What if We Were Paid for Work in Assets rather than Ephemeral Wages?

Something that Yanis Varoufakis proposed in a speech I previously shared on a Video Weekend got stuck in my mind, making me want to dedicate an entire article to it. An article I have announced and promised a view times. Today, I finally fulfill that promise to me and you.

Besides explaining the mechanisms of democracy’s decline, in his speech, Varoufakis also proposed an amazingly fair economic system, one that would end the division between an owner class (from which arise the robber billionaires who ruin this world for the rest of us) and a working class. In this model, we would all become owners. If you want to skip to this part of Varoufakis’ recorded speech, it stretches from 10:00–11:49 minutes:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Capitalism will eat democracy – unless we speak up | Yanis Varoufakis”)

Varoufakis lays out an ingenious alternative to – or variant of – capitalism, a kind of fairly shared capitalism or universal ownership society, a fairly shared assets society — a Star-Trek-like utopia instead of the Matrix-like dystopia where we are currently headed. It is an intriguing economic system where there is no more disparity between wage-based and asset-based income, a system where we all become asset holders and will no longer be ordered around by a few ownership lords who condemn us to live out our lives as their oppressed serfs and puppets.  Continue reading

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A Universal Basic Income Would Only Have to Tax the Rich

A major mental hurdle that average or low income people have to overcome is the panicky idea that they would be taxed to finance a universal basic income. It’s the fear of: “Oh, no, I – a hard worker – will have to pay for lazy welfare queens.” However, a properly done UBI would do the exact opposite, unlike our welfare system. Properly done it would confiscate the obscene wealth in assets kept at the top of our country’s wealth pyramid (where the bottom 80% of people own less than 7% of the nation) and distribute the dividends to us all — as citizen dividends instead of privileged billionaire dividends. It’s our country. Our economy. The dividends of our prosperous economy should be our dividends (not the exclusive privilege of the rich) and create financial security for us all.

The following interview video talks about this:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Matt Bruenig Talks about His Viral Article on Universal Basic Income”)

Note: A UBI is not exclusive to a federal job guarantee or other helpful measures that will be discussed here tomorrow (don’t miss it!). It’s not either or. Just like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, FDR’s job creation, the G.I. Bill, and other programs worked best together, so will new measures we can take.

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Ending Note: It takes me at least 100 hours a month to research and write for this site. If you find any value in what I do, please consider becoming a patron and supporting this site with an automatic monthly donation of $1 or more. If you can’t afford this, then don’t, but please share my posts, tell folks about my online course, refer others to this site, refer me to paying outlets, partake in discussion, or contribute essays of your own. Thanks. Only together can we change the world. 🙂

Video Weekend 11-18-2017 (9 Videos)

This political video weekend edition covers four subjects: Political Corruption, Economy, Media, and Fresh Thinking

 

I. Political Party Corruption

Can this be real? 5 minutes into this video, reality turns inside out:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Donna Brazile Accidentally Reveals More Than Just DNC Corruption”)

Corruption Anyone? Did you think Donna Brazile was the real deal? Want to really know about corruption in our Twin-Party Tyranny? What if we follow Brazile’s money? Well there you go! Didn’t I tell you she was just another corrupt player?

 

In case you somehow missed the Donna Brazile revelations, here is a good review:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Nick Brana Comments on Brazile DNC Fraud Admission-Audio”)

 

II. Economy

Consumerism is part of the yoke we live under:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “[86] Activist Beaten, Arrested For Singing At Big Bank “)

 

Good interview with David Graeber from 2012 (a good follow-up if you heard his “DEBT: The First 5,000 Years” Google Talk or read my commentary on Wednesday:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Debt: The First 5000 Years – Extended Interview”)

Interesting thought: “Anarchy is democracy without a government.”

 

An Older (February) but Good Show on Immigrant Rights, Tim Black, Trump, and Basic Income (at 22:29 minutes). Especially the latter (at 22:29 minutes) is worth hearing as on of the best talking takes on UBI this year:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “[46] Tim Black, Lawyers Defending Immigrants, Basic Income & More”)

One point I’d like to add: a basic income is essentially a citizen dividend on our mutually owned country, as opposed to all dividends currently only going to the rich and well-to-do.

 

III. Media

Enlightening interview (media not beholden to our corporations and deep state are where we can get unfiltered U.S. news from; that includes defamed FOREIGN media):

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Abby Martin Exposes Untold History of U.S. Empire “)

 

Another alternative to censored corporate MSM and social media: Desperate exploited workers hide calls for help in their products:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Sweatshop Workers Sabotage Clothing”)

Despair, the grand old mother of invention…

 

IV. Rethinking our World

Thinking outside the box is necessary for any successful revolution. There can be no real change unless we change our thinking. According to thise speaker, 95% of the time people run on autopilot (essentially not thinking at all). When they do think, they usually think inside the box, typically a very small box. So, just as this gentleman suggests to business people, in politics, if we want real change for our country, we must likewise begin to think outside the box (a new party, a cross-party people’s coalition bringing in many third parties, not just voting but fixing our bad and rigged electoral system to have integrity and full representation through things like public campaign financing, publicly and oppositional counting of paper ballots, ranked choice or scored voting, a universal basic income combined with a federal job guarantee plus equitably shared national assets and a maximum income instead of merely raising the minimum wage…):

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Why the majority is always wrong | Paul Rulkens | TEDxMaastricht “)

 

A People’s Candidate Reveals the Boon of Public Campaign Financing (13:52 – 15:45):

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “This 2018 Progressive Candidate Has Her Pro-Wall Street Opponent SHOOK”)

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Ending Note: It takes me at least 100 hours a month to research and write for this site. If you find any value in what I do, please consider becoming a patron and supporting this site with an automatic monthly donation of $1 or more. And if you can’t afford this, please share our posts, tell folks about my online course, refer others to this site, partake in discussion, or contribute essays of your own. Thanks. Only together can we change the world. 🙂

 

Why we Don’t Have the Promised Utopia Today

Out of a rather winding and over-philosophizing public talk, I have extracted an answer of why we don’t already have that wonderful world of prosperity and leisure for everyone promised to us a generation or two ago and made possible by our technology. (By over-philosophizing I mean that David Graeber looses track of who the decision-makers are, which is as bad as not following the money.)

It is clear that we could build this great society right now and could have been well underway 40 to50 years ago. I grew up at a time when everybody I knew believed that we were on the verge of it, but it didn’t happen. The world has actually gone in the opposite direction, gone down the drain, gone to the dogs, slid towards a precipice throughout my entire adult life. What a horror this has been to watch!

Furthermore, I did realize years ago that the ancient Greeks could have created the modern industrial age some two millennia before our time (they were experimenting with steam engines and robots back then). They didn’t because the decision-makers had slaves. So what would they have needed robots for, other than mere toys? Their robots and steam engines therefore were just toys, not labor-saving machines; and so it never became a serious development. So, had it not been for ancient slavery, the industrial revolution could have happened 2000 years ago. It’s stunning to try to imagine where we would be by today.

In his winding talk, David Graeber eventually gets around to state that the same thing happened back in the sixties and seventies when we seemed on the verge of creating Paradise on Earth.   Continue reading

The Seductive and Destructive Power of Debt

A hallmark of our dark current times is debt. More and more people are drowning in debt while banks get bailed out and bankster CEOs ride into the sunset with huge bonuses even after crashing the world economy. People often think that a system of credit and debt is the latest in economic developments, but in reality debt has a long and interesting history which explains why our almost religious worship of debt can lead to dreadful human suffering.

You have the option of listening to the following 1 hour and 21 minutes-long talk by David Graeber or read my short 598-word summary below:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: »David Graeber: “DEBT: The First 5,000 Years” | Talks at Google«)

Summary: Debt started, and is apparently inborn in us, as a way of social cohesion. Example: I gave you, my neighbor, a cow. So, some day, you help me build a new barn. Another neighbor gave me a bunch of chicken to start my chicken coup, and next year, when he has had a bad harvest, I give him and his hungry family several sacks of potatoes…  Continue reading

The People’s Movement is Born

Finally, the people’s coalition I called for over a year ago seems to be launching.

It has been brewing for a while. In 2008, a landslide of votes put Obama in office because he had promised hope and change. Starting around 2009, the Tea Party was formed to co-opt rebellious right-wing Americans. In 2016, a storm swept through our elections, boosting Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. We are still in trouble. Time and again, we were cheated and lied to. But we are not done. The American People still needs and wants change, and we will keep fighting for it. Now a people’s movement is being born that transcends political party lines.

Important facts:

  1. The twin-party tyranny has sold us out to the robber billionaires and driven our country to the brink of collapse.
  2. The American People is sick and tired of the twin-party tyranny. Independents are now the largest voting bloc. And, according to Gallop, around 60% of Americans want a new major party, and the trend has been rising for years.
  3. The efforts to flood and take over the “Democratic” Party for the people have had practically no success. Even though some people’s candidates managed to take over low positions, the party establishment still rules supreme and is blocking and purging those who don’t share their corrupt ways.
  4. If a political revolution fails, only two possibilities remain: a violent revolution and/or a violent dictatorship
  5. Millions have been leaving the “Democratic” Party thanks to last year’s rigged presidential primaries and the party’s continued stubborn resistance to reforming away from its big-money-in-politics corruption and towards fighting for the people’s needs. They, just like independents (and even many Republican Party members) need a new party to represent them.
  6. Existing third parties tend to suffer from low voter confidence and can be in mutual competition for votes. A coalition can help overcome that.

When representatives of the Draft Bernie for a People’s Party movement met this September 8-10 with other third-party representatives and activists, the idea finally crystallized to converge into a people’s coalition. While flooding the base of the existing mainstream parties will help to keep on the pressure, I strongly suspect that a trans-partisan people’s coalition will achieve the most. So, I am happy today to present a report on the official launch of the “Movement For a People’s Party”:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: »DraftBernie Launches “Movement For a People’s Party”!«)

The one part that may still be missing is the massive grassroots effort I recommended when I suggested the American People’s Coalition a year ago. I still think that all of us who can do so should engage in direct action, including the local hammering out of a broadly acceptable platform of public goals that most Americans can sign on to — and then implementing it in local politics. In other words, whenever we can to do something ourselves, let’s not wait for others to do great things on higher electoral levels. Let’s all talk to our friends, family, and neighbors, hold house parties or communal meetings, and move forward together. Even while we wait for national and state level changes, we can often make local changes right now. And also, very importantly, we must inform ourselves and polish our ideas to be ready inside for the changes we want on the outside.

Note: The new website is forapeoplesparty.org. The older site (Draft Bernie For a People’s Party) still exists. The latter’s Facebook page has been renamed to Movement for a People’s Party. Hopefully, not too many followers of that page have thereby lost the connection. (Facebook is buggy about name changes)

Further Reading:

  1. Reading Weekend 8-26-2017: The People’s Party Looms
  2. Is the Time Ripe for a New Party?
  3. APC (American People’s Coalition)

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Addendum:

Continue reading

Video Weekend 11-11-2017 (7 Videos)

This weekend’s mix of enlightening videos serves up short but powerful reports about the squeezing of our financially most unlucky fellow citizens and the neoliberal repeal of welfare. It also touches upon the prospects of a universal basic income (only a partial measure to turn things around, but at least a good start worth considering), social media censorship, and the rigging of the 2016 primaries. The latter, by now, has been partially admitted by DNC lawyers in court and a former DNC Chair but is still being played down and denied by our corporate media. Oh, how trustworthy they are.

 

I. Mike Figueredo does a beautiful job debunking the “Democratic” establishment’s lame denials of their election rigging:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Tom Perez Using EXACT Same Talking Points as Clinton’s Team to Discredit Brazile”)

If you need to refresh on the rigging of the 2016 “Democratic” Primaries, click here.

 

II. Social Media Censorship (to make sure you can’t tell your friends the truth the establishment wants nobody to know)

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “What You Aren’t Being Told About T w i t t e r Admitting Censorship!”)

 

III. If you are young, you better wake up to this reality and start fighting for a just society now while you still can:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Old and Poor: America’s Forgotten (Full Version)”)

 

IV. The loss of purpose in life when we are treated as trash, with great MLK quotes:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Inequality In Memphis: The Working Poor”)

 

V. Nice times in Jeb Bush’s state:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Hard Times Generation: Families living in cars”)

 

VI. The reality of welfare. While the entitlement of the rich is bigger than ever, the “entitlement” (the right to get help) for the poor is long gone:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Welfare’s Stigma in White Working-Class America (1/2)”)

Comment (you can add your own comments below): The stigma and failures of welfare are a big reason why we should move to a national citizen’s dividend a.k.a. universal basic income instead. The rich didn’t want to pay anything (or refrain from grabbing more) in order to help their fellow humans in desperate need. So they corrupted our politicians, parties, and thereby the government to cut, restrict, and – for many people in need – outright eliminate welfare; even though the rich never stopped being rich when they were being forced to pay higher taxes. Why? Because they hold most of the titles of possession for the pieces that make up our country. Therefore nearly all the dividends of our national economy flow exclusively to them before they get taxed. And after they leverage their wealth to avoid taxation, it stays with them barring the rest of us from our share. What did people who kick their struggling fellow citizens to the curb do to deserve owning our country? Why don’t we all get to own our country?

Yes, other measures must be taken, as well. By itself, a universal basic income is like placing a Band-Aid on a man getting mauled by pit bulls. As I will try to discuss in the future, it can help some of us a great deal when done right and also usher in a change in our public mentality which, so far, is way too accepting of our system of pure exploitation and total inequity.

Therefore, I repeat this video which I yesterday gave its own post, so as to be less likely to be missed. It fits very well into the present chain of videos. Basically, Canada is running a UBI pilot well worth keeping an eye on, I think, to observe the outcomes of this experiment:

 

VII. Ontario’s Bipartisan Basic Income Pilot

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot”)

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Independent media are critical! Let us help each other! Share articles. Comment. Submit guest posts. Help in other ways. Or beat your cryptic and boring science classes with Beanstock’s help for a mutual win-win!

Canada’s Basic Income Pilot – Promoted by a Conservative!

One can tell the time has come for a Universal Basic Income, which I prefer to call a National Citizen Dividend or Shared National Ownership Dividend (SNOD?), when people from all parts of the political spectrum agree on the necessity and potential for such a solution. A solution to the misery created by large sections of the citizenry being pushed into poverty by micro-employment, insufficient wages and benefit cuts, soaring medical and housing costs, or when they are even entirely ejected from the workforce by our inequality machine of a modern economy that offshores jobs or replaces us with machines and focuses exclusively on profit (for the already well-to-do and rich) while dismissing all human values and ethical concerns.

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot”)

Now, I know a UBI by itself is not enough and that there exist other important fixes, some even better, and many of them best applied in combination, including a really amazing one that I already wrote an article about whose publication I have, however, been postponing since I can write and publish only so much all by myself and without getting paid for it. So please be patient (or help). Just so you know, I have started to write a visionary book on the whole big picture. If you can promote this site, get me paid writing gigs, connect me with influencers or a like-minded community, or help financing my book, please do. Following this blog is good a first step.

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Independent media are critical! Let us help each other! Share articles. Comment. Submit guest posts. Help in other ways. Or beat your cryptic and boring science classes with Beanstock’s help for a mutual win-win!

Donna Brazile’s Revelations explained in a Meme

Donna Brazile’s attempt to paint the DNC as an innocent victim and thus calm the millions of Americans who are outraged over the “Democratic” rigging of the 2016 primaries doesn’t seem to have worked as planned. So now there is a lot of backpedaling and denying of reality all over again. I wonder if “DNC” really stands for Denying the truth about Neoliberal Corporatism?

Here is a graphic meme everybody may use and share free of royalties (like others I have shared [1][2][3]a link back to here would be nice but isn’t a must):

2016-dnc-bribe

 

Everybody, please promote this site to your friends so it can keep going. (or promote the online course that could ultimately help this site and its contributers)

Continue reading

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