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Several decades ago Professor Mark Naison, eventual chair of the African-American studies department at Fordham University, wrote something to the effect that the corporate press divides us along racial lines by boldly reporting on the negative encounters among people of different races that happen now and then while ignoring the tens of thousands of positive encounters that happen every day in the United States among people of different races.

By stressing our differences, and ignoring the positive encounters, the corporate news media keeps us divided as a people, and our eyes and attention off of the financial issues the 99 percent have in common; 1 percent of US citizens now own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent of Americans (an historic record), and the 1 percent now steals roughly 37 percent of all income (another record) produced in the USA every year compared to 8 percent in 1980. That means the 99 percent now earn about 62 percent of all income produced in the United States compared to 92 percent in 1980. You bet they don’t want us to know this stuff, or to ever think about it.

Instead, the corporate news media wants us to think as intensely as possible about racism, guns, violence, bad police officers, public bathrooms and transgender folks, and anything except income and wealth inequality and what brings this about.

So here are a few things to think about in the violent encounter that occurred in Charlottesville.

  1. Out of 310 million people, about 500 showed up in the largest white supremacist gathering in decades, and that’s after six months of publicity.
  2. The thousand people opposed to the white supremacist meeting were multiracial.
  3. Tens of millions of people went to church the next day, many in multi-racial congregations, and prayed to the same God.
  4. Tens of millions US citizens went to work the following Monday and collaborated with their co-workers of different races, ethnicities, and religions.
  5.  Tens of millions of US citizens gather together in small and often diverse groups and cheer on the same sports teams.
  6. Tens of millions of Americans of all races will come together to cheer on the US Olympic team.
  7.  Thousands of people in interracial groups build houses for Habitat for Humanity.
  8. Tens of thousands of people of all colors, sexual orientations and political persuasions, from Tea Party and John Birch Society members to labor unions and Black Lives Matter, came together to successfully fight the massive income redistribution scam known as The Trans Pacific Partnership, which was championed by the first African-American president and some of the most politically and financially powerful members of society.
  9. No, the corporate news media doesn’t want you to know about this stuff.

Source: Economic Policy Institute, http://www.epi.org/publication/charting-wage-stagnation/

More than 40 million US workers would get a raise if the US minimum wage was raised to $15 an hour. Doing so would do five important things to help the US economy.

1. It would increase the demand for goods and services and create jobs in the process. Currently, we are in the worst post World War II economic expansion in US history, except for the last one, you know, that negative job growth under the economic policies of the worst president in US history, George W. Bush! Outside of that expansion, the current expansion is the worst, with the lowest job growth, the least GNP growth, and lots more historically weak statistics.

2. Every US economic expansion since 1981 has been caused by artificial bubbles which have created artificial stock market bubbles, which have almost completely benefited only the rich, and mostly the super rich, at the expense of everyone else. The Bill Clinton presidency saw the creation of 22 million jobs, which came about because of simultaneous housing, tech, stock and telecommunications bubbles. The tech and telecommunication bubbles were created by Clinton’s signature on legislation. The current economic bubble has been created by an illegal housing bubble created by the big banks. See The fix is In! The Banksters are Manipulating the rise in housing prices: Mortgage applications are down for home sales–Johnhively.wordpress.com Raising the minimum wage would create more demand, possibly creating the first demand inspired economic expansion since the Great President Jimmy Carter.

3. Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would steer money away from the stock market bubble because it would decrease corporate profits, and perhaps gently deflate the current bubble that is due to burst in a few months anyway. The other option is to allow the bubble to run its course and essentially ruin the US economy like what occurred from 2007 to 2012 and from 1929-1933. The next recession will be worst than the last one, and it’s just around the bend.

4. Income inequality is at an all-time US high with the 1 percent stealing about 37 percent of all income produced in the USA every year compared with only 8 percent in 1980. That means the 99 means we have less money to buy things, while the rich primarily purchase things like stock options, stock, bonds and politicians. This inequality is stifling the demand sector and weakening the economy which is why the US economic expansions since 2000 are the weakest in history. This is, of course, unless, the creation and functioning of the US and worldwide economies are solely for the benefit of the 1 percent, and always at the expense of the 99 percent. You can see from the graph above the rich are stealing $17,867 from every working American, and they do this year after year after year. I think it’s time we get a little of our money back.

5. Wealth inequality is also near an all time high in the USA, and this means (along with income inequality) the rich can afford to buy the services of more politicians, which has already effectively turned our democracy into both an illusion and a myth, and this occurred perhaps as early as 1981. Raising the minimum wage would cut away a bit of the economic cancers known as wealth and income inequality.

The corporate talking heads will also insist raising the minimum wage will result in lost jobs, but there are plenty of studies showing not a whole lot on this issue. Most studies on this subject during the last twenty years show a rise in the minimum wage has a negligible impact on job loss, or jobs experience slight growth. On the other hand, most minimum wage increases that have been studied have been minimal and very local.

However, all of this is irrelevant because there is one gigantic study that shows that when the real wages of the 99 percent go up, so too does the US economy, and not just for the benefit of the few. This study is called the history of the US economy. Notice in the graph below real wages grew in the US economy from 1948 to 1978. In reality, you can go back to 1938 and see the same stuff. Inflation was low and job growth was high during the years 1938 to 1980. The middle class was strongest then, and demand for US goods was incredibly strong, especially the demand from US citizens. Even the rich got richer, although the percentage of income and wealth they could steal from the rest of us was small compared to today.

Source: Economic Policy Institute, http://www.epi.org/publication/charting-wage-stagnation/

Corporate talking heads will always lie and say raising the minimum wage will increase inflation. In reality, allowing the financial markets to rise in bubbles creates inflation, as I pointed out in my book, The Rigged Game.

Now some people will say inflation was fairly high during the 1970s, and yes that is kind of true, and then kind of not. That’s because the US government has changed the way it measures inflation twenty times since 1981, and every change has the intended effect of lowering the rate of inflation. In other words, if inflation is 1.5 percent nowadays, using the methodology of 1975, today’s inflation would be about 6 percent. Average yearly inflation during the 1970s was 7 percent, and so using today’s inflation methodology, inflation during the 1970s would have averaged about 2.5 percent, which isn’t all that much.

You can also see from the graph above how real hourly wages have stagnated since 1978, but of course, that’s a lie since real wage increases are measured against inflation, and we know inflation is no longer measured like it used to be. If inflation over the last 35 years was measured with the methodology used by the US government in 1975, US inflation would be significantly higher each of those years, and real US wage growth during this period would be negative, year after year after year for the last thirty or more years. This means real wages are significantly lower nowadays than the available statistics will allow us to measure, and this, of course, is one of the reasons why the government changed the way it measured inflation: it stops us from seeing how much we of the 99 percent are getting screwed by our corrupt government in redistributing our income and wealth to the 1 percent.

I don’t know about you, but I want my money back! Raise the minimum wage!

The Wall Street Journal reported a few days ago that the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) has significantly reduced the number of regulations it is supposed to enforce. Quite naturally, as was shown in 1929, 2007-09, 2001, the entire 1980s and 1990s, as well as many other times in US and world history, Wall Street millionaires and billionaires will break the law while redistributing income from the 99 percent to themselves. Then the taxpayers (that’s us folks) will bail them out after the financial disaster, and this will make the rich even richer, and not a soul will go to jail.

The Journal reports that Trump’s appointees to the SEC have significantly slowed down on enforcement. Trump, along with every Republican office holder in the US congress, wants to eliminate the weak Dodd-Frank legislation that makes it a little bit harder than before to screw over the US public.

The Republicans chief economic policy is to unleash Wall Street as a destructive force in the world, allow it to wreck financial on everybody else, in order to knock the economy flat on its face. That is the Republican Party economic policy in a nutshell.

Of course, the Republicans have always had help from the Democratic Party, which is largely, if not completely, controlled by Wall Street billionaires. Many Democrats have been instrumental in helping the Republicans achieve the desires of their Wall Street masters. President Clinton signed legislation repealing Glass-Steagal, as well as NAFTA. The president was supported in this by Hillary Clinton. Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden. These folks continued to serve Wall Street’s interest under then Wall Street President Barack Obama.

The Clinton’s get $225,000 a piece for making speeches from Wall Street, while Obama gets $400,000.

USA Today reported in last weekend’s edition that “Low-wage jobs are expected to grow the fastest over the next five years while occupations that support a middle-class living will lag.” The newspaper cited a survey by CareerBuilder.

“Globalization” is the culprit according to the survey. In other words, factory and office jobs will continue to be exported, and the difference between the higher US wages and benefits and the new third world wages with no benefits will go straight into the pockets of the richest via higher corporate profits, rising dividends, and surging share prices. Neither the study nor USA today mentioned this part. Reporter Paul Davidson only mentioned “globalization,” and deliberately so to keep you ignorant.

Just as important, trade treaties also establish the rules by which US corporations can also create jobs overseas, rather than in the USA. This redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent, as well.

So expect income and wealth inequality to grow throughout the USA, as well as the rest of the world. And, contrary to the lying corporate press and the World Bank, poverty throughout the world has grown during the last thirty-seven years.

The report clearly shows that more of the middle class will be disappearing as those middle-class jobs are exported and the wages and benefits transformed into dividends and higher share prices for the rich. In other words, the rich are eating the middle class.

When those factory jobs operating machines that sustain a middle-class life style are exported, jobs in accounting, bookkeeping, management, law, computer technology, and more are exported. These are all middle-class jobs.

It doesn’t need to be this way. Globalization is not inevitable. It never has been inevitable. But the policy of globalization enriches the wealthy at the expense of the everybody else throughout the world, and this is the inevitable result of globalization, as well as its purpose as US public and economic policy. And this is why the corporate news media keeps pounding this idea into our heads, and we meekly accept this bull shit lie.

Monsanto has released evidence of corporate corruption on a massive scale.

Newly released internal Monsanto documents are creating tremendous controversy outside the United States (cause it isn’t being reported here), providing fresh fuel for a heated global debate over whether or not the agricultural chemical giant suppressed information about the potential dangers of its Roundup herbicide and relied on U.S. regulators for help.

More than seventy-five documents, including discussions about payments to scientists, were posted for public viewing early Tuesday morning by attorneys who are suing Monsanto on behalf of people alleging Roundup caused them or their family members to become ill with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. The attorneys posted the documents, which total more than 700 pages, on the website for the law firm Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, one of many firms representing thousands of plaintiffs who are pursuing claims against Monsanto.

When reached for comment, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers said, “This trove marks a turning point in Monsanto’s corporate life. They show Monsanto executives colluding with corrupted EPA officials to manipulate and bury scientific data to kill studies when preliminary data threatened Monsanto’s commercial ambitions, bribing scientists and ghostwriting their publications, and purchasing peer review to conceal information about Roundup’s carcinogenicity, its toxicity, its rapid absorption by the human body, and its horrendous risks to public health and the environment.”

Click here or more on this Monsanto scandal from Ecowatch.

Research by the Insured Retirement Institute suggests trouble for retiring Boomers. The study shows 24% of Baby Boomers have no retirement savings. Only 55% of Baby Boomers have some retirement savings and, of those, 42% have less than $100,000. Thus, approximately half of retirees are, or will be, living off of their Social Security benefits.

The corporate news media wants you to believe the reason for this situation includes “poor preparation.” Other reasons given include the stock market crash of 2008-09, which was caused by the criminal activities of the big banks and government corruption. Many 401Ks haven’t recovered from this debacle. The disaster allegedly scared some older adults out of the markets, causing them to miss the subsequent rebound.

What the corporate news (really propaganda) media doesn’t want to tell you is that most of the retirements of the baby boom generation have been redistributed to the uber wealthy over the last thirty-five years.

* Most pensions are gone, and even government employees now have weakened pensions or less lucrative 401Ks that have replaced pensions, due to the political and news media power of the billionaires. Most corporate pensions have been reduced or eliminated, with the difference between the old former pensions and the new little or nothing pensions placed directly into the pockets of hedge fund managers and other big investors through rising corporate profits, the newest stock market bubble, and surging dividends.

* Average real wages and benefits have been reduced over the last thirty-five years due to tens of millions of jobs being exported, union busting, and hyper-immigration, all of which have placed downward pressure on wages, salaries, and benefits. Think H1-B visas, among other programs.

* More baby boomer money goes toward paying housing as rents and home prices have rapidly risen due to the illegal collaboration of the big banks in holding over 50 percent of the vacant housing off the market beginning in 2008. This is called a conspiracy in restraint of trade, and it is illegal, but the corrupt US government won’t do anything about it.

There are more reasons why baby boomers are less prepared than their parents for retirement, but ultimately it all comes down to the US government policy of redistributing income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent, which, not so coincidentally, is also the same policy embraced by the leadership of both major political parties. Nowadays, the 1 percent steals around 37 of all income produced in the United States, compared to 8 percent in 1980.

In other words, the baby boomer retirements have been stolen by the 1 percent using their corruption of government, and those stolen retirement benefits are part of the difference between the 8 percent in 1980 and the 37 percent the rich are stealing today. By the way, that 37 percent is growing daily.

 


We discovered much too late that ExxonMobil scientists knew fossil fuels were fueling global warming as far back as 1975. Documents from the Goliath corporation show that management covered up this information, and initiated and sustained a public relations campaign denying global warming. Profits and share value were more important than anything else. It turns out the U.S. electric utility industry recognized as early as 1968 that burning fossil fuels would lead to increased warming, yet later opposed efforts to shift away from coal, according to a new report.

The lengthy report from the Energy and Policy Institute uses reams of archival documents to demonstrate that utility industry representatives knew as far back as 1968 that burning fossil fuels could trigger “catastrophic effects” on the climate.

The report also claims that, despite continued research and consensus on climate throughout the 1970s and 80s, the industry continued to make investments in coal, joined coalitions and lobbying groups to oppose climate action and fund climate denier scientists.

“Nearly 50 years after scientists began to warn the electric utility industry about climate change, some utilities continue to stand in the way of real progress in addressing the problem,” the report said.