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Archive for May, 2015

Good news for the middle class has finally arrived. The 99 percent has a real candidate for US president now. On Tuesday, May 26, US middle class Senator Bernie Sanders officially announced his candidacy to be the Democratic nominee for the US presidency.

Former Wall Street Senator Hilliary Rodham Clinton is Bernie’s only competition for the nomination. Clinton has a boat load of money, but she carries a ton of baggage. Most notably, she and her husband, former Wall Street President Bill Clinton, are notorious redistributers of income from the 99 to the 1 percent.

If you listen to Bernie’s announcement speech above, the defining issue of this election is going to be income distribution, and more specifically, how the 1 percent went from stealing 8 percent of all US income in 1980 to 37 percent today. Who loses on this issue? Clinton does.

Sure the Dems will hold debates, and sure the moderator will make sure the debate issues will be about abortion, gun control, and a ton of social issues, and not income and wealth inequality, and yes the moderator will make certain the television camera’s never light upon Bernie’s face by not calling on him to answer any questions or to respond to Clinton’s answers, but Bernie will win this election, and by a fair margin.

One day after he announced that he intended to run for the presidency, back in April, 75,000 people volunteered to work on his campaign. A month later, he has 200,000 volunteers. By election time, Bernie will have half a million plus, perhaps a million plus, volunteers working on his campaign. Hilliary can spend half a billion dollars, but she can’t beat what Bernie has, volunteers and real hope for the 99 percent, rather than the phoney Obama hope and change!

A message from Bernie:

Friend –

For many months I have been traveling from coast to coast across our country, and have had the opportunity to meet with thousands of good, hard-working, and remarkable people. Like you and me, they are deeply concerned about the future of our country.

They wonder why they are working longer hours for lower wages. They worry about whether their kids will be able to afford college or get decent jobs. They fear that they may not have the savings to retire with dignity and security.

The challenges facing our country are enormous.

After a year of travel, discussion and dialogue, I have decided to be a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president. But let’s be clear. This campaign is not about Bernie Sanders. It’s about a grassroots movement of Americans standing up and saying: “Enough is enough. This country and our government belong to all of us, not just a handful of billionaires.”

Our movement needs people like you involved to help it succeed. Add your name now to say you support my campaign for president.

Http://go.berniesanders.com/launch-photos

Bernie Sanders

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President Obama has said many times that the Trans Pacific Partnership contains the strongest provisions yet for protecting labor and US jobs. However, US Middle Class Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon says that isn’t true in the speech above, which was made on the floor on the US senate on Friday May 24th.

Merkley, who has seen the text of the Trans Pacific Pacific Partnership (TPP), points out that the fundamental differences between the TPP and NAFTA are zero, which means President Obama is lying about the TPP when he says there are big differences between the two.

“Here we are repeating the same basic structure,” Merkley says. “…Secret tribunals of NAFTA already have wiped out some of our consumer laws, and the same thing will occur with the TPP.”

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Trying to Survive in a Broken Economy | BillMoyers.com

This post first appeared at Talkpoverty.org.

My name is John D’Amanda, and I have been a loyal employee at a McDonald’s in Oakland, California for five years. Prior to working in fast food, I was a small business owner like millions of Americans. I made good money washing windows for houses, stores, malls and contractors in the San Francisco/Alameda/Contra Costa counties area. But when the economy tanked, my business went with it as people tightened their belts and stopped hiring window washers. I lost many customers, struggled to pay my bills and was eventually evicted from my apartment. I even lost the car that enabled me to travel to my jobs and couldn’t afford to buy another car. I came close to being out on the street.

I continued to work throughout my struggles. Like many others in the new economy, I went from owning my own business to a low-wage, part-time job in the fast food industry. And, even though I found work at McDonald’s, my wages were not enough to rent an apartment of my own, pay medical bills, or buy a car. Fast forward five years and I still experience unpredictable hours and I am rarely scheduled for even 25 hours a week.

In light of my financial situation, I have cut back on living costs as much as possible. I rent a shared room in a house where I also share a bathroom and kitchen with 7 other people. Although taking the train to work would be much faster, I save money by commuting on the bus. In the evenings, it can take as much as 2 hours to get home. I’ve proactively applied for food stamps, but due to my work schedule and commute time, it has been impossible for me to attend the required in-person meetings.

In America, we’re told that if we work hard, we can make it. If we cut back and save and scrimp, we will succeed. I have done these things and I’m still struggling. And so, I’m looking for answers. I ask the people making the policies in Washington, DC and California – how did our economy become so broken? What else would have you me do to survive?

Things have improved for me somewhat — my city passed a $12.25 per hour minimum wage and the raise, which just went into effect, helps me keep up with my bills. Maybe I will be able to save up enough to buy a car so that I can start up my window washing business again. But, with this raise, I have to choose between saving for my business and covering basic living costs such as dental care. I am one disaster away from losing everything.

For example, last month, I went to the emergency room with severe tooth pain. The doctor pulled 7 teeth in one sitting. Now I need dentures that I can’t afford to pay for. My friends and family back home in Florida are going to pass the hat to help me out. But that’s not the way it should be. This isn’t how we fix our broken economy and provide opportunity to people.

We need to fight for $15 an hour. I can speak for myself when I say that, if I made $15 per hour, things would totally change. I could buy a car, afford regular dental care and maybe even be married and have a house. I could save to reestablish my business and get back on my feet. When Americans work hard, we deserve to be paid enough to support ourselves and our families. That’s why I continue to fight.

The views expressed in this post are the author’s alone, and presented here to offer a variety of perspectives to our readers.

Although this post appeared at Talkpoverty, I borrowed it with permission from Billmoyers.com, and that link is below.

Trying to Survive in a Broken Economy | BillMoyers.com.

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Like Republican Party politicians, politicians of the Democratic Party sell their legislative favors to the big money boys for campaign contributions, cushy jobs after they leave office, and millions of dollars in speaking fees. Unlike the Republican Party, the Democratic Party is rapidly fading away.

In fact, it’s reasonable to call the Democratic Party a cash raising machine rather than a political party. As a political party, the corrupt Democratic Party maybe a spent force in national and state elections. So what’s the problem with the Democrats? Let’s begin at the top.

Wall Street President Barack Obama is trying to deliver the biggest income redistribution scam to Wall Street and large corporate donors in time for the Democratic Party to maximize campaign donations just in time for the 2016 election, according to Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone. Even though Obama might deliver the goods, the beneficiaries of his largeness might not pony up the cash for a dying political party.

The scam is called the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is falsely being marketed as a trade agreement.

The TPP will redistribute massive sums of cash to big corporate donors stolen from the 99 percent. Hundreds of thousands, and likely multiple millions, of jobs will be exported from the USA to lower wage nations due to the TPP. The difference between the old higher US wages will and the new lower foreign wages will go straight into the pockets of the uber rich via higher corporate earnings, share prices and dividends.

This will be a massive boon for the 1 percent, if it comes to pass, but the TPP is likely the death blow to the remains of the Democratic Party. The reason is simple.

In order for the Democratic Party to be relevant in national and state politics, the Party must be able to muster votes. However, the Democratic base is the thing income redistribution agreements, like the TPP, hurts the most. This isn’t lost on the base, so the base is quietly and quickly fading away. Look at the numbers.

In 2008, the base rallied to President Obama and the Democratic Party under the “Hope and Change” hype of candidate Obama. When Obama took office, the Democratic Party controlled 60 US senate seats for a short while and fifty-nine for many months afterward. The Democrats held 237 US House of Representative seats, compared to 178 Republican held seats.

When he became president, Obama did his best to enrich his Wall Street benefactors at the expense of the 99 percent. He began by letting Health Insurance executives write a health care law that compelled the taxpayers to guarantee their profits into infinity. No public option, however miniscule, was on the table. Obama was also desperate to give Wall Street the South Korea income redistribution agreement, which he falsely labeled a trade agreement. Obama was also willing to reduce social security payments to the elderly in order to continue the Bush tax cuts for the rich. And these were just a few things that smelled bad to the base. Obama was a bitter disappointment for many Democrats for this and other reasons during his first two years in office.

The result was simple; the Republicans took the US house in 2010, and reduced the Democrats majority in the US senate. The corporate press lied to us and said this was normal. In fact, it was anything but normal.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was elected president in a landslide in 1932, as the Great Depression rolled along. The Democrats also enlarged their numbers in the US senate, from 48 in 1930 to 60 in 1932. And the Party took control of the US house that year, with a massive 313 members, compared to only 117 Republican representatives.

FDR took his job seriously, established the New Deal; he worked to end the Great Depression, but he also worked to curb the economic and political power of the wealthy. FDR came from a rich family, but then, he wasn’t called a “traitor to his class,” for nothing.

So what happened in the elections of 1934? With a president and congress working for all the people, rather than a tiny wealthy minority, as has been the case with Obama, the Democratic Party increased its numbers in the senate to 69, and 322 members in the US house.

What happened under President Obama? Well, many members of the political establishment, such as Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, worked harder and harder to deliver more and more financial goods for the corporate establishment at the expense of the 99 percent.

In 2012, the Republicans gained more seats in the US house, 242 to 192. The Democrats, along with two independents who caucus with the Democrats, still held the US senate, but their majority was reduced to 53.

As the rich got richer under Obama and the Democrats, as their power and influence dwindled due to their obvious ties to Wall Street, and as the TPP became more well known through leaked documents, a larger section of the Democratic base stayed home during the 2014 elections.

In 2014, the Republicans swept to commanding majorities in the senate (with 54 seats) and the US house (247 seats compared to 188 Democratic representatives). The base stayed home, and most likely, permanently.

The Democratic leadership is rapidly becoming the leader of nothing, since the Democratic Party base is rapidly evaporating with every income redistribution scam the Party leadership can concoct.

Instead, the base is rallying to Bernie Sanders, while abandoning the latest Wall Street Democratic presidential candidate, Hilliary Clinton. She refuses to mention anything about the TPP lately, although she has publicly supported it in the past. Around election time it’s best to stay mum about her TPP position since getting their jobs sent overseas isn’t very popular with the Democratic base, what’s left of it anyway.

The Democratic leadership has only one thing to sell Wall Street; government power. The Democrats need to win elections in order to offer this product to Wall Street, and it needs votes in order to achieve these aims. But nowadays, votes are something in short supply for the Party the more they sell government favors to their Wall Street parasite friends.

The Trans Pacific Partnership has galvanized the base against the Party more than ever before. The base is rallying to independent presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who looks a lot like what Democrats once stood for.

The TPP most likely means permanent minority status for the Party, and likely extinction in the future.

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The United States is in the midst of an economic expansion, which happens to be the most sluggish in US history. Demand growth is at all time lows, or so it seems, yet the stock market bubble continues to expand outward, because massives amount of income and wealth are being legislatively redistributed from the 99 to the 1 percent at a rate never before seen in US history.

1 percent of the US population now receives 99 percent of all income growth, and 95 percent of all income growth since 2009. The rich received 8 percent of all US income in 1980, 21 percent in 2008, and now 37 percent. What have they purchased with their thefts?

More corruption of government and the moral and economic crisis we have today.

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The City of Los Angeles Raises the Minimum Wage to $15 An Hour

Los Angeles became the largest US city to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour on Tuesday, as a wage increase bill passed the city council by a vote of 14-1.

It is now up to city attorney Mike Feuer to draft an ordinance to implement the new minimum wage requirements. The ordinance will then return to the council for a final vote before becoming law. Under the proposed legislation, the city’s minimum wage would increase to $10.50 in July 2016, and would increase incrementally every year until it reaches $15 in July 2020. For small businesses with 25 or fewer employees, the wage hike would come on a modified schedule with the incremental increases starting in July 2017 and the minimum wage reaching $15 by July 2021.
Seattle workers hail ‘historic moment’ as city sets course for $15 minimum wage
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The current minimum wage in California is $9 an hour and is set to increase to $10 in January 2016.

In the past year, two other US cities have approved similar wage increase measures. In June 2014, Seattle moved to increase its minimum wage to $15 by 2017. Last November, San Francisco voted to increase its minimum wage to $15 by 2018.

Not meaning to sound negative, but the official inflation rate is only a tiny fraction of what the real inflation rate is. Since 1980, the US government has revised the way it determines inflation twenty times, and each time tended to make the official inflation rate smaller. The real inflation rate is about 7.5 percent per year.

Five years from now, that $15 an hour in Los Angeles will only be worth roughly $12 in today’s reality.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren delivered a floor speech on May 19, 2015 about an amendment she introduced with Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and 13 other senators to the Trade Promotion Authority (“Fast Track”) legislation that would prohibit Fast Track from being used to pass trade deals that include Investor State Dispute Settlement. More information about the amendment is available at: Huffington Post

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