One Percenters

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…

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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…


The Chilling Truth: Trump Is Willing To Kill You & Your Family To Win Reelection

Trump needs just enough of an economic bounce by November to help him slither through the piles of corpses. By Les Leopold Common Dreams (5/7/20) President Trump has finally made public his fateful choice. He’s all in on reopening the economy even if it sends the virus death count into the millions. Actually he made that choice long ago. His logic is simple but cruel. Before the virus struck, his re-election hinged on taking credit for the robust economy he inherited. With unemployment at record lows he hoped to hang onto just enough votes in the key battle ground states…


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…


Secretive “Dark Money” PAC Organized Specifically To Prevent Sanders From Primary Wins

“After Sanders’ path to the presidential nomination became a near-impossibility, Big Tent Project’s activity dropped precipitously—further evidence that its major purpose was defeating a federal candidate.” By Brendan Fischer Common Dreams (5/7/20) Voters from across the political spectrum are concerned about the rise of secret spending in our elections and rightly so. Political transparency is a means to advance the principles of the First Amendment by encouraging the exchange of ideas needed for voters to make informed decisions. Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against “The Big Tent Project” for illegally hiding the identity…


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…


The Elites Will Have Humanity For Us Only When They Are Forced To

  “There is a moment in Henry Kissinger’s memoirs — do not buy the book — when Nixon and Kissinger are looking out at tens of thousands of anti-war protesters who have surrounded the White House. Nixon had placed empty city buses in front of the White House to keep the protesters back. He worried out loud that the crowd would break through the barricades and get him and Kissinger. And that is exactly where we want people in power to be. This is why, although he was not a liberal, Nixon was our last liberal president. He was scared…


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…


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…


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…


‘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…


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.)…


Welcome To The New Legitimation Crisis: Bernie Sanders vs. The Corrupt Bipartisan Plutocrats

“Going forward, we have the platform; we have the issues. These have broad public support already. Exit polls show that even in states that went for Biden, majorities want to replace private healthcare insurance with a public plan and support free college tuition. Bernie can still find a path to victory by doubling down on such issues and by drawing stark political contrasts with Biden, who has always represented the banking and credit card industries. It’s going to be a damn good fight!   “In the meantime, we might be forgiven for laughing when Democratic establishment attacks burnish Bernie’s popularity…


They Rule: Sorry, No Easter Bernie

“The “normal” constitutional and electoral paths of “resistance” are a complete fail. The system is a ruling class-imposed travesty, delivering us to tragedy on a mass scale. “Actual leftists need to take advantage of this. This is what we have been saying. The major party ballot box is the coffin of class consciousness. The Sanders thing and indeed social democratic politics in the U.S. are over: trade in your ballot for a yellow vest. “The bourgeoisie will not be unseated – as it needs to be for humanity to survive – through the existing constitutional and electoral channels. It just won’t….


Status Quo Joe Biden Schmoozes & Reassures Rich Donors That If Elected: “Nothing would fundamentally change”

  “I hope if I win this nomination, I won’t let you down. I promise you.” By Igor Derysh Salon (6/19/19) Former Vice President Joe Biden assured rich donors at a ritzy New York fundraiser that “nothing would fundamentally change” if he is elected. Biden told donors at an event at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan on Tuesday evening that he would not “demonize” the rich and promised that “no one’s standard of living will change, nothing would fundamentally change,” Bloomberg News reported. Biden’s assurance to donors in New York came shortly after his appearance at the Poor People’s Campaign Presidential Forum in Washington…


In It’s Blatant Actions Against Sanders, The Corporate Democratic Establishment Revealed Their Weakness & Desperation

“We’re taking on not only the corporate establishment, we are taking on the political establishment.” — Bernie Sanders By Mark L. Taylor Commoner Call (3/5/20) Climate activist Greta Thunberg was recently the target of a crude, sexually abusive graphic sticker put out by X-Site Energy Services, an Alberta, Canada oil field company. The sexual abuse launched at the 17 year-old has prompted an online petition (which you should definitely sign, here) and a call for the company’s bullying board to resign. Displaying poise and wisdom far beyond the oil company management team, Thunberg had the perfect response to such abusive behavior,…


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…


Democracy vs. Dictatorship: Don’t Let Bloomberg Muddy That Choice

If there is one way for the Democrats to bungle this battle for democracy, Bloomberg is it. By Laura Flanders Common Dreams (2/15/20) The 2020 presidential race didn’t get decided this week, but the choice before us did: more democracy or less of it. That’s the decision we are facing, and if the Democrats manage to foul this up, they may not get another chance. The very same day that New Hampshire held its primary, the president was out there bullying federal workers via Tweet. By the end of the night, Trump’s criminally-convicted chum Roger Stone’s sentence was suspended, and…



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…


Buying America: Mega-Billionaire Bloomberg’s $350 Million Ad Spending Blitz

  “At some point Bloomberg is mass bribing cable/local news.” By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (2/11/20) In a staggering milestone in what critics have characterized as an effort to buy the Democratic nomination, billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg has already poured more than $350 million of his own personal wealth into television, digital, and radio advertising since launching his 2020 presidential campaign last November. “This is what plutocracy looks like,” author and environmentalist Naomi Klein tweeted Monday in response to a CNN graphic comparing Bloomberg’s ad spending to that of his 2020 Democratic rivals. No other candidate has spent as much on advertising as Bloomberg, the former…


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)


Philanthropy May Occasionally Ease Some Of The Impacts Of Economic Injustice, But It Does Nothing To Address The Structural Problem

The Real Story / BBC (1/16/20) Many of the world’s rich and powerful will gather at the Swiss resort of Davos next week to discuss the future of the world, including how to make it a more equitable place. According to most estimates, the richest one percent of the world’s population owns more than half of its wealth. Overall, the rich have spent billions in projects ranging from healthcare, education and humanitarian assistance to scientific research and good governance. But critics say that in the United States, only a fifth of the money actually went to the poor. So, is…



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…


Trump’s Sour Holiday Menu: More Handouts For Billionaires, Hunger For The Poor

Ultimately, we must make a choice as a society: will we tolerate the insatiable greed and cruelty of the billionaire class? By Bernie Sanders & Rep. Rashida Tlaib The Guardian (12/24/19) When it comes to billionaires benefiting from the generosity of the American taxpayer, the holiday spirit is alive year-round. Taxpayers paid out $115m to Donald Trump so he could play golf at his own resorts. And Amazon didn’t just pay zero in federal taxes on $11bn in profits – taxpayers gifted the corporation $129,000,000 in rebates. That’s enough to pay for CEO Jeff Bezos’s three apartments in Manhattan, including a penthouse, that cost him $80m. We must demand that the…


Billionaire Nick Hannauer Reveals The Dirty Secret Of Capitalism — And A New Way Forward

`Modern neoliberal economic policy is built on lies and false assumptions. TED Talk (10/18/19) Rising inequality and growing political instability are the direct result of decades of bad economic theory, says entrepreneur Nick Hanauer. In a visionary talk, he dismantles the mantra that “greed is good” — an idea he describes as not only morally corrosive, but also scientifically wrong — and lays out a new theory of economics powered by reciprocity and cooperation. Link To 17-Minute Video


For Growing Numbers, America Is Regressing Into A Brutal Developing Nation

The U.S. is no longer one country, but splitting into two separate economic and political worlds. By Lynn Parramore Institute For New Economic Thinking (4/20/17) You’ve probably heard the news that the celebrated post-WW II beating heart of America known as the middle class has gone from “burdened,” to “squeezed” to “dying.”  But you might have heard less about what exactly is emerging in its place. In a new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, Peter Temin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at MIT, draws a portrait of the new reality in a way that is frighteningly, indelibly…


Billionaires Profit Directly Off The Suffering Of Children

  “A tax that took about 1% of that wealth each year would yield about $4tn over the next decade. To put that amount in perspective, $4tn is more than the federal government will spend over the next decade on foster care, school lunch, school breakfast, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, food stamps, unemployment compensation, supplemental security income for the elderly, blind people and those with disabilities, and all the tax credits for working families combined.” — Michael Linden, What could the US afford if it raised billionaires’ taxes? We do the math.


Trump Is ‘A Problem’ But Impeachment Doesn’t Address ‘The Problem’ That Created Him

Impeaching Trump without addressing America’s deeper structural problems, says Hedges, will only make things worse. By Chauncey Devega Salon (12/9/19) The United States is sick with income and other forms of social inequality. It suffers from cruelty, loneliness, greed, gangster capitalism, white supremacy, violence, sexism and a culture of ignorance and distraction. Our broken political system does not encourage critical thinking or nurture a capacity for responsible, engaged citizenship.President Donald Trump is the human embodiment of almost everything wrong with American society. He is both the symptom and the disease. Trump and the Republican Party’s fascist movement and its news…