Sunday, August 14, 2011

Italy's Largest Union Threatens To Strike Over New Austerity Package


We are witnessing the beginning of the end of modern capitalism­. The banksters will force countries to make austerity cuts to their budgets and lower taxes. Economies will slow further which will lead to banks demanding more austerity measures. The economies will slow even more. Companies will continue to hang onto cash and not invest in the local economy, choosing instead to relocate jobs overseas. Fewer and fewer people will be able to buy the things that are imported, more jobs will be lost and the world economy will collapse.



Few, if any country has a spending problem, they have a revenue problem. The more taxes are cut, the fewer jobs that are created locally. Cut taxes and profits, both personal and corporate, increase. Cut taxes, and investment­s move to where there are less costs (read wages and supplies) in order to increase profits.



We saw this happen when NAFTA was made law and jobs shot to Mexico. US workers lost jobs that were then replaced with lower paying jobs. Wal-Mart went from a company that advertised Made in the USA to one that exported jobs to China to increase profits. Now Mexican workers are too expensive.



Tax laws in all countries have to be restructur­ed so that investors and corporatio­ns plow money back into the local economy. When tax laws make real investment possible, rather than speculatio­n, the world economy will get better. Until then we will slowly slide into depression­, anarchy and war.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Paddy Chayefsky's Network was right then as now



NETWORK was a biting, hilarious, prophetic satire of empty minded entertainment mills masquerading as news programs chaired by pontificating talking heads, a biting indictment of an America heedlessly, destructively rushing to global dominance, recklessly driven by a totally out of control financial sector that cares about nothing except about its bottom line and special privileges. Paddy Chayefshy's screen play for this movie was on the mark then, as ABC went after ratings and gimmicks rather than real news, and the rest of broadcasting followed. What was true then, is even truer today. Diana Christensen: I'm interested in doing a weekly dramatic series based on the Ecumenical Liberation Army. The way I see the series is: Each week we open with an authentic act of political terrorism taken on the spot, in the actual moment. Then we go to the drama behind the opening film footage. That's your job, Ms. Hobbs. You've got to get the Ecumenicals to bring in that film footage for us. The network can't deal with them directly; they are, after all, wanted criminals. Diana Christensen: Well, in a nutshell, it said: "The American people are turning sullen. They've been clobbered on all sides by Vietnam, Watergate, the inflation, the depression; they've turned off, shot up, and they've fucked themselves limp, and nothing helps." So, this concept analysis report concludes, "The American people want somebody to articulate their rage for them." I've been telling you people since I took this job six months ago that I want angry shows. I don't want conventional programming on this network. I want counterculture, I want anti-establishment. I don't want to play butch boss with you people, but when I took over this department, it had the worst programming record in television history. This network hasn't one show in the top twenty. This network is an industry joke, and we'd better start putting together one winner for next September. I want a show developed based on the activities of a terrorist group, "Joseph Stalin and His Merry Band of Bolsheviks," I want ideas from you people. This is what you're paid for. And by the way, the next time I send an audience research report around, you'd all better read it, or I'll sack the fucking lot of you. Is that clear? Arthur Jensen: You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won't have it! Is that clear? You think you've merely stopped a business deal. That is not the case! The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back! It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity! It is ecological balance! You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multinational dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rins, rubles, pounds, and shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and subatomic and galactic structure of things today! And YOU have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and YOU... WILL... ATONE! Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale? You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM, and ITT, and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today. What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state, Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, minimax solutions, and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments, just like we do. We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime. And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that... perfect world... in which there's no war or famine, oppression or brutality. One vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock. All necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused. And I have chosen you, Mr. Beale, to preach this evangel. Howard Beale: All human beings are becoming humanoids. All over the world, not just in America. We're just getting there faster since we're the most advanced country. Howard Beale: [arms outstretched to the heavens] Edward George Ruddy died today! Edward George Ruddy was the Chairman of the Board of the Union Broadcasting Systems, and he died at eleven o'clock this morning of a heart condition, and woe is us! We're in a lot of trouble! Howard Beale: [calmly strolling toward the audience] So. A rich little man with white hair died. What has that got to do with the price of rice, right? And *why* is that woe to us? Because you people, and sixty-two million other Americans, are listening to me right now. Because less than three percent of you people read books! Because less than fifteen percent of you read newspapers! Because the only truth you know is what you get over this tube. Right now, there is a whole, an entire generation that never knew anything that didn't come out of this tube! This tube is the Gospel, the ultimate revelation. This tube can make or break presidents, popes, prime ministers... This tube is the most awesome God-damned force in the whole godless world, and woe is us if it ever falls in to the hands of the wrong people, and that's why woe is us that Edward George Ruddy died. Because this company is now in the hands of CCA - the Communication Corporation of America. There's a new Chairman of the Board, a man called Frank Hackett, sitting in Mr. Ruddy's office on the twentieth floor. And when the twelfth largest company in the world controls the most awesome God-damned propoganda force in the whole godless world, who knows what shit will be peddled for truth on this network? Howard Beale: [ascending the stage] So, you listen to me. Listen to me: Television is not the truth! Television is a God-damned amusement park! Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, side-show freaks, lion tamers, and football players. We're in the boredom-killing business! So if you want the truth... Go to God! Go to your gurus! Go to yourselves! Because that's the only place you're ever going to find any real truth. Share this quote Howard Beale: [laughing to himself] But, man, you're never going to get any truth from us. We'll tell you anything you want to hear; we lie like hell. We'll tell you that, uh, Kojak always gets the killer, or that nobody ever gets cancer at Archie Bunker's house, and no matter how much trouble the hero is in, don't worry, just look at your watch; at the end of the hour he's going to win. We'll tell you any shit you want to hear. We deal in *illusions*, man! None of it is true! But you people sit there, day after day, night after night, all ages, colors, creeds... We're all you know. You're beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning here. You're beginning to think that the tube is reality, and that your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you! You dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube, you even *think* like the tube! This is mass madness, you maniacs! In God's name, you people are the real thing! *WE* are the illusion! So turn off your television sets. Turn them off now. Turn them off right now. Turn them off and leave them off! Turn them off right in the middle of the sentence I'm speaking to you now! TURN THEM OFF... [collapses in a prophetic swoon as the audience erupts in thunderous applause] Share this quote Howard Beale: You're beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning here, you're beginning to believe that the tube is reality and your own lives are unreal. You do. Why, whatever the tube tells you: you dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube, you even think like the tube. This is mass madness, you maniacs. In God's name, you people are the real thing, WE are the illusion. Watch the movie, and tell me if Chayefsky wasn't a prophet himself.

Dow Jones Industrial Average Closes Down More Than 630 Points, Sixth-Worst Point Loss Ever


The fall in the market has many reasons, but the government­'s credit rating is meaningles­s, especially as the government has not only the funds, but the means to raise the funds to pay its debt. What prevents this is the money spent by corporatio­ns and the rich to pressure the representa­tives of ALL the people from raising taxes and closing loopholes.



According to the Washington Post "Tax cuts are estimated to have totaled $2.8 trillion, which we guess would count as “trillions­,” as the president put it. Strictly speaking, the two big tax cuts during the Bush years are estimated to total about $1.5 trillion, But many continued into the early years of the Obama presidency­, and in December he cut a deal with Republican­s to extend them even more, which brings us to $2.8 trillion.



(In case you are wondering, the cost of the Iraq and Afghanista­n wars was $1.26 trillion through 2011 and the Medicare prescripti­on drug program totaled $272 billion.)"



$2.8 trillion over ten years is what raising the debt ceiling cost Americans in terms of benefit cuts. Which means that it will cost us $5.6 Trillion over the 20 years the tax cuts will have been in place plus the loss of benefits.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Thursday, August 04, 2011

DOW FALLS 400 POINTS; NASDAQ DROPS 100 ON GROWTH FEARS

The budget law was supposed to make Wall St feel better that we are getting our financial house in order. What it proved was that Washington, the RIPublicans in particular, are unable to compromise on anything to create a balance approach to solving problems. Just when the economy needs a boost, as in 1938, the RIPublicans have pushed through an austerity measure that will doom the economy to a double dip recession. The austerity measure did not work in '38, in fact, the economy did not improve until massive government spending was initiated on entering into WWII. I have stated this before, like many Keynesians, that government creates jobs during recessions, not business. Business will do everything it can to hang onto capital, regardless of the effects on the economy. Without government spending money on job creation through infrastructure development, there will be no knock effect to the economy. We will drift further into the red. Tax revenues will decrease further, making the "debt ceiling" arrive even faster as the government will have to borrow more fund to make up the lost revenue. The only way to make the economy move is for the government to spend money to create jobs. The only way to pay for that is to increase tax revenues and change the tax code to make it unfavorable to hold onto capital, move it overseas, or to speculate. Loop holes need to be closed and fast. Capital gains need to be changed to a time basis for the security help from 90% for less than 1 day to no tax for holding it for 10 years or more. Jobs shipped overseas should fall under a special tax to compensate the country for lost revenue for loss of jobs and not being able to tax earnings made in a foreign country. The RIPublicans are running this country into a ditch, just as they did after taking over from Clinton and after controlling the government during the 1920s. This is the Party of the rich and not so famous, but powerful. This is the Party of corporations, wealth generation, and subjugation of the working people. This is the Party that, as Karl Rove said, is looking for one party rule-the RIPublican Party. This is the Party that is a 5th column for the fascists. What the base of the Tea Party doesn't understand, is that they are supporting the destruction of the country as they know it, and will put corporations firmly in power and out in the open.

FAA Shutdown and Republican hate for human beings.

Yet again the failure of Obama as a leader and President to solve an issue. Under the Constitution, Article II, Section 3, the President has the authority to convene both houses of Congress. In other words, he can cancel their summer vacation (the House scheduled 150 days of vacation this year) and work until they pass legislation to reauthorize the FAA. $200 million per week in revenue is at stake, potentially $1 billion before Congress actually does something. The real issue is that Republicans wanted to scrap new rules which give airline employees greater trade union rights. Again it comes down to the rights of workers over the rich and powerful, and corporations. RIPublicans do not care a lick about this country, just about money.

Workers continue to suffer

Holly Sklar points out what is true about job creation in this country in general, and what wages have become, an enslavement to the middle class and the poor.  This enslavement is caused by the loss of income on a real level when adjusted for inflation since the 1960s.  because of that, households NEED two incomes to stay current with their parents era of cost of living and prosperity.  This leads to other problems in the breakdown of families, reduced health care, education, and economic growth for the country.  The rich continue to syphon off the wealth of the nation, as the income disparity is the highest of any OECD country.


Published: 7/27/11 @ 12:00


By Holly Sklar
McClatchy-Tribune
Big company CEOs got a 23 percent raise last year and corporate profits are at record highs. But the minimum wage has less buying power now than in 1956 — the year Elvis Presley first topped the charts, videotape was breakthrough technology and the Dow closed above 500 for the very first time.
It’s no accident wages are down while corporate profits are up. As JPMorgan’s July 11 “Eye on the Market” newsletter put it, “Reductions in wages and benefits explain the majority of the net improvement in (profit) margins... US labor compensation is now at a 50-year low relative to both company sales and US GDP.”
The minimum wage sets the floor under wages, and that floor is sinking. The 1956 minimum wage was $8.30, adjusted for inflation.
Today’s minimum wage is $7.25 — just $15,080 annually.
CEOs make more in a few hours than minimum wage workers who care for children, the ill and the elderly make in a year. Median CEO pay was $10.8 million last year among 200 big companies measured by Equilar.
Minimum wage workers
The $15,080 minimum wage workers have for rent, groceries, transportation, medicine and everything else for the year doesn’t even buy 2 pounds of the imported caviar featured in the Forbes Cost of Living Extremely Well Index.
The last increase in the minimum wage to $7.25 on July 24, 2009, was so little so late it left workers 30 percent below the minimum wage peak of $10.38 in 1968 — $21,590 annually — in 2011 dollars.
Today’s retail clerks, health aides, child care workers, restaurant workers, security guards and other minimum wage workers have $6,500 less in annual buying power than their 1968 counterparts.

That doesn’t help our corner stores, our communities or our national economy. It hurts.
We didn’t have to go backwards. U.S. income grew $11,684 on average between 1969 and 2008, the year Wall Street drove our economy off a cliff. But there was nothing average about the actual income distribution. Every dime of income growth went to the top 10 percent. Income for the bottom 90 percent declined.
Compare that to the period between 1917 (when the data began) and 1968. Income growth averaged $26,574. The top 10 percent got 31 percent of that growth. The bottom 90 percent got 69 percent.
You can’t have a strong middle class or a strong economy if the bottom 90 percent gets none of the nation’s income growth.
If the minimum wage had stayed above the $10.38 value it had in 1968, it would have put upward pressure — rather than downward pressure — on the average worker wage. Wal-Mart and McDonald’s, our nation’s largest employers, couldn’t routinely pay $7.25 or a little above.
McDonald’s wages would be more like In-N-Out Burger, which has an entry wage of $10 plus good benefits and beats McDonald’s and other fast food chains in the new Consumer Reports ratings for food, service, value and speed. Wal-Mart’s wages would be closer to Costco, which pays starting wages of $11, has the lowest employee turnover in retail, doesn’t need to spend money on advertising and outperforms Wal-Mart.
The 2010 American Values Survey found that 67 percent of Americans supported increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.
Wrong claims
Critics routinely oppose minimum wage increases in good times and bad, claiming wrongly they will increase unemployment. The most rigorous studies of the impact of actual minimum wage increases, including two studies published recently in the journal Industrial Relations and the Review of Economics and Statistics, show they do not cause job losses — whether during periods of economic growth or recession.
In the words of John Shepley, co-owner of Emory Knoll Farms in Maryland and a member of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage: “The notion that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs is just bunk. People at the lower end of earnings tend to spend 100 percent of their after-tax income. They put it right back into local businesses buying food, clothing, car repairs and other necessities. ... When the minimum wage is too low it not only impoverishes productive workers, it weakens the key consumer demand at the heart of our local economy.”
Holly Sklar of Boston is author of “A Just Minimum Wage: Good for Workers, Business and Our Future” (www.letjusticeroll.org) and “Raise the Floor: Wages and Policies That Work for All of Us.”

Koch-Funded Americans for Prosperity Sends Dems Wrong Voter Info in WI Recall Elections

Associated Press
Wis. Dems cry foul over recall ballot mailing
By SCOTT BAUER , 08.02.11, 04:46 PM EDT

MADISON, Wis. -- The Wisconsin Democratic Party is calling for an investigation into whether a conservative group tried to suppress turnout in next week's state senate recall elections by misinforming voters about the deadline for absentee ballots.

State Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate on Tuesday asked U.S. Attorney James Santelle to investigate an Americans for Prosperity mailing that erroneously stated that absentee ballots received before Aug. 11 for an Aug. 9 election would count. Only ballots received by Aug. 9 will count.

Americans for Prosperity state director Matt Seaholm blames the error on a typo and says complaints over the mailing are frivolous.

This is the ONLY election fraud that happens on any scale in this country.  There are not millions of votes that are fraudulent, but the RIPublicans and their backers do everything they can to influence elections on grand scales.  If not sending out misinformation to Democrats so that their votes won't count, it changing the laws to access their rights to votes, to out right tampering with the voting machines themselves.  RIPublicans are more concerned with power then they are with democracy.  Had it not been for vote tampering on their part, GWB would never been elected either time, and nor would the RIPublicans have held Congress for those 6 years.

It is time for the Democrats to STOP playing nice.  They need to press this case until someone goes to jail.  The Democratic Party needs to get tough at the local level before the national party will do anything.  Terry McAuliffe has caused more long term damage to the Democratic Party than any RIPublican has, by making the party so dependent of corporate financial support.

The Dems need to wage an all out war on changing the laws that the RIPublicans have passed that have restricted the rights of Americans to exercising their Constitutional right:

Americans have the right to vote without meeting a means test.
Americans have the right to form unions, without hinderance from corporations, and to collectively bargain.
Americans have the right to clean water, clean air, and uncontaminated soil.  It is the government s job to ensure that fror the people.
Americans have the right healthcare, and when corporations make it so that it becomes unaffordable, the government has the Constitutional responsibility to provide it.

The RIPublicans and their Tea Party allies are not democratic.  They are tyrannical, not just against the American people, but against themselves.  If someone does not toe their party line, they are threatened with removal from office.  Their party is right in all things and no deviation is permitted.  These people are no different then the Leninist philosophy that there should be one party, and that party is the only way to force their economic philosophy on the people.  It is just that the RIPublicans and the Tea Party are extreme capitalists rather than Marxists.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Which Three Democratic Senators?


It seems to me that this committee system establishe­d by the debt increase legislatio­n will end up being a taxation without representa­tion issue. There is a good possibilit­y that none of my representa­tives to Congress (both Democratic and RIPublican­) will be on it. Yet my representa­tives only egt a yeah or nay vote on whatever proposal is made. Congress essentiall­y become a rubber stamp of a more elite establishm­ent within government­. Since we will not know what they debated and who spoke to/lobbied this commission­, we do not know who has applied pressure and influence on their deliberati­ons.



Also, it is possible that the Boehner will appoint TP members as they have the most influence in his caucus. This will result in a failure to get any bill sent to Congress and subsequent­ly initiate automatic cuts to the budget without any new revenue ( which is the whole problem with the budget). These automatic cuts are again illegal as Congress has abrogated their responsibi­lity to the American people.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Lawrence O'Donnell Explains His Belief In Socialism (VIDEO)


Socialists argue that socialism is about bringing human social organizati­on up to the level of current technologi­cal capability to fully take advantage of modern technology­. They argue that capitalism is either obsolete or approachin­g obsolescen­ce as a viable system for producing and distributi­ng wealth in an effective manner. Socialists generally argue that capitalism concentrat­es power and wealth within a small segment of society that controls the means of production and derives its wealth through a system of exploitati­on. This creates a stratified society based on unequal social relations that fails to provide equal opportunit­ies for every individual to maximize their potential, and does not utilise available technology and resources to their maximum potential in the interests of the public, and focuses on satisfying market-ind­uced wants as opposed to human needs. Socialists argue that socialism would allow for wealth to be distribute­d based on how much one contribute­s to society, as opposed to how much capital one holds.



Socialists hold that capitalism is an illegitima­te economic system, since it serves the interests of the wealthy and allows the exploitati­on of lower classes. Capitalism is the unfair distributi­on of wealth and power; a tendency toward market monopoly or oligopoly (and government by oligarchy)­; imperialis­m, counter-re­volutionar­y wars and various forms of economic and cultural exploitati­on; repression of workers and trade unionists; social alienation­; economic inequality­; unemployme­nt; and economic instabilit­y.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost