Posts tagged 1%
Posts tagged 1%
We The Cattle
The Elites Will Make Gazans of Us All
“Gaza is a window on our coming dystopia. The growing divide between the world’s elite and its miserable masses of humanity is maintained through spiraling violence. Many impoverished regions of the world, which have fallen off the economic cliff, are beginning to resemble Gaza, where 1.6 million Palestinians live in the planet’s largest internment camp. These sacrifice zones, filled with seas of pitifully poor people trapped in squalid slums or mud-walled villages, are increasingly hemmed in by electronic fences, monitored by surveillance cameras and drones and surrounded by border guards or military units that shoot to kill. These nightmarish dystopias extend from sub-Saharan Africa to Pakistan to China. They are places where targeted assassinations are carried out, where brutal military assaults are pressed against peoples left defenseless, without an army, navy or air force. All attempts at resistance, however ineffective, are met with the indiscriminate slaughter that characterizes modern industrial warfare.
In the new global landscape, as in Israel’s occupied territories and the United States’ own imperial projects in Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan, massacres of thousands of defenseless innocents are labeled wars. Resistance is called a provocation, terrorism or a crime against humanity. The rule of law, as well as respect for the most basic civil liberties and the right of self-determination, is a public relations fiction used to placate the consciences of those who live in the zones of privilege. Prisoners are routinely tortured and “disappeared.” The severance of food and medical supplies is an accepted tactic of control. Lies permeate the airwaves. Religious, racial and ethnic groups are demonized. Missiles rain down on concrete hovels, mechanized units fire on unarmed villagers, gunboats pound refugee camps with heavy shells, and the dead, including children, line the corridors of hospitals that lack electricity and medicine. “
(more of this article by Chris Hedges here)
As we lurch uncontrollably toward Election Day, choosing our next set of lawmakers, I’ve been looking for a way to cast some light on what is at stake. I think that I’ve found it in the oldest legal code, the Code of Hammurabi, from 1772 B.C.
In general, the Code of Hammurabi established the law as a force much like William Blake’s “tyger” in “Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bright”: it has a “fearful symmetry.” How many times have you heard the phrase, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”? That is shorthand for these sections of the Code of Hammurabi:
196. If a man has knocked out the eye of a patrician, his eye shall be knocked out… .
200. If a patrician has knocked out the tooth of a man that is his equal, his tooth shall be knocked out.
I think that I can hear you say, “Whoa! I never heard that bit about ‘patrician’ or ‘equal’ before. What’s that all about?”
Well, I’ll tell you.
The Code of Hammurabi explicitly set separate laws for patricians, a/k/a the 1%, and plebians, a/k/a the 99%. Patricians enjoyed the full protection of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” Plebians did not. Here is what they got:
198. If [a man] has knocked out the eye of a plebian … he shall pay one mina of silver.
199. If he has knocked out the eye of a patrician’s servant … he shall pay half [of the servant’s] value [to the patrician]… .
201. If [a patrician] has knocked out the tooth of a plebian, he shall pay one-third of a mina of silver.
(Today, a mina of silver would be worth about $600.)
Here is another example:
202-204. If a man has smitten the privates [ouch!!] of a man higher in rank than he, he shall be scourged with sixty blows of an ox-hide scourge, in the assembly. If a [patrician] has smitten the privates of a patrician of his own rank, he shall pay one mina of silver. If a plebian has smitten the privates of a plebian, he shall pay ten shekels of silver.
(A shekel of silver today would be worth about $10.)
And another one:
209-213. If a man has struck a free woman with child, and has caused her to miscarry, he shall pay ten shekels for her miscarriage … . If it be the daughter of a plebian that has miscarried through his blows, he shall pay five shekels of silver… . If he has struck a man’s maid and caused her to miscarry, he shall pay two shekels of silver.
So here is the point: in the wrong hands, the law itself becomes a means - a very powerful means - of discrimination. And in many respects, it already is. Look at the tax code. Look at banking law. Look at abortion laws. Look at the laws on marriage equality. And look at the system itself: most people have the same access to the so-called “justice system” as they do to the Ritz-Carlton.
And whose hands are “the wrong hands”? How about the hands of a gentleman who has never had to dirty his hands at any time during his entire life? A gentleman “to the manor born”? The spiritual heir to Thurston Howell, III?
We already have reached a point where inequality is so extreme that the median wealth of whites is seven times higher than that of African-Americans, and African-Americans are seven times more likely to be incarcerated.
When we choose our legislators in a few days, let’s remember this: the laws that they pass can be a force for equality, or a force against it. That’s not only a big difference, it’s the biggest difference of all.
Darrell Issa, as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, is no stranger to the misuse of sensitive documents. In June of this year, he placed into the Congressional Record specific and extensive details from a sealed wiretap application, actions that likely would have led to his prosecution were he not protected by the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause.
(While standing on Benghazi graves, begging for votes) Mr. Issa once again used, or more accurately abused, the power of his chairmanship to post on the committee’s website a rash of sensitive communications from the State Department related to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
As first reported by Foreign Policy, with that posting Mr. Issa also disclosed the names of certain Libyan civilians and local leaders mentioned in the cables, such as a human rights activist leading a campaign against violence in Benghazi, a Benghazi port manager working with the U.S. on an infrastructure project, and a local militia commander Foreign Policy described as “dishing dirt on the inner workings of the Libyan Interior Ministry.” As a result of Mr. Issa’s actions, their affiliation with the U.S. Benghazi mission was publicly identified and the lives of these people – who were working to keep our country safe – are now at risk.
Both parties have little to offer Americans. They are both driven by greed and our legislators are manipulated by just a few, but it is a matter of degree. Where one party makes a small attempt to equal the playing field between the haves and the have-nots, the other party blathers that financial institutions are human beings, that trickle down is the solution and the wealthy need more and the poor are lazy bastards to be pissed on, as trash like Romney sends our jobs overseas. Where one parties candidates will submit themselves to the interview by the opposing parties pundits the Republican legislators avoid liberal interviews like the plague as the Republicans lies are shallow and lies are the totality of what they are and have to offer and they never fair well in discourse where facts, history and equality are center. One party is clearly not about people and the other makes a feeble attempt to help make America a good place to live.
From creationism to worship of corporations the Republican party is weighed down completely by its reverence of money and power and ignorance. The Republican party is completely and irrevocably whored out….no small thanks to our mainstream mindlessness.
I have heard the talk that things are so bad that it makes little difference whether one votes at all. Collapse is inevitable. Our Democratic experiment is over and we the people are lacking in what it takes to make it work. I have also heard that it is darkest before the dawn and although we are stalked by a failing country, peak oil and climate change, never say die. I do not worry about hell, not one bit but I do believe that nothing comes to quitters.
I would submit that the only thing that can pull us back from the abyss is more people, informed people being involved in the activities in their government and the Internet is crucial to that end. The Internet, uncensored is the only way millions of people can get back on their feet and demand what is truly theirs, America.
Vote Democrat as if Your Life Depends On It
In his new report, America For Sale: A Report on Billionaires Buying the 2012 Election, Sen. Bernie Sanders named names and called out the billionaires who using Citizens United to buy our democracy.
In front of a Senate panel today, Sen. Bernie Sanders outed the 26 billionaires who are members of 23 billionaire families that are using Citizens United to buy elections. Sen. Sanders estimated that these 26 billionaires are the tip of the iceberg. “My guess is that number is really much greater because many of these contributions are made in secret. In other words, not content to own our economy, the 1 percent want to own our government as well.”
Sanders explained how the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision put the government up for sale, “What the Supreme Court did in Citizens United is to say to these same billionaires and the corporations they control: ‘You own and control the economy, you own Wall Street, you own the coal companies, you own the oil companies. Now, for a very small percentage of your wealth, we’re going to give you the opportunity to own the United States government.’”
Sen. Sanders also did the last thing the billionaires wanted. He called them out by name.
According to the report, America for Sale: A Report on Billionaires Buying the 2012 Election, here are the 26 billionaires who are trying to buy your government:
1. Sheldon Adelson
2,3,4. The Kochs (David, Charles, and William)
5. Jim Walton
6. Harold Simmons
7. Peter Thiel
8. Jerrold Perenchio
9. Kenneth Griffin
10. James Simons
11. Julian Robertson
12. Robert Rowling
13. John Paulson
14,15. Richard and J.W. Marriott
16. James Davis
17. Harold Hamm
18. Kenny Trout
19. Louis Bacon
20. Bruce Kovner
21. Warren Stephens
22. David Tepper
23. Samuel Zell
24. Leslie Wexner
25. Charles Schwab
26. Kelcy Warren
The thing that these billionaires love most about Citizens United it is that it allows them to operate in total darkness. The American people couldn’t fight back because the billionaires were giving their money anonymously. This same cloak of invisibility is what made ALEC so effective for years. The conservative billionaire cabal works best in private, behind closed doors, far away from curious eyes.
With his report today, Sen. Sanders has made it more difficult for thieves of liberty to keep operating in the night. We now have a list of names and we know what they are trying to do to our government. Sen. Sanders is one of the few federally elected officials who has the courage to talk about these people in public.
Most of the members of the House and Senate are too afraid to speak of, much less take on, the billionaires. Even those decent members of Congress who might speak out against them have been terrified into silence by threats of multimillion dollar negative ad buys that will run against the incumbent back home.
Bernie Sanders is displaying a brand of political courage that is sorely lacking in American politics today, and he needs you to stand with him to protect our liberties, our freedoms, and to battle to return the government back to the American people.
Vote Republican: Destroy What’s Left of America
President Barack Obama’s fellow Democrats in the Senate on Wednesday won passage of a bill to renew tax cuts for tens of millions of Americans, while letting some rates rise for the wealthiest, in a largely symbolic vote.
The legislation, certain to be rejected by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, lets Democrats claim in advance of the November 6 elections that they passed tax cuts for most Americans, only to be stymied by Republicans.
Republicans Are Not For Jobs
The Saving American Democracy Amendment states that:
“With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that, I believe, will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections.”
“The conceit that corporations must be treated identically to natural persons in the political sphere is not only inaccurate but also inadequate to justify the Court¹s disposition of this case.
“In the context of election to public office, the distinction between corporate and human speakers is significant. Although they make enormous contributions to our society, corporations are not actually members of it.
They cannot vote or run for office. Because they may be managed and controlled by nonresidents, their interests may conflict in fundamental respects with the interests of eligible voters.
“The majority¹s approach to corporate electioneering marks a dramatic break from our past. Congress has placed special limitations on campaign spending by corporations ever since the passage of the Tillman Act in 1907.
“The Court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution.”
“When corporations use other people’s money to electioneer, that is a harm not just to the shareholders themselves but a sort of a broader harm to the public that comes from distortion of the electioneering that is done by corporations.”
“I’m Ben, I’m a person. I’m Jerry, I’m a person. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream? Not a person.”
“Citizens United was so extreme that unless we take action to stop it, America will return to the Gilded Age — on steroids.”
“We are not going to let this decision to go unchallenged…At a time when Americans are worried about special interests having too much influence, this decision opens up the floodgates and allows special interest money to overflow elections and undermine our democracy.
“If there’s one thing that Americans from the left, right and center can all agree on, it’s that they don’t want more special interests in our politics.”
“This decision enables larger financial interests to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens, allows foreign corporations to spend money through their domestic subsidiaries, and permits major recipients of taxpayer dollars to funnel these funds into political activities.”
True patriotism isn’t cheap. It’s about taking on a fair share of the burdens of keeping America going.
Those who earn tens of millions of dollars a year but pay less than 14 percent of their incomes in taxes, and argue the rich should pay even less, are not true patriots.
Those who defend indefensible tax loopholes, such as the “carried interest” loophole that allows private-equity managers to treat their incomes as capital gains even if they risk no income of their own, are not true patriots.
Those who avoid taxes by putting huge amounts of their earnings into IRAs via foreign tax shelters are not true patriots.
Those who want to cut programs that benefit the poor — Food stamps, child nutrition, Pell grants, Medicaid — so that they can get a tax cut for themselves and their affluent friends— are not true patriots.
Jamie Dimon gets very mad when you say that his bank got bailed out by the government, and he insists that the government made him take all that free money. Then his bank somehow accidentally lost billions of dollars last week, whoops! And he is really embarrassed, but not embarrassed enough to fire himself. So, let’s put him on trial and force him to explain what good he and his bank are.
The SEC is investigating the massive loss, but that will take a lot of time and the eventual report will probably be very difficult for novices to understand and probably they won’t put anyone in jail. Dimon might have to be hauled before Congress to answer questions, but no one watches congressional hearings, and no one likes members of Congress. I think a big televised prime-time tribunal would be best. And then maybe some JPMorgan shareholders, unemployed people, journalists and angry bloggers can just ask him some really simple questions about why he thinks JPMorgan shouldn’t be regulated at all.
Big Banks With Legislatewhores = America Is a Shithole.
Forced Into Debt by Multinational Banks
The world’s 1% are fashioning themselves into a new global tribe of footloose and stateless. The rest of us get to gawk — and foot the ultimate bill.
Back in 1863, in the middle of the Civil War, a short story took the American reading public by storm. Edward Everett Hale’s “The Man Without a Country” told the tale of a poor treasonous soul sentenced to spend the rest of his life endlessly sailing the seven seas, in perpetual exile, as a prisoner aboard Navy warships.
How sad, sighed 19th-century Americans.
How quaint, muse many of our 21st-century super rich. These awesomely affluent simply do not see statelessness as a penalty. They see statelessness as a goal.
Mitt Romney and Republicans love to talk patriotism but America, like France, Greece, Ireland and all the other countries of the world are no more than a place for the 1% to wipe their ass and we the people be grateful.
While discussing New Jersey’s newly amended income-tax law, which allows the rich to pay less (proportionally) than the middle class, Governor Christie was asked about billionaire Warren Buffett’s observation that he paid less federal income taxes than his personal secretary, and that wasn’t fair. “He should just write a check and shut up,” Christie responded, with his typical verve. “I’m tired of hearing about it. If he wants to give the government more money, he’s got the ability to write a check—go ahead and write it.”
Stephen King, Iconic Horror Writer:
Tax Me, for F@%&’s Sake!
Mitt Romney has said, in effect, “I’m rich and I don’t apologize for it.” Nobody wants you to, Mitt. What some of us want—those who aren’t blinded by a lot of bullshit persiflage thrown up to mask the idea that rich folks want to keep their damn money—is for you to acknowledge that you couldn’t have made it in America without America. That you were fortunate enough to be born in a country where upward mobility is possible (a subject upon which Barack Obama can speak with the authority of experience), but where the channels making such upward mobility possible are being increasingly clogged. That it’s not fair to ask the middle class to assume a disproportionate amount of the tax burden. Not fair? It’s un-fucking-American is what it is. I don’t want you to apologize for being rich; I want you to acknowledge that in America, we all should have to pay our fair share. That our civics classes never taught us that being American means that—sorry, kiddies—you’re on your own. That those who have received much must be obligated to pay—not to give, not to “cut a check and shut up,” in Governor Christie’s words, but to pay—in the same proportion. That’s called stepping up and not whining about it. That’s called patriotism, a word the Tea Partiers love to throw around as long as it doesn’t cost their beloved rich folks any money.
This has to happen if America is to remain strong and true to its ideals. It’s a practical necessity and a moral imperative. Last year during the Occupy movement, the conservatives who oppose tax equality saw the first real ripples of discontent. Their response was either Marie Antoinette (“Let them eat cake”) or Ebenezer Scrooge (“Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”). Short-sighted, gentlemen. Very short-sighted. If this situation isn’t fairly addressed, last year’s protests will just be the beginning. Scrooge changed his tune after the ghosts visited him. Marie Antoinette, on the other hand, lost her head.
Think about it.
Americans hate “losers,” and won’t vote for one, House Speaker John Boehner insisted today. That means Mitt Romney, whose wealth makes him a “winner,” has a good shot at becoming president, Boehner explained on CNN’s State of the Union. Americans “don’t want to vote for someone that hasn’t been successful,” Boehner said. “I think Mitt Romney has an opportunity to show the American people that they, too, can succeed.” As for Boehner’s nasty comments lately about President Obama losing his courage and picking “fake fights” with “straw men,” he says it’s a case of tough love. “The president is getting some bad advice,” Boehner said. “Somebody needed to help him out, so I thought I would.”
John Boehner, Republican, about as helpful as a cigarette to an asthmatic child. Boehner is off his medication again like when he got caught on video handing out bribery checks from big tobacco, to his fellow Republican legislators on the House floor. John Boehner: idiot.
—President Obama in North Carolina today on why Congress has to act to prevent interest rates on student loans from doubling (via barackobama)
When Obama was nominated, he got a lot of criticism for not having military experience. I think it’s more pertinent that he had the experience of not growing up wealthy and privileged in America. How can someone who’s never had to worry about money or loans create a fair policy about them? -Jess