Economic Injustice

Now, Who Exactly Is Doing The Looting & Who’s Being Looted Of What?

We live in an Orwellian era, in which working-class people pilfering convenience store goods is called “looting.” Rich people stealing hundreds of billions of dollars, on the other hand, is just well-functioning “public policy.” By David Sirota Jacobin (5/29/20) Headlines this morning are all about looting — specifically, looting in Minneapolis, after the police killing of an unarmed African-American man was caught on video. In the modern vernacular, that word “looting” is loaded — it comes with all sorts of race and class connotations. And we have to understand that terms like “looting” are an example of the way our media often imperceptibly trains…

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Is Elon Musk(rat) Really A Genius? Um, No, He’s Just Another Whiny, Self-Important, Hypocritical, Freeloading, Grifting Little Billionaire

Just another freeloading beneficary of taxpayer support, exploitation of workers and big talking record of lying. “F*ck, Elon Musk.” By Mehdi Hasan Deconstructed (5/14/20) OVER THE WEEKEND, Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to voice his frustrations about the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown in Alameda County, California. The billionaire entrepreneur threatened that he would take his auto factory to another state if it was not allowed to reopen immediately. On Monday, he announced that he would be resuming production at the facility in contravention of the lockdown. By Wednesday morning, the county had caved to Musk, announcing that his factory would…


House Dems’ Covid-19 Zero ‘Heroes Act’ A Recruiting Gift To Fascist Movement

Twisted by loyalty to corporate whim, corporate democrats are blind to the seeds of destruction they are sowing. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/14/20) Once again House democrats under the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) left average working people — those losing their jobs, health care and homes in the midst of a deadly pandemic — out in the cold. In the democrats’  recently proposed “Heroes Act” corporate interests — and even corporate lobbyists for Godsake — got a full menu of bailouts, tax breaks, kickbacks and tax shelters. Meanwhile, the people at risk — those working…


What’s Really Going On Behind All The Headlines, News Updates & Trump Tweet Storms

Now the oligarchy is striking back. Forget Trump. He is just their useful idiot du jour.  By John Lemberger The Commoner Call (5/10/20) Trump is many ugly things. He is a serial liar, a sexual abuser of women, a swindler, a narcissist, grifter, and  psychological chameleon capable of converting from a sociopath to a psychopath right before our eyes. But he is also a Libertarian of the worst kind — the Charles Koch kind — which means he will lie, cheat and steal to destroy our majority-democracy and replace it with minority-rule Libertarianism. The important battle right now in America…


Billionaires Are Eating Our Economy & Future

While a few have pledged small percentages of their fortunes to fight the virus, most have held fast to their wealth. By J.C. Pan New Republic (5/7/20) Earlier this week, public health researchers projected that one in four Americans would experience hunger and food insecurity in the coming months as a result of the economic crash and mass unemployment set off by the pandemic. Even now, up to 71 percent of people who applied for unemployment benefits haven’t yet received them, and food bank lines are overextended, with car lines stretching for miles in some cases. In the new economic downturn, which so far shows every sign of approaching or…


Capitalism And The Empty Illusion Of American Democracy

Neoconservative foreign policy— support for right-wing coups abroad, stealth wars and the consolidation of power in the U.S. presidency, are matched through neoliberal support for Wall Street and austerity programs. By Rob Urie Counterpunch (4/24/20) Something to consider while suffering through the daily barrage of fabulist blather from Donald Trump is that if the Democrats thought it would benefit their cause, they would be putting Joe Biden front and center to counter this pain. That they aren’t suggests that they understand exactly how politically tenuous Mr. Biden is. In turn, that Joe Biden is their choice suggests that all isn’t…


Cashing In On Pandemic? Documents Show Lawmakers Made 1,500 Stock Transactions Worth $158 Million as Covid-19 Spread

“The stock trading was bipartisan—27 Democrats, 21 Republicans, and 1 independent were making trades as the devastation that Covid-19 would exact on the U.S. crystallized.” By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (5/30/20) A new analysis of financial disclosure documents found that Republican and Democratic members of Congress made nearly 1,500 stock transactions worth up to $158 million between February and April as the coronavirus spread across the U.S., heightening suspicions that elected officials in charge of the federal response to the pandemic have opportunistically cashed in on it. The Campaign Legal Center (CLC), a non-partisan watchdog group, uncovered at least 127 purchases or sales in securities by…


Viral Injustice: How The Pandemic Is Unmasking The U.S Economic, Racist & Immigration Systems

  America Unmasked By Jeremy Scahill Intercepted (4/29/20) THE U.S. HAS now surpassed a million confirmed Covid-19 cases and is nearing a death toll of 60,000. This week on Intercepted: While the statistics are grim, the harsh reality is how the Trump administration — as well as some governors and mayors — handled this crisis made the situation much more deadly than it should have been. New York Magazine writer Zak Cheney-Rice discusses how the economic, social, racial, and gender injustices that predate this pandemic have impacted the most vulnerable people in the United States. He also discusses Trump’s incompetence, Joe…


Freeloading CEOs, Not The Unemployed, Are America’s True ‘moral hazard’

Many Republicans believe economic relief for those without jobs encourages slacking off. But it is grifting corporations that are bailed out again and again. By Robert Reich The Guardian (4/20/20) The coronavirus relief enacted by Congress is barely reaching Americans in need. This week, checks of up to $1,200 are being delivered through direct-deposit filings with the Internal Revenue Service. But low-income people who have not directly deposited their taxes won’t get them for weeks or months. Worse yet, the US treasury is allowing banks to seize payments to satisfy outstanding debts. Meanwhile, most of the promised $600 weekly extra unemployment benefits remain stuck in offices…


‘I struck a nerve’: The Comedian Whose Rant Against Bipartisan Congressional Bailouts Of Corporations & Bilionaires Went Viral

  “That video isn’t an act, that’s coming from the heart and soul. It resonated with working people because we have no voice in this country.” By Poppy Noor The Guardian (4/24/20) Vic DiBitetto is a performer, so he’s used to drawing in big crowd – but he didn’t quite expect that a recent video he made would be viewed over 10m times. The near five-minute rant about the government’s response to the coronavirus shows DiBitetto, a New Yorker, enunciating so much that spit flies around him in the car. His face is red and he barely finishes a sentence…


The Brutal Bipartisan Betrayal — If You Are Not In The 1% Or A Major Corporation Do Not Expect Any Meaningful Help From Congress

No meaningful care will come from congress or the White House. [Editor’s Note: The following is commentary I made in the April 24 broadcast of the ‘Month In Review’ on the community-supported radio station WDRT. In the face of a frightening public health emergency, both Republicans and Democrats have — for all practical purposes — abandoned the people. — Mark L. Taylor] By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (4/27/20) One positive thing the pandemic has done is it has stripped bare the inequity and corruption of  both political parties and made clear the job of the government is not…


Meet The Economist Behind The One Percent’s Stealthy Overthrow Of America

    The Holy Grail was the Constitution: alter it and you could increase and secure the power of the wealthy in a way that no politician could ever challenge. By Lynn Parramore Institute For New Economic Thinking (5/30/18) Ask people to name the key minds that have shaped America’s burst of radical right-wing attacks on working conditions, consumer rights and public services, and they will typically mention figures like free market-champion Milton Friedman, libertarian guru Ayn Rand, and laissez-faire economists Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. James McGill Buchanan is a name you will rarely hear unless you’ve taken several…


PSST, Here’s The Plan: Save Capital & Let The People Die

  Whether Americans know it or not, their government is not working for them. By Hamilton Nolan In These Times (4/6/20) Fantasize for a moment that we could set aside politics and operate based upon common sense. What would the federal government do to best mitigate the devastation that this pandemic will visit upon human beings? It would, first of all, provide free healthcare to everyone. It would distribute medical resources nationally based on the greatest need. Then, to protect people from the necessary economic deep freeze we are all in due to social distancing, the government would pursue measures…


Mike McCabe: A Nation In Distress & Crippled By Corporatocracy

It all comes down to sovereignty—the question of who rules. By Mike McCabe Our Wisconsin Revolution (4/20/20) Our nation’s founders were racist, sexist, elitist and quite a few other ists. Some more than others. But they had something else in common. They hated being under the King of England’s thumb. At the time, monarchs were thought to have a divine right to rule, a mandate from heaven. To think otherwise was to deny providence. Rather than continuing to submit to royal decrees, the founders chose to deny providence. These slaveholding aristocrats did a radical, revolutionary, heretical thing. They redefined the…


Billionaire Investor: “Why I argued billionaires, speculators should get wiped out.”

Now mind you, the congressional democrats signed off on this as well. The Rising / The Hill (4/17/20) Chamath Palihapitiya, Founder and CEO of Social Capital gives insight on how Congress should approach the bailout bills, after his CNBC interview went viral. Link To 9+-Minute Video (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2020. Open source and free non-derivative use with link to www.thecommoner.call )  


Circling The Drain: The Rich Wanted To Strangle A Tiny Government In A Bathtub To Avoid Taxes; Now It Turns Out We Need A Competent State

Right wing false economy: A “closed indefinitely” sign has literally been hung on the American economy. By Jim Hightower Other Words (4/15/20) Amazingly, America has become a nation of socialists, asking in dismay: “Where’s the government?” These are not born-again Bernie Sanders activists, but people of all political stripes (including previously apolitical multitudes) who are now clamoring for big government intervention in their lives. Nothing like a spreading coronavirus pandemic to bring home the need that all of us have — both as individuals and as a society — for an adequately funded, fully functioning, competent government capable of serving…


“There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation. “

  “Men with hoses squirt kerosene on the oranges, and they are angry at the crime, angry at the people who have come to take the fruit. … There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation. There is a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolize. There is a failure here that topples all our success. … In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.” — John Steinbeck, The Grapes Of Wrath (1939) ***** Wisconsin Dairy Industry Calls For Help As Farmers Forced To Dump Milk Amid COVID-19…


Capitalizing On Death: The Plan Of The American Establishment Is To Save Capital & Let The People Die

We are told we’re a nation at war. In real wars, we have higher taxes on the rich. This time, we are giving investors a tax cut. By Hamilton Nolan In These Times (4/6/20) Fantasize for a moment that we could set aside politics and operate based upon common sense. What would the federal government do to best mitigate the devastation that this pandemic will visit upon human beings? It would, first of all, provide free healthcare to everyone. It would distribute medical resources nationally based on the greatest need. Then, to protect people from the necessary economic deep freeze…


Want To Understand What Is Going On In America Right Now? Then Understand The ‘Shock Doctrine’

Intercepted: Mehdi Hasan & Naomi Klein Review Mounting Cost Of  Pro-Corporate Coronavirus ‘Shock Doctrine’ Capitalism Intercepted (4/7/20) The Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan speaks with Senior Correspondent Naomi Klein about coronavirus capitalism and the selective use of emergency measures to offload risks onto workers and families, while the people who are relatively more secure get no-strings-attached bailouts. Link To 33-Minute Video (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L.Taylor, 2020. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org ) ***** The ‘Shock Doctrine’ Documentary By Naomi Klein The Shock Doctrine is Canadian author and social activist Naomi Klein’s companion piece to…


America’s Billionaires Brag About Giving To Charity – But Much Of It Is Self-Serving Rubbish

Well-publicized philanthropy shows how afraid the super-rich are of a larger social safety net – and higher taxes. By Robert Reich The Guardian (4/12/20) As millions of jobless Americans line up for food or risk their lives delivering essential services, the nation’s billionaires are making conspicuous donations – $100m from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos for food banks, billions from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates for a coronavirus vaccine, thousands of ventilators and N95 masks from Elon Musk, $25m from the Walton family and its Walmart foundation. The list goes on. On Wednesday, Forbes released its annual billionaires list, happily noting that “the planet’s wealthiest are…


American Capitalism Has Dropped Its Mask — And Its Face Is Cold, Cruel & Selfish

The shortage of supplies is directly the result of a capitalist system so unregulated that it is designed to benefit only shareholders, not societies. By Sonali Kolhatkar Independent Media Institute (4/6/20) Among the countless distressing news stories covering the COVID-19 pandemic over the past month are the heartwarming ones that focus on what ordinary human beings are doing to help one another during this historic crisis. Many of these “good news” reports have focused on a nation-wide effort by fashion industry labels, domestic apparel manufacturers, and amateur seamstresses to mass-produce the much-needed masks that are in short supply. But what most of the stories…


Letter From A Fired Worker: Dear Jeff Bezos, Instead Of Firing Me, Protect Your Workers From Coronavirus

Amazon thinks we are expendable. By Chris Smalls The Guardian (4/2/20) Dear Jeff Bezos, When I applied to work at Amazon, the job description was simple. It said you need to have a high-school diploma or a GED (general educational development) and you have to be able to lift 50lbs. That’s it. Now, because of Covid-19, we’re being told that Amazon workers are “the new Red Cross”. But we don’t want to be heroes. We are regular people. I don’t have a medical degree. I wasn’t trained to be a first responder. We shouldn’t be asked to risk our lives to come…


‘Dirty Money’ is back on Netflix—and it’s investigating the FDA, the EPA & Jared Kushner

The second season of the docuseries about business gone bad broadly covers capitalism run amok, and examines the boundaries companies are willing to cross in the name of turning a profit. By Yasmin Gagne Fast Company (3/11/20) In 2006, at the age of 25, Jared Kushner purchased the storied weekly newspaper The New York Observer (now a digital-only publication known as Observer). Over the next few years, he used the media property to elevate his social standing in New York’s elite circles. At the same time, he oversaw his family firm’s disastrous acquisition of the (incredibly named) 666 Fifth Avenue for a record…


No Greater Love Hath Trump Than To Lay Down Your Measly, Trashy Little, Unimportant Life For His Re-Election

  Our fearful leader’s latest gambit is to blame everyone else as he desperately tries to squirm his way to November’s election. By Richard Wolffe The Guardian (3/25/20) Donald Trump isn’t much of a doctor or scientist. He isn’t much of a diplomat or general. His leadership skills match his business skills. There’s a reason his companies went bankrupt so many times. But he might just be a pioneer with this idea of letting people die for the sake of the country. Only a once-in-a-century leader has the guts to say out loud what the worst among us are really thinking: everyone…


Give To The Rich: The Bill Gates Charity Paradox

A ‘Nation’ investigation illustrates the moral hazards surrounding the Gates Foundation’s $50 billion charitable enterprise. By Tim Schwab The Nation (3/30/20) Last fall, Netflix premiered a three-part documentary that promises viewers a rare look at the inner life of one of history’s most controversial businessmen. Over three hours, Inside Bill’s Brain shows us a rare emotional side to Bill Gates as he processes the loss of his mother and the death of his estranged best friend and Microsoft cofounder, Paul Allen. Mostly, though, the film reinforces the image many of us already had of the ambitious technologist, insatiable brainiac, and heroic philanthropist. Inside Bill’s Brain falls into a…


Toilet Paper Teaches You All You Need To Know About Economics & The Political Parties

    Capitalism: You have a case of toilet paper. You loan one roll to someone in exchange for regularly receiving more rolls from them. Vulture Capitalism: You buy up the world’s supply of toilet paper, and sell off the individual pieces at a steep markup. Free-market Capitalism: You have a roll of toilet paper, which you are free to use as you wish… or you could sell it, if you want to eat. You have total freedom of choice in the matter. Late Stage Capitalism: You have one roll of toilet paper. Some people have none. I have warehouses…


US Senators Accused Of Coronavirus Insider Trading Embody The Moral Bankruptcy Of The Establishment

[Cartoon Note: Inspiration was drawn from one of many online comments seen throughout the past five days. The idea stuck with me, but I do not recall who wrote the original comment. — Mark L. Taylor] By Nathan Robinson The Guardin (3/21/20) There’s something deeply disturbing about seeing someone profit from a disaster, and we’ve already seen a few examples in the present crisis. First it was the guys who bought up over 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer in the hopes of selling them at a high markup. (After Amazon put a stop to their sales, the pair of hoarders donated the sanitizer.)…


A Stinking Mess: Toilet Paper Wars And The Shithouse Of Capitalism

Looking out for number one, so you can continue to do your number twos in peace. By Simon Spring Common Dreams (3/15/20) The run on toilet paper has brought the failings of capitalism front and center to the bathroom of every house across Australia, a trend that has now spread to other countries. We are witnessing, in real-time and with stunning consequence, the stone-cold fact that markets are an ineffective mediator of resources, prone to the worst vagaries of herd mentality. Perceived impending shortages of toilet paper owing to the spread of COVID-19 set off widespread panic. We might be…


‘Grotesque Level of Greed’: Owned By World’s Richest Man Jeff Bezos, Whole Foods Wants Workers To Pay For Colleagues’ Sick Leave During Coronavirus Pandemic

“With the amount Jeff Bezos makes in one day, he could shut stores down and pay employees to stay safe.” By Jon Queally Common Dreams (3/ When progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders say “now is the time for solidarity” amid the coronavirus outbreak, they likely do not mean that employees of Whole Foods—owned by the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos—should be asked to give their own accrued paid sick days to their co-workers who have either contracted the deadly virus or been forced to take time out of work because of what is now a global pandemic. But that is exactly…


Target Raised Wages, Then Slashed Workers’ Hours & Doubled Their Workload

By Michael Sainato The Guardian (2/27/20) Adam Ryan, 31, has worked at Target in Christiansburg, Virginia, for three years. He works additional jobs whenever he’s able to, but is regularly scheduled only 20 hours per week at Target, despite having open availability. “I have to live with my family because I can’t afford rent on my own. I don’t have health insurance. I’ve had a rotting tooth in my mouth for years that I haven’t been able to receive treatment. I’ve applied for Medicaid in Virginia and every time I’m told I make too much money, and Target has told me…


Here They Come Again: The Kind Of Neoliberal Democrats Who Actually Prefer Trump Over Sanders

Here’s the question: to what extent is the Establishment’s commitment to democratic institutions greater than their commitment to current forms of capitalist hierarchy? It seems like we are about to find out. By Adolph Reed Jr. Common Dreams (2/11/20) Twenty-four years ago, I published an essay titled “Liberals, I Do Despise” in the Village Voice, which Common Dreams reprinted as an enduring oldie in 2009. The title was a play on an old doggerel, in this case rendering it: Liberals and flies, I do despise The more I see liberals, the more I like flies. I wrote the essay in disgust after Bill Clinton concluded…


America’s Top 10 Corporate Tax Avoiders, Cheats & Freeloaders You Pay For

  Sen. Bernie Sanders Senate Website 1. General Electric From 2008 to 2013, while GE made over $33.9 billion in United States profits, it received a total tax refund of more than $2.9 billion from the Internal Revenue Service. G.E.’s effective U.S. corporate income tax rate over this six year period was -9 percent. In 2012, GE stashed $108 billion in offshore tax havens to avoid paying income taxes. If this practice were outlawed, GE would have paid $37.8 billion in federal income taxes that year. During the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve provided GE with $16 billion in financial assistance, at a time when its CEO…


Want To Attack “Democratic Socialism” – Bring It On Corporate Socialists!

Taxpayers don’t want our commonwealth being owned by tax-dodging, gouging corporations. By Ralph Nader Common Dreams (2/15/20) Crooked Donald Trump, the erstwhile failed gambling czar and corporate welfare king, is assailing Bernie Sanders for his “radical socialism.” How ludicrous given Trump’s three-year giveaway of taxpayer assets and authorities to giant corporations – a perfect portrait of crony capitalism. Others are joining the socialist labeling bandwagon, including corporatist right-wing radio talk show blowhards, themselves freeloaders, profitably using the public airwaves. This pack includes Lloyd Blankfein, former lawbreaking chairman of Goldman Sachs. Bernie knows, of course, how to rebut this distorted interpretation…


Bernie’s Bottom Line On Greedy Billionaires

“Here’s the bottom line. When you have three people that own more wealth than the bottom half of America, when half of the people are living paycheck to paycheck, when 500,000 Americans are sleeping out on the street, yes, the rich have got to pay and the large corporations have got to pay their fair share of taxes. We will raise taxes very substantially on billionaires — no apologies for that.” — Sen. Bernie Sanders, Bernie Sanders fires back at CNN’s Tapper after being confronted with past statements about income inequality (2/9/20)


If Worker Pay Had Kept Pace With Productivity Gains Since 1968, Today’s Minimum Wage Would Be $24 An Hour

In such a world, a full-time minimum wage worker would be earning $48,000 a year in the United States. By Dean Baker Center for Economic & Policy Research (1/21/20) If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation since 1968, it would be close to $12 an hour today, more than 65 percent higher than the national minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. While this would make a huge difference in the lives of many people earning close to the national minimum wage, it is actually a relatively unambitious target. Until 1968, the minimum wage not only kept pace with…



A Commoner Writes: Thirty Pieces Of Silver

Truth reflects fact and reality. Lasting relationships depend on truth. Persons of faith should recognize truth as the cornerstone of their belief system. As children, we learned how important it is to be truthful. To know truth was reassuring, it provided security, and promoted trust. If truth or trust were absent, children suffered insecurity and anxiety. As adults, we live in a world that is not always what it seems. We avoid those with a loose connection to truth. We understand that liars are untrustworthy and dangerous. The statement “buyer beware” reflects this reality. We consciously avoid those who look…


Hope And Crisis On The ‘Tightrope’ Of Working-Class America

  By Meghna Chakrabarti & Stefano Kotsonis On Point / WBUR (1/14/20) One-quarter of Nick Kristof’s high school class died prematurely. The New York Times columnist went back to his hometown to find out why. Guests Sheryl WuDunn, business executive and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. (@WuDunn) Nick Kristof, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times. (@NickKristof) Their new book is “Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope.” In 1990, WuDunn and Kristof became the first married couple to receive a Pulitzer Prize for journalism, for their reporting on the Tiananmen Square protests and massacre. Diane Reynolds, ordained pastor and founder of the nonprofit Provoking Hope. She…


What Citizen Needs Could Be Met If Billionaires Paid The Taxes They Should? We Do The Math

The richest 1% own nearly 40% of all the wealth, but pay only 20% of all the taxes.   By Michael Linden The Guardian (12/13/19) “Every billionaire is a policy failure.” So says a key adviser to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Ocasio-Cortez herself says that it’s wrong to have a “system that allows billionaires to exist” alongside poverty. And the New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo recently called for us to “abolish billionaires”. For most of the last four decades, the gains from economic growth have flowed overwhelmingly to the rich. Much of those gains to the rich weren’t “earned” in any traditional sense, but rather extracted,…


Wealth Of World’s Richest 500 Zoomed 25% In 2019

  By Sarah Ruiz-Grossman Huffington Post (12/27/19) The world’s richest 500 people increased their collective wealth by 25% in 2019 ― a stark reminder of worsening income inequality, particularly in the U.S. The 500 wealthiest people held a net worth of $5.9 trillion dollars ― collectively up $1.2 trillion over this year alone, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Topping the list of richest people were familiar names: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, followed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, French luxury group head Bernard Arnault, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett and Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The 400 richest people in…