Posts Tagged ‘Franklin Delano Roosevelt’

Bernie Sanders Wall Street

On Tuesday, Bernie Sanders lost the California primary, as well as a few other states. On Thursday, Sanders gave somewhat weak signals that he is ready to support the Democratic Wall Street candidate. Bernie told reporters after meeting with Wall Street President Barack Obama at the White House that he will ally himself with Hillary Clinton in the fight against Donald Trump.

Regardless, Bernie Sanders has built a grassroots movement that can and will only get bigger. There’s a hurricane of a recession coming down the pike, with gale force winds. It’s going to be worse than the last recession because the economic policies the US government has been following for the last thirty-five years, and the last eight, have redistributed income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent, curtailing the demand for goods and services. See The Coming Recession: It’s Going to Be a Big One

Currently, the 1 percent steal 37 percent of all the income produced in the United States, compared to 8 percent in 1980. That means the 99 percent has less money to burn.

The current political and economic situation looks a lot like 1928. Then came the Great Depression storm, and then came President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and the New Deal. In 1976, Gerald Ford defeated Ronald Reagan for the Republican presidential nomination. Four years later, after successfully negotiating with the Iranian government to keep the American embassy hostages until after the election, Reagan ushered in the modern tyranny of the 1 percent with Reaganomics when he became president. See Argo Helps Iran’s Dictatorship Harms Democracy–The Christian Science Monitor.

That era is about to end.

This coming recession means the next president is likely going to be a one term president.

Then it’ll be our turn. Bernie is 74 years old, and highly unlikely to run for president again. That means our political revolution against the 1 percent will sprout fruit most likely in the form of progressive majorities in the US house and senate, as well as the next US president. That could be Elizabeth Warren.

So while Bernie lost the Democratic primary election, he planted and cultivated a people’s movement to reclaim our democracy and take it back from the plutocrats of the 1 percent, such as Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden.

Our time is coming. Don’t give up. This Democratic primary fight was just the first round. Plenty of billionaires want you to give up, especially since we are on the verge of winning.

Think about the late Muhammad Ali. He didn’t give up against the most powerful government in the world when he refused induction into the US military because of his religious beliefs. It took some time, but he won! We will too!

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Is Verizon Communications stealing from its customers? And just what is Verizon anyway?

Verizon is a publicly traded limited liability corporation. As such, it is a business idea given legal structure through the creation of law in a representative democracy. The government that brought this idea to legal fruition was supposed to represent all of the people, not just the rich ones.

A publicly traded corporation is nothing more than an idea to allow investors to unionize without having to produce anything with their labor or their ingenuity, which if you look at some of the writings of original capitalist economic thinkers, like Adam Smith and John Locke, was and should be the cornerstone of all economic activity in the creation of wealth.

The problem is that publicly traded corporations allow for the organizing of money, rather than forcing that money to compete in smaller business units, as idealized by Smith and Locke. Organized money on the scale of what’s going on today is the primary problem with the economy and government, and both have been corrupted by the influence of organized money.

As such, organized labor is at a serious disadvantage in competition in the political markets with organized money because labor doesn’t have the financial muscle that rich investors possess to compete. Not only that, money is always much more potent in its organized form than is organized labor, especially in the political markets.

“Government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob,” President Franklin Roosevelt said 80 years ago. At that time, “organized mob” meant “organized crime.” That’s what we’ve got today, effectively “organized mob” given legal cover as federal officials look the other way at corporate lawbreakers.

Verizon is organized money in that its investors don’t need to compete with one another.

That’s one of the reasons Verizon earned $4.31 billion dollars from its customers during the first quarter of 2016. It also earned $19 billion in profits for all of 2015. How can a corporation in a competitive environment earn so much money? Oh wait! Verizon operates pretty much as a monopoly, as well as being an organized mob.

In other words, Verizon’s products are seriously overpriced by any real market standards. The price of its products, like products throughout most of the economy and the political markets (yes politicians are products with price tags), is rigged against the 99 percent.

This suggests that the strike by 39,000 Verizon and Verizon Wireless workers could be made a little stronger and perhaps more effective.

The strike continues into its third week, and efforts are undertaken to broaden picketing at Verizon Wireless stores across the country. Workers at seven Wireless stores in Brooklyn, New York, and Everett, Massachusetts, are on strike, along with wireline workers from Massachusetts to Virginia.

The Communication Workers are working with Jobs with Justice to get local unions and community groups across the country to “Adopt-a-Store”—meaning they would agree to picket and leaflet outside Verizon Wireless corporate stores at least twice a week for two to three hours.

But the strikers could begin targeting Verizon customers, and perhaps leaflet stores showing how customers are being overpriced, in addition to picketing stores. Why can’t a monopoly getting $19 billion in profits a year lower its prices? If Verizon were in a competitive industry it would lower its prices because it would be forced to.

If anything, Verizon management should be willing to bend to union demands, if only because the money is there, and the money is there because Verizon’s competition doesn’t really exist all that much. In other words, giving a little back to the community would be in the interests of Verizon, and the communities in which it operates, rather than give all that unearned income to rich investors via rising share prices and surging dividends, none of which is funneled back into the communities from which they are effectively stolen through a duel monopolistic fraud.

Otherwise, what’s the purpose of allowing this legal fiction to exist if it can’t give back to the community? Or if it doesn’t benefit the community in which it operates, but is always taking out income, thereby financially weakening the community? That doesn’t make any economic sense.

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In the video below, President Franklin Roosevelt talked about the powerful wealthy vested interests that had taken over the USA government prior to his election in 1932. FDR proposed and signed into law legislation that curbed the power and influence of those vested interests in government at all levels, including a 90 percent top marginal tax rate. That reduced the influence of corruption in government, by reducing the money the corrupting people possessed.

President Carter was the last president under the old regime of anti-corruption established by FDR, which is why the US government never fired a missile, or a pistol, or dropped a bomb on another nation during his reign, which, coincidentally, is looking better and better every time we look back at it.

The Reagan tax cuts for the rich unleashed the power of the rich to corrupt government, and that is precisely why, as FDR said in 1936, corporate interests now consider the US government to be a “mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money (corporate interests) is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob (organized crime).” Parenthesis mine.

This is why the US government,

1. demands state wide testing, because it’s highly profitable for the publishing industry, and it redistributes income from local and state taxpayers to rich investors of the publishing industry.

2. wages constant war, because it is highly profitable in that it redistributes income from the taxpayers to the rich shareholders of the war industry.

3. gives fewer grants to university students, because it forces college students to take out more student loans, which redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent. Wall Street banks purchase the loans, and then issues bonds against the loans to rich investors. Students pay back the loans, but a large portion of their payment goes to the rich bondholders.

4. raised student loan interest rates from 3.4 to 6.8 percent on all new loans a year ago. Republicans and Democratic lawmakers supported this because it forces students to pay more interest to rich investors.

5. negotiates trade treaties, which are nothing more than income redistribution scam. The treaties pave the legal way for corporations to ship and create jobs overseas, and the difference between the old higher US pay and the new lower third world pay goes straight into the wallets of the 1 percent via higher corporate profits, surging dividends and rising share prices.

The list goes on and on. The federal government is totally corrupted to the core, as are many state and local governments. This corruption is the only cause of the income inequality that has occurred in the USA over the last thirty-five years, whereby 1 percent of the population stole 8 percent of the total income produced in the USA when Carter was president, but now rob the rest of us blind by stealing 37 percent of all income produced in the USA. Since President Obama took office, the 1 percent have been stealing 95 percent of all income growth.

That’s why President Carter created on average more jobs per year with rising real wages than every president since him. That’s why Carter was one of the great presidents in US history. The 99 percent earned 92 percent of all income back then, and were able to purchase goods and services in sufficient quantities to create more jobs per year, and with rising real wages every year, than during the reign of any president since then. And that’s precisely why the propaganda machine known as the corporate news media, politicians like Wall Street Senator John McCain, and rich parasites are always putting President Carter down, and call him weak and a bad president, If we look back at the economy of Carter, and his foreign policies, we would call his era the last golden age of the American dream.

Today’s economy is the weakest in history by any measure, including wage and job growth. That’s because the 99 percent now receive only 63 percent of all income in the US. Those people can no longer afford to purchase the goods and services necessary to sustain a strong economy, and those in business and political offices know this is the problem that vexes this economy, but they won’t do anything about it due to the massive corruption.

Excerpt from FDR’s speech:

“For twelve years this Nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing Government. The Nation looked to Government but the Government looked away. Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years of the scourge! Nine crazy years at the ticker and three long years in the breadlines! Nine mad years of mirage and three long years of despair! Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that that Government is best which is most indifferent.

For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace‹business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me‹and I welcome their hatred.”

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(Originally published in 2014)

Friday, on the floor of the US senate, US Senator Elizabeth Warren sounded like the one and only person who should be the next United States president. She sounded like the person who is truly giving us “hope and change” in fact rather than as a political slogan, and she sounded like the person Barack Obama should have been.

Everyday she’s sounding like the new Franklin Delano Roosevelt, sounding like the next great president, and the first great president since Harry Truman, or perhaps Roosevelt himself.

In the speech above, Warren excoriated President Obama, Republicans and Democrats for a House bill that will keep funding the government, but a provision within it will force the taxpayers to increase their bailouts of bad derivative investments by wealthy investors, including all of the big investment banks, and especially Citigroup. This provision allows Citigroup and other big banks to gamble with taxpayer money without any repercussions for their investment decisions.

President Obama, some Democrats, and most of the Republican Party are completely corrupt, which is why they support this giveaway for the rich and powerful. This provision is nothing more than a massive redistribution of income from the 99 to the 1 percent. That’s precisely why the president got on the telephone on Thursday and strong-armed some House Democrats into voting for this bill. The bill passed through the house and must now go through the senate.

The provision was written by Citigroup lobbyists, which nowadays is a bank that has the power to direct the majority of the Republican Party to demand maintaining the provision in the spending bill or shutting the government down by refusing to pass it.

During the final debate over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2010, before Warren was a senator, she was asked about an attempt to weaken the unborn agency. “My first choice is a strong consumer agency. My second choice is no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor,” she said at the time. These comments were unsuccessfully used against her in her subsequent senate campaign.

This week, she fought to keep a major Wall Street giveaway out of a must-pass spending bill and by Friday night it was clear the fight in the House of Representatives was lost. So Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, took the Senate floor and unleashed a powerful punch on Wall Street giant Citigroup that will leave a mark for an awfully long time, especially on the grass roots, perhaps both grassroots Democrats and Republicans. Hopefully, we are all cheering her on, while Democrats such as Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden meekly stand by (and he will side with Wall Street since he always does) and do nothing since he is a Wall Street stooge pretending to be a senator that represents the people of Oregon.

Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana has voiced opposition to the provision. We’ll see if he puts his vote where his mouth is, or whether he’s simply pretending to oppose Wall Street.

In the speech above, after listing the top Citigroup executives who have gone on to work in the Obama administration, Warren addressed Citibank executives directly, noting that she agreed that Wall Street reform wasn’t perfect. “I agree with you. Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. It should have broken you into pieces,” she said.

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Number of jobs exported from the USA since 1992.

Former Reagan Budget Director David Stockman wrote an op-ed in the New York Times arguing that it is “sundown in America.” His main argument is that government intervention in the economy, Keynesian economics, spiraling debt, and political corruption have destroyed the United States, or rather, has come very close to doing so.

Stockman writes,

“The United States is broke — fiscally, morally, intellectually — and the Fed has incited a global currency war (Japan just signed up, the Brazilians and Chinese are angry, and the German-dominated euro zone is crumbling) that will soon overwhelm it. When the latest bubble pops, there will be nothing to stop the collapse. If this sounds like advice to get out of the markets and hide out in cash, it is.” I can’t disagree with this.

However, while I can’t completely disagree with Stockman on much of his analysis, it is simplistic and fraught with intellectual peril, of which he seems to be oblivious. For example, he blames the New Deal for much of what ails the USA. Poppycock! Stockman has no clue that the New Deal came about because worldwide capitalism had collapsed and was collapsing even more. President Roosevelt enacted the New Deal to rescue the system, and he did. However, for Stockman, rescuing the system was the worst thing anybody could have done.

When FDR became president in March 1933, the official unemployment rate was 25.3 percent and getting worse. What did Stockman expect FDR to do? Wait for everybody to be unemployed? The economic system, which is radically different than what many people think it is, had self-destructed. Like a lot things, Stockman is clueless in some (but not all) of his details even if he might be correct that it is Sundown in the USA, at least for the 99 percent.

Let me give you an example. In Stockman’s quotes below, I show  in parenthesis what he doesn’t understand:

“Since the S.&P. 500 first reached its current level, in March 2000, the mad money printers at the Federal Reserve have expanded their balance sheet sixfold, to $3.2 trillion from $500 billion. Yet during that stretch, economic output has grown by an average of 1.7 percent a year, the slowest since the Civil War (see A through D below); real business investment has crawled forward at only 0.8 percent per year (A. Because demand is slack due to the massive redistribution of income over the last thirty-three years from the 99 to the 1 percent); and the payroll job count has crept up at a negligible 0.1 percent annually (See A above. BTW, the 99 percent earn about 68 of the total national income, down from 92-93 percent thirty-three years ago). Real median family income growth has dropped 8 percent (B. Because their income is being redistributed to the 1 percent), and the number of full-time middle class jobs, 6 percent (C. Because millions of jobs a year are being shipped overseas and the difference between the new lower wages there and the old higher wages here are shoveled into the hip pockets of the 1 percent via higher dividends, share prices and record corporate profits. Also, see B above). The real net worth of the “bottom” 90 percent has dropped by one-fourth (D. Housing prices have dropped, millions are underwater on their mortgages and Wall Street is the culprit that engineered the whole thing, which Stockman does mention is his op-ed). The number of food stamp and disability aid recipients has more than doubled, to 59 million, about one in five Americans (The reasons why are A, B, C, and D).

Stockman rolls on and on. He doesn’t mention income redistribution over the last 33 years as a culprit for all the crap he says has pushed the US to the cusp of sundown. He doesn’t mention the tens of millions of jobs that have been shipped overseas (See the graph above), how the 1 percent have encouraged immigration as a means to lower wage rates. He doesn’t mention how the Immigration Reform Act of 1986 dropped real wage rates in this nation for eleven years afterwards. He doesn’t mention how comprehensive immigration reform will lower wage rates even further, and along with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), will likely lower wages of the 99 percent even further. He doesn’t the TPP is being crafted in secret with the aid of 600 corporate lobbyists and that the primary purpose of the Act is to circumvent the US Constitution for the 99 percent. He doesn’t mention the Affordable Care Act was written by health insurance executives, or that the Monsanto Protection Act was written by representatives of Monsanto. Stockman doesn’t mention a lot of things, except entitlements which aren’t such things, such as the Social Security Insurance Trust Fund.

On the other hand, he does say a lot of things, and many of them are worth reading whether you agree with him or not. Click on the link below for the complete op-ed. (more…)

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