One Percenters

Inside ‘The Corporate Coup D’Etat’ That’s Created A New, Brutally Unjust Gilded Age

“They are just looting and stealing as fast as they can as everything collapses.” — Author Chris Hedges, interviewed in The Corporate Coup D’Etat.   [Editor’s Note: Film producer Jeff Cohen has pointed advice for democrats in 2020 regarding the party’s timid, go-slow, incremental ever corporate-friendly posture. Advice, that if ignored could well assure Trump victory in 2020. — Mark L. Taylor] Status Coup (7/20/19) Status Coup’s Jordan Chariton speaks with Jeff Cohen, the founder of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting) and executive producer of the film “The Corporate Coup D’Etat’.” Link to 19-Minute Video (Commoner Call art by Mark…

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Cornered Billionaires Are Freaking Out!

Bill Gates is thinking about voting for Donald Trump, while Mike Bloomberg intends to vote for himself. By Zach Carter HuffPost (11/8/19) Since early summer, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have been drawing huge crowds to their rallies, dominating the televised debates, and setting fundraising records with support exclusively from small donors. Most importantly, their surging popularity stems from their plans to dramatically expand the federal government, paid for in large part through a wealth tax. This populist turn has the rest of the Democratic presidential field scrimmaging for what’s left — namely, the support of the party’s super-rich….


After Trump Tax Giveaways The Richest 1% Close To Topping Wealth Of Entire Middle Class

  By Mary Papenfuss HuffPost (11/9/19) As the wealth gap in the U.S. continues to widen, the top 1% of Americans are close to amassing more wealth than the entire middle class, according to the latest data from the Federal Reserve, Bloomberg reports. Part of that growing divide is fueled by President Donald Trump’s tax cuts and his relentless drive for lower interest rates. The top richest Americans had assets of about $35.4 trillion in the second quarter. That’s just short of the $36.9 trillion held by the tens of millions of Americans who make up the middle and upper-middle classes…


McDonald’s Fired CEO Is Getting Cushy $42 Million Pay Out While Many Of His Workers Depend Upon Welfare To Survive

More than half of fast-food workers rely on public assistance programs like food stamps. By Alina Selyukh NPR (11/6/19) Former McDonald’s CEO Stephen Easterbrook is getting an exit package of almost $42 million after his relationship with an employee was found to violate company policy. The size of his compensation puts a new focus on the widening gap between the pay at the top and the bottom of the corporate ladder. According to an analysis by executive-compensation experts at Equilar, Easterbrook’s exit package totals $41.8 million, which includes six months of severance pay, shares he can cash out in the future and…


Not To Worry, We’ll Just Put It On Your Tab: Trump Treasury Moves To Eliminate Rules Against Corporate Tax Cheating

Companies will avoid taxes on $235 billion in profits each year going forward. By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (11/1/19) President Donald Trump’s Treasury Department on Thursday took the first step toward eliminating remaining regulations designed to prevent corporations from avoiding U.S. taxes by storing profits overseas, a move critics decried as yet another harmful giveaway to big business. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive, said in a statement that the 2017 GOP tax law—which disproportionately benefited the rich—rendered Obama-era rules against offshore tax avoidance “obsolete” by significantly reducing the corporate tax rate. “The corporations that got a massive taxpayer handout are getting another gift…


Former NYC Medical Examiner Says Evidence In Jeffrey Epstein Death Indicates Homicide — Not Suicide

  [Editor’s Note: Note how this story has disappeared from the mainstream media. Jeffrey Epstein had a list — a bipartisan list — of powerful friends. You will only find stories about the Epstein sex scandal in the alternative media. It is an important story we need to keep track of. — Mark L. Taylor] By David Badash The New Civil Rights Movement (10/30/19) A former New York City medical examiner and forensic pathologist says the evidence in the Jeffrey Epstein case points not to suicide – as has been officially declared – but homicide. Epstein, a convicted sex offender, was awaiting…


What Ronan Farrow Discovered About How Multiple Corrupt Corporate Systems Cover Up Sexual Abuse

PBS NewsHour (10/14/19) Ronan Farrow’s explosive reporting on movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct helped launch the MeToo movement in 2017 and won him a Pulitzer Prize in 2018. In his latest book, Farrow accuses NBC, his former employer, of trying to thwart his investigation of Weinstein. Farrow joins Judy Woodruff to discuss “Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators.” Link to 10-Minute Video ***** Ronan Farrow And The Revelations Of Reporting On Predators On Point / WBUR 910/18/19) Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer and reporting on powerful men with a lot at stake. A conversation…


America’s Rich Just Scored A Triple Jackpot (And You Get To Pay For It!)

By Sam Pizzigati Our Future (10/22019) At racetracks all across America, lucky bettors every so often rake in small fortunes when the horses they pick to finish one, two, three — a trifecta — just happen to finish in that order. Last spring at the Kentucky Derby, for instance, a $1 trifecta bet returned a tidy little $11,475.30. But America’s awesomely affluent don’t have to place any bets to rake in windfalls. They’re essentially hitting jackpots on a daily basis, as a “trifecta” of timely just-released research reminds us. The first of these three newly released blasts came in late September from the…


In A Nation Where Amazon* Paid No Taxes This Year: New Jersey Students With $75 Debt Barred From Dances & Trips

  By Luke O’Neil The Guardian (10/23/19) A school district in New Jersey has become the latest to punish its students for being unable to afford to pay for lunch. The Cherry Hill school board, which oversees 19 schools and about 11,000 students, agreed last week to prohibit students whose lunch debt is more than $75 from participating in extra-curricular activities such as school dances or trips. They will also be barred from purchasing a yearbook. Previously, the board had attempted to serve only tuna sandwiches to students with debt – something that prompted an outcry and was condemned as lunch-shaming. The school board says…


If Democrats ‘Don’t Have the Guts’ To Battle For-Profit Healthcare Industry, Says Sanders, ‘We Should Be Ashamed’

“I get a little bit tired, I must say, of people defending a system which is dysfunctional, which is cruel. Eighty-seven million uninsured, thirty-thousand people dying every single year, five-hundred thousand going bankrupt—for what reason?—they came down with cancer.” Common Dreams Staff (10/15/19) During a portion of Tuesday night’s Democratic debate focused on healthcare, Sen. Bernie Sanders interjected to castigate some of his 2020 primary rivals—namely former vice president Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg—for again repeating right-wing talking points against Medicare for All and defending the primacy of the for-profit insurance industry. “I get a little…


Precious Slackers: Hunter Biden Is A Reminder Of The Deep Moral Rot Of BOTH Political Parties

When you are the son of a famous and powerful politician, you are showered with opportunity, whether you deserve it or not. This is nepotism, but it is also, if we are being direct, a form of corruption. Moral corruption.  By Hamilton Nolan The Guardian (10/11/10) One of the peculiar stupidities of the American political mind is its resolute refusal to hold two separate ideas at once. Our dominant political narrative is like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book for morons, offering only a conservative red storyline or a liberal blue storyline, with nothing in between or outside those primary color bounds. Politicians themselves, out…


This Animated Graphic Tells The Tale Of Why America Is Falling Apart

“The question of our time is this: will we tolerate it? Or will we take back our democracy from the oligarchs who run this country?” By Julia Conley Common Dreams (10/7/19) For the first time in U.S. history, the 400 wealthiest Americans paid less in taxes last year than people in any other income group, thanks to decades of tax cuts and loopholes benefiting the rich. A year after the Republican tax plan—often called the #GOPTaxScam by critics—was passed into law, the richest people in the country were subject to a 23 percent rate in local, state, and federal taxes….


Wall Street Democratic Donors Warn The Party: We’ll sit out, or back Trump, if you nominate Elizabeth Warren

In recent interviews of several big-money Democratic donors and fundraisers in the business community, CNBC has found that this opinion is becoming widely shared as Warren surges against Joe Biden. By Brian Schwartz CNBC (9/26/19) Democratic donors on Wall Street and in big business are preparing to sit out the presidential campaign fundraising cycle — or even back President Donald Trump — if Sen. Elizabeth Warren wins the party’s nomination. In recent weeks, CNBC spoke to several high-dollar Democratic donors and fundraisers in the business community and found that this opinion was becoming widely shared as Warren, an outspoken critic of…


How Our Government Came To Be So Crippled By Corruption

    “As America’s political dysfunction has grown worse, the economic stagnation of the middle class has deepened. this is not a result of blind economic forces, Adam Smith’s invisible hand, globalization,or some nebulous cause. Specific committees of congress, inevitably assisted by specific K Street lobbyists, wrote legislation that achieved this result.” — Mike Lofgren, “The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went CRAZY, Democrats Became USELESS, And the Middle Class Got SHAFTED”, 2012 (p.1)


The Plutocratic War On We The People: Centrists & Conservatives Ignore The Greedy Elephant In Our National Living Room

  By John Atcheson Common Dreams (9/14/19) The best analogy I can think of to characterize what passes for political “debate” in America these days, is a bunch of people stuck in a rubber life raft with a big leak hissing away, drifting in the midst of a vast ocean surrounded for as far as they can see by starving sharks, while a few “leaders” insist on arguing about 1) whether there’s a leak; 2) whether to patch it; and 3) what to patch it with. The people in the raft—who can’t hear their leaders—are fed information back from a…


YES! — “I Don’t Think Billionaires Should Exist”: Sanders Proposes Wealth Tax To Slash Unearned Fortunes Of Ultra-Rich

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (9/24/19) To tackle “outrageous and grotesque and immoral” levels of inequality in the United States, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday proposed a new wealth tax on the richest Americans that economists say would slash the fortunes of billionaires in half over 15 years and raise an estimated $4.35 trillion in revenue during the first decade. “I don’t think that billionaires should exist,” Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, told the New York Times in an interview. “This proposal does not eliminate billionaires, but it eliminates a lot of the wealth that billionaires have, and I think that’s exactly what we…


Holdouts Vow To Challenge Purdue Pharma Settlement That Protects Multi-Billionaire Sackler Family Fortune

  “Purdue has had all of its money sucked from it by the Sacklers, so the money is with the Sacklers. This proposal is … not going to require the Sacklers to pay back any profits they took out from Purdue from the sales of OxyContin over the last 10 years.” — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy (D). By Nathaniel Weixel The Hill (9/17/19) Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy filing, the centerpiece of a settlement intended to shield the company and its owners from more than 2,500 lawsuits by cities and states over its role in the opioid crisis, is already facing…


In ‘Disgusting’ Move, Amazon’s Hypocritical Billionaire Jeff Bezos Abruptly Cuts Health Benefits for Nearly 2,000 Part-Time Whole Foods Workers

    [Editor’s Note: Now, keep in mind, Amazon paid no federal income tax in 2018 and, in fact, received a $129 federal tax rebate. All of that despite the company nearly doubling its profits to $11.2 billion in 2018, up from $5.6 billion the previous year. Bezos and two others now own more wealth than the bottom half of the country. Time for huge changes and run-of-the-mill neoliberal, pro-corporate dems like Joe Biden are not the answer for these deeply corrupted times. — Mark L. Taylor] By Eoin Higgins Common Dreams (9/13/19) Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on Thursday cut benefits for part-time…


Chris Hedges ‘On Contact’ — Tyranny Of The Corporate Workplace

By Chris Hedges On Contact / RT (9/14/19) Host Chris Hedges talks to Elizabeth Anderson, professor of philosophy at University of Michigan, about the tyranny of the corporate workplace from non-disclosure agreements to punitive, restrictive work conditions and censorship. Their discussion comes as California lawmakers passed landmark legislation challenging the business model of “gig-economy” companies forcing companies to reclassify certain contract workers as employees. Anderson’s new book ‘Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk about It)’, was published by Princeton Press. Link to 28-Minute Video


The Deep State Government Hiding In Plain Sight

[Editor’s Note: Be sure to watch all the way through to the end to catch Bill Moyer’s commentary. — Mark L. Taylor] Moyers & Company (4/15/16) Mike Lofgren, a congressional staff member for 28 years, joins Bill Moyers to talk about what he calls Washington’s “Deep State,” in which elected and unelected figures collude to protect and serve powerful vested interests. “It is how we had deregulation, financialization of the economy, the Wall Street bust, the erosion or our civil liberties and perpetual war,” Lofgren tells Moyers. Link to 27-Minute Video ***** Essay: Anatomy Of The Deep State In terms…


The Dark & Terrifying Legacy Of David Koch

By Ryan Cooper The Week (8/23/19) David Koch, one of the two infamous billionaire Koch brothers, died Friday at the age of 79. The Wall Street Journal is quick to point out that, in addition funding a vast conservative political network, Koch gave about $1.3 billion of his nearly-$60 billion fortune to various philanthropies. But what Koch may ultimately be most remembered for is helping to seed the climate-change denial movement in the 1990s. Indeed, David Koch was one of the most powerful people in the world over the last three or so decades, and he did his level best to stymie any effort…


How To Become A Greedy Corporate CEO Scam Artist In Five Easy Steps

And how to stop it in five more. By Robert Reich RobertReich.org (8/21/19) Average CEO pay at big corporations topped 14.5 million dollars in 2018. That’s after an increase of 5.2 million dollars per CEO over the past decade, while the average worker’s pay has increased just 7,858 dollars over the decade.  Just to catch up to what their CEO made in 2018 alone, it would take the typical worker 158 years. This explosion in CEO pay relative to the pay of average workers isn’t because CEOs have become so much more valuable than before. It’s not due to the so-called “free market.”…



American “Just-Us” For Sale: Leaked Audio Shows Oil Lobbyist Bragging About Success In Criminalizing Pipeline Protests

“Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system.” By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (8/20/19) As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry’s success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors. Speaking during a conference in Washington, D.C. in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted “model legislation” that states across the nation have passed in recent months. AFPM…


Koch Brothers EXPOSED • FULL DOCUMENTARY

The Koch Brothers Grab $16.4 Million Every Day. [Editor’s Note: Given the impact of the surreptitious Koch brothers’ machinations in Wisconsin a review of their role in American politics is in order. There pernicious influence on universities is especially dangerous. This is a good, concise review. Be sure to watch all the way through the credits at the end. — Mark L. Taylor]  Brave New Films (1/21/15) The last time we exposed the Koch Brothers’ dealings to the world we here at Brave New Films wound up in their crosshairs. They produced online ad campaigns attacking us, but, it takes more…


How A Trojan Horse Project To Rewrite Our Constitution Could Actually Happen If Trump Wins In 2020

By Thom Hartman Common Dreams (7/17/19) It’s often said that if Trump is reelected, it’ll be the end of democracy in America. But how could Trump get reelected, and how could democracy get wiped out in the USA? Turns out, there’s an actual project to rewrite our Constitution, turning America into a corporate-run oligarchy. They’d end the income tax, eliminate federal regulatory agencies like the EPA, end all labor protections (including laws against child labor), let states ignore anti-discrimination and other federal regulations, and impose term limits so the only “institutional memory” for legislatures will be the corporate lobbyists. All…


There’s One Bipartisan Heresy That Really Sets Bernie Apart From All Other Dem Contenders To Unseat Trump

By Greg Grandin The Nation (7/16/19) Let’s be clear: Bernie Sanders’s heresy, what sets him apart from every Democrat running to unseat Donald Trump, is not simply that he calls himself a socialist in a country long proudly identified as capitalist. Those two labels, socialist and capitalist, are open to too many interpretations and represent too many historical examples (everything from Norway to the United States, Stalin’s Soviet Union to Hitler’s Nazi Germany) to pin down. Rather, a more precise way to define the historic nature of Sanders’s campaign would be to focus on his promotion of social or economic rights and how…


The Creepy Epstein Scandal Reveals The Deep Bipartisan Rot Of The Nation’s Supposed ‘Elites’

  By Frank Rich New York Magazine (7/12/19) In the wake of Jeffrey Epstein’s indictment in New York, a number of powerful people formerly in Epstein’s orbit — Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, Bill Clinton, lawyer Alan Dershowitz, and Donald Trump — have been scrambling in the face of renewed scrutiny. What will Acosta’s exit and the new Epstein prosecution shake up, and what might they not be able to change? Perhaps at long last a serial rapist and pedophile may be brought to justice, more than a dozen years after he was first charged with crimes that have brutalized countless girls and women. But…


Why Would They Hate Little Old Innocent Us? Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man

The Young Turks (6/14/19) What is an American economic hitman? Cenk Uygur and John Perkins, hosts of The Conversation, break it down. Link to 16-Minute Video ***** And Here Is How It Works…Ousted Honduran President Zelay Explains How The 2009 U.S.-Backed Coup Indebted His Nation & Fuels Today’s Migrant Crisis Democracy How! (7/12/19) Since the 2009 U.S.-backed military coup in Honduras, extreme poverty and violence has skyrocketed in the country, forcing tens of thousands of Hondurans to flee to the U.S. with the hope of receiving political asylum. We speak with ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya in the capital of…


I Hope Jeffrey Epstein Sings Like A Bird, Even If Some Democrats Go Down

  Wherever these questions lead prosecutors and reporters must follow. And the public must demand real accountability, no matter the answers. By Jill Filipovic The Guardian (7/10/19) I hope Jeffrey Epstein sings like a bird. The wealthy and well-connected financier and registered sex offender was arrested this week in New York on accusations of child sex trafficking. He just may bring a lot of bad men – and a few bad women – down with him. Epstein allegedly groomed and recruited dozens of underage girls, many of them vulnerable runaways, for sex with him and his friends. Despite being caught by…


Bill Clinton Is Lying About Scandal … Again. But This Time Things Could Be Far More Serious

“I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” — President Bill Clinton (1/26/98) By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (7/11/19) While George W. Bush got tangled in its subtle logical intricacies, there is a folksy bit of advice citizens need to keep handy when dealing with politicians of all skunky stripes and varieties: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.” Present White House occupier aside, there is no politician where this is more true than Bill Clinton. Anyone conscious at the time can recall Clinton’s brash, self-righteous presentation when he sternly declared to…


Should We Abolish Billionaires? Oh, Hell, Yeah! The Sooner The Better.

  About 60 percent of all the wealth in America today is inherited. By Robert Reich Robert Reich’s Blog (7/2/19) America now has more billionaires than at any time in history, while most Americans are struggling to make ends meet. With such staggering inequality, it’s fair to ask: should we abolish billionaires? There are basically only four ways to accumulate a billion dollars – and none of them is a product of so-called free market capitalism. Billionaires themselves aren’t the problem. The real failure is in how our economy is organized. One way to make a billion is to exploit…


Tax Boycott: While You Pay Yours, The Wealthy — Like Trump — Get By With Paying Little Or No Taxes

On Contact: A Tax System Rigged for the Rich with David Cay Johnston. [Editor’s Note: And then when the wealthy get into financial trouble — as they inevitably do — the government rescues them with cash pay-outs, like 2008, that we pay for. The discussion also shows how economic disparity eventually leads to fascism. — Mark L. Taylor] By Chris Hedges On Contact / RT (10/15/16) On this week’s episode of On Contact, Chris Hedges sits down with David Cay Johnson, author of “The Making of Donald Trump” to examine how the Republican presidential nominee and the rich are benefiting…


Welcome To Trump’s Corrupt State – A Star Wars Cantina Of Republican Politics & Policy

The Corrupt State starts with Trump himself, giving new meaning to the old adage about a fish rotting from the head down. By Robert Reich The Guardian (6/15/19) Trump has been ramping up his “Deep State” rhetoric again. He’s back to blaming a cabal of bureaucrats, FBI and CIA agents, Democrats and “enemies of the people” in the mainstream media for conspiring to remove him from office, in order to allow the denizens of foreign “shitholes” to overrun America. But with each passing day it’s becoming clearer that the real threat to America isn’t Trump’s Deep State. It’s Trump’s own…


Crime Report: Analysis Shows Top 1% Gained $21 Trillion In Wealth Since 1989 While Bottom 50% Of Us Lost $900 Billion

“The top one percent owns nearly $30 trillion of assets while the bottom half owns less than nothing.” By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (6/14/19) Adding to the mountain of statistical evidence showing the severity of U.S. inequality, an analysis published Friday found that the top one percent of Americans gained $21 trillion in wealth since 1989 while the bottom 50 percent lost $900 billion. Matt Bruenig, founder of the left-wing think tank People’s Policy Project, broke down the Federal Reserve’s newly released “Distributive Financial Accounts” data series and found that, overall, “the top one percent owns nearly $30 trillion of assets while the bottom…


The Nepotism Might Finally Be Too Much To Ignore

The idea of American meritocracy was imperfect from the founding, but it’s never been as transparently laughable as it is today. By Dahlia Lithwick Slate (6/12/19) Even in these tortured times, it is worth devoting a small sliver of outrage to the fact that Jared Kushner—whose only qualification to senior-advise the president on policy is that he is married to the president’s daughter—seems to have taken, per the Guardian, $90 million in foreign funding since 2017 from an “opaque offshore vehicle.” This influx comes via a stake he kept in a real estate company after assuming his government post, and given that the cash has…


The Price Of Money: Political & Moral Defeat

“The Democrats have no power to change the system. Yet. So if they want to stay in the game and be competitive they’re going to have to match the Republican’s fundraising juggernaut, otherwise Trump will out-organize, out-advertise and flat out bury us in 2020.” — Facebook post (6/6/19) By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/13/19) So let’s take a look at that siren call of money… Two figures to consider from the 2016 presidential race: $1.2 billion and $217.5 million. The first is the amount of money raised by Hillary Clinton. The second is the amount of money raised…


Rev. William Barber: A Moral Man In Immoral Times Fights For The Poor To Be Heard

Racist Gerrymandering Created A GOP Stronghold Across The Nation. We Must Fight Back Democracy Now! (6/10/19) Longtime civil rights leader Rev. Dr. William Barber joins us to respond to his conviction Thursday for trespassing during a 2017 protest against gerrymandering and attacks on healthcare at the North Carolina Legislature. Barber had refused to leave the General Assembly as ordered, after he organized a sit-in at the legislative building when Republican leaders refused to meet with him about concerns with voter ID requirements and redistricting plans that would weaken the power of the black vote. “The GOP extremists are afraid. They know they cannot win…


‘Socialism for the rich’ — The Real Life Evils Of Bad Economics

“There’s been class warfare going on for the last 20 years and my class has won.” — Warren Buffet, billionaire investor By Jonothan Aldred The Guardian (6/6/19) In most rich countries, inequality is rising, and has been rising for some time. Many people believe this is a problem, but, equally, many think there’s not much we can do about it. After all, the argument goes, globalisation and new technology have created an economy in which those with highly valued skills or talents can earn huge rewards. Inequality inevitably rises. Attempting to reduce inequality via redistributive taxation is likely to fail because the…


Law & Disorder: Why Corporatism Will Dominate US Policy For Decades To Come

Democracy in jeopardy By John Atcheson Common Dreams (5/26/19) Remember when Republicans ran on a law and order platform?  Well, nowadays, we’ve got a President – in fact an entire Party — at war with the idea of the rule of law in general, and any constraints on corporations in particular.  Democrats console themselves with the idea that this can all be righted in the next election.  Vote Trump out, retain the majority in the House, and win the Senate.  Problem solved. Except it isn’t.  McConnell and Trump are doing everything they can to hand over the Judiciary — lock, stock and…