James Henry: It’s kind of like measuring the size of a black hole. We looked at unrecorded outflows from developing countries. We looked at data that the IMF and the Bank for International Settlements has on cross-border deposits. And we also looked at the assessments that the private banking industry does.
This business is dominated by about fifty global banks. Many of them got bailout money in the last five years but they collectively own just among those banks alone more than twelve trillion dollars of funny money that’s evading tax.
BBC Interviewer: Okay, as you say, evading tax. So this money could really turn things around, couldn’t it, for the global economy. Let’s just bring it back to Europe, if we may, and Britain in particular. How much is going offshore from Britain which legitimately could be used perhaps by the tax authorities?
James Henry: You know, oddly enough, it’s easier to tell you how much is going out of countries like Brazil or Mexico than it is Britain. The authorities that have access to the data don’t release it on that level. So I can get data from the IMF and the World Bank on developing countries on that but it’s very hard to tell how much is going out of Britain.
But we do know that collectively the total is at least twenty one trillion dollars which is about maybe thirteen to fourteen trillion pounds. It’s an enormous sum. It is sitting there. The good news is it’s there. Maybe we can figure out a way to tax it or bring it home.
BBC Interviewer: So let’s explore that. How do you do that? I mean is that a question of getting all the banks to agree to sign up to something to prevent this because, of course, it’s perfectly legal, isn’t it, a lot of it in terms of tax avoidance schemes and things.
James Henry: Well, you know, as Dennis Healy once said, the difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion is a prison wall. You know, the industry pays a lot of money to lobbyists to write tax codes so that you practically need a judge in the room to figure out whether you are obeying the law.
So I think it comes down to this. That ordinary people owe taxes. Small business, that can’t afford these schemes, this kind of chicanery, that don’t have the representation in the Halls of Parliament, are having a hard time paying the bills, and it’s costing the Treasury an enormous amount every year. I think the non-dom issue in London is well known as an example of that. It doesn’t seem to be make sense for a lot of the taxpayers.
But you end up having the tax base for essential services like schools and hospitals and police and fire, just have to be paid, and they end up being paid by people who are unable to avoid tax. They pay it through sales tax.
And we’ve seen that all over the world, this phenomenon of the richest people in the world being able to hide their money offshore and avoid income taxes while everybody else is having to pay the bills.
BBC Interviewer: Okay, so briefly what are you saying? The only recourse is to try and appeal to their better judgment, to appeal to their morality?
James Henry: No, it’s not a matter of morality. I mean, I think the time has passed for that. We need tougher laws that crackdown on what I call pirate banking. That’s the business these people have created of providing these services across all the havens in the world. It is not only banks but also lawyers and accountants who specialize in sheltering funny money.
Secondly we need to have things like automatic information exchange among tax authorities so that they can figure out who is evading.
And I think thirdly we could really think about seriously about getting developed countries together and agree on what we did with, you know, the airline ticket tax. Let’s just have a simple minimum tax on all the assets that are sitting there from all kinds of shady sources, sitting there in banks, maybe a point five percent tax would be enough to raise a hundred billion dollars a year.
And you know, it would require collective action but you know there’s no simple magical bullet that doesn’t require collective action. And right now we are in kind of a dueling situation where different countries are competing to cut taxes. It’s just not working.
… WE WERE BETRAYED. 50 million Americans don’t have health insurance.
“467,000 jobs lost….”
“The pharmaceutic industry made a killing….”
“…why no criminal prosecutions?”
“…the federal government increasingly dysfunctional.”
NOW A GROWING NUMBER OF DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS
“34 billion dollars in bonuses to their employees….”
“A tent city has gone up for those who have run out of options.”
“No jobs, no health insurance.”
THERE ARE NO VIABLE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES
“The corporations, by law, are not being made….”
$375 billion and counting for this loss….
IN EITHER PARTY
“Gas prices remain at their record highs….”
WHO WILL PUT THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE
“Pharmaceutical and insurance companies spent tens of millions of dollars lobbying on healthcare legislation….”
BEFORE THE INTERESTS
“The largest corporations are paying no taxes….”
OF CORPORATIONS AND WALL STREET
“…a breach of American justice….”
“Goldman Sachs’s top executives boasting about the profits they made during the housing crisis….”
IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON.
“Indefinite detention of American citizens without due process….”
IT’S TIME FOR REAL CHANGE
Real Change Takes Courage
Rocky Anderson: “We will not be silent. We will continue to raise our voices regardless of political parties.”
It Means Opening Our Eyes To The Reality That We Have Been Sold To The Highest Bidder
Rocky Anderson: “Blind faith in bad leaders is not patriotism.”
Rocky Anderson: “Congress and the White House have been conducting themselves as if they are on retainer with Wall Street.”
OUR VOICES have been LOCKED OUT
Our message IGNORED
Rocky Anderson: “The American people need a choice. The Democratic and Republican parties: where they brought this country is absolutely tragic.
We Can’t WASTE another election voting for MILLION DOLLAR Candidates Who Serve The One Percent
President Obama: “At the pace things are going right now, you are going to have to ask whether you are better off than you were four weeks ago…And you can decide whether your representative is actually representing you.”
for how long? Will we bail out their CEO’s?
Rocky Anderson: “We will do everything we can to get the corrupting influence of corporate and other concentrated wealth out of politics.”
Rocky Anderson: “This is the kind of skewed justice that we have…It’s bribery, pure and simple.”
Fund their endless Wars? and Reward their Negligence
President Obama: “We will not take a dime from Washington lobbyists or special interests or special interest PACs. We are going to change how Washington works.”
At least 15 Obama Fund-raisers Now Work In the Lobbying Arena Pouring $5 million Into his campaign – NY Times
Help Foreclosure … Forclosures … Eviction Notice … I Want to Work: Paychecks Pay the Bill … BANK CRIME SHOULDN’T PAY … GREED KILLS … END CORPORATE PERSONHOOD!
WAR NO MORE … VETERANS AGAINST NUCLEAR ARMS … STOP THE CANADIAN WAR DRIVE … GREED
CORPORATE OWNED DEBT … OWNED
We’ve Seen THEIR AMERICA
Now It’s Time We Stood Up For Ours
An End to Corruption in Government No Special Interest Money Essential Health Care for All Immediate End to Wars Strong Leader on Climate Change Criminal Accountability and Oversight Fair Taxation Reversal of Citizen’s United
Rocky Anderson: “It is up to us. We can restore the rule of law. We can reinvigorate our democracy. We can recommit to Constitutional values and to our vital system of checks and balances, if only we will.”
Rocky Anderson 2012
Rocky Anderson: “I’m Rocky Anderson and I approve this message.”
Paid for and Approved by Rocky Anderson Our President 2012
Eliot Spitzer: When did the words, made in America, become a partisan issue. Today Senate Republicans blocked the “Bring Jobs Home Act”, a bill that sounds simple because it is. The bill would eliminate tax deductions that exist for the costs a company incurs moving jobs overseas, and instead, give a tax break for companies that return jobs to America. Yet the Republicans super minority would not even allow a vote on the bill. This prompted an incredulous response from the bill’s sponsor, Senator Debbie Stabenow.
Debbie Stabenow: What in the world is going on when we can’t come together on the simple premise that Americans should not be paying for jobs shipped overseas.
And a simple explanation from Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid.
Senator Harry Reid: It is fairly easy to see why Republicans are blocking our bill to stop outsourcing. They are obviously defending their Presidential nominee.
Joining us now to shed some light, if possible, on the Senate Republicans actions today, Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent from Vermont. Senator, as always, thank you for joining us. Explain this to me. I just don’t get it. It seems like plain vanilla and apple pie. What are the Republicans objecting to?
Senator Bernie Sanders: Well, Eliot, I am the wrong guy to ask on that. I have no idea. I think what most Americans perceive, Eliot, and it goes far deeper than just this legislation, or this particular tax break, is that we off hemorrhaging decent paying manufacturing jobs in this country.
In fact, people don’t know this, in the last ten years, Eliot, we have lost sixty thousand factories: in the last ten years, millions of decent paying jobs. And anyone who goes shopping knows how difficult it is to buy a product manufactured in the United States of America.
In my view the real culprit here are disastrous trade policies, such as NAFTA, permanent normal trade relations with China, which have asked American workers to compete against people around the world who make pennies an hour.
But be that as it may, what today’s proposal was, was very, very modest. What it says is that right now, you can get a business tax deduction if you shut down a plant and you send your machinery to China or to Mexico or someplace else. That’s an expensive proposition. And you can deduct that from your taxable income.
And so what the bill did today says, you can’t do that. In fact, however, if you want to move from China back into the United States, we will allow you to deduct those expenses. We will encourage you to come home.
So I think it is pretty much of a no-brainer. We got three Republican votes. But once again they filibustered this important piece of legislation.
Eliot Spitzer: In my view the hidden hand of the US Chamber of Commerce behind the Republican opposition—we can get to the politics in a moment—but the Chamber of Commerce opposing this under the pretextual ridiculous absurd argument, we don’t want to make the tax code complicated. Ha, ha, ha.
Bernie Sanders: Look, Eliot, we should be very clear about this. Outsourcing is—you know, I think Harry Reid appropriately said about Mitt Romney—that has been the business model for major corporations for the last many many years. It’s no great secret. What they have understood is that if you shut down in America, you can do business in China, pay people pennies an hour, you bring your products back into the United States.
So my own view is the Democrats have not been as strong as they should be in really changing trade policy. But this particular tax proposal is really a no brainer. You should not give a tax break to somebody who shutting down in this country and aiding and abetting them to move abroad.
Eliot Spitzer: I agree with you and your premise about our trade policy. And this compounds it because we are subsidizing it in our tax code. This was just limiting the tax code. But in their imitable style the Republicans wouldn’t even let it to come to a vote because their master, the Chamber of Commerce, said if you vote against it, we’re going to include this in our annual tally. Am I right?
The Chamber of Commerce spends more money, even in the DNC, in advertising about people’s votes. And so this was a sort of Damocles hanging over the Republican party and they caved as they always do.
Bernie Sanders: Absolutely. The Chamber of Commerce spends a whole lot of money on campaigns, on lobbying. They have enormous influence in the Congress, especially on the Republicans.
Eliot Spitzer: Well, this is one in a series of issues where the Republicans don’t even permit a vote on the floor on the substantive matters, the Disclose Act, a few days ago, now this.
We really are living in a moment of tyranny of the minority in the Senate. We got to end this filibuster crisis.
Bernie Sanders: I think that’s absolutely right. Look, you know the Senate is supposed to be, as opposed to the House, the deliberative body, things are supposed to move a little bit more slowly. I can accept that. We all respect minority rights. You don’t want to shove things through without minority having the opportunity to make their case.
But there is something wrong when the minority can time after time after time stop majority will. On this issue I believe the overwhelming majority of the American people think it is absurd to give a tax break to help a company shut down and move abroad.
We had fifty three people in the Democratic caucus voting yes, a good majority, all the Democrats, and you had three Republicans: fifty six votes. That’s a pretty good majority. Couldn’t get it passed because the Republicans filibustered. We needed sixty votes.
Eliot Spitzer: As you think, it is important that you had the two senators from Maine and also Scott Brown saying, we’re not going to toe the line with the rabid Republican Chamber of Commerce arguments here. And I think that is important and hopefully the public will appreciate that.
Fiscal clift issues: you know, a lot of chatter these days. We are approaching the clift,
no parachute, no compromise, hostages being taken. What is going on in your view and what should we do?
Bernie Sanders: Well this is, Elliot, an enormous issue and I hope, you know, you and I and the American people just have the time we need to really discuss this hugely important issue.
Here’s the point: the United States has a sixteen trillion dollar national debt, a one point two trillion dollar deficit. Serious business, but we have to understand how we got to where we are. We have to understand that when Bush became president, we had over a two hundred billion dollar surplus and were on our way to significantly reducing the national debt.
What happened is our friend in the White House, George W. Bush, and his Republican deficit hawk friends, went into two wars, and the great deficit hawks, Elliot, you know what? They forgot to pay for the wars.
And then they give huge tax breaks to billionaires, and then Wall Street brought about this recession, which significantly lowered the revenue coming into the Treasury. You add all of that up, we have a serious deficit crisis.
And our Republican friends are saying, well be that as it may, the solution is to cut social security, which by the way had nothing to do with the deficit, Medicare, Medicaid, education, infrastructure, etcetera, and that’s how we’re going to balance the budget. But, say the Republicans, we are not going to ask the millionaires and the billionaires who are doing phenomenally well, whose effective tax rate is the lowest in decades, to pay a nickel more in taxes. That, in a condensed way, is the issue that we are debating.
Eliot Spitzer: Senator, you made the accurate persuasive factual arguments; unfortunately none of that matters in Washington anymore or certainly not to the Republican party, not to Mitt Romney. I don’t know what to say. I would die to take that clip. Send it out to every voter and say, listen to Senator Bernie Sanders. He is the one who gets it right time and time again.
Senator Sanders, as always, thank you for your time tonight.
Cenk Uygur: Back in the days, Governor Eliot Spitzer was, of course, the Attorney General of New York, he used to be known as the Sheriff of Wall Street. Why? Because he actually went after people who committed financial fraud.
I want to show you the clip, and more than this, I want to talk about her general attitude towards her job. So watch the clip first.
Eliot Spitzer: Hank Greenberg’s accounting was fraudulent.
Maria Bartiromo: C’mon, you can’t say fraudulent because there is no indictment: you can’t just throw around the word fraud.
Eliot Spitzer: Here’s the federal judge’s opinion that says he was a conspirator. Here are the headlines: his company throwing him out.
Maria Bartiromo: So then why no charges: why six out of eight charges dropped then?
Eliot Spitzer: You want to know why? The answer is we charged the company, cleaned it up, got new leadership, the Southern District said to me, we are going to bring the charges. We let the Southern District. This has all been documented. We said, you want to do that, that’s fine.
Cenk Uygur: So here is what I find amazing. AIG paid one point six billion dollars because of fraud. Now why would Bartiromo think, oh, you think they are just going to pay $1.6 billion if they didn’t commit the fraud? They have an army of lawyers!
Hank Greenberg himself paid a fifteen million dollar fine for fraud. But Bartiromo’s default position is: protect the financial industry; protect the people who are in power; protected the establishment. And this guy who actually try to do something about fraud you must attack him, you must destroy him in order protect the establishment.
This is exactly what’s wrong with the establishment media and CNBC in particular. All they do is protect the guys who are doing fraud. You are supposed to represent us, your audience, not those guys. Unfortunately they totally misunderstand that.
‘The mob learned from Wall Street’: Eliot Spitzer on the ‘cartel-style corruption’ behind Libor scam. July 3, 2012 broadcast on Viewpoint, Eliot Spitzer interviews Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone’s financial reporter, who has written extensively on Wall Street fraud; and Dennis Kelleher, the head of the nonprofit organization, Better Markets, that promotes the public interest in U.S. and global financial markets.
Maria Bartiromo: I want to ask you about these new explosive allegations surrounding your charges against Hank Greenberg when he ran AIG. You brought eight charges against Greenberg during your time as attorney general. Six have been dropped: six out of the eight. Two remain. Six have been dropped.
Eliot Spitzer: No. Maria, let’s deal with facts for a minute. We brought a charge that AIG’s accounting was fundamentally fraudulent. The company admitted that. The Justice Department, the SEC, joined us in those charges. The company’s board removed Hank Greenberg.
Because of the silliness that is attached to this claim, people saying that I did this out of personal invective, or somehow personal animus: can I tell you something pretty simple? I don’t know if this will make Hank feel better or not, I have no emotions about him one way or the other. He is merely one in a litany of corporate executives who defrauded the market. We prosecuted them.
The charge against a prosecutor, that a prosecutor’s motive is flawed, is the last refuge of the guilty. I had this claim made against me by every person that we prosecuted. Hank Greenberg was thrown out by his own company’s board. He was called a conspirator by a federal judge.
Maria Bartiromo: Under pressure from you. In fact, some people might say that the collapse of AIG lays at your feet, because if Hank Greenberg had been there, he would not have allowed some of that craziness and risk being taken on.
Eliot Spitzer: Maria, who still think that the sun revolves around the earth. You know, let’s deal with reality here. Hank Greenberg’s accounting was fraudulent. His company threw him out.
Maria Bartiromo: You can’t say fraudulent because there is no indictment. You can’t just throw around the word fraud.
Eliot Spitzer: Here is the federal judge’s opinion that said that he was a conspirator. Here are the headlines: his company throwing him out.
Maria Bartiromo: Then why six out of the eight charges were dropped then. What is the answer?
Eliot Spitzer: You want to know why? The answer is we charged the company, cleaned it up, got new leadership. The Southern District said to me, we are going to bring the charges. We let the Southern District. This has all been documented. We said, you want to do it? That’s fine. We let them.
Maria Bartiromo: And Hank Greenberg is still not running, TV star, running, you know, living his life, so all of these charges that you throw away so cavalier, there is no evidence to support that.
Eliot Spitzer: Maria, look, I hate to say this to you, deal with facts and reality, not what Hank Greenberg’s PR machine wants you to believe. Hank Greenberg was thrown out by his own board. His company paid $1.6 billion in a settlement, acknowledged that his accounting was fraudulent. These are in facts. Read the federal judicial opinion. He was the one that instigated the conspiracy. He is the one that began, this is a federal judge, began and instigated the conspiracy, fraudulent reinsurance contract. Do you know who brought the case to me?
Maria Bartiromo: But no charge. But all those charges have been dropped. You’re still not answering that. I want to take you back three days ago because we talked with your predecessor in the New York Attorney General’s Office, Dennis Vacco. He says he heard you make comments that demonstrate you had a personal vendetta against Greenberg. Let me play what he said on this program three days ago. I want to get your reaction. Listen to this. Dennis Vacco.
Dennis Vacco: It wasn’t that he was hammering his fist on the desk or or on the table, citing allegations of wrong doing or corruption. His tirade was much more personal in nature, and it left me with an uneasy feeling there was some kind of personal animus that was driving him at that point in time, and I was really surprised and taken aback when Mr. Spitzer, after referencing some comments that Hank Greenberg had made recently, my recollection is that Greenberg had said something to the effect that Spitzer was prosecuting him for murder for essentially jaywalking.
But what followed from that comment was rather a startling personal attack that I was really quite surprised by.
Maria Bartiromo: That’s what I want to ask you about. Because after the interview, we are told that you placed a call to Hank Greenberg’s lawyers, the firm Boies, Schiller. Allegedly you told them, because your firm is in bed with someone like Hank, you will have to bear the consequences. I have a bazooka pointed at you and everyone else at your firm who is involved. Did you say this on July 10th?
Eliot Spitzer: No. Here is where we are. David Boies is a good friend of mine. David Boies is representing Hank Greenberg. In the past they have made representations in their briefs that they immediately had to withdraw; you can call them and ask them about that. They had made unsubstantiated counter-factual statements in their briefs, so they needed to send a letter to the court saying, no, we were wrong, that is not where that statement was made. Ask them about the footnote where in the past they tried to challenge my motive for bringing the case as it is wrong. They are hired guns. They are paid well to say what they’re saying, and they have been wrong repeatedly. Maria, let’s come back to facts.
Maria Bartiromo: So are you saying you did not say it or did you say it? Did you say, I have a bazooka at your head?
Eliot Spitzer: No, I had a nice conversation with Nick Gravante, in which I said, can you send me the statement that David has made. You guys have made statements in the past that have needed to be withdrawn. Please send me the statement so that I can see what it says.
Maria, let’s come back to facts here for a minute. Hank Greenberg was removed by his own board.
Maria Bartiromo: From pressure from you.
Eliot Spitzer: No, no pressure from me.
Maria Bartiromo: C’mon! Ha, Ha!
Eliot Spitzer: The Board of AIG, which had the most august membership, fired and removed Hank Greenberg because I called up the phone and said I want him gone?!
Maria Bartiromo: You went on Sunday morning television and said he committed fraud And you have no evidence of this so many years later, still. His people say you destroyed his reputation and caused the collapse of AIG.
Eliot Spitzer: Unfortunately I have in front of me the transcript of what I said on Sunday morning TV. You want the transcript? These were created for the purpose of deceiving the market. That’s fraud, it was a black box run by a CEO that did not tell the public the truth.
Maria Bartiromo: You used the word fraud, that’s the point. That’s the point, and then you color everybody else’s opinion even though to this day we don’t have any charges of that. The charges are being dropped.
Eliot Spitzer: Here is the federal court judgment. Facts matter. I know this is cable TV, but facts matter.
Maria Bartiromo: I’m aware of facts matter.
Eliot Spitzer: You need to understand that AIG was being lead by a CEO whose accountant was fraudulent.
Maria Bartiromo: Hank, you know – I know he is trying he is trying to get your personal e-mails because he says you also tried to get him — bring him down. Are you going to release those e-mails?
Eliot Spitzer: As I said to people, well, ain’t no such thing. Hank Greenberg at AIG committed fraud. The record of on –
Maria Bartiromo: You keep saying it again, fraud, but there’s no charge of fraud.
Eliot Spitzer: Here is the 29-page federal court opinion. I don’t know why you keep saying there’s no evidence.
Maria Bartiromo: I say it because when you’re the judge, jury, and executor, it’s important for our viewers to understand what went on and give people the benefit of the doubt if there is no evidence supporting that.
Eliot Spitzer: Have you read this opinion? I’m waiting for an answer.
Maria Bartiromo: What was the question.
Eliot Spitzer: Have you read the opinion?
Maria Bartiromo: Yes i have.
Eliot Spitzer: Does it say that he’s a conspirator. Let’s talk facts. I’m going to be very serious.
Maria Bartiromo: I’m not under oath for you, and I’m not in your courtroom. you’re on my show, and thank you for joining us Eliot Spitzer. I’m asking you a question.
Eliot Spitzer: You said you read the opinion, because its says that Hank Greenberg’s action led to fraud.
Maria Bartiromo: You said it, you have continued to say it, and you say it all the time, and I just want to get to the facts here.
Eliot Spitzer: Maria, here is the problem. The problem is that you want to repeat ad nauseam things that are coming out of the PR machine of Hank Greenberg that defie factual record. Maria, I will ask you to give deference to a guest. The reason the Wall Street environment is falling apart, pardon me, is there is an inability on Wall Street’s part to acknowledge what happened. If they said those were flawed, we should not have done it, we won’t do it again, we’re done. That’s what we did in most of the cases.
He continues to this day to dispute facts that have been proven beyond any dispute. Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett came to us and said it. It’s all documented. This is the history, it is clearly known. I think if the public were to understand what was going on at AIG, they would agree that if anything, more should have been done. The Justice Department looked at it, the SEC looked at it, we all forced that change at AIG, there is no doubt about it, no dispute about it, this is what we need in terms of smart prosecution.
Maria Bartiromo: It’s good to have you on the program, I enjoyed this. Very good exchange.
Eliot Spitzer: Here is the deal, next time you come on my show.
Maria Bartiromo: I’ll see you on current TV.
Eliot Spitzer: We’ll see you soon, thank you.
Maria Bartiromo: You can catch Mr. Spitzer on Current TV week nights at 8:00 PM.
I don’t know whether to laugh or to flee the country out of fear. If I knew Mitt Romney would surely be defeated in November, although I am not in love with President Obama, I would be pissing in my pants laughing hysterically at everything that comes out of the mouth of Mitt Romney. Yes, truth is stranger than fiction, but, folks, what Mitt Romney is asking us to swallow is not truth and it’s so far out that it’s not what can be classified—either by Dewey or the Library of Congress—as conventional fiction.
According to Ed Gillespie, Mitt claims that, even though he received an annual salary of at least $100,000 for his services as the chief executive of Bain Capital for a number of years after 1999, and even though he signed and filed reports to the SEC describing his position at Bain Capital as the “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president”, he had, in fact, “retroactively retired” in 1999!!! As Jon Stewart correctly ponders in his video, did Mitt Romney have a time machine in order to travel back in time from 2002 so that he could then retire in 1999???
This is not fiction as we ordinarily know it: isn’t it more like science fiction from The Twilight Zone? Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na.
And isn’t it kind of crazy for anyone to utter such nonsense about retroactive retirement and expect everyone to believe it?! But what is so very scary to me about this kind of talk is that it is presumably coming from a Presidential candidate, someone representing the very best of a nation, to lead its citizens of 300 million people: someone entrusted by those 300 million poor souls with the power to push a nuclear button and blow up the entire world?!!!! Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na.
And let us not also forget that this is the same man who supposedly believes that some guy (i.e., Joseph Smith) born in Sharon, Vermont in 1805 was in some sense “divine” in ways to the nth degree: divine inspiration, divine revelation, divine manifestation, divine calling, divine mission, divine origins….Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na.
And that this divine-ish guy, Joseph Smith, believed that the physical throne of God is located on the planet Kolob (never identified by astronomers yet). And this Mormon follower, Mitt Romney, might become our next President?! Anyone wanna go to Kolob?
Oh, my God….Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na.
Well…perhaps Mitt Romney has had some divine revelations, too, incomprehensible to us mere mortals, to account for his transmigration of his soul from 2002 to 1999 so that he could retire retroactively? Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na.
Isn’t it kind of ironic that the Christian fundamentalists will vote for a guy who supposedly believes that Joseph Smith was divine-ish and that God, according to the Mormon Book of Abraham, lives on the planet Kolob?!?!
LOL! Pretty scary stuff for Presidential material, isn’t it?
I am Rocky Anderson and I’m the Justice Party’s candidate for President of the United States. I’ve also been nominated by the Independent Party in New Mexico and the Progressive Party in Oregon, and I’m seeking the nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party in California.
And as a third-party candidate for President, I often hear people express the concern that I might be a spoiler in this race. And by that they mean that I might take away votes—as if one takes away votes—from the candidate with whom I have the most in common and help elect the candidate with whom I have the least in common.
And I thought long and hard about this. And, in fact, my concern about the so-called spoiler effect kept me from getting into this race for a period of time until after thinking very intensely about this, I concluded that we cannot be driven by fear of being a spoiler because if we did, in every single race, we’d end up voting for one of the two parties in this sick, corrupt, political duopoly in this country, the Republican and the Democratic Parties, who have brought us to the point where we are.
And we have got to break out of that. Regardless of whether it means we are going to win or lose a particular election, we have to come together and build a long term sustained movement, and the way to get that started is for as many people as we can possibly get behind this race to vote for a very different way.
There are three basic responses to this so-called spoiler argument. First, we are stuck in a very corrupt game in which we simply move around the players, a Democrat here, a Republican there, every election. It doesn’t matter in this context which of the two parties wins. We still end up with a corrupt system in which the public interest is betrayed by elected officials who have sold out to the highest bidders.
The rules have been made by the two dominant parties and they thrive from those rules. If we are ever going to break out of that perverse game and create a new paradigm where concentrated wealth no longer calls the shots in Washington, we need to vote for a real alternative. We may not win this election but each of us can send the message that we will not stand for this disease plutocracy anymore.
Not to make light of any of this, but I saw cartoon recently that makes the point powerfully. That cartoons says, choosing among Republican or Democratic candidates for President is like choosing between a window seat or an aisle seat on a plane crash. Our job is to do all we can to save our nation from that plane crash.
The second argument against the so-called spoiler argument: we need to, each of us, draw our own moral and political lines in the sand and determine where that point is beyond which we will not go. I have drawn my line. I determined that I cannot support someone who will engage in ramped-up wars of aggression; who covers for Wall Street and refuses to hold accountable those responsible for the massive financial fraud leading to the economic disaster faced by millions of people in this country; who ignores the responsibility to provide leadership on the climate crisis; who ignores due process and targets US citizens for assassination; and who gives the orders for drone killings, where we know that hundreds of innocent men, women, and children have been killed in the process in nations where Congress has not authorized acts of war in violation of the War Power clause of the Constitution; and who has signed into law the power of government to round people up and indefinitely detain them without trial, without charges, without right of habeas corpus, and even without the right of legal assistance.
I know someone might be worse than that person. But in every race someone is going to be worse than the other. That doesn’t mean I will support the other. There must be a moral line that each of us can draw that leads us to say “no”, regardless of the other choices.
When I am eighty years old, I want to look back and say I did everything I could to oppose the atrocities, including not supporting even the lesser evil among the two possible candidates.
The third point: President Obama might be the lesser of two evils, but he is indeed the more effective of the two evils. If George Bush or Mitt Romney were doing the things that President Obama has done, half or perhaps more of this country would be standing up in opposition, including Democrats in Congress. Imagine if George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were sitting around in the Oval Office deciding who would be killed by drones, knowing that hundreds of innocent civilians will also be killed in the process, Democrats would be out there demonstrating. In Congress they would be holding hearings and blasting the Republicans for their war crimes and human rights abuses.
However since President Obama has a “D” on his jersey, his teammates, other Democrats, simply remain complacent and fail to voice any opposition, becoming complicit in our nation’s war mongering and march towards totalitarianism. The absence of opposition by both major political parties in the face of the many abuses by the Obama administration is perhaps the most frightening facet of our nation’s present circumstances.
Please join with us in saying, “no more”. Make your vote count along with those of many others to signal your insistence that we eliminate the corrupting influence of money in government and that we restore the rule of law, the system of checks and balances, and fundamental constitutional values.
I am Rocky Anderson and I approve this message. This message was paid for by Rocky Anderson Our President 2012, Inc.
Eliot Spitzer: I want to come back to the outsourcing issue. Mitt Romney obviously being, in my view, properly attacked for the outsourcing that Bain did, how do we actually stopped that. To some extent, are not these not laws of economics? Are these choices that we can actually force companies not to make, not to send jobs overseas?
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter: Eliot, let’s talk about trade bills for just a second because I have been against those since I got into Congress including the ones that we passed this term. But I have never seen any kind of trade agreement the United States made with another country that advantaged in any way the American manufacturers. In many cases I think they were pretty much sent overseas.
And manufacturers, you know, we have never been able to deal with a law that allows Congress to pay people to outsource. That is an annoyance beyond belief, as many things in Washington are today.
But I found a trade bill as well that will finally advantage manufacturers in America by saying that we can change the conditions of a trade bill. It wasn’t tariffs that really bothered so much as the unseen barriers: for example, with cars, the steering wheel wasn’t big enough, this light doesn’t look right, I don’t like that bumper.
We sold eight thousand cars in Japan last year. That should tell us a lot. We sell eight thousand cars in every town in America, just about, of Japanese origin. So we have been just pretty stupid about trade policies far as I’m concerned.
Eliot Spitzer: Louise, I could not agree with you more and I think you put your finger on the very issue that we need to talk about, which is that—and I hate to admit it, this is unfortunate—it has been a bipartisan error. President Clinton signed a lot of the trade bills.
Louise Slaughter: All of them. Yes.
Eliot Spitzer: That’s right. There have been two pieces, two pillars, of our economic strategy that have been fundamentally wrong: one was deregulation of Wall Street; the other was trade bills that were simply oblivious, as you point out, to our manufacturing base. Can we get the President to change on this?
Louise Slaughter: I don’t know. I hope so. I have certainly been trying because of this bill that I got. But this goes all the way back. NAFTA, of course, as we know, has done absolutely nothing for us. And what I watched towns like mine and cities around us be boarded up where people used to work. It was a stupid thing for us to do.
We were in the top manufacturing in the world, we were extraordinarily generous, and we need to be because we had a lot of things going for us, but what we did was give away our seed corn. Nobody does that but we did it.
But what we have to do is pay attention to enforce trade agreements, and that can’t be done by the person who negotiates the trade agreement, which is what we do now. It needs to be in a whole new department of the country but what we have done is make it possible for the Congress itself to stop the trade agreement until it is straightened out. And that’s what we need.
Eliot Spitzer: You are from the Rochester Buffalo portion of upstate New York, which is part of what people used to refer to as the rust belt. It used to be the industrial manufacturing core of America. You understand exactly what has happened to hollow out our economy, and I sure hope that you will continue to hammer on this.
Louise Slaughter: I sure will. I am so involved in this that I eat and sleep this Bill so that we can try once to advantage American manufacturers.
Throughout history myths have played an important role in controlling the common folk by the elite and aristocracy, necessitated, of course, by their fewer numbers. Mark Twain noted its use in his book, “Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur’s Court”, observing its effectiveness in controlling the ignorant and uncouth serfs by the Church, the well rewarded agent of the nobility. That myth so widely in use then was, if you work like a feudal slave all day without virtually any pay, starving to death in the process, don’t worry, you will get your reward in heaven: there you will occupy a palace and have everything you had desired (except sex, of course) but were denied on earth. And the general population bought this garbage for nearly two thousand years, confirming the ignorance and gullibility of the general populace to swallow just about anything, including dogma, political propaganda, utter nonsense, or shit.
After Charles Dickens and other humanists let the cat out of the bag, exposing the ungodliness of the Malthus theory and the unchristian treatment of the poor, ironically condoned by the Church for centuries, the rich had to find other myths to keep the rabble slaving away for pennies on the hour. My father believed in that Horatio Alger myth, that if you worked hard here in America, you, too, could become successful and rich. My grandfather and he worked for 12.5 cents per hour. If it were not for FDR and the growth of the unions during the 1930s, my father, like his father, would have died a pauper, too.
When Ronald Reagan—that B actor whom I recall as a child selling soap on TV and who has been canonized as a saint by the Republican Party—spewed that myth which we now term trickle-down economics (aka, tinkle-down, pissed on, economics), the middle class was once again hoodwinked into giving gifts of gold to the rich in hopes of being rewarded with manna from heaven. Of course, that manna never came, since all of that dough resulted in the greatest transfer of wealth over the last 30 years to the upper 1%.
Now that the middle class has finally begun to wisen up to that tinkle-down nonsense, the Republicans and many conservative Democrats have been forced to repackage and disguise that Lauffer myth with a twist: if we give tax cuts to the rich, their tax savings will miraculously create the jobs that we all crave here in America. As the great seer, Yogi, once said, it’s deja vu all over again.
For those of you who actually believe that tax cuts for the rich stimulate the economy and create jobs, historical facts show just the contrary: when the highest marginal tax rates were at their highest rates of 75% to 94% from 1945 through 1980, growth rates in employment were also at their highest rates. And conversely, when the highest marginal tax rates on the rich were at their lowest rates, the rates of growth in employment were also at their lowest rates: over the last eleven years (from 2000 through 2011), the highest effective marginal tax rates have been at nearly historical lows of 35% (in comparison to the 75% to 94% rates in effect from 1945 through 1980), while the capital gains tax rate has been at a historical low of 15%, but the rate of growth in employment has been negative: that is, we have been losing jobs over the last eleven years!
Now, you might wonder, how can that be? Raising taxes on the rich creates jobs in America?! Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh say otherwise. Well, folks, it’s quite understandable. When taxes on the rich go down, Congress typically restrains or even cuts government spending, or at least the growth rate in government spending. But you might argue, don’t the rich then invest in America and create jobs?! No, they don’t. The rich typically hoard their money—since they have more than what they could spend in an entire lifetime already—often in tax havens like Swiss bank accounts, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, etc., or invest their moneys in the stock market, where multinational corporations invest those funds in manufacturing facilities overseas because labor there is as low as 22.5 cents per hour. So jobs are not created here in the U.S. when the highest marginal tax rates on the rich go down. Quite the contrary.
Conversely, when taxes on the rich have been higher, filling Washington’s coffers, government spending typically is increased: for instance, the government funds infrastructure projects, education, the criminal justice system, the space program, the Great Society, endless wars overseas, etc. Such government spending normally creates jobs here in the United States. The fiscal policy of our government can result in job growth; however, a tax policy resulting in lower taxes on the rich does not create jobs in our country since those tax decreases on the rich often result in decreases in government spending, and, consequently, decreases in employment here in the US.
Only significant decreases in taxes on the middle class would result in job creation here at home since the resulting increase in disposable income for a middle class already at its borrowing limit would lead to increased consumption by it, stimulating the economy, and consequently, creating jobs. But the tax decreases proposed by the Republicans and conservative Democrats target the rich, not the middle class. And the rich, unlike the middle class, do not have to spend their additional tax savings. That’s the key point deliberately omitted in the presentation by the messengers of the rich for additional tax breaks for the rich.
Is it any coincidence then that those who give the biggest campaign contributions inevitably get the biggest tax breaks? The United States does indeed have the best tax code that money can buy! Our governmental system is virtually broken beyond repair: campaign contributions are in essence legalized bribery.
Of course, political propaganda always speaks louder than facts to the NASCAR, masochistic mentality of the serfs, who crave simple minded solutions to any problem confronting them. Rest assured, they will eagerly, out of desperation, swallow this myth about how jobs can only be created by lowering taxes on the rich. Such myths have always worked in the past and they are guaranteed to work in the future, especially since the major media, the purveyors of our national myths, are controlled by the very rich themselves.