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On the lighter side of life... 

#1445: Tommy, Riposa in Pace

requiescat in pace

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Trump & The Mob

http-//www.politico.com#13C5A6C

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"Give me your tired, your poor

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore

Send these, the homeless, tempest-toss'd to me

I lift my lamp beside the Golden Door."

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Hundreds of Oregon Corporations Escape the Minimum Tax

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Half of the US Is Broke

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The myth of the Christian country

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“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

FDR, 2nd Inaugural Address, Jan 20, 1937

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A Just Peace

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SIP contract online

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Middle East friendship chart

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Corporations enriching shareholders

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- Intel tax abatements

- INTEL, come clean!

- Leashing INTEL  

- Free to Be Hungry

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Facts not fiction on universal gun background checks

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"Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere"

Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The GOP - Not One of US.

Wall Street, our new criminal class...       

   Business in the USA is sitting on $2 trillion dollars refusing to invest their own funds in expanding and hiring workers.  

   When one adds to this the reserves that banks, equity firms and hedge funds have - the picture is clear - "capitalism in the USA is on strike." 

   The engine of our economy - the spirit of entrepreneurship is not in evidence today.  So much for business being dynamic and risk taking. 

   They hire K- Street lobbyists and their ilk at the state level because they are averse to risk taking - pleading for tax breaks, tax credits and endless loopholes. 

   The "business of business" in America today is not about job creation, it's about wealth hoarding and redistribution from the middle class to the top 1%. 

   So for those who claim government doesn't create jobs, my response is that business doesn't either until given "corporate welfare" by government.  The fact is that the private and public sector are highly integrated, something the anti-tax, anti-government Tea Party types don't understand. 

   Job creation requires public/private partnerships but the benefits of such collaboration should go to the 99% not just the 1%.  

 

RAD'S

WEBSITE PICKS: 


 

  • An Independent View

Oregon Outpost

  • A Middle East View      

Rami G. Khouri

  • RealClearPolitics:

Realclearpolitics

  • Jim Hightower:   

Jimhightower.com

  • Robert Reich:

Robert Reich

  • Thomas Friedman: 

Friedman Column

  • Nicholas Kristof: 

Kristof Column

Oregon's Motto: 

She flies with her own wings! 


Hard Times in Oregon: 

Hardtimes

The Oregon story - the rich get richer, the poor and middle class lose ground.  Check this front page Oregonian article out. 

Oregon wage gap widens

Homelessness in Oregon - a call to action

Chuck Currie The crisis of homelessness


  

      Oregon's coming 34th out of 41 states in the Obama "Race to the Top" illustrates the failure of leadership from Governor Kitzhaber and his predecessors as they have built an educational bridge to nowhere called high stakes testing.

   Instead of being in a race to the top we seem to be dumpster diving to the bottom despite doing education reform since 1991.  Insanity is termed doing the same thing over and over again.  When can we put a fork in this stupidity? 

   To confuse matters more the Oregonian's editorial board has pontificated that this was a lost opportunity to get federal funding for innovation.  How firing principals and teachers equals innovation is a mystery to me.   

   The way to reform schools is to reduce class sizes, to encourage teacher collaboration and to support their continued education.  High stakes testing and performance based assessment of teachers are NOT the answer!    

   If you want students to succeed you first have to resolve the issues they confront before they come to school.  Children who face poverty, hunger, homelessness, health care issues and family instability require wrap around services for them and their families, 24/7.   

   Every child needs a safe home of their own and parents who know how to be good parents.   

There is only one way to address this impending crisis.  Schools must have a stable source of funding. Until that happens - we will limp from crisis to crisis.   

 

 

    

    Why does the richest nation in the world have the moral blight of homeless people?

Invisible People

http://www.npr.org


 Homelessness

    Connecting the dots between homelessness & hunger in Oregon and Washington County: 

Homelessness:  

•    The faces of the homeless are families with children, single men and women, vets, and many who are impaired. It is estimated that in Washington County up to 56% of homelessness occurs to families.

Hunger:

•    Hunger is highest among single mother households (10%) and poor families (15%) as well as renters, unemployed workers and minority households. 

     In Washington County, Oregon's "economic engine," the divide between the affluent and the working poor continues.  We have a 19,000 unit gap in affordable low income rental housing.  County political and business leaders are indifferent to this crisis...   


A RAD rhetorical question - Were Madison & Marx "Marxists"?  

 

"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments."   

- James Madison

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAD Lines

See my FACEBOOK @ Russ

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  • He lost by 2.9 million votes...

  • He's a con artist...

  • He's a pathological liar... 

  • He's a failed business man...

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SB 1533 passes!  

http://oregon.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=6&clip_id=10863

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Housing Needs in Oregon 

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"There are men who believe that democracy... is limited or measured by a kind of mystical and artificial fate [and that] tyranny and slavery have become the surging wave of the future..." 

FDR, 3rd Inaugural Address, Jan 20, 1941

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Obamacare is working in Oregon!

Oregon's uninsurance rate cut more than half following federal health reforms

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Mourning for a Judaism Being Murdered by Israel

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Taking on the Pro-Israel Lobby 

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Sign the petition ►

Walgreens - pay your fair share of taxes!

"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws." - Mayer Amschel Rothschild

Miguel de Cervantes, from The Duke - "I accuse you of being an idealist, a bad poet and an honest man."  Cervantes' response - "Guilty as charged, I have never had the courage to believe in nothing."   from Man of La Mancha  

Intel failed to report fluoride emissions for almost 30 years   

     Why do Intel employees who are house hunting in Hillsboro, Aloha or Beaverton refer to an area within a 5 mile radius of Intel plants as "the dead zone?"  

      Do they know something we don't?  QuestionIntel.com  We couldn't trust banks "too big to fail," so why should we trust Intel?

Professor Kingfield, from the Paper Chase

   "I'm not a teacher: only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead – ahead of myself as well as you." 

- George Bernard Shaw

 

BLOGS:

From the Left Wing:

Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman - The New York Times

Democracy Now
democracynow.org

The Daily Kos

dailykos.com

Blue Oregon

blueoregon.com

 

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." 

- Emilie Buchwald 

 


    "Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law." 

- Justice John Paul Stevens, Bush v. Gore, 2001

    The state of our union - check out the map, it's a reality check for those who can't figure out why people are so ticked off... 

americanobserver

    Here's Garrison Keillor's rap on the rightwingnuts:   

GarrisonKeillor

 

     Garrison Keillor - "...The Founding Fathers intended the Senate to be a fount of wisdom... but when you consider...  moon-faced Mitch McConnell, your faith in democracy is challenged severely. Any legislative body in which 41 senators from rural states that together represent 10 percent of the population can filibuster you to death is going to be flat-footed, on the verge of paralysis, no matter what. Any time 10 percent of the people can stop 90 percent, it's like driving a bus with a brake pedal for each passenger. That's why Congress has a public approval rating of [11] percent...." 


"Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war"

- John Adams

"Loyalty to country always.  Loyalty to government when it deserves it."  

- Mark Twain  

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  

- George Santayana 

"The love of one's country is a natural thing.  But why should love stop at the border?" 

- Pablo Casals

"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." 

- William Butler Yeats  

 

"You see things; and you say, 'Why?' 

But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?"  

- George Bernard Shaw, "Back to Methuselah" (1921) 

"...the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society...  The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government..."  

- James Madison, Federalist Papers #11 

"Why … should we have government? Why not each individual take to himself the whole fruit of his labor, without having any of it taxed away?”   

The legitimate object of government, is to do for the people whatever they need to have done, but which they can not do, at all, or can not do, so well, for themselves – in their separate and individual capacities … There are many such things … roads, bridges and the like; providing for the helpless young and afflicted; common schools … the criminal and civil [justice] departments."    

- Abraham Lincoln 

Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society  

- Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. 

"Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests, which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates, but Parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole..." 

- Edmund Burke  

“It is a maxim among these lawyers that whatever hath been done before may legally be done again, and therefore they take special care to record all the decisions formerly made against common justice and the general reason of mankind.  These, under the name of precedents, they produce as authorities, to justify the most iniquitous opinions.”  

- Jonathan Swift 

" Every satirist who drew breath has flung pots of ink at this parade of tooting lummoxes and here it is come round again, marching down Main Street, rallying to the cause of William McKinley, hail, hail, the gang’s all here, ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay."  

- Garrison Keillor 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

  

 


  

 

Friday
Dec162016

IT’S NOT ABOUT THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE IT’S ABOUT TRUMP’S ILLEGITMATE CLAIM ON THE OVAL OFFICE…

POINT/COUNTER POINT:

Charles Lane, opined the following points in his op ed in the Washington Post, December 14…

Griping about the popular vote? Get over it.

CL: What an outrage: On Sunday, the National Football League awarded the Tennessee Titans a win over the Denver Broncos because they scored more points, even though the Broncos got more total yards than the Titans.

Of course, this is a ridiculous complaint — but not much more ridiculous than the gripes we’re hearing about the fact that Donald Trump is president-elect even though Hillary Clinton got 48.2 percent of the total votes cast vs. 46.1 percent for Trump.

RAD: Comparing an NFL game to the election of a president is a ridiculous comparison. NFL games are decided on how many points one scores – the game decided by the team who scores the most points in regular or in overtime.

But in a presidential election we are faced with the absurd reality that there are two scores, one the EC vote, the other the popular vote. So the comparison to an NFL game is based on a false equivalence since we have to scores which normally align with each other but not in 2000 or 20016.

CL: [Clinton’s] 2.8 million popular-vote margin is one of the largest for the electoral-college loser in American history, or will be, once the electoral votes are officially cast on Monday.

RAD: One of the largest – the largest… Gore beat Bush by 500,000 votes but lost thanks to hanging chads and the Supreme Court’s pre-empting the Florida Supreme Court’s intent to count all ballots.

CL: Still, it is fallacious to invoke this statistical byproduct of Nov. 8 to question the legitimacy of Trump’s victory — as opposed to that victory’s desirability, which is questionable indeed.

RAD: This inverse logic leaves several “facts” out that are well established:

- The Russians hacked the election – hell they hijacked it on purpose to help Trump win! And now we know the Kremlin also hacked Congressional Ds… and the R’s used that info.

- A vote recount in 3 key battleground states has been stopped stripping away thousands of votes from urban areas more likely to have voted for Clinton.

- The GOP voter suppression tactics have targeted minority voters, Black and Hispanic voters. This de facto voting segregation helped Trump game the system.

- The GOP for decades has treated the Democratic party not as the “loyal opposition” but as a “Fifth Column” to be destroyed.

So no it’s not about “desirability” it is about “legitimacy”. When Donald Trump takes the oath of office on January 20, 2017 he will be the most illegitimate president-elect ever. And that “fact” will haunt him from day 1.

CL: As all concerned knew going in, the object of the presidential election game is to win the most electoral votes in what are essentially 51 state-level contests (the District included), just as the object of football is to score the most points.

RAD: Yes this is the way the game is played. But let’s look under the EC hood a bit more carefully:

This system was put in place by the Founders to preserve a morally problematic Union of free and slave states where slaves did not have the vote but for purposes of enumeration were considered 3/5s a person to help balance northern and south EC votes.

The usual canard is that this was to give small states even status with big states. But back in 1789 most Americans lived in rural communities north or south of the Mason Dixon line. American society stayed that way until well into the 20th century.

That in th 21st century we are still using this racist and archaic system to elect our president is morally reprehensible and sanctions a de facto "white supremacy" at a time when the USA is one of the most diverse nations on earth.

CL: Gridiron teams would play differently under instructions to maximize yardage; candidates would campaign differently if maximizing national popular votes were the prime directive.

Aiming for 270 electoral votes out of 538, both Clinton and Trump focused on 13 swing states; Trump won that contest-within-a-contest by 816,000 votes.

RAD: The assertion that Trump won by 816,000 votes in the 13 swing states is now a dubious proposition given the Kremlin’s vote hacking, media manipulation and voting irregularities.

Lane also ignores the “winner take all” EC game that disenfranchises voters who didn’t vote for the winner of each state. This legalized voter suppression in the 21st century is not defensible.

CL: Voters, too, behaved as they did based on the known rules. The popular vote reflects not only true preferences but also strategic voting (or abstention) by people in non-swing states, such as deep-blue California and deep-red Louisiana, who might have done something else in a direct-election scenario.

RAD: Given the high level of voter illiteracy about the EC this assumption that voters vote rationally simply doesn’t fly. Most voters have no idea what the Electoral College is – I’ve had college students ask me “where do I go to college to be in the EC?”

If we elected the president by direct popular vote that would incentivize more voters to vote because they know their vote would count for real. It might encourage the 43 million who didn’t vote to get their feet wet.

This latter point is crucial both in terms of the winner’s legitimacy as well as to prevent an election system mobilization of bias that privileges white upper income voters over minority and lower income voters.

CL: Take Texas, a red state Trump won by roughly 800,000 votes. [Trump’s] share in heavily Republican suburban counties lagged Mitt Romney’s 2012 performance by an average of eight percentage points; Clinton’s beat Obama’s by four, according to a data analysis by Sean Trende, senior election analyst for RealClearPolitics. Meanwhile, exit polling showed Trump beating Clinton by 13 points in a hypothetical two-way race, as opposed to the nine he won by in real life.

RAD: So why not the let the “real” winner of the popular vote win? Lane is splitting hairs counting angels on pinheads. And again this discounts the impact of voter suppression laws in Texas.

CL: To Trende, this implies a lot of abstention or third-party voting by Republicans who were uncomfortable with Trump but might have swallowed their doubts if Clinton had a better chance to get the state’s 38 electoral votes — or win in a direct national election.

RAD: Contrary to Mr. Trende from RCL elections are not decided on implications but on who actually does vote. And historical analysis has shown that in a high turnout election (which 2016 was not) Democrats have the edge.

Besides we know that Republican voters “came home” despite their doubts about Trump, it was Democratic leaning women, millennials and minority voters who did not vote as much as normal. Again, this speaks to voter suppression by the RNC and the Kremlin.

CL: Who knows? Maybe Clinton’s 4.3 million-vote edge in California would have been smaller if turnout weren’t affected by a factor unique to that state: multiple progressive-minded referenda, including marijuana legalization and parole reform.

RAD: Playing the “what if” card is an interesting exercise but not the point. The point is that one wants a high turnout of all voters state by state. But that’s not how it plays out. In fact the states that Trump won historically are very low turnout states, mostly in the South.

We also know that negative campaigns, in this case Trump's campaign, are designed to lower voter turnout. It worked to everyone's surprise more than anyone ever imagined. As a result Trump represents less than 28% of American voters.

CL: There’s no use multiplying hypotheticals. While the Clinton popular-vote edge is so large it might represent what would have happened in a direct election, we can never be sure of that.

This is not to validate the electoral college per se. To the contrary, 2016 reinforces long-standing concerns about the democratic adequacy of U.S. presidential elections.

RAD: We agree on this point. But to concede this point is exactly “the point.” Our political system is founded on the premise of the “consent of the governed” and on the rule of “one person/one vote.”

To have an election system that violates these two cardinal principles is to encourage mischief in future elections and to imperil the legitimacy of our democratic system and with it the moral authority of the winner.

Yes, Clinton lost on a technically – “if one” accepts the votes that were counted… I don’t.

Yes we are faced with “limiting the damage” caused by this election – the ugly rhetoric by Trump, the dubious cabinet choices he’s making and a person who is intellectually unfit to be President. He will face a crisis of legitimacy from day 1…

The system is rigged and the watchdogs of the system – the media failed us. It’s past time we change the system. But for now, I will remain a voice of opposition from Day 1 until Trump leaves office hopefully like Nixon sooner than later…

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Here's Bill Moyer's legal brief to challenge the EC based on the one person/one vote principle... http://billmoyers.com/.../equal-protection-argument.../

Tuesday
Dec132016

THE POWER ELITE AT WORK...  

Another Blog Post By

Hedrick Smith, Dec. 12, 2016

Washington – With his cabinet of billionaires and trickle-down CEOs, President-elect Donald Trump has set the stage for the second “Revolt of the Bosses,” ignoring that the first “Revolt of the Bosses” starting in the late 1970s fueled the gaping inequalities of income and wealth that now plague America and that infuriated Trump’s working class voters.

The timing could hardly be worse. One new economic study documents the cost of the first revolt. It reports that that 115 million adults are stuck on the lower half of the income ladder consigned to virtually “zero growth” in real income from 1980 to 2014. Even with fringe benefits, profit-sharing, 401(k)s, and government programs like food stamps, the authors write, America’s lower half has been “completely shut off from economic growth since the 1970s.”

Another new study finds that America’s hyper-concentration of income and wealth  today blocks economic opportunity and upward mobility for the millennial generation. According to this study, only 41% of 30-something males earn as much today as their fathers did at the same age. By contrast, back in the 1970s, 92% of 30-year-old men earned as much or more than their fathers.

Lewis Powell’s Manifesto for Corporate America

Lewis Powell, 1971 Source: Washington & Lee School of Law

The first signs of that dramatic shift in our economic landscape emerged in the late 1970s in the wake of the first “Revolt of the Bosses.” The revolt was triggered, in part, by the highly influential call to arms to the captains of Corporate America by Lewis Powell, then a prestigious corporate attorney and soon to become a Supreme Court Justice.

In a confidential manifesto circulated secretly to business leaders in late 1971 by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Powell declared that America’s economic system was under “massive assault” from strong labor unions, a women’s movement pushing for equal pay, consumer and environmental movements demanding protective laws and regulations, a civil rights movement pressing for equal rights for African Americans, and by progressive intellectuals on university campuses.

To Powell, the very “survival…of the free enterprise system” was at stake. To stem the tide, Powell laid out a blueprint for political action in every arena from campus to Congress. American corporate leaders, he insisted, must mobilize their resources, commit to  a long-term political war against consumer and labor foes, and be prepared to use political power “aggressively and with determination” with the aim of capturing federal policy-making.

Business Lobbies Capture Washington

The response was immediate. Within a few months, CEOs of major corporations formed the Business Roundtable, now the most potent lobbying arm of America’s multi-national corporations. Hundreds of businesses rushed to open lobbying offices in the capital. The number shot up from 175 in 1971 to 2,445 a decade later. By 1980, there were 9,000 registered business lobbyists and 50,000 more people working for business trade associations.

By 1978, Powell’s army was ready to deploy its new lobbying power to press Congress to defy President Jimmy Carter, turning his proposed corporate tax increase into a tax cut, helping the wealthy by cutting the personal capital gains tax from 48% to 28%, changing corporate bankruptcy laws to favor management and winning deregulation of trucking and telecommunications..

1980s – Revolt of the Bosses Widens the Income Gap

Source: Economist

Under President Reagan, the  mutiny of the corporate elite achieved its apotheosis. Corporate economic and political power became dominant as labor union power  waned. With the deregulation of more industries, greatly eased rules for banking, the gradual shift from employer-funded pensions to largely employee-funded 401(k) plans on top of the bonanza of Reagan tax cuts in 1981, the new era of wedge economics took hold. America’s income divide became wide as a canyon.

While the Reagan years did see another 16.1 million jobs added, the middle class stagnated. Economists with 20/20 hindsight later calculated that the Reagan tax cuts had added $1 trillion to the wealth of America’s richest 1% in each decade since the 1980s, and the tax cuts of President George W. Bush in 2001 added another $1 trillion – $4 trillion in all, while the bottom half of the U.S. population saw close to zero income growth.

Trump Staffs Up for a New Bosses’ Revolt

Today, the policy nostrums from President-elect Trump echo that earlier Revolt of the Bosses – massive tax cuts for business and the wealthy plus whacking deregulation for American business. Trump claims that combination, plus renegotiating U.S. trade agreements, will generate 25 million new jobs and forge a brighter economic future for the working middle class, whose median household income today is below what it was in 1999.

What’s more, Trump has put some of America’s fiercest corporate down-sizers and cost-cutters in charge of the second “Revolt of the Bosses.” Spearheading this new  corporate takeover of policy-making in Washington will be this powerful trio – Wilbur Ross as Secretary of Commerce, Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor, and Steven Mnuchin as Secretary of the Treasury.

Ross: High Profits, FewerJobs, Lower Pay

Ross made his mark and his billionaire’s fortune by pursuing what Wall Street calls “distressed investing” – preying on companies in deep financial trouble, buying them at fire sale prices, shucking off their contract obligations to their workforce and  and selling off the amputated torso at a huge profit.

Trump appointees Wilbur Ross (left), Andrew Puzder (middle), & Steve Mnuchin (right).

 Ten years ago, after Ross bought LTV Steel for $325 million as it fell into bankruptcy with $2.5 billion in assets, I interviewed Ross and asked him about the jobs of LTV’s steel workers. Ross replied that he was ”creating jobs” but only for a portion of LTV’s workforce. And, he indicated, there was a hooker: “We were able to work out with the United Steelworkers of America a radically new labor agreement.”

Translation: The steelworkers union, stripped of bargaining power by the bankruptcy law pushed through Congress by the Revolt of the Bosses in 1978, was forced to accept lower wages and lower benefits just to save a fraction of LTV’s steel jobs, concessions that made the deal profitable for Ross. In addition, Ross was able to walk way from funding the lifetime pension benefits that LTV had promised its retirees by dumping those costs on a federal agency.

Wilbur Ross went on to buy four more steel companies as they went bankrupt, rolled them all together and sold them off for a profit of more than $2 billion, while thousands of employees were laid off or took lower pay and benefits or saw their retirement pay cut in half.

New Labor Secretary Prefers Robots to Humans

Instead of offsetting a pro-business Secretary of Commerce with a pro-worker Secretary of Labor, Trump chose another cost-cutting, trickle down corporate chieftain for the Labor Department – Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, a privately held corporation that runs two fast-food chains, Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.

The pay scales for cashiers and short-order cooks at Puzder’s chains fall below competitors such as MacDonald’s, Subway, Wendy’s, and Pizza Hut. And in an interview with Business Insider this year, Puzder preached the advantages of automation over human workers because, he said, machines are “always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall or an age, sex or race discrimination case.”

In terms of labor policies, Puzder has adamantly opposed raising the federal minimum wage and maintaining  new federal overtime rules that make four million more workers eligible for time-and-a-half pay. He also derides social safety net programs for workers being paid poverty-level wages as disincentives to work, saying that some of his own employees “are declining promotions to shift-leader positions because the increase in income would disqualify them for food, housing, medical or other government benefits.”

What Tilt Will Mnuchin Give to Trump’s Tax Cuts?

At Treasury, Trump has tapped Steve Mnuchin, a long-time Wall Street banker from Goldman Sachs, who like Wilbur Ross, saw a chance for a huge financial killing by catching California’s IndyMac bank in its death throes, buying it with a syndicate of wealthy investors for a bargain price of $1.6 billion, reorganizing it, rebuilding it and selling it off for nearly double the cost.

During the Great Recession, one way that the Mnuchin group resuscitated their bank was by driving stiff foreclosure terms with beleaguered middle class homeowners – among them, Politico discovered, a 90-year-old woman who made a 27-cent payment error. In fact, the bank’s treatment of mortage customers was so controversial that at one point, activists marched to Mnuchin’s home in Bel Air area of Los Angeles in protest.

Looking ahead to Trump’s promised tax cuts, Mnuchin told CNBC that there will be “a big tax cut for the middle class, but any tax cuts we have for the upper class will be offset by less deductions that pay for it.” Trump’s website has outlined a whopping cut in corporate taxes from 35% to 15%, a tax rate of only 10% on $2.3 trillion in corporate profits held overseas, which would be a huge giveaway to U.S. multinationals, and a cut in the top rate for the rich from 39.6% to 33%.

Like Trump, Mnuchin says this package will pay off handsomely for the middle class but Trump’s arithmetic has left independent tax experts skeptical. Non-partisan think tanks like the Tax Policy Center and the Tax Foundation have calculated that Trump’s formula will deliver skimpy tax cuts to middle-income taxpayers at best, while the 1% will enjoy tax cuts worth up to $1.1 million apiece. If so, that would inaugurate the onset of the 2nd Revolt of the Bosses and new era of ballooning economic inequalities.

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Hedrick Smith, who conceived this website and is its principal writer and architect, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times reporter and Emmy award-winning documentary producer for PBS and PBS FRONTLINE. more 

 

 

 


Sunday
Dec112016

MISSION TO GROUND CONTROL, WE HAVE A PROBLEM!

     The CIA conclusion that the Russians hacked our presidential election in order to get Trump elected is now getting the media and congressional attention it deserves.

     A bi-partisan investigation of the Kremlin's hacks can only determine the degree to which our recent election was compromised and with it the legitimacy a Trump presidency.  

     Any Trump claim to a mandate to govern is dubious on multiple counts: 

  • Trump lost the popular vote by over 2.6 million votes. 

  • His victory in the Electoral College hangs by a thread because we don't know the degree to which elections in battleground were gamed by the Russians. 

  • We know that the Russians also created off shore web sites to mislead the voters to Trump's advantage. 

     But sadly this game of the black arts by what I'm calling The Troika of Donald Trump, Vladmir Putin and Juliann Assange is playing out like another saga of political horrors, Watergate. 

     During the 1972 campaign between Nixon and McGovern, the particulars of the systemic scandal in the Nixon White House was well known but the American public chose to ignore the rot that was the Nixon administration. 

     The difference is that Nixon won a landslide EC and popular vote victory but 2 years later he was forced to resign or face impeachment.  Gerald Ford gracefully ended our long "national nightmare" assuming the presidency as the Constitution allows.    

     This time, a majority of Americans did a sniff test and voted against Donald Trump and his not so merry band of altRight white nationalists, corporatists and craven mainstream Republicans.

     The Electoral College however has turned into a Faustian bargain. 

     If Watergate proves anything it's that it will take time to find the truth of this international criminal conspiracy against American democratic institutions.  But at least the story is out 6 weeks before Trump 'might' assume the Presidency.  So it's up to the American people to draw their own conclusions and let the Congress know how they feel. 

     It's up to members of the US Senate and House intelligence committees to step up and investigate the nature of this criminal conspiracy.  If this impending investigation can't be concluded by inauguration day, January 20th - Congressional leaders should go to the Supreme Court for an injunction stopping the EC count. 

     In the past presidents didn't assume office until March 20th.  Delaying the inauguration while extraordinary would give time to clear the air.  This is not just a debate over the Electoral College it's the emergence of a Constitutional crisis.  Can we trust the integrity of "this" election for the most powerful leader in the world?   

     Until that question is answered neither Trump or Clinton should take the oath of office.  As Donald Rumsfeld used to say in his enigmatic way - we are in the realm of the "known unknowns." This is not how to run a railroad let alone decide who won a flawed election.  We have a President he can stay on the job until things are cleared up...

     The other option is for Congress to select an interim president and vice president while all of this is sorted out.  My suggestion would to retain VP Biden and then let the Congress select a VP - most likely Paul Ryan...  

     A bi-partisan coalition government would be a solid foundation for governance until this mess is resolved.  Extraordinary times requires extraordinary out of the box thinking.  


Sunday
Dec112016

HOW TO STEAL AN AMERICAN ELECTION...  

 

www.npr.org
NPR has confirmed that intelligence officials say it's now "quite clear" Russian hackers worked to tip the presidency in Donald Trump's favor. Trump's transition team has dismissed the assessment.

 

 

Sunday
Dec112016

DON'T CEDE FAITH TO THE ZEALOTS AMONG US...  

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