Posts Tagged ‘The Guardian’

“A network of Republican lawmakers and their rightwing corporate funders are battling behind closed doors to block minimum wage increases in cities across the US, in a step-by-step counter-attack that could cut back the incomes of millions of Americans despite an economic upswing.

According to strategic details obtained by the Guardian, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – along with its localized sister organization, ACCE – is trying to prevent elected city representatives from raising the minimum wage to levels above those set by their states. The group has launched an aggressive dual-track mission that combines legislation and litigation in what Alec calls a “new battleground” over worker compensation.”

Why would rich people want to stop poor people from earning more money? The answer is simple.

The financial markets are Ponzi schemes. More and more money has to be pumped into the financial markets, or the values of corporate shares that are traded on those markets will crumble into nothingness. For example, if shares of Weyerhauser climb to $50 per share, yet profits go down, more sellers will enter the market than buyers, and the value of the shares go down. However, the process is also true if profits stay the same from one quarter to the next. In which case, there might be exactly as many buyers as sellers of Weyerhauser shares if other stock prices are rising.

Why hold a static stock when when you can sell and purchase shares that are on the rise? The result of static corporate profits (and profits are the key to whether or not share prices rise), is to send share prices down. Weyerhauser’s stock plummeted from $50 to $1 per share from 1929 to 1933, which is when the Ponzi Scheme known as Wall Street collapsed. I demonstrated this in greater detail in The Rigged Game: Corporate America and a People Betrayed.

This is why ALEC opposes increasing the minimum wage anywhere except for shareholders, CEOs and corporate lobbyists. If corporations need to pay workers higher wages, that will reduce profits and potentially send share prices lower. This is also why the 1 percent wage war against the middle class, corrupt government at all levels with their ill-gotten gains, and have their legislators push legislation to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent. This is also why we have much greater inflation today than the government lets us know about, but that’s another story.

Check out the rest of the story from the Guardian by clicking on the link below.

How a powerful rightwing lobby is plotting to stop minimum wage hikes–the Guardian

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We have been mislead and lied to by the US government and the corporate press for a long time. They’ve lied to us about the health hazards of GMOs, (See https://johnhively.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/why-are-the-frogs-dying-and-why-did-the-story-disappear-from-the-corporate-news-hint-gmos-have-cause-the-demise-of-the-frogs/ .

This type of information you can get from from foreign news outlets, such as the Guardian of the UK. But the American press is corrupt to the core. That’s why it helped to lie us into a war in Iraq, and they’ve lied to us about public education reform for over thirty years.

It’s all because of the need to generate ever increasing profits for the 1 percent, and all at the expense of the 99 percent, either in terms of health, money, or education. In other words, due to a news media cartel, the information we’ve been fed and not fed has been carefully cultivated to reflect a world view that best allows the 1 percent and Wall Street to redistribute our money, our wealth, our tax dollars, our jobs, and our health to the 1 percent.

Blame it on President Bill Clinton. He signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which allowed the consolidation of major media outlets so that 5 corporations now successfully collude to determine what we are allowed to see on roughly 90 percent of all media outlets.  That’s right. Five corporations now own 90 percent of all news outlets.

That’s precisely how the massive income and wealth inequality has been covered up, and, in the case of public schools, how we’ve been kept ignorant about how our schools and children have been used as conduits toward enhancing the corporate profits of the testing industry via the testing craze, and how our schools have been become nothing more than laboratories for keeping students focused only on testing, rather than on things more important, such as critical thinking, art, shop, and basic living skills. Rhetoric to the side, this is precisely what education reform is all about.

Most people don’t know that the No Child Left Behind Act was the business plan of McGraw-Hill, and that the McGraws had been long-time friends of the Bush family. And this is precisely why President Bush pushed the act through congress and signed it into law. It was a convenient piece of legislation that redistributed income, tax dollars, and wealth to his personal friends, while leaving our schools wrecked. The corporate press wasn’t going to ever tell you that, thanks to the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

This is called market manipulation via legislation.

Check out the links below for more on this.

They Myth Behind Public School Failure–Yes! Magazine

why-corporations-want-our-public-schools–Yes! Magazine

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This morning, Apple was convicted of conspiring with book publishers to raise ebook prices. This was one of the biggest anti-trust lawsuits ever brought by US federal authorities.

According to the Guardian newspaper, “US district judge Denise Cote ruled on Wednesday that the company played a “central role” in a conspiracy with the biggest book publishers in the US to fix prices in violation of antitrust law.

Executives from the companies would meet in the private dining rooms of upscale New York restaurants to bemoan the low prices charged by the ebooks market leader Amazon, and what they could do about it, Cote said in her ruling.

Cote ruled that that damages would be determined at a new hearing. Apple continued to deny on Wednesday that it had done anything wrong, and said it planned an appeal.”

This a perfect example of what goes on throughout the US economy. Regardless of how weak demand is, manufacturers consistently conspire to artificially raise the price of their stuff. Doing so pushes their stock prices higher, as well as dividend payments and corporate earnings. Now, if only the US government would do something about the thousands of other corporate executives redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent via conspiracy in restraint of trade, like the big banks withholding millions of houses from the market in order to artificially jack-up housing prices even though demand is historically weak.

Click below for the complete story about Apple in the courtroom. Below that is the story of the big banks rigging the housing market.


The Fix is In: Big Banks Have Rigged the Housing Market

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In 1965, the average CEO earned 18.3 times what the average worker earned. Nowadays, CEO’s steal over 230 times more than the average Joe or Josephine. That’s how bad financial and political inequality has become in the US, the government of which is now no more than a plutocracy of the rich.

Take Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, for example. He poses as a man of the people, and the people he is supposed to represent are in the state of Oregon. To keep their eye off the ball, the senator continues to champion liberal social causes, because it’s mostly a liberal state, but Wall Street Ron bends his knees to his Wall Street masters and screws the people of Oregon on economic matters. He habitually champions federal legislation that redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent, such as free trade income redistribution treaties. That’s exactly what Wall Street Ron Wyden champions. As a congressman, he voted for Nafta and every single income redistribution trade treaty that he’s had a chance to vote on.

Take a look at the chart below. CEO compensation began to rise massively after that traitor to the people, President Bill Clinton, signed the Nafta treaty. This isn’t a coincidence. A CEO only has to ship jobs overseas, lower labor costs, and divert much of the difference between the old wages and the new to themselves to get richer. That’s why CEO pay went from roughly 100 times the average worker in 1994 to over 400 times six years later. Nafta was never a free trade treaty; it was an income redistribution scam, negotiated and written by corporate interests with the intention of financially raping the 99 percent on behalf of the 1 percent. They were successful.

The Guardian newspaper calls the Trans Pacific Partnership “Nafta on steroids.” This income redistribution scam is being thinly disguised as a free trade treaty; but aren’t they all? Eleven nations are negotiating the treaty in secret, aided by 600 US corporate lobbyists. The citizens of the US will get no details on the agreement until it’s already signed by the latest traitor-in-chief, President Barack Hussein Obama. And then it will be too late.

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It’s not hard to see why the Occupy Wall Street protests have gone global. What kicked off a month ago in relative obscurity – drawing inspiration from this year’s Spanish indignados occupations and the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia – has now spawned protests in more than 900 cities around the world. The only surprise is it didn’t happen sooner.

Three years after the banks that brought the west’s economies to their knees were bailed out with vast public funds, nothing has fundamentally changed. Profits and bonuses are booming for financial oligarchs and corporate giants, while most people are paying the price of their reckless speculation with falling living standards, cuts in public services and mounting unemployment.

Coming as this crisis has done – at the end of an era of rampant deregulation that has created huge disparities of income and wealth, concentrated in the hands of the top 1% and secured by politicians bought by corporate interests – a backlash against those actually responsible was well overdue.

The occupation slogan “We are the 99%” exactly reflects the reality in the crisis-hit Anglo-Saxon economies in particular – just as the protesters’ call for systemic change has far stronger echoes in US public opinion than its captive political class would have anyone believe. A majority of Americans are sympathetic to the protests while a recent poll found only a narrow majority thought capitalism a better system than socialism – in a country where the term is as good as a political swearword.

That has now shaped the political and corporate response. While the protesters were originally ridiculed as unfocused, or denounced by leading Republicans as “mobs”, they are now championed by the media establishment – including the New York Times and Financial Times – on both sides of the Atlantic. Obama has made friendly noises, while his officials say they now plan to “run against Wall Street” in next year’s presidential campaign.

In a climate where plutocrats like Warren Buffett are meanwhile begging to pay higher taxes, it’s a clear sign of elite anxiety at the extent of popular anger and an attempt to co-opt the movement before demands for more fundamental change get traction.

Something similar seems to be going on in Britain where – against a steady drumbeat of lobbying scandal and escalating unemployment – police and the conservative Daily Mail have so far both given the City occupation outside St Paul’s Cathedral a notably easy ride.

Of course the London protesters, camped out in a tent city near the Stock Exchange, have also been abused as “muddle-headed” layabouts and “Toytown Trots”. But despite their rejection of the current economic system as “unsustainable”, their initial statement includes a call for “regulators to be genuinely independent of the industries they regulate” that wouldn’t look out of place at a Liberal Democrat conference.

There’s no doubt, though, that these occupations echo both the spirit and organisation of the anti-corporate movement that erupted in Seattle in 1999. The tactic of occupying a symbolic public space (as opposed to strikes, sit-ins and marches) can be traced back to Greenham Common in the 1980s through a string of often dubious “colour revolutions” over the past decade.

But it’s this year’s drama in Tahrir Square (acknowledged with an Egyptian flag at the London camp) that has given it such evocative power. And while the 1990s anti-capitalist globalisation protests took place at a time of boom and speculative frenzy, today’s occupations are targeting a global capitalism in the deepest crisis.

Which is why they have such a clear sense of reflecting the common sense of the age. What both movements now and then also share is an intense commitment to direct democracy and the influence of an “autonomist” opposition to engagement with mainstream politics – seen as a central part of the problem, rather than any solution.

In that, of course, they’re in tune with millions. But when it gets to the point of resisting making direct political demands at all – an issue of controversy this week among US protesters, with some arguing “the process is the message” – that would surely limit the protests’ impact.

The Occupy movement has already changed the political climate in the US. Some commentators argue that’s enough – and it’s up to politicians and wonks to turn the theme of economic justice into policy. But that would be to hand the initiative to the very system the protesters reject – and limit the scope for making common cause with others resisting austerity and corporate greed.

Not only that, but any demands need to be a good deal more radical than “independent regulation” if they’re to make sense of the call for fundamental change and action to tackle the crisis: democratic ownership and control of banks and utilities, say, and wealth and transactions taxes for a start.

And as Naomi Klein argued to protesters in New York, the movement will also need democratic structures and institutions if it’s to put down roots rather than fizzle and burn out. Trade union support for the US protests is a promising sign, as is the London occupiers’ backing for next month’s pensions strike and yesterday’s electricians’ blockade of a Balfour Beatty construction site over threats to rip up contracts.

The form and focus of these protests already varies widely from country to country: in Chile, they originally concentrated on free education, but now the target has expanded to include banks and GM crops. Across Latin America, where the revolt against neoliberalism first began more than a decade ago, it has been alliances of social movements and political organisations that have proved most successful in turning protest into economic and social change.

But there is of course no automatic link between large-scale protest and any radical political breakthrough: Spain has been convulsed with occupations and strikes – and is expected to elect a rightwing neoliberal government in reaction to the socialist government’s austerity. The populist right can take advantage of mass disaffection as well as the left.

But in just a few weeks the Occupy movement has helped bust open the political class veto on the scale of change demanded by the crisis – and now that opportunity needs to be seized.

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