Archive for April, 2016

Is Verizon Communications stealing from its customers? And just what is Verizon anyway?

Verizon is a publicly traded limited liability corporation. As such, it is a business idea given legal structure through the creation of law in a representative democracy. The government that brought this idea to legal fruition was supposed to represent all of the people, not just the rich ones.

A publicly traded corporation is nothing more than an idea to allow investors to unionize without having to produce anything with their labor or their ingenuity, which if you look at some of the writings of original capitalist economic thinkers, like Adam Smith and John Locke, was and should be the cornerstone of all economic activity in the creation of wealth.

The problem is that publicly traded corporations allow for the organizing of money, rather than forcing that money to compete in smaller business units, as idealized by Smith and Locke. Organized money on the scale of what’s going on today is the primary problem with the economy and government, and both have been corrupted by the influence of organized money.

As such, organized labor is at a serious disadvantage in competition in the political markets with organized money because labor doesn’t have the financial muscle that rich investors possess to compete. Not only that, money is always much more potent in its organized form than is organized labor, especially in the political markets.

“Government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob,” President Franklin Roosevelt said 80 years ago. At that time, “organized mob” meant “organized crime.” That’s what we’ve got today, effectively “organized mob” given legal cover as federal officials look the other way at corporate lawbreakers.

Verizon is organized money in that its investors don’t need to compete with one another.

That’s one of the reasons Verizon earned $4.31 billion dollars from its customers during the first quarter of 2016. It also earned $19 billion in profits for all of 2015. How can a corporation in a competitive environment earn so much money? Oh wait! Verizon operates pretty much as a monopoly, as well as being an organized mob.

In other words, Verizon’s products are seriously overpriced by any real market standards. The price of its products, like products throughout most of the economy and the political markets (yes politicians are products with price tags), is rigged against the 99 percent.

This suggests that the strike by 39,000 Verizon and Verizon Wireless workers could be made a little stronger and perhaps more effective.

The strike continues into its third week, and efforts are undertaken to broaden picketing at Verizon Wireless stores across the country. Workers at seven Wireless stores in Brooklyn, New York, and Everett, Massachusetts, are on strike, along with wireline workers from Massachusetts to Virginia.

The Communication Workers are working with Jobs with Justice to get local unions and community groups across the country to “Adopt-a-Store”—meaning they would agree to picket and leaflet outside Verizon Wireless corporate stores at least twice a week for two to three hours.

But the strikers could begin targeting Verizon customers, and perhaps leaflet stores showing how customers are being overpriced, in addition to picketing stores. Why can’t a monopoly getting $19 billion in profits a year lower its prices? If Verizon were in a competitive industry it would lower its prices because it would be forced to.

If anything, Verizon management should be willing to bend to union demands, if only because the money is there, and the money is there because Verizon’s competition doesn’t really exist all that much. In other words, giving a little back to the community would be in the interests of Verizon, and the communities in which it operates, rather than give all that unearned income to rich investors via rising share prices and surging dividends, none of which is funneled back into the communities from which they are effectively stolen through a duel monopolistic fraud.

Otherwise, what’s the purpose of allowing this legal fiction to exist if it can’t give back to the community? Or if it doesn’t benefit the community in which it operates, but is always taking out income, thereby financially weakening the community? That doesn’t make any economic sense.


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Bernie Sanders has shifted the political discussion away from what the fat cats on Wall Street want, and Hillary Clinton wants to shift it back to where it allows Wall Street and major corporations to suck the rest of us financially dry.

I suspect Bernie knows that if he meekly goes away, so does that shift in the political spectrum. The things he stands for, the things the American people want, like an end to disastrous international income redistribution scams falsely marketed as trade agreements, and a $15 minimum wage, will be cast to the shadows, like the Occupy Wall Street movement (See Bernie Sanders Vows to Fight On for the Good of the 99 Percent–JohnHively.Wordpress.com).

Let’s face it; the rich control most of the news we see, thanks to Bill Clinton’s Telecommunications Act, so we won’t see hardly anything of these issues anymore if Bernie quits campaigning.

I won’t vote for Hillary because it would be against my interest to vote for somebody who’s policies will suck me and the rest of the 99 percent financially dry on behalf of her rich benefactors. I want my kid to have a future better than I have had, rather than have his future redistributed to the 1 percent via, say, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) (See The Coming Recession: It’s Going to Be a Big One–JohnHively.Wordpress.com).

If Wall Street’s darling is elected, the following day, Wall Street President Barack Obama will have Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden introduce the TPP into the senate, while another Wall Street Democratic lap dog with fleas, lice and ticks will introduce it into the US house.

Debate will be short and sweet in the US congress, but on the chance that Obama is no longer president when his and Hillary’s rich benefactors push the TPP through that cesspool of corruption known as the US congress, the first thing a President Hillary Clinton will do is sign the agreement against the wishes of the vast majority of US citizens, most of whom have been dutifully kept in the dark thanks to the efforts of the corporate propaganda network, otherwise known as the corporate press.

Bernie Sanders needs to keep these issues on the front page, and so he needs to keep campaigning for us since Wall Street has its candidate,and we need ours, as well. Besides, it ain’t over till it’s over, and it ain’t over until we say it is.

Bernie should run as a third party candidate if Clinton refuses to acknowledge within the Democratic party platform the issues important to the vast majority of US citizens. And she needs to make a public vow fight against and veto the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Polls show Candidate Sanders would take a sizable number of voters from both Clinton and Trump. That suggests he might be able to win the presidency as a third party candidate, and this nation is ready for that.

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Bernie Sanders Wall Street
Bernie Sanders issued a statement after he lost four of five states on April 6, 2016. So this primary campaign season isn’t over until it’s over.

Senator Sanders said, “The people in every state in this country should have the right to determine who they want as president and what the agenda of the Democratic Party should be,” Sanders said in a statement congratulating Clinton on her wins. “That’s why we are in this race until the last vote is cast.”

“That is why this campaign is going to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with as many delegates as possible to fight for a progressive party platform that calls for a $15 an hour minimum wage, an end to our disastrous trade policies, a Medicare-for-all health care system, breaking up Wall Street financial institutions, ending fracking in our country, making public colleges and universities tuition free and passing a carbon tax so we can effectively address the planetary crisis of climate change,” the statement read.

It doesn’t sound like Bernie is optimistic that Hillary “Wall Street” Clinton will want any of these objectives in the Democratic Party platform. Win or lose, Sanders wants these issues addressed, and it sounds as if he aims to enter the convention with the strength to force Democrats to enter these issues into the platform, should he fail to win the nomination.

He should also demand that Clinton publicly sign a personal agreement to veto the disastrous Trans Pacific Partnership, which will redistribute trillions of dollars from the 99 to the 1 percent, steal our voting rights on the local and state levels, increase the price of our medications, cause more environmental degradation, and so on and so forth.

Otherwise, Clinton would be just another Wall Street hack, like she and her husband have always been. And that’s good enough reason not to support her, if she wins.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/04/2016-primaries-democratic-pennsylvania-maryland-222466#ixzz474eNnDLA
Follow us: @politico on Twitter | Politico on Facebook

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According to Bernie Sanders, “Coming out of last night’s results, in which we won Rhode Island but came up short in four others, I want to pose to you three things that I know to be true:

Young people – the future of our country – continue to vote for our campaign in overwhelming numbers. It’s remarkable, and honestly quite humbling.

When we compete in open primaries that encourage the participation of independents, new voters, and young people, we do very well.

What remains in front of us is a very narrow path to the nomination. In the weeks to come we will be competing in a series of states that are very favorable to us – including California. Just like after March 15 – when we won 8 of the next 9 contests – we are building tremendous momentum going into the convention.”

In other words, Bernie Sanders thinks he can come up with more pledged delegates than Hillary Clinton by the Democratic Party convention. It ain’t over, until it’s over, not by a long shot.

Besides, the Bernie Sanders Presidential Express is about building a movement as much as it is about getting a man of the people into the white house next year, especially with the worst economic recession heading toward us like a runaway train at 400 miles an hour.

That recession will strike somewhere between and inclusive of the fourth quarter of this year and June 2017, and there’s no stopping it. The forces that brought this about, which include legislation and trade scams, has been supported by every US president since Ronald Reagan, as well as Hillary Wall Street Clinton. Working folks can’t afford to give up the fight.

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In The Rigged Game, I wrote that the negative impacts of each successive recession would continuously get worse for a growing number of people because of growing income and wealth inequality, and a new study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows this is the case.

Also note that the policies espoused by both Hillary and Bill Clinton brought this situation about. These policies include international income and political power redistribution scams they marketed as free trade agreements, such as NAFTA, giving China most favored nation status, and the South Korea, Panama and Colombia free trade agreements. These scams redistributed trillions of dollars from working Americans to rich fat cats as tens of millions of jobs were shipped overseas.

Now there is an approaching economic storm that will strike sometime between October 2016 and June 2017. The economic impacts of the coming recession will be worse than the last recession.

Some of the findings by EPI include:

  • Unemployment and underemployment rates among young graduates have improved but remain higher than before the recession began.
  • Unemployment of young graduates remains elevated today, but not because of something unique about the Great Recession and its aftermath that has affected young people in particular. Rather, it is high because young workers always experience disproportionate increases in unemployment during periods of labor market weakness—and the Great Recession and its aftermath is the longest, most severe period of economic weakness in more than seven decades (Italics mine).
  • The vast majority (65.8 percent) of people age 24–29 do not have a college degree. Access to good jobs for these individuals is especially critical, as stable employment allows them to build a career or pay for further schooling.
  • In addition to the unemployed (jobless workers who report that they are actively seeking work), the underemployment rate also includes those who work part time but want full-time work (“involuntary” part-timers), and those who want a job and have looked for work in the last year but have given up actively seeking work in the last four weeks (“marginally attached” workers).
  • For young college graduates, the unemployment rate is currently 5.6 percent (compared with 5.5 percent in 2007), and the underemployment rate is 12.6 percent (compared with 9.6 percent in 2007).
  • For young high school graduates, the unemployment rate is 17.9 percent (compared with 15.9 percent in 2007), and the underemployment rate is 33.7 percent (compared with 26.8 percent in 2007).

Now we are hurtling into the worse recession since the Great Depression, and the results of the following boom period will be more egregious than the pathetically weak economic expansion after the Great Recession, which lasted from 2009 to late 2016 or early 2017. Income inequality is the big culprit in this explosion of poverty in the midst of plenty because your government actively works to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent via such things as trade agreements, which are really income redistribution agreements.

Click on the following link for the complete EPI study.

The Class of 2016: The labor market is still far from ideal for young graduates

for more on the EPI study.

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For the complete story of Alba Guerrero in the video above check out Failure, Fraud and More in New York–the Daily Beast

The Wall Street Democratic Establishment is stealing this election from Bernie Sanders and Democratic voters via voter fraud. CNN reported that exit polls showed Hillary winning by only four points in the New York primary, but she stole the win by sixteen. These polls are highly accurate except when voter fraud or electoral fraud occur. This discrepancy has occurred in several states in which Hillary has technically won, but apparently lost. Not too oddly, voter fraud hasn’t been reported in any state won by Sanders.

Voter fraud ran rampant during last Tuesday’s New York Democratic presidential primary, all of which turned a potential defeat of Wall Street’s darling into a stunning, runaway victory. The Wall Street Democratic Establish had to do something to stop the massive momentum of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders who had won eight of nine primary and caucus battles going into April 19th’s primary. Without voter fraud, Bernie might really have won New York.

Hillary’s one win in the last nine states was in Arizona, which also experienced a tremendous amount of voter fraud. She probably didn’t really win that state either.

Sander’s was down by six in one poll of New York voters two days before the election. He had closed a massive gap of nearly thirty points two weeks before. He had the momentum in the primary election, and in the state of New York. Hillary Clinton most likely would not have won New York or Arizona without voter fraud. That’s because of the massive turnout of Sanders supporters compared to Hillary’s turnout.

According to PBS, “Multiple investigations were launched and a top election official was suspended this week after tens of thousands of registered voters were found to be missing from the rolls during Tuesday’s Democratic primary in New York.

The purge drew the attention of city and state officials and raised concerns in a state already under fire for years over its election practices.

Officials were particularly focused on the New York City Board of Election’s removal of roughly 126,000 registered Democrats in Brooklyn alone, during what the board said was routine maintenance of voter registration lists.

By Thursday the board had suspended its chief clerk in Brooklyn.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said he would open an inquiry after his office received more than 1,000 complaints on Tuesday alone, a number that rose significantly from the 2012 election cycle.

‘By most accounts, voters cast their ballots smoothly and successfully,” Schneiderman said in a statement issued on Wednesday. “However, I am deeply troubled by the volume and consistency of voting irregularities, both in public reports and direct complaints to my office’s voter hotline.’

Meanwhile, in a move backed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said he plans to audit the Board of Elections.” For more information see Officials investigating why 126,000 voters were purged from NY voter rolls–PBS

Voters also complained about long lines, shuttered polling locations and inexperienced polling-place employees. Entire blocks and buildings of voters in some districts were purged from the voter rolls, de Blasio said.

Apparently, the Wall Street Democratic Establishment believes Hillary cannot win outside of the South without voter fraud, and if she is proclaimed the party nominee, it will be by the power of voter fraud, which suggests she really didn’t win at all, if she does win, and this battle isn’t over, not yet, not by a wide margin.

By the way, this voter fraud story isn’t being reported by many corporate news outlets, and that’s not too surprising.

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Bernie and Veterans

Bernie Sanders is on Meet the Press today, and the subject is about why poor people aren’t voting for him.

Bernie Sanders is basing much of his campaign on income inequality, and yet he’s losing the battle for the Democratic primary against Wall Street’s chosen millionaire candidate among poor people. This is surprising because Sanders is campaigning against the massive income inequality going on today.

Sanders noted while campaigning in Baltimore, “If you are born in Baltimore’s poorest neighborhood, your life expectancy is almost 20 years shorter than if you’re born in its wealthiest neighborhood,” the senator from Vermont said, adding that “15 neighborhoods in Baltimore have lower life expectancies than North Korea. Two of them have a higher infant mortality rate than Palestine’s West Bank.”

In the 17 states with the biggest income inequality that have voted so far, Wall Street presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has won 16 of them.

“Poor people don’t vote. I mean, that’s just a fact,” Sanders said in an interview that will air Sunday on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.” “The last election, in 2014, 80 percent of poor people did not vote.”

Sanders also stated that his campaign has “had some success with lower-income people.”

The U.S. has one of the lowest voter turnouts of any major country, mostly by design.

“If we can significantly increase voter turnout so that low-income people and working people and young people participated in the political process,” Bernie said, “if we got a voter turnout of 75 percent, this country would be radically transformed.”

There is truth to his words, but something else needs to be said. Those poor folks that do vote often vote against their interests, oftentimes because they’re not very politically informed, and rely heavily on soundbites and name recognition. Okay, most Americans rely on soundbites and name recognition.

According to a friend who has called voters in several states for Bernie, in the south, socialist security card carrying folks simply told him they were voting for Clinton because Sanders “is a socialist.” Oftentimes, however, registered southern Democrats preferred Clinton over Bernie, sometimes because they hadn’t heard of him, not even the day before their state primary. Other Clinton supporters couldn’t name a thing she’d done, or an office she’d held, but they did know her name.

This may explain why Clinton has outperformed Sanders among voters making less than $50,000 a year, according to CNN exit polls. In Florida, half of voters were in that category — and 65 percent backed the Wall Street candidate. In Texas, 38 percent of voters made less than $50,000 and Hillary won 66 percent of their vote. In Georgia, 43 percent of voters made under $50,000, and 70 percent voted for Clinton.

A 2014 Pew study estimated that about 46 percent of non-voters in the U.S. have family incomes of less than $30,000 a year, and that only 19 percent of voters are from low-income families. Fully 45 percent of non-voters in that study said they had trouble paying bills in the past year, versus 30 percent of voters. See

The Party of Nonvoters

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It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over, And Besides, This is Only Round One

To all of those who say that Bernie Sanders and his loss in New York to Wall Street’s Democratic presidential candidate means he’s going to lose the fight to be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States, this is what I say;

First or all, it ain’t over until it’s over, and it ain’t over.

Second, you’re not looking at the long haul. We are a movement that is only growing. In the next few weeks we shall see if Bernie can win the presidential primary or not, but we will remain a movement of the 99 percent–win or lose. What’s more, our time to win against the big finance boys is coming, and relatively soon.

The next recession is already on its way, (See The coming recession is going to be a big one–John Hively) and it’s going to be worse than the last one. Think perhaps not quite the Great Depression (more or less), and certainly something worse than the the Great Recession of 2007-2009, at least for the 99 percent.

That means we will get stronger as a movement as more and more working folks realize the 99 percent have been mired in an economic rigged game for the last thirty-five years that has allowed Wall Street, other big corporations, and the rest of the 1 percent, to trample over us via legislation, corrupt politicians, and a corrupt supreme court.

Whether Bernie wins this year or not is less important than maintaining this movement that he leads. Four or less years from now, our movement will be so strong we will win. Elizabeth Warren will likely step into Bernie’s shoes and become the next Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Politicians such as Wall Street Senator’s Ron Wyden, Orrin Hatch, and Mitch McConnell will be out, replaced by more Sherrod Brown’s and Jeff Merkley’s. That’s assuming, of course, that Bernie loses the nomination, which hasn’t occurred yet.

The question is whether or not we win this year or next time. We will win, and soon. We just have to stick together. And yes, Bernie can win this thing this year. It ain’t over, til it’s over!

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At least 36,000 Verizon workers have been on strike since Wednesday of last week after failing to reach a new labor agreement. This strike is about lowering labor costs via exporting jobs and using low wage contractors in order to redistribute income from Verizon’s employees to rich shareholders via higher corporate profits, rising dividends and soaring share prices.

Here’s how the system is rigged by federal legislators.

Verizon earned, or overcharged their customers depending on your point of view, $39 billion over the last three years, and now management wants employees to make concessions in pay and benefits, as well as other things. Workers at Verizon have said enough is enough! Verizon made $19.3 billion in US pretax profits from 2008 to 2012, yet didn’t pay any federal income taxes during the period. Instead, it got $535 million in tax rebates. Verizon’s effective federal income tax rate was negative 2.8 percent from 2008 to 2012. Now the company wants to reduce employee compensation despite billions in profits.

As Verizon employee James Brugund said, “American companies want American profits, but they don’t want to pay American wages, and that should be stopped.”

Among the union’s complaints: the offshoring of thousands of jobs to workers abroad, and shifting work to low-wage, non-union contractors. But one of their chief complaints is about being forced to work in locations far from home for months at a time.

“Verizon lineman Ting Chin, who already commutes more than 80 miles from Poughkeepsie, NY, to Manhattan, said that several of his colleagues were sent to Buffalo, New York — almost 400 miles away — for a long-term job, a fate that he says he narrowly avoided.”

In addition, Verizon wants to shift 50 percent of its work to low wage contractors, via a new labor union contract. Other jobs that are no longer done by Verizon employees but are instead handed to lower-wage contractors from outside or inside the U.S. include:

* VZ Business Monitoring
* eService email, chat and offline
* Dispatch
* Digging work for copper plant and FiOS
* In-home installation and networking
* Door-to-door sales of FiOS
* Materials distribution work/delivery
* Smart Home technology installation/customer
* service and other specialized home services

The company is also negotiating to export more jobs overseas. The company has been in the process of exporting these jobs, mostly, it seems, to Manila, Philippines. Thousands of jobs have been exported in recent months.

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BernieWall Street’s darling received more votes than Bernie Sanders in the New York primary, 58 to 42 percent. The Democratic establishment wants us to believe that Bernie has no chance to win the primary now, but that’s not true. It ain’t over, til it’s over, and it ain’t over.

Clinton won 139 delegates to Bernie’s 108 last night. This doesn’t count the 36 super delegates who committed to Hillary, and which the establishment uses to dissuade grassroots campaigns such as Bernie’s. However, it is highly unlikely those super delegates will remain committed to Hillary should Bernie win more delegates by a vote of the people. Should they remain committed to the Wall Street candidate, that would likely mark the end of the Democratic Party since it could no longer be called Democratic. A sizable people’s party would likely emerge from the rump of the Democratic party at that point.

Clinton still has only 1428 delegates to Bernie’s 1151, leaving Clinton with a 267 delegate margin. There are still 1472 delegates to be voted on, and Clinton may not get to that magic number of 2382 to win. Bernie’s looking good in California, and if he wins that one state by the same margin that Hillary won New York, then much of her total lead melts away.

If Bernie winds up with more delegates by votes than Clinton, in a brokered convention, which in likely, then Bernie will likely win. That means we win and Wall Street loses.

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