Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for March, 2018


There is a lot of talk out of Republican Party circles about the left and its plots to take away our freedoms, such as our guns. However, this is a lie. The left has been dead for decades. There are no popular parties of communists and socialists. Sure, there are a few remaining members of these old parties, but they are hardly a threat to the status quo. Most of them may be FBI informants anyway.

Nowadays, the left is the old political right on bread and butter issues, the environment, and much more. Remember President Richard Nixon? Over forty years ago he was a hard-line conservative who hated communism but made peace with China, ended the war in Vietnam by withdrawing all US troops, signed legislation creating the Environmental Protection Agency, and offered a public option on national health care which was rejected by the Democrats. Nowadays Nixon would be considered politically far to the left. He would be a big letter “COMMUNIST!”

So when we hear talk about the left from say, Fox News, especially on economics and politics, those folks really mean the 99 percent. That’s right! They mean us! In poll after poll the 99 percent want a $15 minimum wage, higher taxes on the rich, an end to free trade agreements that are designed to export millions of US jobs but which benefits the 1 percent almost exclusively, Medicare for all, greater worker and environmental protections, legislation that will strengthen labor unions, and a lot more stuff that would be in interest of the 99 percent, but which would not necessarily be in the interests of the billionaires who control your government, both major political parties, and all of the major news media that keep you blinded to the things the billionaires don’t want you to know about.

So when you hear somebody on television talking about how the left is out to steal your freedoms, like a powerful gang of communists, that really is not true. These groups don’t exist in any serious way. That somebody on television is really out to steal your freedoms by distracting you from the real economic bread and butter issues by focusing your attention on the social issues. That person on the news is a paid employee of the billionaires on the political right. That person has little credibility.

By today’s political right standards, even old arch-conservative Richard Nixon would be a hard-line communist. Nixon was, of course, also a crook who resigned under the very real threat of impeachment. Nowadays, the political servants of the 1 percent can commit all sorts of crimes and get away with it, like torture, waging wars against humanity, and on and on.

Oh my! How things have changed.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

The golden rule is at work; he who has the gold makes the rules that determine income and wealth distribution. That is why income inequality has grown so enormous worldwide. The rich are getting wealthier while the rest of us toil in financial purgatory, even the European and US middle class.

The golden rule is also why the global economy created a record number of billionaires last year, exacerbating inequality amid a weakening of workers’ rights and a corporate push to maximize shareholder returns, charity organization Oxfam International said in a new report.

The folks at Oxfam define severe poverty as those people living on $1.25 or less a day. and according to Oxfam estimates, about 1/3 of the world’s population lives at or below that level.

The world’s 2043 billionaires saw their wealth surge by $762 billion, which is enough money to end extreme poverty seven times over, according to Oxfam.

According to separate data compiled by Bloomberg, the top 500 billionaires’ net worth (wealth) grew 24% to $5.38 trillion in 2017, while the world’s richest person, Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos, saw a gain of $33.7 billion.

“The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system,” said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International. “The people who make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food are being exploited.” Those people are also the folks without the gold with which to purchase political power in the so-called democracies of the world.

Oxfam had published the report as global leaders, chief executives and bankers arrived in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting. This is an event in which the rich of the world share plans of how to rip the rest of us off. A spokesperson for Oxfam, however, noted “that many of the world’s elite say they’re concerned about income inequality, but most governments are “shamefully failing” to improve the matter. That’s because the politicians managing the affairs of those governments are being paid to do nothing to rectify growing poverty throughout the world, and they are being paid to ensure the billionaires gain more and more of the world’s income and wealth. This is called corruption.

Oxfam called on governments to limit shareholder and executive returns while ensuring workers receive a living wage. It also recommended eliminating the gender pay gap and raising taxes on the wealthy, among other suggestions.”

“People are ready for change,” Byanyima said. “They want a limit on the power and the wealth which sits in the hands of so few.” In addition, p0eople want to limit the effects of the golden rule which allows the rich to control the distribution of income and wealth and send into their bank accounts the vast majority of income and wealth created.

Read Full Post »

The idea that public school teachers need to go on strike in order to get livable wages and benefits is spreading, much to the dread of the billionaires who control both major political parties.

Early in March 2018, striking West Virginia teachers declared victory with a 5 percent raise and returned to their classrooms. Their organizing and their 13-day strike not only forced the legislature to raise their rock-bottom pay; it backed off corporate-linked education “reformers” on a host of other issues: charter schools, an anti-seniority bill, and preventing payroll deduction of union dues, and the rich who control the corporations that would benefit from these things are not happy state money went to impoverished public school teachers.

Emboldened by the success of the teachers of West Virginia, teachers in Oklahoma, Arizona, and Kentucky are now striking, sicking out, rallying, and Facebooking to push officials to raise their salaries and defend their benefits.

Teachers in Oklahoma are set to strike on April 2 if the legislature doesn’t grant a $10,000 raise for teachers and a $5,000 raise for school support staff. It’s been a decade since Oklahoma teachers got their last raise. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pay for educators there ranks last in the country, with high school teachers averaging $42,460.

Like the case in West Virginia, Oklahoma teachers are emboldened by a shortage of qualified educators. “Teachers are fleeing the state,” said Molly Jaynes, a third-grade teacher in Oklahoma City. “You can go to Arkansas and make $15,000 more; you can go to Texas and make $20,000 more”—as did Oklahoma’s 2016 Teacher of the Year. The state issues hundreds of emergency certifications every year to anyone with a bachelor’s degree. (It should be pointed out there is a teacher shortage throughout the United States)

Arizona teachers signed up in droves for a new Facebook group, “Arizona Educators United.” Thirty thousand joined in its first 10 days. Teachers there are building a grassroots “Red for Ed” movement, spreading photos of themselves wearing red T-shirts to school every Wednesday and assembling en masse at legislative hearings at the Capitol.

The latest state to join the strike talk is Kentucky, where the fight is about pensions and funding cuts to schools. Having systematically underfunded pensions for over a decade, the legislature is now pushing to cut cost-of-living adjustments for teachers and other employees. Like teachers in 14 other states, Kentucky teachers do not collect Social Security, so they rely entirely on the state pension system.

These four states; Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona, and West Virginia are dominated by the Republican Party, which is controlled by billionaires. Strong labor unions can often help defeat the billionaires in state and local elections. Keeping the memberships in poverty and financially starving public education has been a political strategy, effectively waging war against children, the poor and the middle class.

On the other hands, the billionaires of the Democratic and Republican parties have to a large degree gutted the tax base of the United States by voting to export tens of millions of US jobs over the last twenty-five years in order to redistribute the massive difference between the old higher wages and benefits of tens of millions of US workers and the new poverty third world wages of the exported jobs.

Democrat politicians such as Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Ron Wyden and Earl Blumenauer have joined hands with Republicans such as George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Orrin Hatch, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and John Boehner to export those jobs, and creating the highest income and wealth inequality in US history.

On the state and local levels, the rich control contracting corporations that feed on useless public projects and services. Giving the teachers raises and higher benefits means that some public money will need to be diverted from those tax guzzling projects to the teachers, which may negatively impact the share prices of corporations.

Read Full Post »

Did President Donald Trump get bamboozled by his own Republican Party? Or is he simply a liar and or stupid? One thing is certain. As a so-called billionaire, President Trump received a nice tax cut at my expense as of January 1, 2018.

The Trump tax cuts went into effect on January 1, 2018 and my federal taxes went up. I’m just a middle-class kind of guy with a respectable middle of the road five-figure income.

The federal government took nearly 13 percent of my middle-class income out of every paycheck in 2017. So far in 2018, the federal government, thanks to those lying political miscreants Donald Trump and his Republican Party henchmen, are stealing nearly 18 percent from every one of my paychecks. Now, I am paying 28 percent more in federal taxes while rich folks and their corporations are paying less.

I am earning exactly the same amount of money per week in 2018 as I earned in 2017. So, no, I did not move up to a higher bracket.

That makes it official; I am paying more so the rich and their income generating machines called corporations can pay less. And I’m guessing there are millions of folks like me seeing increases in their federal taxes so that the rich folks can pay less.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind paying my fair share of taxes. However, I do not like being sold something with a pack of lies in order to give corporations enjoying record profits quarter after quarter cuts in their taxes and to give billionaires and millionaires tax cuts they don’t need. That is precisely what the Republican Party has engineered with bald-faced lies, as usual.

Let’s face reality head-on. Just about every publicly traded limited liability corporation is a tool of rich folks, giving them the power to earn and steal money from the rest of us, as well as enabling them to corrupt our political and judicial institutions, which has allowed them to screw the rest of us over. That’s something the rich have been doing since 1980. (To see how they have corrupted the US Supreme Court, please hit https://johnhively.wordpress.com/2018/02/25/the-editorial-the-rich-dont-want-you-to-read-corruption-of-the-united-states-supreme-court-what-the-rich-and-their-corporate-so-called-news-media-dont-want-you-to-know/)

The rich, corporations, the Republican Party, and President Donald Trump have redistributed my income into the pockets of the superwealthy. No doubt millions of middle-class Americans are paying more so the rich can pay less. I want to hear about. Please take the poll below.

Read Full Post »

In exercising control of the political processes in the United States, and thereby determining the distribution of income and wealth, one of the foremost strategies the rich use to suppress US democracy is to divert the attention of the 99 percent from looking after their own economic interests by raising social concerns.

Republican Party leaders, such as the Bush family, Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and Orrin Hatch are awesome at this. So instead of Republican grassroots voters thinking how grotesque and anti-Jesus income and wealth inequality have become in the USA, they are led to think about war against Christmas, the Muslim peril, terrorism, President Obama is going to take your guns, the war against white males, transgender bathrooms, abortion, undocumented immigrants and much more.

Democratic Party leaders, such as the Clintons’, Nansi Pelosi, Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden and others, are also awesome at creating social issues that are shamelessly self-serving at diverting our attention away from their helping the rich redistribute our income into their pockets via trade treaties and other legislation. Think about the war against women, keeping abortion legal, transgender bathrooms, racism, undocumented immigration, and much more.

The corporate news media is also quick to divert our attention away from the income and wealth inequality since they also serve the interests of the rich, being linked by the need for advertising dollars to keep their profits and share prices rolling upward.

Diverting us is determined by a “collectively manufactured elite (meaning parasites) consensus,” according to Branko Milanovic in his book Global Inequality. Given the enormous amount of private money that is used in politics and media, one cannot but think that this is one of the aims of these investments.

A perfect example of this is being played out in the media as you read this. Pornstar Stormy Daniels is suing President Donald Trump over an adulterous affair he allegedly had with her at the same time President Trump is pushing for more deregulation of Wall Street. Most media attention is one the Daniels issue because the corporate media does not want you to know the president, the entire Republican Party, and sixteen Democratic senators support the president’s proposal.

The last time there was deregulation of Wall Street we came face-to-face with the Great Recession. The next recession should be even worse, even without the deregulation.

And so it goes again, around and around. Democratic grassroots are gloating over the Daniels issue, while Republican grassroots are rushing to his defense, all the while oblivious to the fact that legislation is about to be passed making it easier for Wall Street to rip the 99 percent off even more than it is already.

Read Full Post »

Infamous Drug Cartels

USA Today reported in its February 13, 2018, edition that “The five biggest opioid manufacturers shelled out more than $10 million to patient advocacy groups, professional medical societies and affiliated individuals – who then “echoed and amplified” messages that encouraged use of those highly addictive drugs, which set the stage for the opioid epidemic.

That is according to a Senate committee investigation, released Monday, that examined the financial ties between the pharmaceutical industry and outside groups from 2012 through 2017.”

The five corporations investigated by the committed were Purdue Pharma, Jassen Pharmaceuticals, Mylan, Depomed and Insys Therapeutics. In terms of global sales in 2015, these are the world’s biggest opioid drug makers.

These corporations gave their millions to such recipients as U.S. Pain Foundation, the National Pain Foundation and the Academy fo Integrative Pain Management. The report finds that the American Academy of Pain Medicine and American Pain Society “…promoted opioids as safe and effective for treating chronic pain and minimized the risk of addiction.” The report also points out that “…the Academy of Pain Medicine and the Center for Practical Bioethics spoke out against federal efforts to limit opioid prescribing.” Apparently, the bioethics of those who receive industry money is on the side of the industry. The industry and all their paid flunkies and flunkie organizations are as corrupt as the representatives of the US government, which is the most corrupt government in the industrialized world.

Note in the very first quote above listed “affiliated individuals” as recipients who received some of that $10 million in cash. Those folks are called medical doctors. Apparently, they are being paid to prescribe opioids to patients.

The day the report was released, bad citizen and opioid manufacturer Purdue announced: “…its employees will no longer visit doctors’ offices to pitch opioids, and it will cut its sales force by half to 200.” We will never know how many pharmaceutical salespeople offered thousands of doctors a little under the table money on behalf of their employers to prescribe opioids with abandon and without common sense to unsuspecting patients, and all for a little extra and perhaps unreported cash.

Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, who launched the investigation, “called Purdue’s announcement “‘a major step forward’ but said the Senate report is ‘the tip of the iceberg’ in terms of how drug company money shapes health care policy debates and legislative outcomes.” In other words, Big Pharma is still calling the shots in the halls of Congress and in the white house, as well as determining what is said in the corporate news media and what politicians of both major political parties say.

The greater the opioid crisis in fueling addiction, the greater are the profits of the big drug manufacturers. Affluent shareholders and millionaire top executive officers would be far less wealthy without the opioid addictions they have created through the use of their money and corruption.

Mylan’s share price rose from $6.26 in 2008 to $42.14 on February 16, 2018. Depomed’s share price rose from $1.49 in 2008 to $7.44 on February 16, 2018. Isays has dropped 400+ percent since 2008. Janssen and Purdue are privately held companies. Without the sale of opioids, these companies would be in far worse financial positions nowadays.

The rich have corrupted your government, disarmed the US Constitution in the process, and created an addiction that redistributes the health of members of the 99 percent straight into their own pockets via greater corporate profits, rising share prices and surging dividends. The affluent and their corporations have fueled the crisis, and not a soul that I am aware of is going to prison for bribery or conspiracy to create a public health crisis.

That is how corrupt your government has become over the last thirty-five years. Corporate profits, share prices, and dividends are more important than human health. Just ask any Republican politician in Washington D.C. and most Democratic Party members, as well.

Read Full Post »