Paradise Papers or Hell Papers? — Two Sets of Rules for Rich and Poor

wealth

So, after the Panama Papers, the latest leak, called Paradise Papers, once again reveal how the rich “legally” (but not legitimately!) avoid paying their taxes and make play with their money in even illegal ways, well hidden behind aiding and abetting global institutions. Meanwhile, working Americans are getting squeezed out of their last drop of blood and persecuted like criminals when they have any foreign income, for instance when our jobless economy drives them out of the country or they are married to a foreign spouse.

 

I. Intro

First, in case you haven’t heard about the recently published Paradise Papers, here is a TV report (sadly with a dubious focus on laying bare even the flimsiest Russian connections to the Trump cabinet, as if we really needed those to realize that practically all current big-time politicians and their Big Money associates are utterly corrupt):

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Paradise Papers: Millions of Leaked Docs Reveal Shady Ties & Tax Evasion by Trump’s Inner Circle”)

But let’s now cut down to the bone:  Continue reading

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Reality Check: What is Really Going on in Catalonia? — (And what does this mean for us?)

When we saw the video recordings of police brutalizing supposed pro-secession voters, we all had the knee-jerk reaction of condemning an anti-democratic Spanish government oppressing an occupied people yearning for freedom. However, as large anti-secession demonstrations by CATALONIANS showed last weekend, the situation in Catalonia isn’t as clear-cut as we outsiders thought.

For one thing, Catalans are split on the issue. In fact, the MAJORITY seems to be AGAINST secession, a.k.a. “independence.” What’s going on in Catalonia, may, in fact, represent a kind of coup supported by a noisy, hate-filled, or even violent minority whipped into action by self-serving, manipulative, dishonest politicians who get themselves cozy elected positions of power and high pay that way.  Continue reading

Video Weekend 10-14-2017 (7 Videos)

This weekend’s anti-corporatist, pro-democratic video collection has two parts. The first starts with some news — one on healthcare sabotage, the other on our kleptocracy’s failure to help the hurricane-ravaged U.S. colony Puerto Rico — and then ends with a somewhat humorous bit on a sane view of reality. The second part is about the last element in the unholy trinity of oppression by the 1%: censorship. (The first two elements of this unholy trinity are economic enslavement and political manipulation, and you can read yesterday’s article about those if you haven’t already.) Today, I am adding insights into the third element since censorship is sharply on the rise in America this year.

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Part 1 – News & Miscellaneous Stuff

News: Obamacare Gutted

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Trump Guts Obamacare With Executive Order “)

News: No Help for Puerto Rico

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Where Are Puerto Rico’s Supplies Going? (You’ll Be Shocked!) “)

A word to the wise adapted from a comment made in this interview by New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera, as he explained his motivation for working to help Puerto Rica recover: Let’s never let the mix of sadness, anger, and frustration shut us down!

Sanity:

A cure for Bill Maher? I doubt it. But this one is for a cherished friend of mine:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Russell Brand Educates Bill Maher On Neoliberal Failures “)

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Part 2 – Censorship

Why we need non-US-government-allied foreign media to publish in the U.S.:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “These 5 Censored Books Tell a History the Establishment Wants Hidden “)

…and, what’s worse? Fake news, which will never go away, or censorship?

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Facebook decides censorship is better than fake news “)

… and to draw a line under it:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Punishing Reporters for Truth in a Censored Media | Abby Martin & Amber Lyon “)

… Does anyone need another reason why this is important?

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Abby Martin Discusses Her Arrest At The DNC – The Ring Of Fire “)

Just so you know, our corporate government last month officially permitted US networks censorship of RT (and any other content that is “owned or controlled by the Government of the Russian Federation”). This assault on free speech has been buried deep inside the 2018 defense budget to make it less conspicuous. The oligarchs of today have become very sneaky. They manage to raise their resurrection of the former Soviet iron curtain quietly and in the dark. This is why we need independent media more than ever.

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Bad News (and an Idea): Unlimited Censorship on the Horizon

Defeats happen every once in a while, more often at the start of a struggle than in its later phase. We are still at the start of fixing our corrupted system, so defeats are still common. On Monday, the Senate voted 52-41 to confirm Ajit Pai, the sworn enemy of Net Neutrality (i.e. free speech on the Internet), to another term as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Senate Confirms FCC Chairmen Effectively Killing Net Neutrality “)

This is a disaster that we must not take lying down because Net Neutrality is one of the last, and perhaps the most essential, of hold-outs of democracy in our country.
Continue reading

Oddities of the Las Vegas Massacre

thehorrorskeepcoming

The media are once again alive with sensationalist news of a dramatic event: a horrible sniper attack on day-to-day Americans at an open air concert, presumably by another day-to-day American acting alone for no known reason — at least 59 reported dead and 527 injured at the time of this writing. As usual, most of the reports flooding the airwaves and Internet contain little of real importance. Titillation rates much higher in the corporate media than substance. Well, here you shall get more:  Continue reading

Current Battlefronts: Internet Censorship & Kleptocratic Taxes

Our already extremely unfair tax system is once again up for being made even worse for red-blooded Americans. If they can’t rob us with a knife (healthcare), they’ll now try to rob us with a gun (taxes and spending). And our ability to fight back will be severely hamstrung if the current war on Net Neutrality succeeds (which it looks dangerously close to do).  Continue reading

Want to Celebrate our Dreadful Economy Together with the Washington Post?

money-rules

Recently, an article in the business section of the Washington Post praised our economy (with an eye on edifying Obama, the alleged savior from the Great Recession, while putting down Trump’s campaign appeal to struggling Americans):

The article’s headline boasts: Middle-class income hit highest level on record in 2016, Census Bureau says

And this cheer is based on this claim: Median household income rose to $59,039 in 2016, a 3.2 percent increase from the previous year and the second consecutive year of healthy gains, the Census Bureau reported…”

Sounds like we are having a good time, huh? So, uhm… why don’t we actually?  Continue reading

Video Weekend 9-23-2017 (8 Videos)

Once again, a collection of fine videos to brighten your weekend with enlightenment and fuel for our political revolution:

I.
Jimmy Dore and Lee Camp together. A fine duo. Unfortunately, I felt they had both made the same statements before, and better, when they did them alone and better prepared. Still, I like what comes up 14:20 minutes into this clip (asking why you would donate to the “Democratic Party” when its primaries are rigged by its own admission!). The talk then moves to the topic of our rigged debates keeping out third parties… handcuffing presidential candidates to keep them away from the rigged debates… and record climate events in the past two months. Later Lee Camp, talking about Bannon, reveals how our corporate media lift up right-wingers by allowing only THEM to criticize corruption even though they are part of it):

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Jimmy Dore On The Corporate State And The Power Of The Petrodollar “)

 

II.
Political wrangling surrounding Bernie’s Medicare for All bill:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Some Democrats Are Pretending Bernie’s ‘Medicare for All’ Bill Doesn’t Exist “)

 

III.
The usual lies about healthcare costs and single-payer:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Aetna CEO is Scared To Death of Single-Payer”)

Debunking one of the biggest lies: No, single-payer coverage such as Medicare for All is not single-provider healthcare, meaning a government-run healthcare, but merely a government-secured payment system. So, you can pick and choose your doctors as before, except this time their will be no question whether or not you can pay. It is simply our government doing its sworn duty to look out for its citizens.

 

IV.
Cha-Ching:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Obama Enriches Self With Back Room Oil Deal”)

 

V.
We have a responsibility not only for ourselves to fix our country:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Propaganda Buries Facts & Manipulates Emotions – Abby Martin with Chris Hedges”)

Various revelations about our country’s dark history. Also: an interesting and creepy revelation from former war correspondent Chris Hedges. He explains how the despotic regime in a foreign country went through the same motions as our southern states with their glorification of the Confederation: basically, when people are getting desperate over their worsening lives, give them a myth to feel good about, the better to control them. In our case, that myth would be the ‘noble heroism’ of our civil war’s slavery defenders, building up a white-against-black and south-against-north mentality that keeps us from uniting against the blood-sucking establishment controlling and exploiting us from above. The more divided we are, the better controlled from the top we are.

 

VI.
An older but very nice conversation:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Cornel West and Richard Wolff talk about Capitalism and White Supremacy”)

How much better off are freed slaves when they become enslaved by a wage slavery system? When one king of a company can hire and fire you, abuse you, rip you off and make you lick his boots – and every alternative job is just as bad – it is anathema to democracy!

 

VII.
Nice historic review of the last century of our economy and politics – the New Deal and its repeal:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Full Show 11/11/15: How Reaganomics Killed America’s Middle Class”)

Conclusion: we can’t keep a golden age after getting it, if we don’t topple the plutocrats who will roll back everything to resume their godlike status among a sea of serfs. The pendulum will always swing back to the dark side if we do nothing to lock it in place.

 

VIII.
And not to forget: the environment we depend on. One thing apparently forgotten in this conversation was the great danger that lies in our getting the permafrost soil to melt, releasing huge amounts of methane, which is a far worse greenhouse gas than CO2. Basically, we are terraforming ourselves off this planet:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “After Maria “Obliterates” Puerto Rico, Trump Pushes Dangerous Climate Policy”)


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One More Thrust to Destroy the GOP’s Wealthcare Zombie (ACA-Repeal, Trumpcare)

As I think I recently mentioned, Republican “leaders” are hurtling one more time toward an Obamacare repeal, and we must tell them “No!” — Even as Bernie Sanders has put forth his Medicare for All bill, the worst of the worst in Washington are still hell-bent on shredding federal protections found in the Affordable Care Act, killing its subsidies and Medicaid expansion, and suffocating the fifty-year Medicaid program that benefits everyone from newborns to seniors in nursing homes. If we don’t stop them, they will do it this month before time runs out for them.

I want to share with you a passionate, excellently written and informative article: We Can Stop the GOP’s Dash to Destroy Health Care

Quotes:

The GOP lawmakers who demand repeal, and the rich donors who back them, don’t seem to mind bulldozing our health care to make way for their tax cuts and market-based dystopia. … An unprecedented national solidarity has blossomed around the repeal proposal – in opposition to it. … That opposition includes medical and hospital groups. Patient organizations. Republican and Democratic governors. The health secretary for the home state of the bill’s top sponsor. Veterans. People who simply believe every person in our country deserves, and should get, health care. … So, call, call, call – not just to your senators, but to your representatives in the House, too. (Here’s the number for the Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121. But call local offices, too!”

I quickly dug up the following (untried by me) places to find phone numbers:

And this page gives you an idea of where the political creatures live:

http://www.politicalcampaigningtips.com/the-big-list-of-local-elected-offices-for-political-candidates/

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The Equifax Calamity – Possibly the Biggest Data Breach in History

Remember the report that, thanks to Equifax, we may all become victims of identity theft? The possibilities: credit card fraud, tax refund theft, ruined reputations and credit ratings replete with denied apartments, insurances, or jobs, and even worse: credit cards or bank accounts being set up in our names and the bill collectors coming for us over those false accounts, arrest warrants getting issued against us because of the crimes of others, arresting police shooting us in our beds… at least that’s what I can imagine coming at us. Here is an update interview:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Massachusetts First to Sue Equifax Over Massive Hack “)

It’s really sad to hear that the vulnerability is said to have been in an open-source software, since open-source is usually considered one of the best protections against hacking. But, of course, it won’t help when the quickly produced patches are not applied down the line, in this case by the staff of one of our three ruling credit bureaus.  Continue reading