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Thread: Puke Watch

  1. #61
    Atypical is offline

    Chamber Of Commerce’s Top SCOTUS Litigator Admits

    Justices Give Special Treatment to Chamber.

    A recent study co-authored by conservative Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner confirms something that has been obvious to Supreme Court watchers for years — the Roberts Court places a huge thumb on the scale in favor of corporate interests. According to the study, the Roberts Court rules in favor of business interests 61 percent of the time, a 15 point spike from the five years before when Chief Justice Roberts joined the Court.

    While the Chamber of Commerce has recently tried to downplay the favorable treatment it receives from the Supreme Court, its own top lawyer admitted a few years after Roberts joined the Court that the justices give his client special treatment:

    Carter G. Phillips, who often represents the chamber and has argued more Supreme Court cases than any active lawyer in private practice, reflected on its influence. “I know from personal experience that the chamber’s support carries significant weight with the justices,” he wrote. “Except for the solicitor general representing the United States, no single entity has more influence on what cases the Supreme Court decides and how it decides them than the National Chamber Litigation Center.”

    Phillips’ confession, and the Posner study’s conclusion, corroborates other data showing the Roberts Court’s favoritism towards corporate interests. A recent study by the progressive Constitutional Accountability Center determined that every single justice is more likely to side with the Chamber than the justice who held their seat 25 years ago (the study did not include the Court’s two newest members because of an insufficiently large data sample):

    Welcome to John Roberts’ America, where the wealthy and the well-connected receive the best justice money can buy.

    http://thinkprogress.org/2011/03/14/...s-the-chamber/
    __________________________________________

    And the rights and concerns of the rest are ignored. This is what you get when conservatives are allowed to control anything!

    See the link to view the crimes by justice.
    Last edited by Atypical; 04-04-2011 at 05:51 PM.

  2. #62
    Atypical is offline

    Michigan’s GOP Gov. Slashes Corporate Tax Rate by 86 Percent,

    Hikes Taxes for Working Poor.

    As we’ve been documenting, several conservative governors have proposed placing the brunt of deficit reduction onto the backs of their state’s public employees, students, and middle-class taxpayers, while simultaneously trying to enact corporate tax cuts and giveaways. Govs. Rick Scott (R-FL), Tom Corbett (R-PA), and Jan Brewer (R-AZ) have all gone down this road.

    Following suit, Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) has proposed ending his state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, cutting a $600 per child tax credit, and reducing credits for seniors, while also cutting funding for school districts by eight to ten percent. At the same time, as the Michigan League for Human Services found, the state’s business taxes would be reduced by nearly $2 billion, or 86 percent, under Snyder’s plan:

    Business taxes would be cut by 86 percent from an estimated $2.1 billion in FY 2011 to $292.7 million in FY 2013, the first full year of the proposed tax changes…Taxes on individuals from the state income tax would rise by $1.7 billion or nearly 31 percent, from an estimated $5.75 billion in FY 2011 to $7.5 billion in FY 2013, the first full year of the tax changes.

    As the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found, the practical upshot of Snyder’s tax increases is to place even more of a burden on Michigan’s poorest residents, who will see a bigger hike than those at the upper end of the income scale:

    Michigan already has a regressive tax system, which Snyder’s proposal will only make worse. Currently, someone in the poorest 20 percent of Michigan taxpayers pays a tax rate of 8.9 percent, while someone in the richest one percent pays 5.3 percent.

    In addition to trying to make an unfair tax system even more problematic for Michigan’s low-income residents, Snyder has also asked that the state be given the power to dismiss local government and appoint emergency “town managers” who could break contracts and “strip powers from elected officials.”

    http://thinkprogress.org/2011/03/14/...rporate-taxes/

    ______________________________________________

    See link for sources and graphs.

  3. #63
    Atypical is offline

    After Accepting $5 Million From Big Oil In 2010, Haley Barbour

    Accuses Obama Of Cheering On Higher Gas Prices.

    Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS), former RGA Chair and lobbyist, has gone on the attack. In a speech to the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce today, he accused President Obama of purposely trying to drive up the price of oil, saying that “the Obama energy policy basically boils down to this: increase the price of energy so Americans will use less of it. That’s an environmental policy, not an energy policy.” But it’s nothing new for Barbour. Last week he claimed Obama’s energy policies “are working – pushing gas prices near $4.” And a few weeks ago, he attacked the administration and its energy policies, claiming they “have been designed to drive up the cost of energy.” The AP was quick to point out the glaring fallacy in that statement – that Middle East turmoil is the primary factor in rising gas prices, not Obama’s policies.

    But it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Barbour continues to shill for the oil and gas industry. Barbour raised significant amounts in campaign contributions from the industry, and from 1999 to 2003, was a lobbyist for various energy interests. Even as oil was touching Mississippi shores in the summer of 2010, Barbour downplayed the effects of the catastrophic spill. A ThinkProgress review of IRS documents revealed that with Barbour at the helm, the RGA received over $5 million in contributions from the oil and gas industry – including four of the Big Five oil companies – in just one year:

    • $1,000,000 from David Koch, $25,000 from Koch Industries
    • $625,000 from Exxon Mobil
    • Over $150,000 from Chevron
    • $50,000 from Shell
    • $25,000 from ConocoPhillips

    Further, while Republicans like Barbour blame Obama for higher gas prices – pointing to the Gulf drilling moratorium – the numbers show that U.S. domestic oil production has actually risen to its highest level since 2002.

    Even with increased domestic production, the Financial Times reports that the rise “would still not be enough to end America’s dependence on imported oil.” And a 2009 report from the Energy Information Administration found that offshore drilling would have an “insignificant” impact on prices at the pump.

    But while Americans continue to pay higher prices for gas, oil-funded Republicans protect generous subsidies to oil companies. And fluctuations in gas prices in the past few years have shown that when gas prices increase, so do Big Oil’s profits.

    http://thinkprogress.org/2011/03/14/...oil-donations/

    ______________________________________________

    Look up "repuke". It has this guy's picture - and a couple thousand others. Big book, dont'cha know.

  4. #64
    Atypical is offline

    Keep The Government Out Of My Life - But It's Okay To Go Into Theirs.

    IRS Would Audit Abortions Under GOP Anti-Choice Bill

    Mother Jones' Nick Baumann brings us this shocker.


    Under a GOP-backed bill expected to sail through the House of Representatives, the Internal Revenue Service would be forced to police how Americans have paid for their abortions. To ensure that taxpayers complied with the law, IRS agents would have to investigate whether certain terminated pregnancies were the result of rape or incest. And one tax expert says that the measure could even lead to questions on tax forms: Have you had an abortion? Did you keep your receipt?

    In testimony to a House taxation subcommittee on Wednesday, Thomas Barthold, the chief of staff of the nonpartisan Joint Tax Committee, confirmed that one consequence of the Republicans' "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" would be to turn IRS agents into abortion cops—that is, during an audit, they'd have to determine, from evidence provided by the taxpayer, whether any tax benefit had been inappropriately used to pay for an abortion.

    I was feeling pretty sure that we had found everything there was to hate about the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (aka HR3). But apparently not! As RH Reality Check's Robin Marty notes astutely, Republicans finally found something they want the IRS to spend taxpayer dollars on: uterine audits.

    Baumann followed up on the story on Twitter this morning: "To those asking whether HIPAA would prevent IRS from getting abortion info: no. They prolly wouldn't even need a court order." Great.

    NARAL Pro-Choice America president Nancy Keenan responded to the story: "This bill gets more outrageous and insulting by the day. Not only would a woman have to describe her sexual assault to the police, but she could then be forced to relive that horrifying experience with an agent from the IRS. The 221 members of Congress who signed their names to this egregious bill must explain to their constituents why they want to give the IRS authority to audit rape survivors.

    It truly is all about the jobs for Republicans, isn't it?

    http://act.alternet.org/go/5563?akid...018.MauXyQ&t=2
    ____________________________________________

    The theater of the absurd - acted by and for ideologues.

  5. #65
    SiriuslyLong is offline
    Guru
    SiriuslyLong's Avatar
    Joined: Jan 2009 Location: Ann Arbor, MI Posts: 3,560
    Quote Originally Posted by Atypical View Post
    IRS Would Audit Abortions Under GOP Anti-Choice Bill

    Mother Jones' Nick Baumann brings us this shocker.


    Under a GOP-backed bill expected to sail through the House of Representatives, the Internal Revenue Service would be forced to police how Americans have paid for their abortions. To ensure that taxpayers complied with the law, IRS agents would have to investigate whether certain terminated pregnancies were the result of rape or incest. And one tax expert says that the measure could even lead to questions on tax forms: Have you had an abortion? Did you keep your receipt?

    In testimony to a House taxation subcommittee on Wednesday, Thomas Barthold, the chief of staff of the nonpartisan Joint Tax Committee, confirmed that one consequence of the Republicans' "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" would be to turn IRS agents into abortion cops—that is, during an audit, they'd have to determine, from evidence provided by the taxpayer, whether any tax benefit had been inappropriately used to pay for an abortion.

    I was feeling pretty sure that we had found everything there was to hate about the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (aka HR3). But apparently not! As RH Reality Check's Robin Marty notes astutely, Republicans finally found something they want the IRS to spend taxpayer dollars on: uterine audits.

    Baumann followed up on the story on Twitter this morning: "To those asking whether HIPAA would prevent IRS from getting abortion info: no. They prolly wouldn't even need a court order." Great.

    NARAL Pro-Choice America president Nancy Keenan responded to the story: "This bill gets more outrageous and insulting by the day. Not only would a woman have to describe her sexual assault to the police, but she could then be forced to relive that horrifying experience with an agent from the IRS. The 221 members of Congress who signed their names to this egregious bill must explain to their constituents why they want to give the IRS authority to audit rape survivors.

    It truly is all about the jobs for Republicans, isn't it?

    http://act.alternet.org/go/5563?akid...018.MauXyQ&t=2
    I'm with you on this one. The religous right is nuts, and they have infiltrated the republican party. It is a shame. Busting union's is far more important (just joking).

  6. #66
    Atypical is offline

    Health Reform's One-Year Anniversary

    IMPLEMENTATION SUCCESS: As a result of the law, states received $250 million in federal funding to strengthen their ability to review, revise, or reject unreasonable premium rate hikes. Nearly four million seniors who fell into the Medicare Part D doughnut hole received federal assistance that helped them purchase medications and 150,000 seniors have undergone a free wellness exam this year. The government recovered $4 billion in fraud last year and the law provides more funds to crack down on waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and has been busily implementing new regulations that are designed to keep health insurers more accountable and increase access to coverage. As of this year, insurance companies can no longer discriminate against children with pre-existing conditions, drop coverage because of a simple mistake on an application, institute lifetime caps, limit choice of doctors, charge more for emergency services obtained out of network, or levy deductibles, co-payments or co-insurance for certain preventive benefits. More than a million young adults can stay on their parents' plans until their 26th birthday, and everyone will have the right to appeal insurer decisions to an independent third party. Similarly, four million small businesses have access to $40 billion in tax credits and 12,400 Americans with pre-existing conditions are receiving coverage through temporary high-risk insurance pools that will provide coverage for sicker individuals until 2014. Americans can already compare available plan benefits, prices, and application denial rates at HealthCare.gov. In 2011, the website will include pricing and comparison information for small businesses.

    LOOKING AHEAD: Starting in 2014, individuals and families will have even more options through state-based health care exchanges that will allow Americans to select new regulated plans that will offer a comprehensive set of benefits. Under the law, if states fail to establish their own exchange, the federal government will build one for them -- something a surprisingly high number of conservative states are willing to accept. States like Louisiana, Florida, Georgia and Alaska have refused to build their own unique marketplaces and have instead suggested that they would allow the federal government to step in. States that establish their own exchanges will be able to run their own markets (or partner if with other states), determine which insurance companies can offer coverage and dictate benefit rules. Americans below 133 percent of the federal poverty line (FPL) will be able to enroll in an expanded Medicaid program. In the coming year, the federal government will issue more specific regulations about how much flexibility states will have to structure their health insurance exchanges and how generous those plans have to be. This year, restaurant chains and vending machines will be required to disclose nutritional content of food and Medicaid will stop reimbursing hospitals for conditions acquired during hospitalization.

    REPUBLICANS PREDICTED THE WORST: In the year since reform passed, Republicans in the House repealed the law (only to see the measure fall in the Senate) and are now attempting to defund reform. During the nearly 10-month legislative battle that preceded passage, the GOP characterized the bill as a "socialist" "government takeover" and warned Americans that the bill would destroy lives and American society, hurling apocalyptic warnings that seem downright satirical a year later. For instance, on the eve of passage now-House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said that passage of reform would result in "Armageddon" because the law will "ruin our country." Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) predicted "there will be no insurance industry left in three years" and announced that seniors would "die soon," while Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) stated that "no new health insurance policies can be written once this federal plan comes into effect." Fox News pundit Sean Hannity said, "If we get nationalized health care, it's over; this is socialism" and Glenn Beck predicted "the end of prosperity in America forever...the end of America as you know it." Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) suggested that seniors will be "put to death" by the government and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) lamented that a similar fate faced American women. Potential presidential candidate and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) warned that health reform "will destroy the country" because, "in the next year or so," America will have to "dramatically cut the military because we can't pay for it."

    http://app.mx3.americanprogressactio...220a29adf4d6bd

    http://thinkprogress.org/2011/03/23/...p-anniversary/

    __________________________________________________

    The adjustment to the healthcare industry's practices, (that's all it was) long overdue because of flagrant violations of ethical standards, is inferior to single payer - and much more expensive. Read Deadly Spin by Wendell Potter.

    And read the mad, delusional, psychotic ramblings above by the repukes. People vote for these cretins???
    Last edited by Atypical; 03-24-2011 at 12:07 PM.

  7. #67
    Atypical is offline

    Reframing the Debate to Make Health Insurers Look Poor

    Submitted by Wendell Potter on March 15, 2011

    In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau delivered the troubling but hardly shocking news that almost 51 million Americans -- nearly one out of every six of us -- had fallen into the ranks of the uninsured. If you think that news would also be troubling for health insurance companies, think again. While the country was struggling to emerge from a recession, and more and more of us were struggling with no medical coverage, the big for-profit insurance companies were rolling in dough.

    Over the past few weeks, UnitedHealth, WellPoint, Aetna, CIGNA and Humana reported fourth quarter 2010 earnings, and all but Humana exceeded Wall Street's profit expectations, most by wide margins. The combined earnings of just those five companies were more than $11.7 billion last year, which was 17 percent more than they made in 2009. Since the end of 2008, their earnings have increased a Wall Street-pleasing 51 percent. Just imagine how much more they would have been able to reward their shareholders if the economy had been running on all cylinders.In fact, 2010 will go down in the history books as one of the most profitable ever for the five biggest for-profit health insurers.

    In conference calls with financial analysts, executives of those companies tried to explain their embarrassment of riches by suggesting that fewer people went to the doctor last year because the flu season was milder than expected.

    As someone who helped write insurance company earnings reports, I can tell you that such an explanation doesn't pass the sniff test. In my nearly 20 years in the industry, I never saw those companies' profits spike like they did last year just because fewer people came down with the flu.

    So how did they manage to make that much money? By refusing to sell insurance to many people who need it most, by denying coverage for many procedures doctors ordered for their patients, and by achieving one of their most important strategic goals: shifting more of the cost of care, even if we're insured, from them to us.

    Insurers embarked on a strategy several years ago of moving their policyholders out of plans with comparatively modest co-payments and into high-deductible plans, which require people to pay thousands of dollars for care out of their own pockets before their insurance coverage kicks in.

    Insurers' PR Tactic: Reframe the Debate

    Insurers have been on a mission for several years to "migrate" people into these plans, which they euphemistically call "consumer-driven" or "consumer-directed." This forced migration really picked up steam last year. According to America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the industry's lobbying group, the number of people enrolled in high-deductible plans rose 25 percent from 2009 to 2010. Millions of other Americans are now in plans with skimpier benefits. As a result, insurers last year were able to avoid paying many claims they would have paid in the past.

    To deflect attention away from the insurers' profits and to talk us into believing exactly the opposite of what is really happening, the industry's cheerleaders and apologists are using a PR trick known as "reframing." (Companies frequently call on their allies and trade associations to do the reframing when their own spokespeople don't have the credibility to pull it off.)

    One of the insurance industry's most reliable allies, Sally C. Pipes of the conservative think tank Pacific Research Institute, attempted in a February 24 column in Forbes magazine to suggest that insurers spend so much of their revenues paying claims they're just barely staying afloat. Forcing insurers to spend at least 80 percent of premium revenue on their policyholders' medical care, as the health care reform law requires, would surely push them into the red and eventually out of business. Under the headline, "ObamaCare Is Starting to Bleed Insurers Dry," Pipes told us that the health insurance sector is among the least profitable in America -- "with a mere 2.2 percent profit margin."

    Just a little more than a week later, Avik Roy, an equity research analyst at Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co., wrote in the same magazine, apparently unaware of Pipes' revelation, that 2010 profit margins for publicly traded health insurers averaged "a measly 4 percent."

    As a look at the financial performance of the big five insurers reveals, both Pipes and Roy appear to be trying to pull one over on us. According to YAHOO! Finance, UnitedHealth's profit margin last year was 4.92; WellPoint's was 4.91; Aetna's was 5.16; and CIGNA's was 6.35. The profit margin for Humana, the runt of the bunch, was a "mere" 3.25.

    Those numbers do indeed pale when compared to the profit margins of cigarette makers, which, according to Roy, average 20 percent. But they are on par with some of the biggest and best-known companies that sell us groceries and other necessities. Walmart's and Target's profit margins were a mere 3.89 and 4.33 percent respectively last year. Kroger's was a measly 1.36 percent.

    Still, profit margins are not the best indicator of financial success. Return on equity (ROE), which measures profitability by disclosing how much profit a corporation generates with the money shareholders have invested, is actually a much better measure of how well publicly-traded companies are meeting Wall Street's expectations.

    The return on equity of the big five insurers last year ranged from 11.86 percent for WellPoint to 22.35 percent for CIGNA, according to YAHOO! Finance. Cigarette maker R.J. Reynolds' return on equity, by comparison, was a mere 20.43 percent.

    America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the insurance trade group, tries to reframe the profitability of the industry in an equally deceptive way. "For every dollar spent on health care in America,' says AHIP spokesman Robert Zirkelbach, "less than one penny goes toward health care profits."

    Health Insurers Duck Blame for High Cost of Health Care

    Well, considering that Americans spent more than $2.5 trillion on health care last year -- about 17 percent of GDP and more per person than any other country except East Timor -- shareholders are making out pretty darn good with that penny. Wall Street is so happy with the health insurance sector, in fact, that the stock prices for every one of the big five are now trading at or near their 52-week highs. The average stock price for the companies has increased 20 percent since this time last year. That is a very handsome return on investment in my book.

    All of this "reframing" by AHIP and the industry's allies is not an innocuous example of how numbers can be sliced and diced to mislead the public. It is being done for the sole purpose of convincing us that insurers are blameless when it comes to the high cost of health care and the rising number of people without coverage, or adequate coverage, in the United States.

    The reality is that the standard operating procedures of these and other insurers, which make it possible for them to reward their shareholders so well, have created some of our health care system's most intractable problems.

    In a relentless quest for profits, insurers dump sick policyholders from their rolls, refuse to sell coverage to millions of people with pre-existing conditions, force us to pay more for care out of our pockets, strip benefits out of our plans, and routinely deny coverage for treatments that doctors order for their patients.

    The consequences of these practices -- all of which "ObamaCare" tries to do something about -- are by no means benign. An estimated 45,000 Americans die every year because they don't have insurance.

    So the next time you hear an insurance industry flack or apologist complain about those "measly" profit margins, don't buy it. Their "reframing" is nothing more than an attempt to take your mind off the tragedies these companies cause for so many Americans every single day.

    http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/d...3GJ6VT0Z2pHWyO
    Last edited by Atypical; 03-24-2011 at 12:09 PM.

  8. #68
    Havakasha is offline
    Legend
    Havakasha's Avatar
    Joined: Sep 2009 Posts: 5,358
    Indiana Prosecutor Encouraged 'False Flag' Assault on Walker to Discredit Wisconsin Unions

    Eric Kleefeld | March 24, 2011, 6:26PM


    A deputy prosector in Johnson County, Indiana, has resigned his job after it was revealed that in February, during the large protests in Wisconsin over Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union bill, he e-mailed Walker's office and recommended that they conduct a "false flag operation" -- to fake an assault or assassination attempt on Walker in order to discredit the unions and protesters.

    As Wisconsin Watch, a project of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism reports, Carlos Lam initially denied that he had sent the e-mail, which was part of the tens of thousands of e-mails released in an open-records settlement the Walker administration reached with the local paper the Isthmus and the Associated Press.

    When contacted by Wisconsin Watch, Lam had initially denied sending the e-mail, claiming that he had been the victim of identity theft, and said he did not support the criminal activities described in the e-mail: , "I think he's trying to do what he has to do to get his budget balanced. But jeez, that's taking it a little bit to the extreme."

    However, Lam admitted late in the afternoon that he did send the e-mail, and resigned his job.

    From the report:

    After praise for Walker, the email -- sent Feb. 19, during union demonstrations against Walker's budget repair bill -- then took a darker turn. It suggested that the situation in Wisconsin presented "a good opportunity for what's called a 'false flag' operation."

    "If you could employ an associate who pretends to be sympathetic to the unions' cause to physically attack you (or even use a firearm against you), you could discredit the unions," the email said.

    "Currently, the media is painting the union protest as a democratic uprising and failing to mention the role of the DNC and umbrella union organizations in the protest. Employing a false flag operation would assist in undercutting any support that the media may be creating in favor of the unions. God bless, Carlos F. Lam."
    And also:

    Cullen Werwie, Walker's press secretary, said no one at the office had seen the email or contacted Lam. Werwie condemned the email's suggestions Monday in a statement to the Center.

    "Certainly we do not support the actions suggested in (the) email. Governor Walker has said time and again that the protesters have every right to have their voice heard, and for the most part the protests have been peaceful. We are hopeful that the tradition will continue," Werwie wrote.
    This does call to mind Walker's infamous phone call in late February with blogger Ian Murphy, who posed as Republican financier David Koch. During that call, "Koch" asked Walker whether he had thought about "planting some troublemakers" among the protesters. Walker said "we thought about that," but didn't do it.

    When asked about this at a press conference, Walker had said, "In my case we ruled it out," and also added: "When he talked about inciting things and 'crushing the bastards,' we get ideas from people all across the state. And we want to have a civil discussion about this and a debate about this, and the fact that we discussed this, and we said it wasn't a good idea."

    (Note: As the full transcript of the "Koch" call shows, Walker said that he was worried such a tactic could backfire and increase the pressure for compromise: "My only fear would be is if there was a ruckus caused is that that would scare the public into thinking maybe the governor has gotta settle to avoid all these problems.")

    Previously in Indiana, Deputy Attorney General Jeff Cox lost his job after tweeting that the protesters should be dealt with using "live ammunition," following that up with "against thugs physically threatening legally-elected state legislators & governor? You're damn right I advocate deadly force."

    At the time, the Attorney General's office said in a statement: "We respect individuals' First Amendment right to express their personal views on private online forums, but as public servants we are held by the public to a higher standard, and we should strive for civility."

  9. #69
    Atypical is offline
    When you have an authoritarian personality, when you readily hate those who disagree with your "ideas", when you want to win at any cost, when you are unable to see nuance, shades of gray, or degrees of merit in anything, this is what you do.

    A partial definition of the minds of conservatives.

    Doubts?? Read Conservatives Without Conscience by John Dean, a republican.

  10. #70
    Atypical is offline

    It's called the American Dream cause you have to be asleep to believe it . . ."

    The New American Dream

    Tuesday 29 March 2011
    by: William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t

    If you are wealthy, you are living in the Golden Age of your American Dream, and it's a damned fine time to be alive. The two major political parties are working hammer and tong to bless you and keep you. The laws are being re-written - often by fiat, and in defiance of court orders - to strengthen the walls separating you and your wealth from the motley masses. Your stock portfolio, mostly made by and for oil and war, continues to swell. Your banks and Wall Street shops destroyed the economy for everyone except you, and not only did they get away with it, they were handed a vast dollop of taxpayer cash as a bonus prize.

    The little people probably crack you up when you bother to think about them. Their version of the American Dream is a ragged blanket too short to cover them, but they still buy into it, and that's the secret of your strength in the end. So many of them walk into the voting booths and solemnly vote against their own best interests, and for yours, because the American Dream makes them think they, too, will be rich someday. They won't - you've made sure of that - but so long as they keep believing it, your money will continue to roll in.

    The Citizens United Supreme Court decision swept away the last tattered shreds of the façade of fairness in politics and electioneering, and now you own the whole store. You can use your vast financial resources to lie on a national level now, lie with your bare face hanging out, because it works. You're not the bad guy in America. Teachers, cops, firefighters, union members and public-sector employees are the bad guys, the reason for all our economic woes. NPR and Planned Parenthood are the bad guys. You did that, and when governors like Scott Walker rampage through worker's rights on your dime, you chuckle into your sleeve and enjoy your interest rate.

    We're firing teachers and missiles simultaneously, to poach a line from Jon Stewart, and the inherent disconnect fails to sink in among those serving as dray horses for your greed and ambition. They're in the traces, bellowing about what you want them to focus on thanks to your total control of the "mainstream" news media, and they plow your fields with the power of their incoherent, misdirected rage.

    They pay their taxes. Isn't that a hoot? They pay their taxes dutifully and annually, and that money gets shunted right to you and your friends, thanks to the politicians who love you and the laws that favor you, not to mention the wars that sustain you. They pay their taxes when they should just pay you, right? Talk about getting rid of government waste.

    They should just pay you directly and cut out the middle man, because it all goes to the same place in the end. You.

    You are General Electric, and you paid no taxes in 2010. You made $14.2 billion in worldwide profits, $5.1 billion of which was made in America, and you're tax burden amounted to a big fat zero. In fact, you claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion, thanks to your anti-tax lobbying efforts in Washington and your use of offshore tax havens that protect and defend your profit margin.

    You are ExxonMobil, and you paid no taxes in 2009. In fact, you got a $156 million return.
    Independent journalism is important. Click here to get Truthout stories sent to your email.

    You are Bank of America, and despite receiving a massive chunk of the taxpayer-funded bailout, despite recording a profit of $4.4 billion, you paid no taxes and received a $1.9 billion rebate.

    You are Chevron, and you made $10 billion in 2009. You paid no taxes, and got a $19 million refund.

    You are Citigroup, and you paid no taxes despite earning more than $4 billion, and despite getting a sizeable chunk of the taxpayer-funded bailout.

    Your favorite part of it all?

    The part that makes you laugh out loud?

    It's when you hear the politicians you own talk about "shared sacrifices" and "fiscal responsibility." Man, that's a hoot. You watch them rave and froth on Capitol Hill about shutting down the government because the country doesn't have enough money to fund "entitlement programs" the little people have been paying into for decades. The very term - "entitlement" - cracks you up; how is it an entitlement if people paid for it? Nobody asks that question, of course. Nobody asks about cutting the bloated defense budget. Nobody asks where the billions diverted to Iraq and Afghanistan actually went, or where the money for Libya is going. For damned sure, nobody demands that you pony up and pay your fair share. You made sure of that, and the show goes on.

    The United States of America has undergone a powerful transformation over the course of a single generation, and you are right up there in the catbird seat, watching it all unfold. For you, the New American Dream is "I got mine, kiss my ass, work and die (if you can find work, sucker), and pay me." For everyone else, the New American Dream is about simple survival, about running as fast as they can while going inexorably backwards.
    Maybe you can even see the cancer eating away at the country that has treated you so royally, but you don't really care. You are safe and comfortable behind your gilded walls.

    For now, anyway.

    _____________________________________
    The main title above is from George Carlin who always told it like it is!
    Last edited by Atypical; 03-29-2011 at 07:22 PM.

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