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Archive for June, 2018

In the video above, was comedian George Carlin right about the US being a cesspool of political corruption? You better bet he was. Your vote is meaningless, and an academic study shows how true this is.

It is pretty obvious, isn’t it? We didn’t need an academic study to tell us the rich are using the government to financially bleed the rest of us dry. They’ve used the government to redistribute trillions upon trillions of dollars from the 99 to themselves over the last forty years.

Our democracy has been hijacked. Both major political parties have been hijacked. The United States Supreme Court has been hijacked, bought off really. Click here for more on this issue.

This is a no-brainer. The United States has one of the most corrupt governments in the world, aided and abetted by one of the most corrupt corporate news systems in the world if you can call it news. (Click here for how the media lies to us.) The billionaires use their corporate news media to manufacture public opinion in favor of whatever they want, regardless of how it might hurt average citizens (See Trans-Pacific Partnership below). If they can’t manufacture consent, most of the time they still get what they want, with rare exceptions.

Despite the obvious, academic research was conducted on this issue by political scientists Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin Page of Northwestern. The study has received lots of attention because the authors conclude that the US is a corrupt oligarchy where ordinary voters barely matter. Or as they put it, “economic elites and organized interest groups play a substantial part in affecting public policy, but the general public has little or no independent influence.”

The authors discovered that politicians, such as Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, will be happy to fight in the halls of the US Congress for legislation that is desired by citizens of average means, but they “only get what they want if economic elites or interest groups also want it.”

You can see in the graph below that as the percent of average citizen’s who want something from government rises from 0 to 100 percent the odds of them getting it remains tiny.

On the other hand, the graph below shows that as the economic elites and organized interest groups that control both major political parties form ranks behind legislation they want, politicians happily respond to them.  Nobody knows this better than Wall Street’s Senators Wyden, Mitch McConnell, the entire Republican Party, and the majority of the Democratic Party politicians.

Sometimes, to avoid raising the political awareness of the masses, the oligarchs who control the US and many state and local governments will decide not to do something the rich want, such as when then President Obama decided he did not have the votes in the US house and senate to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive trade treaty that would have redistributed trillions of dollars a year from the 99 to the 1 percent. Public resistance was too significant, but that was a rare defeat for the economic elite.

Why is income and wealth inequality so unequal? Political corruption is the answer. Why is this so? It is the golden rule in action: He who has the gold makes the rules. The US is not democracy except in illusion only. Instead, it is an oligarchy of the rich.

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Racism is something the billionaires have us talking about rather than such mundane things as income, wealth and political inequality, as well as the disintegrating middle class. It’s easy for us to look at videos on Youtube of ordinary people being racist or to keep our eyes on things like cultural appropriation. Those things can hit us emotionally like a cruise missile, but keeping our eyes on those things is precisely what the billionaires and their political elite employees want us to do.

The last things the billionaires want us discussing among ourselves are bread and butter issues, like ever-growing income and wealth inequality and the obvious political corruption of both major political parties, as well as the corporate corruption of all three branches of the US government.

For the billionaires, it is as if the people who divert our attention from income, wealth and political inequality and toward issues like racism and cultural appropriation are on the payroll of the billionaires. It certainly makes me wonder. They have billions of dollars and can certainly pay people to post about racism and fire up people on Internet social networks.

It is easy to see the billionaire-owned corporate media focuses our attention on issues like racism, cultural appropriation and immigration and almost nothing on real issues such as income, political and wealth inequality. However, I am amazed so many people fall for this ruse, but they do.

Below is what the billionaires are protecting:

Currently, the 1 percent own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent of Americans, and six men possess more wealth than the bottom half of humanity on Earth. Worldwide, the 1 percent stole 82 percent of all new wealth produced in 2017. Those numbers are historical records and are still growing at the expense of the rest of us.  (Click here and click here for additional information on those statistics and sources).

Our record-breaking wealth inequality is fueled by record-breaking income inequality. Today, the 1 percent steal anywhere from 24 to 38 percent of all income produced in the USA, depending on which study you choose to use. This is up from 8 percent in 1980, and it is still growing at the expense of the rest of us.

But, hey, let’s talk about racism, and, we need to talk about transgender bathrooms, wars against Christmas, the war against women, Obama’s continuous war against guns and bullets, and don’t forget we desperately need to talk about the war against dirty diapers! And no! I am not on the payroll of the billionaires! Yet, I would be surprised if others were not.

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The people of the United States lead the world in many categories, most of them, however, are not things to brag about. This is where the corruption of both major political parties, all three branches of the US government (that includes the corporate wing of the US Supreme Court) by the rich and their corporate dollars has brought us to during the last forty years.

All three branches of the government and both major political parties have fought tooth and nail to redistribute income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent during the last four decades. The corporate news media has been complicit in this rape and plunder of their fellow citizens by the 1 percent.

Studies show that the top 1 percent of the US now own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. The top 1 percent stole only 8 percent of all income produced in the USA in 1980, while studies show they are now robbing the rest of us blind by stealing anywhere from 23 to 37+ percent of the total income created in the United States. The shares of wealth and income of the 1 percent are still growing and at the expense of the rest of us.

Below are some of the findings from the United Nations study.

By most indicators, the US is one of the world’s wealthiest countries. It spends more on national defense than China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the United Kingdom, India, France and Japan combined.
US healthcare expenditures per capita are double the OECD average and much higher than in all other countries. But there are many fewer doctors and hospital beds per person than the OECD average. (OECD = Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which includes 37 nations)

  • US infant mortality rates in 2013 were the highest in the developed world.
  • Americans can expect to live shorter and sicker lives, compared to people living in any other rich democracy, and the “health gap” between the US and its peer countries continues to grow.
  • US inequality levels are far higher than those in most European countries
  • Neglected tropical diseases, including Zika, are increasingly common in the USA. It has been estimated that 12 million Americans live with a neglected parasitic infection. A 2017 report documents the prevalence of hookworm in Lowndes County, Alabama.
  • The US has the highest prevalence of obesity in the developed world.
  • In terms of access to water and sanitation, the US ranks 36th in the world.
  • America has the highest incarceration rate in the world, ahead of Turkmenistan, El Salvador, Cuba, Thailand and the Russian Federation. Its rate is nearly five times the OECD average.
  • The youth poverty rate in the United States is the highest across the OECD with one-quarter of youth living in poverty compared to less than 14% across the OECD.
  • The Stanford Center on Inequality and Poverty ranks the most well-off countries in terms of labor markets, poverty, safety net, wealth inequality, and economic mobility. The US comes in last of the top 10 most well-off countries and 18th amongst the top 21.
  • In the OECD, the US ranks 35th out of 37 in terms of poverty and inequality.
  • According to the World Income Inequality Database, the US has the highest Gini rate (measuring inequality) of all Western Countries
  • The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality characterizes the US as “a clear and constant outlier in the child poverty league”.
  • US child poverty rates are the highest amongst the six richest countries – Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden and Norway.

Free trade policies that have made it easy for the billionaires and their corporations to export tens of millions of United States jobs to third world nations and the pocket the difference between the old high US wages and benefits and the super low third world wages with no benefits have caused much of the US crisis outlined in the UN Report. These same trade scams also pave the legal road for US corporations to create tens of millions of jobs overseas rather than here at home with the same result of increasing income and wealth inequality. There are other culprits in the current state of US political corruption; deregulation, monopolies, lawlessness on Wall Street, a US Department of Justice unwilling to take on Wall Street corruption, unfettered campaign contributions leading to the political corruption of both major political parties, a Supreme Court corrupted by the influence of the billionaires, such as the Koch Brothers.

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