One Percenters

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…

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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…


A Stunning Parallel To The Fall Of Rome: How Our Tottering Republic Could Die In The Age Of Trump

He is our nation’s Augustus Caesar, the killer of a republic and the herald of a corrupt and collapsing empire.   By Thom Hartmann Independent Media Institute (5/20/19) The American republic could die, just like Rome. Wavering for some time on the verge of becoming a complete oligarchy, America is on the verge of flipping from a democratic republic to a strongman or autocratic form of government, something that’s happened to dozens of democracies in the past few decades, but never before here. It’s possible we won’t recover from it. The death of a republic is different from the death…


On This Tax Day Remember, While You Paid Your Taxes For The Common Good, These Mega Corporations Betrayed The Nation By Paying Nothing

Smile, Suckers, As The Rich Get Richer. By Kathryn Kranhold The Center for Public Integrity (4/11/19) Taxpayers are scrambling to make last-minute payments due to the Internal Revenue Service in just four days, but many of the country’s largest publicly-held corporations are doing better: They’ve reported they owe absolutely nothing on the billions of dollars in profits they earned last year. At least 60 companies reported that their 2018 federal tax rates amounted to effectively zero, or even less than zero, on income earned on U.S. operations, according to an analysis released today by the Washington, D.C.-based think tank, the Institute…


Wall Street LOVES Socialism … For Bankers – But Not For Ordinary Americans

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon decries socialism. Unless of course it’s the banks wanting government bailouts! By Robert Reich The Guardian (4/8/19) In his annual letter to shareholders, distributed last week, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon took aim at socialism, warning it would be “a disaster for our country,” because it produces “stagnation, corruption and often worse.” Dimon should know. He was at the helm when JPMorgan received a $25bn socialist-like bailout in 2008, after it and other Wall Street banks almost tanked because of their reckless loans. Dimon subsequently agreed to pay the government $13bn to settle charges that the bank overstated the quality of mortgages…


Anand Giridharadas: The College Bribery Scandal Is Just A Glimpse Of The Many Ways The Wealthy Rig Society To Their Benefit

When a scandal like this breaks, it’s really important for us to understand that we’ve gone from seeing 0 percent of a system to 0.003 percent of a system, right? There’s so much more here. This is a little biopsy of a world that we happen to get. Democracy Now! (3/15/19) As the fallout continues over the elite college admissions scandal that investigators nicknamed “Operation Varsity Blues,” we speak with journalist Anand Giridharadas, author of “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World.” His book examines how the so-called elite class of America have worked the system to…


Mike McCabe: A Curtain Rarely Pulled Back On The Number One Political Issue Nobody Wants To Ask Politicians About

  It’s time to ask the question. By Mike McCabe Blue Jean Nation (2/13/19) While running for governor, I took part in close to 50 candidate forums leading up to Wisconsin’s August 2018 primary election. Some were sponsored by interest groups, others by the media or a party organization. Some focused on a single issue. Education. Economic development. Environmental protection. Criminal justice. Agriculture. Racial equality. Transportation. Energy policy. Other forums covered the waterfront, with questions on a variety of subjects. In all those forums combined, participating candidates were asked well over 200 questions.  Three were about money in politics. Never…


Trump & Republicans Provide Comfy Socialism For The Rich & Brutish Capitalism For The Rest Of Us

    By Robert Reich RoberReich.com (2/11/19) “America will never be a socialist country,” Donald Trump declared in his State of the Union address. Someone should alert Trump that America is now a hotbed of socialism. But it is socialism for the rich. Everyone else is treated to harsh capitalism. In the conservative mind, socialism means getting something for doing nothing. That pretty much describes the $21bn saved by the nation’s largest banks last year thanks to Trump’s tax cuts, some of which went into massive bonuses for bank executives. On the other hand, more than 4,000 lower-level bank employees got a…


Just 400 Individuals Now Own More Wealth Than Bottom 150 Million Americans

“Raising taxes on the wealthy isn’t just good policy. It’s also good politics.” By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (2/10/19) As survey data continues to show that raising taxes on the wealthy is extremely popular among the U.S. public, new research by inequality expert and University of California, Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman found that the richest 0.00025 percent of the American population now owns more wealth than the 150 million adults in the bottom 60 percent. Zucman, who helped Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) develop her “Ultra-Millionaire Tax” proposal, observed in a working paper (pdf) that “U.S. wealth concentration seems to have returned to levels last seen…


Robert Reich: Grotesque Imbalance Is Undermining American Democracy

Let’s Be Clear Who The Real Enemy Is “Over the last four decades, the median wage has barely budged. But the incomes of the richest 0.1% have soared by more than 300% and the incomes of the top 0.001% (the 2,300 richest Americans), by more than 600%. The net worth of the wealthiest 0.1% of Americans almost equals that of the bottom 90% combined.”   — Robert Reich “State Of Disunion: Democrats Must Not Give In To Trump’s Hateful Speech” (2/4/19)  


Not ‘Left-Wing Fantasy’ But ‘Mainstream & Really Popular’: Poll Shows Enormous Public Support For Higher Taxes On Rich

Billionaire breakdown ***** “Raising taxes on the wealthy isn’t just good policy. It’s also good politics.” By Jake Jonson Common Dreams (2/4/19) Likely 2020 contenders and progressive members of Congress have proposed a variety of plans in recent days to make the rich pay more in taxes and begin reversing soaring inequality—from a wealth tax to a 70 percent top marginal rate to a higher estate taxon the richest families—and a survey published on Monday found that such ideas are extremely popular among the American public. According to a new Politico/Morning Consult poll, 76 percent of registered voters believe that the wealthiest Americans should pay more…


SIN: 26 Billionaires Own as Much Wealth As The World’s Poorest 3.8 Billion People Combined

“Inequality is not inevitable, it’s a political choice.”  By Laura Paddison HuffPost (1/21/19) The gap between rich and poor is fracturing society, poisoning politics and fueling public anger, according to a new report from anti-poverty nonprofit Oxfam, which found that last year just 26 people owned the same amount of wealth as the poorest 3.8 billion people. This figure is down from 43 the year before. The Public Good or Private Wealth? report, published Sunday, found that the wealth of billionaires has increased by $900 billion in the last year, or $2.5 billion a day. This bonanza has not been felt by…


The Ruling Class Phoney Crusade To Save The World – Without Changing A Thing That Leads To Injustice

  By Anand Giridharadas The Guardian (1/22/19) A successful society is a progress machine. It takes in the raw material of innovations and produces broad human advancement. America’s machine is broken. The same could be said of others around the world. And now many of the people who broke the progress machine are trying to sell us their services as repairmen. When the fruits of change have fallen on the US in recent decades, the very fortunate have basketed almost all of them. For instance, the average pretax income of the top 10th of Americans has doubled since 1980, that of…


‘Corporate Greed At Its Worst’: After Reaping $514 Million From GOP Tax Scam & Billions In Public Subsidies, GM To Fire Nearly 15,000 Workers

  Sweet Deal! By Julia Conley Common Dreams (11/26/18) Tax justice and labor advocates were among those who expressed outrage Monday at the news that General Motors—one of the corporate giants that benefited immensely from the Republican tax plan last year—would cut 15 percent of its workforce, shuttering production facilities in three states as well as Canada to trim costs. The auto maker is closing five plants in Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, and Ontario, with plans to cut thousands of office jobs in January—slashing a total of 14,700 jobs. The move comes less than a year after the Republican Party pushed through its…


A Refreshingly Honest Government Ad — Enjoy The Benefits Of Trickledown Economics

“When we let the rich piss on you and we tell you it’s raining.” The Australien Government has made an ad about the budget and Trickledown Economics – and its surprisingly honest and informative. Link to 2-Minute Video (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )


Writer Documents The Political & Corporate Pushers Behind America’s Deadly Opioid Epidemic

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/4/18) As a psychotherapist and substance abuse counselor I found the Democracy Now! Friday (6/1/18) broadcast to be one of the best all-in-one package of information on the government-enabled, corporate manipulated opioid epidemic that has claimed some 200,000 Americans and continues to kill and decimate families and communities every day across the nation. If you want a good understanding about the dirty political and economic underpinnings that continues to fuel the crisis take an hour to watch the entire broadcast here. The individual segments are detailed and linked below: Purdue Pharma Knew…


While Millionaires Get Tax Freebies: Baltimore Schools Closed After Outrage Over Widespread Reports Of Frigid Classrooms

  (Editor’s Note: Problems of old, crumbling and even dangerous school buildings is not unique to Baltimore. In a  nation that just approved massive tax cuts for the already wealthy and corporations racking up record profits and, often, evading their responsibilities to the country and workers that make all that wealth possible, far too many of our children don’t have decent schools to go to. Time to take that money back, people! – Mark L. Taylor) By Mary Rose Madden Morning Edition/NPR (1/3/18) Baltimore’s public schools closed Thursday after parents and educators there complained students were enduring frigid classrooms with…


American Capitalism: One-Third Of Americans Can’t Afford Food, Housing Or Health Care

By Alexandra Jacobo Nation of Change (10/12/17) Almost half of Americans struggle to pay there bills, and an astounding one-third of them are at risk of running out of food, not being able to afford a place to live, or not having enough money for health care or medical treatment. In a new survey of financial well-being released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, numbers reflect the diminishing median net worth of an American family, as well as the daily struggles families have with being able to pay for basic living expenses. According to the report: “There is a wide variation in how…