Posts Tagged 1%

Obama budget plan to tax the rich

President Obama's proposal will be strongly resisted in Congress

US President Barack Obama will seek to raise taxes on the wealthy as he unveils his budget later, prompting an election year fight with Republicans.

The spending proposal includes $1.5 trillion (£950bn) in new taxes, much from allowing Bush-era tax cuts to expire.

He will also call for a Buffett Plan tax hike on millionaires and job-creating infrastructure projects.

The budget must be agreed between the White House and Congress.

Mr Obama will address students at a college in Virginia on Monday morning as he outlines his 2013 spending proposal to Congress.

Dead on arrival?

The BBC’s Steve Kingstone says the budget will offer a clear contrast between Mr Obama’s vision and that of Republicans.

At its core will be the idea that the wealthiest Americans should pay more in tax and that, in the short-term, a chunk of that extra revenue should be spent on job creation, manufacturing and upgrading the nation’s schools.

But Republican leaders, who portray Mr Obama as a tax-and-spend liberal stoking class warfare, have already pronounced the budget dead on arrival.

Source: BBC News Read more

Opinion:

This could well be political suicide, but it is putting America on the right track.

The repugnicans will live up to their name and try, may even succeed, in killing this, but if it happens then America is on course.

The only problem now is that Obama can’t spend it. This has to be used to lower America’s debt, or the reasoning is flawed.

 

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Saturday Satire

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A Christmas Message From America’s Rich

by Matt Taibbi
“It seems America’s bankers are tired of all the abuse. They’ve decided to speak out. True, they’re doing it from behind the ropeline, in front of friendly crowds at industry conferences and country clubs, meaning they don’t have to look the rest of America in the eye when they call us all imbeciles and complain that they shouldn’t have to apologize for being so successful. But while they haven’t yet deigned to talk to protesting America face to face, they are willing to scribble out some complaints on notes and send them downstairs on silver trays. Courtesy of a remarkable story by Max Abelson at Bloomberg, we now get to hear some of those choice comments.

Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus, for instance, is not worried about OWS: “Who gives a crap about some imbecile?” Marcus said. “Are you kidding me?”

Former New York gurbernatorial candidate Tom Golisano, the billionaire owner of the billing firm Paychex, offered his wisdom while his half-his-age tennis champion girlfriend hung on his arm: “If I hear a politician use the term ‘paying your fair share’ one more time, I’m going to vomit,” said Golisano, who turned 70 last month, celebrating the birthday with girlfriend Monica Seles, the former tennis star who won nine Grand Slam singles titles.

Then there’s Leon Cooperman, the former chief of Goldman Sachs’s money-management unit, who said he was urged to speak out by his fellow golfers. His message was a version of Wall Street’s increasingly popular If-you-people-want-a-job, then-you’ll-shut-the-f**k-up rhetorical line: Cooperman, 68, said in an interview that he can’t walk through the dining room of St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida, without being thanked for speaking up. At least four people expressed their gratitude on Dec. 5 while he was eating an egg-white omelet, he said. “You’ll get more out of me,” the billionaire said, “if you treat me with respect.”

Finally, there is this from Blackstone CEO Steven Schwartzman: “Asked if he were willing to pay more taxes in a Nov. 30 interview with Bloomberg Television, Blackstone Group LP CEO Stephen Schwarzman spoke about lower-income U.S. families who pay no income tax. “You have to have skin in the game,” said Schwarzman, 64. “I’m not saying how much people should do. But we should all be part of the system.” There are obviously a great many things that one could say about this remarkable collection of quotes. One could even, if one wanted, simply savor them alone, without commentary, like lumps of fresh caviar, or raw oysters.

But out of Abelson’s collection of doleful woe-is-us complaints from the offended rich, the one that deserves the most attention is Schwarzman’s line about lower-income folks lacking “skin in the game.” This incredible statement gets right to the heart of why these people suck. Why? It’s not because Schwarzman is factually wrong about lower-income people having no “skin in the game,” ignoring the fact that everyone pays sales taxes, and most everyone pays payroll taxes, and of course there are property taxes for even the lowliest subprime mortgage holders, and so on. It’s not even because Schwarzman probably himself pays close to zero in income tax – as a private equity chief, he doesn’t pay income tax but tax on carried interest, which carries a maximum 15% tax rate, half the rate of a New York City firefighter.

The real issue has to do with the context of Schwarzman’s quote. The Blackstone billionaire, remember, is one of the more uniquely abhorrent, self-congratulating jerks in the entire world – a man who famously symbolized the excesses of the crisis era when, just as the rest of America was heading into a recession, he threw himself a $5 million birthday party, featuring private performances by Rod Stewart and Patti Labelle, to celebrate an IPO that made him $677 million in a matter of days (within a year, incidentally, the investors who bought that stock would lose three-fourths of their investments). So that IPO birthday boy is now standing up and insisting, with a straight face, that America’s problem is that compared to taxpaying billionaires like himself, poor people are not invested enough in our society’s future. Apparently, we’d all be in much better shape if the poor were as motivated as Steven Schwarzman is to make America a better place.

Read more on Running ‘Cause I Can’t Fly

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The Rape of India

India MPs in uproar over retail reform plans

Will the deal leave smaller retailers in the dark?

There has been uproar in India’s parliament over the cabinet’s decision to open up the retail market to global supermarket chains.

One key government ally, the Trinamool Congress, joined opposition parties in shouting slogans and unfurling banners.

The lower house had to be adjourned, and Trade Minister Anand Sharma instead held a press conference to spell out details of the policy.

He said the “India-specific” scheme would create tens of millions of jobs.

The cabinet’s move allows 51% foreign direct ownership (FDI) of multi-brand retail stores, allowing groups like Tesco and Wal-Mart to open stores. Such operators currently can only sell wholesale in India and not directly to customers.

The policy is an executive decision and does not need parliament’s approval.

Supporters of the move say it will increase competition and quality while reducing prices, which have been hit by close to double-digit inflation.

Opponents say the multi-nationals will squeeze out India’s smaller and poorer traders and drive down prices paid to India’s farmers.

Opinion:

If these countries get any further into India than they already are, it will spell disaster. These corporation (Tesco, Walmart & their ilk) have already raped the western world and the clever bastards know the end is nigh.

I would wager they have spent millions wooing the Indian government members with bribes and the like to allow this move.

Big spending is way down in many parts of the western world, the writing is on the wall. These corporations are not going to stand idly by and see their markets disappearing with the coming financial collapse. They need more suckers to help them fill the coffers of the 1% and where best to look? The emerging nations; and so far India is the only one that doesn’t allow retail level trading.

Creating tens of millions of jobs, but at the same time running tens of millions of little people out of business; and even millions more people in receiving less for their work. The outcome will be greater poverty while the rich laugh all the way to the bank.

Be assured about one thing; these corporations are doing this for India’s benefit.

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This is NOT a Police Force – It’s an occupation force

This is NOT a Police Force

This is not a police force meant to protect the people, this is a police force to protect the 1% from the people.

The American people have been sold down the river, by everybody, the government, the bankers, Wall Street, your elected politicians (who, incidentally are supposed to be ensuring this type of thing doesn’t happen); absolutely everybody.

And the 1% are wining and dining while Americans are crying for work, bread and housing.

For fuck’s sake America WAKE UP!

 

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Powerful, Shocking, Truthful Rhetoric

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“This Is What Revolution Looks Like”
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by Chris Hedges
“Occupy Wall Street protesters react and wave copies of the court order allowing them back into Zuccotti Park as police block them from re-entering, in New York, November 15, 2011. Hundreds of police officers arrested about 200 demonstrators early Tuesday in an operation to clear the nearly two-month-old camp. (Photo: Todd Heisler / The New York Times)
“Welcome to the revolution. Our elites have exposed their hand. They have nothing to offer. They can destroy but they cannot build. They can repress but they cannot lead. They can steal but they cannot share. They can talk but they cannot speak. They are as dead and useless to us as the water-soaked books, tents, sleeping bags, suitcases, food boxes and clothes that were tossed by sanitation workers Tuesday morning into garbage trucks in New York City. They have no ideas, no plans and no vision for the future.

Our decaying corporate regime has strutted in Portland, Oakland and New York with their baton-wielding cops into a fool’s paradise. They think they can clean up “the mess”—always employing the language of personal hygiene and public security—by making us disappear. They think we will all go home and accept their corporate nation, a nation where crime and government policy have become indistinguishable, where nothing in America, including the ordinary citizen, is deemed by those in power worth protecting or preserving, where corporate oligarchs awash in hundreds of millions of dollars are permitted to loot and pillage the last shreds of collective wealth, human capital and natural resources, a nation where the poor do not eat and workers do not work, a nation where the sick die and children go hungry, a nation where the consent of the governed and the voice of the people is a cruel joke.

Get back into your cages, they are telling us. Return to watching the lies, absurdities, trivia and celebrity gossip we feed you in 24-hour cycles on television. Invest your emotional energy in the vast system of popular entertainment. Run up your credit card debt. Pay your loans. Be thankful for the scraps we toss. Chant back to us our phrases about democracy, greatness and freedom. Vote in our rigged political theater. Send your young men and women to fight and die in useless, unwinnable wars that provide corporations with huge profits.  Stand by mutely as our bipartisan congressional super committee, either through consensus or cynical dysfunction, plunges you into a society without basic social services including unemployment benefits. Pay for the crimes of Wall Street.

The rogues’ gallery of Wall Street crooks, such as Lloyd Blankfein at Goldman Sachs, Howard Milstein at New York Private Bank & Trust, the media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, the Koch brothers and Jamie Dimon at JPMorgan Chase & Co., no doubt think it’s over. They think it is back to the business of harvesting what is left of America to swell their personal and corporate fortunes. But they no longer have any concept of what is happening around them. They are as mystified and clueless about these uprisings as the courtiers at Versailles or in the Forbidden City who never understood until the very end that their world was collapsing. The billionaire mayor of New York, enriched by a deregulated Wall Street, is unable to grasp why people would spend two months sleeping in an open park and marching on banks. He says he understands that the Occupy protests are “cathartic” and “entertaining,” as if demonstrating against the pain of being homeless and unemployed is a form of therapy or diversion, but that it is time to let the adults handle the affairs of state. Democratic and Republican mayors, along with their parties, have sold us out. But for them this is the beginning of the end.

The historian Crane Brinton in his book “Anatomy of a Revolution” laid out the common route to revolution. The preconditions for successful revolution, Brinton argued, are discontent that affects nearly all social classes, widespread feelings of entrapment and despair, unfulfilled expectations, a unified solidarity in opposition to a tiny power elite, a refusal by scholars and thinkers to continue to defend the actions of the ruling class, an inability of government to respond to the basic needs of citizens, a steady loss of will within the power elite itself and defections from the inner circle, a crippling isolation that leaves the power elite without any allies or outside support and, finally, a financial crisis. Our corporate elite, as far as Brinton was concerned, has amply fulfilled these preconditions. But it is Brinton’s next observation that is most worth remembering. Revolutions always begin, he wrote, by making impossible demands that if the government met would mean the end of the old configurations of power. The second stage, the one we have entered now, is the unsuccessful attempt by the power elite to quell the unrest and discontent through physical acts of repression.

I have seen my share of revolts, insurgencies and revolutions, from the guerrilla conflicts in the 1980s in Central America to the civil wars in Algeria, the Sudan and Yemen, to the Palestinian uprising to the revolutions in East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Romania as well as the wars in the former Yugoslavia. George Orwell wrote that all tyrannies rule through fraud and force, but that once the fraud is exposed they must rely exclusively on force. We have now entered the era of naked force. The vast million-person bureaucracy of the internal security and surveillance state will not be used to stop terrorism but to try and stop us.

Despotic regimes in the end collapse internally. Once the foot soldiers who are ordered to carry out acts of repression, such as the clearing of parks or arresting or even shooting demonstrators, no longer obey orders, the old regime swiftly crumbles. When the aging East German dictator Erich Honecker was unable to get paratroopers to fire on protesting crowds in Leipzig, the regime was finished. The same refusal to employ violence doomed the communist governments in Prague and Bucharest. I watched in December 1989 as the army general that the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu had depended on to crush protests condemned him to death on Christmas Day. Tunisia’s Ben Ali and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak lost power once they could no longer count on the security forces to fire into crowds.

The process of defection among the ruling class and security forces is slow and often imperceptible. These defections are advanced through a rigid adherence to nonviolence, a refusal to respond to police provocation and a verbal respect for the blue-uniformed police, no matter how awful they can be while wading into a crowd and using batons as battering rams against human bodies. The resignations of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan’s deputy, Sharon Cornu, and the mayor’s legal adviser and longtime friend, Dan Siegel, in protest over the clearing of the Oakland encampment are some of the first cracks in the edifice. “Support Occupy Oakland, not the 1% and its government facilitators,” Siegel tweeted after his resignation.

There were times when I entered the ring as a boxer and knew, as did the spectators, that I was woefully mismatched. Ringers, experienced boxers in need of a tuneup or a little practice, would go to the clubs where semi-pros fought, lie about their long professional fight records, and toy with us. Those fights became about something other than winning. They became about dignity and self-respect. You fought to say something about who you were as a human being. These bouts were punishing, physically brutal and demoralizing. You would get knocked down and stagger back up. You would reel backwards from a blow that felt like a cement block. You would taste the saltiness of your blood on your lips. Your vision would blur. Your ribs, the back of your neck and your abdomen would ache. Your legs would feel like lead. But the longer you held on, the more the crowd in the club turned in your favor. No one, even you, thought you could win. But then, every once in a while, the ringer would get overconfident. He would get careless. He would become a victim of his own hubris. And you would find deep within yourself some new burst of energy, some untapped strength and, with the fury of the dispossessed, bring him down. I have not put on a pair of boxing gloves for 30 years. But I felt this twinge of euphoria again in my stomach this morning, this utter certainty that the impossible is possible, this realization that the mighty will fall.”

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Graphic: “The Most Powerful Weapon on Earth is the Human Soul on Fire”
POSTER#118 – Alex Noble

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Occupy Wall Street

NYPD clearing Zuccotti Park - image newsday.com

The bastards did it!

They cleared Zuccotti Park in a surprise move. No publicity this time, no time for the OWS to get organised.

Quote from Twitter: “NYPD laughed as they destroyed 5,000 volumes of #OWS library. Like Fahrenheit 451 meets Clockwork Orange.” @jeremybloom

“Protesters and police officers clashed in the streets of lower Manhattan this morning, hours after dozens of NYPD officers in riot gear entered Zuccotti Park to clear out the Occupy Wall Street headquarters.”Newsday.com

“The area around the park was sealed off and journalists were prevented from entering. Some of the activists accused police of using excessive force and pepper spray.”BBC News

Can’t have witnesses, they might tell the truth.

““After this we get bigger. There is no question we get bigger. This is our chance to be heard,” added Jennifer Sarja, 38, who had been bringing blankets and food to protesters staying in the park. “The Globe & Mail

“One protester at Foley Square, Nate Barchus, 23, said the eviction was likely to galvanize supporters, particularly because a series of gatherings had already been planned for Thursday, the protest’s two-month anniversary.

“This,” he said, referring to the early-morning sweep, “reminds everyone who was occupying exactly why they were occupying.””New York Times

Opinion:

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (arsehole) has made the biggest mistake in political history. He has fueled the OWS beyond their wildest hopes. If ever the 99% wanted more free publicity, they just got it. The best political publicity available… a politician being an arsehole!

The OWS will expand exponentially. Every New Yorker of the 99% variety should be descending on Zuccotti Park right now. They should flood the city, they should make it untenable for the 1% and Michael Bloomberg, they should make it bigger than the authorities can handle, bigger than the military can cope with.

This is their chance; the match has been struck.

This is the chance for OWS to be heard thundering throughout the land. And the 1% should be trembling with fear.

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The Snowball is Rolling

Faster and bigger

Yes, the snowball is rolling, gathering global momentum, Occupy Wall Street bringing the Arabian Spring to the Americas is spreading across the face of the planet.

It seems like it is not just the Arabs with their dictators, nor the Americans with their financial woes that are dissatisfied with the status quo.

Whether linked to OWS or not, protests are being organised and held in about 82 countries; that represents almost half of the world’s nations..

Last week's protests around the world

This is a clear indication that the end game is nigh. The king is about to fall.

Governments have to realise they are permitting the police to arrest the wrong people.

Throughout the USA protests are being felt, in  Madrid and Rome. Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Sydney, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Athens and Berlin. At least 1,000 people demonstrated in London’s financial district. Earlier, hundreds of people marched in the New Zealand cities of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch while in the Australian city of Sydney, some 2,000 people – including representatives of Aboriginal groups, communists and trade unionists – gathered outside the central Reserve Bank of Australia. “Occupy” protests have also been held in South Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Israel also hit by summer of protests over high cost of living, although not yet aligned with OWS.

The fuse has been lit. Initially it sputtered along, but has taken hold as it burns fiercely toward the time bomb created by the 1%, and when it reaches – he explosion will be heard across the Earth. There will be a reckoning like there has never been before and those accountable will be delivered.

Central bankers and finance ministers are proudly doing things that they used to be punished for.

Henry II brought his bankers together in 1124; the ‘Assize of Moneyers’. Those found guilty of debasing the coinage – an earlier form of quantitative easing – were castrated and had their had their right hands cut off.

What can you say about that kind of monetary policy? It worked.

History is set to repeat itself, if the Real 1% do not respond. In the great French Revolution, Marie Antoinette stated that she is the 1%, and said “If there is not bread, let them eat cake”. She then got just rewards from the 99%, the Guillotine.

99% to Bankers: We’ve Got the Guillotine!

Maybe we need a modern day Henry II combined with a revolution, maybe this is what OWS will achieve.

Update:

Map from Storyful
From the Twitter live update on Storyful:
Protests in Berlin , Hamburg , Frankfurt – Ottawa – Amsterdam – Victoria – Ireland…
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No Agenda – My Opinion on OWS

I have been following the Occupy Wall Street progress over the last few weeks like many.

It has been pointed out by people more in the know than I that this protest is different from all the others whereby people protested and went home, however this time they’re not.

I have read many reports, newspapers, seen YouTube clips, heard speeches, etc and have come to the conclusion that the people who criticise the OWS are the ones that myopically are in the wrong. They are, or they support the 1%.

One of the main criticisms is that the leaderless OWS doesn’t have an agenda, a list of demands. I find this quite correct; they don’t need a list of demands, a specified agenda to say that something (in this case many things) are seriously wrong.

The 1%, inc government, inc president, inc etc… know what is wrong. They don’t need a bloody agenda to tell them, they know already, and have known for decades.

OWS is the people simply saying “Fix it!”

The unwritten, unsaid rider is, “Because, if you don’t we will!”

And I do believe the time has come that OWS will; and it won’t be pretty.

The 1% at fault, inc et al, should be quaking in their boots. They should be frothing at bung, their sphincters should be quivering 90 to the minute and they should be sweating as the noose tightens.

Because this is not going to ‘go away.’ The 1% think they are bullet proof because they own the government and the government will be the cavalry that wade in to save the day. But when push comes to shove, the 99% are greater than all the forces the government can muster. Oh, they will try, it will be bloody, but necks will be stretched until the last of the 1% piss their pants on the scaffold of justice.

Who is worth more, the poor citizens or the robber politicians? Brazilians show your face!

This is not just America, this is becoming global. In fact this didn’t even start in America, this OWS started in Tunisia and Egypt as the Arab Spring and spread. Even here in Brazil 16 capital cities saw mass protests over corruption this weekend, are we also seeing the beginning of a Latin Spring?

The people do not need to announce an agenda nor a list of demands. The people who are in the wrong already know what’s wrong. The people who can fix it, already know how to fix it. But the big question is, will they?

From what I have seen and read, the OWS is the government, they are the politicians, they are trying to rescue their lot as best they can, because the elected morons are too busy squabbling over their seats to worry about the people.

My view of the global political arena is that it can be compared to a circus… why? Because it’s full of freakin’ clowns!

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