One Percenters

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…

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How Privatization Divides & Weakens Us, While Public Institutions Make Us A Better People

For the 1%. By Paul Buchheit Nation of Change (9/25/17) Most people looking to make big money are eager to disparage public systems as inefficient, wasteful, inferior. Many of those people are in a position to starve the public systems of funding, thereby making them less functional, and making the private options look more appealing. But privatization is not the solution, it is the problem. Properly supported public systems serve more people in a more efficient and less costly way. We might begin by looking at FEMA, the underfunded disaster relief program much maligned for its response to Hurricane Katrina in…


Collecting His Pay! After Failing To Prosecute Bankers, Obama Cashes In With Wall $400k Street Speeches

    By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (9/18/17) Less than a year has passed since he departed from the White House, and former President Barack Obama has already joined the “well trod and well paid” Wall Street speaking circuit, a decision many argued will negatively impact the Democratic Party’s credibility as it attempts to fashion a message around taking on corporate monopolies, tackling income inequality, and loosening the insurance industry’s control over the American healthcare system. According to a Bloomberg report published Monday, Obama has in the last month delivered two speeches to massive financial firms—Northern Trust Corp and the Carlyle Group—for around $400,000 a pop, and…


Budget-Cutting Austerity Is Not Frugality, It Is Brutality. It Is Violence. It Is Domestic Terrorism By The Ruling Class

Detail from a poster for ‘Russell Brand: Messiah Complex,’ a live recording. By Russell Brand Russell Brand’s Facebook Page (6/16/17) Sometimes there is a news story that has a power that reaches beyond the material facts, even if those facts are in themselves potent. Hillsborough was one. The drowned Syrian toddler another. The discernible reality alludes to a deeper truth and invites us to consider the real meaning. Glenfell is such a story. The image of a burning tower is loaded with significance both modern and ancient. The facts, the deaths, the suffering are in themselves appalling yet the meaning…


Our Rights On The Edge: A Billionaire-Bankrolled ‘Movement’ Close To Calling A Constitutional Convention

By Simon Davis-Cohen   AlterNet (6/14/17) A billionaire-backed “movement” is dangerously close to calling a constitutional convention of states under Article V of the U.S. Constitution. If realized, it would be the first constitutional convention since the 1787 Philadelphia Convention, which replaced the Articles of Confederation with the U.S. Constitution. After an active start to 2017, proponents are now allegedly seven states away from reaching the needed 34 states (two-thirds) to convene a convention. According to Article V, which lays out all the ways the constitution can be amended, any amendments proposed by the convention would then need to be ratified by 38…


The Politics Of Race, Division & The Real Reason Working-Class Whites Support For Trump Doesn’t Waver

TheCommonerCall.org By Jonathan Capehart The Washington Post (6/6/17) Unlike anyone I’ve read or talked to since the November election, Justin Gest has helped me to really understand why President Trump won white working-class voters and hasn’t thus far lost their support. In the latest episode of “Cape Up,” we discuss the George Mason University professor’s new book, “The New Minority: White Working Class Politics in an Age of Immigration and Inequality” “So much of Donald Trump’s politics is symbolic,” Gest explained. “They’re symbolic in the sense that this is what people want to hear and if it doesn’t get done, it’s…


A May Day Call: When Corporations Don’t Take Precautions To Avert Workplace Deaths Executives Must Go To Prison

  By Leo Gerard, President of United Steel Workers AlterNet (4/24/17) Every 12 days, a member of my union, the United Steelworkers (USW), or one of their non-union co-workers, is killed on the job. Every 12 days. And it’s been that way for years. These are horrible deaths. Workers are crushed by massive machinery. They drown in vats of chemicals. They’re poisoned by toxic gas, burned by molten metal. The company pays a meaningless fine. Nothing changes. And another worker is killed 11 days later. Of course, it’s not just members of the USW. Nationally, at all workplaces, one employee…


While He Blusters That Nobody Cares, Citizen Demands For Trump To Release His Taxes Grows

By Tom Ashbrook On Point/WBUR (4/18/17) On Tax Day, we’ll look at what a Trump tax overhaul could look like for the country and for you. It is Tax Day. If you haven’t filed, you’d better. Time is short. Americans are pretty good about paying their taxes. And Americans wonder plenty whether their tax system couldn’t be better. Fairer. Cleaner. More efficient. Less abused. Donald Trump said on the campaign trail he knew tax law better than anyone, and was the only one who could fix it. The country’s still waiting. Waiting too for Trump’s own returns. This hour On…


CARTOON: An Alternative Obituary For David Rockefeller

  By Erik Wallenberg The Jacobin (3/31/17) As a child growing up in a mansion on 54th Street in Manhattan, David Rockefeller remembered roller-skating with his siblings down Fifth Avenue trailed by a limousine in case they got tired. Rockefeller and his family, which included billionaires and politicians at all levels of government, spent a lifetime ensconced in this kind of luxury. At the time of his death on March 20, Forbes estimated that the 101-year-old Rockefeller’s investments in real estate, share of family trusts, and other holdings stood at $3.3 billion. The obituaries and tributes waxed nostalgic, giving us…


The New Revolutionaries Are Winning: The Real Radicals Are Not To Be Found Among The Leftists

“Ever since the first ziggurats rose in ancient Babylonia, the so-called forces of order, stability, and tradition have feared a revolt from below. Beginning with Edmund Burke and Joseph de Maistre after the French Revolution, a whole library of political literature, some classical liberal, some conservative, some reactionary, has emphasized this theme. The title  of Ortega y Gasset’s most famous work, The Revolt of the Masses, tells us something about its mental atmosphere, a Freudian fear of defilement by the great unwashed. “But in our globalized postmodern America, what if this whole vision of order, stability, and who threatens those…


16th Richest Family In America: The Family Making Billions From The Opioid Epidemic

  Brasscheck TV (4/1/17) Deaths by opioid overdose have surpassed AIDS deaths at the peak of that epidemic. There’s one family that’s made billions from this disaster. The US news media has done a good job of keeping their names out of the news. But Brasscheck is not a member of the mainstream news media. Meet the Sackler family… Richard Sackler, 71, moves among elite circles of scientists, researchers, and investors and rarely speaks at public events. Even photographs of him are difficult to find. The Sackler family, in general, has avoided public discussion of OxyContin or the drug’s role…


Watch: Bernie Sanders Talks ‘Dark Money’ With Journalist Jane Mayer, Who Literally Wrote The Book On It

  Common Dreams Staff (3/30/17) Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday sat down with investigative journalist Jane Mayer to discuss the threat that secretive and undisclosed campaign financing—exemplified by the outsized influence of powerful billionaires like Charles and David Koch—continues to have on U.S. democracy and what should be done to push back. Mayer—author of the 2016 best-seller Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right—recently wrote a feature for The New Yorker in which she detailed the significant role the deep pockets, and bizarre far-right politics, of billionaire Robert Mercer played in President…


Trump’s Plan For New USA Inc. Acquisition – Govt As Company, Citizens As Customers, Son-In-Law Kushner As CEO

  By  Lauren McCaully Common Dreams (3/27/17) Bringing President Donald Trump’s notion of government as corporate enterprise to fruition, the White House on Monday announced that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner will be leading a sweeping government overhaul, leaning on business leaders to solve pressing national issues while looking to privatize key government functions. Trump and Kushner confirmed the move to the Washington Post, which described the new White House Office of American Innovation as a “SWAT team” of professionals with “little-to-no political experience” that will “help find efficiencies” within the federal government, while also reaching out to the private sector…


The Blow-It-All-Up Billionaires Behind Trump’s Presidency

  By Vicky Ward The Huffington Post (3/17/17) Last December, about a month before Donald Trump’s inauguration, Rebekah Mercer arrived at Stephen Bannon’s office in Trump Tower, wearing a cape over a fur-trimmed dress and her distinctive diamond-studded glasses. Tall and imposing, Rebekah, known to close friends as Bekah, is the 43-year-old daughter of the reclusive billionaire Robert Mercer. If Trump was an unexpected victor, the Mercers were unexpected kingmakers. More established names in Republican politics, such as the Kochs and Paul Singer, had sat out the general election. But the Mercers had committed millions of dollars to a campaign…


What American ‘Deep State’ Politics Is Really All About

“While today’s politicians engage in sonorous generalities about jobs, faith, family, and so forth, once the issues move from the ethereal realm of sloganeering into specific policies, they do not seek to identify with the desires of the majority, except insofar as those desires happen to overlap with the preferences of those who are footing the bill. “Single-payer health care, tax breaks for hedge fund managers, minimum wage policy – on these and a host of other issues, the American public lines up on one side and the wealthy elites on the other. And every time, the position favored by…


Commoner Call Reader Shares Three Good Reads On The Deep State/Wall Street Nexus

By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (3/20/17) Is the Deep State a multi-millennias old Conspiracy, or just the latest version of short-term greed and stupidity? Are the main players Reptilian shape–shifters fighting an intergalactic struggle, or a bunch of narcissistic white men and female wannabes using obscene amounts of wealth as a way to keep score? Do simple Business 101 principles about efficiency and letting the market pick winners apply in a rigged system that separates nasty side effects from profit/loss calculations by labeling them external costs; or are they mantras to keep the rest of us from discovering that…


DOCUMENTARY: “You’ve Been Trumped” (2011) The Real Donald Trump – The Aberdeen, Scotland Golf Course Disaster

TheCommonerCall.org   The Commoner Call (3/20/17) Donald Trump’s many rural working class supporters should put this 2011 documentary at the top of their Netflix list. Watch as a group of proud Scottish farmers and rural homeowners stand up to tycoon Trump as he forces through a luxury golf course development in one of Scotland’s last coastal wilderness areas. Watch as the police, courts and supposed elected representatives of the people become tools of Trump’s henchmen. A long list of Trumpian “tremendous” promises of 6,000 jobs, a flood of foreign tourists, spreading wealth and environmental sensitivity evaporated in the light of…


Trump’s Tower Of Contradictions: Budget Proposal Contains Big Surprises For Trump’s Rural Supporters

  By Ralph Nader Nader.org (3/13/17 Donald J. Trump was a builder of casinos and high-priced hotels and golf courses. Now he is a builder of a tower of contradictions for the American people that is making “America Great” at  their expense. He  made many conflicting promises throughout his presidential campaign. He was going to be the “voice of the people.” He was going to make their safety and their job expansion his number one priority. He was going to make sure that everybody had health insurance under his then unannounced plan. He was going to deregulate businesses, cut taxes,…


How 90 Percent Of US Households Lost An Average Of $17,000 In Wealth To Plutocrats Like Trump In 2016

By Paul Buchheit BuzzFlash.com (3/6/17) America has always been great for the richest 1%, and it’s rapidly becoming greater. Confirmation comes from recent work by Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman; and from the 2015-2016 Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databooks (GWD). The data relevant to this report is summarized here. The Richest 1% Extracted Wealth from Every Other Segment of Society These multi-millionaires effectively shifted nearly $4 trillion in wealth away from the rest of the nation to themselves in 2016. While there’s no need to offer condolences to the rest of the top 10%, who still have an average net worth of $1.3 million, nearly…


Corporate Sleazebaggery: Uber Exec Proves Himself Nothing More Than An Arrogant Entitled Goober

Slow social poison. By Laurie Penny The Guardian (3/3/17) There are very few things that $5bn can’t buy, but one of them is manners. This week video emerged of Travis Kalanick, the CEO and founder of ride-share app Uber, patronising and swearing at one of his own drivers, who complained that harsh company policies had forced him into bankruptcy. “Some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own shit,” sneered Kalanick. Truer words were never spoken by a tycoon: for Uber, along with many other aggressive corporations, not taking responsibility for your own shit isn’t just a philosophy, it’s a…


The Chinese Own A Big Slab Of Trump, Too: Business Consultant Buys $16 Million Trump Tower Penthouse

By Beckie Strum MarketWatch (2/28/17) President Donald Trump’s real estate company has closed on one of its first big deals since his inauguration — selling a Manhattan penthouse to the owner of a Chinese business consultancy for nearly $16 million [$15.893 million]. Trump Park Avenue, LLC, which operates a posh condominium on Upper East Side of Manhattan, sold the three-bedroom penthouse last week to Angela Chen, a New York socialite and founder of Global Alliance Associates, according to property records.   Manhattan socialite touts her company’s access to influence in China.   Chen bills her boutique business as a “relationship…