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Archive for the ‘Occupy’ Category

After spending an entire year protesting peacefully in front of the U.S. Embassy, maintaining an occupation day and night, four members of ASOTRECOL, the association of workers and ex-workers injured at the General Motors assembly plant in Bogota, Colombia sewed their mouths shut Wednesday August 1st, 2012, beginning a hunger strike that they are determined to continue until General Motors resolves their situation or they die.

These workers were fired for occupational injuries that they developed from the General Motors assembly line- from doing repetitive movements, lifting excessive weights, being put into harmful body positions and being pressured to maintain an accelerated work pace. General Motors Colombia operates in a way that exacerbates these injuries and abuses- obligating workers to work extra hours, hiring workers for short contracts, detecting which workers are injured inside the company medical facility, dismissing workers shortly after their injuries are detected, inventing the reason for the dismissal, intimidating workers into signing their dismissal papers, using falsified papers and bribed officials, and controlling the media through its advertising dollars.

General Motors received a bailout in 2008 and a significant percentage of the company is still owned by the U.S. people (around 26%). The tax dollars of workers here have been used to help a company abuse workers.

Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden voted for the Colombia Free Trade Treaty last year fully knowing what’s going on in Colombia, which is not only about the protest in front of the US embassy, but also the continuous murder of labor union leaders. Almost three thousand have been butchered in Colombia since 1986. Nobody has been been charged with a crime in these murders. That means the Colombian government is behind the butchery, and on behalf of US corporations. Wall Street’s president Barack Obama signed the illegal treaty into law late in 2011 knowing all of this. So did Wall Street Ron Wyden.

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Tax cuts for the rich are destroying the American middle class. When the rich receive their tax cuts, CEO’s find ways to attract that cash to their stocks by increasing their profits. Rising profits normally mean increasing dividends and share prices. Investors are inclined to sink their newly available tax money into investments with higher rates of return.

That’s why CEO’s race to ship jobs overseas, create jobs overseas and place downward pressure on the compensation of their US employees. The difference between the old wages and the new is redistributed into the pockets of the already affluent via higher dividends and share prices.

This allows the 1 percent to purchase more legislation that redistributes even more income from the 99 to the 1 percent, such as free trade treaties and deregulation. Free trade treaties result in more and more jobs being shipped oversea, or created over there rather than here. The difference between the old and new wages goes into the pockets of the rich.

The demand for goods and services has declined in the US because less people have money to buy stuff, unless they’re using their homes as ATMs during a housing bubble. Once that bubble burst, the demand sector was squashed, meaning less jobs can be created, and there’s still downward pressure on middle class wages and salaries.

The process means the destruction of local bases, layoffs of teachers, fire fighters, police and other government employees. The economy begins to collapse in slow motion over a period of several years. Only the New Deal and the Great Society programs hole the economy up.

That’s why, “In 1979 the middle three household income quintiles in the United States—that is, the population between the 21st and 80th percentiles on the income scale— earned 50 percent of all national income. But by 2007 the income share of those in the middle shrank to just 43 percent. Between 1979 and 2007 the Gini coefficient including capital gains, in the United States, climbed from 48 to 59, ranking the United States in the top quarter of the most unequal countries in the world.”

Tax cuts for the rich are also why the 1 percent received 93 percent of total US income growth from 2009 to 2011.

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The Shrinking Middle Class–From The Center for American Progress

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The Federal Reserve just released its Survey of Consumer Finances, the only government survey of wealth in America. The Survey is conducted every three years. This survey, conducted in 2010, is the first one to reflect the effects of the Wall Street Meltdown in 2008.

How does it look? Bad. Really, really bad.

The median wealth of American families (meaning half above and half below) dropped from $126,400 in 2007 all the way down to $77,300 in 2010. That’s a 39% slide. It puts the median net worth of American families at its lowest level since 1995, fifteen years earlier.

About 12% of American families have a negative net worth. Meaning that they’re broke.

Among Americans with no high school diploma (15 percent of the adult population), median wealth plunged from $34,800 in 2007 to $16,100 in 2010, a 54% drop. That is the lowest level since at least the Fed’s 1983 survey, maybe earlier. So three decades of progress have been wiped out.

Among minorities, median wealth plunged from $29,700 to $20,400. That is the lowest level since 1992. White median wealth is now 540% higher than minority median wealth.

The median value of American homes dove from $209,500 in 2007 to $170,000 in 2010. But the median mortgage was almost completely unchanged: $74,700 in 2007, $74,100 in 2010. So debt payments increased from 7% of income to 11% of income.

In 2007, the bottom 25% had a net worth of $14,800 or less. In 2010, the bottom 25% had a net worth of $8,300 or less, a 44% decline.

In 2007, the top 10% had a net worth of $955,600 or more. In 2010, the top 10% had a net worth of $952,500, a decline of less than 1%.

Let me sum it up for you: In the greatest economic crisis that the United States has faced since the Great Depression, the rich barely lost a nickel. But the poor definitely got poorer. And people in the middle were crushed.

If this continues any longer, then we can invite a priest to administer last rites to the American Middle Class.

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Ben Cohen is the co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. He’s also a financial backer of the Occupy movement. Cohen says he is helping to launch “a campaign this summer to highlight the influence of corporate money in American politics.”

“Cohen and the Move to Amend advocacy group will distribute rubber stamps with anti-corporate election spending messages so that the politically minded can mark their dollar bills. The end goal: To secure a constitutional amendment saying corporations do not enjoy the same protected rights as individuals and that money is not a form of speech.”

Click the link below for the complete story.

Ben Cohen; Attack of the Ice Cream Master!

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What will you achieve if you take out student loans, go to college, improve your skills and get ahead of your competition? For the first time in US history, you’ll most likely get a ton of student loan debt and join your competition in a place on a very long unemployment line. But the affluent will become richer, thanks to your debt. By the way, that’s something neither Republicans nor Democrats want you to know. Student loan debt is a scam to make you indentured servants for a very long time.

This is the new normal. Go to college, get heavily into debt, and become unemployed or underemployed. Blame free trade treaties. Those treaties are intended to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent. Ship the jobs overseas, or negotiate a treaty that makes it easier to create jobs in lower wage countries. Pretty soon the jobs here dry up, and so does the tax base, resulting in government layoffs, such as police and teachers. Jobs gone. Just like that. But the difference between the old wages here and the new wages over there fly into the already fat wallets of the super rich, who then buy more politicians, such as Senator Ron Wyden, who then vote yes on more income redistribution treaties. That’s the whole game.

By the way, for every 68 or so blue collar jobs shipped away, or created overseas, another 32 jobs go overseas with them, and these are mostly white collar jobs that require a college degree. These include management, accountants, lawyers, bookkeepers, computer programmers, etc… Every one of these jobs shipped overseas has meant the loss of three other jobs in various local industries, many of which require college degrees.

This is why there are so many college educated people in the unemployment line.

Most unemployed Americans Attended at Least Some College

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By now, everybody with the exception of dumb downed Fox News Viewers knows the truth of the headline of this story. But there is something that is probably less well known. Here it is; all of the corporate news media do the same thing, only the difference between them and Fox News is a matter of degree and not of kind. That’s why we need to go to the Internet, to truthout.org, to the Guardian of England, to Al Jezeera, to the BBC, to find the real news.

In 1904, the brilliant economist Thorstein Veblen wrote in Theory of Business Enterprise, “The first duty of an editor is to edit and omit all news stories with a view to what the news ought to be.” The corporate news media, including the New York Times, continues to follow this rule. Veblen also wrote, The second duty of an editor is to not offend advertisers.

Wall Street, Goldman Sachs, Nike, Microsoft, Apple and hundreds of other corporations rely heavily on redistributing income from the 99 percent to the one percent via free trade treaties. The difference between the old wages here and the new lesser wages over there are redistributed to the one percent via higher corporate profits, rising dividends and increased share prices. The losers of those jobs may get unemployment insurance if they are lucky.

So don’t expect any stories from any corporate media outlets about how free trade treaties have redistributed income, and wiped out much of the tax base that supports our schools and local government services. The same is true of deregulation and other methods of redistributing income and wealth from the 99 to the one percent. And you certainly won’t find any stories about how thirty plus years of tax cuts for the one percent have brought about all of the above, but also corrupted our government and courts, especially the corrupt corporate wing of the US supreme court.

Click here for the story about Fox News and the Dumbing Down of Its Audience

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The corrupt corporate wing of the supreme court ruled that coporations were people and that they could raise bazillions of dollars to bribe politicians without disclosing who their contributors were. The founding fathers would’ve been aghast at these easily bribed justices, bribed either with money, or access to economic royality, or other reasons. However, now a lower court has ruled that the names of the money donors must be revealed. Notice that the corporate media has for the most part refused to report this story. See the link below.

By the way, we know that corporations and financial markets are owned by the one percent and are the principal conduits through which wealth and income are redistributed from the 99 percent to the one percent. Legislation has created these conduits. And the corrupt, corporate wing of the Corporate Supreme Court has been sold to the highest bidder, as described above. The court is a major tool of the rich in their war against the middle class.

Appellate Court Rules

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Let’s get something straight. President Obama is a tool of Wall Street in its war against the middle class. He is their class warrior. The Obama team is negotiating to ship more jobs overseas, gut US laws and do a lot of other nasty stuff to the middle class. Check out the video below from Occupy Dallas.

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President Obama has said that he supports same sex marriage. It was a simple, calculated political move. The Democratic base had nothing to rejoice about Obama. He’d given the rich everything they could have wanted during his presidency, most of which his working class base had been against.

He needed to find something he could support, something that would fire up his theoretical base, but not arouse his real base, and so same sex marriage became the way to go. That’s because Obama’s real base is the one percent, and in particular it is Wall Street. The theoretical base is the votes, the real base is the money. Obama was worried about getting enough people to vote for him.

A better issue for Obama would’ve been supporting rising taxes on the rich, since low taxes on them destroy jobs and buy politicians. That’s how the one percent has stolen 93 percent of total US income growth since 2009. But Obama wouldn’t want us to know that, nor does he want to change the status quo. So like any good corporate owned candidate, and especially like Republicans, Obama chose a social issue in which to rally the theoretical base, all while ensuring the one percent picked the pockets of the 99 percent by using government legislation. This way he’ll continue to get the money, as well as the votes.

The presidential election of 2012 is rigged to ensure that a Wall Street candidate gets the office; our choice will be simple; Wall Street Obama or Wall Street Mitt. It’s time to take to the streets: Occupy!

Obama talks gay marriage, but not the financial rape of the 99 percent by the one percent

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Occupy Protesters in Chicago Understand the Reality of Modern Day Political Reality

Police in Chicago have spent $1m on riot-control equipment in the last few months ahead of next month’s Nato summit, which is expected to attract thousands of anti-war protesters.

Protesters from a coalition of organisations including unions, anti-war and Occupy groups are expected to descend on the city. National Nurses United, the largest nurses’ union in the US, is providing free buses to Chicago for activists from across the country even as its own plans to demonstrate were vetoed by the city of Chicago on Tuesday.

Click here for the complete story

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