Monthly Archives: July 2016

Deterrents to Terror that Very Rich People Can’t Comprehend

Paul Buchheit | July 26 2016 | Common Dreams

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When you look out at the world from the deck of a luxury yacht, there is simply too much that you cannot possibly see. (Photo: Chris Nelson/flickr/cc)

As people gain in wealth, they depend less on others, and thus they have less reason to understand the feelings and needs of the less fortunate.

That makes it difficult to relate to people without jobs, and without proper housing, and without prospects for the future. It makes it difficult to understand that their states of deprivation and desperation can make them lash out against those they consider responsible for the injustices of extreme inequality.

The following are some of the reasons for violent ‘blowback’ reactions that are often called ‘terrorism.’ These reactions occur both globally and locally. By addressing them, we may be able to reduce some of the worst effects of our perverse wealth distribution.

Young Foreign Radicals Feel Cheated and Terrorized

Barack Obama said, “When millions of people — especially youth — are impoverished and have no hope for the future…resentments fester.”

But ISIS members are generally middle- or upper-class males in their 20s. Security expert Ömer Taspinar explains: “It is certainly true that breeding grounds for radicalism and terrorist recruitment emerge not necessarily under conditions of abject poverty and deprivation…It is precisely when people develop high expectations, aspirations and hopes for upward mobility that we have to pay more attention to the potential for frustration, humiliation and ideological radicalization.”

As a recent report by Mercy Corps put it, “Young people take up the gun not because they are poor, but because they are angry.”

Continue reading Deterrents to Terror that Very Rich People Can’t Comprehend

TOP MILITARY CONTRACTORS’ REVENUE AND TAX BREAKS

In case you were wondering, here are the top military contractors’ revenue and their corresponding subsidies for 2014 & 2015.

Surprisingly, in both 2014 & 2015, the individual subsidies are smaller than you might think; Boeing, Northrup Grumman and Lockheed-Martin are the only ones over the billion-dollar mark, which skews the total for the rest.

When you combine subsidies and loans/bailouts, General Dynamics tops the billion-dollar mark.

If the companies are diversified, like Boeing, then the subsidies represent the company’s overall business, which is more than just the Defense industry.

TOP MILITARY CONTRACTORS   
TOP 20 DEFENSE CONTRACTORS, 2014Source: Defense Systems Source: Good Jobs First - click on amount
RankTop Defense Companies
Defense Revenue 
(Fiscal 2013)
Subsidy Value (State/Local/Federal & Loans/Bailouts) over a number of years
1Lockheed Martin Corp.$10.402 billion$1,242,055,102 & $1,401,316,037
2Northrop Grumman Corp.$5.873 billion$1,033,786,317 & $456,264,000
3Raytheon Co.$5.016 billion$287,152,891 & $1,423,379
4Boeing Co.$3.585 billion$14,077,219,164 & $64,423,416,582
5General Dynamics Corp.$3.150 billion$462,551,498 & $610,997,248
6Hewlett Packard Co.$2.593 billion $1,196,418
7 DynCorp International Llc
$2.485 billionNot available
8Leidos Inc.$2.426 billion $2,426,906 & $20,511,523
9Booz Allen Hamilton$2.126 billion$165,844
10Fluor Corp.$2.079 billion$5,347,436 & $250,000,000
11L-3 Communications Corp.$1.600 billion$41,446,787 & $17,028,270
12ManTech International Corp.$1.501 billion $23,379,633
13CACI International Inc.$1.491 billion $770,939
14Computer Sciences Corp.$1.426 billion $64,696,225
15Exelis Inc.$1.350 billion $95,416
16BAE Systems Inc.$1.255 billion$260,099,106
17Harris Corp.$1.221 billion $80,476,616 & $32,148,472
18Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC)$1.155 billion $77,111,252
19United Technologies Corp.$962 million $866,504,922 & $46,018,294
20Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.$837 million$225,677
Total$52.533 billion$82,523,836,342 ($82.52 billion)
TOP 10 U.S. DEFENSE CONTRACTORS (2015)Source: 24/7 Wall Street Source: Good Jobs First - click on amount
CompanyRevenueSubsidy Value (State/Local/Federal & Loans/Bailouts) over a number of years
Lockheed Martin Corp$40.13 billion$1,242,055,102 & $1,401,316,037
Boeing Co$29 billion $14,077,219,164 & $64,423,416,582
BAE Systems Inc.$25.45 billion $260,099,106
Raytheon Co.$22.23 billion $287,152,891 & $1,423,379
General Dynamics$18.56 billion $462,551,498 & $610,997,248
Northrop Grumman Corp$18.4 billion $1,033,786,317 & $456,264,000
Airbus Group$14.6 billion $159,235,137
United Technologies Corp$13.02 billion $866,504,922 & $46,018,294
Finmeccanica$10.56 billion $36,767,607 & $155,995,218
L-3 Communications Inc$9.81 billion $41,446,787 & $17,028,270
Total$201.76 billion$83,758,627,279 ($83.75 billion)

 

If you are interested a monthly list of DOD Funding Priorities by Christian Sorensen, you can find it at Sibel Edmonds’ site Boiling Frog Posts.  Every month, DOD contracts range in the billions of dollars.  For June 2016, the DOD spent $25,448,646,000+ on 292 individual contracts.

 


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

 

NDP Note (Also related to this post):

HONEST CAMPAIGN:  If Elected, I Promise To Give Trillions To The Rich, Spend Trillions On War, and Cut Everything for Working People

OUR MILITARY IS MIND-BOGGLINGLY BIG

SINCE 1775, THE U.S. HAS BEEN AT WAR WITH SOMEONE SOMEWHERE FOR 213 OUT OF 242 YEARS (88% OF ITS’ EXISTENCE)

FIGHT CLUB: THE U.S. WARS CONTINUE TO INCREASE IN NUMBER EXPONENTIALLY 

U.S. is 240 Years Old and It Has Spent Over 469 Years Fighting Wars: List of U.S. Wars at Home and Abroad

Who Wants To Live Forever? The Rich, Of Course!

Motherboard | May 07 2013

Russian Billionaire Dmitry Itskov Plans on Becoming Immortal by 2045

Dmitry Itskov wants to live forever. The 32-year-old Russian billionaire and media mogul thinks he can do this by building himself (and everyone) an android body by the year 2045.

There are a few flaws to Itskov’s idea, but that hasn’t stopped more than 20,000 people from publicly supporting the site outlining his plan of using android bodies for immortality. Dubbed the 2045 Initiative, Itskov is selling his idea as the “next step” in human evolution, or “neo-humanity,” as he refers to it.

It doesn’t stop with android bodies, either. The 2045 folks are also calling for a new religion and set of ethics because they don’t believe any of the current ones can handle the societal implications of living forever—as most of the current ones have you dying first in order to achieve immortality.

Itskov has also gone ahead and registered his own political party in Russia called “Evolution 2045.”

But let’s back up a second. How exactly does Itskov plan to become immortal?

Continue reading Who Wants To Live Forever? The Rich, Of Course!

OUR MILITARY IS MIND-BOGGLINGLY BIG

Dave Gilson | December 2013 | Mother Jones

Defense_Leadopener

Until Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) rode to the rescue this week, Pentagon brass and their allies had been issuing dire warnings about the nation’s military readiness: The armed services were being decimated, they said, by sequestration—the automatic budget cuts that were set to trim $1 trillion from the Pentagon budget over the next decade. “It’s one thing for the Pentagon to go on a diet. It’s another for the Pentagon to wear a straitjacket while dieting,”grumbled Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.). The message got through: The House overwhelmingly approved the Ryan-Murray plan just two days after it was introduced.

But now, the Pentagon has once more gotten a reprieve from the budget ax: Under Murray and Ryan’s congressional budget deal, the Pentagon will get an additional $32 billion, or 4.4 percent, in 2014, leaving its base budget at a higher level than in 2005 and 2006. (The Department of Defense expects its total 2014 budget, including supplemental war funding, to be more than $600 billion.)

Continue reading OUR MILITARY IS MIND-BOGGLINGLY BIG

Des Moines Register Editorial: Iowa Medicaid Privatization Nightmare Becomes Reality

Des Moines Register | July 16 2016

Gov. Terry Branstad insisted his plan to privatize administration of Medicaid would save the state money. It made no sense that handing billions of public dollars to for-profit companies would miraculously reduce spending in the health insurance program for 560,000  Iowans. His administration provided no meaningful details about how savings would be achieved. The public was just supposed to have faith and hope for the best.

Now perhaps it is becoming clear how the Medicaid belt will be tightened: by not paying health care providers for services. Three months after the governor’s pet privatization project was implemented, the billing problems are piling up.

Many Iowans who provide in-home care for disabled people have gone without pay for weeks or months, according to a state workers’ union. These are individuals who change bedpans, bathe and feed patients while earning $9 to $12 per hour. “Missing even one paycheck can be detrimental,” said Danny Homan, state president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

He said his office has received multiple calls about problems. Though the providers filled out mounds of paperwork for the managed-care companies contracted by the Branstad administration, they report not being paid at all, being paid late and other billing problems.

Some health workers, nonprofits and businesses are turning to state lawmakers for help.

Continue reading Des Moines Register Editorial: Iowa Medicaid Privatization Nightmare Becomes Reality

Five Conspirators in the Eradication of the Middle Class

PAUL BUCHHEIT | JULY 18 2016 | COMMON DREAMS

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Unemployed and homeless people line up for a free meal and new shoes during a Good Friday event in Los Angeles, California in April 2015. (Photo by: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

Their unspoken goal is a two-class nation, with a heavily armed security force to quell resistance from the more outspoken members of the lower class. It may be somewhat of an unwitting goal, since narcissistic wealth-takers, as they build their fortunes, tend to lose their ability to empathize with others.

Barack Obama said, “We are not as divided as we seem.” But those are just feel-good words. A middle class still exists, but in weakened form, as many families from the once-dominant mainstream of society continue to move up or down, mostly down. The conspirators in the breakdown of the middle class have complementary roles that allow them to divide the country as they perpetuate the myth of prosperity for all.

Congress: The Kingpins

Gun control is the most flagrant example of Congressional disdain for the middle class. Over 90% of Americans want background checks, but Congress has failed to act. The House of Representatives even rejected an amendment that would have allowed research into causes of gun violence.

The list goes on and on:

Over 90% favor laws on clean air and water, but Congress has proposed to weaken them. Almost 80% want to increase Social Security benefits. 83% want Medicare to negotiate drug prices. Nearly 90% support mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods. About two-thirds of polled Americans believe corporations pay too little in taxes. 90% support the protection of public lands.

Based on a study of 1,779 policy issues, Princeton researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page concluded that “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

Military: The Enforcers

Barack Obama said, “They are not very good at feeding their people, but they invest a huge amount in their weapons systems.” He was talking about North Korea. In the U.S., where half the discretionary budget is spent on the military, one of five children live in food insecure households.

As we pour trillions into war, cutbacks decimate programs vital to the middle class—vital to the one out of five Americans who have mental health problems; to the dependent children who lost funding for the first time in nearly 20 years; to the neglected public schools; to injured workers; to food pantries.

Continue reading Five Conspirators in the Eradication of the Middle Class

Soaking the Poor, State by State

KEVIN DRUM | FEB. 3, 2012 | MOTHER JONES

You have heard, perhaps, that rich people in America are egregiously overtaxed. And the poor? They’re the lucky duckies! Why, 47 percent of Americans pay no taxes at all!

(This is not true, of course. Many poor and elderly Americans pay no federal income tax, but they pay plenty of other taxes.)

Still and all, it’s true that the federal income tax is indeed progressive. Conservatives are right about that—though it’s not as progressive as it used to be, back before top marginal rates were lowered and capital gains taxes were slashed in half. But conservatives are a little less excited to talk about other kinds of taxes. Payroll taxes aren’t progressive, for example. In fact, they’re actively regressive, with the poor and middle classes paying higher rates than the rich.

And then there are state taxes. Those include state income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, and fees of various kinds. How progressive are state taxes?

Continue reading Soaking the Poor, State by State

10 Big Companies That Pay No Taxes (and Their Favorite Politicians)

GAVIN ARONSEN | APR. 13, 2012 | MOTHERJONES

Between 2008 and 2011, 26 major American corporations paid no net federal income taxes despite bringing in billions in profits, according to a new report (PDF) from the nonprofit research group Citizens for Tax Justice. CTJ calculates that if the companies had paid the full 35 percent corporate tax rate, they would have put more than $78 billion into government coffers.

Continue reading 10 Big Companies That Pay No Taxes (and Their Favorite Politicians)

Most firms pay no income taxes – Congress

David Goldman | August 12 2008 | CNN Money

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. companies and 68% of foreign corporations do not pay federal income taxes, according to a congressional report released Tuesday.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) examined samples of corporate tax returns filed between 1998 and 2005. In that time period, an annual average of 1.3 million U.S. companies and 39,000 foreign companies doing business in the United States paid no income taxes – despite having a combined $2.5 trillion in revenue.

The study showed that 28% of foreign companies and 25% of U.S. corporations with more than $250 million in assets or $50 million in sales paid no federal income taxes in 2005. Those companies totaled a combined $372 billion in sales for the largest foreign companies and $1.1 trillion in revenue for the biggest U.S. companies.

The GAO report, which did not name any specific companies, said that some corporations reported zero income before deducting expenses while others said they had zero net income after deducting expenses. Either way, those companies reported no tax liability, the GAO said.

But many of the companies the report found had paid no tax were likely small businesses that pay other taxes. Generally, many small firms, because they do not have shareholders, are able to shift corporate income to individual income.

“Small businesses that are going to be liable for a lot of income tax are likely to use other tax forms so they only pay individual income taxes,” said Eric Toder, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center.

The study was requested by Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D, and Carl Levin, D-Mich., in an attempt to determine if corporations are abusing so-called transfer prices.

Continue reading Most firms pay no income taxes – Congress

May 2016 Jobs Number Revised Downward to 11,000

Jobs

Despite the preliminary June jobs report of 287,000the May jobs report of 38,000 (which was awful) was revised downward to 11,000 (even worse yet).

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 8.28.48 AM

There was not much change in economic conditions to explain the jump in the June numbers, so expect them to revised by the next jobs report.

 

Unemployment

May had awful jobs numbers (originally 38,000, revised downward to 11,000) and the U-3 unemployment rate dropped from 5.0% (April) to 4.7% (May).  June U-3 unemployment increased to 4.9%.  Notice what happened: bad jobs report in May caused unemployment to go down, and good jobs report in June caused unemployment to go up.

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 8.40.00 AM

 

People Not In The Labor Force

Continue reading May 2016 Jobs Number Revised Downward to 11,000