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Archive for January, 2019


My camellia plant warned me about global warming a few decades ago. Forty years ago, Camellia’s flowers began blossoming in April. Around the year 2000, I noticed they were blooming in February. They flowered in early January by 2004. Last year, they bloomed in early December.

The first bud of this season was a tad later than normal during this era of global warming. Pictured above, it began to blossom on January 24th, 2019, which, if historical circumstances are correct, suggests our global warming has slowed a bit from last year when Camellia sent several flowers erupting in full pinkish red in early December. That does not mean or is intended to mean that global warming is stagnant or retreating. Quite the contrary, our Earth continues to get warmer due to human activity, mainly business activity.

Well, folks, it is all about profits. For the billionaires and their politicians, constantly rising corporate earnings are more important than people, even if it jeopardizes the long-term existence of humankind. There is something kind of sick about that. Understand this point; the fight against global warming is heavily linked to the fight against income and wealth inequality. The forces arrayed against each other on these issues are largely the same. More or less, there are about 100 or more billionaires who profit at the expense of everybody else behind the legislative actions that have brought about unprecedented income and wealth inequality, and who, coincidentally, are behind the campaign to deny global warming.

Exxon Mobil knew its products caused global warming by the mid-1970s. The management of the oil giant followed a political/advertising/public relations campaign denying global warming that was modeled on the cigarette corporation’s campaign of denying any link between their product and cancer. Unlike the liars and deniers, Camellia does not lie or deny. She merely blooms when the weather is warm enough, and forty years ago, it was too cold in March for her to send her buds gushing into flowerhood.

Nowadays, here in the Pacific Northwest, the roses and other flowers have begun to bloom in December and January. How much more evidence do we need before we place people ahead of constantly rising profits and share prices for billionaires and multi-millionaires?

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In an interview with Anderson Cooper a few weeks ago, United States Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proposed raising the top marginal tax rate on the rich to 70 percent on earnings of $10 million and above. Cooper suggested this was radical for our time. Ocasio-Cortez replied, “If that’s what radical means, then call me a radical.” 45 percent of Republican voters and 71 percent of Democrats are Ocasio-Cortez radicals on the subject.

Ocasio-Cortez did add an important qualifier to explain how marginal tax rates work, “That doesn’t mean all $10 million are taxed at an extremely high rate, but it means that as you climb up this ladder you should be contributing more.” That explanation is important because some fools on the right who have their strings pulled by the rich have deliberately used language to try to confuse voters, giving them the impression that tax increase proposals like this would affect most Americans, which they do not; think Fox News, the Republican National Committee, the Democratic National Committee, the Koch Brothers, and the entire corporate news networks.

The poll, conducted by The Hill-HarrisX, found that 59 percent of registered voters support a 70 percent tax rate on every dollar a person makes above 10 million annually. The poll found the idea cuts across partisan divides, garnering support from 71 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of independents and 45 percent of Republicans. Along gender lines, 62 percent of women supported the measure, while 55 percent of men agree the top marginal tax rate should be raised to 70 percent.

The proposal would bring the top marginal tax rate back to where it was in the 1970s when income above $200,000 (the equivalent of $1.3 million in today’s money) was taxed at 70 percent. Ronald Reagan then lowered it in the 80s to 50 percent, and later to 28 percent.

Do not expect the Republican and Democratic Party leadership to support such a proposal, even though the federal deficit is running rampant due to the Trump and Republican Party tax cuts for the rich and their corporations. The leaders of both major parties are guided in establishing public policy solely by whatever cash the rich dole out to them. That means these politicians implement public policy with an eye toward enriching their benefactors at the expense of the 99 percent.

Ocasio-Cortez reacted to the news of the poll in a tweet, naturally, by referencing a decades-old meme, saying to Republicans, “All your base (are) belong to us.”

Americans Support Taxing the Rich–Rolling Stone Magazine

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Reuters reports that “Scuffles broke out on Saturday as around 7,000 “yellow vest” demonstrators marched through Paris in a 10th consecutive weekend of protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s government.”

What the corporate news media does not want you to know is that these folks are protesting because their taxes were raised while the taxes on the rich were simultaneously reduced. This is why French President Macron is known as “The Rich Man’s President” in France.

In the United States, we have a rich man’s political party in the Republican Party, and a rich man’s political party in the Democratic Party. We are easily fooled into believing we have choices, when we do not. Working French people are not so easily fooled.

The demonstrations on January 19th were largely peaceful but Reuters Television reporters said they saw clashes break out late in the afternoon between police and demonstrators, some wearing masks, in Paris’ Invalides district.

Protesters threw firecrackers, bottles and stones at the police who responded with water canon and tear gas to push them back. The police in France estimated 27,000 people took part in the protests around the nation, 7,000 of them in Paris. Ten people have died during the protests.

Reuter, like other corporate news media, claim “The “yellow vest” protests – which make use of fluorescent jackets French motorists are required to carry in their cars – began in November over higher fuel taxes.” The corporate news media do not want you to know that almost simultaneously with the rise in the fuel tax, taxes on the rich were decreased. In other words, working people are paying more in taxes to make up the decline in taxes the rich were paying.

Those fuel taxes were subsequently scrapped, yet the movement has morphed into a broader anti-Macron protest.

December’s demonstrations wreaked some of the worst violence seen in decades in Paris, as rioters burned cars and damaged shops and businesses.

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There they go again. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) recently suggested the United States should raise the top marginal tax rate on the rich to over 70 percent. Republicans, naturally, have attacked her as being crazy, although all the evidence points toward higher marginal tax rates on the rich produces a stronger United States economy for all citizens, not just the rich ones.

As you can see from the graph above, the higher the tax rate on the rich, the stronger is GNP growth. The same can be said for jobs and wage growth. It can also be pointed out that when the rich have fewer dollars to spend, they have less spare change to bribe politicians with political contributions.

The only crazy people out there on this issue are Republicans, as usual, performing their jobs as lying lap dogs of the rich. As I have been saying for years, there is not a shred of evidence that suggests, as the Republican Party lap dogs proclaim, that lowering taxes on the rich has created a single job, and you can see that from the graph.

There is a ton of evidence in the form of peer-reviewed studies that show AOC is correct.

Paul Krugman recently wrote, “Republicans almost universally advocate low taxes on the wealthy, based on the claim that tax cuts at the top will have huge beneficial effects on the economy. This claim rests on research by … well, nobody. There isn’t any body of serious work supporting G.O.P. tax ideas, because the evidence is overwhelmingly against those ideas.”

Reducing taxes on the rich have always reduced gross domestic product, wages, and job creation. It also creates income and wealth inequality since the rich have more income to burn at buying both Republican and Democratic Party lap dogs, such as Mitch McConnell and Ron Wyden. These guys have voted time and again to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent.

The Case for a Progressive Tax: From Basic Research to Policy Recommendations-Journal of Economic Perspectives

Why one editor won’t run any more op-eds by the Heritage Foundation’s top economist–Columbia Journalism Review

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Elizabeth Warren announced yesterday that she was forming an exploratory committee to determine whether or not she should make a run for the United States presidency.

Meanwhile, as of last week, former Wall Street Senator Claire McCaskell has been making the rounds on national television shows to voice complaints against newly elected United States Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. She does not mention Ocasio-Cortez by name. Claire simply alludes to her existence, and she is very critical of what that existence stands for. As a Senator, McCaskell’s voting record shows she was clearly controlled by Wall Street money. For example, McCaskell successfully co-authored a bill that rolled back regulations on Wall Street investment firms. Ocasio-Cortez is against relaxing regulations against Wall Street.

This suggests the Democratic Party Leadership, which Wall Street controls, is using McCaskell as a high profile figurehead in its attack against the progressive insurgency within the Democratic Party. Ocasio-Cortez is the most visible member of the progressive wing in the US House of Representatives. Elizabeth Warren is another high profile progressive, and perhaps the most anti-Wall Street of the bunch.

Much like Warren, Cortez campaigned on issues such as the $15 minimum wage, Medicare for All, free college for all, and the rest of the Bernie Sanders platform. McCaskell was against all those things, all of which would cut into corporate and Wall Street profits if enacted.

McCaskell had the audacity to suggest progressive politics was a vote-losing strategy, and this is why the Democratic Party has been losing elections at all levels of government for over a decade. In reality, more and more grassroots Democratic Party voters realize the party leadership is controlled by Wall Street, and the party has abandoned its progressive past, which is represented by such historic legislation and programs as the New Deal, social security, minimum wages, shared prosperity, etc…. This is why Democrats have lower turnouts and have lost so many elections. The party has not represented working people for four decades. McCaskill is a perfect example of this.

While Missouri citizens voted McCaskell and her Wall Street agenda out of office last November, 68 percent of them voted to increase the state’s minimum wage. The initiative was heavily supported by small business owners.

McCaskell may be voicing her own opinions, but it is just as likely that she is being used by Wall Street controlled Democratic Party leadership as a spearhead in their war against the progressive movement within the Democratic Party. This may not only be the beginning of the war against Ocasio-Cortez, but part of a grander strategy leading up to the conclusion of the 2020 presidential election.

Several progressive Democrats are reportedly looking at that election, which a progressive should easily be able to win if that candidate can get through the Democratic party primary. Besides Warren, Vermont’s U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley have also been mentioned as possible candidates.

Wall Street’s opening shots in the war of words, lies, and smears have likely been launched against the progressive movement with McCaskell’s December tour of news shows. The billionaire owned and controlled corporate news media will close ranks behind Wall Street’s point-of-view, which means it will paint progressives as negatively as possible while attempting to create a false impression of impartiality, just like when Bernie Sanders ran for president against Wall Street’s chosen candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

This suggests the battle for the soul of the Democratic Party has begun in earnest and in preparation for the 2020 presidential election. Expect Wall Street’s favorite, Hillary Clinton, or Joe Biden, to be the Wall Street Democratic party presidential candidate choice.

As for Elizabeth Warren; she could and should be the first female president of the United States in 2020.

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