Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Two Contending Visions of World Government

by Eric Zeusse, published June 13, 2015, at Washington’s Blog

U.S. President Barack Obama’s proposed ‘Trade’ deals are actually about whether the world is heading toward a dictatorial world government — a dictatorship by the hundred or so global super-rich who hold the controlling blocks of stock in the world’s largest international corporations — or else toward a democratic world government, which will be a global federation of free and independent states, much like the United States was at its founding, but global in extent. These are two opposite visions of world government; and Obama is clearly on the side of fascism, an international mega-corporate dictatorship, as will be documented here in the links, and explained in the discussion.

Also as a preliminary to the discussion here is the understanding that if Obama wins Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority, then all of his ‘trade’ deals will be approved by Congress and then be able to be considered seriously by other governments, and that if he fails to receive this Authority, then none of them will.

“Fast Track,” as will be explained in depth here, is, indeed, the “open Sesame” for Obama, on the entire matter. Without it, his deals don’t stand even a chance of passage.

I previously wrote about why it’s the case that “‘Fast Track’ Violates the U.S. Constitution.” The details of the case are presented there; but, to summarize it here: “Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority,” which was introduced by the imperial President Richard M. Nixon in the Trade Act of 1974, violates the U.S. Constitution’s Treaty Clause — the clause that says “The President … shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.” (In other words: otherwise, the President simply doesn’t have that power, the President cannot “make treaties.” Nixon wanted to make treaties without his needing to have two-thirds of the Senate vote “Yea” on them.) Fast Track abolishes that two-thirds requirement and replaces it by a requirement such as that for normal laws, of only a majority of the Senate approving, 50%(+1, which would be Vice President Joe Biden, so all that will actually be needed would be just that 50%). Obama’s ‘trade’ deals don’t stand a chance of receiving the approval of two-thirds of the U.S. Senate.

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How America Invites Terrorism

by Paul Buchheit, published June 8, 2015, mirrored from CommonDreams.org

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A military policeman checks the ammunition for his weapon prior to a mission to Riyahd village, Iraq. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway/cc/flickr)

Terrifying Facts

The most militarized states (1/4 of the total) received almost 2/3 of America’s arms transfers (i.e., the 38 most militarized of 148 nations, plus Taiwan, which did not have a militarization ranking). This, of course, prompts a question about cause and effect: Do our arms sales contribute to increased militarization of other countries, or does the militarization encourage more business with the United States? Either way, our behavior is unconscionable. Over a quarter of all our arms sales goes to five “Non-Free” countries: UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Oman (Democracy Index calls three of them “authoritarian regimes,” and Iraq and Egypt “hybrids”). The U.S. share of global arms sales is anywhere from 31 to 75 percent of the total, depending on the source and method of analysis. Adding to our shame is that our #1 arms recipient through 2013 — India — has a median net worth of $1,000 and one of the highest Gini Coefficients (i.e., high inequality) in the world.

Weapons for ISIS — from US!

It has been reported that ISIS has confiscated large numbers of weapons from Saudi Arabia, which has become the Number 1 U.S. customer for arms sales, as well as the world’s Number 1 importer of weapons.

Where To Find Peace

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How to Steal from the Taxpayers While Blaming the Poor

by Paul Buchheit, published June 15, 2015, mirrored from CommonDreams.org

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A customer exits a McDonald’s restaurant as members of ‘MoveOn’ shout slogans against McDonald’s in front of the restaurant in Times Square, New York, December 4, 2013. (Photo: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)

It’s a vicious circle of hypocrisy: Americans dependent on the safety net are urged to “get a job” by the same free-market system that pays them too little to avoid being dependent on the safety net.

Theft, Part 1: The Average U.S. Household Pays About $400 for Safety Net Programs for Low-Wage Workers 

According to the Economic Policy Institute, $45 billion per year in federal, state, and other safety net support is paid to workers in the bottom 20 percent of wage earners. Thus the average U.S. household is paying almost $400 to employees in low-wage industries such as food service, retail, and personal care.

Blame: Accusing the Poor

Paul Ryan said that social programs “turn the safety net into a hammock that lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency and complacency.” But 63 percent of eligible working-age poor Americans are employed, and 73 percent are members of working families. Yet in a show of hypocrisy by some of the leading safety net critics, Congress has killed or blocked or ignored numerous attempts to create better jobs for underemployed Americans.

Greed: Profits for Stockholders, Poverty Wages for Workers 

Demos study found that raising wages to $25,000 per year (about $12.50 per hour) for full-time retail workers would lift 734,075 people out of poverty.

It would probably help a lot more. An analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data reveals that about 22 million workers are underpaid (about a sixth of the total), over half of them in food service, cashiering, personal care, and housekeeping.

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America’s Two Party Political System is Rigged

by Bud Meyers, published June 2, 2015

A cycle of “lesser-evil” voting in the U.S. has been well established.

Hillary Clinton is scheduled to speak at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park. In a prepared statement, a campaign spokesperson said: “Throughout her career, Hillary Clinton has been inspired by FDR’s belief that America is stronger when we summon the work and talents of all Americans and has long admired Eleanor Roosevelt as a role model.”

I knew FDR (not). And Hillary Clinton is no FDR. I resent that she is trying to come off as a “Person of the People”, when for decades, she has been more favorable to the Clinton’s corporate backers.

I have no problem at all voting for a woman if I thought she had credibility — and thought she could be trusted (and wasn’t just an opportunistic carpetbagger) — and if I believed she would truly represent American workers’ best interests.

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Discarding the Elderly

by Paul Buchheit, published June 1, 2015, mirrored from Common Dreams

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(Photo: Elliott Brown/flickr/cc)

Elder abuse is defined as “harmful acts toward an elderly adult, such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, financial exploitation, and neglect.” Financial exploitation comes from the banking industry; neglect emanates from the halls of Congress; and emotions are stirred through the stories of impoverished seniors:

From Reno, Nevada: Here I am at an age when I should be thinking about retiring, desperately trying to find a job. I have used my savings…I’m seeking a court injunction to try and save my home.

From Laurel, Maryland: I am over 60, and I was pushed out of my job because of my age. My rent, car note, and electricity are all two months behind. I can barely get food. Utilities will be cut off soon.

From Bend, Oregon: I exhausted all my 401(k) retirement savings…I’m one month away from losing everything and am now on Food Stamps. I’m an unhappy Republican…

In Detroit, Michigan: 74-year-old Willie Smith saw her monthly SNAP benefits cut from $73 to $57. Also in Detroit, 63-year-old J.B. Hillman-Rushell and her 83-year-old mother were going to four different church food pantries for nearly all of their food.

“The Greatest Retirement Crisis in the History of the World” 

That’s what Forbes calls it. Most retirement-age Americans have little or no savings.

$30 trillion in new wealth has been gained in the U.S. since 2009, six times more than the amount spent on Social Security during that time, and most of it went to older Americans, as it has for the last 30 years. But most of it went to a relatively few people who were already rich. According to the Economic Policy Institute (Figure 20), “the median retirement savings…for all households is close to zero since nearly half of households have no savings in these accounts.” Even the upper-middle class (2nd highest quartile) is in trouble, with a median retirement fund, by one estimate, of only $6,000. The National Institute on Retirement Security puts the median retirement account at $12,000 for near-retirement households.

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