Archive for December, 2016


“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” ~Alice Walker

People Power Works! More and more people are fed up with the corruption of the Republican and Democratic establishments. Those two establishments have corrupted government at all levels in the United States to such an extent that the US federal government is now the most corrupt in the industrial world, and by a wide margin. And so more people than ever before are taking to the streets and voting against the candidates backed by Wall Street.

In 2016, the grassroots destroyed the plans of Wall Street executives and billionaire investors to redistribute income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent a number of times.

1. A grassroots campaign turned Bernie Sanders into serious candidate for US presidency, and likely will send him or Elizabeth Warren into the White House in 2020.

2. A tenacious cross-border, cross-sector progressive movement of movements stopped the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) corporate power grab led by Wall Street drones Barack Obama, as well as Wall Street senators Ron Wyden, Mitch McConnell and Orrin Hatch.

3. Indigenous water protectors used nonviolent direct action to interrupt the Dakota Access Pipeline.

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Under President Obama, your civil liberties were redistributed to the 1 percent via your tax dollars.

Edward Snowden earned $200,000 a year working for a corporation called Booz Allen Hamilt (BAH). BAH is a publicly traded corporation that derives 99 percent of its income from US government contracts, and its stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

The primary purpose of BAH is to illegally spy on US citizens on behalf of the United States government. The federal government contracts with dozens of corporations to illegally spy on US citizens within the United States, and without warrants, as required by the US Constitution. This is a very profitable business.

In early June 2013, Snowden released thousands of government documents showing the existence of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) illegal domestic spying program. He feared for his life and fled the country.

Snowden was not the first to reveal classified information. The New York Times reported the existence of this program in 2005. Shortly afterwards, two time Pulitzer prize winner New York Times reporter James Risen released his book State of War revealing the NSA’s illegal program. The Bush administration made threats against the Times and Risen, but did nothing.

As a true patriot, Risen refused to divulge the sources for his information even under threats of jail by the Obama administration.


And this all goes to the main point. The NSA still continues to spy on US citizens in violation of the US constitution, even going to the point of burglarizing the homes of US citizens without even so much as a warrant. This corruption is all about corporate profits at taxpayer dollars and civil liberties.

The reason Obama continues to steal our civil liberties is simple. It’s all about money, profits, campaign contribution, political corruption and corporate share prices.

According to a report by The Washington Post, BAH’s Chairman, Ralph W. Shrader, was given $3.1 million in compensation during the fiscal year of 2012. The Post reported that the company has 24,500 employees, and a market cap of $2.5 billion. They reported $5.8 billion in revenue for 2013, of which $219 million were profits. And profits have been rising considerably in recent years. Net operating income was $200 million in 2010, off of $5.1 billion in revenue. Three years later revenue had grown to $5.8 billion, while operating income had doubled to $446 million.

In other words, while their business with the government remained steady, earnings increased considerably.

According to the BAH 10-K filing, “we have strong and longstanding relationships with a diverse group of clients at all levels of the U.S. government. During fiscal 2013, we derived 99% of our revenue from services under more than 5,700 contracts and task orders. The single largest entity that we served in fiscal 2013 was the Army, which represented approximately 16% of our revenue in that period. We derived 91% of our revenue in the fiscal 2013 from engagements for which we acted as the prime contractor.”

Of that revenue, a further 23%, or $1.3 billion, came from U.S. Intelligence agencies.

At the time Snowden made his revelations of corruption, BAH’s share price stood at $17.38 a share. The price has steadily risen until it jumped over $38 a share recently. Chasing Snowden out of the country and using a steady propaganda campaign of painting him as a traitor to the US government, while ignoring that he was defending the US constitution, helped to steady the BAH share price.

Had the US government decided to no longer violate the US constitution based on Snowden’s revelations, the BAH share price, and the shares of all those other corporations that contract with the US government to illegally spy on US citizens, would’ve become valueless.

That was something Obama’s Wall Street masters could not tolerate. So he clamped down on all forms of dissent and whistle blowers within the US government. That is one of his chief achievements as US president.

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This is the third part in a series. So now we’re getting into some debatable stuff, but here goes.

  1. Obama brought the federal budget deficit down from the  more than $1.4 trillion a year he inherited from bumbling, corrupt and incompetent George W. Bush to $587 billion in 2016.
  2. Obama presided over one of the biggest stock market bubbles in world history, and did nothing about it. The hangover from this bubble is going to last quite a long time, but many of his rich supporters got richer because of it.
  3. The president presided over one of the biggest housing bubbles in US history, and did nothing about it. This bubble redistributed trillions of dollars from working folks to Wall Street executives and billionaires that have always been his financial supporters. The big banks illegally conspired to withhold 3.4 million houses off the market (over 50 percent of all vacant houses in the USA) in order to drive up housing prices, and Obama made certain not to let his justice department do anything about this. See The Big Banks Are Manipulating the Housing Market–JohnHively.Wordpress.com
  4. Obama presided over the largest redistribution of income in US history, and did nothing about it. From 2009 to 2013 the 1 percent stole all of the US income growth, and they stole over 50 percent in 2014 and 2015.
  5. In other words, Obama presided over an economy driven by bubbles and redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent. Good job!
  6. Obama called rising income inequality “the defining issue of our time.” When his Wall Street financial masters objected to this subject, Obama never mentioned it again. Guess who was really in charge of the white house? Hint. The big investment banks, along with other Wall Street executives and billionaires.
  7. All of the above suggests the next recession is going to be worst than the last one, and it is on its way. We’re at or near the peak of this weak economic expansion. Once we’ve reached that peak, the only place to go is down. Some of Obama’s better known accomplishments (or notoriously known depending on your point of view) include the Affordable Care Act and getting us out of Iraq. These were included in President Obama’s Top Accomplishments, and His Worst–JohnHively.Wordpress.com. Part two included normalizing relations with Cuba. That list can be found here.

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Official portrait of President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Official portrait of President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This is the second in a series of the accomplishments and the worst of President Obama. Click here for Part 1.

1. Obama normalized relations with Cuba after sixty years of trade embargo. Now Cuba can upgrade its economy, and the US has a new trading partner. There are a ton of people who opposed this move, but those are the same corporate hacks who support exporting US jobs to Mexico, China, Vietnam and elsewhere. I had a friend a long time ago who said he opposed the Vietnam War. This was back in 1980 or so. “If we hadn’t gone in there,” he said, “they’d be capitalists by now.”

2. Obama authorized the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. He announced the terrorist leader’s death in a live speech to the country saying, “Last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action and authorized an operation to get Osama Bin Laden and bring him to justice.” The Republican president before Obama was such an incompetent he couldn’t figure out where Bin Laden was, much less kill him.

3. He helped stimulate the auto industry after the financial crisis. Chrysler and GM have created 250,000 jobs since then. Of course, many of these new jobs are in Mexico.

4. He signed the Dodd-Frank Act, which holds Wall Street accountable a little bit in the event of another financial crisis. In reality, the Dodd-Frank Act doesn’t regulate hedge funds even a little, and the act was heavily watered down by Wall Street lobbyists. So Dodd-Frank wasn’t much of anything, except that it included a provision for the establishment of the Consumer Protection Agency, which Wall Street executives and billionaire investors feared because it meant they couldn’t cheat and lie to the common folk as easily as before.

5. Obama backed down like a whipped dog when Wall Street billionaires and executives demanded he not appoint Elizabeth Warren to head the new Consumer Protection Agency. This turned out to be a good thing, even if by accident. Warren later became a US senator and is likely to be the next president of the United States in 2020.

Among Obama’s worst decisions:

He appointed Arne Duncan to be US Secretary of Education. Duncan is a firm believer in using every child possible to enhance the profits of the testing industry, especially Pearson Limited, a long time financial sponsor of the Democratic Party. When Duncan announced his resignation the president of the AFT teachers union said, “there’s no question that the Department of Education’s fixation on charter schools and high-stakes testing has not worked.” US K-12 public education students are the most tested in the world, and by a wide margin. It’s all about the money folks, that’s what US educational reform means. Obama’s education policy was a complete, or nearly complete, failure.

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Official portrait of President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Official portrait of President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012.

President Obama was no Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but he did take office during an economic crisis greater than any since the Great Depression, a mess helped along by the worst and one of the most corrupt presidents of all time, George W. Bush. I don’t consider Obama to be a great president. I don’t think we’ve had one since Harry Truman. That being said, I think he’ll be remembered fondly even though he was largely a puppet of Wall Street.

1. Obama actually accomplished quite a bit despite the fact the Republican Party leadership fought against almost everything he wanted tooth and nail even if it meant sending the United States down the tubes. Republican Senator Mitch McConnell said, “Our top political priority over the next two years is to deny President Obama a second term.”

2, Got us out of the illegal and costly occupation of Iraq.

3. Passed Health Care Reform: After five presidents over a century failed to create universal health insurance, signed the Affordable Care Act (2010). This became the first time in US history the government could tax us for not buying something, which is not a good sign since now the government can tax you on anything you choose to not purchase. This legislation also drove up health care costs for everybody, increased deductibles and co-pays.

3. Ended the trade embargo against Iran, which put Iranian oil back on the market and helped drive down the cost of oil and gasoline.

4. Signed $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 to spur economic growth amid greatest recession since the Great Depression. Weeks after stimulus went into effect, unemployment claims began to subside. Twelve months later, the private sector began producing more jobs than it was losing, and it has continued to do so for seven years, creating 12 million new private-sector jobs. However, it should be pointed out that on a per month basis this growth was worst than that which occurred under President Jimmy Carter. On the other hand, monthly job growth of all of the presidents since Carter have been worst than what happened under Jimmy.

Worst Action?

Along with Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, President Obama continuously groveled at the feet of Wall Street and other big corporate executives, which is why he mightily tried to secretly ram through the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Obama promised an open and honest administration, but he was extremely secretive about the TPP, most likely because it would’ve exported millions of US jobs and redistributed trillions of dollars from working folks to Wall Street and other corporate executives and rich shareholders.

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Exxon Mobil's Record Profits

President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson to be the next US secretary of state. Tillerson worked his way up the ranks to become CEO, and that’s impressive by any standard. However, Rex will leave Exxon worse off than when he found it. The big worry about Tillerson is that he may put Exxon profits above the interests of the vast majority of the citizens of the United States.

Big oil has long conspired to keep gasoline prices higher than they would otherwise be in the face of actual competition. However, oil prices have plunged during the last few years because of Iran’s return to the oil markets.

According to Bloomberg, “When Tillerson took over, Exxon had $28.7 billion in cash and was pumping almost 4.3 million barrels of crude daily. Today, Exxon’s output is down to 4 million barrels a day, and its cash reserves have declined 85 percent, to $4.3 billion, eroded by soaring project costs and collapsing energy prices. “The world has changed dramatically since Rex Tillerson took over,” says Brian Youngberg, an analyst at Edward Jones, a brokerage and advisory firm. “’The fact that he’s leaving his successor a company that produces less than it did 10 years ago says a lot.’”

Tillerson big decisions that turned out to be busts. Tillerson negotiated the $35 billion acquisition of XTO Energy, a Texas shale gas driller. By 2012 natural gas prices had crashed and have remained historically cheap. In 2011, Tillerson entered a joint venture to drill in the Russian Arctic alongside Kremlin-controlled Rosneft. The deal soured after Vladimir Putin’s Ukrainian intervention triggered international sanctions against Russia, forcing Exxon to abandon the project and the $1 billion it had already spent.

Still, compared with rival oil companies, Exxon has managed the downturn in oil prices fairly well, avoiding mass layoffs and maintaining its AAA credit rating. So Tillerson has not been a complete bust as CEO.

As Secretary of State Tillerson has met world leaders. He’s supposedly cozy with Vladimir Putin. So he’s not devoid of experience among world leaders. In other words, Tillerson is not the equivalent of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, a person with zero experience in public education, and a person who is likely completely unfit for the job.

Check out Bloomberg’s story below.

the-next-ceo-of-exxon-will-inherit-a-diminished-giant–Bloomberg News

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Merry Christmas!


The above is more true today for me than ever, and probably will be more true next year, and every year after. Merry Christmas to all. Happy New Years, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy holidays and good cheer to all.

Things to live by:

1. People are more important than things.
2. Life is more important than cheap plastic electronics made in China, and other things.
3. Argentine tango improves your social life more than television and video games.
4. Argentine tango improves your mind more than television or video games.
5. Never sweat the small things in life.

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Abolishing the Affordable Care Act will provide tax breaks for the rich. According to the LA Times, “the Affordable Care Act’s tax provisions, and the discovery that repeal would provide the wealthiest taxpayers with an immediate tax cut totaling $346 billion over 10 years. Every cent of that would go to taxpayers earning more than $200,000 a year ($250,000 for couples). As Nicholas Bagley of the University of Michigan observed a few days after the election, the imperative of handing their wealthy patrons a gift of this magnitude may well outweigh their solicitude for the mostly middle- and low-income constituents whose individual insurance plans would be at risk from repeal.”

All of the income gains of the last 35 years have gone to the 1 percent, and this has been achieved by government legislation and international trade scams that export jobs overseas, and the difference between the old higher US wages and the new lower overseas wages has always gone straight into the pockets of the 1 percent. Income from performing labor is taxed at a higher rate than just sitting on your ass doing nothing, and this has come about due to tax legislation.

See the link below for the whole story.

The Real Reason Republicans Want to Abolish the Affordable Care Act–LA Times

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The results of the Wisconsin presidential election recount came in last week. Trump gained 126 votes. That suggests Russian hacking didn’t play any role in the outcome of the election. Clinton lost because she was a candidate of Wall Street.

True, Wikileaks may have gotten information from the Russians after they hacked Clinton’s unsecured private email server when she was US Secretary of State, and which included the transmission of top secret documents. True Wikileaks leaked damaging information about Clinton, but Clinton did the damage by using a private rather than the secured government server. In other words, Clinton’s political wounds were self-inflicted.

In addition, a new poll shows that 67 percent of Democrats don’t want Clinton to run again. They’ve had enough of the Wall Street crowd.


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Betsy De Vos knows nothing about public education but she did drop $9.5 million dollars into Trumps presidential campaign.

Betsy was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, as well as a golden pair of shoes. De Vos was born Elisabeth Prince on January 8, 1958. She grew up in Holland, Michigan, the daughter of Elsa (Zwiep) Prince (later, Broekhuizen) and Edgar Prince, an industrialist of Dutch ancestry. Edgar was the founder of Prince Corporation, an automobile parts supplier based in Holland, Michigan, which at one time employed almost one-quarter of the town’s population. Betsy later married into the De Vos family. Her father-in-law was the founder of Amway.

De Vos is from Michigan where 80 percent of charter schools score below the state average. In other words, charter schools of Michigan operate at a lower level of quality than the public schools do.

DeVos actively fought against a state rule that would have forced higher standards on Michigan’s charter schools. So we know De Vos is a champion of educational mediocrity.

Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press writes,

“In Detroit, parents of school-age children have plenty of choices, thanks to the nation’s largest urban network of charter schools.

What remains in short supply is quality.

In Brightmoor, the only high school left is Detroit Community Schools, a charter boasting more than a decade of abysmal test scores and, until recently, a superintendent who earned $130,000 a year despite a dearth of educational experience or credentials.

On the west side, another charter school, Hope Academy, has been serving the community around Grand River and Livernois for 20 years. Its test scores have been among the lowest in the state throughout those two decades; in 2013 the school ranked in the first percentile, the absolute bottom for academic performance. Two years later, its charter was renewed.”

Henderson goes on and on about the mediocrity of Michigan’s charter schools. You can read the story here.

Betsy De Vos clearly represents a choice between profit or quality. The lower the quality of Michigan’s charter schools, the higher the profits. So we know where Trump stands of educational policy by his choice of De Vos.

If you wanted to be a member of Trump’s cabinet, those with experience and talent in their positions need not have applied.

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