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Posts Tagged ‘Ron Wyden’


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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A blue wave is supposed to be upon us come November. The Democrats seem poised to possibly take back the US Senate and or the US House of Representatives. This is scaring the crap out of the Wall Street controlled Democratic National Committee (DNC). A democratic tidal wave may be coming, but it may very well be a progressive wave within the Democratic Party that sweeps the elections come November.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old Latina running her first campaign, and who worked as a waitress in her most recent job, beat Wall Street controlled and twenty-year congressional veteran Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary in New York’s 14th congressional district last month.

Ocasio-Cortez’s stunning win came on the back of an unapologetically progressive, grassroots campaign pledging “economic, social, and racial justice” for working-class Americans. “This is the start of a movement,” she tweeted after winning.

Ocasio-Cortez ran a progressive campaign, calling for the abolition of ICE, Medicare for all, criminal justice reform, a universal jobs guarantee, and tuition-free college funded by taxes on Wall Street, and this later issue scares the crap out of the billionaires.

Bernie Sanders recently campaigned with Ocasio-Cortez. He wrote of their adventures,

“On Friday, along with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, I went to Kansas and held rallies with two great progressive candidates who are running for Congress. In Wichita, according to local media reports, more than 4,000 people joined us at a rally with James Thompson.

Then in Kansas City, at our rally for Brent Welder, the convention center was so crowded the staff had to remove a wall in the middle while the event was going on to let more people in. These were incredible crowds coming out in more than 100-degree weather to participate in our political revolution. And, yes, this was Kansas where Republicans control almost everything.

There was quite a different event in Columbus, Ohio. Two hundred and fifty wealthy invited Democratic donors and Wall Street insiders came together at a gathering hosted by a real estate billionaire. Why were they there? The headline on an NBC News story tells it all:

“Sanders’ wing of the party terrifies moderate Dems. Here’s how they plan to stop it. Party members and fundraisers gathered for an invitation-only event to figure out how to counteract the rising progressive movement.”

What are they concerned about? That our ideas, such as Medicare for all, tuition-free public colleges and universities, a $15/hr minimum wage and progressive taxation are now mainstream positions.

Make no mistake about it. The gathering in Columbus was not simply a social event. The corporate Democrats are plotting how to defeat progressives the only way they know how — with big money. But you’ve shown that, together, we can overcome their brand of pay-to-play politics.”

The big money controls the Democratic Party, as Sanders points out above. That money controls the Clintons’, and such politicians as US House Representative Earl Blumenauer and Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden. The big money boys and girls are scared, not of a November blue wave, but of a progressive blue wave that will sweep them out of the levers of power within the Democratic Party.

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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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Do you ever wonder how much of your income has been redistributed to the rich since 1980? How much would you be earning now if the rich were only getting the same share of our total national income as they did back in 1980 or so? Back then the 1 percent stole only about 8 to 9 percent. We got the rest.

Now, thanks to the entire corrupt Republican Party, and the vast majority of corrupted Democratic Party politicians, the rich are officially stealing anywhere from 24 to 37+ percent of the total national income, depending on whose figures you are using. This is thanks in large measure to such Democratic Party politicians as Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, as well as both Clintons’.

We can use Oregon as an approximate gauge for the entire nation since Oregon is only slightly above average in personal income compared to other states.

The figures in the graph above show that the typical Oregonian would be earning “nearly 3 times as much” today “had inequality remained at the 1980 level. Oregon’s actual median income in 2014 was $33,484, compared to $29,150 nationally.

In 2014, the average working Oregonian would have earned about $92,050, or nearly three times as much, had the 1 percent been only stealing from the rest of us at the same rate as they had been back in 1980. That suggests the average US citizen would have been earning around $83,000 a year in 2014, rather than the paltry $29,150.

Imagine how strong the demand for goods and service would be today for the 99 percent if the 1 percent had not rigged each of the three branches of the US government in their favor through corrupt politicians in both major political parties, and their complete corruption of the United States Supreme Court. (See 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–JohnHively.Wordpress.com for more on this.)

When inflation is factored into income growth, notice which economic class has gotten the big raises since 1980 in the graph below, and which has not. Note also that the information presented is based on income tax returns, so the US rich have gained quite a bit more than it appears since they have stashed trillions of dollars abroad in Switzerland, Panama and elsewhere.

This means the real income gains of the rich are vastly understated. Thank you Ron Wyden. Thank you Bill Clinton. Thank you Hillary Clinton. Thank you all of you bought off Democrats and Republican politicians. Thank you corrupted US Supreme Court

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The New York Times has lied again. So does most of the corporate news media about certain issues.

The Times has long been a bastion of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which, since the late 1970s, has been completely dominated by billionaires of Wall Street and big corporations, as well as another group of billionaires, such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, George Soros and others. The chief aim of all of these folks and organizations is to keep Wall Street happy, stock prices soaring, and the liberal Democratic grassroots uninformed and keeping their eyes off the real issues.

The Times now officially has endorsed the lie that public employee pensions are the cause of local and state government budget shortfalls. In a story published on April 14 2018, they specifically used the case of Oregon. The Times claimed that funding for public employee pensions is crowding out other government services.

However, there are other things that are causing budget shortfalls in Oregon, and nationally, and the Times editors dare not mention them because it will offend corporate advertisers, the Democratic National Committee, and other billionaires whose plight the Times editors are sympathetic to.

Here is the reality.

Budget shortfalls in Oregon coincide with declining state corporate tax liabilities. A report by the Oregon Center for Public Policy shows that corporations now pay only 6.7 percent of all of Oregon’s income taxes today compared to 18.5 percent in 1970. No budget shortfalls would exist if corporations paid the same percentage of state income taxes as they did in 1970. Corporations have used their financial muscles to force legislators to reduce their state tax liabilities, and this has caused the shortage. (As an aside, some people call the links between cash and legislation corruption.)

In addition, hundreds of thousands of Oregon jobs have been exported since 1994 to third world nations, reducing the state’s tax base, and this has also helped to increase the budget shortfalls. Wall Street politicians, such as Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, have led the drive to export tens of millions of US jobs since 1994 (Wyden is supposed to be a US senator from Oregon but his voting record indicates he is in Wall Street’s back pockets as much as the Clintons).

What this really means is that income and wealth inequality have created the shortfalls since corporations are simply tools of the rich which are used to redistribute income and wealth from working Americans to rich investors. Reducing the tax liabilities of corporations has redistributed $2.36 billion dollars from taxpayers to the rich shareholders of corporations during the 2017-19 Oregon state budget. Notice the Times doesn’t mention this.

The same holds true with international income redistribution treaties. The difference between the old higher US wages and benefits of those tens of millions of exported US jobs and the new dirt low third world wages have gone straight into the bank accounts of the billionaires who control both major political parties, and the New York Times.

So redistributing income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent has created local and state budget shortfalls nationwide, as well as in Oregon.

What’s even worse, the Times story only uses examples of overly generous state pensions given to just a few, such as former Oregon Ducks football coach Mike Belotti. Belotti receives $559,000 a year from the public employee’s retirement system (PERS). There is no mention in the Times story that Belotti and these few others are exceptions. There is no mention of the elderly couples who worked thirty-four years each to get a combined $2000 a month in their deferred compensation called a pension, or the many who only receive a few hundred dollars a month, or the vast majority who receive between $400 and $2000 a month. There is no mention that pensions are deferred compensation.

In effect, the Times story was intended to generate public outrage at local and state pensions, and it was also specifically intended to turn our eyes away from the real reasons why there might be local and state budget shortfalls in Oregon and throughout the nation. The Times story was class warfare at its most insidious. No doubt the billionaires loved the story, even if it was a complete lie.

See 8 Key Things About Oregon Corporate Taxes–Oregon Center for Public Policy

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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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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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