with Heinrich Heine’s words, written in 1821,
… wo man Bücher verbrennt,
Verbrennt man
Auch am Ende Menschen.
which roughly means, ‘where man starts by burning books he ends up by burning people.’  There is, of course, a difference between 1933 and 2011.  The distance between the gasses of the holocausts and the burning of pepper spray is substantial but it is a distance upon a similar chemical continuum and it shares the same fear of ideas. 

Though the plutocrats are still leagued with the war-mongers they are no longer 

organized as national and social capital; capitalismorganized as national and social capital; capitalism now is globalized.

they constantly tell us, not national and not social. However, we the 99%  too are world-wide and becoming more and more social.
The books at Zuccotti Park were hauled away in dumpsters belonging to the sanitation department. The pretext of the destruction was “cleaning” the park which, the Mayor said, was filled with “filth”.  This is the rhetoric of Mein Kampf.  But no one is deceived.  These acts are deliberate attempts to destroy the ideas and the many “yesses” of the movement against neo-liberalism, and our utter negation of the blasphemous notion that rule by the 1% with its wars, debts, and work is inevitable and eternal.
The trashing of the books is a sign of our times as surely as the deliberate destruction of the antiquities and national library of Baghdad.  In the case of Mesopotamia the books held the knowledge of the first cities of human history; in the case of Zuccotti Park the knowledge was surely of the next cities of human history.  Well, not only cities.  Obviously the country and the seas and the stratosphere are planetary sites of filth and destruction in need of repair. Even the Biblical jubilee of debt forgiveness, manumission, and land restoration entails a time of fallow, to give the earth a rest.
Nowadays the 1% expect all the respect, as if money conferred it, while we, the 99%, are degraded and devalued.  Our wealth is not filthy lucre.  Our wealth consists of ideas, it consists of our books, it consists of our prefigurments in our relations with one another.  Our wealth consists of our assemblies where the “people’s microphone” returns to the Greek etymology of the assembly, the ecclesia, which meant to “call out.”
Within a few hours the call went out again and people re-gathered to re-constitute the movement to occupy Wall Street. Among the signs was one which surely is a call-out, “Arrest one of us; two more appear. You can’t arrest an idea!” Ideas are not “absolutely dead things,” as Milton said (Areopagitica 1644), “they are as lively, as vigorously productive as those fabulous dragon’s teeth, and being sown up and down, may chance to spring up armed men.”  He was writing in the midst of civil war; we may say that we are armed with books and with ideas.  Our occupations, up and down and everywhere, embody them.   You have only to witness the soft-spoken eloquence and the powerful composure of the librarians of the OWS Library at their press conference of the day before yesterday to understand this ecclesia.
This – the relation between words and deeds -  is the essential point. The Occupation of Wall Street tended towards a unity of action and talk, because the action of occupation created the assembly where speaking out and speaking up could transpire.  The resulting discourse creates knowledge of the revolutionary future.  The struggle for ideas is a struggle for space:  it was so with the hills and mountains of the liberating guerrillas, it was so with the peasants and soldiers in the soviets, it was the case with the congregations of the yeomen and artisans in the English civil war; it was the case with the tennis court where the French Revolution of 1789 began; it was so with the zocolo in Oaxaca; it was the case with the numberless encampments of history in forest and field from Kett’s Rebellion to the Zapatistas of Chiapas.   In all of these it was the combination of ideas and assembled people in some actual, occupied space that was creative:  ideas alone quickly become smothered in isolated study carrels, crowds alone quickly become mindless in the stadiums of authorized sport. When they are united our movement lives up to its name.  History can begin. Hence, our enemies need to repress our deeds and our ideas.  The protection of this relation of ideas and assembly is what the US Constitution forgot and had to be repaired right away in the very first amendment.
Peter Linebaugh teaches history at the University of Toledo. The London Hanged and (with Marcus Rediker) The Many-Headed Hydra: the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic. His essay on the history of May Day is included in Serpents in the Garden. His latest book is the Magna Carta Manifesto. He can be reached at:

We Are the 99.9%
Published: November 24, 2011 NYT

“We are the 99 percent” is a great slogan. It correctly defines the issue as being the middle class versus the elite (as opposed to the middle class versus the poor). And it also gets past the common but wrong establishment notion that rising inequality is mainly about the well educated doing better than the less educated; the big winners in this new Gilded Age have been a handful of very wealthy people, not college graduates in general.

If anything, however, the 99 percent slogan aims too low. A large fraction of the top 1 percent’s gains have actually gone to an even smaller group, the top 0.1 percent — the richest one-thousandth of the population.
And while Democrats, by and large, want that super-elite to make at least some contribution to long-term deficit reduction, Republicans want to cut the super-elite’s taxes even as they slash Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in the name of fiscal discipline.
Before I get to those policy disputes, here are a few numbers.
The recent Congressional Budget Office report on inequality didn’t look inside the top 1 percent, but an earlier report, which only went up to 2005, did. According to that report, between 1979 and 2005 the inflation-adjusted, after-tax income of Americans in the middle of the income distribution rose 21 percent. The equivalent number for the richest 0.1 percent rose 400 percent.
For the most part, these huge gains reflected a dramatic rise in the super-elite’s share of pretax income. But there were also large tax cuts favoring the wealthy. In particular, taxes on capital gains are much lower than they were in 1979 — and the richest one-thousandth of Americans account for half of all income from capital gains.
Given this history, why do Republicans advocate further tax cuts for the very rich even as they warn about deficits and demand drastic cuts in social insurance programs?
Well, aside from shouts of “class warfare!” whenever such questions are raised, the usual answer is that the super-elite are “job creators” — that is, that they make a special contribution to the economy. So what you need to know is that this is bad economics. In fact, it would be bad economics even if America had the idealized, perfect market economy of conservative fantasies.
After all, in an idealized market economy each worker would be paid exactly what he or she contributes to the economy by choosing to work, no more and no less. And this would be equally true for workers making $30,000 a year and executives making $30 million a year. There would be no reason to consider the contributions of the $30 million folks as deserving of special treatment.
But, you say, the rich pay taxes! Indeed, they do. And they could — and should, from the point of view of the 99.9 percent — be paying substantially more in taxes, not offered even more tax breaks, despite the alleged budget crisis, because of the wonderful things they supposedly do.
Still, don’t some of the very rich get that way by producing innovations that are worth far more to the world than the income they receive? Sure, but if you look at who really makes up the 0.1 percent, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that, by and large, the members of the super-elite are overpaid, not underpaid, for what they do.
For who are the 0.1 percent? Very few of them are Steve Jobs-type innovators; most of them are corporate bigwigs and financial wheeler-dealers. One recent analysis found that 43 percent of the super-elite are executives at nonfinancial companies, 18 percent are in finance and another 12 percent are lawyers or in real estate. And these are not, to put it mildly, professions in which there is a clear relationship between someone’s income and his economic contribution.
Executive pay, which has skyrocketed over the past generation, is famously set by boards of directors appointed by the very people whose pay they determine; poorly performing C.E.O.’s still get lavish paychecks, and even failed and fired executives often receive millions as they go out the door.
Meanwhile, the economic crisis showed that much of the apparent value created by modern finance was a mirage. As the Bank of England’s director for financial stability recently put it, seemingly high returns before the crisis simply reflected increased risk-taking — risk that was mostly borne not by the wheeler-dealers themselves but either by naïve investors or by taxpayers, who ended up holding the bag when it all went wrong. And as he waspishly noted, “If risk-making were a value-adding activity, Russian roulette players would contribute disproportionately to global welfare.”
So should the 99.9 percent hate the 0.1 percent? No, not at all. But they should ignore all the propaganda about “job creators” and demand that the super-elite pay substantially more in taxes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Don't Sit This One Out - What's Your Vision for Occupy Wall Street?

This past weekend I participated in a four-hour meeting of Occupy Wall Street activists whose job it is to come up with the vision and goals of the movement. It was attended by 40+ people and the discussion was both inspiring and invigorating. Here is what we ended up proposing as the movement's "vision statement" to the General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street:
"We Envision: [1] a truly free, democratic, and just society; [2] where we, the people, come together and solve our problems by consensus; [3] where people are encouraged to take personal and collective responsibility and participate in decision making; [4] where we learn to live in harmony and embrace principles of toleration and respect for diversity and the differing views of others; [5] where we secure the civil and human rights of all from violation by tyrannical forces and unjust governments; [6] where political and economic institutions work to benefit all, not just the privileged few; [7] where we provide full and free education to everyone, not merely to get jobs but to grow and flourish as human beings; [8] where we value human needs over monetary gain, to ensure decent standards of living without which effective democracy is impossible; [9] where we work together to protect the global environment to ensure that future generations will have safe and clean air, water and food supplies, and will be able to enjoy the beauty and bounty of nature that past generations have enjoyed."
The next step will be to develop a specific list of goals and demands. As one of the millions of people who are participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement, I would like to respectfully offer my suggestions of what we can all get behindnow to wrestle the control of our country out of the hands of the 1% and place it squarely with the 99% majority.
Here is what I will propose to the General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street:
    10 Things We Want
    A Proposal for Occupy Wall Street
    Submitted by Michael Moore
1. Eradicate the Bush tax cuts for the rich and institute new taxes on the wealthiest Americans and on corporations, including a tax on all trading on Wall Street (where they currently pay 0%).
2. Assess a penalty tax on any corporation that moves American jobs to other countries when that company is already making profits in America. Our jobs are the most important national treasure and they cannot be removed from the country simply because someone wants to make more money.
3. Require that all Americans pay the same Social Security tax on all of their earnings (normally, the middle class pays about 6% of their income to Social Security; someone making $1 million a year pays about 0.6% (or 90% less than the average person). This law would simply make the rich pay what everyone else pays.
4. Reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, placing serious regulations on how business is conducted by Wall Street and the banks.
5. Investigate the Crash of 2008, and bring to justice those who committed any crimes.
6. Reorder our nation's spending priorities (including the ending of all foreign wars and their cost of over $2 billion a week). This will re-open libraries, reinstate band and art and civics classes in our schools, fix our roads and bridges and infrastructure, wire the entire country for 21st century internet, and support scientific research that improves our lives.
7. Join the rest of the free world and create a single-payer, free and universal health care system that covers all Americans all of the time.
8. Immediately reduce carbon emissions that are destroying the planet and discover ways to live without the oil that will be depleted and gone by the end of this century.
9. Require corporations with more than 10,000 employees to restructure their board of directors so that 50% of its members are elected by the company’s workers. We can never have a real democracy as long as most people have no say in what happens at the place they spend most of their time: their job. (For any U.S. businesspeople freaking out at this idea because you think workers can't run a successful company: Germany has a law like this and it has helped to make Germany the world’s leading manufacturing exporter.)
10. We, the people, must pass three constitutional amendments that will go a long way toward fixing the core problems we now have. These include:
a) A constitutional amendment that fixes our broken electoral system by 1) completely removing campaign contributions from the political process; 2) requiring all elections to be publicly financed; 3) moving election day to the weekend to increase voter turnout; 4) making all Americans registered voters at the moment of their birth; 5) banning computerized voting and requiring that all elections take place on paper ballots.
b) A constitutional amendment declaring that corporations are not people and do not have the constitutional rights of citizens. This amendment should also state that the interests of the general public and society must always come before the interests of corporations.
c) A constitutional amendment that will act as a "second bill of rights" as proposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt: that every American has a human right to employment, to health care, to a free and full education, to breathe clean air, drink clean water and eat safe food, and to be cared for with dignity and respect in their old age.
Let me know what you think. Occupy Wall Street enjoys the support of millions. It is a movement that cannot be stopped. Become part of it by sharing your thoughts with me or online ( Get involved in (or start!) your own local Occupy movement. Make some noise. You don't have to pitch a tent in lower Manhattan to be an Occupier. You are one just by saying you are. This movement has no singular leader or spokesperson; every participant is a leader in their neighborhood, their school, their place of work. Each of you is a spokesperson to those whom you encounter. There are no dues to pay, no permission to seek in order to create an action.
We are but ten weeks old, yet we have already changed the national conversation. This is our moment, the one we've been hoping for, waiting for. If it's going to happen it has to happen now. Don't sit this one out. This is the real deal. This is it.
Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Koch Brothers At The Head Of The Financial Corporate Crime Syndicate

Max Keiser talks about how the Koch brothers are at key figures of the nation's corporate crime syndicate.

This is why we have Occupy Wall Street. Why can't the mayors and governors and cities attacking the Occupy Wall Street Protesters see why this movement is angry!!! Hey everyone, get on board with the protesters.

This is only way the fraud will end, along with the political trolls doing their bidding.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Domestic Violence On The Innocent On Obama's Watch

Obama Heckled For Allowing Police Brutality Against Protesters and Failing to Rein In Banks

Occupy Wall Street Dislikes the Mainstream Democratic and Republican Parties

The mainstream Democratic party is trying to co-opt Occupy Wall Street, and the Democratic party machinery is trying to turn OWS into a Democratic fundraising campaign. And see this.
But the Occupy supporters dislike Obama and the mainstream Democratic party, just as they dislike the mainstream Republican party. See thisthisthis and this.
Indeed, OWS protesters in New Hampshire just heckled Obama for turning a blind eye while thousands of peaceful protesters have been arrested – and hundreds have been attacked with batons, pepper sprayed or otherwise brutally suppressed – for exercising their constitutional rights:

The protesters said (although they were interrupted):
“Mic check, Mr. President.”
“Over 4,000 peaceful protesters have been arrested while bankers continue to destroy the American economy. You must stop the assault on our 1st Amendment rights. Your silence sends a message that police brutality is acceptable. Banks got bailed out. We got sold out.”
Here are two photos of a New Hampshire protester handing Obama a note at the event:
tumblr lv2tsyXb8c1qgoisto1 500 Obama Heckled For Allowing Police Brutality Against Protesters and Failing to Rein In Banks
tumblr lv2tsyXb8c1qgoisto2 500 Obama Heckled For Allowing Police Brutality Against Protesters and Failing to Rein In Banks
As I noted last month:
Everyone’s trying to cash in on the courage and conviction of the Wall Street protesters.
People are trying to associate Occupy Wall Street with their pet projects, in the same way that advertisers try to associate the goodwill of the Super Bowl, NBA playoffs, World Series or Olympics with their product.
But I hear from OWS organizers that the protesters come from totally diverse political affiliations. Many protesters support Ron Paul, many like Obama, others are for other parties or candidates or don’t vote at all.
The protesters themselves are having none of it, tweeting today:
We don’t want to be the democratic tea party or liberal tea party. We want to be our own movement separate of any political affiliation.
[A]nother tweet from the protesters:
We don’t represent liberal interests nor are we the liberal tea party. We represent the interest of the 99%

Mainstream Democrats – While Pretending they Support It – Hate Everything OWS Stands For

And Obama and the mainstream Democrats – while pretending they support the Occupy protesters – are working against everything they stand for.
As I noted last month:
Mr. Obama has appointed the very Wall Street insiders who helped cause the financial crisis to top posts. See thisthisthis and this.
Obama – just like the other pimps in D.C. – has institutionalized fraud as an official (if unspoken) party platform.
Americans didn’t want bailouts, but Obama helped to facilitate trillions in direct and hidden bailouts.
Obama doesn’t support the 99%. He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
As Yves Smith notes:
A saying I learned in Caracas: “A politician is someone who gets in front of a mob and tries to call it a parade.”
Forget what you’ve been taught … the mainstream Democrats and mainstream Republicans are virtually identical on all core matters. Don’t fall for the old divide-and-conquer trick.
Note: Democratic congressman Deutch just introduced a bill called the Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy (OCCUPIED) Amendment, which would remove money from campaigns and specify – as the Founding Fathers intended – that corporations aren’t people.   While I haven’t yet analyzed the bill, this seems like a great piece of legislation.  As such, the mainstream Democrats – and their Wall Street backers – will fight it tooth and nail.  
Posted in Politics / World News | 4 Comments