Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Nothing For the Poor (Taxpayers) and Everything For the Rich (Tax-Avoiders)? One Deranged Trust Fund Baby Paid For Every CA Right-Wing Smear Campaign



One attendee was heard saying, "I only get $1200 a month to live on, but you need another yacht.
Can you imagine what the national repercussions would be if every time one of these wealthy power schmoozers touting the goodness of cutting the safety net programs was met by informed (and irate) taxpayers?

If only.

David Cote, chairman and chief executive of Honeywell, speaks during The Economist's Buttonwood Gathering in New York October 24, 2012. (photo: Reuters)

David Cote, chairman and chief executive of Honeywell, speaks during The Economist's Buttonwood Gathering in New York October 24, 2012. (photo: Reuters)

Running the Tax Dodgers Out of Town

Carl Gibson
 
Reader Supported News
12 February 13

f Donald Trump started going on tour marketing a campaign to "fix the housing crisis" that involved evicting tenants of section 8 housing to incorporate into his own real estate empire, he would rightly be laughed off of the stage and ridiculed relentlessly for his greedy, predatory behavior against the most vulnerable. The same thing happened to Honeywell CEO David Cote this week.

Cote is one of the leading voices of the "Fix the Debt" campaign, which argues that the federal deficit needs to be addressed before anything else, and that deficit reduction should primarily come from Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries. Fix the Debt has already been exposed as a front group for the world's richest war profiteers to protect their billion-dollar Pentagon contracts, and the world's worst corporate tax dodgers to protect their egregious loopholes and gimmicks in the US tax code.
 
Honeywell is a leading tax dodger and war profiteer, having secured $1.5 billion in defense contracts in 2012, and paying a minus .7% federal income tax rate between 2008 and 2010. Honeywell is sitting on an impressive $39.8 billion in assets and is the 33rd largest recipient of tax dollars out of the top 100 military contractors. So it's pretty ballsy for a CEO of a corporation that got money back from Uncle Sam instead of paying taxes, to insist that retirees and the disabled pay down the national debt before he loses any of his billions.
 
Cote took his message to Manchester, New Hampshire, on Monday, February 11th, and was shut down by grannies and veterans. Just minutes into Cote's speech, activists with the Flip the Debt campaign and US Uncut New Hampshire began loudly informing the audience about Honeywell's obscenely low tax rate and handing out information to other attendees, while disabled workers and elderly retirees ceremoniously handed Cote their Social Security checks. One attendee was heard saying, "I only get $1200 a month to live on, but you need another yacht."
 
The tide is turning against tax dodgers. Bernie Sanders has been vocal about ending offshore tax havens, citing Verizon's $705 million refund from the IRS despite making $11 billion in profits during 2010. Bill Clinton recently used his ex-president bully pulpit to call on corporations to repatriate their trillions in offshored profits. And while his Republican colleagues are balking at the coming March sequester austerity package they themselves created in the debt ceiling farce of 2011, Rep. Dave Camp is warming up to the idea of taxing derivatives (he wants to use the revenue gained to reduce top tax rates, but it's a start).
 
As we universally reject austerity, we have to simultaneously champion progressive alternative solutions to the budgetary problems we face. One solution is the Balancing Act, championed by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) of the progressive caucus. His plan would offset the 10-year, $948 billion, in across-the-board cuts that the sequester requires with closing loopholes and deductions exploited mainly by corporations and the super rich. Ellison's plan would close the carried interest loophole used by Mitt Romney, the corporate jet loophole, offshore loopholes, as well as ending fossil fuel subsidies and other numerous gifts in the tax code for those who have more than enough to pay the difference.
 
Awareness of the unfair tax code that relieves burden from those who have the most and shifting it to those who can barely scrape by has spread all over America, and Congress will soon have no choice but to acknowledge it. And in the midst of this new awakening, laughable greed-inspired campaigns like Fix the Debt are fading into the realm of irrelevance and obscurity.

Keep up with US Uncut!
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(Carl Gibson, 25, is co-founder of US Uncut, a nationwide creative direct-action movement that mobilized tens of thousands of activists against corporate tax avoidance and budget cuts in the months leading up to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Carl and other US Uncut activists are featured in the documentary "We're Not Broke," which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He currently lives in Manchester, New Hampshire. You can contact Carl at carl@rsnorg.org This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and listen to his online radio talk show, Swag The Dog, at blogtalkradio.com/swag-the-dog.)

Do you need another reason to think that very rich people should be taxed a lot more?

No?

Every California Right Wing Smear Campaign Has Been Paid For By One Deranged Trust Fund Baby Who Spent Much Of His Life In An Insane Asylum

 
Ahmanson, Jr-- crazy as a loon... but rich
Here in California, the name Ahmanson makes people think of great works of philanthropy and of the golden days of mainstream Republicanism. Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson, Sr. may have been a latter day robber baron but he eventually gave back big time-- to the L.A. County Museum of Art, to USC, to what's now the Disney Center (the Ahmanson Theater), to the UCLA Medical Center, to hospitals, schools, museums... his trust has been a force for tremendous good in California. And then there's his severely mentally ill son, Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson, Jr., tragically, the only child.

Junior was 10 when his parents divorced and 18 when his father died and left him a fortune. He was already certifiably (and severely) insane and was committed to a mental institution. Diagnosed as schizophrenic, he spent two years at the Menninger Clinic, a Topeka, Kansas psychiatric institution. It didn't help. Worse, he-- and his fortune-- fell into the clutches of the violently racist Satanic cult led by R.J. Rushdoony, which he bankrolled. And Rushdoony's fake anti-Jesus Christianity isn't the only plague on America Ahmanson's money underwrote. He also put up the money for Dobson's Focus on the Family circus and backed the far right take-over of the California GOP and every racist and homophobic item on the neo-fascist agenda.

Millions and millions of Ahmanson dollars were spent bankrolling schisms against mainstream churches and to transform the mainstream California Republican Party his father-- who he detested-- once chaired into the fringe operation it has degenerated into. Ahmanson paid for the recall against Grey Davis and he paid to elect California's most right wing fanatic, Tom McClintock. According to Max Blumenthal's Republican Gomorrah "Ahmanson has pumped enormous amounts of money into ballot measure committees, dramatically altering California's social landscape in the process. In 1999, Ahmanson helped to sharply restrict affirmative action in California through a $350,000 donation to Proposition 209. The same year he helped ban gay marriage with a donation of $210,000-- 35 percent of its total funds-- to Proposition 22. Though the anti-gay initiative was later overturned by California's Supreme Court, the Ahmanson-supported cause became a national model for similar statewide initiatives put on the ballots of swing states as President Bush ran for reelection in 2004."

One of Ahmanson's most significant political investments was in the career of Marvin Olasky, a man of multiple conversions, who was instrumental in creating George W. Bush's 2000 campaign theme of "compassionate conservatism." The Yale graduate joined the Communist Party USA in the early 1970s, a bizarre attachment at a time when the Communist Party was thoroughly discredited and had dwindled to a tiny gaggle. Then Olasky was suddenly drawn to evangelical Christianity, and he abandoned his Jewish background to join Rushdoony's ultraconservative Presbyterian Church in America. While toiling in obscurity during the 1980s as a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin, Olasky sparked a relationship with Ahmanson. (Afflicted with Tourette's syndrome, Ahmanson was studying for a master's degree in linguistics.) Olasky's first book, Turning Point: A Christian Worldview Declaration, was published by Ahmanson's privately held philanthropic entity, the Fieldstead Institute, and coauthored by Fieldstead's director, Herbert Schlossberg. Even though theological scholars and reviewers generally ignored the book, it helped promote Olasky within Washington's conservative circles, and in 1989 he was offered a well-paying Bradley Foundation stipend as a resident scholar at the Heritage Foundation.

In 1992, Olasky wrote The Tragedy of American Compassion, an argument for transferring government social welfare programs to the church, which he claimed was the traditional and most effective approach until the New Deal-- the very policy Rushdoony and his acolytes had long advocated. In this work, Olasky cited his "conservative Christian" friend Howard Ahmanson as proof that faith can cure poverty, describing how Ahmanson "found that poverty around the world is a spiritual as well as a material problem-- most poor people don't have faith that they and their situations can change." Eventually, Ahmanson funded four of Olasky's books.

In 1993, The Tragedy of American Compassion earned Olasky an invitation from Republican strategist Karl Rove to meet with an evangelical Christian running for governor of Texas-- George W. Bush. The following year, after the Republicans gained control of the Congress, the new speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, gave every Republican member a copy of Olasky's book. The political thinker whom the Los Angeles Times dubbed an "unlikely guru" became a key advisor to Governor Bush, packaging for him the politics of "compassionate conservatism." During the brutal Republican primaries of 2000, the ex-Jew Olasky slammed Jewish neoconservative supporters of Bush's chief competitor, Senator John McCain, smearing them as educated atheists who worshiped the "religion of Zeus." When the newly inaugurated President Bush signed an executive order to create a White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in January 2001, Olasky was standing by his side, beaming with pride as the new president turned his brainchild into government policy.
Ahmanson has spent a dissolute life doing nothing but evil and trying to undo all the good his father did. He gave $1,395,000 to support Prop 8 to amend California's Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. In 2008 Ahmanson switched his party registration and announced that he's a Blue Dog Democrat and he has been sending money to members of both parties, mostly crackpot Republican religious nuts like McClintock, Ed Royce, Joe Pitts, Allen West and Romney but also to Blue Dogs like Jim Matheson (UT), Jim Marshall (GA), Larry Kissell (NC), Mike McIntyre (NC), and Travis Childers (MS). Ahmanson seems to have mixed up Bobby Jindal and the Blue Dogs. He's a weird guy. This was his statement when he switched parties: "I like her [Sarah Palin], though I’ll have to confess that I like Bobby Jindal better. I’m now a Blue Dog Democrat for Bobby Jindal for 2012." Inexplicably, he contributed to Elizabeth Warren's campaign against Scott Brown.


2 comments:

Beach Bum said...

Ahmanson, Jr-- crazy as a loon... but rich

I've read enough ancient Roman history to know that a rich but insane elite helped to doom the western end of the empire.

Suzan said...

Which I believe we've both been commenting on for quite some time.

Thanks for the insight.

Your blog is great!

S