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Posts Tagged ‘Mitch McConnell’


Charles Koch wants economic freedom. He has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to reach that end. Hundreds of millions of dollars have gone to universities, politicians, think tanks, political action committees, the Federalist Society, and on and on in order to influence public debate on issues dear to himself and his business, Koch Industries. The money has also gone to elect politicians true to his cause. But what does economic freedom mean?

Economic freedom means Koch wants billionaires and their corporations to be able to take people’s property by using the power of government to force property owners to sell their land so that the Koch pipeline, otherwise known as the KXL pipeline, can be laid.

So what if you develop breast or other cancers because of industrial toxins Koch Industries puts in the air, land and water? Let economic freedom ring by letting the market decide the issue.

Child labor laws are an impediment to economic freedom and must be done away with.

Health and safety laws impede the economic freedom of billionaire investors and must be eliminated.

Rivers that are so polluted they catch fire with a match clearly demonstrate economic freedom. Policies must be enacted to ensure this economic freedom, which corporations once had, and which included the rivers and lakes of fires.

Not being able to pollute lakes so badly with industrial waste you can smell them for thirty miles impedes the economic freedom of billionaire investors.

Workers who combine their primary asset (their labor) into labor unions in order to bargain for higher compensation and better working conditions are impediments to economic freedom, but billionaires who combine their primary asset (their billions) into unions (corporations) ensuring they have less competition and greater profit are the most important of economic freedoms.

Koch’s actions demonstrate that he believes billionaires who control the mechanisms of government and both major political parties know what is best for everyone else, especially if their name is Charles Koch while the collective political actions of the woefully ignorant and lesser humans of the 99 percent to have their democratically elected government enact laws governing issues such as the above is frightfully silly.

Koch wants the market, which is regulated by billionaires and their corporations, to determine how polluted our air and water should be rather than allowing the people within a democracy to decide that issue with their votes.

Our current weak Wall Street regulations curb corporate profits and are therefore an impingement on economic freedom according to Koch’s logic. The real logic is that Koch wants Wall Street to have the legal rights to rip off everybody in the 99 percent and redistribute massive amounts of income and wealth from the 99 percent to themselves. And let the market (Wall Street decides the market rules) decide who the winners and losers will be. The reverse of this, of course, is to have freedom from Wall Street manipulation, and that freedom is something Charles Koch does not want the 99 percent to have.

Income inequality has grown as Koch’s vision as grown. The top 1 percent once received about 8 percent of the total income produced in the USA in 1980, and now they steal anywhere from 24 to 37 percent. That’s what Koch’s economic freedom has brought us. His economic freedom has only been achieved by turning our democracy into a plutocracy, which is a government of, by and for the rich only.

Actions speak louder than words. According to Nancy MacLean, in her book Democracy In Chains, Koch’s well funded proxy army used the threat of “…well-funded primary challenges” to force Republican Party elected officials to do his “…bidding or Lose their seats.” Koch’s well-financed proxy “was pushing out radical right laws ready to bring to the floor in every state through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). It was selling those laws through the seemingly independent but centrally funded (by Koch) and operationally linked groups of the State Policy Network. it was leveraging the anger of local Tea Party groups (founded with Koch money) to move the legislative agenda of Americans for Prosperity (funded by Koch) and Freedom Works (funded by Koch). Its state affiliates were energizing voter turnout with deceitful direct mail campaigns. Its elected allies were shutting down the federal government; in effect, using its employees and the millions who rely on it as hostages to get what they otherwise could not-and much, much more.”

Former US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, himself a wealthy man, once remarked, “We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”

Our democracy is in shambles with both major political parties being controlled by concentrated wealth. We’ve been attacked by the Koch brothers, by the major news organizations, and by the billionaires who control the Democratic Party. They are winning this class war because of their financial clout to control politicians, such as Mitch McConnell and Ron Wyden, and their financial clout to determine the information we receive from the corporate news media, public and private universities, think tanks, and other sources of information.

The Koch brothers, however, are in the vanguard in waging both class warfare, and war against our United States democracy. The idea that people can limit his economic freedom, and Wall Street’s freedom to plunder and rape the 99 percent, is a horror to him. He does not know that the US government has been created for the common good,” as former President John Adams once wrote, “and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The United States Federal Reserve Bank issued a report in September 2017 showing that the top 1 percent of US income earners now own almost twice as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent of Americans. Notice the corporate media did not cover this report. They did not want us to know this stuff.

Anyway, wealth is defined as assets, such as stocks, bonds, futures options, houses, cars, clothes, trinkets and such.

The graph above is straight from the Federal Reserve Bulletin. Notice the bottom 90 percent have seen their wealth drop from nearly 38 percent of the total wealth in 1989 to 23 percent today, a 40 percent drop. Meanwhile, the 1 percent has seen their wealth grow from just under 30 percent in 1989 to 38.6 percent today. The 1 percent also own more wealth than those people among the 90 to 99 percent, but just barely.

The reason the 1 percent has gained so much wealth while the 90 percent has lost it is that the rich are stealing it from everybody else via their corruption of both major political parties, and such corrupt politicians as Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Orrin Hatch, Paul Ryan, and Ron Wyden.

In the same report, Federal Reserve researchers discovered the rich stole a record-high 23.8% of the overall US created income in 2016 (See graph below), up from 8 percent in 1980. However, the current figure appears to be understated. At least one report shows the rich are stealing 37+ percent of the total income produced in the United States. The Fed’s report showed the bottom 90% of families now make less than half of the country’s income. That figure slipped to 49.7% in 2016, down by more than 20% since 1992 (It is likely the drop is greater according to another study).

The reason why the billionaires are getting wealthier and the rest of us are becoming poorer is because of such things as trade agreements via political corruption, privatization scams, tax cuts for the rich, unrestricted campaign finance donations, mandatory testing of public school students K-12, student loans, Federal Reserve and US government rescue of mortgage-backed bondholders by the tens of trillions of dollars (See The $26 Trillion Dollar Bailout to Save the 1 Percent, a totally corrupt corporate wing of the US Supreme Court (John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Anthony Kennedy),  etc…. Corruption in US politics have not been this bad since the Gilded Age, and this is how the rich are getting richer by stealing from the rest of us.

Millions of US jobs have been exported since 1992, thanks to trade treaties negotiated to ensure US corporations can export jobs to low wage nations, as well as create jobs in these poverty-wage nations rather than here. The difference between the old higher US wages and the new lower extreme poverty wages in Mexico (where the minimum wage is $4.70 a day), China, Bangladesh, Vietnam and elsewhere goes straight into the already fat wallets of the well-to-do parasites of the millionaire and billionaire classes.

The job losers (the producers) might get unemployment insurance if they are lucky. The rich take their stolen loot and purchase wealth, such as stocks and bonds. The job losers often have to sell their assets to cover their expenses as they search for new jobs that typically pay less than what they once earned.

This is a nice income and wealth redistribution scam that every Democratic and Republican senator and member of the House of Representatives know very well. Every president since and including Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama have known this scam.

The billionaires continued their war against the 99 percent when the US Senate passed their tax cut for the rich and their corporations. And so the war continues against the 99.5 percent. This is class warfare at its most one-sided.

You can find the report from the Federal Reserve at https://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/files/scf17.pdf. The graphs are located on pages 11 and 12 if I remember correctly.

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Hillary Clinton’s new book, What Happened shows she is completely out of touch with reality and voter’s anxieties over the economic policies that have redistributed trillions of dollars from the 99 to the 1 percent. These policies were championed by her, former President Bill Clinton, former President Barack Obama, former President George W. Bush, and a host of other Republicans and Democrats, such as Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and Wall Street’s favorite brown-noser, Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden.

In her book, Clinton blames Bernie Sanders for her defeat in the presidential election. She claims Sanders candidacy split the progressive vote. Hogwash! Hillary lost the presidential election because she is a gold plated pawn of Wall Street. Voters were tired of their jobs and tax dollars being exported to Mexico, China, and Vietnam. Clinton supported the policies that did this. Wall Street loved her support for these policies.

The CEOs of Wall Street, other major corporations, and billionaire investors rewarded her and her husband with $150 million in speaking fees from 2001 to 2016, at $225,000 a pop. Progressive voters knew that yes big money had gotten her to change her mind on legislation cutting back on the abilities of working folks to declare bankruptcy on behalf of the big banks who had purchased her lock, stock and barrel (See video above). Progressives knew the mind boggling millions of jobs that would have been exported from the United States to China with the Trans Pacific Partnership, which she called the “gold plated standard” for trade agreements. Then, of course, there was her support as Secretary of State for the coup that overthrew the lawful government of Honduras and resulted in the death of hundreds. You could go on and on about why progressives could not and would not support Candidate Clinton, but you cannot blame Bernie Sanders.

Hillary is completely out of touch with reality, but the book suggests she might want to run for president again.

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