How would Jewish boy's (Scalia panter) poorly written, humdrum essay go viral so quickly?
. . . I’m shocked, shocked to find some unexamined class privilege at Princeton. Not for nothing that their light bulb joke goes . . .
How many Princeton students does it take to change a light bulb?
Two, one to call the electrician, and the other to call the butler for some martinis.
Seems that the New York Times will fire bad employees if they are really bad.
Whew! At least it's not Tommy "Get Off My Lawn" Friedman or David Fucking Brooks! Couldn't do without them as the bad examples.
Women, on the other hand, will be summarily gotten rid of if they even whisper to their best friends about how much less they are paid than their predecessors. Although I hear she's got a beaut of a suit coming on.
But . . . what's new? It's almost as if big business (and this is a case of a newspaper hemorrhaging money) has soooo much moolah lying around that they court suits.
Former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson finally reemerged on Thursday after she was unceremoniously fired from the paper she served for three years.
Ambramson's daughter uploaded this picture to Instagram Thursday afternoon showing her mom in a boxing gym wearing a tank top, tattoos showing, with boxing gloves laced up. She looks ready to brawl . . . .
Entitlements for the rich don't have anything to do with what they want you (the other (lower) classes) to believe are the same definition entitlements for you.
The word ‘entitlement’ is ambiguous. For working people it means “earned benefits.” For the rich, the concept of entitlement is compatible with the Merriam-Webster definition: “The feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges).” Recent studies agree, concluding that higher social class is associated with increased entitlement and narcissism.
The sense of entitlement among the very rich is understandable, for it helps them to justify the massive redistribution of wealth that has occurred over the past 65 years, especially in the past 30 years. National investment in infrastructure, technology, and security has made America a rich country. The financial industry has used our publicly-developed communications technology to generate trillions of dollars in new earnings, while national security protects their interests.
The major beneficiaries have convinced themselves they did it on their own. They believe they’re entitled to it all.
. . . Americans who earn millions of dollars a year feel entitled to the same maximum tax rate as those making about $400,000 a year. Progressive taxation stops at that point. In fact, it reverses itself, with the highest earners paying lower tax rates.
The richest 10% pay about 20 percent in federal taxes, and it goes down from there, with the richest 400 paying less than 20 percent. When all taxes are included (payroll, sales, state and local), the super-rich pay about the same percentage as America’s middle and upper-middle classes.
Corporations feel entitled to lower taxes, too, having cut their income tax rate in half in just ten years. The companies that have benefited the most from public research have become skilled tax avoiders.
Some corporate CEOs feel entitled to total freedom from taxes, employing a noble-sounding strategy of a $1 per year salary to avoid federal income taxes. It allows them to defer all capital gains taxes on their stock holdings, which can be used, if cash is needed, as collateral for low-interest loans.
. . . America has gained $16 trillion in financial wealth over the past five years, with 80-90 percent of that gain going to the richest 10%, for many of whom productive labor may have been limited to checking their online portfolios.
America is gaining in wealth because of technological infrastructure and a deregulated financial industry that uses the technology to capture most of those gains.
There is no tax on all that wealth. Capital gains can be deferred indefinitely, and then another entitlement comes into play: the lower capital gains rate, purportedly meant to stimulate new business investment, but in large part failing to do that.
The nation’s wealth needs to be distributed more equitably among productive citizens, ideally by allowing everyone to share in the capital of companies that use our nationally developed technologies.
. . . As Forbes notes, the hundreds of trillions of dollars of speculative financial transactions constitute “a massive financial accident waiting to happen, yet again.”
We pay a sales tax of up to 10 percent on boots and mittens for the kids, But not a penny of sales tax is paid on U.S. financial transactions, which may be valued as high as three quadrillion dollars annually, or over three thousand times the deficit.
No sales tax is paid despite the high-risk nature of “flash trading” that can lose entire pension funds in a few seconds.
. . . About two-thirds of nearly $1 trillion in individual “tax expenditures” (deductions, exemptions, exclusions, credits, capital gains, and loopholes) goes to the top quintile of taxpayers.
At the corporate level, tens of billions of dollars go in subsidies to the fossil fuel, fishing, and agricultural industries.
Fossil fuel subsidies may be much, much more. The IMF reports U.S. fossil fuel subsidies of $502 billion, and according to Grist, even this is an underestimate.
A regressive payroll tax, an almost nonexistent estate tax, the lower capital gains rate on carried interest for investment managers, trillions socked away in tax havens – all involve tax avoidance by wealthy Americans who feel entitled to their privileged positions.
Entitlements for the rich mean cuts in safety net programs for children, women, retirees, and low-income families. They threaten Social Security. They redirect money from infrastructure repair, education, and job creation.
And the more the super-rich take from us, the greater their belief that they’re entitled to the wealth we all helped to create.
Mitt Romney campaigned on this glittering bit of upper-class received knowledge.
And came very close to convincing enough people of its wisdom that he almost won. Just ask Karl Rove.
Think about it.
Ever ponder on how things that seem so clear to regular (working long hours probably for most of every day) citizens of the US don't seem to have the same definitions, let alone the same concerns, for those "serving" in the military? The Australian Financial Review has an eye-opening interview (via The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald), which took place in Australia with "just-retired, long-time NSA chief, General Keith Alexander," who has no qualms in saying who's guilty of the murder of innocents and who's not (and who is Frick and who is Frack in Foreign policy between Obama and George W. Bush?).
Australian Financial Review: What is your personal opinion on the decision to award a Pulitzer Prize to the Guardian and Washington Post newspapers for their “revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, helping through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy”?
Gen. Alexander: I’m greatly disappointed that we have rewarded those who have put so many lives at risk. I think that’s the best way to say that. . . . At the end of the day, I believe peoples’ lives will be lost because of the Snowden leaks because we will not be able to protect them with capabilities that were once effective but are now being rendered ineffective because of these revelations.
There are few things in life more ironic than being accused by U.S. Generals, including those who participated in the war in Iraq, of being responsible for the loss of lives.
For that sort of irony, nothing will beat that episode where the US Pentagon chief and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff announced that WikiLeaks – not themselves, but WikiLeaks – has “blood on its hands” by virtue of publishing documents about the U.S. war in Afghanistan.
In the world of the U.S. National Security State and its loyal media, those who go around the world killing innocent people over and over are noble and heroic, while those who report on what they do are the ones with “blood on their hands”.
But what makes this claim so remarkable is how often it is made and how false it always turns out to be. The accusation about WikiLeaks was ultimately demonstrated to be false.
The same was true of the identical claim made about NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, and the leaker who exposed the Bush-era warrantless eavesdropping program, and Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, and virtually every other person who has brought unwanted transparency to what the U.S. Government is doing in the dark.
But accusing whistleblowers and journalists of causing the deaths of innocent people is a tactic people like Gen. Alexander continue to embrace because it’s virtually never pointed out by our stalwart media how many times that claim has been proven to be an utter fabrication . . . .
AFR: What were the key differences for you as director of NSA serving under presidents Bush and Obama? Did you have a preferred commander in chief?
Gen. Alexander: Obviously they come from different parties, they view things differently, but when it comes to the security of the nation and making those decisions about how to protect our nation, what we need to do to defend it, they are, ironically, very close to the same point. You would get almost the same decision from both of them on key questions about how to defend our nation from terrorists and other threats.
The almost-complete continuity between George W. Bush and Barack Obama on such matters has been explained by far too many senior officials in both parties, and has been amply documented in far too many venues, to make it newsworthy when it happens again.
Still, the fact that one of the nation’s most powerful generals in history, who has no incentive to say it unless it were true, just comes right out and states that Bush and The Candidate of Change are “very close to the same point” and “you would get almost the same decision from both of them on key questions” is a fine commentary on a number of things, including how adept the 2008 Obama team was at the art of branding.
Ex-Reagan Treasury officlal, Professor Paul Craig Roberts, tells us to look out because we are now and have been for a very long time living in a gangster state and that this fact is not news to the rest of the world (although it's a shock every time the subject comes up to the unknowing American electorate). Mainstream media (MSM) will not be making this announcement at any time. Ever.
Feels like a wake-up call to me.
Where Is America’s Democracy?Paul Craig Roberts
Anyone who looks carefully behind the veil of words cannot find democracy in America. For years I have been writing that the US government is no longer accountable to law or to the people (see, for example, my book, How America Was Lost). The Constitution has been set aside, and the executive branch is degenerating into Caesarism.
Government is used to impose agendas that result from the symbiotic relationship between the neoconservative ideology of US world hegemony and the economic interests of powerful private interest groups, such as Wall Street, the military/security complex, the Israel Lobby, agribusiness, and extractive industries (energy, mining, and timber). Dollar imperialism, threats, bribes, and wars are means by which US hegemony is extended. These agendas are pursued without the knowledge or approval of the American people and in spite of their opposition.
Professor Martin Gilens at Princeton University and Professor Benjamin Page of Northwestern University have examined American governance and have concluded that the US is an oligarchy ruled by powerful rich private interest groups and that the US government has only a superficial resemblance to a democracy. Their analysis is forthcoming in publication in the journal, "Perspectives on Politics."
Their conclusions are striking:
“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”
“When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose.”
“In the United States, our findings indicate that the majority does not rule–at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes.”
“The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”
A number of factors have contributed to the demise of democracy and accountable government in the US. One factor is the concentration of the US media in a few hands.
During the last years of the Clinton regime, a formerly diverse media with significant independence was concentrated in five mega-corporations. The value of these corporations consists largely of their federal broadcast licenses. To insure the renewal of these licenses, the media avoids challenging the government on significant issues.
Another factor is the offshoring of US industrial and manufacturing jobs. This development destroyed the manufacturing and industrial unions, which were the backbone of the Democratic Party’s financial support. Now the Democrats have to appeal to the same interest groups as the Republicans – Wall Street, the military/security complex, and the polluting industries that despoil the environment.
As both political parties are now financed by the same private interests, both political parties serve the same masters. There is no longer any countervailing power. The Obama regime is simply a continuation of the George W. Bush regime.
Two recent rulings by the Republican majority on the US Supreme Court are another decisive factor. The court ruled that it is merely an exercise of free speech for oligarchs to purchase the US government (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission).
A corrupt Supreme Court has invented a “constitutional right” for corporations and oligarchs to use their vast financial resources to form a government of their choosing.
Private interest groups in the US are so powerful that they can purchase immunity from law.
On March 27 a retiring Securities and Exchange Commission prosecutor, James Kidney, said that his prosecutions of financial criminals at Goldman Sachs and other giant US banks were blocked by SEC political appointees who “were focused on getting high-paying jobs after their government service.”
In a recent test to ascertain the responsiveness of members of Congress to monied interests in comparison to voters, two letters were sent to congressional offices. One letter asked for the representative to meet with community groups in his district. The other letter asked for the representative to meet with a group of active donors. The latter letter received by far the most responses from members of Congress.
In the US and Europe there is constant propaganda about “gangster state Russia.” According to this propaganda, President Putin is a tool of oligarchs who use Putin to rule Russia and loot the people. In my opinion, this propaganda originates in the Washington-funded NGOs that constitute a US fifth column inside Russia.
The purpose of the propaganda is to destroy Putin’s legitimacy and that of his government in hopes of bringing to power a Washington-compliant government in Moscow.
My impression is that the Russian government has curtailed activities of some of the oligarchs who used the privatization era to seize control of resources, but that the government’s actions are consistent with the rule of law.
In contrast, in the US oligarchs control the law and use it to acquire immunity from law.
The real gangster state is the US. Every institution is corrupt.
Regulators sell protection from law for well-paying jobs in the industries that they are supposed to regulate. The Supreme Court not only permits money to purchase the government but also sells out the Constitution to the police state.
The Supreme Court has just refused to hear the case against indefinite detention of US citizens in the absence of due process. This is an unambiguous unconstitutional law, yet the Supreme Court refuses to even hear the case, thus granting unchecked police power to the gangster state.
Another defining characteristic of a gangster state is the criminalization of dissent and truth tellers.
Washington has done everything in its power to criminalize Julian Assange and Edward Snowden for revealing the US government’s illegal, unconstitutional, and criminal actions. Washington reeks of hypocrisy.
On April 26 the State Department announced its third annual Free The Press campaign, a propaganda exercise directed at foreign countries that are not Washington’s puppets.
The very same day the Justice Department told the Supreme Court to reject the protection US journalists have under the Constitution against being forced to reveal their confidential sources so that James Risen can be imprisoned for reporting a government misdeed.
In the 21st century Washington has squandered trillions of dollars on wars that have destroyed countries and killed, maimed, and displaced millions of people in seven or eight countries. Declaring its war crimes to be a “war on terror,” Washington has used the state of war that it created to destroy US civil liberty.
In the 21st century it is difficult to find a significant statement made by Washington that is not a lie. Obamacare is a lie. Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction is a lie. Assad’s use of chemical weapons is a lie. Iranian nukes are a lie. Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea is a lie. No fly zones are a lie.
Russian aggression against Georgia is a lie. 9/11, the basis for Washington’s destruction of civil liberty and illegal military attacks, is itself a lie. The fantastic story that a few Saudi Arabians without government or intelligence agency backing outwitted the entire national security apparatus of the Western world is unbelievable.
It is simply not credible that every institution of the national security state simultaneously failed. That Washington would tell such a fantastic lie shows that Washington has no respect for the intelligence of the American people and no respect for the integrity of the American media. It shows also that Washington has no respect for the intelligence and integrity of its European and Asian allies.
Washington won’t even tell the truth about little things in comparison – jobs, unemployment, inflation, GDP growth, economic recovery. Washington rigs the markets in order to cover up its sacrifice of the economy for the benefit of a few special interests. In the name of “privatization,” Washington hands over public assets and government responsibilities to rapacious private interests.
The conclusion is inescapable that the US is a gangster state. Indeed, the US is worse than a mere gangster state. The US is a shameless exploitative tyranny.
Professor Roberts also has a few words of warning for US about calling the new, national security-trained and -funded local cops/goons for help.
“Live free or die” is the motto of the state of New Hampshire. I hope the residents are prepared to die, because living free is not what they do. NH is merely a cog within the Amerikan Stasi State, but I am referring to what goes on within NH itself, not the police state existence imposed by Washington.
On May 5 attorney William Baer was arrested at a school board meeting at which he went over a 2-minute speaking rule while trying to get some explanation from the Gilford, NH, school board for assigning sexually explicit reading material to his 14-year old daughter’s English class. The evasiveness of the school board angered Mr. Baer, and he spoke out again in support of another parents protests, and was promptly arrested by a goon thug cop.
The school board chairman, Sue Allen, who has no legislative power nevertheless managed to create a law backed by police violence. After all if Bush and Obama can create laws by edict, why not a school board chairman? Under Allen’s edict, if a parent violates the 2-minute rule that Allen imposed, she has the parent arrested. The goon thug cop wasn’t embarrassed to arrest a parent for making a legitimate complaint during the public comment period of a school board meeting.
Remember, we “freedom and democracy” ‘mericans have free speech and protest rights. Actually, don’t remember that, because you no longer have any such rights.These rights are dangerous. They enable terrorists and extremists such as those dangerous people who don’t believe The Government.
. . . Don’t expect courts to put any restraint on police and prosecutors. Dave Lindorff and Molly Knefel have given accurate accounts of the frame-up of Cecily McMillan by a corrupt prosecutor and a corrupt goon thug.
McMillan was convicted on the false charge of assaulting a police office when the goon thug seized her breasts from behind.
The judge, Ronald Zwiebel, enabled the conviction by preventing the defense from showing the evidence. The gullible and very stupid jurors made certain that injustice was perpetrated. Now a young woman who was sexually assaulted faces a seven-year prison sentence for “assaulting” a goon thug.
This is Stasi Amerika today. And it gets worse. In Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, Eileen Battisti, a 53-year old widow, had her $280,000 home seized by Beaver County officials and sold at auction for $116,000 because of an unpaid $6.30 interest fee on the late payment of her school district taxes. A corrupt judge did not insist upon justice for the widow but instead upheld the robbery that benefitted both the county and the purchaser at auction of her home, S.P. Lewis. Lewis offered to sell the widow her home back for $250,000.
. . . Just keep in mind that “we have freedom and democracy” and we are “the exceptional and indispensable people.” Our president told us so. This designation removes you from any responsibility to other humans, much less animals.
Don’t lose sight of the fact that Amerikans are so exceptional and indispensable that we have murdered seven entire countries in the new 21st century, and we are just getting started.
As it is perfectly acceptable for Amerika to murder countries, how can it possibly matter if a goon thug cop murders you, your pet or your wife or husband or daughter or son?
The inhumanity of which Americans are capable and indulge in every day must scare Satan himself.
The worst people in the country are in our public institutions. This is why there is so little sympathy for the public sector unions now under attack by the Republicans. Americans look at their county commissions, their city councils, their criminal justice (sic) system, their governors, state legislatures, Congress, and the White House, and all that they see is evil and corruption.
There is nothing else there.
Americans who trust the criminal justice (sic) system are completely stupid. A case of mass wrongful conviction that I wrote about years ago finally came to trial last November. Annie Dookham, a Massachusetts state chemist who falsified drug tests, thus sentencing thousands of innocent people to years in prison, destroying their lives and the lives of their families, was sentenced to 3 to 5 years in prison.
Dookhan sent thousands of innocents to prison in order to aid prosecutors in attaining high conviction rates and in order to achieve her own rise as a highly productive state employee. The judge noted that Dookham had cost the state millions of dollars in settling wrongful convictions and had shaken to the core the integrity of the criminal justice (sic) system.
State officials say that Dookhan’s fake evidence could have tainted 40,000 cases. Ask yourself, what kind of person would destroy so many people in order to advance herself? And progressives think that the public sector is the answer.
You can ask the same question about the New York State Police and the Texas police who dropped little bags of ground up wallboard in cars stopped at random, conducted illegal searches, and arrested the occupants for drugs.
Hundreds of innocents were convicted until finally one brave public defender demanded presentation of the alleged drugs and had the evidence tested. It came back: wallboard.
All other public defenders had accommodated the conviction scheme and arranged plea bargains for their clients. You can read about these and other atrocities in my book, coauthored with Larry Stratton: The Tyranny of Good Intentions.
Psychopaths and bullies are naturally attracted to the police by the privilege of using essentially unaccountable force. The proclivity to violence is heightened by police training.
The emphasis is on killing suspects, not on capturing them. CBS Miami reports that 23 goon thugs fired 377 rounds at two men trapped inside a car.
On May 8 a goon thug in Hearne, Texas murdered 93-year old Pearlie Golden. The elderly woman was shot five times in her front yard.
Neighbors said Pearlie Golden was a sweet woman known to most people of this predominantly black community as "Miss Sully."
The nonagenarian was shot five times, several witnesses told KBTX-TV.
The fatal confrontation began when Golden’s nephew called cops after he took the elderly woman’s car keys because she no longer has a driver’s license.
Officer Stephen Stem fired a shot to wound Golden, who later died. Robertson County News Officer Stephen Stem fired a shot to wound Golden, who later died.
(Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts' latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.)