Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Real Thieves

 

                                                                                                        

    The day after elections I was glad that President Obama, Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Duckworth, Allan Grayson and other Democrats had won. One hour after arriving at work something happened to make me realize my side hadn’t won at all. That realization was a conversation I overheard in the lounge that two fellow employees were having. They were trashing people on welfare in the Youngstown area. They were talking about how some of the area’s low-income housing units are brand new. The two were going on about how they have to work for their money and they were trashing people getting public assistance. One of these women I’m pretty sure is a Democrat but I know the other one is an outspoken Republican. Why you would be a Republican when you are a working-class person is beyond me. I do know this woman is not very bright. I base that on the fact that a few years ago she had terrible stomach pains went to the hospital and delivered a baby without knowing she was pregnant. Forget the fact that neither one of these two would want to live in these area low-income housing units. Forget that these units were built to be energy-efficient and save the taxpayers money. Forget that if something happened to these ladies jobs they would have these new housing units as a safety net for their families to move into. Fact is all us middle-class are nearer to living in low-income housing than we are to living in Mitt Romney’s neighborhood. Heck, guys like Mitt and John McCain don’t even know how many homes they own.

    Usually I refuse to ignore such wrong-headed conversations but my break time was over and I had to get back to work. All I had time for was giving the two a stare and shaking my head. I wish I’d of ask them why they only have a problem with using their tax dollars to help the needy but no problem with the greedy getting their tax dollars. Exempt from their criticism were the rich, and the corporations, who collect the biggest percentage of welfare in this country. The middle-class like my two fellow workers have been led to believe that welfare recipients are stealing tax dollars from them, when it’s actually, corporations and the wealthy with clever tax loopholes and huge unneeded subsidies for their businesses courtesy of “our representatives.” Once in Washington, D.C. our representatives need money to get re-elected. They then go on the auction block to get this money. The biggest purchaser of “our representatives” is the corporate welfare bureaucracy. This bureaucracy consists of over 11,000 organizations that have total access to, city halls, statehouses, the Capital and the White House. These organizations have think-tanks, trade organizations, conferences, seminars, newsletters, websites etc. all to push tax breaks for the wealthy, deregulation and trade agreements all in the name of “corporate welfare.” Of course, if I mention “corporate welfare” I am an un-American communist pushing class-war. The corporate world prefers the terms “economic incentives” or “enterprise zones.”

    I’d have informed my two fellow workers that spending for corporate welfare programs is three times higher than spending for low-income programs. I’d have told my two fellow taxpayers that we each pay about $400 a year federally on programs for the needy. Food stamp recipients get $4.30 a day. I’d of then pointed out that each of us pays $1400 a year on corporate welfare programs for the greedy. I mention the needy and greedy idea because it is the perfect way to describe what is going on. If you are on social welfare because you are poor and get a job your welfare will be cut or eliminated depending on how much you are making. If you are on the corporate welfare system, the more money and assets you have, the more taxpayer-funded assistance you can get.

    I’ve heard these two employees and many more talk about the bargains they find at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. The funny thing is these two stores are some of the biggest welfare queens on the planet. A study by Good Jobs First found that 244 Wal-Marts around the country had received over $1 billion in corporate welfare. Given that fact, Sam’s Club actually still has the nerve to charge to be a member before you can shop in their stores. Sorry Sam’s Club but we taxpayers have already shelled out $1 billion in welfare to you so we are not your potential members we actually already OWN YOUR ASS.

    The middle class has been led to believe (by right-wing media) that welfare recipients are stealing their tax dollars, when actually, huge corporations and the wealthy are stealing from everybody with tax loopholes and huge unneeded corporate welfare for their companies. In 2010 General Electric (the sixth largest company in the United States with over $700 billion in assets) paid no taxes on $4.2 billion in profits. In fact, over two-thirds of corporations in the United States pay no income tax. For every dollar of workers’ payroll tax paid in the 1950s, corporations paid three dollars. Now it’s 22 cents. A recent report by the Citizens for Tax Justice looked at 280 companies, all of them members of the Fortune 500, and found that “these corporations received a total of nearly $224 billion in tax subsidies.” Robert McIntyre, Director at Citizens for Tax Justice said “This is wasted money that could have gone to protect Medicare, create jobs and cut the deficit.” Most of the subsidies went to financial services, utilities, telecommunications, and oil, gas & pipelines. Oddly enough these are also the same four industries that donated the most money to politicians.

    I know you’ve been told we have to worship the corporations and the wealthy because they are gods called, “job creators.” A 2009 Kauffman Foundation study found that the great majority of entrepreneurs come from middle-class backgrounds, with less than 1 percent of all entrepreneurs coming from very rich or very poor backgrounds. A report in Time Magazine, stated that the top five recipients of Export -Import subsidies over the past decade have reduced their workforce by 38% – 350,000 jobs gone. Boeing, the leading Export-Import subsidies recipient, has reduced its workforce by more than 100,000 employees over the past ten years. Studies have shown that for every job Wal-Mart creates, the community loses three. Politicians (owned by corporations) claim corporate welfare and tax breaks for companies stimulating the economy and create jobs. When businesses are under-taxed and get corporate welfare they just take the savings and corporate welfare as extra profits at taxpayer expense. Employers are not job creators, customers are job creators. Customers are what profits a business and stimulates the economy. Middle-class taxpayers can’t afford to have over $125 billion stolen from them every year to provide corporate welfare. It is wasted spending – that goes to many of the largest, most profitable corporations in America. When you steal money from the paychecks of working people, you hurt the economy because people can’t afford to buy the things they want or need. This decrease in demand then causes businesses to put people out of work.

    Conservative pundits and even Mitt Romney blamed his losing the election on Democrats acting as Santa Clause and giving things free to people. The fact is the GOP is the Santa Clause for the corporations and the rich and their wealthy donors expected more Christmas presents like tax loop holes and corporate welfare. The need for corporate welfare is a bigger myth than Santa Clause. The need for social welfare is a very real and is a safety net anyone of us might need someday. We as the middle-class will not get ahead until we quit bashing the needy that we take care of with our pennies and focus on the greedy who are stealing our hard-earned dollars. The middle-class working together could accomplish so much. An example: The City That Ended Hunger. These are everyday people like us who decided to make government accountable because like us they are the government. The wealthiest are only job creators when it comes to establishing more lobbyist jobs. These lobbyists act as agents for the wealthy to purchase politicians and further destroy democracy. These politicians then become Santa Clause who will write laws that benefit only the wealthy. Speaking out against the wealthy who get corporate welfare they don’t need in not anti-American, to not speak out is anti-justice. If you hear people in your fellow middle-class trashing the poor speak up with love, courage and conviction and tell them who the real thieves are.

 Corporations Are People Song

Anne Feeney: Corporate Welfare Song

“An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” ~ Plutarch

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Necrophilia Capitalism

My buffoon of the week is economist, and syndicated conservative columnist Walter Edward Williams. Williams’ weekly column is syndicated in 140 U.S. newspapers. His column can be seen locally in the Warren Tribune Chronicle. Williams recently wrote a column criticizing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Gov. Christie had said, he would respond to complaints from victims of Hurricane Sandy about alleged price gouging by New Jersey merchants. He threatened to prosecute sellers for raising prices. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is also doing an investigation into post-storm price increases having received consumer complaints about higher prices for everything from gasoline to hotel rooms.

Williams says Christie and Schneiderman “are playing politics with people’s suffering, emotionalism and economic ignorance.” He says these public officials should have consulted economists like him to inform them. Walter says it’s good for a motel owner to charge $250 for a motel room that is usually $125. Maybe, even though the motel’s owner’s intentions were to make more money a family will crowd into one room instead of possibly taking two. It’s like trying to say some unintended side effect of greed might actually be good. It really is sick how people can justify evil. It’s like how some people justify horrors like torture and call the killing of innocent civilians “collateral damage” during wartime. Walter also talks about Peter Morici a former chief economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission. Moriicia has been popping up on FOX NEWS saying that Hurricane Sandy will be an economic boom for the construction sector.

An estimate of the economic losses imposed by Sandy is about $35 to 45 billion. Add in that victims of Sandy have lost family mementos, heirlooms and photos that are irreplaceable. Victims are facing poverty or at least temporary poverty. Now they are also the victims of greedy motel owners and other retailers. These business owners suffer the poverty of morality that is at the heart (or heartless I should say) of capitalist ideas like supply and demand. The temporary poor are finding what the poor already knew. That is that you don’t have a way of defending yourself from the wealthy and greedy let alone a way of fighting back. People like these hotel owners think it is alright to take advantage of someone who is down and out. They also know they can get away with it because it’s just part of capitalism. It is capitalism but in the case of disasters and war it’s a whole new ballgame of capitalism called, “Disaster Capitalism” by author, Naomi Klein. The death toll of Hurricane Sandy is now at more than 110. Williams and Morici would probably say that will be of great benefit to funeral homes, casket sellers, flower shops, sellers of headstones, gravediggers and cemeteries. I actually think the type of greedy capitalism Williams and Morici promote should be called “Necrophilia Capitalism.”

Williams is a follower of Ayn Rand and said her book, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal is “one of the best defenses and explanations of capitalism one is likely to read.” Rand believed in unbridled capitalism and rejected ethical altruism. Rand hated government but in typical conservative hypocrisy received Social Security and Medicare. Williams once said, “Capitalism made it possible to become wealthy by serving your fellow-man.” I guess Walter thinks the motel owner is still serving his fellow-man by providing a room no matter how much he gouges someone already down on their luck. Since rooms were hard to come by I guess Walter would have told that stable owner to gouge Mary and Joseph for their stay.

Williams is opposed to the minimum wage and Affirmative Action. He is also a proponent of power being in the hands of the states, with limited power being held by the Federal government. He has also stated it is the right of U.S. states to secede from the union if they so wish, as several states did during the Civil War. He is an African-American who is opposed to Affirmative Action (even though he received some) and supported the secession of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Conservative media and right-wing organizations practice their own Affirmative Action and look for minorities who will trash their own race and support the angry-white man’s conservative viewpoint. Minorities like Williams, Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, etc. know this and comply because they know it leads to a great paying career.

I mentioned Walter Williams believing in a states right to secede because of something that is currently happening. President Obama has won re-election and it has driven some people crazy. Petitions signed by residents of up to 36 states have asked to secede from the USA. Most are red states with Texas having the most signers. Though residents of the red states complain the most about government spending they collect the most in government spending. Republican states, on average, received $1.46 in federal spending for every tax dollar paid; Democratic states, on average, received $1.16. Most of the states with the highest number of petition signers were the Confederate States during the Civil War.  Over 150 years ago the Emancipation Act freed black slaves in the USA. Now we finally had a black president and he was re-elected. This 150 years is now considered way too fast for progress to be moving by our southern states. I say we give all the signers Texas to live in. I have been to Texas and other than Austin there are no intelligent life forms in the state. So sending all the buffoon signers to Texas won’t alter the states’ makeup. Let the petition signers pack their stars and bars flags and other redneck Dixie fixins and head off into the yonder to Texas. Far as I’m concerned the whole South can leave the union and I say, “Don’t let the Mason Dixon line hit you in the ass on the way out.”

Lets get a little more compassionate folks. After all aren’t we all blood brothers.

Ingrid Michaelson: Blood Brothers

We need to love: “Everybody”

If we are not careful, capitalism will self-destruct. We will destroy it as the companies have no conscience and do not really compete. They are so big they can’t go broke, so they simply acquire everything. ~ Dick Smith

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CEO: Cannibalistic Evil Oppressor

I think that Ron Verb and Mike Romigh over at WKBN talk radio are the best local talk show hosts. Most of talk radio callers are conservatives and these two hosts do a good job at taking on crazy and hate filled comments. Mike had a caller that is my local buffoon of the week pick. The caller said he works in the energy field and hinted it was in the fracking field. He said that the energy companies were going to be going great guns and hiring thousands but now they were going to shut down production instead because President Obama was elected. Romigh countered saying that the energy companies want to make a profit and if that means expanding and hiring they will do that. He said they are all about the profit and one man even a president doesn’t matter in the least to them about making money. I have been worried about the damage this fracking where they put over 600 chemicals into the ground (with 30 of them being  chemicals that are carcinogenic) to cause an explosion is doing to the planet our children will inherit. When I hear that a buffoon like this caller is someone who works in the fracking business I fear for all our lives.

More than anything else I can write about I want to alert you to some businesses that need to be boycotted (they are my pick for country-wide buffoons). They are all successful businesses that are complaining about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  They claim they will lose money because of Obamacare. Instead of their CEO’s making a dime less in their multi-million dollar plus salaries they are going after their workers. John Schnatter CEO of Papa John’s is passing the costs of health care reform to his workers as he will be reducing their hours. He is reducing their hours, since Obamacare mandates that a business of 5o employees or more that work more than 30 hours per week are covered under their employers health insurance with basic health benefits.

John claims that the Affordable Care Act will cost him 11-14 cents a pizza. CNN’s Tom Foreman fact-checked the Papa John’s claim that Obamacare will cost 11-14 cents per pizza and says it’s a false claim. Papa John had a fundraiser for Willard Mitt Romney at John’s 40,000 sq. ft. home on his 16 acre estate. The house resembles a castle and has a 22-car underground garage, complete with an office for valet parking, a car wash and even a motorized turn table to move limousines. John is listed on the Forbes list as one of the wealthiest (under 40 years old) with a net worth of $240 million.

Zane Tankel, the CEO of Applebee’s New York Franchise, Apple-Metro has said he won’t hire any new workers because of Obamacare. A Georgia business owner laid off employees because of Obamacare and says he laid off those he thought had voted for President Obama. Darden restaurants, the parent company of Olive Garden, Red Lobster, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House has already started reducing employees hours in anticipation of Obamacare. They are the world’s largest full-service restaurant company. Through subsidiaries, they own and operate more than 2,000 restaurants and employ 185,000 workers. A labor activist group is suing Darden Restaurants for paying its workers what it called a “tip credit wage,” a wage reaching as low as a meager $2.13 per hour.

These franchised restaurants with over 50 employees are putting their profits over their employee’s well-being. How many more garages and cars does Papa John need? If these CEO’s actually looked into  Obamacare before they panicked they’d find many ways in the plan that business and large corporations can easily offset any increased costs. The above companies really want it all, corporate welfare, no corporate taxes, low wages and no benefits to employees. It’s all what I call reversal Bible lessons, ones like taking care of the greedy and not the needy.

I already have a long list of companies I boycott and I’ll just add these ones to it. The truth of the matter is Papa John’s pizza tastes like burnt cardboard. Every town has an independent pizza shop with better pizza than John’s corporate pies. If your town doesn’t have a local mom and pop Italian restaurant with better pasta than the slop at Olive Garden you need to move. I hate Applebee’s and the list of boring restaurants that Dresden owns. That is because they are restaurants with manufactured atmosphere pretending they are a neighborhood gathering places which gives me the creeps. Independent owned businesses are what give character to a neighborhood and make it a community. I hate the fact that so many of these franchise places take business away from good mom and pop neighborhood stores. If Satan came back he’d own a restaurant franchise.

Papa John’s 40,000 sq. ft.  house.

A salute to our veterans on Veteran’s Day: “When You Come Home”

“Bricks could take the place of corporate CEOs. They have about the same level of thinking, but bricks are far more ethical than most CEOs.” ~ Amy Riekhof

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Local, State and National Buffoons of the Week

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Kids take a good look at the man in this photo. If you are out trick or treating beware of this man. He will steal your candy and later pass it out to other kids when the media is around for a photo-op. Maybe you missed Willard Mitt Romney’s phony relief effort for Hurricane Sandy victims. For his phony efforts at help Willard wins national buffoon of the week.

Romney’s ads have been touting that the Detroit News endorsed him. If you are like me you thought, Romney would have let GM and Chrysler die so why would a “Motor City” newspaper endorse him. Doing some research I find, the Detroit News is a conservative newspaper that has never endorsed a Democrat for president. What Romney’s ad didn’t tell you was that The Detroit Free Press is the largest daily newspaper in Detroit.  His ads also didn’t tell you that The Free Press enthusiastically endorsed President Barack Obama for four more years as president. They stated, “Obama’s first term proved he can deliver at home under the worst imaginable circumstances, battling multiple crises that individually would have sunk lesser presidents; abroad, Obama has restored American credibility and influence that was frittered away by former President George W. Bush. With a refocus on job creation and long-term sustainability, his second four years could impress even more.” The Detroit Free Press said this about Romney, “As a candidate, Romney has been a shape-shifter, his message twisting and reconfiguring itself to fit the needs of the moment. And his economic plans are a rehash of those responsible for the fiscal crisis that greeted Obama in 2009.”

Local buffoons of the week are the area doctors who signed a full-page letter published in, The Warren Tribune Chronicle attacking the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The act is better known as, Obamacare which is based on the insurance coverage that Romney required people in Massachusetts to purchase. As I understand Massachusetts still has doctors. These doctors in our area don’t seem to care that Obamacare will help insure 30 million fellow Americans that have no health care. Doctors like this crew fought to get tort reform (limits to the amounts a patient could sue a doctor) in places like Ohio and Texas. It was about protecting the doctors not the patients. Doctors claimed they then would not have to have so many tests etc. for patients. The doctors said many of these tests were unnecessary and only done so that doctors could protect themselves from lawsuits. With tort reform the tests could be eliminated and bring down the cost of health care. Studies now show that tort reform has not lowered health care costs. 

The Hippocratic Oat is an oath historically taken by physicians and other healthcare professionals swearing to practice medicine ethically and honestly. Part of the oath says this, “I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.” Another part states, ” In every house where I come I will enter only for the good of my patients.” Sorry docs but denying heath care for 30 million people would sure seem to violate the Hippocratic Oath. The irony is that one week before this letter was in the Warren Tribune the same newspaper did a couple of page spread on the ultra luxurious expensive home of the doctor’s home who authored the full-page article. The Trib talked about how this doctor throws an exclusive party every year to raise money for needy elderly that can’t afford to buy prescription medication. I saw a comment on Trib.com that said, “The doctor is not so giving when it comes to his own employees. He provides minimal health care benefits to them and refuses to provide benefits for their spouses and families. He would much rather line his own pockets than offer them quality insurance.” I’d say all the doctors on the list are more concerned about their wallets then they are about 30 million uninsured.

This week’s award for the buffoon of Ohio is the Marietta, Ohio priest who invited angry teabaggers to protest the Nuns on the Bus. The nuns have been touring around visiting local social service agencies and speaking out about how draconian federal budget cuts (like the Paul Ryan budget) could endanger the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society. When the nuns got to Marietta they were jeered by the priest and teabaggers. The protestors called the nuns “fake nuns” and waved signs labeling their tour the “highway to hell” and “bums on the bus.” The teabaggers called the nuns anti-life and the priest distributed literature accusing the sisters of “espousing radical ideology.” One of the nuns on the bus, Sister Monica McGloin told the protesters that “we are 100 percent pro-life.” The nuns have been stating all along, “We do not see focusing on one issue, one point of life, as a way that we should proceed. And that pro-life for us means that we do concern ourselves with living wage, just wage, access to healthcare, education, food, housing, care for our seniors, Medicare and other kinds of healthcare programs that are supportive. Providing daycare for children so their parents can work…So we know from talking with people that what the people want is to continue to support the services that are helping us remain healthy, wholesome communities. So that’s what pro-life is.”

To priests still living in the 14th century and flat Earth teabaggers who worship Rush Limbaugh and their god Ronald Reagan the nuns  pro-life stand is radical ideology. Most conservatives are for the death penalty yet still call themselves pro-life. We can debate when life begins but there is no debate that inmates on death row are alive. Conservatives are all about saving fetuses and then they vote to get rid of all the current support programs that are required for these same new-born babies to survive. They don’t even care that a woman who had a baby from incest or rape will have to pay for the medical costs and expenses of raising that child. From now on let’s call these conservatives what they really are. They are not pro-life they are just pro-fetus.

In a few days the GOP is hoping they win the White House, and both other houses. Then we can go back to the days of robber barons when wealth was the only God-given virtue. Let’s hurricane Romney/Ryan and the rest of the GOP out of our state and federal houses on Tuesday! Get out and vote!

Faithful Budget Campaign

New Model Army: Ten Commandments

New Model Army: 51st State

We do not exist for ourselves…” ~ Thomas Merton

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