The Corporate Elite Are Redistributing Income To Themselves and Giving Americans The Shaft

Panorama View of Cumberland, Maryland 1906

Panorama View of Cumberland, Maryland 1906.  

Located on the Potomac River in the western part of the state, Cumberland was an important transportation hub early in the nation’s history.

In 1906 Teddy Roosevelt, the “trust buster” was president ( he would never get the tea bagger vote). It was the year of the Great San Francisco earthquake, the year Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle was published and Congress passed the Meat Inspection Act ( something else that conservatives would defeat if up for a vote today).

Fighting Back Against Wretched Wages

OFTEN relegated to the background, America’s low-wage workers have been making considerable noise lately by deploying an unusual weapon — one-day strikes — to make their message heard: they’re sick and tired of earning just $8, $9, $10 an hour.

Their anger has been stoked by what they see as a glaring disconnect: their wages have flatlined, while median pay for chief executives at the nation’s top corporations jumped 16 percent last year, averaging a princely $15.1 million, according to Equilar, an executive compensation analysis firm.

Conservatives, most libertarians and some centrist Democrats have been saying for years that the reason we have to keep wages low is to be competitive – competitive to whom, Asia. That is and has been a race to the bottom for half of the U.S. The truth is slight more complicated, but not so much so that even your kool-aid drinking conservative neighbors can understand. By shipping jobs overseas and using that leverage to put downward pressure on wages, all the while taking away much of organized labor’s power, corporate dreams have come true. Corporate America is making record profits – that means they could be paying people a living wage and keeping jobs in the U.S. rather than do that, these corporations are putting massive sums of money in executive pockets and shareholders. Sure some of the middle-class gets some of that via their mutual funds – but most Americans do not benefit from this capital redistribution from workers to the wealthy. This is a good recent example of how the very wealthy are redistributing capital to themselves, A Pension Deficit Disorder: The Massive CEO Retirement Funds and Underfunded Worker Pensions at Firms Pushing Social Security Cuts

A major player in the national debt debate, the “Fix the Debt” campaign, is arguing that cuts to Social Security and Medicare are necessary to avoid economic disaster. Meanwhile, the corporations leading this campaign are contributing to Americans’ retirement insecurity by funneling enormous sums into their CEO retirement accounts while underfunding their employee pension funds.

Key findings:

* The 71 Fix the Debt CEOs who lead publicly held companies have amassed an average of $9 million in their company retirement funds. A dozen have more than $20 million in their accounts. If each of them converted their assets to an annuity when they turned 65, they would receive a monthly check for at least $110,000 for life.
* The Fix the Debt CEO with the largest pension fund is Honeywell’s David Cote, a long-time advocate of Social Security cuts. His $78 million nest egg is enough to provide a $428,000 check every month after he turns 65.
* Forty-one of the 71 companies offer employee pension funds. Of these, only two have sufficient assets in their funds to meet expected obligations. The rest have combined deficits of $103 billion, or about $2.5 billion on average. General Electric has the largest deficit in its worker pension fund, with $22 billion.

Although they have not remedied their own internal pension fund debts, the Fix the Debt CEOs say they have the solution for our national debt problems, which would include cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

In some cases, the Fix the Debt member corporations could eliminate their pension fund deficits with cash they currently have on hand. GE, for example, has more than $85 billion in liquid assets, according to their most recent 10-K report — enough to easily wipe out their $22 billion pension deficit. But rather than fixing their own internal debts, these CEOs have embarked on an aggressive effort to persuade policymakers and the public that savings from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are essential to addressing the country‘s financial challenges. While these CEOs have offered few details on how they would cut costs with these reforms, it would likely be by limiting access to these programs paid for by all working Americans and by yet again raising the retirement age.

The corporate elite tell the public we have to pay sub-living standard wages or we’ll have to rise prices. What they could do is make reasonable salaries – say in the $85k to $125k range. I just suggested some heresy – hey this is America and corporate executives have to make millions or they won’t work. Fine, quite and lets usher is a new generation of hard working ethical executives they care about workers and America. Some conservatives bloggers have linked to this story – Exclusive: Signs of declining economic security, saying this is the result of Obama’s policies. They cannot put two and two together. Corporate profits at at all time highs and wages at all time lows. These companies could hire, they could pay more, but they are hoarding the money for themselves. Not exactly secret information, so conservatives continue to be the worse informed people on the planet. Read the comments on this post – if we made proof of general economic knowledge a requirement for voting, these people would not be allowed to vote. In one crazy-funny comment, one commenter goes off on how the communists are to blame. There is a very similar cognitive dissonance between what the Conservative base thinks about ” free enterprise” corporate America and what they thought about Bush and Iraq. They could not, and still cannot bring themselves to believe that the Bush administration betrayed America and they can’t believe these flag waving, “free enterprise” talking American businesses have betrayed America for more wealth than they will ever need and certainly never earned.

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Dreaming of The Day Conservatives Act in The Best Interests of America

Black and White Chess wallpaper

Black and White Chess wallpaper

President Obama has a very low rate of judicial appointments. Like legislation ranging from proper nutrition for low income children to job creation, the conservative minority in the Senate has used holds and the invisible filibuster to block well qualified nominees. And here the conservative noise machine is doing their part, Right-Wing Media Campaign Against Judicial Nominee Cornelia Pillard

Falsely ascribing a quote of conservative former Chief Justice William Rehnquist to Pillard in which he wrote for the Supreme Court that family leave policies not equally provided to both sexes are a “self-fulfilling cycle of discrimination,” Perkins inaccurately described it as Pillard’s condemnation of “celebrating motherhood.” Where Pillard has observed that the anti-choice personhood movement could be exposed as unconstitutional by increasing awareness of the equal protection ramifications for pregnant women, Perkins fabricated the charge that Pillard “criticizes” the ultrasound. Resorting to spreading the ridiculous myth that Pillard would “declare” abstinence-only education “unconstitutional,” Perkins managed to debunk such a silly charge in his very next sentence by quoting her accurate observation that a sex education class that stereotypes and disadvantages women could theoretically be “vulnerable to an equal protection challenge” under established precedent.

While the legal arguments can be a little complex it does boil down to women have the same right to reproductive health information as men ( sex ed) and the same range of freedom over their reproductive rights. I guess I’m to the left of Pillard because abstinence only sex education, the whole cultural incentive for it, is based on particular far Right religious dogma. As such it is on it’s face discriminatory against everyone whose religious or secular beliefs think that abstinence only is outdated and ineffective. Studies have shown a combination of abstinence and birth control education is the most effective way to stop sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies. So one has to wonder if conservatives do not actually want to encourage STDs and unplanned pregnancies. Both of which put more demands on health and social services which we all know conservatives are against. So their goal is to perpetuate a life of hardship, if not cruelty for millions of Americans. Know the facts and the outcomes one can only assume that much like Iran’s conservative religious leaders, America’s conservatives are more interested in the triumph of their dogma, than what is morally right.

Not quite head spinning news, but close, Justice Robert’s Picks Reshaping Secret Surveillance Court

The recent leaks about government spying programs have focused attention on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and its role in deciding how intrusive the  government can be in the name of national security. Less mentioned has been the person who has been quietly reshaping the secret court: Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

In making assignments to the court, Chief Justice Roberts, more than his predecessors, has chosen judges with conservative and executive branch backgrounds that critics say make the court more likely to defer to government arguments that domestic spying programs are necessary.

Ten of the court’s 11 judges — all assigned by Chief Justice Roberts — were appointed to the bench by Republican presidents; six once worked for the federal government. Since the chief justice began making assignments in 2005, 86 percent of his choices have been Republican appointees, and 50 percent have been former executive branch officials.

Though the two previous chief justices, Warren E. Burger and William H. Rehnquist, were conservatives like Chief Justice Roberts, their assignments to the surveillance court were more ideologically diverse, according to an analysis by The New York Times of a list of every judge who has served on the court since it was established in 1978.

I was under the impression the FISA Court judges were executive branch appointees with Congressional approval. Like Senator Richard Blumenthal(D) I find it disturbing that one appointed judge with a garaged lifetime job, with a well known radical agenda, has exclusive say over the surveillance court. Robert’s seem to be appointing radical clones of himself.

900,000 Jobs? Read the Letter, Paul

Here’s a way to get some more jobs in the very near term—900,000 to be precise: cancel the sequester.

That’s what the CBO said in response to Rep. Van Hollen’s request for such an analysis.

…canceling the automatic spending reductions effective August 1 would increase outlays relative to those under current law by $14 billion in fiscal year 2013 and by $90 billion in fiscal year 2014.

Those changes would increase the level of real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by 0.7 percent and increase the level of employment by 0.9 million in the third quarter of calendar year 2014 (the end of fiscal year 2014) relative to the levels projected under current law, CBO estimates.

The budget office goes on to say that if you didn’t replace the deficit savings, higher federal debt could lead to slower growth down he road, so if you’re worried about that, you’d want to replace sequestration with a balanced package of spending cuts and tax revenues that kick in later when the economy isn’t so demand constrained.

But output gaps being what they are, more or less spending by the federal government feeds pretty directly into growth and typically with “multiplier” effects that increase the bang-for-each-buck (e.g., pave a road and you’ve created more business at both the pavement supply company and the diner where the new crew has lunch).

This is way too easy to explain. Under something resembling normal circumstances, with a loyal, but somewhat reasonable loyal opposition, conservatives would see how they’re hurting the economy and job growth, and adjust accordingly. We’re not in normal mode. Any job creation makes president Obama look good, so if conservatives have to screw over the country to take away that credit they will continue to to do so. If Democrats running in 2014  know how to run a good campaign they should be adding this sequester hostage taking to their list of talking points.

Conservologic, If You’re Attacked By Two Rabbits That Makes All Rabbits Criminals

Canoe Trip wallpaper

Canoe Trip wallpaper

Let me get the freaks, weirdos, racists, crazed zealots and delusional nutwits out of the way first, National Review Tells Young Whites To Avoid Blacks, Again

Victor Davis Hanson, a scholar of military history and longtime National Review foreign affairs columnist, has a habit of dipping his toes into racially uncomfortable water. In a past column, for example, Hanson accused President Obama of attempting to victimize white people for political gain.

[  ]…The thrust of Hanson’s argument — black men are criminals and you should stay away from them, my son — is largely indistinguishable from Derbyshire’s. “Be careful if a group of black youths approaches you,” Hanson quoted his father as saying before a move to San Francisco. “After some first-hand episodes with young African-American males,” he continued, “I offered a similar lecture to my own son.”

The Atlantic also has a good piece up on Hanson. What is moronic is to base one’s world view on an encounter with punks – note their apparent ethnicity and so feel entitled to forever claim that everyone from that group is cause for concern about your personal safety. Conservatives have been playing this game for years ( not all of them, but obviously still many). Norman Podhoretz, thought of as one of the great thinkers of the conservative establishment, once wrote an essay, now in many college English anthologies, that told of his being persecuted by blacks in his neighborhood while he was growing up. That is unfortunate, but says nothing about race, as much as he and like minded conservatives would like to think. Some black kids during that time were literally murdered by whites. So if we’re going to use the Podhoretz and Hanson standards, that means we should have a talk with our kids about how violent white folks can be. I have been shot at once in my life. It was by a white middle-class male. he was so arrogant about it he didn’t even care that I knew who he was. Look at the FBI’s Most Wanted List –  there are no African Americans on that list of very violent offenders. Second worse terror attack in U.S. history was the Oklahoma City bombing – two white guys. Or we could say that individuals are on the FBI list, bad people bombed the Murrah Federal Building, some punks accosted Hanson’s dad. It’s only human to note appearance, but it’s a mistake to infer that millions of people are criminals because of one or two personal experiences. Hanson, being a supposed intellectual, knows better, so that is what makes his thinly veiled racism all the more damning.

Looks like a clean cut white surfer dude I used to hang out with in high school. He is wearing a hoodie though. He is Jason Derek Brown and he is wanted for robbery and murder. I wonder if all his victims and their families are now entitled to be suspicious of all white dudes.

Next,  Rand Paul’s White Supremacy Double Game

Jack Hunter, the Rand Paul social media staffer who wrote columns attacking Abraham Lincoln and defending Southern secession under the name “Southern Avenger,” tells the Daily Caller that he’s leaving the senator’s staff and returning to punditry to clear his name and avoid dimming Paul’s rising star. Even though Paul defended Hunter when the Washington Free Beacon broke the news of his long career of neo-Confederate race-baiting…

I still think it is remarkable how much establishment conservatives are determined to knock Paul (R-KY) out of presidential contention. If liberals had started up on Hunter and Paul everyone would shrug and go on about their business. Though since the conservative media is after Paul (R-KY) the story stays alive.

Pennsylvania police chief: F*ck all you libtards out there, you take it in the a**

Kessler has uploaded several profanity-laced videos to YouTube. In one video, Kessler berates “libtards” and warns of an armed rebellion against the government.

“F*ck all you libtards out there, as a matter of fact, read my shirt,” he says, turning around to show a message on his back which read, “Liberals take it in the a**.”

“You take it in the ass and I don’t give a f*ck what you say so you can all just go f*ck yourselves. Period. I wont be going to D.C. and I don’t give a f*ck. If you f*cking maniacs want to turn this into an armed revolt, knock yourselves out. I’m not about that, so see you on the other side.”

In a video on basic pistol defense, Kessler repeatedly shoots a picture of scary clown, which he says is Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Kessler is also known to be a fan of wacko Alex Jones and an antisemitic rock band. The Confederate flag he is wearing on his shirt in the video speaks volumes about his strange brand of “patriotism”.

I still wonder why faux patriots like Kessler and his pals stayed home and cleaned their 86 semi-automatic weapons instead of demanding Bush and Cheney explain their lies about Iraq. Why do they never rant about how Wall Street stole around $17 trillion of America’s wealth. 5 Reasons It’s Just Absurd That America Doesn’t Tax Wall St’s Transactions. The short version,

The Tax Works in Countries with the ‘Freest’ Economies

Unimaginable Amounts are being Traded in the U.S., with zero tax

A Tiny Tax Would Pay the Entire 2013 Federal Education Budget

It’s Easy to Administer — Especially for One of the Most Profitable Companies in America.

Big Revenues, Little Risk

Conservativism Is Like An Amusement Ride Without The Fun

Country Highway wallpaper

Country Highway wallpaper

This report is from June of this year, Charles Koch launching Wichita campaign about economic freedom, government overreach. A clueless elitist billionaire sounding off about how rough life is for him and  other crony capitalists who count the money they make off the backs of people who do real work and have real ideas. They call themselves libertarians because they’re not honest or honorable enough to call themselves what they really are, proto-fascists. This is another concrete reason why the Kochs and their acolytes are against regulation, manipulation plus greed pays very well,  How Goldman Made $5 Billion By Manipulating Aluminum Inventories (and Copper is Up Next).

Since there does not seem to be any kind of recording thus far ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has some wriggle room to back-track his reported assertion, Report: Scalia Approaches Godwin’s Law on Judicial Activism

Scalia opened his talk with a reference to the Holocaust, which happened to occur in a society that was, at the time, “the most advanced country in the world.” One of the many mistakes that Germany made in the 1930s was that judges began to interpret the law in ways that reflected “the spirit of the age.” When judges accept this sort of moral authority, as Scalia claims they’re doing now in the U.S., they get themselves and society into trouble.

Scalia calls himself an “originalist,” which he defined this weekend as believing that “texts should be read to mean what they were understood to mean when they were adopted.” His pretty well-known frozen-in-amber take on constitutional interpretation pits him against anyone, including his fellow Supreme Court justices, who would read the Constitution in the context of changing times and societies.

Scalia ruled that Congress does not have the right to regulate campaign financing in Citizens United, based on the concept that corporations and corporate-like entities such as Karl Rove’s American Crossroads have the same rights as human citizens. That bit of judicial activism cannot be found anywhere in the U.S. Constitution. Just a couple good points here,

One, you profess a belief in originalism and for what is contained within the Constitution.  Judicial review is mentioned nowhere in the Constitution and the concept was alien to the common law concept of parliamentary supremacy.  It was only with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Marbury v. Madison, more than a decade after the ratification of the Constitution that judicial review was established as a power of the courts.  Therefore, on what basis do assert your power of judicial review?
Two, you state that every right that you hold to exist as a matter of law can be found within the words of the Constitution and that judges engage in ‘judicial activism’ when they find rights other than those specifically listed.  How do you reconcile this view with the plain words of the Ninth Amendment, which states:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

And of course there is the general conservative tendency to bend or rewrite history. The rise of Nazism in Germany has been well documented, its roots in the consequences and reaction to the Treaty of Versailles, a nationalism and nativism making antisemitism a large part of the appeal of Nazism.  Once Hitler became chancellor (prime minister) he and the Nazi party tried to destroy any possible rivals to his position, rearmed Germany, and launched a campaign of violence against the Jews. He became the dictator by burning the Reichstag building and blaming the communists. The general public, or enough of them anyway were worked up into a state of fear and hysteria allowing Hitler to suspend civil rights. No court rulings required. With a Nazi majority in the Reichstag, Hitler was then able to pass The Enabling Act, which gave him complete legislative and executive power for four years. Any regular court rulings Hitler did not like were ignored, not that at the time, there were any. Hitler established his own court so that he could carry out his agenda with the gaze of what appeared to be legal proceedings, The People’s Court,

The People’s Court (German: Volksgerichtshof) was a Sondergericht, a special court, established in 1934 by German Chancellor Adolf Hitler, who had been dissatisfied with the outcome of the Reichstag Fire Trial (all but one of the accused were acquitted). The “People’s Court” was set up outside the operations of the constitutional frame of law. The court had jurisdiction over a rather broad array of “political offenses,” which included crimes like black marketeering, work slowdowns, defeatism and treason against the Third Reich. These crimes were viewed by the court as Wehrkraftzersetzung (“disintegration of defensive capability”) and were accordingly punished severely. The death penalty was meted out in numerous cases in this court.

The Court handed down an enormous number of death sentences under Judge-President Roland Freisler, including those that followed the July 20 Plot to kill Hitler. Many of those found guilty by the Court died in the Plötzensee prison. The proceedings of the court were often even less than show trials in that some cases, such as that of Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans Scholl and fellow White Rose activists concluded in less than an hour, without evidence being presented or arguments made by either side.

Just my take, I would resist the temptation to call Scalia crazy. Since we do not have actual clinical evidence for that. Though we can assume, with what he has reportedly said on this and other occasions, that he is a malevolent zealot who has dishonored the nation’s highest court.

Quite a few years back a formerly Republican judge noted that conservatives had too often decided to take political and constitutional positions and than scurried around trying to find rationale for them. That continues to this day and seems to be getting worse.

Food, Work and The Deep Moral Corruption of Conservatism

Japanese World Map

Japanese World Map, created between 1850-1900. The map is from a woodcut engraving and shows an enormous archipelago representing Japan at the center of the world. The interesting characters drawn in the insets are of a Russian soldier. The inset texts have a very brief history of each country.

House Republicans cheer as they pass farm bill without food stamps or a future, which is like the time they cheered for death for anyone who did not have health insurance. It is certainly the same as cheering for misery.

House Republicans cheered as they passed their special farm-not-food farm bill by the skin of their teeth Thursday afternoon. It wasn’t clear in the immediate run-up to the vote if Republicans would have the votes, and then Democrats forced repeated procedural votes as a protest against the Republican leadership’s decision to separate the farm subsidies part of the traditional farm bill from funding for nutrition programs.

The way forward is murky for the bill, since the Senate already passed a farm bill including both farms and food and isn’t likely to agree to strip out the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in conference…

..In other words, that what they passed won’t pass the Senate or get the president’s signature is not the issue. This is about John Boehner, and his need to show he could get the House Republicans he ostensibly leads to pass something, anything, to make up for his farm bill failure last month. And he barely got it through: The 216-208 vote was only good enough for passage because some Republicans were absent.

In the bizarre alternate reality in which conservatives live, money to feed hungry people is money down a endless void. Be fore we proceed to see how food assistance is both good for the country in terms of economics and American ideals like humanitarianism, this bit from the far Right Heritage Foundation, Food Stamps Don’t Stimulate Economic Growth

The number of Americans on food stamps, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is at historic highs, but some on the left—like Paul Krugman—think that’s not such a bad thing because, as they argue, food stamps “stimulate” the economy:

We desperately needed (and still need) public policies to promote higher spending on a temporary basis.… [E]ach dollar spent on food stamps in a depressed economy raises G.D.P. [gross domestic product] by about $1.70—which means, by the way, that much of the money laid out to help families in need actually comes right back to the government in the form of higher revenue.

Others on the left have made similar statements about SNAP stimulus. What’s the problem with this argument?

First, food stamps are intended to serve as a temporary safety net for those who face economic hardship, not as an economic stimulus. To justify food stamps as a stimulus to raise government revenue ignores the long-term economic consequences of welfare spending.

Maybe I’m giving them too much credit, but I think that is a pretty clever. She does not in anyway rebut the food stamp argument directly, she suddenly shifts, to a yea but it adds to the total national debt in the long term argument. That is not true either, but it gives the typical Fox News viewer or Breitbart reader the kind of mental rationale they need to repeat it to the point of nausea. First, just the numbers that would relate to being a drain on taxpayers,

When the money goes to people, they spend it and stimulate the economy on the order of $1.5 to 1.7 for every dollar spent. This means that the $78 billion spent on food stamps in 2011 led to $115 billion in overall economic activity.

That $37 billion is how tax payers get their money back, grocery stores make money and pay some taxes, food suppliers and farmers make money and pay some taxes. Oh, and of course this $37 billion helps people keep and create jobs. And frankly I don’t care about that and no one with a conscience should. Even if the program came out even $78 billion spent to $78 billion in economic activity, people need to eat. Conservatives do not seem to have much in the way of moral qualms about people going hungry, but most Americans do. Some more numbers and some stuff about people who conservatives think should just drop dead,

Advocates for the poor consider such cuts unconscionable. Food stamps, they argue, are far from lavish. Only those with incomes of 130% of the poverty level or less are eligible for them. The amount each person receives depends on their income, assets and family size, but the average benefit is $133 a month and the maximum, for an individual with no income at all, is $200. Those sums are due to fall soon, when a temporary boost expires. Even the current package is meagre. Melissa Nieves, a recipient in New York, says she compares costs at five different supermarkets, assiduously collects coupons, eats mainly cheap, starchy foods, and still runs out of money a week or ten days before the end of the month.

That average comes out to about $4.43 a day. According to conservatives and their brilliant insights into the human psyche, that kind of cash is what makes people lazy and want to live off gov-mint giveaways. So here we have a issue with a political movement that is not so much about politics as about the mental state of someone who wants misery for another human being who they see as the disgusting other. A few more numbers and humans,

The majority of SNAP recipients are children or elderly–and many work. A report released in November 2012 by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service shows that 45 percent of SNAP recipients were under 18 years of age and nearly 9 percent were age 60 or older. What’s more, more than 40 percent of SNAP recipients lived in a household with earnings.

So 54% of SNAP recipients are at a place in life where they have no boot straps to pull themselves up with. This should be embarrassing to conservatives who worship the absolute god-like perfection of the free market: how can that 40% work 40 or more hours a week and still not earn enough not to qualify for food assistance. Spoiler alert, I have part of the answer to that mystery: employers like Walmart, Target, McDonalds, Applesees, Sears. Taco Bell, Amazon and most retail grocery chains do not pay most of their employees a living wage, but they all have executive management that takes home millions – far more than they earned, deserve or need for a comfortable life. The same people Republican governors have cut taxes for and the same executives that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan wanted yet another tax cut. And like a dovetail joint those tax cuts for people who rob from their employees to give to themselves we have the deep wisdom of the Koch brothers, Billionaire Koch Brother Says Eliminating The Minimum Wage Will Help The Poor.

The Kansas ad does not specifically mention the minimum wage, but it does claim that Americans earning $34,000 a year should count themselves as lucky, because that puts them in the top 1 percent of the world. “That is the power of economic freedom,” the ad concluded. Meanwhile, Charles and David Koch are the ones comfortably in the 1 percent, with a net worth of about 1 million times that figure. Watch the ad:

The ad cites a report from the Koch-funded Fraser Institute showing that “The United States used to be a world leader in economic freedom but our ranking fell. And it’s projected to decline even further.” (That same Fraser report interestingly ranks Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Chile ahead of the U.S. Those places all have government-run health care, which the Kochs adamantly oppose.)

The Kochs were sent to elite colleges by their wealthy dad, from who they also inherited a large fortune. They did some really innovative stuff like buy some paper mills, some companies they make artificial carpeting synthesized from petroleum products. Most of their money now comes from their money. When you’re that rich and reach a certain threshold of wealth, your money by way of very safe investments and interests pays back huge sums of money. Listening to them give advice how how to get out of a low wage job is to listen to someone who is truly clueless. Someone who has never achieved anything on their own because they started out life, not a step up the ladder, but on top of the ladder charging fees to anyone who wanted to get on. The picture at this link says basically the same thing Lincoln said about labor being superior to capital, People like the Kochs, Romneys, Gold-Sachs, Bank of America, the Walton family, the Coors family, Sheldon Adelson take our ideas, they take our labor, they take our talent, they frequently take our health, they take our jobs during a takeover or export them to Asia, then turn around and call us the takers. It is close to the Antebellum plantation owners calling the slaves ungrateful for all the opportunities they provided.

Reeds in the Wind wallpaper

Reeds in the Wind wallpaper

Reeds in the Wind wallpaper

Neo-Confederate Rand Paul Aide A Daily Caller Contributor, Fox Regular

Jack Hunter, a congressional aide to Sen. Rand Paul with a history of “neo-Confederate” and “pro-secessionist” views, has produced dozens of articles and video commentaries for The Daily Caller and appeared as what one Fox Business host termed a “regular” guest on that network. He also helped then-Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), currently the president of The Heritage Foundation, write his most recent book.

The conservative Washington Free Beacon reported today that Hunter, a “close” Rand Paul aide who also co-wrote the Kentucky Republican’s 2011 book, “spent years working as a pro-secessionist radio pundit and neo-Confederate activist … Hunter was a chairman in the League of the South, which ‘advocates the secession and subsequent independence of the Southern States from this forced union and the formation of a Southern republic.'”

And Jamelle Bouie also notes, I’m Shocked—Shocked!—That Rand Paul Has Ties to Neo-Confederates. MM and Bouie note the revelations started in the Washington Free Beacon, they do not speculate on the Beacon’s motivations. The Beacon is well known far Right rag that echoes much of the same trash that is part of the conservative echo chamber that includes Drudge, the Breitbart sites and Fox News. This story about Rand Paul might well be the only story with a political angles where they got their facts straight. Now why would an uber-conservative newspaper that sees it’s primary job as propelling the radical conservative agenda down as many throats as possible, go after Rand Paul. This is just my speculation. Matthew Continetti is the editor-in-chief of the Beacon. In the past he has worked for The National Review and Bill Kristol’s The Weekly Standard. In other words in his deep in connections to the conservative establishment. The conservative establishment usually gets it’s way. Those that kept up with Fox News reporting during the Republican primaries may remember that there was some, though not universal doubts and criticism about Romney. Once The national Review and Bill Kristol decided that Romney was THE conservative candidate, all criticism disappeared. It appears they are doing the opposite with Rand. It is an open secret that rand plans to run for president in 2016. Maybe they do not like Rand because of his murky opposition to the exploits of the NSA – there are too many conservative defense contractors making millions off the surveillance state for such opposition to become part of the Republican party platform. Radical religious conservatives like Rick Santorum do not like Paul because he is not enough of a dogmatist. Rand has said that conservatives need to become hipper. That kind of talk does not sit well with people who are literally still fighting the culture wars of the 60s and 70s. While like many i wish the r2016 had not begun, but it has. Right now Paul Ryan and Chris Christie seem to be leading in straw polls. So this move by the Beacon could be part of an early effort to knock out at least one of the fringe candidates before they can get any traction.

Another study and the Great Recession is still not the fault of liberals, Barney Frank or Fanny May, Two Sentences that Explain the Crisis and How Easy it Was to Avoid

The lenders were overwhelmingly the source of mortgage fraud.
The lenders were not only fraudulent, but following the “recipe” for ”accounting control fraud.”  They were deliberately making enormous numbers of bad loans.
This had to be done with the knowledge of the bank CEOs.  One of the wonderful things about being a CEO is the ability to communicate to employees and agents without leaving an incriminating paper trail.  Sophisticated CEOs running large accounting control frauds can use compensation and business and personnel decisions to send three key messages:  (a) you will make a lot of money if you report exceptional results, (b) I don’t care whether the reports are true or the results of fraud, and (c) if you do not report exceptional results or if you block loans from being approved by insisting on effective underwriting and honest appraisals you will suffer and your efforts will be overruled.  The appraisers’ petition was done over the course of seven years.  Even if we assumed, contrary to fact, that the CEO did not originate the plan to inflate the appraisals the CEOs knew that they were making enormous numbers of fraudulent “liar’s” loans with fraudulent appraisals.  It is easy for a CEO to stop pervasive fraudulent lending and appraisals.  Where appraisal fraud was common it was done with the CEO’s support.

Conservatism Disregards Women’s Rights and Health

Tricycle Autumn wallpaper

Tricycle Autumn wallpaper

 

This headline almost says it all about the current priorities of the conservative movement: Texas Lawmakers Too Busy Targeting Abortion Providers to Deal With Exploding Fertilizer Plants. I say almost because when they’re not protecting the right of corporations to kill their employees, they’re lying about immigration reform, still stalling financial reform and advocating the foreign policies of the same brand that cost so many lives in Iraq. I’m around quite a few conservatives and in everyday conversation i hear them express regrets about the employment situation ( they have different solutions than I do, but at least we agree there is a problem). Some of the ones that like to go fishing are still complaining about the pollution in our lakes and rivers, but still vote for people who exacerbate those problems. They complain about traffic, but don’t want to pay the higher taxes to build new over passes. Of there complaints, one thing I seldom here is the urgent national need to have more control over women’s personal health care decisions: Scott Walker Quietly Signs Mandatory Ultrasound Bill Into Law / Rick Perry To Have His Comrades Return To Passing That Draconian Abortion Bill, Says: Wendy Davis Should Be ‘Proud’ That Her Mother Didn’t Abort Her. Conservatives get all choked up thinking about the destiny of a clump of cells in someone else’s body, but actual human beings and their well being do not seem to get much sympathy or respect.

Rick Perry and Scott Walker

Rick Perry(R) and Scott Walker(R)